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The Americans S02E13: "Echo"


Wow. Now that is how you end a season. Mystery: answered. Big bad: neutralized. Love triangle: concluded. Stakes: raised. Written by Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields and directed by Daniel Sackhelm, "Echo" was everything that's great about The Americans crammed into one hour, yet it never felt overburdened. In a season that questioned whether a spy family could ever become real family, we’ve organically returned to that central conflict, as introduced so many dead-drops ago. Fighting all along to protect their children from the family business, Philip and Elizabeth inadvertently brought Paige and Henry closer than ever to a danger they thought they'd escaped. Though they've jumped through hoop after hoop fulfilling spy duties and fending off threats to the little ones, the Jennings efforts' to keep Mother Russia outside the home proved more futile than they realized.


While the mission to retrieve RAM samples via sticky-shoe was an early success, it came at the expense of Fred’s life. Just as Philip deduced, the asset appeared exhilarated by his dedication to the Cause, even as he spent his final moments in a D.C. phone booth. The Americans has made a name for itself with its excellent music montages, and the use of Golden Earring’s "Twilight Zone" in "Echo" kickstarted an energetic sequence featuring the untimely demise of Fred and the arrest of Pastor Tim. Chalking up a death before the credits sequence was a first for the show, and it set an unpredictable tone for the rest of the hour. 

Coincidentally enough, the music video for this song was conceived after the band’s guitarist read Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity—true Wikipedia fact!):


Paige, in her know-it-all teenage way, once again mounted her high horse to teach her family about civil disobedience. "If she said one more thing about non-violent resistance," Philip later remarked, "I was going to punch her in the face." Like parents do, they allowed their daughter freedom, while behind closed doors they exercised their own liberty to dismiss Paige’s American passions. "She thinks a church pastor being arrested for loitering is some kind of hero," muttered Philip before zipping off to see Martha. Last week the two newlyweds discussed the prospect of (not) having children, and this week their conversation was much the same. "I am who I am, Martha," Clark stated, in the ironic way that only a disguised spy husband can. "I’ve tried not to hide myself from you," he continued, leaving audience members to roll their eyes en masse. Martha thankfully has survived another season, even after many suggested she’d be next to go. No family for you Martha, but congratulations on your new "Ladysmith" (technically a Smith & Wesson Model 642LS)!

How "on theme" it is that Larrick’s been AWOL via "family leave." This show doesn't miss a beat. After an abrupt Jennings family vacation to the woods near Jared’s exfiltration spot ("There’s A LOT wrong with us!" was my favorite quote of the episode), the seasoned skulker SEAL finally got the upper hand on Elizabeth and Philip. He nabbed the latter following a meeting with some fellow Illegals outside a bakery, and he snagged Elizabeth during her explanatory hike with Jared. The orphaned teen sure had a lot of questions about Kate’s whereabouts. Just how long HAD he been meeting with her? And why?

One shootout later, the answers flowed faster than blood spilling from a neck wound. I’ve enjoyed Owen Campbell’s work all season long, and Jared's dying confession alongside his insistence that Moscow be informed of his heroics was one of the young actor's best scenes. Jared’s been a helpless teen for so long that his last-minute reveal of bravery still felt like a young person begging to be seen as an adult. Amid these pleas came snippets of what happend that fateful day in Alexandria: Jared and Kate had been seeing each other for a while. The two had plans to run off and do "great work" together. Emmett did not approve of this plan and got angry with his son. Committed to Kate and the Cause, Jared then used his father’s gun on his parents. His younger sister Amelia "would’ve gone straight to the police." Jared cleaned up and hit the pool. Mystery solved (kind of—but more on this later). His final words: "You have to tell her. When you see her..." I cried as life left his eyes.  


Elsewhere, Stan the Loverboy struggled with his future: Would he deliver Echo to the Russians and save Nina? All signs pointed to yes for most of the episode, as he wore a wire into the top-secret Pentagonal site and learned of the code’s two other locations (Cheyenne Mountain and another place where you’d have to kidnap the president to access it). That he also met with Arkady on where to deliver the program and meet Nina further implied he was game. But dude was also having hella mixed feelings. Stan’s stress dream featured Martha lifting files from the mail room robot (I wonder if his subconscious was aware of this), Vlad coming back from the dead, and screwing Sandra. Let’s see: I figure that Vlad is the embodiment of Stan's guilt over taking a man’s life, and a representation of the sort of emotional wedge that drove Stan and Sandra apart. Like, in imagining his ex-wife's lover, Stan's mostly projecting his own emotional hang-ups. But I do not have a degree in Feelings, so don't quote me.  

Quick question, though: When is a love triangle not a love triangle? When both suitors abandon the object of affection. Stan left SOMETHING at the drop point, but we didn’t find out what it was until a perfect, nearly wordless scene at the Rezidentura: Arkady handed Nina a sheet of paper—already bad news, for not being a disk. "This is what he left," Arkady stated, emotionless. We saw Nina's face fall, as she saw what was on the page (the 1982 equivalent of breaking up via text):  


With Nina’s fate sealed, she spent the remainder of the season in elegant silence. No hysterics, no bargaining. As soon as the sun came up, the doors opened and she was marched out, still healing from the bruises sustained for Mother Russia. Oleg, overcome by a need to share one last look with Nina, stormed out, too—though only far enough to maintain his innocence. Then, more quiet drama: Arkady watched Oleg, Oleg broke the gaze; Arkady left with the Lenin painting. Stan, still torn (or hopefully concocting a plan for next season), waited outside for one last glance. One last look back, and once more Nina was alone. I doubt this is the last we've seen of the skilled and beautiful triple agent.  

Now, I don’t know what it was about watching a teenager die right before her very eyes that made Elizabeth think it was a good idea to induct Paige into the Cause. The ever-dubious Claudia returned to deliver some unsettling news: One year prior, the Centre had developed a program called "Second Generation Illegals," the goal being to groom a spy child into eventual candidacy for the FBI or CIA. The Centre asked Emmett and Leanne to induct Jared, but they reacted like any protective parent would, and declined. So, the Centre went over the couple's heads and sent Kate to woo Jared into espionage. Like a teenager being disallowed to do grown-up things, the Connors boy flipped out. I can only imagine that Moscow inexplicably assigned Kate to Philip and Elizabeth this season for the same reason.  


And so, in a stroke of remarkable storytelling, "Echo" and The Americans' second season ended with the fulfillment of the show's original theme, then transitioned into another. "Paige is not just yours," threatened Claudia "She belongs to the Cause. Forgotten that?" Uh, wait, she may technically be part of cover, but she's also a human being that Elizabeth and Philip made with their own biology. Take it easy, Moscow. Don't be weird. With one last disguise for the road, Philip confronted Arkady (who chose Popular Mechanics, while Philip picked up Rolling Stone—the Warren Beatty issue). The message: Stay the hell away from his daughter. Word of warning, Arkady, the last dude who hassled Paige got a skewer in the nards way back in the pilot. But since this show can’t resist twists (thankfully it EARNS them), who should start to warm to the idea but Elizabeth. Make up your mind, lady! Last week you thought Paige would be dead in an alley in a week. Now you want to "turn" your own daughter? Either way, I appreciate this as a conflict for next season. It’s organic, it raises the stakes. "It would destroy her," reasoned Philip "To be like us?" countered Elizabeth. I’m sure the dinner conversation was wonderful. 



EXTRA INTELLIGENCE

– Even handcuffed, the Jennings can still kick ass.

– "Hard to believe the future of the free world rests on all those numbers and symbols, huh?"

– "Don’t tell her 'I you love' so much. A Russian woman doesn’t like that. She won’t respect you."

– Still no Kelli.

– Remember when Claudia said she got involved with someone and had to duck out of the picture? Who was that?


FROM THE WRITER:

Hi guys, it’s me, Ryan. I have to say it’s been a real pleasure reading your reactions to basically my favorite show on TV. You commenters are so intuitive and passionate, these past 13 weeks went by too fast. Until next time, fellow fanatics. Until next time. 


What'd you think of The Americans' Season 2 finale? What's on your Season 3 wishlist?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/18/2016

Season 4 : Episode 10

Next Episode

TONIGHT AT 10PM

Season 4 : Episode 11

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Amazing season.
Hope Paige's a KGB agent on the next one.
Can't wait for S03.
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Who did Stan Beeman give the copy of "Echo" to in the season finale I've been really itching to find the answer? Can someone please help?
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Avoid being Spy Kids, Season 3. You will be fine.
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Only complaint. Why would Larrick truss up Philip and then want to turn in the pair of them. He was on a (personal) covert op and they were blackmailing him. It doesn't make sense. No-one knew he was there so he would kill them and disappear. Spoiled it for me I'm sorry to say.
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I can't wait until Season 3
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This show is more under the radar than a stealth fighter in the UK, but is a real hidden gem. Well developed characters and plot, good writing and a nice finale that brought narrative closure where it was needed but also tees up the next season nicely. Kudos to the team behind it.
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Absolutely flawless.
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So, is that an organic goodbye until next season?

Jared's death scene would have really struck home with an American Army truck tire rolling over his face. The better dead than Red still rings true. This series seems to want to rewrite World History. At the rate that they have people being killed, Washington DC would be under Marshall Law if it were true.
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The 'problem' I have with The Americans, is that after watching a season and an episode that were that good I end up asking the obvious question:
Why can't all TV be this good?

The 'problem' is that if all TV was this good then The Americans wouldn't stand out. So if other people can could keep turning out crappy TV it would much appreciated.
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Great review - I DVR all episodes of my favs and don't read reviews until I watch them (prevents spoilers) and I'm happy to say Americans is among my favorites. Up there with Game of Thrones, and a host of FX/AMC shows
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For me the best part was Stan drawing a line in the sand and basically saying hey Nina was/is a great piece of ass but I'm not giving you reds intelligence that sensitive just for that besides she was all over the map and deserves her fate back in Russia. every time i watch this show i am floored by the arrogance and the stupidity of Elizabeth/Russia. Did they really think they were going to take down the United states?????? Keep dreaming!! If Paige is not strong enough to not be brainwashed into service in the upcoming season then if she catches a bullet so be it! bottom line is when you have screwball parents you have to get away from them..
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She can't just get away from her parents. Because it's not just her parents she'd be trying to get away from. It's her main Mother Russia. She is the child of one of the few and best KGB sleeper agents! They would probably find her. It's unfortunate that she was born into this life but I don't think she can get out of it like a 'normal' child even if she wanted to.
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Thank the gods I saved this season finale until AFTER the Revolution series finally, because I think I would have to ask these guys to take me back and time and stuff me in a trunk and think for the next few decades more seriously about which to watch first.

No brainer, of course. This was an outstanding end to the season, and in particular with the couple at odds over what to tell Paige at the end while the family gathered for dinner.
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I think the reason Elizabeth is warming up to the idea of turning Paige is because she saw what happened with Jared and him not having any proper guidance (he was being "coached" by Kate, a rookie agent herself). I believe Elizabeth knows Moscow will eventually approach her daughter, so she'd rather do it herself and keep things as contained as possible. Afterall, look at what happened to Jared and his parents... My two cents, anyway-- could be totally wrong. I guess we'll all find out next season!
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I absolutely agree! Better for Philip and Elizabeth to tell Paige first- she's pretty impressionable. I couldn't see her going so far as to kill her family, but it would definitely not end well if I stranger told her the truth. This way her reaction can be carefully managed. Plus in a weird way there's a good chance she could end up having a real relationship with her parents - or maybe cool it with the righteousness. But then again this is Paige we're talking about...
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An incredible end to the season, and a great way to set up next year.

I really love this show.
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Bye, Ryan, thanks for covering this awesome show.
The setup for next season couldn't be better!
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Just watched the finalé today, ho-ly smokes do I love this show!
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This was a wonderful finale. I would never in a million years suspect it was Jared yet it makes so much sense. Even those whodunit show cannot do a better twist.

One question though: Second Generation Illegals did not actually happened right?

I loved Nina and I hope the show is not writing her off. Kate on the other hand is probably dead.

Larrick was a good Big Bad for the season !


The Americans is a wonderful TV show. I still prefer season one but season two is of pretty high standards too. I just hope the Emmy will recognized it sooner rather than later.

I had actually wanted next season to be about the tension of Paige finding out about their parents but now the show has added a new dimension. I hope they will continue to explore it. The tension of both parents having conflicting views about wanting Paige to join should make for great TV.

Looking forward to season three

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Actual Illegals who were discovered in the US in the 2000s did indeed have at least one kid they were recruiting, so yes, 2nd Gen is real.
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"One question though: Second Generation Illegals did not actually happened right?"

Who knows? Maybe there are 3rd\4th generation illegals out there right now for the KGB or even 3rd\4th generation CIA illegals working in Russia
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This decade the spies would probably NOT be from Russia :-)
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Amazing finale.
  • Great twist with Jared and the second gen illegals. I suspected Jared might have a thing for Kate, but I didn't expect all that!
  • Looking forward to the conflict over Paige next season, will make for very interesting viewing.
  • Poor Nina, but kudos to Annet Mahendru, she absolutely killed her scenes this week.
  • Oleg's probably so pissed he gave Nina all that cash last week and she didn't even use it! Also, Oleg's face as he got up out of his seat to stand and watch Nina leave. I thought he was going to cry! Brilliant!
  • A tiny part of me thought that Beeman had given up Echo, but Arkady was still sending Nina off for trial.
  • Annoyed that Nina has to go, but Martha is still around. I don't have the same soft spot for her this season as I did last season. Time for her to go.
  • Mail robot. I love it.
  • Hi Vlad!
  • Bye Larrick! You were creepy and cold, but you weren't just badass enough to beat the Jennings'. Sickner!
  • I guess this means we wont be seeing Sandra or Matthew again?
  • Will the FBI continue to investigate Emmet and Leanne's murders and Jared's disappearance?
  • Is Claudia back as the Jennings' handler? (Please say yes)
  • Matthew Rhys for all the awards this year please, if only for the "You respect Jesus, but not us?!" scene.
  • Thanks for all the reviews Ryan!
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Great ep by itself and great way to finish off a season.

I though Jared killing his parents was an option, though I thought more along the lines of cheap cop out by writers where it turns out he's a sociopath who killed his family because of his crazy reasons.

Good on Stan for not turning. I prefer him as dedicated adversary. Even if this ment Nina is out of the picture. Maybe some new cast?

Ah, the Rezidentura and their shenanigans. I wonder how failure of this mission will play out for Arkady/Oleg relationship. Was Oleg really into Nina or was she just somebody to pass the time with? I believe there will be tensjions running amok there.

Liked how Larrick arch ended. He proved himself to be a bad ass but his story wasn't dragged out into next season.

I feel bad for Henry. It seems now everybody just ignores him. No matter what he does P&E are most likely to go "aw, that's cute" and move on. I get Paige gets more attention, being older, this thing with church but in this ep even Paige brushed him off.

Yay Margo. Kate was hotter but Margo knows what she's doing.
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Fantastic episode and season, Matthew and Kerri for all the awards. Thanks Ryan for all the great reviews, until next year.
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DOES ANYONE KNOW THE AMERICANS THEME SONG????? i cannot find it anywhere
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I don't know for sure but my guess would be that it was made in-house specifically for the show and not part of some longer song. I.e., you aren't likely to find it anywhere unless and until a soundtrack is released.
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Semi-random thoughts:

- Let's face it. Do we want Paige as a church lady and perhaps a Bible thumper? Or as a cool Soviet spy? I choose spy any day. She's pretty and smart, and needing a bigger thing to believe in. I think she would fit right in. Besides, her job would last only until 1989, right?

- When Fred phoned the Jennings saying he'd been shot, I wondered, how could he possibly have botched such an easy mission? But come to think of it, once he got detained by guards, the FBI wouldn't have missed his special shoes with sticky soles, right? Right before he left, and Philip asked him if he was ready, I thought that after he left the Jennings would exchange the following piece of dialogue:
"He's so not ready."
"Agreed."
Because really, Fred looked an emotional wreck.

- Martha, oh, poor Martha. Each time Stan sees her, I'm expecting him to say, "You're doing a great job, Martha, in spite of your ugliness." Thought of course he wouldn't say that, except in her imagination. And when is she finally going to realize she's getting the short end of the stick here? I mean, when it comes to fake marriages, she could do much better. Get out of there while you can, Martha.

- Yay for Vitaly Benko (Vlad). He got to collect one easy paycheck.

- Jasper's situation had a great ending and I definitely didn't see that coming. The KGB lost a precious asset there, unfortunately. (I mean, we're all rooting for the KGB, right? Honestly I don't know which is what anymore.) He was totally dedicated at such an early age, and a psycho killer as well. I just wonder what kind of work "Kate" did on him. I mean, I get sick to think of all the inappropriate tricks Kate must have used to indoctrinate Jasper. Yikes!

- Stan didn't betray his principles, and that was expected, though he could go either way. Now, he's going to be fiercer than ever as an FBI agent. But won't those documents he gave the KGB still be used as a way for Arkady to blackmail him?

- I'm sure Nina, on her way to Moscow, is taking consolation from the fact Stan is sorry. I'm disappointed at the FBI at the shoddy job they did in her exfiltration which they didn't even bother to try.

- I was missing a good music montage, and the show didn't disappoint me. I'm also glad the show is using that in just a few specific episodes, otherwise it would become something trivial.

All in all a great ending for a great season. And, by the way, great reviews too, Ryan. I'm glad to read a review written by someone who really gets the show. Until next season.
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I said "Jasper." But it's Jared. By the way, I loved the BYE picture. She seems tiotally crazy in it.
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this would be the appropriate time to indoctrinate Paige look at how vulnerable she is to religion and after all Phillip and his wife were conditioned from a young age how did larick find Phillip at the bakery? hmm I assumed Stan knew of Nina's treachery when she looked back and didnt mouth i love you or something perhaps that is the cultural difference among Russian and american women
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theoretically the second generation could not work because when you undergo a background check they interview your family and friends and even teachers did you all see how easily the fbi learned of emmiet and lean's fake life that their names were from american citizens that died from a young age and a common demoniator with these illegals is that they have no friends and no living relatives that would strike the fbi as questionable

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so if arkady is under surveillance how did he meet with beaman
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That was a crazy ass finale. This show is super subtle and slow and at the same time super intense and frenzied. There were several times this season where I wondered if the unusual pacing and general quiet-ness of the show was starting to put me off, but it never actually did. Now I've watched the finale, it all makes sense. It just..... works for the show.
  • They picked a great young actor for Jared. I didn't see that coming for sure. Usually, death scenes where the dying person confesses their evil are melodramatic and ridiculous to me- but this one was heartbreaking and AWESOME. Also, as Paige- a character that could so easily be an annoying part of the show- Holly Taylor has also done a great job. Kudos to whoever is responsible for The Americans' kid casting.
  • Annet Mahendru is so awesome. She's like the mini MVP of the season. I'm not even worried about Nina. I read at tvline's showrunner interview that the reason Nina doesn't try to escape isn't necessarily because she's sure Stan will deliver, but because she wants to prove her honour whether he does or not. In that final scene, Nina is in a sad and pitiful position, but she still pulls it off with so much dignity and general badass-ry, that you come out of the scene still rooting for her, but not really pitying her. It seems these days, especially on cable tv, a female character can only be badass if she spends her time killing all the guys around her (which is fine), but Nina subverts all that. She works everyone around her, and plays with everyone's conceived impressions of her, but still comes out of the situation intact. She'll outlive them all on this show.
  • Stan has never been a favourite of mine but I found his actions very in character and beautifully acted in this episode. Noah Emmerich has a lot of control over his portrayal.
  • That last Philip/Elizabeth scene was gold. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys (especially) for all the awards please. When Elizabeth began to suggest actually going with the Paige plan, in that moment, we were all Philip. That look of 'what is actually coming out of your mouth right now' disbelief. But then in retrospect, it does kind of make sense? It's probably for the best? I don't know, the whole cast has this annoying ability to make all of their actions seem justified from their perspective. There were even comedic moments in the episode for me, like when Elizabeth told 'Clark' that "mot It was altogether my new favourite episode of the show , beating 'Gregory' and 'Arpanet'. I just know this finale won't get all the accolades/attention it so deeply deserves and that really sucks.
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*[edit] When Elizabeth told 'Clark' that "mother is beside herself" and when Philip was all "there is a lot wrong with us".
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Awww, Fred :( I hope the sticky shoes worked.

Wow, I also hope Stan has a plan for saving Nina. She has turned out to be one of my favorite characters, and I'd hate for this to be the last we see of her. I'm sure something will happen to bring her back.

It didn't surprise me a bit when Elizabeth started thinking turning Paige might be a good idea. She'd rather do it herself than have to worry about the Centre trying behind their backs. Philip warning Arkady is no guarantee they wouldn't try anyway.

I've really enjoyed your reviews, Ryan!
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I agree. Elizabeth is thinking about turning Paige cause she wants to protect her from the Centre.
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I think she wants to turn Paige because that would validate Elizabeth's choices and let her daughter understand and be proud of her.
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Great review!

I can't believe Elizabeth would think about it. Think about turning Paige.
Paige is looking for something yes. She wants to help make a change. She is an American and what they want her to do, is hurt the country that she loves. I really don't think she'll agree with what her parents do.

If the Jennings comply with mother Russia's order, the life that they dreamed of for their kids since the 1st season would be no more. The Jennings should fight.
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And thanks for the great reviews Ryan.
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Absolutely genius finale and it has set up so much potential story lines for the next season.

I have to say that I had a very slight inclination that it was Jared that killed his parents. But I dismissed it because at that point in the story with what we knew it simply didn't make sense. But now it does. And it was a smart move by the writers. Making it Larrick would have been too easy, making it someone that we hadn't seen yet, though a potential set up for next season, would have been too sloppy. And this show is anything but sloppy. So the question remained throughout the season as to who killed his family. Turning it out to be him was fantastic writing. Not necessarily the who did it, that is pretty standard fare for a number of shows. But the why changes some things and alludes to what is happening in the background and what potentially will happen in the next season.

And that is this. The KGB was in this for the long game. They had plans for the illegals and they had plans for the children. This recruitment didn't just come up. This was likely the plan by the higher up ins the KGB from the beginning and kept only to them until the time was right. But, certain measures would be taken to deal with and recruit them. They have been observing these kids since they were babies. They would likely have detailed psychological files on all of the kids. They would have developed an alternative plan from those psychological assessments to recruit them if their parents refused. For Jared, who is likely a quiet kid, shoe parents probably shelter him a bit because they don't want to spend too much time with others. The perfect type of person to mark him and turn him would in fact be a pretty girl. Jared likely had never had a girlfriend, so if you flood him with a pretty girl that is interested in him and inspires love in him then he would do anything she wants him to do, including joining the KGB. The killing of his parents was a psychological off shoot, they denied him the KGB and thusly denied him what he perceived as his first love and he reacted in a way that he believed would net him the girl and his parents respect by pulling an implement that they use and using it in a manner in which they have used them in. But he didn't expect the fight. And Emmit being his father didn't brutally disarm him or expect him to fire and Jared in a fit of mania pulled the trigger on Jared, then his mother and tragically his sister. He was likely coached in clean up by Kate. And was above suspicion. It was nothing short of a genius move by the KGB because they still had their hooks in him through Kate.

And with their methodology revealed we now have Paige. They want Paige, they failed with the first one so they are wanting the second. And now that we do know their methodology they have just as they did with Jared, psychologically assess Paige. Kelli now is the likely suspect for her recruiter or perhaps someone in the church. But my money is on Kelli. Mostly because Kelli is young like Kate was. Paige among the things that she wants is a place in the world where she feels herself out of place in. She said it herself, she wants out of there. The easiest way to do that would be to recruit her away from her parents, she would feel that she rebelled against them and she would be satisfied with her move.

The question remains however which would benefit the KGB more. If Elizabeth and Peter reveal to Paige who they are or if a KGB recruiter does. If her parents do, that, and forbid her to follow their life that could potentially push her toward doing he exact thing that the KGB wants her to do. If she is told by a recruiter who they are and she puts it all together, that recruiter can play up her vanity and ego, because she has always known something was off about her parents. She would then confront them and they would again deny her and she would be pushed further into her going against their wishes.

The only wild card would be her new found propensity for saving the world and religion. However a smart psychologist could turn that into her working for the KGB to eradicate the only government to ever use nuclear weapons. Who have committed atrocities in the name of protection etc. You could turn her religiosity towards that cause. It doesn't need to be a religion, for her to follow fervently, it just needs to be a cause. She is her parents daughter, she would have the genetic gifts that they do. She could very well be a great potential asset for the KGB. They are going to want her and they are going to want her badly.

And that sets us up for next season and exactly what the Jennings can do to prevent this and what they will do in order to protect their family. Elizabeth was wrong in present assessment of Paige. Likely do to the physiological after effects of defeating larrick in the manner in which they did. The only thing they have going for them is that Elizabeth was right in her first assessment of Paige this season. Both her and Henry were raised well. They don't have the strength of over coming anything like Peter did. Or the resiliency that Elizabeth has from her ordeals. That might be enough to prevent Paige from trying something like this. But that depends on several factors, most notably is how Paige views herself.

The rest of the episode was fantastic. I have to say that I am surprised at Stan. I figured he was going to with the dissolution of his marriage succumb to what could be with Nina and falter. I am glad that he didn't. It too sets up a lot for next season. In several aspects, one, just because he didn't follow through with the drop, legally that means nothing. His actions of recording the screen was treason. He committed treason and there is no coming back from that in the eyes of the government. It is punishable by death. Arkady could still potentially blackmail him with that. And it could still be found out by Gad and someone else in the government. Which makes it interesting, because one of the few things that would save a career ending act like that would be in fact to bring in two undercover agents and their family. And that would be the Jennings.

The Jennings and Beeman are going to go back to circling each other. The Jennings are very much his redemption. And coincidently Beeman is very much the Jennings savior and an option that they have to consider. And the KGB has to be wary against. Nothing that the KGB can do can stop them from grabbing their guns, the kids and walking across the street, tell Beeman who they are and what they need and within less than a half hour could have dozens of agents surrounding them and the KGB simply doesn't have the resources to combat that potentiality. The only play they have to prevent that would be to go after one of their kids, likely Paige and threaten to kill her to keep them in line. Which puts them at odds against to of their most dangerous agents.

I could go on and on. But I think this is long enough.
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Number 1 on my wishlist for next season: No more Boogeyman villains!
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Didn't the Jennings' old partner die before the opening credits of the pilot episode, though? And during a musical montage as well!
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YES. I think? I guess I forgot about him (unjustly) because I was just getting to know the world. I can't remember whether they dropped him off bloody at a hospital and he later died, or died on their watch.
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They dropped him off at a hospital. He died a John Doe.
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An incredible season-closer. You basically said everything there is to say about the episode (good review, therefore!) so I'm gonna give a shot at a season 3 wishlist:
  • Bring Stan back to the front lines! I liked his story line this season but it's time he's back on the offensive. He kicks ass there and is the biggest threat to the Jenningses when he does what he does best.
  • Claudia. I love Margo Martindale.
  • I can't think of a scenario where Elizabeth and Phillip aren't forced into turning Paige. My prediction is a few episodes of battling the Center, then being subdued and then turning Paige (or not) in the last few.
  • Arkady has to take a hit! He's been all smug and easy in his big, comfy Rezidentura-issue chair for too long.
  • More awesome wigs! More spycraft! More family drama! Good lord, I love this show.
Writing that list made me think of one or two points I do have about this finale. I liked Larrick as a bad guy. He was a threat in a completely different way than what we have seen before as he was a physical, not institutional or ideological threat. I also never would have imagined Jared as the killer. That and dragging out that revelation was an ingenious move by the writers. Half the season we thought some major ass-kicker had it out for Illegals yet it was one of "their own" who killed his own family out of love for a fake woman and a messed up idea of being adult. Brilliant!
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Certainly. I'm still reviewing the genius of Jared's arc in my head. He essentially used HIS grieving American teenage self as a cover, fooling viewers (and the Jennings). I'm in awe of the reveal because only last week, it was suggested that Fred was the killer - which would have been pretty interesting in its own right, and just out there enough to be a satisfying possibility. I was on board with this show since episode one, but the Jared reveal guaranteed my viewership basically wherever Weisberg, Fields, and company want to take things.
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- And that's how you end a season! I'm just so awed by how it all comes back full circle to the Emmett/Leanne's murder in the pilot. Makes me want to rewatch previous episodes, Sixth Sense style, just to look at Jared's behaviour again.

- So excited about next season, and especially for not-Dana-Brody Paige's storyline, and of course, Elizabeth and Phillip's differing opinions about the second generation illegals program. However, isn't Paige a tad too young to be even considered for the program? At least Jared (rip) was a high school senior.

- Am I the only one who wanted to hear Phillip's story (which was interrupted by the police radio dispatch) about his run-in with the gangs when he was young? You tease, showrunners.

- I usually hate dream sequences with a passion, but Stan's was well-done. LOL to the mail room robot - it really needs to appear more frequently.

- I'll never, ever get enough of the Jennifer wig. Thanks for the reviews this season, Ryan!
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Nope not the only one;

"... so I knew they were waiting for me up ahead, so I doubled back and..." {squawk] :-)

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"...I put on a child sized wig, then beat the bullies to death with Russian milk."


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You are SO right about Paige not being like Dana in that her story actually is interesting.
I didn't draw the comparison between those two before you mentioned it, but it is very obvious. Paige's story was interesting and seemed an integrated part to the rest, unlike Dana's. This is how it's done when you want to involve the family of your protagonists.
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Yeah, it's great isn't it? These aren't just token tv-children characters. Paige had the substantive religion storyline, and it dovetails so intriguingly with the impending 2g illegals program story. And I also wonder - not only does Paige alerady have so much of Elizabeth's traits, but she also looks much more 'Russian' than her brother. I wonder if it was a conscious wardrobe/make-up choice, as in contrast Henry looks just so wholesomely American.

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A second generation illegal joining the FBI or CIA neat idea but when you apply to join either organisation they don't just background check you they background check your family and friends too. As we saw with emmet and leanne the FBI would find out that both Philip and Elizabeth died in infancy or at birth.
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It doesn't have to be the FBI or the CIA for them to be useful. At least not agents. Staff like Martha as we have seen has a good deal amount of access. They don't receive the scrutiny that field agents do.

Also, the reason that the FBI went so far with Emmit and Leanne was because of their death. It isn't necessarily the case that they would do so when Paige is of age to apply for key jobs within the government.
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Which leads me to wonder if Clark and Martha don't keep having these baby conversations just to prepare us -- Clark's death could be faked, Martha would raise the baby alone, Russians come back to the baby when he/she is older, and as for background, Martha would check out beautifully. They could find a way to fudge Clark I guess.
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IDK how far back down the family tree they go though, maybe a third generation illegal would work lol.
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First of all - BIG THANK YOU, RYAN for season 2 reviews - reading them and commenting each episode is as much fun for me as watching the Americans.

Although season 2 (I can't believe it's over and we will have to wait A WHOLE FREAKING YEAR for season 3) was IMO a bit weaker then season 1- the finale was extraordinary and I loved every second of it.

1. I can't believe Jared killed his parents and baby sister. That's whole different kind of madness. I DID NOT expect that.

2. I'm glad Jennings killed Larrick so quickly. In season's one finale Elizabeth was shot - and I'm glad this time around Jennings weren't physically hurt.

3. Now I'm actually happy Kate is dead.

4. I know Paige would probably become a great spy, but I don't want her to joing KGB - she's too innocent for that kind of work. I can't see her sleeping around with strangers like her momma (not to mention she's just a kid).

5. Golden Earring’s "Twilight Zone" made my day :)

6. Poor Nina :(( You essentially killed her Beeman.

7. Arkady, you're dead to me.

8. So I guess Claudia will be series regular in season 3?

9. Why are you still alive, Martha? It's time to die, you know?

10. Poor Fred :( I liked that guy.

11. What will Oleg do now?!
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In reverse order:
  1. Oleg will antagonize Arkady. I think he was way more into Nina than it seems
  2. Poor Fred indeed
  3. Why?! Martha is awesome. Who'd upset Elizabeth with stories of Clarck's bedroom prowess?
  4. Will she? I hope so
  5. Yes
  6. I was always team Beeman. Dunno. I always hoped he'd make the right turn somewhere and ditch her. Don't get me wrong, I like(d?) Nina, I just like Stan more.
  7. Before my time
I'll have to rewatch season one for a definitive opinion on whether it's better than this season. Off the top of my head I wouldn't be able to see a difference in quality.
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1. I'm #TeamElizabeth so I hate Martha. Also she's really annoying.

2. I guess if you didn't live in the 80's it might be hard to appreciate the music from that time. It was different from what we have now, but in a positive way.

3. I have never liked Beeman. So I don't have that problem.
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How is it a fight between Martha and Elizabeth? I think nobody doubts Phillip's feelings towards Elizabeth are genuine and those towards Martha are fake. Everything about the latter is fake.

I'm sorry if I misled you, it's not that I don't appreciate the music, I love the stuff and I loved the scene. I just don't have the nostalgia connected to it.
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I know everything about Martha is fake. However, everytime Philip goes to Martha, Elizabeth is sad / jealous / hurt (and rightly so) and it breaks my heart.
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Jared killed his parents and his sister (not babysitter) who was freaking out and would of gone to the police.
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I meant "baby sister" as "a younger sister"...
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Oh baby sister, wow I'm dyslexic, but yeah that came out of nowhere or at least a huge shock to me.
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I love it, no "bad" people, only following their believe.
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In a way this finale and the way the Centre is handling it's assets showed us the fundamental difference between the Soviet and the Western world view:
The Soviets thought they could form people into what their ideology and state required. The West (to generalize) is of the oppinion that people should develop their own interests and then the state can use them for whatever they are suited best.
Not only does the Soviet approach lack in basic human rights, it also discounts basic human nature.

Anyway, great finale. I did not expect that twist with Jared. After his story, I totally would not be surprised if the pastor turned out to be working for the KGB. I am really looking forward to next season and where they go with Paige's story.

Thanks for the great reviews Ryan.
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Didn't the West in a way indoctrinate their people in 'freedom', the US in particular? It was just two different ideologies opposing each other; I don't think we can say the Soviets "formed" people any more than the US did.

The people the show deals with are of very different types on each side. You can't compare a Russian spy in America to an American counter-intelligence guy. You'd have to compare them with an American spy in Russia to evaluate who is being indoctrinated or formed. Since the show doesn't talk about Americans in Russia it's hard to draw those comparisons without reaching for assumptions or history dissertations.
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I was specifically talking about Paige. They just expect her to do and be what the Centre asks. They are even willing to force the issue or trick her into it, like they did with Jared. They are willing to manipulate her to the point where she does exactly what they want and she is a child in high-school. That speaks of a certain disregard for her human rights. In that way they are expecting to form her just the way the state wants her.

That totally discounts the human factor in this whole thing. They are willing to do all that even after what just happend with Jared.

Yes it is two different ideologies, but one, in my opinion, disregards human nature. You can't force people into stuff and expect them to perform equally as good or even better than people who might have a natural talent and chose a certain profession of their own free will. One approach will always outperform the other - that btw. is also one of the reasons the economy in the West won over that in the USSR.
In the comparison between forced will and free will (even though one might argue that free will is just an illusion) - free will is always going to win in the end results.
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Again - and I don't want to make this a discussion over which is the better system because we'd end up arguing for the same side -, from what the show has given us we have no clue if the Americans (huh, huh) wouldn't have done the same to their Illegal's children. It's negligient to assume what government bodies impose on individuals under their orders is the same they would impose on their people, the spy game being subject to this particularly.

To put it in other words, just because a country is behaving amorally or disregarding human rights with their spies doesn't mean it doesn't appreciate and honor those values in general and in regard to the public.
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But America doesn't have Illegals children so isn't that irrelevant? I think in this case the show has made clear that while the US certainly indoctrinates children in its own way, the USSR has a more controlling state--US kids aren't all Young Pioneers etc. Paige does have a lot more choices of who she wants to be and what she can openly believe in than her parents did. Individual freedom happens to be one of those things America really harps on in general.
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Well, true - if we look at the issue solely from a show-universe perspective, you are right.
But the show is set in a real-life past and within a real conflict and it acknowledges so on a few occasions (Reagan assasination attempt) - therefore I think we can also see the rest in some historical context.

But even the show has acknowledged that the situation back home (USSR) is bleaker than in the US - at least that is what we could conclude from what Phillip and Elizabeth tell us about their past.
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I think the Soviets were able to rationalise to themselves that 'The Cause' was to save the world and any measure whether it included oppressing their own people and/or manipulating their own children would be a small price to pay compared to a world wide communist 'utopia'.
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And it's exactly the same as democracy is marketed to Americans, the same as all religion is marketed to believers that's why I can't really have too much respect for the Jennings or the agents on the USA side they are all pawns to make the elite richer
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Oh wow, never even considered that. Interesting theory!
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I just finished watching the finale.I like it, to see that all of my questions were answered.
I felt relieved when I saw that Larrick is dead already.
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Remarkable season. One of the very best shows this season among with Hannibal. The leading couple (Russell & Rhys) is amazing and the stories are so well written.
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Great finale for an incredible show.
The writers have been prepping the 2nd gen illegals all this season with Paige's attitude and Jared's story. I think Liz is right when she says the kid needs a cause.
Very very interesting direction the show is taking. can't wait for next season
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I can't wait for the scene where they explain to Paige who they are. How do you even begin. A person like Paige has shown herself to be would more than likely want to join the FBI or CIA but not as a KGB illegal. She got no connection with Mother Russia and no understanding of 'The Cause'. She's a 14 year old budding Christian fully socialised into the American way of life and the Freedom it offers. Jared was seduced into it by a Woman Paige is going to take a whole lot more convincing than that.
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yeah, that's going to be interesting. but I think the priest that got jailed is an agent, so hey may push her in that direction too. I don't believe it for a second that the russians weren't intruding.
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The pastor is pushing her in the direction of being Christian--along with the rest of his congregation--not Soviet. He can afford to be arrested in ways KGB agents can't.
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I mean just imagine people trying to picket an Army base in the former Soviet Union. She's end up in a gulag in Siberia.
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"We know what civil disobediance is. We sent anybody who does to gulag" :)
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"I doubt—and hope—this is the last we've seen of the skilled and beautiful triple agent."


Bad wording unless you actually don't like her character. Literally means you doubt we've seen the last of her, but you hope we have.
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What is this English class? Yeah you're right though. Human error!
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It really puts in perspective what Phillip says to Elizabeth a few episodes ago: This is easier for you.
The whole season has been about how being a spy destroys Phillip and how stone cold Elizabeth is. They are only honest to the woman in the AA meeting and Annelise about their feelings.
Does Elizabeth really wants Paige to go trough what she did. To have sex with complete strangers, to get beaten with a belt buckle, to ger raped, to become a (mass) murderer. Because it would seem Phillip doesnt want to.
I cant wait for next season for the show to give me some answers.
Paige is due for a screwed up ride!!!
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Also, I don't remember if the pilot had the opening intro or not but the agent they were working with when we first met The Jennings ended up dying from his wounds, right? And since the infamous "Tusk" scene happened pretty early on in the episode, I think it should count as a death before the credits sequence.
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That makes 2 votes for counting (I want to say) "Robert" as a death before credits.
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Wikipedia says his name was "Rob". Good memory, sir.
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Love the show, the finale, the season and reading your reviews along with it. Can't wait till next year.
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