The Americans—Season 2

americans season 2 poster episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Series continues to develop


americans season 2 episode 1 comrades murdered spy family


Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) find a vacation with another sleeper family of KGB agents could threaten to expose their espionage when tragedy strikes.  As Elizabeth and Philip seek answers about the attack, their children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) start to have questions about their parents and their sometimes erratic behavior.  A murderer could be stalking undercover KGB agents, and Elizabeth and Philip must find the truth before it is too late.

The Americans—Season 2 is an action spy thriller.  The season aired from February 26, 2014 to May 21, 2014 on FX.  The season received positive reviews and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama (Margo Martindale).

americans season 2 episode 6 behind the red door relationship elizabeth philip keri russell matthew rhys

Our relationship is…complex

The Americans was just one of those shows that sounded good, but without cable, I knew I wasn’t going to get to until later.  Despite finally getting ahold of the series, I still didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy it.  With espionage, death, and a retro Cold War feel, The Americans continues to be a fun show to visit.

The series is a fun thriller but also falls in the vein of other similar TV shows.  The Sopranos set the format (with a family dealing with their “business” and their family life), but The Americans’ twist on the theme is that half the family doesn’t know…and what happens when they start to realize.  The season begins to really question how the “We’re undercover KGB spies” conversation will go when the kids find out because the truth is inevitable…especially if they are endangered by someone targeting spies and their families.  Like most series of these types, there is a mystery running throughout the season and the reveal is a good lead-up to season 3 and how the family dynamic will be threatened even more.

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…and Paige is becoming a problem

The cast is still great.  Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys work well together and have the trick of being “romantic couple” without the romance (or at least giving the appearance).  Russell continues to get the cooler and colder role, Rhys might have the meatier role as the spy with doubts because he’s going in deep.  The leads are backed up by nice supporting actors, and a cast that seems to work well together.

Visually, The Americans really enjoys relying heavily on its retro-setting (and it does a good job).  Occasionally, the TV series gets it wrong, but for the amount of 1980s throwback they have to do, it does feel that they do a good job (I particularly like the Intellivision stuff having growing up with an Intellivision instead of an Atari).

The Americans is a great show, and even if I’m taking a long time to watch it, I still love it when I do watch it.  At this point of its run, The Americans were starting to catch traction and people were really starting to notice it.  When a show reaches that tipping point, it can be a blessing (aka the show knows it can easily survive) or it could be a curse (aka the sophomore slump)…The Americans feels like it might be blessed.

The Americans—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

americans season 2 episode 1 comrades elizabeth philip keri russell matthew rhys


2.1       Comrades Airdate:  02/26/14

Elizabeth (Keri Russell) is back from her gunshot wound and reconnecting with Philip (Matthew Rhys), Henry (Keidrich Sellati), and Paige (Holly Taylor).  Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) continues his affair with Nina (Annet Mahendru) but doesn’t realize that Nina has turned on him.  Philip tries to work his connection with Martha (Alison Wright) and utilizes his bug in the office of Agent Frank Gaad (Richard Thomas).  When Elizabeth and Philip learn that they must work with another sleeper family with agents Emmett (Jeremy Davidson) and Leanne (Natalie Gold), they might be forced to involve their children in a deadly spy game.

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2.2       Cardinal Airdate:  03/05/14

Emmett, Leanne, and their daughter have been murdered and their son Jared (Owen Campbell) has been orphaned.  With no clues to who committed the crime, Elizabeth and Philip must discover if their contact Fred (John Carroll Lynch) turned on Emmett and Leanne.  Elizabeth begins to worry for the safety of Henry and Paige as Paige continues to question her mother’s behavior.  A walk-in named Bruce Dameran (Erik Jensen) at the Soviet Embassy has both the Americans and Russians scrambling to get information from him.  An accidental overdose of a Sandinista allies Lucia (Aimee Carrero) and Carl (Nick Bailey) sends Elizabeth on a rescue mission while Philip learns that the mission he’s been working on could be a race against time.

americans season 2 episode 3 the walk in bruce dameran erik jensen

“The Walk In”

2.3       The Walk In Airdate:  03/12/14

Stan must determine what Bruce Dameran knows and what his plans are as Nina begins to question her manipulation of him.  Elizabeth and Philip must use the information passed on by Fred before a big move but run into a complication.  Paige decides it is time that she meet her Aunt Helen (Kathleen Chalfant) and skips school to do it.  Elizabeth recalls a promise to Leanne and must seek out her son Jared.

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“A Little Night Music”

2.4       A Little Night Music Airdate:  03/19/14

Paige finds a new friend in Kelli (Lizzy DeClement) and is introduced to her church.  Claudia (Margo Martindale) presents special missions to Philip and Elizabeth…find the killer of Emmett and Leanne Connors with a suspect in Andrew Larrick (Lee Tergesen) and find special technology developed by Anton Baklanov (Michael Aronov).  The situation with Vladimir Kosygin leads to trouble for Gaad at the office and a new overseer.  Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) tries to find out more about Nina with higher clearance but her betrayal remains hidden.  Stan reveals his affair to Philip while Elizabeth gets near Brad Mullen (Jefferson White) to learn about Larrick.

americans season 2 episode 5 the deal hostage cliff marc simon

“The Deal”

2.5       The Deal Airdate:  03/26/14

The failed kidnapping of Anton Baklanov leaves Elizabeth and Philip with a hostage (Cliff Marc Simon) and has Israel willing to deal with the Soviets for Baklanov.  Martha’s questioning of listing Clark as her husband on an application forces Elizabeth to step in as Clark’s sister Jennifer to try stop her.  Stan is called in to investigate Baklanov’s disappearance but Stan brings in Gaad for help.  Burov questions how Nina got the position…and makes his move.

americans season 2 episode 6 behind the red door elizabeth sleeps with karlk keri russell matthew rhys

“Behind the Red Door”

2.6       Behind the Red Door Airdate:  04/02/14

Burov meets with Stan and reveals he wants things to keep Nina safe.  Elizabeth and Philip have a sit down with Larrick but learn that their suspicions about his involvement in the Connors death might be wrong…but also uncover U.S. secrets about Nicaragua.  Philip learns that Elizabeth has become obsessed with “meeting” his Clark persona after her encounter with Elizabeth.  Being tasked with exposing the plans in Nicaragua, Elizabeth must turn to Lucia for help and asks Lucia for a favor in return.  Stan comes to Nina with a request, and Nina realizes it could expose her.

americans season 2 episode 7 arpanet nina polygraph annet mahendru


2.7       ARPANET Airdate:  04/09/14

Nina must take a polygraph to prove her loyalty to the United States and must prep with the Soviets so she can pass.  Philip has a new assignment to bug the new computer technology called the ARPANET and which means working with Larrick.  Elizabeth learns that Lucia’s feelings toward Larrick could be a threat to future work.  Philip and Duluth (Reg Rogers) prepare a raid to reach the ARPANET that could have deadly consequences.

americans season 2 episode 8 new car philip camaro z28 matthew rhys

“New Car”

2.8       New Car Airdate:  04/16/14

Philip buys a new Camaro without telling Elizabeth and sparks the debate of accepting American life between Elizabeth and Philip.  Lucia goes after Larrick, but Elizabeth must decide between Lucia and Larrick.  Henry and his secret Intellivision obsession and break-ins are uncovered.  Elizabeth and Philip learn that not all the information they’ve taken is legitimate leaving them with questions if they’ve been played by the United States government…forcing them to plan a raid of the Martial Eagle base to find information on stealth technology.

americans season 2 episode 9 martial eagle paige church holly taylor

“Martial Eagle”

2.9       Martial Eagle Airdate:  04/23/14

The raid of Martial Eagle base doesn’t go well and Philip deals with the loss of life.  Elizabeth, Philip, and Henry join Paige at church but learn that Paige hasn’t been telling the truth about her involvement with the group.

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2.10     Yousaf Airdate:  04/30/14

Philip holds guilt about attacking Paige on her new interest in religion…but a summer plan from Paige puts him at odds with Elizabeth.  Kate assigns Philip and Elizabeth to find what a Pakistani agent named Yousaf Rana (Rahul Khanna) knows about America’s plans in Pakistan and Philip uses his contact Annelise (Gillian Alexy) to get it.  Frank Gaad receives notice from Arkady Zotov (Lev Gorn) about the situation involving Vlad’s death as Gaad and Beeman uncover surprising information on the murders in the hotel.  Andrew Larrick comes back to America on a mission of revenge and finds information on Kate.  Elizabeth goes on a mission to silence Yousaf’s boss forever.

americans season 2 episode 11 stealth kate prisoner wrenn schmidt


2.11     Stealth Airdate:  05/07/14

Philip learns that Beeman and the FBI are onto Emmet and Leanne, and Elizabeth worries that Jared could have learned the truth about his parents from a stranger.  A visit to Jared by Elizabeth has Elizabeth discovering a secret when Jared has a meeting.  Larrick tracks down Kate and which forces Elizabeth and Philip to go after her when she fails to report to them.  As Beeman struggles with his marriage, Arkady and Oleg plot to turn Beeman…which could mean problems for Nina if it fails.

americans season 2 episode 12 operatoin chronicle philip martha alison wright matthew rhys

“Operation Chronicle”

2.12     Operation Chronicle Airdate:  05/14/14

Kate’s warning that Jared is in trouble means that Elizabeth and Philip must go on a rescue mission…making Paige get suspicious about their behavior.  Nina works to flip Beeman, and Philip gets a surprising gift from Martha.  Elizabeth’s plan to get Jared to safety secretly has Larrick moving in.  Beeman tries to get information on Echo to protect Nina, but Elizabeth and Philip are also on a mission with Fred.

americans season 2 episode 13 echo jared owen campbell


2.13     Echo Airdate:  05/21/14

Elizabeth and Philip go through with their mission involving Fred…but the mission doesn’t go as planned.  Paige learns a valuable lesson on her protest with her church, and Philip and Martha face the hard truth that their relationship might not be enough for her.  Beeman must make a decision involving his involvement with Nina.  Elizabeth and Philip learn that Jared’s hiding place might be in jeopardy…which leads to a shocking revelation.  Claudia meets with Elizabeth and Philip and presents bad news about their future in the KGB.

Related Links:

The Americans—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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