The Americans Season 2 Review “A Little Night Music”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 4 A Little Night Music (8)

On the latest episode of “The Americans,” it was time for “A Little Night Music,” and as Liz mentioned in her conversation with her latest mark, Brad, it was a little dark alright, and I’m not just talking about the music. Liz certainly went to some dark, dubious places in service of her country, to be sure, including fabricating an awful story about another mark, Andrew Larrick, that was the real focus of her and Phil’s attention.

Man, that was pretty horrible, using a rape story as a cover, even if it did work like a charm. And it was kind of ironic in a warped way, as we were told the guy in question, Andrew, was gay. Actually, the story didn’t work well enough, as Brad ultimately chickened out, but still, he fell for that fake story hook, line, and sinker. To be honest, I sort of did, too, for a hot minute, even while I knew Liz was making it up to bait said hook. Keri Russell is just that good. Who can blame poor Brad for falling for her shtick?

I also got a kick out of the revelation that there used to be listening booths for vinyl- when I was a kid, they had those machines with CDs hooked up to play on headphones to the same end, but I had no idea that was done with vinyl, too. Pretty neat! Too bad they weren’t listening to some of Oleg’s jams, like Blondie and the Police and other New Wave stuff. We’ll forgive the show, given that it featured another amazing Peter Gabriel song earlier in the season, and the classic prom jam “I Melt With You” elsewhere in this one. Cue the “Valley Girl” soundtrack!

Anyway, back to the main story at hand. I was also a bit taken aback by Liz’s reaction to Paige finding religion. Not that I’m some Bible thumper, but I can’t recall having seen such a virulent reaction to Christianity outside of a religious-themed horror movie. Liz was NOT happy with Paige’s new recreational activity. She better watch it, or it might drive Paige to go the other direction with it. I was actually surprised that Paige’s new friend was into all that. I thought for sure she’d be trouble. I suppose, in a way, she is, at least as far as Liz is concerned, but I certainly didn’t expect Youth Bible Study! (Well played with the Marx quote, “Americans” writers.)

Meanwhile, Stan finally told Phil about his affair with Nina, though he said she was “married,” not Russian, so it was only a half-truth. Oleg found out even more when he got daddy dearest to pull some strings and get access to some files, including the reports Nina filed. He tried to play the sympathy card, but Nina still isn’t having it. He was mostly interested in finding out why the Russians dropped pursuing Anton Baklanov like a hot potato- the real answer being because they were talking of forcing him to return to Russia against his will. That’s pretty hardcore, considering the guy hates them. Why would you want to? Unless that’s code for killing the guy, which makes more sense.

Other developments: Gaad was let go and will be replaced by someone named Jim Halliwell, in part because of Stan’s somewhat off-the-book actions on last week’s episode, though he certainly doesn’t blame him for it. It will be interesting to see who this new guy is, and how he approaches things differently. They may have to get a new Phil if he keeps antagonizing Martha like he does, what with her wanting to include him on the employment form she’s filling out. Liz has definitely got him beat in the whole finessing people aspect of their job. Smooth he is not.

Of course, we already know she can take care of herself. In addition to her deft handling of Brad- perhaps it was Phil’s jealousy of her so readily tackling that assignment that set him off with Martha- she also gave the returning Claudia some grief and whooped the tar out of some guy that jumped them when they tried to abduct Anton, whose mistress got the better of Phil before high-jacking the car with Anton inside. Clearly, there’s more to that one than meets the eye, and now she’s seen Phil and Liz. But who is this other guy Liz beat up on? I suspect they will get to the bottom of that sooner than later.

So, a decent episode, worth it, as ever, for Russell’s slam dunk of a performance- not to mention her slamming of that guy with the trunk! Ouch! It was nice seeing Margo Martindale again, and I like the direction all this seems to be headed in, though I’m still a bit lost in terms of certain aspects, like why they want to force an enemy to go back to Russia, and what was up with that machine in the last episode. I suppose those a bit more familiar with their history might know better than I do, but this show has a way of getting around to explaining things in a clever way, so I’m willing to wait.

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? Glad to see Claudia again? What did you make of Liz’s tall tales to Brad? Who were those two that jumped Liz and Phil at the end? What will Gaad’s replacement be like? Will Martha screw things up for Clark…I mean, Phil? Sound off on this and more, comrades, down below and I’ll see you next time!