The Americans Season 2 Review “Behind the Red Door”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 6 Behind the Red Door (1)

In a sexy, if somewhat disturbing, episode of “The Americans,” we got to see what lay “Behind the Red Door,” which was ostensibly a nod to the fact that Stan’s wife painted their front door red- excuse me, “tomato tango”- but was actually more likely both a nod to the “reds” most of the show revolves around, aka the Russians in question. It might have also been a reference to the 70s porn sensation, “Behind the Green Door,” with Marilyn Chambers, given all of the sexual content involved, which was fairly twisted.

You’ll recall that last week Martha filled Liz, aka Jenny, in on the fact that her “husband” Clark, aka Phil, was quite the wild man in bed. That was clearly eating away at her this week, as she kept picking at the scab with Phil until he acquiesced and let “Clark” take care of his wife in decidedly brutal, animalistic fashion, leaving Liz in tears. Somewhat ironically, Liz was the one who ended up apologizing to Phil, who was a little taken aback by this turn of events. Be careful what you ask for, I guess.

What I got out of it was that Phil’s approach with Liz was intense, but ultimately loving, whereas his approach with Martha was much more aggressive so as to distance himself from what he was actually doing. Not unlike what Lucia was up to with congressional aide Carl, who she seduced and killed via a spiked dose of what I think was heroin, or possibly coke. (I’ll admit I’m not sure on that front, as I thought you snorted coke and shot up heroin, and not vice versa, but it looked like he was doing both, so maybe one of you readers know better than I do.)

It was interesting how gung-ho Lucia was about what she had to do, to the point that even Liz was a bit taken aback. Note her reaction to Lucia’s fist pumping salute to her when they met, and how nonplussed Lucia was when Liz told her she would need to get rid of Carl in order to take suspicion away from herself after Liz snuck in and took photos of the congressman’s papers in his safe. I guess the point being made was how ruthless the new breed of recruits was, be it Lucia, or Nina, or whoever killed the Connors family. (Actually, that one could have been an old-school execution, as we don’t know who did it yet.)

Speaking of Nina, Stan is finally getting wary of what’s going on with her, between Oleg’s blackmail- which it turned out Arkady was in on- and his insistence on her getting a polygraph to prove her innocence, which sent her running for the door, claiming she was done with all of this. From the looks of next week’s preview, she’ll be back, as it showed her taking said test after all. I never quite know what to think with Nina. She always seems to be playing both sides, with limited loyalty to either one, basically whoever it’s in her best interest to manipulate. Which is, of course, what makes her character so fascinating to me.

There was also some intrigue involving the operation “Military Eagle,” which would seem to be some form of a military training camp on US soil for recruited Nicaraguans, aka the Contras, a rebel band of soldiers who were fighting against their own government, with financial support from the US. Apparently, the Centre wants Liz and Phil to assassinate the field commanders of the operation, though, at this point, they don’t know who they are yet. Clearly, they’re hoping to use closeted homosexual and military man Larrick to pull it off, which they initially tried to do by posing as CIA agents before intentionally blowing their own cover to try and get him to cooperate on another level.

I’m guessing they will likely kill him before this is all over, at least once they’ve used him to their advantage. The question is, will he tip off the “real” Americans before they do? Even Liz and Phil know that they’re treading on thin ice with all of this, which might well lead to a fate like the one that befell the Connors if they don’t watch themselves. Claudia certainly seems to think so, and we got the surprising revelation that she might well have been the source of the leak that got the Connors killed in the first place, which isn’t good.

Another interesting development is the increasing involvement of computers in the mix of the American government, via something called ARPANET, which research revealed was like an early version of what would eventually become the Internet. From the looks of next week’s preview, this will also be a key part of the Russian’s next move, as Phil will be tasked with infiltrating the system somehow. It’s admittedly fascinating to see how things were done back in the day in this regard, as I don’t know a whole lot about how the Internet came to be. Hopefully, we’ll get more of this in the future.

This was another solid episode, if a bit light on the action. This time around, it was more about the characters, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The stuff with Liz getting fixated on Martha’s version of Phil was interesting, and it was fascinating how she wanted Phil to “be” Clark for her. This double life she’s leading is clearly getting to her. Will she be able to keep it together or will she unravel, the way Phil almost did in the first season?

Liz has always been the strong one, but I think the whole Connor affair really rattled her in a big way, and she’s still feeling the repercussions of that. It was interesting how Claudia went back on her initial reservations about Phil, saying that she was wrong about him. She wasn’t, really, but now the shoe is on the other foot, with Liz being the one having second thoughts about their work, not Phil. I’ve got a bad feeling that Claudia may be on her way out, too- and I do mean permanently, especially if she did cause the Connors’ death like she suspects.

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? Were you taken aback by all of the rough sex and nudity? Do you think Liz is unraveling? Or Claudia, for that matter? What will become of Lucia? Or Nina? What exactly are Oleg and Arkady up to, and how much of it is Nina privy to? Are Nina and Stan doomed? Will Nina pass the polygraph? Just what is behind the red door? Sound off on this and more down below and I’ll see you next time!