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TV Review/Recap: “The Americans” Operation Chronicle (Season 2 Episode 12)

It seems the theme to tonight’s episode of The Americans is trust, an important element of the spy business. On one hand, Jared has to trust that Elizabeth has his best interests at heart when she tells him he is in danger and needs to disappear; Nina has to trust that Stan will commit treason in order to save her from being deported and standing trial in Moscow; and the Jennings have to use their family dynamic to build trust with their Lockheed asset, Fred. On the other hand, Paige has lost trust in her parents due to their shady behavior; Martha no longer trusts and respects her colleagues with classified material; and further ripples develop in the Jennings trusting the KGB to protect their family. Because this is the last episode before the finale, each instance of trust (or lack thereof) is leading to an explosive finale and the stakes have never been higher.

Get Jared Out

Now that the Jennings know Kate is probably dead and used her last moments to warn them to help Jared, it’s time they do exactly what they were told, “Get Jared out.” Elizabeth rushes out of the house to get Jared out of danger, leaving Phillip to stay with the kids and message the Centre about the current situation. Because the KGB operator hasn’t been responding, Phillip is forced to send the message from the family home. Hopefully the FBI isn’t listening in.

Paige, being her normal nosy self, isn’t buying the fact that her mom, a “travel agent”, has to go to the office for urgent business. The elder Jennings quickly interject with a pretty believable story, important clients had their reservations canceled and they need to get their contact numbers from the office; however, Paige still isn’t buying it. As it turns out, Paige is upset that her mom is choosing something else over her. After all, Elizabeth had promised to help Paige pack for her protest trip. Although Elizabeth apologizes profusely, Paige isn’t satisfied and more importantly, her paranoia wasn’t assuaged. Better luck next time, Liz!

Keri Russell The Americans 212
Credit: Patrick Harbron/FX

Elizabeth bolts down highway 64 towards Norfolk/VA Beach to pick up Jared.  Once she arrives, she doesn’t see anyone (FBI or otherwise) surveilling the house and reports back to Phillip. However, while the two adult Jennings are on the phone, Paige tries to sneak a listen on the phone line in her bedroom, proving once again that she doesn’t trust her parents. Thankfully, she doesn’t really hear anything because Phillip catches her in time. Phillip and Elizabeth start talking about Jared again and wonder why the Centre is so adamant that Jared knows the truth about his parents; after all, he can be taken care of by the KGB without his knowledge. Regardless, Phillip tells Elizabeth that she can use a method (a code word) they’ve used with a previous contact to prove they are “friends”. Now it is up to Elizabeth to “Get Jared out.”

You in danger, Jared!

Yes, Whoopi Goldberg said it best when she warned Demi Moore in Ghost that she was in trouble. Only, the “trouble” in The Americans is not paranormal; it’s in the form of Larrick. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, who is rocking her social worker disguise, Larrick is watching as she tries to pick Jared up in her car.

Elizabeth tells Jared the code Kate told him to use in order to prove who is a friend, “three things people should focus on every day are health, growth and community.” This phrase proves that Elizabeth is trustworthy and Jared willingly gets in the car. Here, Elizabeth comes clean and tells him she was a friend of his parents and needs to protect him from a very specific danger :cough: Larrick :cough:. Although she knows it’s hard, he is going to have to give up his old life in the United States and be placed in another country by the KGB; consider this the KGB’s Witness Protection Program. Based on the fact Elizabeth knew his parents well, she reassures Jared that he is strong just like them and will be able to make it anywhere.

Elizabeth takes Jared to a rest stop and makes him get rid of his old belongings, including his old clothes. She gives him new clothes so he can start fresh in this new life on the run. She then takes Jared to the train station and provides a number for him to call when he safely arrives at his destination in upstate NY. Thankfully for Jared, Elizabeth made a good decision by getting rid of his belongings. As it turns out, Larrick had placed a tracking device in Jared’s backpack, which he traced to the rest stop’s trash can. The time it takes Larrick to figure out the correct train station gives Jared enough time to safely escape. However, Larrick inevitably uses a fake police badge on the station’s employees to discover Jared’s destination.

Jared arrives in upstate NY and is picked up by the same woman that nursed Elizabeth back to health in her cabin at the beginning of the season. The episode ends with Larrick arriving at the same train station and finding out about this woman and her human cargo. There has to be quite a few female truck drivers in rural parts of NY, right? Hopefully Larrick will have a bit of a hard time finding exactly where Jared was heading.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth arrives back at home and begins feeling badly about the way the KGB is handling Jared. Where are they even sending him? He could be living in Siberia for all she knows. Jared is an American kid and has no experience living in another country, especially a third-world country, by himself. What if this were Paige or Henry? Elizabeth is positive that her own kids would be “dead in an alley in a week.” Elizabeth and Phillip came to the United States together, but Jared is going to be by himself, still grieving over the recent death of his parents. Although Phillip tries to reassure her, Elizabeth is undeterred. She knows something is coming one day, she can only hope her family comes out on the other side unscathed.

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Credit: Patrick Harbron/FX

Stealthy Fred

Along with getting Jared to safety, the Jennings are also asked to get the RAM (radar-absorbent material) paint samples from a stealth aircraft manufacturing plant. For this, they need to touch base with their buddy Fred again. Fred is used to being Emmet’s asset, so Phillip is still scrambling to gain his complete trust. Phillip noticed Fred bought Christmas presents for Emmet’s son, so family must be important to him. To help their relationship reach another level, Phillip decides to introduce him to Elizabeth (who is also in disguise). Fred loves that Phillip trusted him enough to do this; after all, he never got to meet Emmet’s wife. Now he feels that he can really trust the Jennings and is more easily convinced to get the paint samples. With the help of Elizabeth’s reassuring smile, Fred agrees to go to Factory 237 wearing special KGB issued shoes that will absorb paint samples off of the floor. All he has to do is find a way to sneak into the appropriate area.

Paige’s Paranoia

We finally are given more information on Paige’s thoughts regarding her parents. After the incident with listening in on her parents’ phone call, Paige seems even more suspicious about what they may be doing behind the scenes. She leaves to go on her nuclear protest trip and on the bus with her church group, she finally talks to someone, the preacher, about how shady her parents can be. Of course the preacher knows first-hand about her parents since Phillip threatened and almost assaulted him a few episodes back.

Oddly enough, when the preacher asks if her dad is hard on her, she says no, it’s mostly her mom. Can you imagine what he must have been thinking after that revelation? He thought Phillip was the real “monster” in the family, and Elizabeth is even worse than that?! Paige informs him that something strange is going on with her parents. She isn’t sure what it is, but she thinks one or both of her parents are having an affair; she doesn’t believe a word out of their mouth. Whyyyyyy in the world would she choose to talk to the preacher about this? That is the most awkward thing I have ever seen, but whatever, to each their own. Paige’s suspicions are only ramping up. I think it’s just a matter of time before she finds out what is actually going on in the basement.

Stan, Stan, The “You Get A Car” Man

I hope this isn’t the only time I get to compare Stan to Oprah Winfrey. Following Nina’s dramatic plea for help last week, and the fact his wife Sandra is officially moving in with her new boyfriend, White Knight Stan takes it upon himself to help Nina get away from the KGB. Little does he know, Nina is actually setting him up for Operation Chronicle, the KGB’s plan to get information from Stan about the stealth program Echo.

Stan promises Nina that he will buy her a car, which will help her get to a big city that doesn’t have a Soviet consulate. There, she will be able to blend in and live without the fear of the KGB coming to get her. Sidenote: Does Stan actually think that just moving to a city without a Soviet consulate would keep them away? If they really wanted Nina, nothing would stop them from getting her.

Regardless, Stan goes to a used car dealership and buys Nina a car. However, when he gets back to the apartment to tell her the good news, Arkady is waiting for him. As if that isn’t bad enough, Nina has also been visibly beaten. Arkady tells Stan that he has a letter ready to send to the FBI telling them of Stan’s treasonous behavior. On top of that, they plan to take Nina back to Moscow and execute her unless Stan is able to get information about Echo. As long as he delivers, the two lovebirds can fly off into the sunset together.

Stan clearly knows Arkady means business and immediately jumps into action. He informs Agent Gad that he needs permission to access Echo, claiming it’s a weak point in the stealth program that would allow the Soviets to gain access. This time, Stan has few barriers to getting information on a stealth project. However, now he has to choose: patriotism and loyalty to his country or Nina. There’s no going back.

As Stan is figuring out what to do about Echo, Oleg is busy at the Rezidentura trying to protect Nina in case everything blows up in their faces. He meets with Arkady and tries to get assurances that Nina will be safe from trial since she has been working so hard for the cause. Arkady says the KGB is worried she’s still working for the Americans. The only way she can prove her loyalty once and for all is by getting Stan to divulge information that the Americans would never willingly give up, even to play her against them. They are essentially killing two birds with one stone. After this disappointing, serious meeting, Oleg meets with Nina and secretly gives her an envelope full of money in case she needs to run away. I wish I had guys giving me cars and money! Nina is clearly the real winner here.

Martha’s Maternal Mindset

The Martha and Philip storyline makes me even more certain that my prediction about a Martha pregnancy is in the cards. Phillip goes to Martha’s apartment to apologize for not being there on his scheduled night. Martha is fine with it and proceeds to show him classified documents that are being left unsecured at work. Because Phillip is allegedly the security expert, she wanted him to know about the violation. Based on the mean messages she heard from her coworkers last week, Martha hopes these documents will get her coworkers in trouble once and for all.

Martha also drops two bombshells. First, she lets Phillip know that she is aware of his toupee (though she thinks this is for cosmetic purposes, not spy disguise purposes). Then she tells him she doesn’t want to use condoms anymore because she wants to have his baby. Phillip says kids aren’t in the cards for him. Martha appears heartbroken, which makes me think… is she going to “accidentally” get pregnant? Uh oh…

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