A week after The Americans went to an actual summer camp doubling as a Contra training ground, the Cold War drama on FX had a subplot involving summer camp on the episode “Yousaf” (Season 2, Episode 10).
In the episode, Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor), the teenage daughter of undercover Russian spies Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) talks to her dad about spending the summer as a CIT at Cedar Grove Fellowship Camp.
The development isn’t a surprise considering one of the more interesting plot twists in the show’s second season: Paige rebelling her parents by going to church.
“It’s not all preachy and everything,” Paige tells her dad. “It’s normal, swimming and hiking and they teach you teamwork and social values.”
While Philip – who ripped pages from Paige’s Bible in anger at her lying to him in a previous episode – seems sympathetic to Paige’s desire to, as she puts it, spend the summer bettering herself, Elizabeth has other ideas. When Philip suggests the potential alternative of her getting into drinking or doing drugs, Elizabeth says she’ll take her chances. In her mind it seems, teenage experimentation is worth more of a risk than her daughter getting more interested in Christianity.
Elizabeth’s resolve is only hardened when she discovers a paper Paige practiced forging her signature on while emptying the trash can in her room.
It’s never clear whether Elizabeth or Matthew went to camp in the episode but in another scene Russian double agent Nina Sergeevna (Annet Mahendru) reminisces about her time at Young Pioneer camp “near Tarusa in Kaluga Oblast. Middle of nowhere.”
“We wore red kerchiefs and assembled every morning for ‘lineika’,” she tells her lover in Russian. “We had these pins, little red pins with a picture of Lenin. You’ve seen them…I loved my pin. I was so proud of it. You know, we didn’t have anything, no luxury. My life was simple. I liked that. Here, my life is so…tangled.”
The episode is available to watch online on Amazon.