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“Trust Me” was an episode so chock full of story that The Americans needed to go an extra seven minutes in order come to the episode’s conclusion. It may not have been the most intense episode but the way the storylines unfolded, especially Sam and Nina’s, was very well done. “Trust Me,” aside from weaving the storylines with the same focus of trust, also showed the audience that in the world of The Americans every action will have consequences – no matter how seemingly minute the action was.
“Trust Me” weaved three stories throughout the bulk of the episode. The two espionage plotlines were in direct response to the KGB learning that they had an information leak. Nina was worried for her safety and tried to get Sam to extract her immediately, although Sam had a different plan. Meanwhile Phillip and Elizabeth were kidnapped by American counterintelligence, or so they thought, in hopes of gaining information. This meant that Henry and Paige, previously dropped off at the mall by Elizabeth, were stranded and needed to find their way home.
For the first 3/4 of the episode the Jennings’ storylines took center stage. Henry and Paige, despite Henry’s warranted skepticism, decided their best way home was hitch hiking. Finally a young-ish guy picked them up. Paige was trying to be friendly to this man but when he said he needed to feed some ducks on his way into work both the kids realized something might be awry. The driver gets creepier and creepier throughout the episode as he begins to hit on Paige and reveals some of the mistakes his made in the past (clearly a smooth operator). Henry finally smashes a beer bottle over the driver’s head and the kids run for home. This was a nice bonding moment between the two siblings as they both learned a lesson about trusting each other and not trusting strangers.
While this subplot probably won’t mean much in the grander espionage picture it wouldn’t surprise if their growing trust came back up in later episodes, perhaps regarding some eerie things their parents do (this is pure speculation). It was also interesting to see a show so heavily focused on espionage and its three adult main characters in Phillip, Elizabeth, and Sam give this subplot so much focus.
Of course the reason why Henry and Paige weren’t picked up in the first place was due to their parents being captured by Americans. Phillip was the first to be captured after he made a call to Martha (the female FBI agent he often visits for coffee and kisses). He was beaten in hopes of getting some information out of him but he held strong. Elizabeth was captured later and was shown to Phillip before being put in a cell with pictures of the family all around. Phillip took the brunt of the physical abuse, however. Eventually it was revealed that Claudia and the KGB were behind this interrogation and not a USA counterintelligence agency. When Claudia reveals herself Elizabeth flies off the handle and beats her senseless with Phillip telling her to stop before she kills Claudia.
Something seemed off with the kidnapping from the very beginning. I wasn’t as worried for Phillip or Elizabeth as perhaps I should have been. Something about the whole thing seemed a little off to me and I actually felt as though it might be the KGB behind the whole thing. The interrogation scenes did show just how tough and well-trained Phillip was but I never feared for his life.
The aftermath of the interrogation scenes were what was really important. Claudia revealed to Elizabeth and Phillip that they were brought in to make sure that they weren’t the KGB mole. Throughout the season Elizabeth’s ardent support of the USSR and KGB has continued to be chipped away because of things the KGB has done. The interrogation, however, was the first time Elizabeth actually acted on her burgeoning distrust of the KGB. More importantly Phillip realized that he was the only one that really was tortured during the interrogation. By connecting Elizabeth’s constant questioning of Phillip’s allegiances he realizes that Elizabeth must have reported him to the KGB, which she did in “Pilot” unbeknownst to him. This further strains their already shaky relationship and it should be interesting to see what Elizabeth tries to do to make it up to Phillip.
After the interrogation Phillip wants to get back at Elizabeth by giving Martha a piece of Elizabeth’s own jewelry. Elizabeth then goes to her former lover Gregory to ask him to put surveillance on her in order for her to see if she is already being watched. The final shot of the episode shows Elizabeth trying to apologize to Phillip by saying she was blinded by her trust of the KGB, to which Phillip replies that’s the problem and shuts the door behind him a very subtle and realistic barb that will continue their conflict.
While both of the previous storylines are happening Nina is beginning to feel the pressure of the mole hunt at the Soviet Embassy. She pleas Sam to get her out immediately but he has a plan all his own. He asks her to take as many pictures of classified documents as she can and in an excellent line soothes her worries of getting the camera out by saying she wouldn’t have to. At the time that line seemed like a lie Sam told her but in actuality it was all a part of the plan. Sam got someone to plant diamonds in Vasili’s bag of tea, called Vasili a few times very conspicuously, and got Nina to plant the camera in Vasili’s office. The KGB, suspecting Vasili because of the calls, searched his office and found the diamonds and camera and shipped him back to the USSR thinking they had caught their mole. In the end Nina placing her trust in Sam and his plan saved her and duped the KGB.