The Americans – “Echo”

Season Two, Episode Thirteen


Grade: A

The second season finale of The Americans was like a chandelier crashing onto the ground. There are many moments throughout the season that leads up to this fantastic finale, and I’ll get to them individually, but as a whole, complete episode it feels like a massive crash of shattering glass for every character involved.

Let’s start with Philip and Elizabeth. They go forward with the plan for Fred and while they knew this was an incredibly dangerous mission, they knew Fred would succeed. Fred is able to get the information and drop the boots off, but he’s shot before he makes the call to Philip and dies shortly after. Death has been quite abundant this season, but in a following scene you can still see how much it bothers Philip (Elizabeth, a little less). A little bit later, Philip and Elizabeth discover that Larrick is missing in action and most likely tied to Kate’s disappearance. Immediately, they go on high alert and take the kids away from their home and to a hotel. This scene was particularly well done and I loved how upbeat Philip and Elizabeth were while waking up their kids in the middle of the night to go on a trip.

We finally get the showdown between Larrick and Philip and Elizabeth. We all knew what a dangerous man Larrick could be, but what happens during this climactic scene even Larrick didn’t fully see coming. After Larrick captures Philip and handcuffs Elizabeth, Jared pulls out a gun from his pants and shoots Larrick! This results in the spy-team to kill Larrick for good, but the damage is done since Larrick was able to shoot Jared through his neck. And then with his last dying words, we find out that Jared has been involved with Kate for a while and that Jared killed his family when they didn’t take his news well. Seriously, my mind was blown. I held my breath for the entire scene in disbelief and also shocked at all the violence that just occurred.

But that wasn’t all of it. Now let’s cover the Stan and Nina storyline, which ends somewhat tragic (depends on your opinion of Nina). With the plan put in place to have Stan hand over information about stealth to the Russians, at the last moment he backs out with a piece of paper reading, “Tell Nina I’m sorry.” This was a sad moment for The Americans, because Nina was such a great character for the show but it seems like she’ll be shipped back to Russia where she will go to trial and most likely receive the death punishment. It’s interesting to focus on Stan as a main character and how much he jeopardized with Nina. He turned his back to his family and his nation for her, only to be unable to pull through at the end. Now what’s next for Stan? Will he seek revenge?

Finally, we end up during the last few scenes where Elizabeth and Philip meet with Claudia, where she informs them how the Center wants Paige to be the next inductee for the second generation illegals. Immediately, Philip and Elizabeth are appalled, but at the end Elizabeth shows some support for the idea. This is how the show works so well. On top of all the spy missions, the violence, the disguises and double lives, it concentrates on family. How will Philip and Elizabeth handle this situation? Of course they want to protect their children for as long as they can, every parent does. But Paige has been such a wild card this season, especially putting her faith in the religious group even after her parents stressed their displeasure towards it. If all she wants are ansswers and the truth, maybe she will take the news fairly well that her parents are Russian spies. Okay, that’s a stretch, but somehow there’s something about Paige that when she puts her mind to something, she gets it done. She’s got pretty good role models in that area too.

Season two was a great ride to one of the best shows on television right now. Let’s see if they’re able to raise the bar even higher for the third season. I wonder how long it’ll be until Martha gets thrown under the bus. Is Nina really going to be killed, or will she somehow be back? What’s next for Oleg in the Rezidentura? How is Stan going to be without his wife and without Nina? How bad will the tension be between Elizabeth and Philip in regards to discussing Paige joining the cause? I can’t wait to find out!


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