The Americans: It’s Okay, It’s Good

 Posted by on April 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm  The Americans
Apr 032014

02AMERICANS-tmagArticleThe world of The Americans continues to darken. Philip and Elizabeth love each other, but they’re having alter-ego issues. Stan’s put his team in hot water, and now Claudia has too. Worst of all, Emmett and Leanne’s killer is still at large — and he may hit the Jennings family next.

As Oleg spends some quality blackmail time with his new friend Stan (“Everyone will know about Nina: I die, she dies”), Philip and Elizabeth corner Andrew Larrick in a conference room, posing as CIA agents. Two-wig operations like this one are serious matters, and the couple are deeply convincing. Still, Larrick doesn’t budge.

The Soviets are gonna take it left, right and sideways, now that we have a President who can stand up to them. – Larrick

He’s not their man, and he’s sorry about that. Larrick wanted to kill Emmett and Leanne, and was close to doing so (“two or three meetings from finding out their home address”). Still, the Jennings couple let him walk, which upsets Claudia. She’s afraid he’ll come after them.

I’ve never seen Claudia scared before. – Elizabeth

Elizabeth doesn’t muse for long on Claudia’s state of mind — not when she’s alone with the man Martha called “an animal,” last week. “Would Clark ever be unfaithful?” She asks her husband. “I think I would like to try it with Clark.”

When she does, the result is different from what she expected — and no fun for either of them. Philip’s turn as “Clark” triggers memories of Elizabeth’s rape, and her husband feels terrible.

Poor Philip. All the man ever does is work, and this week that’s all he wants to do. Fortunately for him, there’s never a shortage of work to do; their new Center contact, Kate, makes it very clear that he and Elizabeth need to keep doing it.

Nothing is more important to The Center than your safety. You’re well equipped to handle these risks. – Kate 

The “risks” include the fact that The Center wants Larrick alive: he’s helping to establish an operational base in the United States. Elizabeth recruits her young protegee Lucia to use her relationship with a Congressman’s aide to get more information. The girl does as she’s told, and what Elizabeth finds in the Congressional office soon makes it into the hands of Oleg and Arkady, over at the Rezidentura.

What’s an ARPANET?

A sophisticated way to share information. – Arkady and Oleg

Meanwhile, Stan’s in trouble. Last week’s wild Oleg chase left him and Gaad looking like idiots, and he tries to intercede for Nina by showing up at his boss’s home. The meeting does not go well.

She’s in way over her head.

Has it occurred to you that you’re the one who’s in over your head? – Stan and Gaad 

Also in way over her head is young, fired-up Lucia. She’s eager to prove her value to work-weary Elizabeth, whose response is stark and pointed. Elizabeth describes her own first kill to the girl in very blunt terms — I did it fast. Then I went home and went to bed. — and Lucia gets the message.

In her next meeting with her boyfriend, she responds to his plan to introduce her to his mother by mixing him a deadly heroin cocktail. The Congressional aide has outlived his usefulness to the KGB; unfortunately, Lucia has real feelings for him. “It’s okay,” she cries, as the young man begins to seize in front of her. “It’s good. It feels good.”

With the kid out of the way, Philip makes contact with Larrick again (“I knew you weren’t CIA”), and Elizabeth meets with her former handler. It’s an important meeting.

If Larrick didn’t kill Emmett and Leanne, who did?

Me. – Elizabeth and Claudia

As it turns out, Claudia has had an affair that went horribly wrong. This business can be lonely, she begins — but both women know where the story will lead. The man found out about Emmett and Leanne, Claudia says; she adds that he knows about them, too. In a bleak final note, Claudia apologizes for having warned Elizabeth away from Philip. “You’re lucky to have him,” she adds. “Goodbye, Elizabeth.”

What’s wrong with a simple “good night,” Claudia?!

Final thoughts on this episode, and a scheduling note:

I will be out of town for the next two weeks, and may not be able to post this recap for the duration of my trip. Look for a summary post on The Americans in the week of April 20!

I can’t do an end-zone dance over having been right about Deadly Claudia. I’m too afraid we won’t see her again, and I love me some Granny.

Case in point: “How’s your new handler? She graduate from high school yet?” Claudia is awesome. DON’T LEAVE ME, GRANNY.

The Touch of the 80‘s this week is appropriately dark. Stan comes home to a redecorated front door (“Tomato Tango”), and family-dinner talk of a dead celebrity. John Belushi died on March 5, 1982, after a female friend injected him with a deadly mixture of heroin and cocaine. Be advised, ambitious young Lucia: the world cared very much about what Catherine Evelyn Smith did to John Belushi. Still does, actually.

The contrast between the two young female operatives is interesting. Chilly Kate and Passionate Lucia are an intriguing pair: one is a walking rule book, the other a Molotov cocktail in a skirt. Have these two met, I wonder? If so, what do they think of each other?

Stan’s request (“take a polygraph”) doesn’t go over well with Nina. She responds by playing hurt, a slick move for someone in her position: “I’m finished. With you, with all of this.” Nina is a very, very good spy, and Stan is now in a world of hurt.

I liked the glimpse of Agent Gaad’s home life. The last thing I’d have expected in this flag-waving guy’s home is a Buddhist shrine, but he seems to integrate it all into his life quite nicely. “In search of perfect understanding, Beeman?” Well said, John-Boy.

Integration isn’t really an option for Philip. Poor Philip is really unhappy with this whole business of being Clark, and the strain of managing his alter ego is clearer now than ever. He’s the anti-Don Draper, you guys!


  3 Responses to “The Americans: It’s Okay, It’s Good”

  1. I had a feeling Claudia would be involved in the deaths of Emmett and Leanne, but not like this. And nice connection between the death of John Belushi and the death of the aide.

    • Can I say that I loved that parallel without loving the scene? I guess it’s more accurate to say I appreciated it.

      I still miss John Belushi. I think I always will. 🙁

      • Anyone who was alive at that time still misses him.

        But between all the IV drugs, and all the bodily effluvia on the precipice of the AIDS epidemic, it’s going to get really messy, really fast.

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