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.


Phillip and Deirdre go out to dinner, where both sit not talking, each doing paperwork. Back at her house, they have what looks to be very uncomfortable sex. When it’s finished, Deirdre says: “Do you want to hear about Lotus 1-2-3?”

Stan and Dennis give Agent Wolfe an update on their ongoing unsuccessful attempts to get Russians living in America to talk to them. Wolfe says “Even if we just scare them, we still win. They report our approach, like they’re supposed to. The KGB goes crazy, they send people home, they investigate forever – weakness of their system. If nothing else, we keep the KGB busy and irritated.” Stan opines that he and Dennis at least are “busy and irritated.”

Evgheniya gets a job as a Russian translator at the Department of Agriculture.

Henry’s math teacher meets with the Jennings, telling them he’s done exceptionally well this year and should be moved to an Algebra II class. The Jennings are shocked, having expected a negative report, since they believe all Henry does is talk on the phone and play video games. When they get home and congratulate him, Henry gets offended that they are unable to conceal their surprise at his success.

Phillip remains bothered by Renee and wonders if The Center sent her. Stan introduces Renee to Dennis too, and the three of them drink at a bar. Phillip enlists the help of Marilyn to surveil them. He follows Renee to her apartment, but doesn’t see anything unusual.

Oleg and Ruslan visit Ekaterina’s contact at the baza and lean on him to reveal names. When Ruslan mentions his son in Afghanistan, Dmitri storms out on them. Oleg arrives home to find his parents have invited three single women to dinner, in an attempt to set him up with a girlfriend. Oleg is polite to them, but later tells his father to stay out his personal life. Oleg makes up his mind to meet with the CIA agents who have been pressuring him, but when he goes to the park, they never show.

Mischa contacts the Call Center using Irina’s code, and speaks to Joan. She ultimately tells him he has an “appointment” the next morning in Bess Truman Park. Gabriel and Claudia argue over what to do about Mischa. Claudia feels Mischa’s unstable, is worried Phillip already has “entries in his file that don’t look good,” and fears Mischa’s negative feelings about the Afghanistan war could make Phillip further doubt the worthiness of his own activities. Gabriel argues it should be Phillip’s decision whether or not to meet his son.

Elizabeth and Benjamin grow closer; he cooks her Egyptian food and talks about his stint in the Peace Corps and they have sex. Meanwhile at home, Paige tells Phillip she’s afraid she’s so screwed up, she’s meant to be alone. Later, Paige and Matthew have awkward conversation. Matthew thinks Paige is tired of him and wonders why she’s been avoiding him. He asks if she wants to break up with him. Feeling guilty about enjoying her time with Ben, Elizabeth calls Phillip and tells him she misses him. He tells her he’s been having recurrent memories from when he was a kid, of his father bringing home food and clothing.

Over s’mores made in his living room fireplace, Ben tells Elizabeth he’s trying to breed a grain that can resist pests, drought, and fungi, which could keep people all over the world from starving. In order to do that, he gets the strongest plants and crossbreeds them, then exposes them to the most destructive pests available. The new plants are tested, then bred again. Everything Elizabeth saw in the Illinois greenhouse and the Oklahoma laboratory now clicks into place for her, as Ben continues: “It would make food supplies cheap and reliable around the world … places where people suffer through cycles of famine.”

Mischa sits on a park bench, happily expecting to meet his father, but instead, Gabriel approaches. Mischa asks “Where’s my father?” in Russian, but Gabriel tells him they can’t speak Russian there. When it’s apparent Mischa’s English is extremely rudimentary, Gabriel suggests they go somewhere more private, but Mischa refuses. Gabriel tells Mischa it’s impossible for him to see his father, because it would put Phillip in terrible danger.

Elizabeth returns from Topeka and tells Phillip “We got it wrong. Stobert isn’t looking to poison us or our food. He wants to save people. He wants to develop a wheat that can grow anywhere. He wants to feed the world. The bugs in the lab were there to test the crops for resistance.” Phillip immediately recalls his murder of Randy Chilton, horrified that he has killed another innocent person. He leaves abruptly to meet with Tuan.

Tuan and Phillip eat takeout from McDonald’s and Tuan unsuccessfully pressures Phillip for him or Elizabeth to be there over the weekend. Both are surprised to see Elizabeth suddenly walk through the door. Tuan goes upstairs; Phillip tells Elizabeth that what happened with Randy Chilton can’t happen, ever again. She says they’ll be more careful, but Phillip isn’t reassured. “This has been hard for me, for a long time,” he says. “You know that, right?” Elizabeth nods. She proposes that “when we know this kind of thing is coming up, maybe it can just be me.” But Phillip says, no, “it’s us, Elizabeth, it’s us.”


  • Released on 26 January 1983, Lotus 1-2-3 is a now-discontinued spreadsheet program. It was the IBM PC's first killer application, 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 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.
  • Romancing the Stone is an American romantic comedy-adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, and was released March 30, 1984.    


Song Title Performer(s)
Slave The Rolling Stones


The Americans 5x05 Promo "Lotus 1-2-3" (HD) Season 5 Episode 5 Promo

The Americans 5x05 Promo "Lotus 1-2-3" (HD) Season 5 Episode 5 Promo

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"