I missed 2x10 & 2x11. Kate is dead; Paige is berated as spoiled and ungrateful by her dumbfounded parents. Paige and her parents exist in an overwhelming state of mild panic and mutual hatred. Is Paige’s church group really a church group? Elizabeth’s expression is stuck in resting bitch face. Philip is florid, sour, growly and leery. The callow twerp Jared knew what his parents were, somehow. Nina and Stan have fetid, near-camp delirium. Stan’s son shows up for one scene.
Martha stole files and knows her husband wears a wig. Is she really the simpering living disaster area she seems? Philip implicitly assumes she is less conscientious and less effective, but is she? Stan is on tenterhooks over Nina. As for Nina, she contorts and doesn’t know emotional support when it is offered. 80s spy craft is on display. Philip’s wig has a tenacious hold on his head. Martha wants to add kids to her horrendous existence. She’s not a beautiful wreck. This was unwittingly meticulously dull with no tantalising moral ambivalence.
The imperious Philip and Elizabeth derive no satisfaction from their work and there are no witty ripostes as the duo wallow in their critiques of global consumerism. Stan’s wife is going to move in with her lover, she wears a tight slag outfit and seems slightly worse for wear. The Navy SEAL tracks the duo disconcertingly.
“Back and forth a lot, she had a gambling problem.”
“I don’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths.”
“I don’t really understand the computer stuff.”
“Where the hell are we sending him?”
“They’d be dead in an alley in a week.”
“One day it’s coming. You know it is.”
Elizabeth’s faded youth and wounded soft quiet quality doesn’t change what she is. Paige is gauche. This was not zesty or cosseting. The duo’s ‘moral code’ unravels spectacularly as Elizabeth can’t reconcile herself to certain events that eclipse her control. She and Philip discuss their interminably unbearable Russian childhoods. They get a man killed, no benevolence here as their spy skills hit a sharp decline. Dark agents of chance, mad behaviour, yakety yak, forced laughter, contrived jollity and grimly dogged spying can’t hide the fact that things are falling apart.
Stan’s ostentatious faking of caring is tiresomely shrill. Incipient lunacy, careless production, easily triggered trouble and an endless torrent of non-edifying agents are in his future. This was commendably egalitarian. The garrulous Paige is inspired by anti-nuke protest. The blowhard Claudia pops up to have one of her ingratiating default luvvie conversations and give unfathomable orders, Elizabeth has paroxysms of histrionics, there is an obliteration of sense and it is the 1980s - where are the perms?
Philip inflicts inner turmoil and small humiliations on the psychologically odd Martha and she has got a gun. In season 3 she might be nightmarishly challenging and Philip will be the one whimpering. Jared spews risible gruff and the murderer of his family is revealed in a way that does not ratchet up the drama. Nina is dismissively treated by everyone. Philip has an inability to lie to his children properly. Plus with all the honey traps Elizabeth had to do. How do they know Paige and Henry are Philip’s?
The pan scourer faced Stan edges ever closer to that psychotic breakdown as he dreams and gibbers. The murder plot that kicked off everything turns out to be banal and the main plot arc of them lying to their children is geologically slow and taking an ice age to unfold. Characters are stoically sullen and meandering in the chintz atmosphere. Philip is gloomily menaced by the righteous Navy SEAL. Henry’s stupid as he spews hackneyed phrases and ritualised observations. Elizabeth goes on and on to Jared about his amazing parents who were never seen or mentioned in season 1. Yeuch. The SEAL somehow handcuffed Philip and stuffed him into a car boot. Philip and Elizabeth despite being handcuffed and Philip still in the car boot manage to kill the Navy SEAL.
Mistruths, obvious secrets, arrogance and controlling behaviour are revealed in brutal fashion. The duo is hypocritical in response. The ending is bleak and rather dull. It failed to be superlative or raw because Jared has the personality of a frozen turkey and was a self-centred, loudmouth, dysfunctional, mean spirited git. Philip and Elizabeth are uninspired and unlikeable as they sit around in the communist era bleakness brooding on the fragility of family. The oafish Stan does a banal betrayal. Enmities are set up for season 3. Especially as the duo are ordered to inform Paige of who and what she really is to set her up to join the FBI or CIA. Philip knows that would only be a destructive influence on Paige, but he has no choice. That is a good hook for season 3 after the bewildering downward spiral of season 2.
“We know what civil disobidence is.”
“Some stupid children’s story about heaven.”
“If she said one more thing about non-violent resistance, I was going to punch her in the face.”
“Our corkscrew Clark.”
“Where’s mom and dad?”
“If they’re coming back.”
“Until I can get the hell out of this lunatic asylum. Go to college, be with normal people.”
“Drop the wood.”
“I didn’t start it.”
“My family was a lie.”
“Great trip, can’t wait to do that again.”
“I would have fought it.”
“You need to tell her who you really are, who she really is, get her ready.”
“She belongs to the cause.”