The Americans Season 2 Review “Yousaf”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 10 Yousaf (1)

In the latest episode of “The Americans,” the show got back on track with the tense, thrilling “Yousaf.” I was a bit underwhelmed with the last, broody episode, and it was a total relief when this one turned out to be firing on all cylinders. This had pretty much everything I love about the show: Liz being a general bad-ass, Phil veering between just this side of creepy and genuinely concerned about his loved ones, sexual intrigue and scenarios where you don’t quite get what’s going on until something concrete happens and you’re like: oh, I get what that was about now.

In one corner, there was Larrick, back and loaded for bear, I’m assuming with the intent to track down and kill Liz and Phil. Speaking of creepy, there was a really intense scene with him sneaking into some, seemingly random family’s home and nearly coming into contact with their daughter. I don’t know about you, but I was genuinely unsure about what he would have done if she saw him. This guy is the very definition of a loose cannon, so he was certainly one to talk about the late Lucia being one. Liz and Phil better watch their backs. Ditto Kate.

In corner number two, we had Liz and Phil themselves, given yet another mission. Initially, it was to recruit a new undercover agent, the “Yousaf” of the title, but later on, it became something more, with the Centre requesting that they take out his boss so that someone more likely to turn could hold down the position and be recruited when there was more time.

In the meantime, sensing that sleeping around on behalf of her job was taking its toll on Liz, as she hinted at last episode, Phil had recruit Annalise take the lead on the seduction gambit. She succeeded, but later flipped out when it finally dawned on her that she’d basically whored herself out for Phil, her “pimp.” Can’t say I blame her, though certainly no one put a gun to her head to do it. I guess she had “buyer’s remorse,” as it were. Too late now.

The scene where they cut between Annalise and Yousaf having sex and Liz killing his boss was odd but effective. I dare say Liz is more at home forcefully killing a guy than having sex with him, which is a little scary. Not that either is ideal, obviously, but I’m just saying: not a woman to mess around with, that Liz. Paige certainly learned her lesson there. Future note to Paige: try not to leave blatant evidence of your intended crime behind in such an obvious place in the future. Not exactly a spy in the making, that Paige.

On the bright side, Gaad got his job back, and was also loaded for bear when it came to the job at hand, finding a particularly solid clue about the “Connors” in the husband’s briefcase. He also had another tête-à-tête with Arkady, in which the latter revealed that the Soviets had accepted the given circumstances of dead agent Vlad, but not without not-so-subtly making Gaad aware he knew where he, and by extension, his family, lived. I like Gaad, and I’m glad he got reinstated. He certainly hit the ground running when he got back, too.

Meanwhile, Stan is getting in pretty deep with Nina, spilling his guts about…well, pretty much everything, and in record time at that. Will Nina tell Oleg that Stan is going after him so hard? She certainly hasn’t yet, but that doesn’t mean much, as Nina tends to play both sides against each other as best suits her. She said it herself: she’d do anything for her job- but even more for herself, so long as it benefits her. And I don’t say that as an insult. It’s actually impressive how close to the vest she plays things. Annalise is maybe not so cut out for the job, but Nina is golden.

Did anyone else notice that Liz’s freak-out about Paige’s wanting to go to camp may actually have more to do with her own reservations about the things she does for her country? Note that she said that the camp would brainwash her, much like a cult. And yet, isn’t she already brainwashed, only by her own country? I think that’s why she’s so freaked out by Paige finding religion. On a certain level, she knows she’s already been indoctrinated by Mother Russia.

This was a solid episode all around. Every scene worked for me, and tied in together well. The Larrick stuff and the big mission towards the end were exceedingly well-executed, figuratively and literally. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s coming next, and the show is absolutely turning up the heat as we head towards the final episodes of the season. It’s admittedly been more of a slow burn this season, but I’m not unhappy with where it’s headed and I think the show will finish strong.

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? Do you like the direction the show is headed in? Any predictions yet on how it will end? Will Larrick take out Kate? Will Liz and/or Phil take out Larrick? Will Paige go to camp after all? Will Arkady make good on his threat against Gaad? Will Nina side with Stan or Oleg? Sound off below and I’ll see you next week!