The Americans Review: Pushed to the Brink

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The Cold War is coming to a brink of sorts as The Americans Season 2 nears an end. What would you do for someone you love?

On The Americans Season 2 Episode 12, people faced difficult realities and decisions about what they want and who they are. With conflicting priorities and loyalties, they are forced into figuring out what's the most important. It's as gray as it gets.


After last week, I thought Nina was going to run away with Stan instead of making him chose between her and his country. It didn't work out that way at all. After paying cash for a car without a registration, Stan walked into their love nest to find her beaten with Arkady and two Russian guards. 

Stan was forced to chose between his love for Nina and his love of country. Arkady said if Stan turned over information about ECHO, he could run away with Nina. If he didn't, she would be sent back to Russia and tried for treason. Wow. How's he supposed to chose?

He started inquiring about ECHO, but he still doesn't know anything. Is the information useless to the Russians as the person aware of the project stated? It would seem trading worthless information for someone you love would be an easy choice. At the same time, it's a betrayal of his position and country.

When Oleg found out that Arkady didn't plan on honoring the deal anyway, he chose loyalty to Nina over his country by giving her an envelope of money to escape. Perhaps, Oleg's sacrifice will prevent Stan from having to make the choice.

As wrong as Stan has been in his actions with Nina, I believe they truly love each other and would love to see his plan work. Though, I'm sure it won't be nearly that simple. It's unlikely he'll be able to have his cake (stay at the FBI) and eat it too (keep Nina safe in another town seeing her on weekends). At least with his wife moving out, he won't have to worry about that complication anymore.


With Jared's parents dead and him in the know about what they did, he's not safe. Elizabeth took action on Kate's message quickly and moved to get him to a safe location. He's going to be sent out of the country to live out his days. I wouldn't be surprised if he's trained to be an operative.

For some reason, Larrick is tracking Jared. I thought he wanted to make the Jennings pay, but for some reason he's after Jared. Perhaps, the kid is just a means to find Elizabeth and Philip? I'm not sure. It's not going to be a good situation if Larrick finds the kid. 

Jared's situation has freaked Elizabeth out. She realized that her kids are not prepared for the world like Jared is. Philip tried to reassure her, but he didn't succeed. Will Elizabeth tell Paige and even Henry about their allegiance and job? I hope not. That's not something that Paige would accept.

Another option would be to start training Paige without explaining what it's all about. Whatever happens with Jared and Larrick will likely push the Jennings into action with their own kids. I'm nervous for them all.

Martha knows?

Martha clearly knows something is going on with Clark. It's not clear what she believes though. She brought home classified files, acknowledged his toupee, and then pushed him to have kids. Was she testing him? 

This situation was tricky. She could have been pushing him to see if he was using her or truly loved her. Or she could have been trying to seduce him with the files and intimacy. In the first situation, Philip is in a dangerous situation and risks being exposed.

If it's the latter, then he's got her wrapped around his finger. She would do anything for him out of her love for him. At first, I thought the baby question discounted this possibility, but if she loves him talking about moving forward with their family would be natural.

Either way, Philip's relationship with Martha is getting to a precarious place.

Prying Paige

Paige isn't giving up on her interest in her parent's activities at all. She pushed buttons by asking if, "Did a plane full of your clients crash?" It was a smart-aleck question, but fitting given her parents job and the late night "emergency."

Then, when she tried to eavesdrop on her parents' phone call. Oops. That did not go over well. She clearly knows something's not right. And, they aren't going to be happy if they find out she confided in the pastor about her suspicions. That's dangerous.

While they may not want her spilling their family issues to strangers, they may want to send her off to church camp just to get her out of the house.

Going into the finale

I can't believe the season finale is already here next week. Season 2 has been a slow built of the tensions within each character. There are many missions, investigations, and threats at play, but I can't see how they will all be resolved in one episode. At least The Americans has been renewed for Season 3, so some could easily carry over to next year.

I fear for Nina's life. Depending how Stan, Oleg, and Nina handle her predicament, she could end up free and happy or just as easily locked up or dead. I really hope it's the former. She's messed up, but I like Nina.

I'd also like to see the case of Emmett and Leanne's murder to be resolved, but there hasn't been much progress on that investigation. Unless their killer was Larrick or Fred, I don't think there's any evidence or connection that's been developed enough for an answer.

The final thing I'd like to see get some clarity is where Elizabeth and Philip stand on what they want for their future. They have been all over the board this season. That's partially due to misinformation from the Centre, but I'd like them to at least be heading in one direction for their family's sake.

What will happen with Nina in the finale?

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Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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