Season 2 of The Americans kicked off last night and it looks like the show is not letting up its relentless pace on its mission to make us all extremely happy that we are not covert Soviet spies stuck living in suburban Virginia in the 1980s. Not only do they have to wear a lot of polyester and have contractually-obligated sex with ugly people wearing polyester, but they have to do it all without the Internet. Who could survive sham marriages without LOL cats and Candy Crush? I shudder to think.
As you may recall (or Googled, because: Internet), the show stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Soviet loyalists recruited to marry and live in the U.S.A. as happy American couple Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, who have two children, a thriving travel agency and a neighbor who just so happens to work for the FBI. Oh yeah, and they spend their weekends -- in this episode at least -- juggling the murders of Afghanis, figuring out which wig goes with which (polyester) outfit and, of course, their son’s birthday. He’s growing up, but not as quickly as their daughter who is undoubtedly scarred for life after learning a valuable lesson about respecting your parents’ privacy. Boundaries are super important when your parents are spies and/or attempting to rekindle their marriage.
While celebrating their son’s birthday at an amusement park, Phillip has to take over some spy business from some… er, coworkers (is that what you call other undercover Soviet operatives?) and things go downhill from there and the body count creeps up on both sides of the political divide.
Meanwhile, something’s brewing at the FBI and not just because agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) is having an affair with a double agent from the Russian consulate. Maybe the asset they tried to turn went crazy due to the FBI’s betrayal or maybe because he watched The French Lieutenant’s Woman one too many times. Only time and a polygraph will tell.
Get all the espionage -- and wig -- details when the full recap is up, written in mostly crackable code.
Welcome to Season 2 of The Americans, where the mustaches are fake, but the drama is real and the spies are everywhere.
When we last saw our favorite embedded Soviet spies, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) had been injured, and on her near-death bed she asked her estranged husband, Philip (Matthew Rhys), to move back into the family homestead. For those keeping track at home, that means at least one of the show's fake marriages just might become a real one.
As we rejoin the show, Elizabeth is ready to rejoin her family. She has finally healed and is preparing to leave the safe house where she has been recuperating. She says goodbye to the friendly-seeming Soviet nursemaid who cared for her, hops in her sweet '80s land yacht and heads out into the night… only to almost crash into a giant metaphor with her car. Elizabeth stares at the mama deer and her two little does as they amble across the dark road and she shivers in her darkened car, staring at the power of symbols and muttering, "Damn, regardless of his ideology, Joseph Campbell was really on to something."
While Elizabeth parses a metaphor as she drives home Philip is wrestling with a mustache that is rivaled in size only by the ten-gallon hat resting on his head. Truly there is nothing that screams "AMERICAN!" more than a ten-gallon hat and a mustache. At least the Afghanis he is meeting with seem to be buying it. Philip is impersonating an American mercenary who is eager to help the Afghanis drive the scumbag Soviets out of their country and they are looking forward to facing down a common enemy together and ridding their homeland of the worthless Russians. To further cement the blossoming relationship -- because this is the '80s and they couldn't just connect on LinkedIn -- the Afghani gives Philip a cherished gift: the knife he used to kill his very first Russian soldier. He wants Philip to have it as a token of their long-lasting business relationship and burgeoning friendship. In return, Philip shoots him in the stomach, twice. Guess he would have preferred an Edible Arrangement!
Philip shoots the other guy (his dad/elder statesman?) in the head, too, because that's just what you do in these situations. Philip tells the younger man to deliver a message to his brother that the Russians are everywhere and no one can protect them. The man launches himself at Philip, pulls his wig off his head and throws it into some hummus. That's just too much for Philip, who shoots him in the head in retaliation. He plucks his toupée out of the hummus and heads into the kitchen where he has no choice but to shoot an adorable innocent dishwasher in the head, just in case. He puts the cowboy hat back on his head, tucks the wig into the pocket and heads out into the night. All in a day's work for a Soviet spy.