The americans Wiki
The americans Wiki

"You can kill me or you can let me redeem myself in the eyes of our beloved Russia." Nina to Arkady

The Oath is the twelfth episode of Season One of The Americans on FX, and the twelfth episode overall.


An Air Force colonel offers to sell SDI secrets to the KGB. Viola reports the bug in the Weinberger home. "Clark" agrees to marry Martha hoping she'll continue spying while Nina confesses to spying for the Americans.


Elizabeth's new agent Sanford Prince tells her he has recruited an Air Force Colonel, Rennhull, who will sell important information on the Strategic Defense Initiative project for $50,000. (♫ Craig Marsden - Angel of the Wilderness ♫) At the Rezidentura, Arkady tells Nina she will now be assisting him with activities related to Directorate S. He has her read aloud an oath, "a bond that can never be broken," as she commits to her new duties. At Dupont Circle Travel, Philip is concerned that Prince may be setting them up. Meanwhile, Viola Johnson grows increasingly troubled about her role in placing the bugged clock in Caspar Weinberger's study.

S01E12-Nina w pin.jpg
I would rather perish...
Elizabeth picks up a postcard from Prince with microdots inside and sees plans for space vehicles on them. At church, Viola listens to a sermon about deceit and responds to it with guilt. Elizabeth meets Claudia who relates that the microdots contain information a decade ahead of what the Soviets possess. Believing that the US would never give up such valuable intelligence as part of a setup, she says The Center has ordered her to meet with Rennhull. Worried the meet is still a trap and not trusting Claudia, the Jennings plan to contact the Center directly to confirm their orders and ask for a new handler. In order to confirm the FBI isn't setting a trap, Philip proposes getting Martha to plant a bug in Agent Gaad's office. Elizabeth doesn't believe Philip can charm Martha into this.

S01E12-Claudia Liz arcade.jpg
You're good at games, I'll give you that.
At the Rezidentura, Nina packs Vlad's possessions into a box and learns he had a crush on her. Elizabeth picks up Paige from Philip's apartment and is uncomfortable with their closeness. "Clark" takes Martha to an expensive restaurant in Leesburg, VA, and proposes marriage which she happily accepts. At their safe house, Stan meets Nina. She asks if he killed Vlad. He doesn't answer her directly and her suspicion grows deeper. At Martha's, "Clark" asks her to put a bugged pen in Gaad's office. Initially hesitant, she eventually agrees out her love for him. Violet confesses to planting the bugged clock, describes the couple who blackmailed her and agrees to work with a sketch artist. Stan and Gaad recall that Richard Patterson was abducted by a couple.

TA-1.12-7 FULL.jpg
You're a brave woman.
Paige watches Matthew's band play at his house until Sarah arrives. Showing off her musical skills and seeing Matthew likes her, she's crushed. (♫ Mountain - Mississippi Queen ♫) Later at home, Paige tells Elizabeth about her disappointment. As Elizabeth gives Paige advice, she realizes that Philip possesses everything she needs. At the Weinberger's, Gaad tells Mrs. Weinberger that the bugged clock will remain in place so the FBI can feed the KGB information to trap the Illegals. After planting the bugged pen in Gaad's office, at home, Martha tells "Clark" she won't marry him unless her parents can come to the wedding. After convincing him that they'll keep their marriage secret, he agrees.

S01E12-Matthews band.jpg
I thought you guys sounded good.
The bug having been in Gaad's office for a day, the Jennings listen to the recording and not hearing anything about their meeting with Rennhull, they are somewhat reassured. Relating that Martha wants to get married the next day, Philip says that he'll need a fake family at the wedding. Prince is arrested by police for not paying child support. The next day at First Trinity Church, Claudia (posing as Alexandra) tells Elizabeth (posing as Jennifer), about Prince. Elizabeth believes that he'll be turned over to the FBI, given his security clearance, and will be broken easily. Insisting the Rennhull meeting should be cancelled, Claudia disagrees and is upset that the Jennings contacted the Center directly to confirm the orders.

S01E12-Claudia Liz in disguise.jpg
It's insane to go into it now.
Interrupted by "Clark", they meet Martha and her parents, Elaine and Bill Hanson. After witnessing the wedding, Elizabeth tells Philip she was truly moved by the ceremony and she wonders if things would have been different between them if they'd been actually married. At the FBI, Gaad and Stan show the Deputy Attorney General the sketches of the Illegals from Patterson and Viola's descriptions. Stan believes they are the same people but the DAG is skeptical. Believing that Stan killed Vlad, along with her conscience being triggered by the loyalty oath, Nina confesses her treason to Arkady and offers to spy on Stan.

S01E12-Liz and Phil sketches.jpg
These people are the illegals we've been chasing.


  • The arcade game behind the Ms. Pac-Man game Claudia is playing is Centipede. However, both these games were released after this episode occurred (May 1981).
  • It's snowing when Sanford Prince is arrested on May 19, 1981. The temperature in Washington, D.C. at that time averaged 75 degrees.
  • It's later revealed that "Clark" and Martha were married on May 20, 1981 at First Trinity Church in Annandale, Virginia by Pastor William Lapp. ("Travel Agents")
  • Henry does not appear in this episode.
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Elizabeth.


Song Title Performer(s)
Angel of the Wilderness Craig Marsden
Mississippi Queen Mountain


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"