The Americans Review: Explosive Mistakes

at . Comments

After a string of increasingly intense episodes, "Mutually Assured Destruction" was rather subdued. While it was enjoyable, it didn't hold my attention as much as previous hours of The Americans. The hunt for the KGB-hired assassin felt more like a procedural investigation, rather than a high-stakes spy chase. 

After eight episodes of the show, the use of sexual manipulation for information is starting to feel overused and stale. The assassin, of course, changed it up by hiring a prostitute to sex up the FBI agent, so he could plant the bomb. Though, I have to wonder if FBI employees were really that gullible in the 1980s? 

Elizabeth Aims

The FBI agents weren't the only ones being manipulated, so was Elizabeth. Claudia knew exactly what to say to mess with her head. Elizabeth and Philip finally got to a place where they were happy and loved each other, but that wasn't good for the KGB. If they emotionally bonded, their top priority would no longer be to the homeland, but to each other. Since Elizabeth shared her doubts about Philip's allegiance to Moscow, their closeness was an even bigger threat.

I wouldn't count the Jennings out though. In a short amount of time, Elizabeth was already missing the closeness that she had developed with Philip. It may take some time, but Elizabeth will see that Claudia played her. Yes, Philip lied, but he did it with noble intentions and that means something. He mentioned the possibility of separating, but there's no way she would go through with it. She showed that she deeply cares about their kids and their family.

While Philip got in trouble for sleeping with Irina on a mission, he has free reign it seems to bed Martha regularly. Philip's relationship with her is getting complicated. He really should have stuck firm and not fallen into her bed. In the short term, it got him the information he needed to catch the assassin, but at what cost? The scientist and FBI agents were still killed and Martha wasn't discreet enough about stealing information.

Chris may be a jealous ex-boyfriend, but he is an FBI agent. The way he stalked Martha was creepy and proved that he will stop at nothing to find out who she's dating. When he looks into it, Philip's cover could be blown. I foresee an awkward neighborhood barbecue in all of their futures

If only Chris knew his partner was cheating on the side. Stan now has a safe house to meet Nina. That's convenient for the exchange of information and much more. At first, I thought Nina was seducing Stan strictly to manipulate him, but after their exchanges this week, I think she does have feelings for him. She's feeling isolated and Stan listens to her. He's the one person she doesn't have to tell lies. If she is careful, her new promotion could be a goldmine for the FBI and be her ticket out.

The FBI and the KGB each have offsetting sources in Martha and Nina. Each week, it's a matter of which side gets the information first and then if a countermeasure can be put in place quickly. In an odd twist, this time both Beeman and the Jennings were working towards the same goal. The Jennings prevented additional deaths by killing the assassin, but the one killing was enough to spark an intense, but quiet war between the two countries.

It ended up as a no-win situation for both sides. The Jennings failed at their mission even though they blew up the assassin in spectacular fashion. Elizabeth felt responsible for letting her feelings for Philip distract her and will take on that weight herself.

How will the United States retaliate for the killing of the scientist and the FBI agents? As Agent Gaad said, it won't be with tanks, but something much more discreet. And, will the Jennings be forced to pay a price for their failure?

Has the sexual manipulation been overused at this point? Will Elizabeth come to recognize Claudia's manipulation and forgive Philip? Or, will she continue to push him away? 


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
  • 4.4 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (46 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I love the show. However it bugs me to see the inaccuracies of how the women dress. In that time of the 80's almost every woman wore pantyhose. Going bare legged unless T the beach was taboo. As a woman who was in her 20's during that time I know for a fact what I am saying was true for me and my friends and for every woman I knew.


I tried commenting the same day the review went up, but it wasn't accepted. I suspect there were technical issues with the site. I personally loved this episode - one of my favorites. A nice "case of the week," contributions to the larger story arcs, and good character/relationship developments. The sex was a bit much with the FBI agent and prostitute because it was entirely gratuitous. But when it involves at least one character we know and care about, it doesn't bother me. I'd like to see them use other approaches as well though, like with blackmailing the mother in the second episode.


Love the show.. it was a toned down episode as compared to the few previous ones but I just loved it! I wish they would include more of the 80's music ... one of the best things about the pilot was the music - Phil Collins, Quaterflash ... just gave that whole kick and obviously TUSK set the rhythm... more of the music for me cuz show on its own is doing fantastic!


I love this show and am not sure why more are not commenting. I liked the way this episode started. It felt very light harted...almost Mr and Mrs Smith feel. I actually laughed out loud to Phillips reaction to Elizabeth actually telling a joke. But I guess love does not work in the spy game. Elizabeth should have killed Granny when she had the chance. She will make sure they do not get any closer. Still a tense episode throughout and this show keeps getting better. Now I have to wait two weeks for the next ep... :(


So surprising that no one has commented on the show until now, two days afterwards. Surely it can't be lack of interest, judging from how well the series has been received other weeks. Perhaps this week's episode was a littel lower key than that of previous weeks, so has not elicited as much excitement. However, good review Carla. I agree with you that the sex hook is being a little over-used, and seems to get raunchier with each passing episode. I don't think Philip's cover will be blown by Martha's stalking fellow employee, but I do think it's a litte too convenient that he is a close associate of Philip and Elizabeth's neighbor. That seems to be a set up for some nail-biting down the road. All in all, a good episode, but more to do with character development than action.

Tags: ,

The Americans Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

We just need to know what we need to know.


Philip: That was wonderful, Martha.
Martha: Ditto.