The Americans 2.12 Review: “Operation Chronicle”

There are two things going on in “Operation Chronicle” that are rather exciting, even by the standards of The Americans. The first is the obvious, which follows on from the episode’s cliffhanger. When Lee Tergesen was introduced as Andrew Larrick this season, the show picked up a high caliber actor with an impressive pedigree. But I wonder if Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg knew exactly what they were getting, because I really can’t believe they knew just how good Annet Mahendru was going to be in the first season of the series. Tergesen hasn’t just made Larrick into a great villain. He’s made Larrick into a terrifying boogeyman, not unlike any of the Terminators from that franchise that plague the protagonists at every corner. There are plenty of ways to build a Big Bad for a season of television. In prestige dramas, they tend to be more nuanced with clearly defined and interesting motivations. The Americans, though, is only partially a prestige drama, and I’m actually really glad we have a character like Larrick who doesn’t necessarily have to be engaging on an intellectual level to be effective. He is much more the genre villain–and the best version of one, at that–who can dominate scenes through sheer force of brutality. Anyone who has played Silent Hill 2 might balk at the comparison, but Larrick has been stalking these episodes like Pyramid Head haunts that game. And for those who haven’t played it, just know that is a compliment of the highest order.


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