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“The Americans” Review/Recap: “Cardinal”

Emily Theytaz ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans episode "The Cardinal." Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.
Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans episode “The Cardinal.” Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.

After an explosive season premiere, The Americans focused this week on the ramifications caused by Emmett (Jeremy Davidson) and Leeanne’s (Natalie Gold) murder. The scariest part of the murder for Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) was of course that Emmett and Leeanne were as much a family as the Jennings are.

They took the same precautions Phil and Elizabeth did and followed the rules and made sure to stay safe. The parallels between the two families run deep, and while the kids used to be a mere alibi, they’ve suddenly been put into play. In season one the Jennings’s were able to keep their work and private life separate, but it’s now starting to look like that is no longer going to be possible.

The Jennings’s becoming less and less careful with their children brings bad news for Philip and Elizabeth. It looks like Paige (Holly Taylor) is no longer the naïve, gullible child she was in season one. Last week we began to see her suspicions growing over her mother’s laundry and checking to make sure her parents were home. This week, Paige continues her sleuthing and ends up finding the phone number for ‘Helen Leavis’ who sent her parents a post card. Here’s hoping Paige will become the next Sherlock Holmes and discover all on her own that her parents are in fact KGB spies.

Annet Mahendru in The Americans episode "The Cardinal." Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.
Annet Mahendru in The Americans episode “The Cardinal.” Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.

Speaking of bad news for Philip, Martha (Alison Wright) has started to become a problem. She and Philip –or Clark as she knows him to be called – are in a blissful fake marriage that is soon to become a disaster. But unlike Paige, Martha is so incredibly gullible and easy to manipulate that she hasn’t realized a thing. She tells Philip at breakfast that she’s considering applying for an opening for a better paying senior position in another FBI office.

Of course, Philip can’t let that happen because the only reason he’s with her is so that she can spill FBI counterintelligence to him. This sounds like it would be a big problem, but no worries, Philip easily persuades Martha that that’s a bad idea and soon enough she’s back to believing his flight home to DC was cancelled and that he’s stuck in Boston for the night. Honestly Martha, your husband lives with you one night of the week and you’re not suspicious at all?

In other fake relationship news, Stan (Noah Emmerich) and Nina (Annet Mahendru) are the bane of this show. Their story goes back and forth from Nina telling Arkady (Lev Gorn) what Stan and the FBI told her, to then telling Stan what Arkady’s up to. It’s all very dull and boring and now that Nina knows for sure that Stan killed Vlad way back in season one, she is not about to switch and side with the FBI anymore.

Keri Russell in The Americans episode "The Cardinal." Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.
Keri Russell in The Americans episode “The Cardinal.” Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX.

With all the relationship drama going on, the KGB sends Philip to Virginia to investigate Emmett’s contact – a man called Fred (John Carroll Lynch). The KGB wants to find out if Fred had anything to do with Emmett and his family’s murder because the FBI had apparently nothing to do with it. So Philip goes on a mission to find Emmett’s murderer and of course ends up getting tied up with a gun pointed to his head by Fred. After some long drawn out discussions, Fred eventually unties Philip and convinces Philip that he had nothing to do with the murder. So if neither the FBI nor an insider killed Emmett’s family, who did?

It’s only episode two of  The Americans season 2 and it already looks like we’re in for another crazy season. Hold on to your Vodka and forged American passports ladies and gentlemen, this should be good.

Overall Episode Grade: B-

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