I know, I know, I keep saying it every week, but this is the best episode of The Americans season 2 so far. What can I do? They keep one upping their selves with every new episode. Maybe it has something to do with the completeness of Martial Eagle. It had violence, stealth planes, Martha using her mouth, religious freak-outs, everything.
All of these would’ve been for naught without the excellent acting of the actors and the actresses of The Americans. I don’t know how Matthew Rhys did it but he really dug up to the bottom of his sadness pit to bring up the emotions he showed on this episode. He was the star of Martial Eagle as his character is being torn apart on the inside with everything that Mother Russia wants him to do. America is also forcing the poor Russian to do unspeakable acts in the name of revenge but it’s not soothing his soul. Philip wasn’t the same guy we saw in season 1 where he was kind of okay with whatever he’s doing. Season 1 Philip liked America, but now, he hates everyone.
Mr. Jennings is standing on the fine line between lunacy and total rage. Clearly, he can’t justify his actions now with his love for Russia because deep inside, whatever he’s doing is wrong. But Philip is forced to do unspeakable acts because he has no choice. He can’t control this part of his life so he turns his attention on something that he can, his family.
Philip ignores Henry, he had a fight with Elizabeth, and focused 80% of his rage at his poor daughter Paige. His anger was so red hot that he even had a (failed) side mission to either beat up or kill the pastor that “took” $600 from Paige (as a donation).
He also partially used his anger to finally let Martha hear the tape that he made to turn her against the FBI. Instead of taking a break with all of the cruelties that he has done, Philip just went deeper. It’s also the same with Elizabeth when we saw her on the AA meeting. I thought she was just taking a break and finding momentary solace but we then found out that it was another mission to gain information on the stealth planes.
Speaking of stealth planes, Agent Beeman is doing his best to safeguard the new technology from the grubby hands of the illegals. Ever since he shot the sniper on the roof, everything has been going downhill for him. On Martial Eagle, everything was going right again for Stan, until Sandra revealed that she was going to have an affair with another man. Buzzkill.
And the last thing that I want to highlight is Agent Gaad’s wonderful speech to his arch-nemesis Arkady. It was two parts threat and three parts act of desperation. Frank Gaad is in deep crap, and his Hail Mary didn’t seem to faze Arjady, but I’d take a guess and bet that the head of the Rezidentura freaked out a little bit (without showing it, of course).
The Verdict? Best episode for season 2, so far. Can’t wait for the next installment.