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TV Review/Recap: “The Americans” A Little Night Music (Season 2 Episode 4)

This week’s episode of The Americans reminds us that as good as our favorite spies are, the stakes have never been higher and there are still people out to get them. Not to mention, whenever Claudia (Margo Martindale) graces us with her presence, things aren’t going to end well.

Claudia is BACK!

This week, the most exciting part of The Americans is not the cliffhanger finale, but it is the return of Margo Martindale as Claudia! After Phillip and Elizabeth had Claudia relocated at the end of last season, I thought it may be the end to one of my favorite characters. Thankfully, Claudia has come back into the picture, giving Elizabeth and Phillip a mission that is off the books (aka: the Centre doesn’t know about it). This mission is a revenge plot aimed at an extremely experienced Navy SEAL named Andrew Lerrick, who Claudia believes was behind the attack on Emmet and Leigh Anne; the couple had been blackmailing him because he is gay.

In order to get information on this super SEAL, Elizabeth has to have an “air tight cover”, which requires her to travel to Virginia Beach in order to seduce a Navy sailor named Brad. Brad is a super nice guy and is easily swayed by Elizabeth’s charms. Posing as a “Navy brat”, Elizabeth reels him in by claiming Andrew sexually assaulted her and the Navy is doing nothing to prosecute him. Brad quickly offers to steal Andrew’s file for Elizabeth so she can take it to the proper authorities. Everything seems to be going well until Brad chickens out and doesn’t get the file. The fear doesn’t last long though, especially after getting some “stress relief” from Elizabeth.

Though Elizabeth appears to be successfully “working” Brad, Claudia isn’t convinced that she is completely healed from her injury last season. Foreshadowing?

Phillip’s Mission

Phillip is sent to a local temple to gain intel on a Jewish physicist named Anton, who fled the Soviet Union and now gives incendiary speeches against the country. Based on Anton’s hatred of the Soviet Union, and loyalty to the United States, it’s pretty obvious that Phillip won’t be able to recruit him as an agent for the KGB. This presents a problem because Anton is not just a university professor, he is helping the United States develop stealth capabilities.

The Russians now resort to a plan of “forced repatriation”, with Phillip and Elizabeth in charge of the abduction. Phillip works his espionage magic and finds out that Anton is having an affair. How perfect for blackmail… or for throwing someone in the back of your car while leaving said mistress’s house (see below). Forced repatriation it is.

keri russell margo martindale the americans
Courtesy of FX

Stan Stan The Loose-Lipped Man

This was another bad week for Stan. After telling Nina he loves her in the previous episode, Stan continues on his loose-lipped trajectory and starts getting personal with Phillip at a local bar. Over beers, Stan admits that he is having an affair with a “married” woman from his work. He says that unlike the relationship between he and his wife (where they don’t speak), this woman sees him in a different way.

Stan also is told that his commendation ceremony has been postponed due to the fact that his boss, Frank, has to testify in front of the Congressional intelligence committees. After all, Stan killed someone the FBI believes to be a KGB agent on U.S. soil. Congress needs answers. High-level blow back from Stan’s rogue mission makes Frank fear he is being pushed out of his position.

Paige Turns To Religion

Are we sure Paige isn’t a spy herself? In this episode, Paige decides to turn to psychological warfare to put her parents over the edge. Knowing her parents aren’t religious people, Paige uses her new friendship with Kelly to start going to church. Under Marxist/Leninist Communism, religion is frowned upon so it’s no surprise that Elizabeth is extremely concerned with Paige’s new-found faith. Elizabeth believes religion is one of the things that is stunting the United States as a society and she wants to protect her daughter from being “brainwashed”.  Phillip tries to smooth the situation over, but it looks like this may be a larger problem as the season progresses.

The Americans Keri Russell meeting sailor
Courtesy of FX

Martha’s Lazy Morning

Poor Martha. All she wants to do is have a “lazy morning” with her husband Clark (Phillip in disguise). Little does she know, Phillip has too much on his plate to be dealing with Martha’s lazy morning idea, so he picks a fight with her to get out of it. Because Martha was talking to her mother on the phone during their lazy morning, Phillip acts mad, claiming they never get time for themselves so it was ridiculous that she chose to spend their “lazy morning” talking to her mom. Martha doesn’t let Phillip off so easily, though, and quickly turns the tables on him, calling him out on trying to cleverly escape. When Phillip storms away, it appears he does feel a little badly for his constant manipulation of Martha.

Don’t let this exchange make you completely lose faith in our girl Martha’s backbone. At the end of the episode Martha is shown leaving Phillip a message on his machine, though I’m not sure what this message was left on since there were no cell phones and wouldn’t Phillip’s answering machine be at Martha’s? Anyway, Martha basically tells Clark that she is filling out a government form and doesn’t want to perjure herself by lying about her marital status. If Phillip doesn’t call her back soon and help her figure out the situation, she will be forced to tell the truth.

That Finale

Our favorite spy couple gets back together to handle the last mission of the episode, abducting Anton. They capture him outside of his mistress’s house, however before they can put him in the getaway car, Elizabeth and Phillip are ambushed by another spy couple. Though Phillip and Elizabeth are able to hold their own, it seems the female attacker is able to maneuver herself into the car, taking Anton with her. Dun dun dun.

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