Comrades (The Americans)
|The Americans episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Thomas Schlamme|
|Written by||Joel Fields
|Original air date||February 26, 2014|
|Running time||45 minutes|
"Comrades" is the second season premiere of the American television drama series The Americans, and the 14th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on February 26, 2014 in the United States on FX.
Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) leaves a remote safe house to return home after recovering from her gunshot wound. As she drives down a forested road, she brakes the vehicle to avoid hitting a doe and two fawns crossing. Startled, she and the doe seemingly face each other, making eye contact. The doe and fawns then cross the road, and she continues driving home.
Meanwhile, Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), posing as an American agent, is arranging a weapons deal with two male Afghans in a Middle Eastern-themed restaurant; the younger Afghan is acting as an interpreter for the other, an older man who appears to be a decision maker, likely a village elder. The interpreter presents Phillip with a knife which he claims was used to kill his first Soviet soldier and remarks that killing them was difficult at first but gets easier with time. Phillip accepts the knife and then shoots both Afghans in the legs/knees with a silenced pistol held under the table; both Afghans fall to the floor. He then outright kills the wounded elder and gives the wounded interpreter a message: no one, not even Allah, can protect them as the KGB are everywhere. As Phillip then attempts to leave the restaurant, with the obvious intention of leaving the interpreter alive with the message, the interpreter attacks Phillip, pulling his wig off his head. Phillip then kills him. While then escaping the restaurant through the seemingly deserted kitchen, Phillip encounters a busboy hiding in a corner. He approaches and tells the busboy, "it's OK", and then begins to leave again. The busboy visibly relaxes, and Phillip shoots him in the head (presumably for betraying himself as a witness). Phillip returns to his vehicle and becomes emotional, nearly crying, before driving away.
The next morning, Philip drives Elizabeth home in time for Henry's 11th birthday party. During the party, Phillip gives Stan Beeman a refund for the trip he had arranged as a reconciliation attempt with his wife. Stan remarks that it is good to see that Phillip and Elizabeth are now back together; Phillip advises Stan to give their own relationship time. Henry receives a telescope as a birthday present but is somewhat disappointed; he had been hinting for a video game system. Henry then rushes off to set-up the telescope, but Phillip suggest waiting until tomorrow as the babysitter, Abbie, will be arriving soon so he and Elizabeth can go on a "date". Henry is initially disappointed they intend to leave on his birthday, but relents when Paige expresses acceptance of Phillip's and Elizabeth's need for some time alone together.
The date, however, is a cover for a mission assisting another Soviet spy couple, Emmett and Leanne Connors. Posing as Air Force security, Phillip and Emmett burst into a hotel room where Elizabeth and Leanne are having sex with Roy. While Phillip confronts a surprised Roy, Emmett takes both Elizabeth and Leanne to the door where he pretends to instruct unseen officers to take Elizabeth and Leanne to "lockup"; both are then seen rushing down the hotel hallway unescorted. Philip and Emmett confront Roy with the facts of his up-to-this-point unsuccessful love life and the suspicious circumstances of his current sexual encounter (i.e., revealing Elizabeth and Leanne to be spies who were sleeping with him only because of his secret clearance at Lockheed and the fact that he is working on the Skunk Works project). Phillip and Emmett then offer to "protect" Roy provided he reveal his security protocols in life and at Lockheed, report future phone logs and contacts, and use the various codes they provide for his office work (e.g., brief cases and office safe).
Meanwhile, Abbie, Henry, and Paige are watching television together at home. Paige rises from the sofa, returns to the basement laundry room, and begins to search through Elizabeth's as-yet unpacked suitcase. She is startled by Henry who inquires into her actions. After fumbling an answer, Paige responds that she intends to do the laundry for Elizabeth as a surprise. Henry expresses both disbelief and disinterest ("whatever") and leaves.
Sitting on a vehicle hood drinking beer in a construction site, Elizabeth and Leanne are discussing their current lives. Elizabeth reveals the cover-story for her recent absence, which was that she had been caring for a sick aunt, "Aunt Helen". They are joined by Phillip and Emmett who reveal the date-mission to be a success. The two couples reminisce about their children's youth and how quickly they grow up. Philip asks Emmett how they will spend their last day in Virginia. The two couples decide to go to the amusement park the next day to see each other and their kids.
Later that night, Paige grows suspicious of her parents' activities. She wonders if they ever came home, and she opens their door and sees them having sex. Breakfast the next morning is awkward. Philip wonders "if this is the first time she has ever checked on us?"
At the FBI counterintelligence office, Agent Frank Gaad (Richard Thomas) orders Stan to stop being so fixated on the case regarding the Illegals couple that escaped. Gaad asks Stan to trust his source, Nina (Annet Mahendru), who had reported to Stan that the woman had died of her injuries and the man had been exfiltrated. Sanford storms into headquarters to demand his $500,000. Stan tells him he will not get his money because none of his information could be verified. Stan says he is doing Sanford a favor by keeping him out of prison because Colonel Rennhull pressed charges on Sanford. Stan, with the help of another FBI agent, takes a bootlegged copy of The French Lieutenant's Woman for a date night with Nina. Nina is displeased with the film. She tells him of a new arrival at the Rezidentura, Oleg Igorevich Burov, who is responsible for spying on science and technology. The next day, Sanford goes to Colonel Rennhull's house and is killed by the Colonel in self-defense (supposedly). Gaad and Stan go to the crime scene. Stan observes the two bullet holes in Sanford's head and says, "You'd think one in the head would have been enough."
At the amusement park, Emmett sees Philip and signals for him to come over. Emmett's source can't do a dead drop, and so Emmett asks Phillip to do a brush pass with an unnamed man (John Carroll Lynch) and use Henry as a prop to not alert the surveillance team at the park. Leanne and their children will then block for Philip. He tells Philip to drop the package off at his hotel room 45 minutes after the pass.
Philip and Elizabeth go to the hotel and are shocked to find Emmett, Leanne, and their 15-year-old daughter, Amelia, shot dead. Philip tells Elizabeth to get the kids while he takes Emmett's information. He walks out of the hotel room and sees a teenage boy walk by him in swim trunks. He realizes it's Emmett's son, Jared. Philip leaves as soon as possible, and Jared walks into his hotel room, and screams in horror.
Elizabeth and Philip frantically retrieve their kids from the park and go home. That night, Philip decodes Emmett's information and Elizabeth is extremely paranoid. Philip regrets using Henry as a prop and putting him in danger, but Elizabeth forgives him. She tells him he has to spend the night with Martha.
Stan comes home early from work. Sandra warms up to him and asks him to go to the movies with her. Coincidentally, the film is The French Lieutenant's Woman.
The episode ends with Philip, disguised as Clark, lying with Martha, talking about his job. Meanwhile, Elizabeth watches out the window anxiously.
Comrades received critical acclaim. The A.V. Club gave the episode a perfect A grade. Also, Eric Goldman of IGN rated the episode 8.5/10 stating; 'The Americans returned with a strong premiere that quickly raised the stakes.'
- VanDerWerff, Todd (February 26, 2014). "Comrades". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 27, 2014.