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TV Review/Recap: “The Americans” Yousaf (Season 2 Episode 10)

With the success of Martial Eagle last week, it’s time for the Jennings to get into some new trouble. Proliferation of stealth technology is still the underlying “theme” of the season, but Phillip and Elizabeth again have to get their hands dirty in the Afghanistan issue. I’m just sad Phillip’s Texan alter-ego (from the first episode of this season) didn’t make a return visit.

More Missions More Problems

Martial Eagle was a win for the KGB. So much so, Kate informs the Jennings that their great pictures would soon be leaked to a newspaper in South America, which would then make its way to Capitol Hill. Of course, our favorite spies cannot rest for long and it is already time for another time-sensitive mission. A Pakistani delegation is arriving in DC for a round of talks over a four day period. Five of the diplomats are members of the ISI Covert Action Division, Pakistan’s intelligence office. It appears these officials will be meeting with the CIA about moving arms through Pakistan to aid the mujahideen, who are battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. The second in command, Yousaf, may be susceptible to Elizabeth’s wiles so she is tasked with getting information out of him.

As the plan starts to unfold, however, Phillip decides that Yousaf would be more likely to talk to another of his contacts, Anneliese. As you may remember from the first season, Annelise is the wife of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense. She knows she is spying for a foreign country, but she believes Phillip is an agent of Sweden, not the Soviet Union. How tricky! Phillip says Yousaf may be more likely to talk to Annelise, due to her husband’s position, than a random woman he meets on the street. In reality, we know Phillip is actually throwing Annelise under the bus so he doesn’t have to watch Elizabeth with another man.

After flirting with Yousaf at a dinner party, Annelise discovers that he really knows nothing about the arms deal. He is #2 in name and rank and his boss, Javid, is a control freak who lets no information trickle down. Instead of this being the end of the mission, however, the Center now needs one of the Jennings to murder Javid so Yousaf can take command; he will now be privy to what is actually going on between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Keri Russell The Americans blonde wig
Credit: FX

Elizabeth volunteers for this messy operation and prepares to kill Javid while he is swimming at a local pool. She first takes an antidote so she will not be affected by her means of murder, then proceeds to the pool to complete the mission. After some laps, Elizabeth ambushes Javid and sprays him in the face with a substance that mimics a heart attack. Javid is dead in seconds leaving Yousaf now in charge. Meanwhile, Annelise has a mini-freakout after sleeping with Yousaf. Whereas Elizabeth is always the consummate professional after “doing the deed” (be it murder or sex), Annelise has a normal person’s reaction to what she just did. Thankfully Phillip is there to calm her down and get her back on mission.

Never has it been more apparent that Phillip is bothered by the things Elizabeth has to do for the cause than it is when he is talking to Annelise. Using real truths to spin manipulations and lies is the first things spies are taught, and one of the tricks the Jennings do so well. Phillip tells Annelise how bothered he is seeing her with another man, but we know he is actually talking about his experiences with Elizabeth. Over the past season, Phillip has become more and more leery of sacrificing himself and his family’s well-being for the mission. Tonight, he decided he would rather Elizabeth kill a man than sleep with one.

Larrick And Gad Are Back

After hearing about the murders during Martial Eagle, Larrick heads back to the United States so he can settle the score with his pals at the KGB. He uses a contact at the local telephone company to track the phone line in Bethesda, Maryland that he believes will help him find the Jennings and their colleagues. Larrick uses the information to break into a random family’s house, only to find they are not the ones he is looking for. He does, however, find a large collection of wires that leads from their neighbor’s basement.

There, he finds the KGB operator, the man that has been signaling and delivering mysterious messages to the Jennings (and we can assume the other agents in the DC area) from the Center. Before Larrick can react to the operator’s presence, the man hits a button and destroys all of the phone lines in the room. It seems Larrick may be out of luck until he starts fiddling with everything and eventually gets a line out. The voice on the other end? Kate. Dun dun dun. But will he be able to trace that line to an address?

Also, in a quick sidenote of a scene, Gad was reinstated to his position at the FBI. Apparently the KGB didn’t want Gad’s threats to come to fruition so they decided to drop the inquiry against him. However, Arkady doesn’t let Gad get off without making him feel bad for what he did to Vlad. Gad, with no remorse, responds, “You target us, we target you.”

Like Mother Like Daughter

Building off of the hysteria created in last week’s Phillip vs. Paige battle royale, the two have still not made up. Paige won’t even look at her father, despite his attempts to make up to her without overtly apologizing. Phillip regrets that he overreacted and upset (borderline psychologically abused) his daughter and tells Elizabeth he is going to apologize. However, Elizabeth talks him out of it, claiming he was right for acting that way; Paige was disrespecting them and he can’t be so easy on her. Otherwise, she will be eaten up in the real world.

Later, Phillip is putting the groceries away in the kitchen when Paige, who actually seems to be the bigger adult, comes to help him finish the job. Of course, she also wants to kiss his butt before handing him a brochure for a summer-long fellowship camp that she wants to attend. She would be gone for three months, but Phillip and Elizabeth wouldn’t have to pay for it since she would be a counselor-in-training. Phillip doesn’t seem that against it but says he will have to talk to Elizabeth.

Matthew Rhys Keri Russell The Americans
Credit: SpoilerTV

Always the Debbie Downer, Elizabeth completely nixes the idea. After all, she doesn’t want a bunch of “Jesus freaks” influencing her daughter’s mind for an entire summer. Phillip lets her know about his reservations, that if they deny her this more righteous opportunity, she may turn to drugs and alcohol out of rebellion. Elizabeth says she will take her chances.

Again we are shown that Paige has spy tendencies just like her parents. While cleaning Paige’s room, Elizabeth finds a sheet of paper in the trash bin showing Paige was practicing her mom’s signature. Perhaps for the summer camp permission form? Elizabeth flips out and tells Paige that she will not be going to summer camp; Elizabeth already called the preacher to turn the opportunity down.

I would have loved to hear that conversation. Did the preacher mention Phillip almost beat him up? I am sure he couldn’t put down the phone fast enough. Poor Paige makes a great point back to her mom… why is she the bad guy when Henry is the one breaking into houses? She is going to camp to try to be a better person. Uh oh, there is that “good person” theme again.

Stan, Stan The Deflated Man

Now that Gad is back, he is available to help Stan with his new interest in the Emmet and Leigh Anne case, Oleg, and their ties to the meeting of stealth experts in Alexandria. For some reason, no one at the FBI thoroughly investigated Emmet’s briefcase before Agent Gad. Using his vast expertise, Gad questions Stan about why a man would bring a briefcase on a family vacation and then the two men find a hidden pocket. Emmet is not as innocent as they once thought.

As we also know, Stan is being cheated on by not one but two women. Nina is once again shown sleeping with Oleg and talking about the reasons they left Russia. Oleg claims he wants to make a name for himself away from his important father by restoring the balance of power between Russia and the U.S. in regards to stealth technology. The two also reminisce about Young Pioneer camp (I wonder if Paige would have wanted to go there?). Nina had a great time at camp, but Oleg was always at his family’s house in Crimea (buzzword!!!) during the summer and never was able to go. Despite the luxuries of America, Nina misses the simplicity of life in Russia; everything is so tangled now. Oleg tries to compliment her by informing her she can do anything she wants, but it seems that is what scares her most.

Due to the new information about Emmet and Leigh Anne, Stan goes to meet with Nina for information. She claims to know nothing about the murder. Stan also informs her that he will be using the information that ties the murder to the stealth technology meeting against Oleg to get him kicked out of the country. I expect Nina will not stand for that.  Stan is still upset over Sandra leaving him for another man and he makes sure to tell Nina about it. She pretends to be upset for him, but you know she is really smiling inside and getting ready to add it to Stan’s file.

Following Stan’s meeting with Nina, he meets Emmet and Leigh Anne’s surviving son, Jared. There, he asks Jared personal questions about his parents, such as if they traveled a lot and had many friends. Jared responds that they barely traveled and had many friends. In fact, his mother was on the PTA and father coached tee ball; they were perfectly normal parents. Thank God he wasn’t asking these questions to Paige or Henry, who would have ample instances of their parents traveling and being friendless. Jared, on the other hand, has nothing really to go on. That is, until Stan shows him a police sketch of Phillip and Elizabeth in disguise (the picture drawn last season that led to Elizabeth getting shot). Jared has seen Elizabeth before, since she is posing as his “child advocate”, but will he realize she is the one in the sketch?

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