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The Americans – 2.07 – ARPANET – Review : Spy Games

   The Americans continued its second season last Wednesday with “ARPANET”. We’ve heard that name before, since the scientist mentioned it in Philip’s car before being sent back to USSR and this week we finally got the see the machine. The episode was fabulous, I really loved it. It was full of suspense, some action and a major characters development.
    Since the beginning of the season, I was a bit disappointed with Nina. She used to be such a great character last season, in such difficult and dangerous situations. I really admired Annet Mahendru’s work last season, she portrayed Nina so well, with her doubts and her strong character. The first half of this season, it kinda felt she was underused. She is so talented, I just wanted to see more of her. So, I was very happy with this episode because Nina had a big part. And it was my favorite of the episode.
   The other parts of the episode were centered on Philip and Elizabeth’s missions. It was very interesting but clearly it was more a build up for the next episodes. I’m really looking forward this Martial Eagle operation with the camp, I can feel something bad will happen. I can’t wait to find out if I’m right.

   But let’s go back to “ARPANET”. We know it’s the precursor of the Internet we use today. Kate asked Philip to bug and copy the data on the ARPANET, so the KGB could use it. In order to do so, Philip was accompanied by Charles Duluth, from last season. It was fun to see him back, on his first real mission. He was a pain in the ass for Philip but it brought some fun in the episode, it was nice. The man is a fun drunk. I loved the part when he erased the numbers from his hand and couldn’t remember them.
   But of course, being on a secret mission is serious and Charles didn’t really realize it. Philip had to kill one of the students while bugging the ARPANET but when he told Charles, he didn’t seem quite affected. He will never be a great agent, but at least he was a bit helpful to Philip.

   That part was good, but Elizabeth’s mission was way more interesting than Philip’s. There was not as many action, but still, the relationship between Elizabeth and Lucia is becoming to be one of the most interesting. I really enjoyed the fact the writers chose to give Elizabeth a young spy to train, a young spy who is like her. They’re both strong-minded women. But Elizabeth is older, she has more experience so she can really teach Lucia and prevent her from making mistakes.

   Elizabeth and Philip first explained to Lucia how the mission will happen. On paper, it seems like an easy mission but I have a bad feeling for this mission. Everything seems too perfect for now, it’s still one of the most dangerous missions Philip and Elizabeth ever done.
   Elizabeth got to meet with Larrick again this week. I like Keri Russell with that blond wig, really suits her. He requested the meeting to inform her he was going to Nicaragua for six months or more. It really seems odd for him to leave right after he met them, something is definitely up with him. But Philip and Elizabeth are clever spies, and while they talked, Philip was watching them, ready to shoot Larrick if anything happens. Philip was sexy as a sniper;
   Then Elizabeth had to tell Lucia the mission had to be rushed because of Larrick’s departure and Lucia got quite angry. It was obvious from the moment she asked where Larrick would be in the camp during the mission, she intended to kill him for the crimes he committed against her people. She wanted him dead, but Elizabeth explained her he was a great asset for the motherland so she couldn’t kill him. It was very tense, and I agreed with Philip’s comment about Elizabeth and Lucia being the same. But I think Elizabeth is more intelligent than Lucia. They’re impulsive women, but Elizabeth always has been more thoughtful, even when she was younger. I think Lucia will try to kill Larrick anyway and Elizabeth will have to kill her for that.

   All those spy games Elizabeth and Philip are playing… They aren’t the only ones. Nina got to deceive the FBI and agent Stan, thanks to Oleg.

   I had my problems with Oleg at first, I thought he was going to be incompetent and dull. It turned out I was very wrong. The guy is very good at his job, and very clever.
   After last week’s request from Stan, Nina had to accept and pass the polygraph. The KGB needs her intels from Stan, so she had to be trained to pass it otherwise her cover would be blown. That’s where Oleg came in. He helped her and gave her advises to pass the polygraph. You just need to believe the lies you're telling are the truth.
   I really loved their scenes together, there was a strong connection between them. Maybe because Nina was quite stressed and focused on something else, she let her guard down for him. She didn’t act like she did in the past episodes. She's always played a seduction game with Oleg, but this time she was truthful. She had to be with the polygraph. Nina finally realized how clever and gifted Oleg really is and that must have charmed her even more. I know it worked on me.
   So Oleg trained her and Nina went to see Stan and passed the polygraph from the FBI. The whole scene was absolutely amazing. It was one of the best scenes of the season for me. I loved the atmosphere. Annet Mahendru gave some much feelings just with her tone in the yes or no answers and with her eyes. It was very intense, she totally deserves a Emmy nomination for that scene. She absolutely perfect, she gave me shivers the whole scene.
   Of course, she passed it and now the FBI thinks she is clean so Stan will probably give Oleg his security details as he asked for. Stan was so happy when Nina passed the polygraph, it was a bit sad. He clearly has no idea she is actually betraying him. He really loves her and he probably imagines a future with her by his side. But I don’t think he will be kept in the darker for long. Maybe at the end of the season, or probably next season, he is going to find out Nina betrayed him and I don't want to see how angry he will be.
   Especially if he finds out that Nina is having sex with Oleg. Yeah, they finally did it. After all that tension with the polygraph, and the bond they created, Nina and Oleg spent a night in a hotel room. It was nice to see Nina happy with a man. I was a bit surprised a bit when I watched them but it was inevitable and they are fine together. And they're also very hot. The scene was great, Nina deserved some happiness in her life but we all know that can't last.

   “ARPANET” was a great installment for The Americans’ second season. It’s a nice build up for the Martial Eagle operation and its consequences. I really enjoyed all the different spy games : with Philip and Charles, Elizabeth and Lucia and Nina and Stan. The three were quite different from one another, it really showed the diversity and the complexity of the spy world during the Cold War.

Spy notes :

• Kate looking like a spy in old movies... LOL
• Henry is back and he is a little spy. Looking at his neighbor’s and then entering their home. God, Philip and Elizabeth can’t catch a rest with those kids.
• I loved the professor’s explanation for ARPANET. It’s like virtual handshakes between computers. For Philip, it was science fiction.
• I kinda miss some Philip and Elizabeth's action together. Their scenes at their "job" office was fun.
• I suppose Paige spent the entire day at school or community Chruch.... or in her room.

   What did you think of “ARPANET” ? Which was your favorite part ? Hit the comments !

About the Author - Romain Ossust
I'm 27 from France, living near Paris. I love a lot of TV shows, (this is a non exhaustive list) : Orphan Black, True Blood, Dexter, Weeds, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds, 24, Ab Fab, Carnivale, Lost, The Americans, American Horror Story, Once Upon A Time, Desperate Housewives, Glee, Ugly Betty, Scandal, Looking, Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead, Raising Hope, Orange is the New Black, Grey’s Anatomy, HIMYM, Girls, ...
For SpoilerTV, I'm reviewing The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Looking, Sleepy Hollow, The Americans, True Blood & Orphan Black.

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