‘The Americans’ recap: For Elizabeth, spying and friendship don’t mix

“The Americans” Episode 411

KGB operatives Theresa (Marceline Hugot), Gabriel (Frank Langella) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) pretend to be the distraught family of “Patty” on “The Americans.”

(Eric Liebowitz/FX)

Espionage is a lonely profession, as KGB officer Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) knows all too well.

This Soviet agent does enjoy emotional intimacy with her spy husband Philip (Matthew Rhys) and their teenagers Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati).

Plus, KGB handler Gabriel (Frank Langella) is always up for a game of Scrabble and cup of tea.

But Elizabeth has just one gal pal: Young Hee Seong (Ruthie Ann Miles). And that relationship is built on lies.


Using the alias of “Patty,” Elizabeth befriended Young Hee because her scientist husband Don (Rob Yang) conducts research inside the U.S. Army’s top-level biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick.

William (Dylan Baker), a Soviet “mole” also working at the Maryland facility, has orders from Moscow to sneak into Don’s lab and obtain samples of an incredibly lethal virus. If weaponized, this biological agent would liquefy human organs.

Despite getting to know Young Hee under false pretenses, Elizabeth develops a genuine affection for this cheerful door-to-door distributor of cosmetic products. Elizabeth also likes the Seong children, adorable Sarah (Kasey Lee), Bobby (Zach Lee) and Sue (Blythe Sim).

However, Job One for Elizabeth is manipulating Don to obtain his bio lab access code. And that means she must obliterate her friendship with Young Hee. Elizabeth and Gabriel hoped there was another way, but their KGB overlords said “nyet.”


Elizabeth began the operation by drugging Don and tricking him into believing he had sex with her. Now in Episode 411 (“Dinner for Seven”), Elizabeth startles Don by pretending to be pregnant and desperate.

“You cannot have this baby,” Don nervously insists. “That would destroy everything!”

“Don’t worry,” Elizabeth bitterly replies. “I won’t upset your perfect little life, OK?”

Soon the KGB delivers the coup de grâce.

Philip, claiming he’s Patty’s brother, confronts Don at his office. Posing as Patty’s distraught parents are Gabriel and Theresa (Marceline Hugot).

“Patty’s dead,” Philip blurts out, claiming his sister committed suicide due to the unwanted pregnancy.

“You killed her,” Gabriel chimes in. “You killed my beautiful girl, you bastard!”

Reeling with shame and fear, Don quickly agrees to pay Patty’s funeral expenses. And when Don takes Philip to the bank, Gabriel and Theresa stay behind and copy computer files.


As for Elizabeth, she calls her answering service and hears a tearful message from Young Hee, who’s devastated by Don’s strange behavior.

“I need to talk to you,” Young Hee pleads. “Where did you go?”

In other Cold War action:

• FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) crashes a dinner party the Jennings host for Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin) and his pregnant wife Alice (Suzy Jane Hunt). Stan seems like an odd guest, Tim later remarks, given Philip and Elizabeth’s clandestine activities. But you can’t pick your neighbors, Elizabeth points out. And besides, the Jennings moved there first.

• Defying the demands of his superiors, Stan extends a professional courtesy to KGB agent Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) by refusing to blackmail him. Too many good people have been destroyed on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Stan says, and he won’t add to his guilt by targeting Oleg. “This is the last time we’re gonna see each other,” Stan says, offering a warm handshake to a longtime foe.

• While leaving church late at night, Paige witnesses a chilling demonstration of Mom’s deadly martial arts skills. Two robbers want Elizabeth’s wallet, which she immediately hands over. But when she realizes the men intend to rape Paige, Elizabeth goes on the offensive. She expertly punches one predator and stabs the other man in his neck. “Let’s go,” Elizabeth yells at her horrified daughter. “Paige! Now!”

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