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The Americans Review: Manipulative Lies

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Being a spy is a hard life. Lies. So many lies.

Philip finally cracked. He's always been in control of the various aspects of his life.

On The Americans Season 2 Episode 9, the deaths, lies, loyalty, and disappointment all collided to knock Philip down. He took it out on everyone around him.

Even though Elizabeth has always been the loyalist of the couple, I expected her to break before Philip. She has a solid rock facade, while his exterior has been the pliable one. Instead of hers being chipped away, Philip's just melted. He's a mess ... a dangerous mess.

All the killing and deaths finally became too much when the mission at the training camp went bad. That dismay was compounded when they found the truck driver dead. Philip was upset about it, while Elizabeth just saw it as part of the job. She has ice cold blood running through her. She may have looked away when Lucia was killed, but she didn't even move a centimeter to help save her.

The worst part of Philip's disintegration is that it's mostly a response to a lie. He was told that 160 sailors died because of fake propeller plans that he stole. In reality, the plans were probably good, but misused by the Soviets and put into action without proper testing.

This information renewed Philip and Elizabeth's disdain for America. And they spread that lie to gain further support from Fred. It also pushed Philip to use the altered tape to gain Martha's help in uncovering information about the stealth program. How much of the cold war was based on manipulated propaganda?

On the opposite side, Stan reacted to his betrayal by getting further involved in the stealth project. It's unclear what will come out of it, but it's a risky move. Will he redeem himself by preventing the Soviets from getting the intelligence. Or, will he be forced to further compromise the program to protect Nina?

This once honorable man has turned on everything that was good in his life over the love of a woman who is manipulating him. Nina's loyalties are still up in the air, though if she had to chose between Stan and Oleg right now, I think she'd pick Stan. That could be wishful thinking on my part. He's given everything he has for her and it would be devastating if her feelings weren't authentic.

Stan's redemption seems less likely every day. Good for Sandra to take control of her own life and go on a trip with another man. She lost her husband a long time ago. She showed her strength by moving on, but making him be the one to declare the marriage over. 

If nothing else, her absence will give Stan more time to investigate the stealth meeting. The new information that Emmett and LeeAnn's murder was the same day is quite intriguing. I wasn't invested in finding their murderer until now. Who killed them and what's the connection to the meeting?

During The Americans Season 1, it was easy to be sympathetic to both the Jennings and Stan. They were on opposite sides of the Cold War, but as individual characters, their actions made sense. That's become less and les possible as all of them take horrendous actions. 

The United States may have "won" the Cold War, but The Americans shows that maybe neither side really won. The losses and sacrifices were high for both the United States and the Soviet Union. Immoral actions were taken by all.

"Martial Eagle" was one of the darkest hours of the series. I can't recall one happy moment. With only a few episodes left this season, I hope it brightens up at least a little bit, though I fear this was just the beginning of the characters' descents into darkness.

Odds and Ends

  • Stan: It sounds like science fiction, but you make your planes invisible.
  • Philip was always the favorite parent, but now he's brushing off his son and tearing up his daughter's Bible. Father of the Year, he's not.
  • Gaad's offer (or threat) to Arkady was intriguing. Will the Russian help out Gaad to prevent being exposed?
  • Elizabeth's crushed at what her kids have become. They are everything she's fighting against. How did she reconcile that? She woke Paige up and put her to work in the middle of the night. 
  • Stan and Fred: Two traitors sitting across from each other pretending to be loyal Americans
  • Philip needs Martha for information, but pretending to be her loving husband is becoming more difficult. How much longer can he carry on with her?
  • When Philip visited Pastor Tim, I thought he was going to kill him. Instead, he left without the money and without retribution. All he got was Tim's reassurance that he would be forgiven.

Was Paige's punishment justified?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (17 Votes)

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

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Wolfshades

You're right on when you say that Stan has cracked. He just doesn't know it yet. For a while now he's been flirting with the American way of life, and loving it, as we saw with the new car episode. Up until now, killing others for the sake of the cause hasn't been that big of an issue, but suddenly it's becoming a really big deal for him. The more deaths occur because of him, the more despairing he seems to get. And now he's angry and dangerous and perhaps a little out of control. What agent in their right mind would risk exposing himself as he did when he visited the pastor? As soon as he stepped into the man's office, his facade was down, and the pastor could easily see he is a dangerous man. I loved this episode, as dark as it was, and can't wait to see what happens next.

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A powerful episode! I was struck by how lost Philip seemed to be by the end of the hour. I too thought he was going to beat up the pastor, and he did have every intention, but the pastor defused the situation, pointing out that the church is a sanctuary that turns no one away. Maybe Philip will return and seek solace with the pastor's help. He certainly looked like a lonely, lost soul as he left the church.
Turned out that all the participants in the Lockheed/Northrup stealth project meeting were being closely watched by two surveillance operatives. The two responsible for Fred must surely have known about his relationship with his Russian handlers. My guess is that they went to retrieve the information that they thought Fred had passed to them (not knowing about Philip), and killed them in the process.

The Americans Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

You inherited me. You didn't see something in me.

Fred

You respect Jesus but not us?!

Philip
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