8.8

The Americans Review: “A Little Night Music”

(Episode 2.04)

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<i>The Americans</i> Review: &#8220;A Little Night Music&#8221;

Secrets came out. Confessions were made. And a familiar face returned in the most recent outing of The Americans.

The ever fabulous Margo Martindale was back as Claudia, Philip and Elizabeth’s erstwhile KGB handler. Anyone who has watched the CBS comedy The Millers will truly appreciate how wonderful it is to see Martindale back on a quality show. While I may be thrilled Claudia has returned, Philip and Elizabeth are much more wary. “I’m glad you’re okay,” Claudia tells Elizabeth before saying she wants to them to launch an unsanctioned investigation into who killed Emmett and Leanne. “They won’t do what it takes to find out what really happened,” Claudia says of the KGB. But Elizabeth remains suspicious of Claudia’s ulterior motive.

Emmett and Claudia were blackmailing a man named Andrew Lerric, a closeted armed forces officer. Claudia thinks he could be the one who executed the couple and their daughter. Elizabeth seduces Brad, a naïve guy who can get Elizabeth access to Andrew’s files. The assignment is clearly wearing on Elizabeth. She looks even more vacant and dead inside than usual as she must pretend to be romantically interested in Brad.

Of course, Elizabeth and Philip still have sanctioned KGB word to do. They are responsible for kidnapping a Russian physicist, so he can be exfiltrated against his will. The physicist has a mistress, which always makes kidnapping someone more convenient, or so they think.

As for Paige, much to my disappointment, her friend Kelly turned out to be a member of a church youth group. Not nearly as interesting as being an undercover KGB agent. I mean I guess that theory is still possible, but I doubt the KGB would come up with a cover story that would so incense Elizabeth and Philip. In the youth group, Paige finds other kids who understand her point of view. While Philip thinks this is just Paige being a typical teenager and a phase that could quickly pass, Elizabeth is furious. “You protect them from the big things out there … and then something finds its way into your house,” she tells Philip.

Instead of getting the commendation he deserves, Stan must watch Agent Gaad takes the fall for his operation. (I sure hope this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing less of John Boy.) Later, a melancholy Stan confesses his affair to Philip and laments that he killed the would-be assassin last week. “When the hoopla is over, you took a guy off the face of the earth,” he tells Philip. But I still can’t completely get a read on Stan. Is Stan vulnerable and confessing his affair because he wants to tell his good friend about his troubled marriage and newfound love? Or is he trying to get a read on how Philip reacts to his confession because he’s still suspicious of him?

Meanwhile Oleg uses his family connections to get bumped up in security clearance and access to Nina’s files. He finds out that Nina is sleeping with Stan but not that she originally betrayed her country. But, as Nina points out, it’s probably only a matter of time until he figures that out, too. And then what will become of Nina? Will she be able to use her considerable feminine wiles on Oleg?
Martha is becoming increasingly annoyed by Clark’s constant absences. This time, she realizes he’s intentionally picking a fight with her so he can get out of the house instead of spending a romantic, lazy morning with her. She’s also planning to put his name down as her husband on a federal form for her job application. Last season, I worried that Martha would be killed. Now I’m really worried. She’s getting dangerously close to the truth or at least dangerously close to figuring out Clark isn’t who he says he is, and Philip can’t have that.

At the very end of the episode, Philip and Elizabeth try to kidnap the physicist and are attacked by his mistress and another unknown man. The mistress takes off with their car. Who attacked them? Did Claudia send someone? Is it the same people who killed Emmett and Leanne? Or somebody else entirely. As they said in the season premiere, they have many enemies.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Americans? Do you think Martha will live to see the end of the season? Will Oleg find out Nina’s secret? Do you think Stan is still suspicious of Philip? Talk about it below.

Other thoughts on “A Little Night Music”:

When Paige is late coming home, Philip just tells her, “Call if you’re going to be late next time.” Would he be more suspicious given what happened last week?
Philip wanted to buy a new car. Now he has an excuse.
Henry is not giving up on his desire for Intellivision.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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