Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Americans Season 1, Ep. 11 – “Covert War”.
The third to last episode of a season is all about setting the stage for the grand finale; and if “Covert War” is any indication, this finale is going to be quite sad. All of our various spies and the civilians who love them are finding themselves very much alone and questioning the roads they’ve taken to get to this point.
Elizabeth is truly struggling at this point. Her inherent need to be strong and cold coupled with her desire for revenge has driven away the one thing she had; Philip. And now, thanks to Claudia attempting to use those traits against her, she finally sees how much they’ve been costing her all along. Losing her mentor, Zhukov, sent Elizabeth into an instant spiral of rage and a single minded focus on killing the man responsible for the order. But it took that man, Agent Patterson, writing off her purpose as a hired gun that shook her out of her state and reminded her that the lessons Zhukov taught her were less about narrow sighted violence and more about love.
She’s lost Gregory, her attempt to invite Philip back to the house went unreciprocated, so all she has left is the cause she has dedicated her life to. And that’s the problem. She suspects that Claudia is setting her up to disobey orders so she’ll be sent to Siberia (or worse). Is that Claudia’s motive? Or is she merely following her own set of orders without opinion. It hardly matters because the end result is the same; Elizabeth can no longer trust the orders she needs to give herself a sense of purpose.
Elizabeth may be the first person to fully reach the point of no more options, but everyone else is headed there fast.
Like many girls’ nights, Sandra’s ended with an empty bottle of vodka and an explosion of pent of feelings hurled at her unsuspecting husband. See, Sandra isn’t as dumb as Stan hoped. She’s always known what “working late” meant; it just took a few cocktails for her to admit it. Stan attempted to end things with Nina because “it’s the right thing to do”, but Nina’s a clever little informant and the break up lasted about fifteen seconds.
“Covert War” was a slow burner, but I predict that the next two episodes will be packed with action again. So, it was nice to have this moment of respite, a few last quiet moments of character development before we’re thrown into the final installments. All season these characters have been grappling with the roles they play in war they no longer understand. All that remains to be seen is how they implement these new realizations.
Other Random Musings:
Between the unnecessary shot of the guy peeing in the parking lot to the bright lights on the truck as Elizabeth left the motel, I’m starting to think that Philip is being watched. But, by who?
Every week I become more and more convinced that Nina’s promotion came with being turned into a double agent. For the past few weeks we’ve seen her gain information at work, but not passing it along to Stan. They could just be editing those conversations out, but I suspect that in the next two episodes Stan’s world will be flipped all over again.
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