Episode Breakdown: The Americans – Season 6 Episode 9

The Americans
“Jennings, Elizabeth”
Created By Joseph Weisberg
Where: FX
When: Wednesdays @ 10pm EST

Where We Left Off:

Last week, Philip finally got through to Elizabeth, making her think about how her actions in this Cold War are hers, not those of the KGB. She got the intern she met through Paige to bug a meeting at the State Department, and when he figured out what was going on she let him live with a warning. At the Haskard house, Glenn couldn’t attend the Summit due to his wife’s condition, and Elizabeth put her down in a gruesome way. Stan, Aderholt and the FBI are sitting on a mountain of evidence (sketches, investigations into Orthodox priests, garages and storage facilities) that they are on the cusp of putting together. Stan even visited the contact that he turned and helped track down Gregory in season 1 to try and get more information about Gregory’s girl, suspecting that it is Elizabeth, and Curtis tells Stan “she smoked like a chimney.” When Elizabeth listens to the tape of the bugged meeting, the Russian Nesterenko hasn’t said anything suspicious, but Claudia still orders her to kill him, revealing that she is in on Dead Hand as well and that the Centre plans to alter Elizabeth’s reports to justify their intention to remove Gorbachev. Elizabeth refuses the order and tells Philip everything, before he agrees to send a message to Burov.

What Went Down:

We open with Stan searching his case database for both Jennings names, coming up empty. He even tries the travel agency but no records are found. Elizabeth watches Nesterenko from afar, while Philip signals Burov as she requested. Stan visits Philip at work, offering to help him out with a loan but Philip turns it down. Back at his desk, Stan calls up Pastor Tim in Buenos Aries (!!!), telling him to keep their conversation confidential and asks if there is anything that he needs to know, as an FBI agent. Tim doesn’t crack, but I held my breath the entire time.

Remembering her past in Russia, Elizabeth is shown during is likely a training exercise on dead drops. Picking up a package, she encounters the scene of an accident. It appears a motorcycle rider has struck a horse, and while the scene impacts her, she ultimately leaves without intervening.

At the FBI offices, Stan asks Aderholt for a sidebar. He confesses his suspicion of his neighbors, dating all the way back to the Timoshev kidnapping in the pilot episode. He goes through the details of Gregory’s girlfriend, the cigarette butts he found at the house, and the dying words of William Crandall. Aderholt assures Stan that “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are not Russian spies.” The look Aderholt gives Beeman as they part seems almost one of pity.

The FBI sit down to talk to one of the Orthodox Priests. He doesn’t like that members of the church who may have high connections back  home talk about him to their contacts. He says those people would claim they were forced to cooperate and doesn’t want to be roped in with those suffering from moral weakness. He names Father Andrei, and is about to name more when another agent interrupts to say that “Acrobat” was spotted doing something suspicious, and the order is given to search him. Acrobat is Burov, and he is arrested when the FBI finds the message from the dead drop in his pocket.

Elizabeth’s flashback continues, as she confesses leaving the scene of the accident to her superior. A police officer was dead and the motorcycle rider was very badly wounded but she did what she thought she was supposed to do. Her trainer said never interrupt an operational run in America, but here in Moscow you don’t leave a comrade to die on the street.

Stan questions Burov. The only way to get out of the jail time is to help catch the illegals, but he won’t speak, but gives Stan a knowing glance that he seems to pick up on. On the street, still following Nesterenko, Elizabeth spots another spy sneaking up on him with the same folded newspaper she had when killing Nesternko was her mission. She silently shoots the other spy in the back and flees on foot and the shot reveals the spy in question was Tatiana!

Stan visits Oleg in his cell, where nobody else can hear them talk. He says the KGB wants Gorbachev out and that’s why he is here. Whatever the message says, it likely regards the Summit and the plans regarding Gorbachev. He wants Stan to help him send the message to the illegals. Stan wants their names, and even shows him a picture of Philip and Elizabeth but he merely shakes his head. Stan doesn’t care who the leader of Russia is, but Oleg reminds him of everything he has risked in order to subvert the KGB’s mission. They all want a better future and the Russians will be a part of that, whether or not Stan gives it any thought. But clearly, he is giving thought to Oleg’s actions and his request.

Elizabeth visits Claudia, confessing that not only did she stop the mission to kill Nesterenko, but that she alerted Gorbachev’s people to Claudia’s plan. Claudia tries to guilt her, but Elizabeth suggests she get out quickly. Claudia says she has done indescribable damage that outweighs everything good she ever worked for, and implies that all she has left is her house and her American kids. It hits Elizabeth hard and she leaves, not likely to see Claudia again.

Philip meets Father Andrei on a park bench. They discuss Elizabeth and their marriage, with Andrei assuring him that there must be something there to keep Elizabeth from leaving. He mentions the rumor of Father Victor talking with the FBI. Philip looks around, says they are likely being watched and that he should buy a plane ticket home as soon as possible if he’s not picked up by the authorities. Philip himself walks out of the park before breaking into a dead sprint, followed by several agents. Ditching his disguise, he manages to escape and get into a taxi.

At home, Paige comes back to talk to her mother. She says she was at a party with her intern friend and many other interns, and there was one in particular who drunkenly rambled about an older woman who tricked him, slept with him and ruined his life, so now he is quitting and returning home. He worked for Sam Nunn in the State Department. Paige has put together that it was Elizabeth, with the Summit timing, but she scoffs at the accusation and claims innocence. Paige says she will never forgive her if she is lying, but Elizabeth swears she isn’t. Paige says she has always known about her mother’s lies and she knows about this one. In an incredible powerful moment, she shouts that her mother is a whore, dad can’t stand to share a room with her and that Henry was smart to get away from her. Elizabeth screams “That’s enough!” and rants about how she was brought up, fighting to survive and that sex meant nothing. “Sex?! What is sex! Nobody cared, including your father!” Paige leaves and the kitchen has never looked so devastated…

The FBI gives orders to move on every suspected garage/safehouse. Aderholt tells Stan the illegal doesn’t know that they know about them, so they need to move in case he goes to one. Elizabeth smokes and contemplates her training, when she was told “The most important thing is we do not want you to lose who you are.” The phone rings, and Philip gives her a coded message from a pay phone. She immediately rushes to the secret compartments in the laundry room and gets her go bag, money and spare license plates.

Where We Go From Here:

It is officially GO TIME, as the Jennings family is on the run and although Stan can’t confirm it, he knows he is right. But is it possible that Oleg got through to Stan and that he will help deliver the message, warning Gorbachev’s people about the KGB’s efforts to oust him? The kitchen scene between Paige and Elizabeth left me absolutely reeling, and it feels like all hope for this family is lost. Jesus, poor Henry…

What did you think of this week’s episode?
Will Stan kill Philip? Elizabeth? Both? Will they kill him?
Is there any hope for this family?

Check back next time for another Episode Breakdown…
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