'The Americans' Season 2 premiere: Death, family and video piracy in 'Comrades'
Only one hour into the new season, and "Comrades" has already served up mass murder (twice), family drama, sex (sorry Paige!), betrayals, a mail-delivery robot (!!!!!) and Meryl Streep. It's going to be one heck of a season.
Back in action
Some time has passed since the Season 1 finale -- long enough for Philip to run an entire operation with some Afghans (and then kill them) and for Elizabeth to fully recover from that gunshot wound. She comes home just in time for Henry's birthday, and everyone is happy and smiling. That is, they're happy and smiling until Philip and Elizabeth leave for "date night."
Naturally, the only dating happening is with other people. The Jennings and a new couple -- also in Directorate S -- set up a Lockheed employee with sex and misdirection. Then they go talk about the kids. This other couple has been in place a little longer, and they have a boy about to start college and a girl just starting high school.
Both couples agree that they'll see each other's kids at a carnival the next day.
This goes well initially, with everyone smiling proudly at their offspring. But then the husband asks Philip to do a brush pass for him. Normally not a big deal, Philip is shocked to find out he's expected to take Henry with him.
Fortunately, all is well, and Philip and Elizabeth head over to their friends' hotel with the information.
This is where it all goes horribly, terrifyingly wrong. The other KGB family is dead. Blood is spattered across the room where father, mother and teenage daughter -- her face still painted from the carnival -- are sprawled.
As Elizabeth runs back to the carnival for the kids, Philip retrieves information and leaves as fast as possible. It's just too bad he isn't fast enough to avoid seeing the dead couple's son returning from the pool to find his family destroyed.
Later, the Jennings house is locked up tight while Philip sends a signal to the KGB. But he doesn't come back home -- Martha is where "Clark" goes for comfort after a very bad day.
It's complicated, although not as bloody, on the home front, even without active spy missions.
That's because Paige is getting curious about her parents' absences and secrets. This ends in a very unpleasant discovery for the teenage girl: She stumbles upon her parents having very naked, very obvious sex.
At least this might stop Paige from snooping for awhile? It can't be good for her to learn too much about the Jennings adults are really up to.
FBI blues and KGB reds
Stan is sad. He wanted to catch KGB agents, but his unimpeachable source at the Embassy -- Nina, the lying double agent -- has informed him that the female spy died and the male spy was taken home to Russia. With this, Stan and the rest of his unit have to start over from scratch.
Also, Sanford the Gambler is hovering around, demanding his reward money for ratting out the Colonel and finding spies. There's only one problem in this, and that's that the FBI got nothing and the higher-ups won't let them investigate the Colonel anyway.
Sanford has proved himself to be useless.
At least that's better than dead, Sanford's next move. He goes to the Colonel's house and breaks in, getting shot for his troubles. Stan and Agent Gaad seem a bit suspicious of the situation, but there's nothing to be done.
The only solace Stan finds is with Nina. Thanks to some video piracy -- a brand-new crime back in the early 1980s -- Stan treats Nina to a movie in the safe house. It doesn't work out so well, and Nina interprets the gesture to mean that Stan thinks she's a whore. Also, Nina is not a fan of Meryl Streep.
Her only intelligence isn't much help to Stan either. A new science officer, Oleg Igorevich, is in the office, and she will try to get some information out of him. This could be tough, because Oleg is a walkman-listening idiot only there due to political connections.
Back at home, Stan finds Sandra folding laundry and embracing self help. Maybe it will bring the couple together again? Unfortunately, Stan and Sandra try to get close again by going to the movies.
It's the same Meryl Streep film. Of course.