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"It must be very hard, but if you love him, you must forget this. You cannot see him." Gabriel to Mischa

Lotus 1-2-3 is the fifth episode of Season Five of The Americans on FX, and the fifty-seventh episode overall.


Philip and Elizabeth receive surprising news about Henry, and shattering news about a past operation. Stan might be falling in love, but Philip wonders if something darker is going on.


In Topeka, Kansas, "Gus Alexander" and Deirdre go out to dinner, where they both work. Seeing "Gus" doing bookkeeping manually, Deirdre says she can show him Lotus 1-2-3. Evgheniya tells Elizabeth, posing as "Dee", that she has an interview for a job as a Russian translator at the Department of Agriculture. Back at Deirdre's house, they have awkward sex while Philip thinks about his childhood. As soon as they're done, Deirdre offers to show him some Lotus 1-2-3 printouts. Stan and Agent Aderholt give Agent Wolfe an update on their unsuccessful attempts to get Russians working outside the Rezidentura to become sources. They're surprised when Wolfe tells them they're doing good work. Wolfe relates that their attempts are reported and this bothers the KGB and keeps them busy. The lack of success bothers Stan, who feels their time is being wasted.

Lotus 1-2-3 Episode Phillip Deirdre bed.jpg
You good?
Returning from Topeka, Philip and Elizabeth meet Henry's math teacher, Kevin Jeffries. He surprises them by reporting that Henry is excelling in math and recommends he be moved to an advanced class. Expecting bad news, since they rarely see Henry study, they quickly agree. Arriving home, outside, Stan and Renee invite them out to a movie with Matthew which they decline. Inside, they congratulate Henry, but when they show their surprise at his success, Henry gets offended. That evening in bed, Stan and Renee talk about relationship infidelity and she gets him to open up about his work in general terms. Seeing that Renee is spending the night, Philip tells Elizabeth that he thinks she was sent by The Center.

Lotus 1-2-3 Episode Phillip Elizabeth Henry.jpg
I know what you're not saying Dad.
Oleg and Ruslan visit Ekaterina's contact at the baza, Dmitri Sharanov, and lean on him to reveal names of those he has arrangements with. He claims ignorance, so Ruslan mentions his son in Afghanistan and that the KGB has influence over what happens to him there. Dmitri gets angry and storms out. Mischa contacts the Clandestine call center using Irina's code, and speaks to Joan. She tells him to call back the next day. Elizabeth, posing as "Brenda" and Benjamin Stobert grow closer. He cooks her Egyptian food, talks about his stint in the Peace Corps and they have sex. "Brad" and Tuan play football outside in order to watch the movements of the CIA security detail outside the Morozovs. (♫ The Rolling Stones - Slave ♫) At home, Paige tells Philip she's afraid she's so screwed up, that she's meant to be alone.

Lotus 1-2-3 Episode Ruslan Oleg.jpg
You have a son, in Afghanistan.
Gabriel and Claudia argue over what to do about Mischa. Gabriel believes it should be Philip's decision whether or not to meet his son. Claudia believes that if Philip discovers Mischa was put in a mental hospital for speaking out against the Afghan War, it could make Philip further doubt continuing to be a spy. Oleg arrives home to find Yelena and Igor have invited three single women to dinner, in an attempt to set him up. Oleg is polite to them, but pulls Igor aside and says to stay out of his personal life. At Dupont Circle Travel, Stavos tells Philip he has a call from Elizabeth. Feeling guilty about enjoying her time with Ben, Elizabeth says she misses him. He says he's been having childhood memories of his father bringing home food and clothing. Mischa calls Joan back who tells him he has an "appointment" the next morning in Bess Truman Park.

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Oleg! We've been waiting for you.
Aderholt meets Stan and Renee at a bar and gets to know Renee. Once she leaves the bar, a disguised Philip follows her with Marilyn's help. In Paige's bedroom, Matthew asks why she's been avoiding him and wonders if she wants to break up. Claiming that as her first boyfriend she doesn't know how to act, Matthew assures her that she does. Philip follows Renee to her apartment but sees nothing suspicious. Sitting in front of Stobert's fireplace, "Brenda" learns that he's trying to breed a super wheat that can resist pests and drought. He explains that by crossbreeding varieties of wheat and testing pests on them, they are close to creating a breed that will help prevent world hunger. Elizabeth realizes what she saw in the Illinois greenhouse and the Oklahoma laboratory isn't a threat to the USSR and the Center's suspicions that the US is trying to poison wheat supplies were unfounded.

Lotus 1-2-3 Episode Paige Matthew.jpg
I've never had a boyfriend before.
Philip attends an EST meeting where the topic is parental relationships. Mischa sits on a park bench, happily expecting to meet his father, but instead, Gabriel arrives. Mischa asks where Philip is in Russian, but Gabriel warns him to speak only English. Gabriel suggests they go somewhere more private, but Mischa refuses. Gabriel tells Mischa it's impossible for him to see his father in the US as it would put Philip in terrible danger. Saying he'll get Mischa home and that he might be able to see him someday, Mischa is crushed. Elizabeth returns home from Topeka and tells Philip what she discovered from Stobert. Philip recalls his murder of Randy Chilton and is horrified that he killed another innocent person. He leaves abruptly to meet with Tuan and Elizabeth can see how distressed he is.

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Mischa before the bad news.
Oleg makes up his mind to meet with the CIA agents who have been pressuring him, but when he goes to the park, they don't show. Tuan and Philip eat and Tuan unsuccessfully pressures Philip for him or Elizabeth to be there over the weekend. Both are surprised to see Elizabeth suddenly walk through the door. Tuan goes upstairs and Philip tells Elizabeth that what happened with Randy Chilton can't ever happen again. She says they'll be more careful, but Philip knows that's not possible. Confessing doing their work has been hard for him for a long time, Elizabeth nods that she knows. She proposes that when killing is required in their job, she can go by herself but Philip cites that their partnership is what has kept them in their job for so long.

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It's us Elizabeth. It's us.


  • Released on 26 January 1983, Lotus 1-2-3 is a now-discontinued spreadsheet program. As the IBM PC's first killer application, it was hugely popular in the 1980s and contributed significantly to the success of the IBM PC. 1-2-3 was the spreadsheet standard throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, part of an unofficial set of three stand-alone office automation products that included dBase and WordPerfect. Lotus was surpassed by Microsoft Excel in the early 1990s and never recovered.
  • The Lotus is one of the more famous sexual positions from the Kamasutra. The episode title thus provides a contrast between Martha, and Deirdre.
  • Renee and Stan invite Elizabeth and Philip to see Romancing the Stone. The film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, and was released March 30, 1984.
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Stan.    


Song Title Performer(s)
Slave The Rolling Stones


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"