Glanders is the first episode of Season Four of  The Americans  on FX, and the fortieth episode overall. 

Synopsis Edit

Elizabeth and Phillip are supposed to get a biological weapon sample but fail to make the exchange when someone is watching. Nina works Anton in hopes it will lead to her freedom. Paige wonders if she can trust Pastor Tim with her secret.

Plot Edit

The episode opens with Phillip in bed, unable to sleep at 3 am. A flashback shows him as a 10-year-old boy in Russia, lying in wait for the two older boys who regularly beat him up and steal his family’s milk on his long walk home. He knocks one boy out with a rock. Attacking the other, Phillip doesn’t stop when the boy is subdued, continuing to beat him until he dies. Elizabeth rolls over in bed and asks if he’s okay. Phillip says she was right about Martha: he needs to tell her about Gene before she hears it at work.

He gets up and goes to her place, wakes her and tells her; she is horrified and begins to shout and cry hysterically: “I didn’t agree to this! How could you do this?” Martha is unable to bear Clark coming near her, and goes to sleep on the couch. In the morning, Phillip tells her they will need to start meeting at his place.

Paige visits with Pastor Tim, feeling terrible about betraying her parents. He tries to reassure her and encourages her to ask them more about what they do. Elizabeth, sensing something is off with Paige, places a bug in Pastor Tim’s office.

The Jennings meet with Gabriel, who’s in trouble with The Center because Elizabeth took Paige to West Berlin to see her mother: “When we disagree on something, the next step isn’t to do it behind my back.” Gabriel gives them a new assignment: picking up a package from another illegal, William, who works in a laboratory. Gabriel gives them a vaccine, saying everyone who handles the lab sample has to have one.

In Russia, Nina and Anton grow closer; he remains despondent over his son. The Soviets have made a prototype of an airplane wing, based on Anton's designs, and everyone is pleased with the results. Nina asks to see her husband, Boris.

Phillip and Elizabeth don disguises and follow William, but just before making contact, Phillip decides to abort, later telling Elizabeth he felt something was wrong. She questions whether he actually saw something or just “felt something.” They argue and Elizabeth again asks if Phillip is okay, but he refuses to discuss it with her. However, the next scene is Phillip recounting his troubling childhood incident, in front of the entire audience at EST. He is unable to admit why it bothers him so much, and only says that “I didn’t need to hit him that much.” When the instructor asks “The kid was bullying you; why isn’t he asking you for forgiveness?” Phillip flashes back to the dead boy, lying in a pool of blood on the ground. Sandra and Phillip go to a bar after the session, where they are spotted by Tori. Sandra encourages Phillip to tell Elizabeth he’s going to EST, but Phillip says she would kill him if she knew.

At the Rezidentura, Tatiana makes a radio transmission acknowledging “temporary use of Directorate S operatives.” Arkady tries to enter the room, but she apologizes and says she can’t allow him. This causes Arkady to investigate further; his bosses tell him him to leave Tatiana alone. He is ultimately able to determine Tatiana is working for “Department Twelve,” and tells her he doesn’t want any dangerous viruses or bacteria in his Rezidentura.

The Jennings make another attempt to get William’s package, but this time Elizabeth aborts the mission, after spotting a suspicious car.

Martha goes to Clark’s place, still hysterical about Gene. She refuses to come near Phillip, but says she’s glad he told her because she “needs to know everything, even if it’s hard.” Phillip then confesses he’s been bothered by recurring memories of something that happened when he was a kid, wondering "if this is why I act this way, or why I’m so angry about that.” Disarmed by his openness, Martha is then receptive to his request she obtain the FBI surveillance records for William. As usual, Phillip is able to do this in a way that makes Martha believe it’s her decision, and that he is only reluctantly agreeing to it against his own desires and better judgment. When Phillip and Elizabeth later review the logs, they determine there was no one surveilling William the first night, and Phillip’s suspicions were unfounded. However, Elizabeth’s were not. In a compassionate and empathetic tone, Elizabeth again questions Phillip if he's alright.

Seeing from the logs that William will not be surveilled that evening, the Jennings finally meet with him in a park. He tells them he signaled Gabriel because his lab just got a new contract with Ft. Detrick, where the Department of Defense has a bioweapons lab. William hands them a small tin, saying to keep it in the freezer and get it to Gabriel within 48 hours. He tells them it’s Burkholderia mallei, which causes a disease called Glanders, and against which the inoculation they received is useless.

Stan intercepts Phillip as the Jennings pull into their garage; Phillip quickly slips the tin into his front jacket pocket. Stan asks to talk to Phillip alone, then confronts him about being with Sandra. Phillip tries to explain, but Stan grows angry, grabs him by his jacket and slams him up against a shelf. Phillip admits he went back to EST and insists he and Sandra are only friends. Stan replies “Screw you, Phillip” and walks away. Phillip pulls the sample from his pocket and is relieved to see it appears unharmed.


The Americans Season 4 First Promo "Trouble" (HD) 4x01

The Americans Season 4 First Promo "Trouble" (HD) 4x01

Season Four
#401 "Glanders" #408 "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears"
#402 "Pastor Tim" #409 "The Day After"
#403 "Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow" #410 "Munchkins"
#404 "Chloramphenicol" #411 "Dinner for Seven"
#405 "Clark's Place" #412 "A Roy Rogers in Franconia"
#406 "The Rat" #413 "Persona Non Grata"
#407 "Travel Agents"