Wednesday, April 2, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Americans' - Elizabeth Wants to be With Clark While Stan Has No One to Talk to in 'Behind the Red Door'

FX's The Americans - Episode 2.06 Behind the Red Door

A dangerous Naval officer becomes the key to Philip and Elizabeth's mission as well as a potential threat to their family's safety. Lucia, a Sandinista intelligence officer working with the Jennings, is tasked with getting Elizabeth access to Capitol Hill. Stan struggles with the potential costs of protecting Nina.

The state of the Jennings' marriage was a key focus for the show during its first season. This season that dynamic has been really stable even though there are more pressing threats to their livelihood and their family unit. Their spycraft world is getting more and more dangerous. Philip and Elizabeth are uncertain of how safe they are given the brutal murders of Emmett and Leanne. They have set out to find the truth about who killed them - which has the added pressure that they may be the killer's next targets. They force the Centre to go along with their investigation but they still have to carry out the bulk of it. They have to find the details about Larrick and the training camp for Nicaraguan soldiers. They think that they could get used to the constant threat of danger this mission placed on their family. However, they can't. They are always worrying and looking over their shoulders - concerned that the person who'll catch them is just behind the corner.

Now, they must rely on each other even more. If they couldn't trust each other to the extant that they do now, this mission wouldn't have progressed as far as it has. They need to know and feel that they each are feeling the same kind of emotions. That way they have someone they can talk to. They spend a lot of time in wigs and disguise trying to bend this universe into their ideology. But they also have so much more to learn about each other. Elizabeth has latched onto this thing that Martha said, about Clark being an animal in bed. She's intrigued because Philip is a much more intimate lover with her. She wants to see that side of her husband in order to better understand. But when it comes time for it, it becomes this very tragic and twisted act of sex that is emotionally devastating to both of them. This is a really twisted and complex relationship but that moment took things to a whole new level.

Similarly, Stan is searching for that person who understands him and the struggles and demands of his job. At one time, he did whole heartedly love his wife and son. But now, they are strange creatures to him - talking about the new color on the front door and the death of the gone too soon actor John Belushi. It takes him awhile to understand what they're talking about and even then he's just faking an interest in it.

Stan has found himself in a position where he is in way over his head. He's fallen in love with Nina because she is the person who comforts him. She does give him reliable information but more importantly he enjoys being around her. She makes his day better. Because of her reports, Oleg knows all about that fact and exploits it as much as he can. He extorts Stan to get the logs the FBI has on him in order to ensure Nina's protection at the Rezidentura. Stan gets the information but struggles with whether or not to turn it over to Oleg. He searches for a companion to talk openly with. He tries to talk to Sandra, Gaad and Nina. But none of them offer him what he needs. So now, he's stuck in a situation where he doesn't know what to do.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Behind the Red Door" was written by Melissa James Gibson and directed by Charlotte Sieling.
  • Philip, Elizabeth and Claudia don't see eye-to-eye but they can all agree that Kate, their new handler, is young and inexperienced.
  • It's interesting to see Elizabeth take on a sort of mentor-type role with Lucia. She is the seasoned veteran to her young counterpart. She talks her through tying up the loose ends and how it will hit her emotionally but she just needs to go home, file the report and go to bed. And that's ultimately what it looks like Lucia is able to do.
  • Lucia is also this weird wild card for the season that I'm not entirely sure where she's going to end up. I'm really intrigued by her though.
  • I love how Philip struggles taking the wig off while trying to deal with what he just did to Elizabeth. It's those kind of moments that never make me want to make fun of wig technology ever again.
  • This is also the first sighting of Matthew Beeman this season.
  • Also, Paige quit the volleyball team because she loves going to the Youth Group even more. That's developing rather quickly, no?
  • The second that Claudia popped up this season we could tell something was off with her. Her thinking that she is responsible for Emmett and Leanne's murder is a very nice complication and allows for a great moment for Margo Martindale.