"What if this time, this one time, we don't report back?" ― Philip
The Day After premieres, making the stakes – and terrible consequences – of the Cold War plain. Even with that in mind, will Elizabeth be able to complete the painful process of the “Patty” operation?
|Philip gives Paige a driving lesson. She tells him the committee for her church's Ethiopia mission trip is having their last meeting, and it would look good if the whole family went. Paige says Pastor Tim likes seeing their family together because it makes him think they're more normal. Elizabeth disguised as "Patty" spends time with Young-Hee who's struggling with her mother-in-law's trip back to Korea for a month, as she relies on her for child care and discipline. Patty tells her things and she doesn't fight as much with her Dad. Stan notices Philip is substantially better on the racquetball court. Philip chalks it up to sleeping better, because the travel agency let go of a few accounts, making things easier. Stan tells him about his new boss, Agent Wolfe, and that his old boss, Agent Gaad, retired and is taking a trip to Thailand.
|Arriving home, Elizabeth tells Philip that William sent them a signal. Confused, as he always works through Gabriel, they leave. With Hans and Elizabeth keeping watch, Philip meets with William, who's surprised to see him in disguise. Philip explains that his source at the FBI is gone so they no longer know when William's being watched. William asks Philip if he thinks she'll adapt, but Philip points out she's alive and free. William tells him they have something new at Ft. Detrick, a modified strain of the Lassa virus that causes a hemorrhagic fever which liquefies internal organs. William says it's the worst thing he's ever seen and he's considering not telling The Center about it. He wants to do the right thing and that he doesn't trust the USSR with it.
|The Jennings and Beeman families gather to view "The Day After" television movie. Arkady, William, Young-Hee and Don, Oleg and Tatiana (who are in bed together) also watch it. The movie terrifies everyone. Philip tells Elizabeth that after watching the movie, he thinks maybe William's right. Elizabeth disagrees, pointing out the US is making the virus to destroy them and they can't be trusted. In order to get the access code William needs, Elizabeth offers to babysit the Seong's three children while they spend a night away. After having sex, Oleg tells Tatiana that his father told him that the Soviet launch detection system falsely registered nuclear missiles headed towards them. Because an officer correctly believed there was something wrong with the system and went against protocol, a nuclear war was averted over what turned out to be sunlight reflecting off the clouds.
|While doing the dishes with Paige, Philip hears her fears about the movie and tells her that part of his and Elizabeth's job is to prevent a nuclear war. Digging through their house all night for anything she can use against Don, Elizabeth finds a porn movie but little else. (♫ Yazzo - Winter Kills ♫) The next morning at Dupont Circle Travel, Elizabeth yells on the phone at hotel staff. Realizing she's angry because the only way to get the code from Don will be by sexual entrapment, which will ruin his life, Philip again suggests they don't reveal the existence of the Lassa virus. Knowing she enjoys her friendship with Young-Hee, he indicates they can find another way to get the code. Elizabeth sighs and won't relent.
|Philip meets with William and tells him they're going to proceed. He asks why William told him about the Lassa virus, if he didn't want anyone to know. William says going against the Center was too big a decision to make by himself. "Patty" phones Young-Hee's from a restaurant, knowing she will not be home. She talks to Don, inventing a story about being stranded and he agrees to give her a ride home. At the Reed Street Church, Paige and Philip go to the send-off meeting for the Ethiopia trip. While Paige talks to Alice, Tim tells Philip that Paige seems sad and burdened. He suggests they all sit down when he returns from Ethiopia. "Patty" asks Don to move a heavy piece of furniture in her apartment. After moving it, she asks for his opinion on some expensive wine and slips a sedative into his glass.
|At home, Paige tells Philip about all her homework and church functions. To cheer her up, Philip offers another driving lesson, this time in his beloved Camaro. While "Patty" and Don drink, "Patty" kisses him. Trying to leave, he stands up and collapses on the floor. She drags Don into bed, undresses him, puts a liquid on his privates, undresses, and climbs into bed naked beside him. (♫ Peter Schilling - Major Tom (Coming Home) ♫) Paige drives the Camaro in traffic and later arriving at home, smiles and high fives Philip. Don awakes and seeing himself and "Patty" naked, assumes he's had sex with her. He apologizes, horrified, dresses hurriedly and leaves. Paige and Henry play a video game as Elizabeth comes home. Saying she has a headache, Elizabeth goes upstairs and Paige looks at her with concern. In their bedroom, Philip holds Elizabeth's hand who sadly says she's going to miss Young-Hee.
- The episode is named after the TV movie that premiered on ABC on November 20, 1983.
- On September 26, 1983, Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov disobeyed orders and declined to tell his superiors about what appeared on radar to be five incoming missiles from the US, which, as Oleg describes, turned out to be reflections from a cloud.
- The video game Paige and Henry are seen playing is Lode Runner.
- "Previously on The Americans" voice: Stan.
|Major Tom (Coming Home)||Peter Schilling|