Wednesday, March 26, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Americans' - Philip Watches Over a Mossad Agent, the FBI Tails Oleg and Elizabeth Talks with Martha in 'The Deal'

FX's The Americans - Episode 2.05 The Deal

Philip and Elizabeth are finally assigned a new handler as Philip works to clean up the mess of the last operation and Elizabeth, in disguise as Clark's sister Jennifer, does her best to smooth things over with Martha. As Stan searches for a missing scientist, Oleg and Arkady continue to argue over how best to handle the situation on their side, leaving Nina once again caught between the FBI and KGB.

Philip and Elizabeth were left in a very precarious situation at the close of last week's episode. While trying to grab Anton the scientist, they were attacked by two Mossad agents and were stranded in the middle of the street - with no Anton and an injured Mossad agent. The duo are forced to improvise. They carry him around the streets - while pretending to be drunk to the police - and find an abandoned apartment that there have to use as an unsecure safehouse. The pressure is definitely on them and both the FBI and the KGB are closing in on them. However, Elizabeth walks out of the place and calms down a stressed-out Martha while Philip is reminded of how cold he must be in order to carry out this mission.

The two of them really are monsters. They are master manipulators - Elizabeth especially in this hour as she has to talk Martha out of filling out the married section of her new job application while also getting the file from Brad and then immediately breaking up with him. She knows how to gently nudge them into the right direction without ever seeming forceful. Brad should feel hurt that he risked his job for this woman to get that file only for to leave him right away. And yet, Elizabeth infuses that breakup with enough emotion for him to pity her.

Meanwhile, Philip has to keep watch over the captured agent and tend to his needs in the hopes that his country will negotiate a trade. He's on a mission and he tries not to open up emotionally. He helps the guy go to the bathroom, only for it to be a failed attempt to escape. Then, he listens to the guy as he talks about his country, his lifestyle, his family. He asks questions but Philip never gives him answers. He had to close himself off. And that aspect gets intensified a lot once the trade is made and Anton realizes what Philip has planned for him. He tries to negotiate a release to work for them in America.

But Philip steers forward - doing the job he is suppose to do and not deviate from it. Philip and Elizabeth have been wild cards in the past. Elizabeth's work with Brad continues that trend as it's all in service of finding Emmett and Leanne's killers. And yet, Anton is what Russia and the Centre want so that's what they'll give them. They went above and beyond to protect their identity as Directorate S agents. So, they will continue to show results. They may be too difficult for any handler but they also can't argue with the results that Philip and Elizabeth get.

And Philip and Elizabeth have each other for emotional support. They are all they need. With all the difficulties of their jobs and Paige's questioning, they need to lean on each other for support. The actions that they take in the name of their cause actually do wear on them over time. They come together for that embrace to really deal with the realities of the day they just faced only for another day to just be starting seconds later.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Deal" was written by Angelina Burnett and directed by Dan Attias.
  • Philip and Elizabeth's new handler Kate is such the opposite of Claudia. But as she eloquently put it, Claudia was the best but they weren't happy with her.
  • The FBI's strategy for tailing Oleg was the smartest depiction in recent history of the FBI. It was so intricate and clever. But even then, the Russian still outsmarted them. A Oleg and Stan scene was the last thing I expected to happen and yet it will likely produce interesting stories in the future.
  • That conversation between Martha and Elizabeth as Jennifer about Philip/Clark's sexual antics was so awkward.
  • Mossad agent: "Is that your wife I met earlier? The one who delighted in beating the crap out of me?"