FX’s The Americans closed out its six-season run with one of the series’ best episodes. Season six episode 10 airing on May 30, 2018 did an exceptional job of wrapping up multiple storylines while leaving just a few characters’ fates undetermined. Elizabeth and Philip Jennings ultimately paid a huge price, but the punishment of having to leave their children behind was well deserved.
The series finale picks up immediately after Philip (Matthew Rhys) advised Elizabeth (Keri Russell) they were in trouble, which led Elizabeth to quickly pack a bag of crucial items. The couple meet up in an empty building as Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and the other FBI agents arrive at various garages throughout the city for stake-out duty. Stan places a call to the travel agency and of course neither Philip nor Elizabeth are there. No one answers at the Jennings residence, either.
Philip lets Elizabeth in on what happened, telling her the FBI are onto Father Andrei. Elizabeth’s immediate response is to want to collect Paige and Henry and then head to Canada. However, Philip believes they should leave Henry behind for his own good. He’s innocent and they need to think about what’s best for their son.
Back at FBI headquarters, Agent Dennis Aderholt (Brandon J Dirden) interrogates Father Andrei (Konstantin Lavysh). Initially, he claims not to know anything important. Dennis attempts to convince him the KGB aren’t his friends and then warns the Russian Orthodox church in America would be ruined if he makes public Father Andrei’s involvement with Russian spies. Father Andrei gives in and provides details on Philip and Elizabeth, although he doesn’t know their American names. However, he saw them once without their disguises.
Elizabeth and Philip hotwire a car and head over to pick up Paige from college.
Elsewhere, Stan and his partner for the evening keep watch on one of the garages on the list. Stan is antsy and asks his partner to watch over things for a few hours, not explaining why he needs to leave.
As they’re driving, Elizabeth talks about the KGB officer she left to die in the street. Philip reminds her she didn’t have any other option.
In Russia, Oleg’s father’s given the devastating news that Oleg has been arrested. He’s also told Oleg will likely be charged with espionage. More importantly, Russia can’t trade for him because he wasn’t there doing KGB business.
Stan’s watching Paige’s place from across the street. He spots Elizabeth and Philip entering the building.
Elizabeth and Philip inform Paige the FBI is onto them, and she needs to pack a bag of essential items. They need to return home (meaning Russia) immediately. Philip then delivers the news they won’t be bringing Henry with them since his life’s here. Paige is upset, asking what’s to become of her brother without anyone from their family there for support.
Stan continues to watch as the Jennings family heads into the parking garage. He surprises them with his sudden appearance and for a brief period of time Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige act innocent. Paige claims to be heading home because she has a stomach ache, but Stan’s having none of it. When Philip advances toward him, talking, Stan pulls his gun, calls Philip a “lying piece of sh*t,” and demands they lie down on the ground.
They refuse and then, after a moment of silence, Philip says, calmly, “We had a job to do.” Stan seems stunned he’s admitting to being a spy and hurt that Philip was his best friend. Philip calls Stan his only friend and reveals he believes his life has been a joke. Stan needs to know if Paige got close to his son, Matthew, to get information. Paige admits she’s known about her parents since she was 16 but did not use Matthew. She genuinely liked him.
Stan then asks about Henry and he appears to take them at their word that Henry knows nothing. “All of this time I would have done anything for you, Philip – for all of you,” says Stan. (This is a truly heart-breaking scene and all the actors are exceptional.)
Stan believes they killed Sofia and Gennadi. He’s right, but Philip and Elizabeth claim they don’t kill people. Elizabeth says Philip’s not even in the spy business anymore; he’s just a travel agent.
Stan continues to order them to lie down, but they don’t respond to his order. Philip says he did what needed to do for his country, but then figured out he just couldn’t do that anymore. “It was all just screwing people…I don’t even know for what. So, I quit,” says Philip.
Calling himself a failing travel agent, Philip continues to try and play on his relationship with Stan to get the FBI agent to allow them to leave. There is definitely genuine friendship there, but Stan’s eyes make it clear how deeply he feels he’s been betrayed. Philip then tells Stan they’re abandoning Henry, leaving him in the US while they head back to Russia.
Philip confesses that after years of watching and recruiting Americans, the crucial information they’ve just obtained has nothing to do with American citizens. He reveals it’s Russians – his own people – who are attempting to take down Gorbachev. Elizabeth explains her bosses were going to fake her reports to show Gorbachev was trading away Russian secrets.
Stan asks if they know Oleg Burov, and of course Philip feigns innocence. Stan knows he’s lying and reveals Oleg’s been arrested while holding a secret message. Stan says Oleg was telling the same story about Gorbachev’s enemies within the KGB and was adamant that message needed to get to Russia. Philip and Elizabeth are equally adamant the message needs to be delivered.
Philip explains if the message doesn’t wind up in the right hands, Russia could be thrown into chaos. That could ultimately impact peace in the rest of the world. It’s critical Philip and Elizabeth return to Russia to turn over what they’ve learned now that the dead drop message didn’t go through.
Philip tells Stan they’re going to get in that car and drive away. He hopes Stan doesn’t shoot them, but no matter what they are going to attempt to leave. “You have to take care of Henry,” says Paige. Philip reminds Stan that Henry loves him. He wants Stan to tell Henry the truth.
With that, Philip, Paige, and Elizabeth slowly and quietly turn to get into their stolen car. Before Philip reaches the car door, he offers Stan a warning. “I don’t know how to say this, but I think there’s a chance Renee might be one of us. I’m not sure.”
Stan doesn’t react. He stands and stares, then moves out of the way to let their car leave the garage. Even after they’ve left, Stan simply stands still in the garage, alone.
In the car, Paige wonders if they can trust Stan and Philip believes they can. They have passports and will need to change their appearances, and they’ll need to pick up a different car. Paige thinks they need to see Henry one final time, but Elizabeth and Philip know they can’t. Elizabeth suggests calling him, but Philip’s hesitant. He explains that right now Henry appears innocent, but if they call him, the FBI might believe that’s a signal and jump on him.
Elizabeth wants the opportunity to talk to their son one last time, and Philip finally gives in. However, they have to be quick and they have to act completely normal.
Stan returns to his stake-out partner and takes up his position at a window. He doesn’t say where he’s been or what he’s been doing.
Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige stop in the middle of nowhere and bury their old IDs and other personal items. Elizabeth also gets rid of the necklace containing the cyanide capsule.
Stan’s called back to FBI headquarters.
Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige have assumed their new appearances as they make the call to Henry on a payphone. Henry picks up and Philip says they were just out having dinner and wanted to call him. Philip wants to make sure Henry knows how much they love him and that they’re proud of him. Henry, in typical teenage fashion, asks, “Have you been drinking tonight, dad?”
Philip laughs it off, saying he had a little wine. He tells Henry to just be himself and then hands the phone to Elizabeth. Elizabeth asks what he’s doing and Henry says he’s hanging out with friends. She gets choked up as she tells her son she feels the same way as his dad. After telling him she loves him, she attempts to pass the phone to Paige. Paige simply can’t handle talking to her brother for what could be the last time.
Dennis signals Stan to come into the conference room. As they enter, the other agents get up and leave. Dennis and Stan take their seats and then Dennis slides the drawings of the two spies Father Andrei met with across the table. Stan looks at them and there’s no doubt the drawings depict Elizabeth and Philip Jennings.
Stan shakes his head and says, “I said it, but I didn’t really…” Dennis regrets not listening when Stan voiced his suspicions. Stan lies and says he went by Paige’s apartment earlier, just in case, and no one was there. He then adds, “I’m going to kill him.”
Dennis confirms there are agents watching the house, the travel agency, Paige’s apartment, and Henry at school. He then leaves Stan alone with the drawings after briefly patting his shoulder.
Elizabeth, Philip, and Paige arrive at a McDonald’s. Paige heads in and Philip and Elizabeth, still in the car, discuss the possibility of Philip remaining in the United States for a year or two. He would try and see Henry every so often. Elizabeth is okay with that, and admits she’d stay too if they all could.
Stan returns home, now uncertain about Renee after Philip’s warning. He enters the bedroom and stares down at a sleeping Renee. He then pulls the covers up and takes a seat in a chair next to the bed, continuing to look at his slumbering girlfriend who might possibly be a Russian spy.
Back in the car after picking up dinner, the Jennings family heads to the train station.
The next morning a full FBI team is at the Jennings house collecting evidence. Renee walks outside and Stan crosses the street. They hug, but it appears Stan’s not quite as responsive as he would have been even 24 hours earlier. Renee watches as he walks back to the Jennings place. She then watches the agents taking boxes out of the Jennings place before walking back inside Stan’s home.
Paige, Elizabeth, and Philip take seats in different sections of the train. Their passports are checked against FBI Wanted flyers with their faces. The Border Patrol agents don’t find anything suspicious about their identifications.
The train begins to move again as it’s announced the next stop is Montreal. Suddenly, Elizabeth reacts in shock at something outside the train’s window. She sees Paige standing on the platform as the train begins to pull away.
Philip is seated further back in the train. He also reacts in shock as they pass by Paige. He immediately gets out of his seat and walks toward the front of the train.
Paige stands still, apparently making sure both Elizabeth and Philip see her as the train picks up speed. She then takes a seat on the platform, perhaps plotting out her next move.
Philip takes the seat right next to Elizabeth and they both look absolutely devastated.
Meanwhile, Stan shows up at Henry’s hockey practice. He signals for Henry and they sit together in the stands. There’s no one nearby as Stan tells Henry about his family. He lays a hand on Henry’s knee, attempting to offer comfort as he delivers the news. We can’t hear what he’s saying but Henry looks grief-stricken.
Elizabeth has a dream in which she’s in bed with Gregory Thomas (Derek Luke). They snuggle and smoke, and Gregory places his hand on Elizabeth’s stomach. She says, “I don’t want a kid anyway.”
She looks around the room and sees the drawing done by Erica that Glenn gave her in appreciation of caring for Erica as she passed away. She then sees a smaller drawing in Erica’s style depicting Henry and Paige.
Elizabeth wakes up and now she’s on a plane. Philip’s no longer sitting next to her but instead is across the aisle in a window seat. They each stare out the windows, lost in thought.
Paige returns to Claudia’s now empty apartment. She grabs a bottle of vodka out of the freezer and sits down at the dining room table. She pours herself a shot and drinks it. She stares straight ahead, a concerned look on her face.
Elizabeth drives as she and Philip approach a Russian border checkpoint. They pause 100 or so feet back, exchange looks, and then pull up to the guard station. Elizabeth says something which we can’t hear and the guard makes a phone call. The Jennings are motioned through without any further questioning and without showing identification.
They drive for quite a while in silence. They finally pull over as morning breaks and get into the car driven by Arkady Ivanovich (Lev Gorn). They fall asleep in the backseat as Arkady continues to drive all day and into the night. Philip finally wakes up and asks Arkady to pull over as he sees the city lights.
Philip and Elizabeth exit the car and stare out over the city. It’s quiet and there’s snow on the ground. Philip recalls being told all those years ago that this would be a hard life if he accepted the assignment in America. He remembers telling his superior he wasn’t afraid of that. Elizabeth shakes her head and says, “Who knows what would have happened here. I probably would have worked in a factory, managed a factory – you might have.” She adds, “Maybe we would have met on a bus.”
She thinks Paige and Henry will be okay. “They’ll remember us,” says Philip. “We raised them.” Elizabeth agrees, and Philip admits it feels strange to be home.
Elizabeth looks at him and responds in Russian, “We’ll get used to it.” Philip glances at her but doesn’t reply.
Inside The Americans Finale:
- Interview with Matthew Rhys on Philip and Stan’s relationship, leaving the kids behind, and the ending the Jennings deserved
- Keri Russell interview on Elizabeth’s desire to return home, Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage, and what she thinks about the series finale
More on The Americans:
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 1 “Dead Hand”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 2 “Tchaikovsky”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 3 “Urban Transport Planning”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 4 “Mr. and Mrs. Teacup”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 5 “The Great Patriotic War”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 6 “Rififi”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 7 “Harvest”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 8 “The Summit”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 9 “Jennings, Elizabeth”