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'The Americans' recap: Cold War heats up on season finale

The USSR scrambles to steal stealth technology on the Season 2 finale of "The Americans"

The USSR scrambles to steal stealth technology, a rogue naval officer seeks vengeance and the KGB recruits teenage spies on “Echo,” the Season 2 finale of “The Americans” on FX.

The Soviets are desperate to acquire Echo, a computer program that determines if warplanes are invisible to radar. FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) must turn over the software or his Russian mistress Nina Sergeevna (Annet Mahendru) could be executed in Moscow.

To secretly obtain a copy, Stan arranges a demonstration at the Pentagon. His hidden camera records Echo’s numbers and symbols as the code flashes before him.

Now the G-man confronts an agonizing dilemma: Will he betray Nina or the U.S.?

After much indecision, he sends a message to Arkady Ivanovich (Lev Gorn) at the Soviet Embassy. The note simply reads: “Tell Nina I’m sorry.”

Fighting back tears, Nina leaves the embassy under armed guard. She takes one last look at her Soviet lover, Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin), then catches Stan’s eye as she’s driven away.

Also out to obtain stealth technology -- specifically radar-absorbent paint -- are KGB agents Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell). For this mission they rely on Soviet sympathizer Fred Timbrook (John Carroll Lynch).

Wearing special shoes that pick up paint traces, Fred enters a secured facility, takes a bullet and pays the ultimate price for treason.

“I did it! I got it! I’m shot,” Fred gasps. “There’s a lot of blood!”

Philip and Elizabeth retrieve the shoes but can’t rescue Fred. He bleeds out before paramedics arrive.

Next they learn that Navy SEAL Andrew Larrick (Lee Tergesen), once blackmailed by the USSR, is on a killing spree. His targets include Jared Connors (Owen Campbell), whose sister and KGB parents were slaughtered.

To protect their kids, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati), Philip and Elizabeth take them on a “surprise vacation” near Jared’s safe house.

Larrick is a step ahead, however. He gets the jump on Philip, locking him in a car trunk, then captures Elizabeth and Jared.

“I’m turning you and your partner in,” Larrick says. “I don’t care what happens to me anymore.”

Suddenly Jared and Elizabeth make their move. Larrick is knocked backward into the trunk with Philip, who grabs a gun and shoots the SEAL. Jared is also wounded in the struggle and has just minutes to live.

“You have to tell Moscow that I saved you,” Jared exclaims, revealing he's a spy-in-training. Then he confesses to killing his parents and sister after they discovered his covert life and tried to stop him.

“What we do, it’s for something greater than ourselves,” Jared states with his final breath.

When Philip and Elizabeth confront KGB handler Claudia (Margo Martindale), they’re angry and confused.

Claudia admits the Soviets now recruit “second-generation illegals” who could pass background checks required to join the FBI or CIA. And they want Paige to be next!

“That is not an option,” Philip declares.

“Those are your orders,” Claudia insists. “Paige is your daughter but she’s not just yours. She belongs to the cause. You haven’t forgotten that, have you?” 

Refusing to comply, Philip seeks out Arkady.

“If our organization gets anywhere near our daughter without our permission,” Philip warns, “my wife and I are finished!”

When he returns home, Philip is shocked to discover that Elizabeth had a change of heart. Now she’s open to recruiting Paige, a budding social activist.

“She’s looking for something in her life,” Elizabeth says. “What if this is it?”

“It would destroy her,” Philip counters.

“To be like us?” asks Elizabeth, a Soviet loyalist to the core.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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