The Americans Episode 2 Recap (Season 1)

Episode 2: “The Clock”
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Our married KGB spies Philip and Elizabeth are given the task to plant a bug in Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s office. Philip cannot believe they are only given 3 days to accomplish this task. To make it happen they threaten the maid by poisoning her son and telling her they will not administer the antidote until she takes a clock from Caspar Weinberger’s office and put it back (once Philip has planted a listening device). The maid is no pushover and doesn’t want to cooperate. Under duress, she takes the clock, Philip plants the listening device, but she refuses to put it back. Philip takes strong measures practically suffocating her son in front of her until she relents. Both Philip and Elizabeth can not believe their bosses assigned them a task that risked exposure.  Stan, the next door FBI agent, recruits his own double agent in the Soviet Rezidentura as part of the effort to uncover the identities of deep cover Directorate S operatives (which Philip and Elizabeth are). So the Russians and Americans both make progress against each other.

Episode/Series Comments:
*  This episode was good but not as strong as episode 1. I’ll be interested if the missions they have to accomplish each episode intrigue and satisfy. Procedural dramas always ebb and flow with the individual strengths of each episode, that is why often this type of format can be hit or miss with me.
* Elizabeth seemed to be watered down in this episode. She was so strong and fierce in episode 1. I hope this is reversed in the next episode.
Keri-Russell-in-The-Americans-The-Clock

What I liked about this episode:

* Elizabeth feels 14 year old Paige pulling away from her and is unsettled by her daughter no longer seeking her first before her friends. Elizabeth finally connects with Paige when she pierces Paige’s ears. Motherhood of teenage children is tough no matter who you are.
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* Philip uses the wife of a high powered American for information but he pays a price. She wants an emotional commitment from him which he pretends to give. She is demanding and you wonder if she’ll sell him out, Philip wonders the same thing. What a precarious position these spies are in with a constant threat of exposure.
Matthew-Rhys-in-The-Americans-The-Clock
* Philip has a tough time using the maid’s son but it is the only option he can see to accomplish the mission. At the end of the episode when he sits watching his sleeping 11 year old son Henry you see the strain of his life and the concern that one day he might be taken from his family.
* Stan the FBI neighbor isn’t stupid and continues to test Philip regarding his suspicions that Philip is more than a travel agent. Philip sees clearly this is happening. It is a cat and mouse game these neighbors are playing.
* Philip and Elizabeth were totally a team during this episode. Their marriage seems to be strengthening as they must rely on each other.
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Posted in Episode Musings, The Americans

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