The Americans Season 2 Review “Arpanet”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 7 Arpanet (4)

On the latest episode of “The Americans,” we got a closer look at the then-future, courtesy of “Arpanet,” aka the proto-internet alluded to in the last episode. Phil was more than a little dubious of it all, and who can blame him? Back then, it really must have seemed like actual science fiction. As it stands, listening to that professor pitch it to Phil in easy-ish-to-understand terms, it still sounded a bit far-fetched, and I live in a world where it not only exists, but one in which I’m using it as I write and research this review!

Compared to that, the whole polygraph bit seemed almost kind of quaint. What? You can fool a lie detector by lying? You don’t say! That said, I did appreciate Oleg’s example of the wasp and the whole butt-clenching gambit that worked a little better for Nina’s purposes, which is understandable, given the stuff she has to do for her country- and ours, for that matter. Speaking of which, I actually didn’t see the whole her hooking up with Oleg thing coming. It seemed to me that she thought him a nuisance, but I guess it takes all kinds.

I suppose it’s a step up from Stan, for whatever’s that worth. Whatever the case, she’s certainly got him where she wants him, and so does the Centre, for that matter. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with Stan. Will he figure out what’s going on? Will Oleg get jealous of him, given that they’re both sleeping with her? Will Nina play each of them against one another? Lots of dramatic possibilities there, to be sure.

Speaking of which, we also saw that Henry was a chip off the old spy, just like Paige, as he scouted out the next door neighbors and saw that they were leaving town, and snuck in to take advantage of his much-coveted video-gaming system, which was hilariously primitive compared to today’s version. Ditto Phil’s enthused reaction to his coveted equivalent, the Camaro, lol. Ooh, what horsepower! Be still my heart.

Meanwhile, the Russians might need to double-check their new recruits as one was a full-on drunk (Duluth) and the other a potential psychopath (Lucia), who may well derail the camp infiltration coming up with her bloodthirsty desire to take out valued connection Larrick, who’s about to be shipped off to Nicaragua, where he could come in even more handy to the Soviets. I have a feeling that’s not going to be happening, if the preview for next week was any indication.

The infiltration of the computer room was suitably tense, and that was a nice edit when that student came in to fetch his wallet and Phil was forced to take him out. Cut to: Phil wheeling off a trash can in his janitor disguise. Nothing more needed to be said, did it? As for the thing with Nina, I was oddly more on the edge of my seat with her training than the actual session, but I guess that’s because she was as cool as a cucumber by the time it was for real. Gotta love Nina. To say nothing of that final scene with her in the luxury hotel enjoying the fruits of her labor. I’d Jacuzzi with her anytime. (Does that count as a verb?)

All in all, a solid episode, if unspectacular. I did get a bit shaky when Liz met with Larrick, but overall, it was more fascinating in retrospect because of the internet-type stuff than action-packed. It was a well-executed episode, definitely, but I’m looking forward to the camp infiltration much more. I think that will be an exciting episode for sure. Until then, this one got the job done, more or less.

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? Were you surprised Nina was playing both sides more than we thought? What did you make of Henry’s actions, in contrast to Paige’s? Were you also bemused by the proto-Internet shenanigans? Who do you think will end up throwing a wrench into the Soviet’s plans more: Duluth or Lucia? Will Larrick even make it to Nicaragua? Type in your answers to the Beast below and I’ll see you next week!