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"Are they monsters? I don't know. But what they did to their daughter I'd have to call monstrous." Pastor Tim's diary entry about Paige.

Darkroom is the tenth episode of Season Five of The Americans on FX, and the sixty-second episode overall.


Paige's snooping leads Philip and Elizabeth to make a choice that could shift the balance of their lives forever. Stan and Aderholt's recruitment of Sofia suddenly bears fruit.


"Brad" hangs out at Alexei's house, drinking his homemade kvass. Alexei is concerned about Pasha, saying his son is like a dog that's been beaten with a stick. Uncharacteristically, he reminisces about Russia and his mother. Tuan comes home and Elizabeth tells him she didn't report him. She says she believes in him and thinks he could be a great spy, but he mustn't make a similar mistake again. Philip arrives and reports that Pasha is doing worse, which Tuan says is due to him persuading some kids to put dog poop in Pasha's locker. Arriving home, the Jennings find Paige repeatedly mopping the same spot on the kitchen floor. While babysitting for Tim and Alice, she read about herself in his diary and discovered Tim thinks the situation with her parents has caused her permanent damage. Believing he's right, Philip and Elizabeth both try to convince her otherwise.

Darkroom Episode Phillip Alexei.jpg
Very sad boy.
The next day at Dupont Circle Travel, Elizabeth denigrates Tim and believes him judging people secretly will result in Paige seeing him in a worse light. Philip doesn't agree and thinks Tim's writings will have a permanent impact on Paige. Oleg and Ruslan tail Lydia Formina, the contact that Dmitri gave them, and observe she lives modestly and wonder if she is receiving bribes. Oleg tells Ruslan about his recent troubles with Directorate K. Ruslan thinks Oleg still working is a sign they don't have much on him. However, both agree that since his father is so important, they wouldn't have risked searching his apartment unless they have a reason. Having rented an apartment in Sofia's building to use as a safe house, Stan and Agent Aderholt meet with her.

Darkroom Episode Oleg Ruslan.jpg
I was abroad...
She says she's been dating a man named Gennadi Bystrov, a former defenseman for the Soviet national hockey team. He now works as a courier for the Russian government. The Jennings give Claudia the most recent tape from Isaac Breland's briefcase. Philip tells her the tape revealed that several mujahideen were killed by a hemorrhagic fever in Ghazni. She says she knows nothing about it. They also ask if The Center might be able to arrange a job offer for Pastor Tim, somewhere far away. Claudia tells them the Center examined the wheat sample they sent and found it remarkable. She says their agronomists will be analyzing it for years, and they'll need to keep working Stobert and Kemp long term.

Darkroom Episode Claudia.jpg
I don't know anything about it.
At home, the Jennings broach the Pastor Tim job offer plan to Paige. She asks what happened with the US plan to infest Soviet grain with bugs. Indicating that they stopped it, but not telling her the truth that the US never had any such plans, Paige admires them. In Moscow, Oleg, Igor and Yelena eat silently, none of them wanting to discuss that Oleg learned of his mother's incarceration in a prison camp. Disguised as "Dee", Elizabeth has tea with Evgheniya who says that it's a struggle to get Pasha to go to school. She also confesses to her affair with one of her Russian language students, a CIA agent. Feeling horrible now that Alexei is treating her well, "Dee" encourages her to fight for her family's happiness.

Darkroom Episode Burov family.jpg
I don't want you to think about it.
Philip and Elizabeth go out with Stan and Renee. After, Elizabeth wonders why Renee bothers Philip so much and that if Renee is a KGB agent, she doesn't see it as a problem. Philip doesn't want Stan to suffer the same fate as Martha. Philip goes jogging and remembers an EST session in which Howard speaks that it's human nature to respond to stimuli. While jogging, he leaves a dead drop, a message hidden in a fake rock. Returning home, Philip tries to convince Paige that who she is now can change. Paige makes an appeal for Henry to go to St. Edward's. At the Rezidentura, Tatiana receives Philip's dead drop and starts decoding it. Paige helps Pastor Tim prepare boxes for the food pantry. He compliments her on her growth and says she'll do well in life. Paige struggles with the contrast between Tim's words and what he wrote in his diary.

Darkroom Episode Phillip EST.jpg
Enlightenment is accepting that you are a machine.
In "the vault" at the FBI, Stan, Aderholt and Agent Wolfe are given a presentation about how the Soviets smuggle contraband via the diplomatic pouch. They try to devise a way, using Bystrov, to access the pouch. Philip drives Elizabeth to an abandoned warehouse, not saying why. Removing his disguise, he shows her the fake marriage license Viktor Zhukov gave them when they were assigned together. He asks if she wants to make it official. Entering the warehouse, they meet Father Andrei who marries them in a traditional Orthodox ceremony in Russian. After, they return home and put their real wedding rings in the safe in their laundry room. Having decoded Philip's message, Tatiana approaches Evgheniya on the street and tells her that if she or any member of her family wants to return to Russia, they can without any repercussions.

Darkroom Episode Elizabeth Phillip.jpg
Marriage without understanding the covenant.
Paige arrives home, having taken pictures of Pastor Tim's diary. She agrees to the job offer for Tim, and believes that the diary might contain something that would indicate what type of job Tim would find appealing. Philip and Elizabeth bring Paige down to the laundry room and she watches as they convert it to a darkroom and develop the film. (♫ Bauhaus - Slice of Life ♫) They read the diary entries about Paige and themselves, in which Tim wonders if the Jennings are monsters, and says what they did to Paige is worse than cases of sexual abuse he's dealt with. He worries the damage to Paige is permanent, that she'll never trust anyone again and that Paige isn't aware of the magnitude of what's been done to her. Paige looks sullenly at Elizabeth, waiting to see her reaction.

S05E10-Darkroom ending.jpg
The damage is done.


  • Kvass (квас/хлібний квас/сирівець) is a traditional Slavic and Baltic beverage commonly made from rye bread (which is known in Ukraine and Russia as black bread).
  • When watching Philip (as "Clark") marry Martha, Elizabeth wondered if their relationship would have been better if they'd been really married. ("The Oath")
  • Father Andrei seeing the Jennings without their disguises would come back to haunt them three years later. ("START")
  • Henry does not appear in this episode.
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Claudia.


Song Title Performer(s)
Slice of Life Bauhaus


Season Five
#501 "Amber Waves" #508 "Immersion"
#502 "Pests" #509 "IHOP"
#503 "The Midges" #510 "Darkroom"
#504 "What's the Matter with Kansas?" #511 "Dyatkovo"
#505 "Lotus 1-2-3" #512 "The World Council of Churches"
#506 "Crossbreed" #513 "The Soviet Division"
#507 "The Committee on Human Rights"