The Americans Season 2 Review “Stealth”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 11 Stealth (4)

The plot was definitely thickening on “The Americans,” and the walls are closing in big-time, but not in a way I think most might have expected for our main characters. Here, it wasn’t just the plane that was “Stealth,” or even, as one would expect, Liz & Phil, but the wily Larrick, who after taking out George, the man in charge of the answering service, tracked down Kate, and paid her a not-so-welcome surprise visit. Thankfully, she had the foresight to leave a coded message to give Liz & Phil somewhat of a heads-up, but they don’t know it’s Larrick that they need to be wary of- and who almost certainly was responsible for the Connors massacre.

Alas, you can add Kate to that list, as she met a brutal end at Larrick’s hands as well, although she at least didn’t give him anything much to work with than what he already knew. I don’t know about you, but I was fully expecting him to be waiting for Liz & Phil when they finally checked out Kate’s place, or at least to be staking the place out for anyone who came looking for her. He did not appear to be, but that hardly means he can’t find other avenues to tracking them down. It certainly hasn’t stopped him so far, and he didn’t even have much to go on in the first place.

One thing I was somewhat confused by was the situation between Kate and Jared. Was there something less than kosher going on there? Her coded plea to save him sounded more personal than professional to me, as was that surreptitious meeting between them at the diner. I have a feeling that one was off the books. Jared seems a bit on the young side for her, in my estimation, but then, she seemed a bit young to be taking over for Claudia, so there you go. Maybe she just felt bad for the guy and was trying to be a friend and there was nothing icky going on there. That would certainly be understandable.

In another example of stealth maneuvering, Nina found herself once again between a rock and hard place, when she was tasked with kicking things up to a higher level with Stan or else. If she failed, then it was back to Moscow for a trial for treason. If she succeeded, she’d have to betray Stan in the worst way imaginable, and he’s in a pretty dark place already, what with the situation with the wife. In the end, just as Oleg let her know what was at stake when Arkady did not, so did she tell Stan what would happen to her if she was forced back home.

Honestly, it was just about the only thing she could have done, and I don’t know that she’d have been able to pull it off had she not known what the repercussions would be. The real question is, will she betray Stan or Oleg? She can’t do both, so one of them is going to be left holding the bag or it’s going to be her, and that can’t end well. Actually, I don’t see any of this ending well for anyone, unfortunately. Poor Nina. (And Stan, and Oleg…)

There was a nicely sardonic turn by character actor Zeljko Ivanek (“Damages”), who played a man working on the Stealth program who believes he got cancer from the lead-based paint that was used to help cloak planes from radar, but proved deadly to bats- and himself. Now government left him hanging financially for his medical expenses, and in swoops Phil to do some damage control of his own, stealth-style. Actually, to be honest, he wasn’t all that stealthy this time out, and a little too obvious for his own good, even if it did essentially work. I’d say he was rattled by all that’s going on, but they don’t know the worst of it yet, so that can’t be it.

Some nice moments throughout, including the bit with the “Young Pioneer” pin, which went a longer way towards making me like Oleg than anything since his professed love for New Wave music. I also liked Henry’s interview with Stan, with its undercurrent of hidden meanings in each subsequent exchange, and that was a wonderful moment when Liz finally relented a bit and agreed to let Paige go protest nuclear weapons with her church group, recognizing a little of herself in her daughter for the first time. “She wants to make a difference in the world, she just hasn’t found a worthy cause yet.” Indeed.

Another winner, and a nice set-up for the final episodes, which should be really exciting. I’m pulling for Nina to wriggle free of her situation somehow, and for Liz & Phil to do the same, before something happens to their loved ones. That would be just horrible, no matter how dubious what they are doing may be to us real Americans. At the same time, I feel for Stan, who may have made his own bed, but he also sacrificed a lot for it, namely his marriage.

How do you think things will proceed in the next few episodes of “The Americans”? Who do you think will be left standing? Will Larrick manage to take down any more agents? Will he get a hold of the kids? What was really up between Kate and Jared? Will Liz & Phil pull off the whole “Echo” mission thing? What will be Nina’s ultimate fate? Sound off below, comrades, and I’ll see you next week!