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The Americans “Operation Chronicle” Review (2×12)

15 May

The Americans - Episode 2.12 - Operation Chronicle - Promotional Photos (3)

In “Cardinal”, the second episode of the current season, paranoia grasped ahold of Elizabeth Jennings and would not let go. It was at the time immediately following Emmett and Leanne’s murders, when Philip and Elizabeth were given a harsh dose of reality about the dangers that could potentially befall their kids. We’ve come full circle, and as we continue to explore the circumstances surrounding their murders, Elizabeth continues to grow more protective.

Interestingly enough, Elizabeth doesn’t necessarily “protect” her own kids in this episode; she instead attempts to help Jared escape from under the watchful eye of Andrew Larrick, someone she knows exists. Larrick is tangible, a very real threat she’s experienced before, and he’s not just a bunch of uneasy feelings bordering on paranoia. He’s a true danger to Jared, and by extension, a true danger to Paige and Henry. There are connections abound here, and Elizabeth recognizes each and every one.

Like Jared, Paige is slowly starting–Jared’s moving a lot faster, of course–to piece together what’s going on, admitting to Pastor Tim that she doesn’t trust anything that comes out of her parents’ mouths. It’s entirely understandable, and it’s a truly heartbreaking situation for the both of them because they can’t do anything but accept. They can try to break away, but the simple truth remains: their parents place them in danger, even without intending to do so, and Larrick is representative of that perpetual sense of danger, of being pursued by circumstance and hounded by your own family.

Intent is pushed aside in this world of espionage, and all that’s left is the death and destruction, the manipulation and the lies. Of course, at a certain point, all of that may fall away, and you’re left with cold, hard honesty. It’s what’s happened to Stan and Sandra–great work by Misner, yet again–and it’s what Philip and Elizabeth fear they’ll have to confront. I’m sure they’d love to be honest and get everything off their chest, but it’s not as simple as that; being honest and not hiding anything is perhaps more dangerous than attempting to do the opposite.

This is represented by Martha noting that a bunch of classified files are left out in the open, allowing her to pick them up at any time. There are so many secrets, yet there could potentially be no secrets, and that would get ugly. Philip breaking cover with Martha would obviously get ugly, and now, look at what he has to deal with on top of his mountain of secrets: her desire to have kids with him.

Finally, we make our way to Stan Beeman and Nina Sergeevna. Nina’s all Stan has left, all he’s clinging onto, so it’s hard to believe that he won’t betray his country. He’s a broken man, Oleg’s slowly becoming him, and the wheels keep turning in a dangerous environment. Oleg, Stan, and Nina are in a precarious situation, teetering off the edge of a cliff as the winds rage and the rain falls.

It all comes to a head next week. Let’s see what happens.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Why the show felt the need to show us a used condom, I do not know. That’s a first, for sure.

-I’m really interested to find out what exactly Jared’s role in all this is, as well as what the endgame is. He’s clearly important, so there might be some aspect to it all that I’m missing.

-Larrick vs. Jennings, The Showdown. Next week.

-Martha knew about the toupee this whole time.

Photo credit: FX, The Americans

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7 Responses to “The Americans “Operation Chronicle” Review (2×12)”

  1. Tony May 15, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    The condom was to show that Phillip does not want to get Martha pregnant. It was crude, but the discussion about having kids followed immediately, so it made sense in context. He’s being careful IOW,

    • polarbears16 May 15, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      True, true. I understood that; I was just very surprised, considering no other show has done that before.

      Then again, no other show has showed two people in the 69 position, so I guess I shouldn’t be talking. 🙂

  2. bobby927 May 15, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    It’s obvious (to me) that I’ve missed something along the way, so can anyone tell me why Larrick is so hellbent on the kid? Also his tracking skills seem way over the top, if he does in fact “find” him in upstate NY.

  3. drush76 May 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Why is Larrick so interested in killing Jared? What has Jared done to him?

    • polarbears16 May 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

      Nothing, but Jared is the only way Larrick can draw Philip and Elizabeth out; that’s what he’s interested in.

  4. Mel May 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    I love this show. I love the fact that their kids are as sneaky as they are. Their son’s breaking into the neighbors house. Daughter’s spying on their phone calls. Chips off the old block. I like that Martha knew about the toupe but she down’t know that it is actually a wig and that he has a full head of hair under there.

    I’m guessing that kid that got killed on the base was Larrick’s son. And he is just going to kill everyone involved until someone kills him. I actually kind of hope Larrick finds their house.

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