"When I was 14, they drag my father out of our apartment in night, no talking, no explaining. Six months later, letter come, tell us he's in camp...he die 15 years later. They never let us see him. That is the Soviet Union I know." ― Alexei MorozovThe Midges is the third episode of Season Five of The Americans on FX, and the fifty-fifth episode overall.
Philip and Elizabeth tell Paige more about the family business, but pressing new questions arise when an operation takes a ghastly and unexpected turn. Meanwhile, a sensitive package jeopardizes Oleg's life back home.
|The Eckert and Morozov families go bowling, with Tuan trying to tutor Pasha. (♫ Roxy Music - More Than This ♫) Tuan misses on purpose to make Pasha feel better. Alexei complains again about how Russians can't keep anything maintained which causes Evgheniya to argue with him in Russian. The Jennings learn Alexei didn't tell Pasha and Evgheniya he was planning to defect. He put them in a car, and the CIA took them out of the country. Alexei apologizes and explains how his father was put into a prison camp under brutal conditions and that he'll never trust his homeland. Driving home, Elizabeth asks Philip how Alexei could do that to his family. They both express their hatred for Alexei, believing he's planning to start a famine in Russia. Taking off their disguises in a garage, Philip proposes they tell Paige about their current operation, hoping it will make Matthew seem less important.
|At home, the Jennings give Paige a few details about their mission which makes an impression on her. She learns how her parents use alter-egos and disguises to prevent detection and how pretending to be other people is difficult on them. Later in the bathroom, Philip stares into the mirror and remembers living in poverty and his father bringing an old pair of pants home. In Moscow, Oleg visits a grocery store that's unusually well-stocked, although it’s barren compared with those in the West. He speaks with the department manager, Ekaterina, who denies any special arrangements with the baza to send her better food than other stores. She claims not to know the name of her liaison there. Oleg says he'll be in touch and declines her bribe of a bag of tangerines he'd admired. As Oleg leaves, Martha Hanson is seen picking through the meager offerings.
|"Brad" talks with Tuan about the CIA security detail outside the Morozovs. Tuan expresses his hatred of Pasha, who doesn't appreciate having a lot of food and a father. Tuan talks about being an orphan and eating garbage in Vietnam while Philip also says he went hungry as a boy. Stan and Aderholt approach an Aeroflot employee at a restaurant who ignores their offer to become an FBI source. Gabriel tells the Jennings the insect sample Elizabeth gathered from the Illinois greenhouse is a type of midge, native to Australia, which decimates grain. The Rezidentura in Canberra found customs documents that the midges were sent to a lab in Oklahoma. Still believing the midges are being bred to destroy Russian wheat, the Jennings make plans to go to the lab. They also indicate they told Paige about the operation and it brought them closer together.
|At a restaurant, Matthew talks about Stan dating Renee and asks Paige if something is wrong. Using the technique taught to her by her parents, Paige lies to Matthew convincingly. In the laundry room at home, Paige tells Elizabeth about lying to Matthew and that it felt gross. Worried she'll have to lie to everyone for the rest of her life, Elizabeth says everyone holds back things in all relationships. In Yugoslavia, Mischa visits the home of the contact his mother provided to get him across the border to Austria. The contact has been jailed but a man named Vaso offers to get him across. After taking most of Mischa's money, Vaso brusquely goes through his possessions.
|In a motel in Oklahoma, Philip tells Elizabeth it reminds him of home, and he wonders why the Soviets can't grow enough food to feed themselves. Philip relates that some Alexei's criticisms of the USSR are true and sits on the bed, depressed. Knowing his fondness for country music, Elizabeth puts a cowboy hat on him, takes his hand and dances with him slowly to cheer him up. (♫ Alabama - Old Flame ♫) Stan and Aderholt strike out again, this time with an employee of Amtorg.
|In Moscow, a CIA agent approaches Oleg as he walks home. Stating that Oleg missed their meeting, he slips a package into his pocket. Arriving home, Oleg goes to his room and finds the package contains a cassette tape. Listening to it, he hears the conversation he had with Stan when he revealed Zinaida was a spy. Later that night, Marilyn and Norm keep watch while dressed as cowboys, Philip and Elizabeth break into the entomology lab that received the Australian midge shipment. Elizabeth shines her flashlight into a large butterfly case, causing the insects to flutter around wildly. Getting a signal from Marilyn that someone is approaching, the Jennings hide as a man, Randy Chilton, enters the lab.
|He notices the butterflies are disturbed and begins to make a phone call, but Philip stops him. Thinking it's a robbery, Randy offers his wallet and car keys. Ultimately, in response to their questions and physical coercion, he gives them a Rolodex card with contact information for Agri-Corp, where the lab sends the eggs for the midges. The Jennings ask him what the bugs will be used for which he says he never asked. Elizabeth tells him he should have, and Philip snaps his neck, killing him. (♫ Roxy Music - More Than This ♫) After the Jennings clean up and stuff Randy into their car trunk, Philip checks on Marilyn who is shaken up. He then quips to Elizabeth if they should tell Paige about killing Randy.
- Oleg introduces himself to Ekaterina Rikova as working for the OBKhSS, or, the Department Against Misappropriation of Socialist Property (Russian: Отдел по борьбе с хищениями социалистической собственности, ОБХСС). The OBKhSS was the Soviet financial police, responsible for the regulation of economic laws, and combating theft of socialist property in the organizations and institutions of state commerce, consumer, industrial and individual co-operatives.
- Amtorg Trading Corporation, or "Amtorg" (short for Amerikanskaia Torgovlia, Russian: Амторг), was the first trade representation of the Soviet Union in the United States. Amtorg occupied a unique position in the market as the single purchaser for a communist state. Even though it did not officially represent the Soviet government, it was controlled by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade. Amtorg handled almost all exports from the USSR, comprising mostly lumber, furs, flax, bristles, caviar, and all imports of raw materials and machinery for Soviet industry and agriculture. It also provided American companies with information about trade opportunities in the USSR and supplied Soviet industries with technical news and information about American companies.
- Paige watches M*A*S*H Season 3, Episode 4 "Iron Guts Kelly".
- Henry does not appear in this episode.
- "Previously on The Americans" voice: Philip.
|More Than This||Roxy Music|
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