Emily Theytaz ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Is Philip a monster? This was a question tackled throughout this fifth episode in the second season of The Americans.
At the end of last week’s episode, Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) were jumped but managed to take one captive. This week it was revealed that the man they captured was a Mossad agent (Cliff Simon). Lucky for our favorite KGB agents, the Mossad’s have the scientist that Philip and Elizabeth were assigned to expediting back to the Soviet Union. A trade was set up but while the Mossad agent’s life was up in the air for a while, we saw how the Mossad agent used his humanity like how Philip used his humanity to get Fred to let him go a few weeks ago. He showed to Philip that he was a human being. He connected with him, found the similarities between the two of them and exploited them. Philip felt obliged to let him go, make the deal, and get the physicist Anton Baklanov (Michael Aronov) sent back to the Soviet Union.
One thing’s for sure, Baklanov was not happy to be sent back; he pleaded with a stoic Philip in the car to let him stay for three more months so he could be at his son’s bar mitzvah. Philip didn’t say anything as Baklanov cried, “You’re a monster. You’re not a man. Whatever you once were, whoever you were, they trained it out of you. No feeling, no humanity. You may as well be dead.” Although Philip kept a straight face the entire time, we know his personality well enough now that he must have been battling on the inside. Philip is doing his job but every once in a while we see him crack a little more and it’s only a matter of time before he either leaves the KGB or becomes fully committed to his motherland.
While Philip was debating whether or not to kill an agent, Elizabeth was with our gullible Martha (Alison Wright) sipping white wine fully disguised as Clark’s sister “Jennifer.” Elizabeth’s obvious goal was to get Martha to not submit the form with Clark’s name written on it. Elizabeth got more than she bargained for when Martha opened that second bottle of wine and started dishing about the greatness of Martha and Clark’s sex life. It visibly made Elizabeth uncomfortable and not in the normal “I don’t want to hear about how good in bed my brother is” kind of way.
We don’t know for now why Elizabeth was so discomfited by this but hopefully we’ll have our answers by next week we’ll have our answers. However, Elizabeth did succeed in her mission and got Martha to take Clark’s name off her application. No background checks on Clark – no problem! Well…for now. Elizabeth did provide Martha with some insight on Clark and told her that his social cues suck. Martha shouldn’t worry about Clark not returning her calls because he “has always been like that.” Good job Elizabeth. Hopefully these two sisters-in-law can reunite more often and have more wine nights. They give the show some comedic relief and with a show so full of drama and action – it’s definitely needed.
Oleg (Costa Ronin) is still our mystery man. We still don’t know what his end game is but this episode brought him face-to-face with Stan (Noah Emmerich). He told Stan that he knew about him and Nina (Annet Mahendru) and how she was in danger; he wants to make a deal for her safety. Does he actually care about Nina? Is he trying to help her? Or help himself? Oleg remains a mystery and while we wait for clarity on what his plan is, we hold onto the hope that maybe Stan and Nina will have a Romeo and Juliet end to their relationship and both die and be off the show and be rid of the countless minutes spent playing Flappy Bird instead of paying attention to what they’re saying.
As a closing note for this week’s episode there are some things to point out. Number one being a plea to the show to submit an application to the Emmy’s based solely on Michael Aronov (Baklanov’s) grueling and goose-bump giving performance in the back of that car which was truly spectacular. Secondly, the last few minutes of the episode were of Philip and Elizabeth lying on the couch telling stories and trying to remember the motherland. It was a beautiful moment of remembrance of their previous real lives before the day started and they reverted to their lies.
Overall Episode Grade: B