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'The Americans' recap: Stan's stock goes up at FBI

By killing a disillusioned combat veteran bent on murder, FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) averts an international crisis -- and supposedly scores points with his Russian mistress -- on Episode 3 (“The Walk-In”) of “The Americans” on FX.

Bruce Demeran (Erik Jensen), a mysterious visitor to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., took a bullet for his country in Vietnam. Now his outlook is radically different as he regards the “real enemy” as not Viet Cong guerrillas but wealthy World Bank executives “who own everything.”

Armed with a sniper rifle, Bruce is about to gun down the financiers as they enter a hotel. Fortunately for the bankers, Stan races to the scene and draws his weapon.

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“You don’t want to die, Bruce,” Stan yells, hoping to defuse the standoff.

But Bruce does die when he swings his rifle in Stan’s direction and shouts: “Ronald Reagan doesn’t care!” Stan has no choice but to shoot.

Later, in bed with his lover Nina (Annet Mahendru) -- a Soviet double agent -- Stan is overcome with emotion.

“I’m proud of you, Stan,” Nina says, tightening her control of the G-man.

“I love you, Nina,” Stan blurts out. He said it first!

When Nina reports her progress in seducing Stan, embassy leader Arkady Ivanovich (Lev Gorn) is impressed.

“You may be climbing out of the hole you dug for yourself, Nina Sergeevna,” Arkady remarks.

Embassy colleague Oleg (Costa Ronin) seems overly interested in Nina’s secret mission of pumping Stan for intel. Or maybe Oleg is just interested in Nina.

Whatever the case, he invites her to a pro hockey game. Join me if you care to, Oleg says nonchalantly, or scalp the ticket.

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In other action, KGB spies Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) and hubby Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) infiltrate a naval shipyard in Virginia and photograph plans for a high-tech propeller.

Maintenance worker Derek (Dave T. Koenig) soon realizes something is amiss. Fearing for his life, he shows pictures of his three boys to Elizabeth.

Rather than clobber Derek with a crowbar, she takes one of the photos. Her tacit message is clear: Keep quiet or else!

Elizabeth’s next operation involves a promise made long ago to her comrade Leanne (Natalie Gold), who wrote and then hid a letter to her son Jared (Owen Campbell). The letter reveals the true identities of the parents and explains why they spied on America.

Leanne is gone now, shot dead along with her husband Emmett (Jeremy Davidson) and daughter Amelia (Gracie Bea Lawrence). So will Elizabeth deliver the letter to Jared, the sole survivor?

Posing as a children’s advocate, Elizabeth visits Jared in his new home and hugs him as he breaks down in tears.

“Healing takes time,” she tells him softly, “especially when there are no answers.”

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Elizabeth decides not to give Jared the dangerous correspondence, however. She sets fire to the letter and watches it disintegrate into ashes.

Elizabeth’s daughter Paige (Holly Taylor), meanwhile, may have inherited some spy genes. Suspecting her parents are more than travel agents, she sets out to discover the truth by paying a surprise visit to her Great Aunt Helen (Kathleen Chalfant).

On the bus ride to Pennsylvania, Paige befriends Kelli (Lizzy Declement), a teenager coping with a broken home.

“It feels like there’s always something going on,” Paige says in describing her troubled household. Got that right.

When she sees her dad that evening, Paige makes up a story about attending an after-school event. But Helen had already told Philip about the visit. Busted!

“Lying will not be tolerated,” Philip says sternly.

This coming from a man whose entire life is a lie.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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