"What happened? We got a shit mission with lousy information, and we still found him and stopped him." ― Philip
Mutally Assured Destruction is the eighth episode of Season One of The Americans on FX, and the eighth episode overall.


Philip and Elizabeth must stop a German assassin from taking out key US scientists, while Stan and the FBI hunt the same man. Claudia shocks Elizabeth with the truth of what happened between Philip and Irina in New York.


Philip returns home from playing racquetball with Stan to be told by Elizabeth that they have a new mission, stopping a contract assassin who has been hired by the KGB to kill American scientists. The KGB has thought better of their plan but can't contact the killer. There's no information on the assassin, just who he was to kill. Philip and Elizabeth flirt with each other and exchange affections. To buy time, the Jennings blow up a scientist's car without harming anyone. Agent Gaad orders several scientists be moved to safe houses and provided with FBI protective details, led by Agent Milbank.

S01E08-Car explodes
Car bombs haven't been their M.O.
Elizabeth meets with Claudia who tells her the contractor is from West Germany, and gives her the name of a weapons dealer he is likely to do business with. She also tells Elizabeth that Philip slept with Irina while in New York City and that "if you start to think of your marriage as real, it doesn't work." Elizabeth, who has remained hostile towards Claudia since the Jennings' abduction, replies that she suspects Claudia has ulterior motives for telling her this. Elizabeth arrives at home and looks at Philip with suspicion, which he picks up on. Gaad's staff begin to comb through records of recently admitted foreign nationals, trying to determine who is responsible for the explosion. Gaad gives Stan the keys to an apartment to meet Nina in regularly.

S01E08-Liz Claudia
I know there's bad blood between us.
A disguised Philip and Elizabeth visit the weapons dealer, who ultimately gives them a picture of the man they're looking for. The assassin has found one of the scientists, surveils his safe house and makes notes on when the FBI changes their protective details. "Clark" makes out with Martha at her apartment. (♫ McKinley Mitchell - Trouble Blues ♫) When he tries to press her about work, she reacts negatively and Philip realizes that he will need to give her more in order to gain her cooperation. They have sex for the first time, using a condom Martha has left over from her last boyfriend (presumably Amador). After they finish, Martha is receptive to listening to "Clark's" purported work troubles, and tells him she can get him anything Agent Gaad has.

S01E08-Clark Martha post sex
That was wonderful.
Nina meets Stan at the apartment where he apologizes for having sex with her earlier. Nina doesn't care, kisses him and says she'll do everything for him. The assassin hires a prostitute. At dinner at the Beeman's with Paige and Henry, Philip is puzzled by Elizabeth's sudden hostility towards him. Back home, she says Claudia told her he slept with Irina. Philip sincerely apologizes for lying to her about it, scared he would lose her. He asks if they can start over, but Elizabeth refuses, saying that their marriage will revert to being an arrangement without love.

S01E08-Nina Stan apartment
We can get you out, Nina.
In a hotel, Agent Milbank has sex with the prostitute the assassin hired. She lures him into the bathroom and the assassin plants timed explosives into his radio. At the FBI, Martha makes photocopies of document with pictures of the foreign nationals who've entered the US recently. Amador startles her and says he has been thinking about her since they broke up. He asks her out and she turns him down. At the Rezidentura, Arkady calls Nina into his office. "Clark" arrives at Martha's for dinner. (♫ Pablo Cruise - Love Will Find a Way ♫) As they have sex, Elizabeth's heart-shaped necklace that Clark gave to Martha dangles in his face. He stops abruptly and removes it. Afterwards, Martha gives him the photocopies which shows where the foreign nationals are staying.

S01E08-Martha rejects Chris
That's a very polite no.
At home, Philip and Elizabeth examine the documents from Martha. They match the photo given to them by the weapons dealer to the assassin. Surprising the assassin in his hotel room, there is a shoot-out and the assassin retreats to the bathroom. He activates a small explosive device, which Elizabeth throws into the bathroom. It detonates, killing him. Nina meets Stan at their apartment and explains the difference in the FBI's policeman mindset, where they want to lock up criminals, and that of spies. She says spies want, "everyone to stay, right where they are, and bleed everything they know out of them, forever." She also says Arkday promoted her to his assistant and she may get access to the Directorate S files.

S01E08-Assassin at standoff
I like to think ahead.
Agent Milbank arrives late for his detail at the scientist's safe house. When he enters, the explosives in his radio detonates killing him, the scientist and two other FBI agents. Agent Gaad vows vengeance, Agent Loeb reminisces about Milbank and Amador is clearly upset and fiddles with a ring on his finger. The Jennings receive notice of the explosion and are demoralized, with Elizabeth calling it "our worst failure in fifteen years." Elizabeth feels they failed partly because her mind was on their relationship.

S01E08-House explosion
Milbank, you're late.
She then says they have to "stop this. We were never married. We had an arrangement. And it worked." Philip replies that when they first came to the US, they had to be married, to fit in, for their cover. He believes things are different now. He points out that the US is a very modern country and postulates that if Elizabeth doesn't want to be married to him, The Center would not care. (♫ The Cure - Siamese Twins ♫) Suspecting that Martha rejected his advances because she's found a new boyfriend, Amador starts to surveil her apartment building.

S01E08-Chris surveils Martha
Jealousy will change everything.


  • At 13:00, as the arms dealer is on the stairs retrieving a hidden camera, a crew member can be seen behind him at the top of the stairs.
  • First appearance of Agent Loeb.
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Philip.


Song Title Performer(s)
Trouble Blues McKinley Mitchell
Love Will Find a Way Pablo Cruise
Siamese Twins The Cure


The Americans 1x08 Promo 'Mutually Assured Destruction' HD)

The Americans 1x08 Promo 'Mutually Assured Destruction' HD)

Season One
#101 "Pilot" #108 "Mutually Assured Destruction"
#102 "The Clock" #109 "Safe House"
#103 "Gregory" #110 "Only You"
#104 "In Control" #111 "Covert War"
#105 "COMINT" #112 "The Oath"
#106 "Trust Me" #113 "The Colonel"
#107 "Duty and Honor"
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