'The Americans': Memorable Moments From 'Cardinal'
What do you need to know about last night’s episode of The Americans? What were the best moments? Everything you need to know is here.
After the mysterious murders of fellow spies, Emmett, Leanne, and their daughter Amelia, things are tenser than ever with the Jennings. Elizabeth is on the constant look out for threats, even from the supposed safety of her home. She distrustfully eyes everybody, from maintenance men across the street to cars following her on the highway. While Phillip is away, she is forced to do double duty as mom and spy. A green Nicaraguan spy calls for help after her date with a future senator and possible asset goes wrong when he overdoses on cocaine. Elizabeth helps her out by saving his life, his career, and the young woman’s hold on him. Elizabeth knew what it was like to be as inexperienced and afraid as this poor young spy and is starting to yet again feel that fear. She later tells Phillip that she always knew she could end up like Emmett and Leanne, but she never considered that her children could be collateral damage.
Meanwhile, Phillip is dealing with a few personalities of his own. First is his role as fake travel agent. (The scene with Stan was particularly funny.) He uses the travel agent role as a cover for his children as to why he’s away so often. Part of the time he’s playing the role of Clark, the dutiful husband of poor, sad Martha. The rest of the episode he’s a greasy maintenance man, breaking into the residence of Fred, the man he got information from in the carnival in Alexandria. Fred spends much of the episode stunning Phil and threatening to kill him. But when Phillip finally convinces him that he’s an ally of Emmett (better known to Fred as Paul), he gets a spy-related bombshell. The propeller plant they need to use is moving and they have to break in immediately. That will be a fun future episode, for sure.
- Clark wig. It makes him look older than ever.
- Ponytail with mustache for Phillip. We had a disappointing lack of wigs in this episode, but this one more than made up for it. It’s probably the best so far. Phillip has that just-overcharged-for-mechanical-services look about him.
Zero. How disappointing.
What Are Henry and Paige Doing? (AKA The Important Stuff)
Henry complains about his school a lot. He tries to get an explanation for what his dad does for a living, but he’s much more amenable to bullsh!t than his sister.
Henry also complains about playing Life with his family, wanting to watch the news instead. He gets to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, so at least he has that going for him.
Paige, still suspicious as ever, gets the area code of her mother’s fake aunt, who Elizabeth was pretending to visit while she recovered from her bullet wound. Paige has spying in her blood; she’s surprisingly great at it for a teenager.
Poor, Sweet Martha:
Martha, still believing that she’s married to the perfect man, has been a wealth of information in the past but now seems to be more of a burden. Her work recordings ensure that the FBI knows nothing about Emmett and Leanne’s killings but not much else. Phillip has been spending more time with her, although he’s still pretending to live and work in a different state so that he doesn’t have to spend every minute with her. Martha is excited at the prospect of a bigger and better job in a different department, but that would make her outlive her usefulness to Phillip, so he talks her out of it.
Martha also has a cold and high fever. Phillip decides to pretend that his flight was cancelled so that he doesn’t have to spend any time with her. She also wants a gun. I hope this magnificent sadsack doesn’t end up shooting herself.
- The best scene was when Stan showed up at the travel agency with a few of his buddies to plan a bachelor party getaway. Elizabeth proves to be terrible at her fake job, suggesting Montreal as a fun vacation spot for the boys. They all look horrified at the thought. Phillip, however, is much better at his cover and suggests a dude ranch. Stan can’t help himself but slightly (and unintentionally) jab Elizabeth’s terrible skills.
- Emmett’s cover name was Paul. It probably won’t come up, but it might. Also, Fred really wants to give money to the orphaned son. I wonder how important the son will end up being or whether he’ll just disappear. (Anyone else think they sort of implied that Russia would take care of him by “taking care” of him? It has been paranoid.)
- When Elizabeth meets up with the Nicaraguan spy, she doesn’t give her any slack. The poor girl is hyperventilating and Elizabeth wants to make sure that they’re code words are perfect. “Did you come to help me?” “Try again.” “Fix my car?” “Say the whole thing.” “Ma’am did you come to help me fix my car tonight?”
- I loved when Elizabeth told her, “Your revolution is beautiful.” It’s moments like these that we can see that she’s really a true believer.
- Stan is on the trail of a supposed “walk in” to the Russian embassy. Unfortunately, it’s a fiction created by Nina to put him on the wrong path.
- It’s gross that Nina has to write up her sexual encounters with Stan for her reports. It feels different than with Elizabeth and Phillip because they signed up for that life. She just wanted to be a secretary and got swept up in a bad system.
- A nice contrast to last season: Elizabeth seems closer to wanting to quit the spy life, while Phillip is steadfast that they just have to deal with it. Last season it was the exact opposite.