The Americans Season 2 Review “Martial Eagle”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 9 Martial Eagle (1)

On the latest episode of “The Americans,” it was mission time, and this time around, the mission did not go so smoothly. While Phil and Liz were able to get in and out of the training camp without much hassle, while there, they had to take out not just their intended targets, but a host of others as well. What’s more, the guy that Phil spared on last week’s episode- the one who’s truck they used to infiltrate the camp- was also dead by the time they came back to let him loose.

All of this was bound to take its toll on Phil, who’s always been a bit more thin-skinned than Liz. Though he didn’t quite completely spiral out of control, he did flare up with Paige and her pastor, to the point that I was entirely sure he wasn’t going to strike out at one or the other, if not both. (Both Paige and the pastor certainly looked fearful that he was going to do just that- as did Liz, in the case of the former.)

Though the show didn’t explore it as much as it could have this time out, we also got a rare insight into the toll it takes on Liz as well, when he admitted he didn’t handle things as easily as she did. Letting her guard down for once, she confronted him, asking him: “You think the things I do are easy?” Phil moped off to Martha, somewhat cruelly playing her the doctored tape he held off on last week. On the plus side, Martha is fully back on Phil’s side, after wavering recently, though it didn’t help matters that he was drunk and left her hanging sexually. He better watch it or that devotion may go away again.

Faring better- at least at first- was Stan, who got his permission to be read into the DOD program known as “Have Blue,” which oversees the “Harvey” project, aka the stealth bomber planes being prepped for construction. He discovered that no one person had all the info on how to build the planes, and that Anton didn’t know much of anything useful- in fact, the people Stan talked to weren’t even aware of him. That does not bode well for the missing scientist, given his circumstances at the moment.

Stan also learned that two corporations were competing for the contract to build the planes: Lockheed and Northrop, and set about investigating everyone involved, including Fred, the turncoat that used to be handled by the late Emmett Connors, who held steady, especially after he discovered that the plans he helped Phil get were fakes that got many people killed. Thanks to Martha, ironically enough, Stan also realized there might be a connection between the Connors family’s death and the meeting that took place in Virginia about the stealth plane contract. It’s probably only a matter of time before he talks to the lone survivor, who, you’ll recall, spotted Phil at the scene. That could be trouble on down the line, to say the least.

Alas, Stan’s successes were short-lived, as he later discovered his wife was running off with a fellow EST member, and was well aware of his infidelity, to boot. She didn’t flat out say it was over between them, but it certainly didn’t look good for their future. Between that and Martha overhearing what everyone in the office really thought of her-sort of- this winning streak may well be on the downswing. That said, all of this will likely just make him throw himself into his work all the more, and we already know what happens when he does that- things don’t end well for someone.

Some good scenes in this downbeat episode saved it from being a completely somber affair. The tense scene between Gaad and Arkady was gratifying, and it will be interesting to see how Arkady reacts when he gets back to the Soviet Embassy. Will he call Gaad’s bluff- not that it might be a bluff, mind you- and if so, what will he do to retaliate and/or cover his butt?

Also good was the opening bit at the training camp and Phil’s slow boil after, culminating in the tense scenes between him and Paige and him and Pastor Tim. I didn’t necessarily think he was going to hurt Paige, but I did wonder for a hot minute if he was going to kill Tim- or maybe even burn that church down. That was all pretty intense. When a complete stranger approaches you and asks what’s wrong, things are clearly not going well. Will Phil explode in an even worse way in the near-future?

It was also interesting to watch Liz’s reactions as well. In addition to her being taken aback by Phil’s outburst, her “punishment” for Paige was telling, too- not to mention that multi-layered conversation with the woman from the AA meeting, who just happened to work at Northrop. Hmm- I’m sure that’s just a coincidence…not. Liz and Phil must be the first TV family to actually blow up at their kid for going to church, rather than the opposite!

It also looks like Liz and Phil might have to face some repercussions for their actions at the camp, given Larrick’s not-so-subtle reaction to the news of what happened to some of the men on base. From the looks of next week’s preview, he’s going to at least attempt to go after them, and that probably won’t end well for someone, and it’s probably him. Hopefully, Pastor Tim won’t make the same mistake, or he might not get off so lucky next time.

So, a bit of a slow burn this week overall. It wasn’t a bad episode, just a melancholy one, and a bit poky, to be honest. Yes, there was some intriguing character development and some small progress on the main plot at hand and where they’re headed with all this; but on the whole, it was a bit too slowly-paced for my tastes this week. Just like the missions Liz and Phil undertake, you win some, you lose some, I guess.

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? Were you enthralled or a bit disappointed, too? What do you think Larrick will do on the next episode? Will Phil continue to spiral out of control? Will Liz unravel as well? What will Paige do, now that her father burned the bridge with her pastor? Will the pastor try and intervene? What will Arkady do next? Do you think Gaad will get fired? Will Fred keep his cool? Will Stan? Sound off below in the comment section and I’ll see you next week!