The Americans Review: The Cardinal

The Americans Review: The Cardinal

Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Americans Season 2, Ep. 2 – “The Cardinal.”

There’s always a huge disconnect between the promos for The Americans and the actual episodes. The promos depict a spy game full of standoffs and car chases while the actual episodes contain a lot more listening and staring really hard at the FBI agent across the street. Thanks to Hollywood I think we associate that first depiction much more heavily with the word “spy” when I’m guessing the second depiction is much more realistic.

If undercover agents were having violent confrontations every week the war wouldn’t have stayed so cold.

But this disconnect always makes me laugh. It’s like the show thinks its still tricking us into tuning in when by now we pretty much now what we’ve signed up for. The Americans is all about suspense and intrigue and exploring relationships, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week the Jennings had to deal with the fall out from their colleagues’ murders. So far everyone seems equally in the dark about who killed Emmitt and Leigh Ann. The FBI don’t realize who the victims are and the KGB sent Philip to check up on Emmitt’s agent; a man who clearly had nothing to do with that brutal scene in the hotel room.

Equally intriguing, the Russian embassy had a mysterious walk-in. Even more intriguing is that Nina passed this information along to Beeman, who then figured out who the new asset was in an afternoon. Is she truly working for the KGB or the FBI? Does she have actual feelings for Beeman or was her steely resolve as she typed up her report more about how violated she feels in serving her country? I really can’t get a handle on the storyline, but I’m ok with that.

The entire point of espionage is that there is no way to know. The maintenance men working on the street could be a surveillance team or they could be actual workers. Your contact may be trustworthy or they may be waiting for their moment to double cross you. And your children might live their entire lives safe, and free from the consequences of your life choices or they may not. Uncertainty is the name of the game in The Americans and its only fair that we feel a little bit of it too.

A Few Last Thoughts:

Paige is quite the burgeoning little spy. Doesn’t she remember what happened the last time she went looking into things that were none of her business?

Philip’s face when Martha mentioned leaving the counter intelligence department was everything!


Read my review of the Season 2 premiere here.


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