Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Americans Season 2, Ep. 3 – “The Walk In.”
“The Walk In” may be a reference to Bruce Dameran, last week’s KGB walk in who only proved useful as a pawn in Nina and Stan’s power struggle, but there were plenty of other walk-ins this week to really flesh the reference out.
Paige still hasn’t learned her lesson about snooping and set off to meet her Aunt Helen. She did indeed find an old lady with the family photos to suggest she’s related to Elizabeth, but Aunt Helen’s phone call to Philip suggests she’s just yet another cog in the KGB machine. The levels of spyhood never cease to amaze.
Sooner or later Philip and Elizabeth are going to have to deal with Paige’s spying tendencies. Even a super intimidating talking to from her father couldn’t keep her from sneaking out the front door. Which is the other point. Paige is able to do all this snooping because her parents literally never know what is going on in their own home. For all their worry about what would happen to their children without them you’d think they would pay some attention to what’s happening while they’re still around.
Later in the episode Elizabeth had her own walk-in in her former friends’ abandoned house. Through a series of flashbacks we saw Leigh Ann basically talking Elizabeth into having children and also requesting she deliver a letter to her son if anything should happen to her and Emmett. Well that anything has happened and Elizabeth is nothing if not a woman of her word.
Of course telling a grieving 17-year-old boy that his murdered parents were really communist spies is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Obviously Elizabeth was prepared to take the risk it might pose to herself and her mission, but once she saw how hurt Jarrod was she couldn’t bring herself to do it. The truth can seem important from the perspective of someone riddled with guilt, but in reality it almost always does more harm than good. Knowing the truth would have done nothing more than ruin every memory of Jarrod had of his family. Processing the loss of his entire family will be hard enough; he doesn’t need the added stress of processing that his entire life has been a lie.
As I mentioned above, Bruce Dameran didn’t turn out to be the golden goose for the KGB that the FBI believed. In fact, his only use was as bait for Stan to grow closer to Nina. Nina gave him the information about the walk in; Stan easily took him down, earning him a medal; and after some ego (and other things) stroking from Nina he was confessing his love.
I’m still not sure what Nina’s feelings about Stan are. As she typed up her report for Arkady a smile came across her face, but whether she smiled because the thought of Stan loving her is pleasing or because she succeeded in what she set out to do remains a mystery.
All of the other characters in this story have a firm foundation of belief for their actions. Philip and Elizabeth believe in their cause, or at the very least in protecting their family, and Stan believes in his rightness just as strongly. But Nina is merely trying to stay afloat in this mess. She was forced into spying on her country and then managed to become a double agent, but for her, loyalty isn’t an absolute. She bends in whichever way seems safest at the moment. Some people come to war to win, but most are merely trying to survive.
With Oleg persisting, she may need to shift again soon. His comment about scalping, “sell it, pocket the money,” sounded like a not so subtle hint that he knows about the business that forced Nina into spying in the first place. I’m not sure what angle Oleg is playing, but it can’t be anything good for Nina.
A Few Last Thoughts:
In an attempt to read the machines that Emmett had been tasked with reading, Elizabeth had to threaten a worker, but ultimately let him go after seeing pictures of his family. This soft touch was all the more jarring when juxtaposed with the flashbacks of old Elizabeth. That woman would not have let anyone go after threatening him into helping her. Hell, the Elizabeth from last season wouldn’t have. Motherhood may have changed her, but the idea of losing motherhood has changed her more.
We got our first musical montage of the season and it was glorious! Who knew Peter Gabriel was creating perfect backdrops for the twisted lives of cold war spies and the people who love them?
Whenever there are flashbacks to the late 60s I get really distracted trying to figure out how old Philip and Elizabeth are supposed to be.
The previous episode review can be found here.
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