As Philip and Elizabeth struggle to contain the risks from Paige's growing relationship with Matthew Beeman, the Centre sends them on an operation unlike any they've ever had before, straining their family and marriage to its limits.
At Granville High School in Silver Spring, MD, Tuan Eckert approaches Pavel "Pasha" Morozov, and strikes up a conversation about how hard it is to move to a new school. (♫ Devo - That's Good ♫) Tuan is a recent arrival from Michigan, while Pasha is from Moscow and is isolated and unhappy. Tuan brings Pasha to his house after school and briefly introduces him to his parents, "Dee" and Brad Eckert, aka Elizabeth and Philip Jennings. Tuan is in reality a young agent for a Communist Vietnamese agency, who's partnering with the KGB for this mission. Pasha's father Alexei has recently defected to America. In the USSR, the majority of the population suffer from food shortages. When food is available, they have to line up and find it is often of poor quality. (♫ America the Beautiful ♫)
Speak, not so good.
At the Moscow office of the OBKhSS of the KGB, Colonel Anatoli Victorovich eats a pastry. At the FBI, Agent Wolfe tells Stan that Oleg Burov has returned to Moscow, seemingly by choice. Wolfe doesn't believe that the KGB figured out that it was Oleg who tipped Stan off to William Crandall. At the "Eckhert's" house, Tuan reports on Pasha's isolated state, mainly due to his poor English, and that his parents, especially his mother Evgheniya, are so grateful that Tuan has seemingly befriended him. He suggests they drop in on the Morozov's and expressed his hatred of Alexei, as he can't believe that Alexei disparages the USSR.
Meet the Eckerts.
In Moscow, Oleg has moved in with his parents, at their well-appointed apartment. His mother Yelena still suffers from depression over the death of her son Yevgeny in the Afghan War. She pleads with Oleg to be careful, not wanting to lose him too. Paige arrives home, having eaten dinner at the Beemans with Stan and Matthew. Using a fake passport provided by his mother, Mischa leaves Russia for Yugoslavia. At the Morozov's, the Jennings note a CIA security agent is posted in a car near their house. Eating dinner, Alexei is enthusiastic about life in the US and complains extensively about the living conditions in the USSR. Alexei tells them he's a consultant for the Dept. of Agriculture and is providing information on the broken system in the USSR. Evgheniya hovers over Pasha and scolds him for not eating enough.
Passport and travel documents.
Paige arrives for dinner at the Beeman's again and Stan thanks her for making Matthew's transition to living there easier. Henry also arrives and Stan jokes the families should move in together. While preparing dessert, "Dee" encourages Evgheniya that in time, Pasha will adjust to life in the US. Evgheniya says she wants to get a job. After seeing Tuan back home, Elizabeth and Philip speak ill of Alexei and recall going hungry as children. Arriving home, they ask Paige questions about what was discussed at Stan's and are concerned she's dating Matthew. Worried that she might reveal they are spies to him, Paige tells them she has bigger problems because she can't sleep, still troubled by watching Elizabeth kill someone.
Why don't you guys set the table?
Interrupted by the doorbell, Paige and Elizabeth head upstairs and Philip lets Stan in, who's brought beer. Happy about Paige seeing Matthew, he also tells Philip that he met a woman at the gym. In their bedroom, Philip relates what Stan said and asks Elizabeth to speak to Paige about not seeing Matthew anymore. Mischa arrives in Yugoslavia and while riding a bus, thinks about a letter Irina wrote for him in which she regrets choosing to work for Directorate S and gives him instructions how to find Philip. At the OBKhSS, Oleg meets Colonel Anatoli who assigns him to investigate corruption within the USSR's food trade organizations. He warns Oleg that his investigation will implicate powerful people who are friends of his father, Igor, and that he mustn't discuss any matters with him.
Want to hear a joke?
Gabriel meets Claudia who relates that the Center discovered that Mischa is missing. She believes he's heading to the US to seek out Philip. Gabriel tells her that after William was caught, he recommended that they return to the USSR but they didn't. In order to address Paige's anxiety, Elizabeth takes her to the garage and begins her self-defense training. As Oleg arrives back home, he doesn't see that he's being tailed by a man. He tells his father he had a good first day at work. After receiving the address of a new safe house, the Jennings meet with Gabriel who tells them what happened to William. He gives them a new assignment, saying William has one last job.
They're still here.
At night, the Jennings, Hans, Norm and a team of KGB agents go to the desolate Area B of Ft. Detrick. Digging a huge hole, after several hours they locate William's buried body, encased in plastic in a metal container soldered shut. Once the container is open, Philip and Elizabeth don protective gear and masks, cut a hole in the plastic and remove a chunk of flesh from William's thigh. Placing it in a plastic bag, Elizabeth hands it up to Hans, who is standing at the edge of the pit. As he grabs it, Hans slips and falls into the hole on top of William, cutting his hand deeply on the contaminated knife. He tells Elizabeth it doesn't hurt, and she assures him it will be okay. But, as he turns to climb out of the hole, she shoots him in the head. The Jennings put Hans' body into the container with William, and close it.
The episode title is taken from a line in the song "America the Beautiful," which specifically refers to "Amber waves of grain."
Tuan watches "The A-Team" on TV, saying it's stupid, but necessary for him to remain current with his peers. The A-Team was a popular American show that aired from 1983 to 1987. Four members of a fictitious US Army Special Forces unit, after being court-martialed "for a crime they didn't commit," escape from military prison. While on the run, they work as soldiers of fortune. One of the defining elements of the show was the extreme diversity among team members, in background, personality and skill. In the clip shown during this episode, team leader Hannibal tells a villain: “The next time you think you wanna take somebody out … get yourself a good squad. Get yourself a team.” The quote speaks to the team of Philip and Elizabeth, the team of the Jennings and Tuan, and later in the season finale, Elizabeth's advice to Tuan that he shouldn't work alone.
Philip and Elizabeth invite Paige to join them in watching the Olympics, which took place February 8-19, in Yugoslavia. A copy of the Washington Post from February 16, 1984 is shown.
Mischa's passport is fake and lists his name as "Anton Prokopenko."
Although it's February in Moscow, the trees are leafy and green.
Paige reads John Irving's "The Hotel New Hampshire," a 1981 coming-of-age novel about a quirky and unconventional family.