Episode Breakdown: The Americans – Season 6 Episode 2

The Americans
Created By Joseph Weisberg
Where: FX
When: Wednesdays @ 10pm EST

Where We Left Off:

Last week, we jumped ahead three years and saw Phillip retired from spy work and simply running his expanded travel agency. That wouldn’t last, however, as a returning Oleg Burov came back to America to put him on a mission to spy on his own wife and stop her potentially Earth-shattering rogue mission. What mission? Operation Dead Hand, which involves Elizabeth spying on Gorbachev at the nuclear summit in DC. Oh, it also involves absolute silence with a side of cyanide capsules. We also see Elizabeth with a new cover, as an in-home nurse caring for a dying woman with an important husband. We also got to see Paige’s training gone awry, as she made a mistake that cost a US Naval officer his life when Elizabeth had to clean up after her. Elizabeth has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and it’s starting to compress in a big way.

What Went Down:

This week, Elizabeth was tasked with finding a lithium-based radiation sensor, which, as usual, she is told is vital to the cause. The Cold War may be drawing to a close, and Elizabeth is still in the trenches, trying to do everything she can to avoid disaster for her side, and possibly inflict it upon the other. In order to get the sensor, she needs to call on an old source, General Rennhull, unseen for some time in this world. Unfortunately, he’s playing hardball this time and initially refuses to help Elizabeth, causing her to threaten him. As if that weren’t a dangerous enough move, Elizabeth also runs an operation inside the State Department, gathering information on President Reagan’s potential dementia. Elsewhere, Claudia continues to impress Russian influences upon Paige, this time in the form of Tchaikovsky symphonies. The foreshadowing is ominous when she tells Paige that “his mother died young and he lived a life of sadness.” Paige wants to believe her mother is fine and has this all under control, but that illusion is shattered in the final moments. Elizabeth meets Rennhull again, who draws a gun on her and refuses to betray his country. Elizabeth manages to wrestle him to the ground and grab his hand, executing him in a way that looks like suicide. But when Elizabeth, covered in brains and blood, sees Paige standing there, she realizes just how real things have become for the daughter she keeps trying to shield from the ugly truth. The world is piling atop Elizabeth like nothing before, and that’s without even taking where Phillip’s loyalties will land into consideration.


Where We Go From Here:

When Elizabeth offered to help Glenn’s wife kill herself to end the suffering, we’re left to wonder if he would allow her to go through with it, and if he does, what will that do to his mental state? How will Elizabeth be able to exploit that for her gain ahead of the summit? Phillip, with less a season to go, will have to decide whether or not to go through with the mission Burov has set him on. He won’t have much time to decide, and he may find he’s rusty after being out of the game for a few years. Now that the curtain has been lifted for Paige, will she question everything her mother has taught her? I’m not sure they can ever have a normal relationship again, after the image she was left with to close the episode. In a show about parenting, Elizabeth now has many questions to answer for a child who isn’t likely to believe a word coming out of her mouth.

What did you think of this week’s episode?
Will Phillp attempt to stop Elizabeth’s mission? If so, how far will he go?
With all the close calls already this season…will Elizabeth survive?

Check back next time for another Episode Breakdown…
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