The Americans s2 ep 3

Gosh, this was a good episode. Philip and Elizabeth are following up on the intelligence they received last week from Emmett’s source. Wigged up, obviously, they go to a warehouse and Elizabeth is trying to find the relevant piece of machinery when she’s interrupted by one of the workers – a regular guy with, we find out, three children. Elizabeth has a tyre iron in her hand. There’s genuine tension here, because we really don’t know what Elizabeth is going to do: we’ve seen her being utterly ruthless in the service of the cause before, yet we know her to be preoccupied with matters of family and parenthood; her later visit to Emmett’s orphaned son, for example, is deeply moving. The resolution is ingenious, deeply chilling, yet not perhaps entirely watertight.

While that’s going on, in one of the very few teenage girl plot arcs on TV at the moment which isn’t irritating, Paige is investigating the “aunt” Elizabeth was “staying with” while actually recovering from her gunshot wound. She plays truant in order to travel to where the aunt purportedly lives. Suffice to say I didn’t expect any of what happened next, yet on reflection it’s both neat and staggering. And Stan tells Nina that he loves her. This storyline continues to draw much of its strength from the apparent ambiguity of Nina’s attitude to Stan – does she really hate him as much as she tells Arkady she does?

And the subject of the episode title, ‘The Walk-In’ – Bruce Dameran from last week – rounds things off nicely. It will be recalled that for some reason the Rezidentura was quite happy to disclose his existence to Stan through Nina, and thus Stan has the jump on him: after some detective work, Dameran’s plan becomes clear. Did Arkady know this beforehand? Was it just luck? Either way it strengthens Stan’s position and his trust in Nina, thus making Nina’s connection to Stan more valuable to the Soviets.

It even gets away with ending on a musical montage, partly because of the strength of the episode, and partly because the choice of music – Peter Gabriel again – is unexpected yet inspired. The more I think about this episode, the better I think it was. The Americans is a great show.


5 thoughts on “The Americans s2 ep 3

  1. Ace_Of_Wands April 4, 2014 / 6:06 pm

    Peter Gabriel track – now you’ve mentioned it you’ll have to remind me. Did you ever watch ‘Cold Case’? I used to enjoy the use of music in that. Music is always very evocative of time and place.

  2. Jed Bartlet April 4, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    I did indeed watch Cold Case (ah, Lilly!) – I mentioned it in my last H50 review, as it happens, and it was the use of music which prompted me to make the comparison. (H50 evoked a wartime setting with some sub-Glenn Miller big band music.)

    The song at the end here was ‘Here Comes The Flood’:

    • Ace_Of_Wands April 4, 2014 / 7:36 pm

      I thought it was, although ‘Games Without Frontiers’ might have been more apt. That first PG album is one of my favourites ever.

    • Ace_Of_Wands April 4, 2014 / 10:03 pm

      Lilly was nice, but what was with the (mullet) hairstyle? Bet Elizabeth hasn’t got a wig for that!

  3. Jed Bartlet April 4, 2014 / 7:48 pm

    The writers clearly agree with you: Games Without Frontiers concluded the final episode of season 1. There must be a Gabriel fan on the writing staff.

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