"Most people live their lives, punch their clock, but they never do anything, accomplish anything." ― Fred TimbrookCardinal is the second episode of Season Two of The Americans on FX, and the fifteenth episode overall.
A paranoid Elizabeth stays close to home to keep watch over the neighborhood. She ventures out to drop her kids off at the movies, in order to help Lucia with her asset's overdose. Meanwhile, Philip investigates Fred, only to be trapped by him in his house. Nina tells Stan about a Rezidentura "walk-in:" Bruce Dameran, an employee of the World Bank.
|Elizabeth is unable to concentrate on her work, fearing that somebody might be after her family. "Clark" spends the night with Martha where they watch the news report of the Connors' murder. Martha says she's thinking of changing departments to get ahead at work. Philip convinces her she's doing important work in counter-intelligence, knowing that if she leaves Agent Gaad's office, she will no longer be of use to him as a source. At home, Paige and Henry watch the same newscast which Elizabeth turns off.
|At the Rezidentura, Arkady asks The Center for information on the Connors' murder. Oleg demands information that is supposed to come from the Connors which Arkady dismisses, indicating only that there are events that are beyond his control. At Dupont Circle Travel, Philip puts Stavos off and tells Elizabeth that the FBI doesn't know the Connors were Illegals. Stan surprises the Jennings introducing a co-worker and his brother-in-law, who want to arrange a bachelor party weekend. With Arkady in a meeting for hours, Oleg passes the time by teasing Nina about her frosty behaviour towards him and his fondness for new wave music. After leaving a dead drop, Elizabeth learns from Philip that the Center wants them to see if one of Emmett's agents, Fred Timbrook, murdered the Connors.
|Arkady plays a tape for Nina in which Stan and Gaad discuss Vlad's death. Nina vows revenge. Their conversation is interrupted when a walk-in enters the embassy, who wants to help the USSR. Philip leaves to surveil Fred. The walk-in is Bruce Dameran, an employee of the World Bank. A disguised Philip goes to Chesapeake, Virginia where he follows Fred and later searches his home, finding a metal box hidden under a floor board. Philip is electrocuted when he touches the box and passes out. Nina meets with Stan and tells him about the walk-in.
|When Philip comes to, he's tied up and finds Fred going through emergency procedures, leaving a message for Emmett. Fred intends to kill Philip, who tells Fred they've met before but Fred doesn't believe him. While playing a game with Paige and Henry, Elizabeth receives an emergency call. She takes the kids to a movie. Philip ultimately manages to convince Fred they're both on the same side. He tells him that it was Emmett, whom Fred knew as "Paul", and his family who were recently killed. Fred breaks down and cries. Making an excuse that she has to work, Elizabeth drops the kids off at the movies. Fred tells Philip about a submarine parts factory which will soon be moved, giving the KGB a window of opportunity to steal a new propeller design.
|Elizabeth's emergency is to help a Sandinista agent named Lucia and her contact Carl, a congressional aide. The two were doing drugs together, Carl lost consciousness and Lucia is too high to function. Elizabeth helps her out, revives Carl, and offers support. Agent Brooks, Stan and other agents review all the surveillance footage of the embassy and narrow the walk-in down to four people. Elizabeth stablizes Lucia and gives her advice on how to handle Carl in the future. Brooks tells Stan that the walk-in is Bruce Dameran and provides details about him. In the Radio room, Arkady sends a signal to the Center requesting instructions on what to do with Dameran. Philip calls Elizabeth and reports that Fred didn't kill the Connors.
|Nina draws up a detailed report of her activities with Stan in which she says that his feelings for her are growing deeper and brings it to Arkady. "Clark" calls Martha and makes an excuse that he can't see her. She tells him that because of the Connors' murder, she's going to get a gun. Paige continues to be suspicious of her parents. She calls information and finds out Aunt Helen's phone number and address. Philip arrives at home to a relieved Elizabeth. Stan follows Dameran and watches as he does laundry all night. In their bedroom, Philip tells Elizabeth that he signalled the Center for instructions about the propeller at the naval yard. Elizabeth expresses she never feared for her children's lives but that's changed due to what happened to the Connors.
- Arkady's message to "The Centre" is dated January 25, 1982. However, throughout the episode the vegetation is leafy and green.
- As he dines in a cafe, Fred Timbrook reads the January 18, 1982 issue of Time magazine.
- The Americans is filmed in and around New York. The business where Stan observes Bruce Dameran doing laundry all night is the Polanco and Son Laundromat, located at 944 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10025.
- Charles Manson (12 Nov 1934 – 19 Nov 2017) was an American criminal and cult leader. In the late 1960s, he formed what became known as the Manson Family. His followers committed nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for their deaths, all of which were carried out at his instruction by members of the group. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole after California invalidated the state's death penalty statute in 1972. Manson served out his life sentence at California State Prison in Corcoran and died at age 83 in 2017.
- Marion Shepilov Barry (6 Mar 1936 – 23 Nov 2014) was an American politician who served as the second Mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991, and again as the fourth mayor from 1995 to 1999. A Democrat, Barry’s celebrity was transformed into international notoriety in January 1990, when he was videotaped during a sting operation smoking crack cocaine. He was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials and served six months in a federal prison. Despite a history of political and legal controversies, Barry was a popular figure in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post once stated that "to understand the District of Columbia, one must understand Marion Barry."
- Bo Derek (born Mary Cathleen Collins on 20 Nov 1956) is an American actress best known for her role in the 1979 film "10". The film launched a bestselling poster for Derek in a swimsuit, and subsequently she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1980s. She was photographed by her husband, John Derek, twice in Playboy magazine; she was featured in the magazine in 1981, 1984, and 1994.
- The Game of Life, also known simply as "Life", is a board game originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley. It was America's first popular parlor game, and simulates a person's travels through life, from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way. The modern version was originally published 100 years later, in 1960. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
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- The postcard shows the Jennings address is 9A Circle Drive, Falls Church, Virginia 22040.
- "Previously on The Americans" voice: Elizabeth.