The Americans Season 2 Review “Comrades”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 1 Comrades (2)

Well, they certainly hit the ground running on the premiere episode of “The Americans,” that’s for sure. In “Comrades,” we were introduced to another family, the Connors, not unlike Philip and Liz’s own- two married agents posing as a couple, complete with a slew of kids. Unfortunately for them, their ending was not a happy one, and had to have served as a wake-up call to what fate might befall the Jennings family, should they slip up somehow as well. Will this affect whether or not they stay loyal to their cause or not? Only time will tell.

This episode certainly didn’t pull any punches, between the opening bit with Phillip meeting with Afghanis wanting to roust out the Soviet presence in their country going all sideways, “Inglourious Basterds”-style, to the tense bits with the security guy in the hotel room and the dead drop at the carnival, to the horrifying end of the Connors. Not to mention the future therapy-inducing scars that Paige will have trying to get over having seen her parents engaging in a 69. Between that and Liz and Leanne’s sexcapades with the aforementioned security guy, FX wasn’t playing around with that episode rating, either. Yikes!

I loved the symbolism scattered throughout the episode, from Liz’s run-in with the deer caught in her headlights, to Philip’s gift to his son of the telescope (how apropos, given their line of work) to the apt choice of movie in “French Lieutenant’s Woman,” which cropped up both in the theater and in bootleg form- definitely an ironic state of affairs, given Stan’s day job, not to mention a choice that resonated with all who watched it, not in the least poor Nina. Nice observation on her part that the main character was “too much of what a man thinks a woman is, what he wants her to be.”

I also got a kick out of all the low-fi references and tech, from the bootleg videos to the ancient mail-bot to the Intellivision mention. Not sure about the whole “Line X” thing. I will have to do some digging on that one, but Oleg is already an intriguing character, and that was pretty funny that he was rocking the Rod Stewart. Interesting that Arkady thinks that younger agents will be the death of the KGB, especially since some were found in the States not too terribly long ago, i.e. Anna Chapman. Whoops! Guess he was wrong there.

Other interesting developments were the death of recurring character Sanford Prince, who was none too happy about being stiffed by the government, money-wise, after his info proved “wrong” (you’ll recall it was right but the Russians got wind of the FBI op and changed everything at the last minute) and went to confront Colonel Rennhull, only to get several bullets in his head for his troubles. I couldn’t help but think of the whole “stand your ground” overkill that we’ve been hearing about in recent times, a la George Zimmerman.

Also, a few people saw Philip leaving the scene of the crime involving the Connors, including the lone survivor of the massacre, son Jared. Will that come back to haunt Philip later on? Though rattled by that particular experience, he certainly took his wife banging that security guy in stride, didn’t he? Just another day at the office for these people, I suppose. I know that’s part of the job, but I don’t think I’d be able to blow that off like these two- no pun intended. (Okay, maybe a little- how often do you get to make a 69 joke involving a TV show?)

All in all, a pretty solid episode all around, I thought. The show has lost none of its power to shock and engage in the time since it’s been off the air. “The Americans” was definitely one of the best new shows I saw last year, and it’s poised to be just as good this season. True, now that we know how the show functions, it will be trickier to pull the wool over our eyes as viewers, but the premiere shows that, if nothing else, this show has a few more tricks up its sleeve yet.

What did you think of “The Americans” premiere? Were you shocked by some of the developments? Was it steamy enough for you? What did you think of the whole business of the Connors? Do you think anyone is wise to the Jennings clan after the whole carnival situation? Where do you think things will go from here? Does Nina actually care for Stan? What is Oleg up to? Will Paige find out what her parents are really up to? Sound off on this and more down below in the comments section, and I’ll see you next week!