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US TV Recap

'The Americans' episode two 'The Clock' review: Have your say

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Season 1, episode 2 | Aired Saturday, Jun 8 2013 at 22:00 BST on

TV pilots can be a funny thing. Setting up a brilliant premise and squeezing in all your best ideas, lines and action into that first hour of telly to get a programme made is one thing. Being able to follow it up without there being a sense of anti-climax is entirely another.

Thankfully The Americans doesn't fall into the trap of the 'tricky second episode', expanding on the pilot's strengths and digging deeper into the secrets and lies at the heart of this compelling espionage show.

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in 'The Americans' Episode 2

© ITV / FX

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in 'The Americans'



Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) got down to some proper spying this week and their back seat romps were put on the, erm, back seat. Ordered to get a listening device into the defence secretary's office ahead of a visit from Maggie Thatcher, the duo showcased their ruthlessness and also their frailties as spies.

Willing to poison a maid's son to blackmail her into bugging the defence secretary, the Jennings proved their mettle in a seemingly reckless mission. But for every ass-kicking scrap and pillow smothering, there are always glimmers of weakness in the couple's resolve to do their patriotic duty. The potential for either or both Jennings to turn is always lingering not so subtly in the background.

This week's quota of 'sexy spying' came courtesy of Gillian Alexy's dippy (or is she?) Annalise, who Philip is getting frisky with for favours. Quite how long she can remain undercover when she's wandering around political offices flashing her bra indiscreetly remains to be seen, but I reckon Phil should get out of this relationship quick-sharp. No matter how much she bigs up his sexual prowess.

Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings &  Mathew Rhys as Philip Jennings in 'The Americans'

© ITV / FX

Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys in 'The Americans'



Noah Emmerich's agent Beeman also showcased his undercover chops this week, snagging himself a Russian, who he has managed to turn after catching her red-handed in a bizarre caviar/hi-fi smuggling scam.

Emmerich once again stole the show, managing to make Beeman both likeable and utterly untrustworthy in the same stroke.

Do we really believe he just happened to move in next door to the Jennings by accident? Is his blossoming best buddy act with Philip for real? And most importantly, who would win in a full-on scrap between the two neighbours? Hopefully we'll get answers to all of the above by the end of the series.

Spy Files

- Last week started with Elizabeth unzipping a man's trousers. This week started with Philip canoodling with a lady in her grundies. What next for episode three? Surely it's Agent Beeman's turn for a bit of nookie.

- There was a real lack of '80s soft rock this week after the Phil Collins-tastic pilot. Bring back the choons.

- Philip playing ice hockey with Henry was a really nice touch. For non-sports fans, hockey had particular significance during the Cold War after the legendary 'Miracle On Ice' match between USA and the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics, which ended in a shock victory for the US. I wonder who Philip was cheering for when he watched it?

- How ridiculous are Philip's disguises going to get? I can't get out of my head the classic Homer Simpson Guy Incognito moment whenever he slips on a dodgy moustache and wig combo.

- Anyone fancy some caviar? Yum. Salty.

The Americans continues on Saturday nights on ITV.

What did you think of episode two of The Americans? Share your thoughts below.

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