Nothing is going according to plan on either side of the Cold War right now in Washington.
The FBI Office is getting new leadership because Stan shot the Soviet Embassy employee and spy in the head. And, Elizabeth and Philip decided to work with Claudia to find Emmett and Leanne's killer, in addition to their regular work assignment.
The Americans Season 2 Episode 4 focused primarily on the Soviet side of the spy game and Paige's rebellion.
The Soviets are deeply concerned about the Americans "stealth" capabilities. The key person they wanted to target is a scientist Anton Baklanov who fled from the Soviet Union. Philip looked into him to find an opening to turn him, but the scientist is a Jew with strong anti-Soviet sentiments.
On the search for Emmett and Leanne's killer front, Claudia provided a target. In order to get to him, Elizabeth seduced a shy Navy guy, Brad, but then stopped their encounter from going beyond a kiss. It appeared that she was just playing a shy gal in response to gain his trust, but it turned out to be a huge manipulation.
Elizabeth is good! When she was playing her part with Brad, I bought it. She was just setting Brad up for the her real play. She "opened" up and told Brad that she was raped and that the Navy was covering up for one of their own. Hook, line, sinker! Brad offered to find and copy Andrew's file proving he was on leave.
Both Elizabeth and Philip make manipulating people look so easy. It's truly scary what they are able to do. When Brad chickened out, Elizabeth didn't skip a beat. She "comforted" him. We'll have to wait until next week to see if her encouragement was enough to overcome his fear. She's good, so I have no doubts that it worked.
One hiccup that I could see with their plan in the long run is that the target, Andrew, was said to be a homosexual. Claudia believes that he killed Emmett and Leanne because they were blackmailing him over that. That probably wouldn't get out, but if Brad gets caught or questioned the whole rape story could easily be discredited.
As good as Elizabeth and Philip are as spies, they do make mistakes. And they made a huge one. When they went to grab Baklanov, they were hit. Did the Americans find out the scientist was being targeted and set up a sting? They survived, but they lost both Baklanov and their car. Bright spot? Maybe Philip will get the new car he wants.
Neither mission was a success, but both are still in play. And that at least is something.
Odds and Ends
I'm not sure what to make of Philip's outburst at Martha. Is he tired of having two wives? Was the fight an excuse to end their marriage? She's been providing good intel, so it's surprising that he would give it up so easily. My guess is that all marriages have problems and he needed to get out of the "romantic lazy morning," so a fight was the best answer. His distance though could cost his cover if she outs him on her job application.
Stan revealed to Philip that he's having an affair. He didn't say it was with a Soviet asset at least. How long before Philip attempts to use the affair to his advantage? He doesn't know that Stan's already being played by his agency, so he could offer up the affair as a way to try and turn Stan.
The theme of religion was an intriguing one. Anton escaped religious persecution in the Soviet Union to come to the United States. And, when Elizabeth found out that Paige was attending a church youth group, she lost it. I don't think we've seen Elizabeth as angry. To her, religion is an indoctrination. She felt like she was failing her kids. When she quoted Karl Marx by calling religion the "opiate of the masses," her own indoctrination shined.
Oleg started out as an annoying guy who hit on Nina, but he's become much more. He used his connections to get a higher security clearance and he's making his presence known. When he commended Nina on her work with Stan, I believed him. Though, I also worried for Nina when she said it wasn't a problem. According to Oleg's beliefs, if it's not an issue, then Nina may be falling for her target. I fear for her now more than ever.
What's the biggest threat to Elizabeth and Philip?