"What they'd do to us, tortured, locked away, told to betray everything we believe in if we ever want to see our kids again. I'm not gonna make that choice, Philip." ― ElizabethThe Clock is the second episode of Season One of The Americans on FX, and the second episode overall.
The Jennings have orders to infiltrate and bug the office of US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger; they coerce the Weinberger's cleaning lady to help. Meanwhile, Stan blackmails Nina, a Soviet embassy clerk, to spy for the FBI.
|Philip, posing as Swedish Intelligence Officer Scott Birkeland, seduces Annelise, and convinces her to discreetly take photos of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's study. She does so by strapping a camera to her bra. Philip and Elizabeth later develop the photographs in a darkroom, discovering that they can bug a clock that is in Weinberger's study. Philip estimates the job will take between six and seven months. Elizabeth expresses surprise and mild jealousy when she sees a picture of Annelise.
|Stan Beeman and Chris Amador conduct surveillance on a Rezidentura worker named Nina Krilova and see her leave a stereo store with a large package. They confront the store owner about her identity and Amador finds a tin of Beluga caviar which Nina stole from the embassy. However, the owner won't provide them with any information.
|At the Soviet embassy, Arkady approaches Vasili about a meeting which will take place in three days between Weinberger and British defense secretary John Nott to discuss the Americans' proposed Strategic Defense Initiative. He wants to use the Jennings to infiltrate and bug Weinberger's office before then. Vasili reminds Arkady that he has just lost a Directorate S officer (Robert) and rushing this could result in the deaths of two more. When the Jennings receive their orders to proceed, Philip becomes upset, considering the timeframe "insane."
|They approach the Weinberger's maid Viola Johnson, whose son, Grayson, Elizabeth injects with poison, and offer to exchange the antidote for her cooperation. Later in bed, Elizabeth tells Philip she thinks if something happened to them, Henry would adjust and find his way. She says Henry is like Philip, but she worries about Paige. At Dupont Circle Travel, Stavos greets Elizabeth. In private, Elizabeth tells Philip that Viola is falling apart and he leaves to get the clock. Viola has removed the clock but when Philip goes to her apartment to retrieve it, Viola's brother, Albert, threatens Philip with a gun. Philip fights Albert, breaking his arm and Viola gives the clock to Philip.
|At home, Philip puts a bug inside the clock. Stan comes home to an empty house and notices Philip and Henry playing hockey in their driveway. He comes over to chat, he and Philip make plans to play racquetball. Stan pulls the tin of confiscated caviar from his pocket and offers it to Philip. They go into the Jennings' kitchen and eat it with chips and beer. On her way to work, Philip gives Viola the bugged clock. Amador and Stan approach the stereo shop owner again and after roughing him up, he gives them information on Nina. Listening outside the Weinberger's house, Philip is furious when Viola doesn't put the clock back.
|Stan tracks Nina down, telling her that he knows she is sending U.S. stereo equipment with cash hidden inside back to the Soviet Union, a serious crime in the USSR. He blackmails her into becoming his agent and spying inside the embassy for the FBI. At her apartment, Viola balks at putting the clock back, citing her believe God will protect her and Grayson. To help "motivate" her, Philip starts to smother her already dying son with a pillow. She swears she will return the clock, and Philip releases the pillow. Later, Philip is shown visibly upset by his own actions; Elizabeth attempts to comfort him. Philip's conflict over hurting or killing innocent people emerges.
|Once Viola puts the bugged clock back, Philip signals Elizabeth to inject her son with the antidote. Later when Elizabeth gets home, Philip says he has something for her. He shows her a prepared plate of cut up vegetables and the caviar which they eat with crackers. The President's chief of staff calls the FBI CI office and congratulates Director Frank Gaad and Stan about having an agent in the Soviet embassy. At the embassy, Vasili and Arkady listen to the meeting between Weinberger and Nott, who discuss building a missile shield in Europe and the USA.
- When posing as Scott Birkeland, Philip doesn't wear one of his disguises. However, when he contacts Annelise again, he does wear a disguise. ("Yousaf")
- The posters in the embassy room where Arkady and Vasili meet say "ты записапся доьровопьцем?" (Have you enlisted in the army?) and, "мужество и решения" (courage and decisiveness).
- First appearance of Stavos.
- "Previously on The Americans" voice: Philip.
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