The latest episode, Open House, was noticeably different from last week’s, Baggage. The scenes seemed much longer and more intimate. At times the anxiety from so much action and extended periods without speaking became unbearable – in a great way. It was a good balance so that the viewer could take in more visual information without being overwhelmed trying to follow what the characters were saying. Maybe that’s just my ADD talking but I found myself responding more to the first outing this season from writer, Stuart Zicherman and director, Thomas Schlamme.
Just to get it out of the way now, nothing happened in this episode to progress Nina’s or Yousaf’s stories, and the goings on at the Rezidentura were minimal.
Now, to the good stuff: spoilers ahead!
This week’s episode focused very much on the Jennings and FBI. When the show starts, Philip is talking to Gabriel over Scrabble during which Gabriel makes an ominous comment about the river Styx. Philip expresses concern that Paige could be used by the Center like Jared, who killed his family on orders. While Philip seems to be suspicious of Gabriel’s intentions, Elizabeth is sure that he is only trying to help. Gabriel seems to be taking on a larger role in the show. Kate’s death last season has created a bit of an administrative vacancy, but Claudia will be coming back later on. Will she be their supervisor again? And if so, would she be more aggressive with regard to Paige’s future?
Gabriel gives Philip the names of three CIA agents working in the Afghan Group. Philip and Elizabeth get a lead when one of them, Ted Paaswell, puts his home on the market and holds an open-house for potential buyers. The couple goes incognito and Elizabeth distracts the real estate agent while Philip searches through Paaswell’s personal belongings and plants a listening device. I have no idea what it was that he put the device into but it looked like a telephone lunch box with speakers. Anyway, while on a daytime stake out following Paaswell’s car at a distance, Elizabeth and Philip realize they’re being followed. Their easy, daytime listening session turns into a panic attack that stretches into the late hours of the night.
In the teaser for this episode Beeman says “The CIA wants to see where it leads”, Agent Gadd adds “We have them surrounded” and finally Agent Adahalt pleads to “Pull her over, now, before it’s too late”. In the episode, this is where the viewer finds out that the conversation those three had was about the Jennings! During this scene, Philip rolls out of the moving vehicle undetected and makes it to a phone booth to place a call to a KGB operator that will enable an escape. As concern over Elizabeth’s safety rapidly grows, another KGB agent causes an accident with the CIA car that was following her. She escapes down a back alley to another KGB car and the tense situation is defused. Despite eleven CIA cars encircling Elizabeth, she made it home safe.
Earlier in the show there was a moment where I thought Philip was going to take matters into his own hands concerning Paige. After he returns home from rolling out of the car, knowing that Elizabeth is in very serious danger, he approaches Paige, studying her, but in the end only apologizes for he and Elizabeth always working late.
After her arrival home Philip extracts Elizabeth’s tooth as it still causes her a great deal of pain and she can’t go to a doctor or dentist. Here, we get some Fifty Shades of Grey for your Valentine’s Day, ladies. They share some very intense, very trusting eye contact and again, there is no speaking. Elizabeth cannot scream or cry out and risk Henry and Paige hearing. As I processed this scene later on, I thought about what their relationship means at this point. One’s security is perpetually tied to the other’s. As long as one of them is in danger, the other, and their children, are also in danger. I walked away at the end of the episode relieved but still concerned. There’s so much up in the air for Paige, but we know where Elizabeth stands. The trauma of the car “chase” was thrilling and also seems to have brought Elizabeth and Philip even closer. Could Elizabeth change her mind about supporting Paige “without hesitation” if the Center asked her to serve? Will Philip keep wanting to protect Paige from their world or will he join Elizabeth in her support?
At the end of the episode, Philip and Elizabeth speak with Gabriel about the incident and the potential to gain more intelligence. He tries to discourage them from going back to Paaswell’s home fearing that the CIA could be alarmed, but they ignore his plea and return. The gamble pays off as they are able to follow Paaswell as he drops off his babysitter back at her home. Philip recognizes the license plate of a car in the driveway and turns toward the house to find out the babysitter, Kimberley, is the daughter of the head of the CIA Afghan Group, Isaac Breland. This is important because not only do they know his vehicle information but also his address. Finally, the teaser for next week’s episode shows Philip talking to Kimberley, leading one to wonder what exactly the outcome will be with the CIA and the Afghan group.