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The Americans Episode 1.11 - Covert War - Review

So with the ever increasing amount of people enjoying The Americans here on SpoilerTV, I though this would be a good opportunity to share my thoughts on the latest episode "Covert War" via a review!

Zkuhov, here was a man I wasn't expecting to see again! After we hadn't seen him since the pilot and Claudia was introduced, I figured he had only served an introductory purpose. The general was assassinated in the opening moments of the episode, but certainly wasn't without a fight. I really like how the show hasn't forgotten about him and I think the viewers appreciated that as well. But his larger role in the episode was through the flashbacks, that shed more light on who Elizabeth really is.

One of the more apt descriptions I have heard about her is that she resembles a headstrong teenager or a dam. She doesn't believe anything she does is unjustified or deserves more marination until she's in too deep to back out and realizes the mistakes she's made. It's all part of blindly following orders. It is the only thing that matters, feelings are an inconvenience. Elizabeth has always been messed up. This episode made it more clear than any other before. She has been afraid of her feelings for all of her life. She doesn't want to feel vulnerable, to put her life in someone else's hands. That's probably what Zhukov saw, and why he explained to her that taking care of his dog made him happy. Zhukov even went on to say that taking care of someone for a long time will lead to love, and I've always believed she was not as pleasantly surprised as he was when they first met. But she grew to like being in his company, respecting him for being a reliable partner and eventually loving him. This is where her fear comes into play, as she uses any excuse to throw her ''marriage'' and feelings out of the window. Literally as Philip has moved to a motel. Now the dam is crumbling, with losing Gregory and Zhukov in a matter of days, and Elizabeth might soon come to understand she doesn't need to be afraid of loving him.

Philip on the other hand is finally in the right place. After chasing Elizabeth for fifteen years, he has enough of the crap she has given him. Elizabeth has been the one who has always gotten her way and never apologizes for anything she does. Elizabeth has a lot of growing to do in this regard, as Philip never saw the ''reconciliation'' in the motel room coming. She was about to treat the idea of Phillip moving back home as the next part of the marriage cover story, rather than for any feelings she has. Which is probably why she stormed out of the motel room so abruptly as she never expected Philip to actually moving away from her. The next step would be for her to recognize the mistakes she made and genuinely apologize. After which she could still ask him to come home.

Recognizing her mistakes is something that seemed to be happening when she talked with Claudia, who is as ambiguous as ever in that conversation. Trying to manipulate Elizabeth every step of the way and Elizabeth having none of it! Realizing just how she has been stirring up her relationship with Philip along the way. “This isn't going to go well for you, old lady.'' That might be just the line of the episode for me. If we could have Elizabeth and Claudia verbally sparring for an entire episode I wouldn't even mind! 

Speaking of manipulating, Nina was on her best in this episode. Stan trying to break off their relationship and her resignation about it ''I have only fear and you.''. Only to casually undress in front him, because she had to ''change'' into her regular clothes. Beeman of course couldn't resist temptation, it's not even what he wanted as he stated he wanted to do ''what is right.''. Perhaps he was willing to salvage his own marriage at first, but he sure seemed to give up on it when he gave into Nina again.

Sandra finally facing the truth about why her husband was away so often was gut wrenching to see. It was really well-acted, both the scene in the bar where she realized she couldn't be away from her family for even one night without calling and the scene when Stan came home. Only for Sandra to release all her frustrations on him, I'm guessing Stan can go looking for an apartment as well.

The only that I haven't focused on is Patterson, whose release felt like a plot contrivance of sorts. As shown in the final scenes he can pretty accurately describe her voice and how she looked being so close to her even with a wig. Patterson even managed to remember Philip and that they were a couple. Which will give the FBI some vital clues as tho who they have to be on the lookout for! It might have been to spite Claudia for lying to her which she realized only after she abducted him, but this certainly might come back to haunt them.

Oh, and Martha, you poor lady, this will not end well for you either.

Overall a very good episode, that moved the plot forward while also giving us some very in depth insights into various characters!

8.5 out of 10.

A few crazy theories I have:

Is Nina working Beeman and the FBI? She received another promotion, which included her own office(!), in the span of ten episodes.
Is Claudia even working for the KGB? She has been shown, on multiple occasions, to have her own agenda.   Will Elizabeth accepting her feelings and in turn her relationship with Philip ultimately be their downfall?

Let's talk about this show in the comments! Or feel free to email me at pascalbuijnsters@spoilertv.com or to follow me and chat me up on twitter at

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