Munchkins is the tenth episode of Season Four of The Americans on FX, and the forty-ninth episode overall.

Synopsis Edit

When Paige’s long-ago indiscretion threatens to resurface and destroy the family, Philip and Elizabeth find themselves scrambling – and Paige finds herself reevaluating who her parents really are.

Plot Edit

Elizabeth as Patty eats dinner with the Seong family. Young-Hee doesn’t seem to notice that Patty feels uncomfortable, but she does wonder what’s wrong with Don, who leaves the dinner suddenly.

Paige and Phillip get dinner ready at home and Paige asks if his mom was a good cook. Phillip pauses for a moment, remembering food shortages, then says “She made a soup I liked.” When Paige asks if he liked Tobolsk, Phillip says they didn’t think that way about it, even though there were things there he liked. “It wasn’t about what you liked, it was about hard work and protecting your family.”

After dinner, a very pregnant Alice shows up unannounced at the Jennings' and says Tim is missing in Ethiopia. She then accuses Phillip and Elizabeth of having something to do it. Alice says she has recorded a tape and given it to a lawyer, addressed to the US Justice Department, telling who Phillip and Elizabeth are. Alice threatens that if anything happens to her or Tim, the lawyer will send it. After she leaves, Paige also accuses her parents of having something to do with Pastor Tim’s disappearance. “I just can’t believe it, after we bent over backwards not to do it!” says Phillip, after Paige storms off. “So she wouldn’t hate us!” adds Elizabeth.

Stan and Dennis go to dinner with Martha’s father who is having a hard time believing his daughter could have done something on behalf of the KGB. He tells stories about how good she was when she was a little girl, and says she’s too smart to be fooled by the Russians. He’s afraid they’ve “given up looking for her.” He’s sure she’s been drugged or kidnapped and if they’d just find her, they’d see he’s right.

In Thailand, Frank Gaad is preparing to leave his hotel room when three Soviets approach with a proposal. Gaad doesn’t wait to hear them out, but turns and runs, crashing through a glass door, causing his death. This is clearly not the result the Russians were hoping for; the leader of the three men apologies to a dead Gaad twice, before leaving. Arkady is later shown shaken up by the news, saying the operation never should have been attempted.

Phillip as James hangs out with Kimmy, smoking pot and changing the tape in her father’s briefcase when he gets the chance. Kim says she has a secret to tell him: her dad’s not in the State Department. He actually works for the CIA; he recently told her. Phillip tries to maintain his façade, but he grows angry with Kim, thinking of Paige's betrayal when she shared his and Elizabeth's job with Pastor Tim. James tells Kimmy she shouldn’t have told him, that she’s breaking her father’s trust, and she's missing an opportunity to grow closer to her father.

Paige goes to the Beemans looking for Henry; Matthew invites her in. Matthew tells Paige that his dad went out with the father of a secretary in his office, who was a spy. Paige tells Matthew about Pastor Tim’s disappearance. He offers to drive her to the church so she can check in with Alice. When they get there, they discover Pastor Tim was found and is okay. Alice privately asks Paige to “please tell your parents I’m sorry.” Paige tells them what Alice said, and she apologizes to her parents as well. Phillip tells Paige he and Elizabeth don't lie to each other, and won’t lie to her. Paige asks when they plan to tell Henry. Elizabeth says a lot of that depends on Henry.

Young-Hee leaves messages for Patty about her husband’s increasingly strange behavior and begs her to call. Throughout the episode, Elizabeth is shown alternating between hesitation, regret and stoicism about her betrayal of her friend. Gabriel tries to console her: “You’ve already done the hard part.” But she objects: “No. The next part is the hard part. After that, they’ll never recover.” Gabriel offers to inquire with The Center whether it’s possible to find another way in. Elizabeth agrees she’d like him to ask.

Notes Edit

  • The Munchkins are natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by American author L. Frank Baum. They first appear in the classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), where they welcome Dorothy to their city. The 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz was loosely based on Baum's novel. In the United States, as a result of the popularity of the 1939 film, the word "munchkin" entered the English language as a reference to small children.
  • Stan talks about the difference in his FBI office under Agent Wolfe as compared to Agent Gaad, describing his co-workers' attempts to emulate the new boss exactly - even down to the way they dress -  and calling them Munchkins. He refers to his new working environment as Munchkinland. Agent Wolfe is a short person (actor Peter Jacobson is 5ft 5 ½ inches, or 166.4 cm). While title of this episode speaks to the changes at the FBI counterintelligence unit, it also suggests a focus on children: Elizabeth’s hesitation to break apart the close-knit Seong family with its three kids, Alice’s soon-to-be-born baby increasing the tension of Tim's disappearance, Paige’s ever-growing understanding of the adult issues at stake and realization that she’s now part of her parents' world, and questions about the timing of making Henry aware of his parents’ identities, thus expanding his world beyond video games and movies.


The Americans 4x10 Promo "Munchkins" (HD)

The Americans 4x10 Promo "Munchkins" (HD)

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"