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The Americans - S5E9 - IHOP

Previously on The Americans, “Immersion”

Images: FX 

You might be a bad parent if:

  • Your underage girlfriend asks if you miss your son and even you’re not sure who she’s referring to.
  • Your biological son chooses boarding school over you. Let’s face it. If he didn’t ask, wouldn’t even notice he went.
  • Your fake spy son runs away from home because he’s lonely and you point a gun in his face when he returns.

The Fake Son

Poor Tuan. He’s not a cyborg, after all. He may be a superspy, but he’s also just a kid. His fake parents are never around and he has to go all the way to a dingy IHOP in Philly for some connection. At least his old family treated him like a son. The Jennings should have gotten him that dog.

The cutting between Philip listening to the tape and Elizabeth searching Tuan’s house slowly built tension through methodical spy work. We know what Philip will eventually come to hear, while we don’t know what Elizabeth will find. Philip’s tedious task pays off while Elizabeth’s does not.

The time and energy spent following Tuan also didn’t pay off. It was well shot and suspenseful, but it felt a little light on stakes and the end didn’t quite justify the means.

Question. Elizabeth wears big yellow gloves while searching Tuan’s house. She’s gone bare-handed to do far worse. Is she worried the teenager will dust for fingerprints?

The Bio Son

Oh, Henry. The kitchen scene with Henry was very evocative of Paige confronting her parents about their secrets. Henry is far less interested in anything regarding his parents. Good to know it’s mutual. Stan (and we) will be crushed if Henry leaves.

The Missing Son

Mischa, where art thou? So, Philip still remembers Mischa and we are left to wonder if we’ll ever see him again. Perhaps this is just a contrivance to have the scales fall further from Philip’s eyes when he finds out what The Centre has done. Given Philip’s track record, Mischa is better off on his own. That’s where he’d end up in any case. Right, Tuan? Right, Henry?


  • This season is littered with references to real, fake, surrogate, and symbolic fathers. And now we have a Father. Cute.
  • Philip’s disillusionment continues. That piece of William they sent back might have led to bio warfare. This is not the good fight.
  • They continue to show parallels between Gabriel and Philip. The Father looks to Philip to fill Gabriel’s role. Philip chooses not to accept. Gabriel goes to Martha (Martha!) for a connection he’s missing in life.
  • It feels like the writers are knitting things together for closure. I doubt we’ll see more of Martha (Martha!); Stan and Oleg now have reasons to reconnect over the investigation into Gaad’s murder. They even name dropped Nina. While it seems a smidge too writerly, it is also satisfying.
  • While Oleg’s parents have an interesting story, I’m starting to wonder why it matters. Is it just to show the parallel between Oleg’s parents and the Jennings? Is it to spur Oleg into playing hardball with the food supervisor? Or might this come to play in his dealings with the CIA?
The Americans S5E9
  • 7/10
    Plot - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Dialogue - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Action - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Performances - 8/10


They upped the spy game this episode and it was an entertaining watch (Martha!), but it feels like the show is spinning its wheels a little. We’re reaching the last act of the season and I’m still waiting to find out what it’s all about. Maybe I just want Elizabeth to kill someone.

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About Mallika Chakravarti (99 Articles)
Mallika is a digital marketer, yoga teacher and nutritionist. She spends her fun time writing, podcasting, consuming vast amounts of media and wishing she could fly. Mallika can currently be found thinking of something else.
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