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TV Review/Recap: “The Americans” New Car (Season 2 Episode 8)

Which of the characters in The Americans is a good person? After all, regardless of immoral behavior, everyone seems to think they are “good”, be it the Jennings dedicating their life to spying for their country, Stan trying to protect the woman he loves, Martha helping her husband and her country… the list goes on. When it comes to the characters’ motivations, everyone is doing what they think is right and just. But is any character on The Americans a real, live “good person”?

Martha Gets Sassy

The episode begins with Martha and “Clark” (Phillip in disguise) in bed. Martha has finally decided that she doesn’t want to give Clark information on her coworkers anymore. The internal investigation into Agent Gad, who she believes is a good man, is what seemingly has pushed her over the edge.

Reminder: Martha believes Clark is a member of the FBI’s internal affairs department who is investigating her office to ensure no one is divulging classified information. Of course, Phillip is actually gathering classified information to send to the KGB.

True to form, Phillip freaks out and tries to make it seem as though Martha is making him choose between his loyalty for the United States and his love for her. Martha stands up for herself and says she doesn’t see it that way. Now it is up to Phillip to find a way to ensure Martha continues feeding him information. He decides he will make a fake tape of her coworkers talking badly about her (calling her ugly) and then play it for her; that way, she won’t be as leery to hand over information about them. When the time comes for Phillip to give her the tape, however, he can’t do it… mainly because she apologizes to him and says she will continue to help him gather information, but I believe Phillip didn’t want to upset her either. After all, he does have a heart, y’all!

The Americans New Car 208 Matthew Rhys
Credit: SpoilerTV

Phillip Gets Sporty

Phillip also shows his love of fancy sports cars, a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 to be exact. Phillip takes the kids to a dealership and buys the car right out of the showroom. Hey, at least he didn’t buy a plane!

Notice how Phillip chose an American car manufacturer? Maybe this was another subtle way for the writers to show how much he has warmed up to the American way of life. Although his loyalties have not changed, especially after the murder of his friends and near-death of his wife, Phillip can admit that he loves the perks of living in the United States. In fact, he even takes time in this episode to ask Elizabeth if she enjoys living in the United States at all. She promptly shuts him down, agreeing that of course the American way of life is nicer but it isn’t better.

Scientists, Submarines, and Stealth

Just when we thought we saw the last of our favorite scientist Anton, who was last seen on a ship back to Russia, he has resurfaced and the issue of stealth technology is back on the table. As it turns out, the Russians have shipped Anton off to a factory run by our old friend Vasili. Vasili is the former KGB Resident who was sent back to the Soviet Union in the first season after being framed by Nina for espionage. Vasili gives the scientist a computer with information the Americans allegedly hid from him when he was helping to develop stealth technology. I imagine this information will be used to change his allegiances and help the Russians develop their own stealth submarines and bombers.

Stealth technology is especially important to the Russians because they just suffered a terrible tragedy with one of their submarines (a tragedy reminiscent to the Kursk). As it turns out, the submarine propeller plans that Phillip and Elizabeth stole from a U.S. naval base earlier this season were planted by the intelligence community. Unfortunately, the plans contained a design flaw in them that would inevitably sink the submarine while out at sea. Because the Russians trusted the Americans’ plans and didn’t vet them properly, they built and launched the submarine with a full crew. The inherent design flaw caused the propeller to dislodge and rip through the hull of the ship, sinking it and killing all 160+ men aboard. This disaster not only infuriates the KGB, but lights a fire under Phillip and Elizabeth as well.

RIP Lucia

Oh, Lucia. I knew you were not long for this world. Lucia is horrified that Lerrick is now considered an asset for the KGB, and thus safe from assassination. So, she takes it upon herself to put a stop to him once and for all, regardless that his death will compromise everything with Martial Eagle.

Lucia shows up at Lerrick’s house with a tranquilizer gun in hand. She quickly shoots him in the back with a dart, but not before he lunges at her and causes her to shoot herself as well. Both pass out; though unfortunately Lerrick wakes up first, ties her up, and calls the KGB. He wants to exchange her life for his freedom. Elizabeth shows up to negotiate a deal and the two decide that he will have his freedom once Lucia is freed and the KGB has the information they need to infiltrate Martial Eagle.

However, just as the plan is wrapping up and Lucia is untied, she tries to kill Lerrick one last time. Now, Elizabeth is forced to watch Lerrick strangle Lucia in front of her. After all, she knows Lucia will never stop coming after him and Lerrick is more critical to the mission than Lucia. Poor Elizabeth, yet another traumatic event to add to her future therapy sessions.

Lerrick inevitably sets Phillip and Elizabeth up with a truck driver named Lewis that has access to the base housing Martial Eagle. The driver, who is scared out of his wits, gives the couple valuable intel that will help them gain entry into the base. I imagine Phillip will don another awesome wig and impersonate Lewis. Phillip and Elizabeth have an argument over whether they should now kill Lewis (Elizabeth’s plan), or risk keeping him tied up in the woods until the mission is over (Phillip’s plan). While the episode never shows the answer, I imagine Phillip will win out… at least I hope so.

The Americans 208 Keri Russell
Credit: SpoilerTV

Stan, Stan The Car Door Slamming Man

I am ready for Stan’s wife to leave him already. For a man that is supposedly so perceptive, he seems to be oblivious when it comes to women. First, he doesn’t realize (or care) how upset he makes his wife on a daily basis. Sandra is excited to graduate from a course she is taking, and instead of attending the ceremony to support and celebrate his wife’s accomplishment, Stan informs her that he will take care of dinner that night. Um… what?! She is graduating and all you can do is offer to cover dinner duty? I guess graduation doesn’t warrant a night out at Chi Chi’s?

Second, Stan is too lovesick to tell that Nina is playing him. To “protect” Nina, Stan finally does the unimaginable, he gives Oleg the surveillance documents in exchange for Nina and her family’s safety. When he tells Nina what he did, she acts upset and exclaims he shouldn’t have given Oleg the information; this blackmail problem will never stop and if Stan is found out by the FBI, he will go to prison for years. Stan reassures her that the FBI will never find out what he has done :eyeroll: We’ll see about that, Stan! Meanwhile, Oleg and Nina receive a commendation for their work to finally get Stan to commit treason.

Stan’s final bonehead moves of the episode have him failing again to get access to the DoD stealth program and trying to convince Gad to assassinate Oleg. Both DoD and Gad, of course, say absolutely not. However, Stan doesn’t take “no” for an answer and takes the issue of the DoD stealth program to FBI leadership. Maybe they will be able to help him gain access?

Where’s Paige?

In the past few episodes, the attention has shifted to Henry Jennings, what with his newfound love of breaking and entering, which begs the questions… where has Paige been and what is all of this leading up to? In tonight’s episode, Henry was finally caught in the neighbor’s house after he gamed himself to sleep. The neighbors brought him home and explained the situation to a horrified, embarrassed Phillip and Elizabeth. When confronted about the issue, Henry apologizes profusely and reassures them over and over that he is a good kid.

I think this newfound focus on Henry is almost like a Survivor episode. The contestant that is about to get voted off the island (or in this case, is about to be killed off the show) starts to get more screen time before the big moment. Is this what Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields have planned for good ole Henry?

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