FX’s The Americans season six episode seven picks up immediately after Philip received a phone call from Elizabeth confessing she could use his help in Chicago. Henry (Keidrich Sellati) is snacking on Thanksgiving leftovers over at Stan’s place when Philip (Matthew Rhys) arrives to ask if Stan (Noah Emmerich) can watch over Henry. Henry will be heading back to school on Sunday and Philip’s happy Stan will let him come over for leftovers instead of staying home alone eating frozen pizza.
For the first time, Stan seems a little suspicious but he can’t put his finger on what’s happening with Philip and Elizabeth. He reminds Philip they’re best friends, but all Philip will admit is that he’s worried about this work problem. Stan’s not really satisfied with that answer and reveals he used to question why Philip and Elizabeth would work until 3 or 4 am. He then asks the leading question: “Are you involved with something?”
Philip replies that the business might be going under. It’s been in bad financial shape for a while, and Philip apologizes for not telling Stan earlier. Stan assures Philip he’s there for him. Philip gives Stan a long hug before taking off.
As Philip walks away, Stan’s face reveals he’s not sure Philip has told him the complete story.
Philip, in disguise, makes it to Elizabeth’s hotel room in Chicago. The tension in their relationship is still obvious, but it’s also obvious Elizabeth (Keri Russell) is grateful Philip made the trip to help.
After grabbing a bite to eat, Philip fills Elizabeth in on his talk with Stan.
The next morning, Elizabeth and Philip walk the streets of Chicago mapping out their plan. There won’t be a single hand-off point because FBI agents are all over “Harvest.” It’s going to be very difficult to pull this off, but Elizabeth is more hopeful about the mission’s success with Philip involved.
Stan gives Henry a lift to his friend Brandon’s house and they talk about Brandon’s dad’s work. He’s in finance and they’re rich. Henry sounds jealous that Brandon’s mom is always there for him and would never miss a Thanksgiving dinner with her family. Henry also confirms (without being aware he’s backing up his dad’s story) that the business isn’t going well.
Stan continues to ask Henry questions about Philip and Elizabeth’s work, wondering if they’re often pulled away for emergencies. Henry confirms they are and that they’ll receive calls in the middle of the night that demand their immediate attention. Henry also says they never stay with family – in fact they don’t even really have any.
Stan reminds him that Elizabeth spent some time with her sister, Helen. Henry forgot about that because he’s never actually met his aunt. He believes Paige might have met her at some point. (Stan’s spidey sense is definitely tingling.)
Back in their hotel room, Philip confesses he no longer has the feeling for pulling things off. Elizabeth reveals she went to Mexico and because of what she learned, she cannot be taken alive. She shows him the pill she’s carrying around inside her necklace. Elizabeth refuses to give him specifics on the meeting but does say the guy they’re rescuing in Chicago is also in on it.
Philip wants to flush the pill, but Elizabeth won’t hand it over.
The plan gets underway and Philip pulls up to a site where workers are looking for jobs. He asks for five men and has them pile in his truck.
Harvest is followed by multiple cars as he makes his way to work.
Elizabeth waits outside a parked shuttle bus with Philip in the driver’s seat. Marilyn (Amy Tribbey) is stationed nearby and signals when Harvest passes by her location. Elizabeth gets on the bus and her associates also spring into action.
The bus pulls alongside Harvest’s car on the street and a box truck pulls behind him, effectively blocking the view of anyone following Harvest. The workers Philip hired stop traffic in the street for construction work.
Harvest gets on the bus while one of the men Philip hired takes over Harvest’s place in the car.
The FBI agent pulls up to the car and realizes Harvest isn’t the driver. The agent instructs his team to look for a shuttle bus, a box truck, and a Jeep Wagoneer. Philip parks the bus and everyone piles into a van driven by Marilyn. The FBI attempts to stop the van and when Marilyn doesn’t comply, they shoot her in the head. Harvest is also shot during the ensuing exchange of gunfire as are the FBI agents.
Harvest, bleeding from a bullet wound to the stomach, tells Philip he has messages to deliver. The first is for his mother. “I love you. I’m sorry I left like that. I thought of you every day. I never forgot what you did for me. Don’t be sad. I had a good life. An interesting life. I did what I wanted.”
The second message has to do with his mission. He reveals the sensor schematics are in France at an air base. He then adds a message for his dad who he apparently hates.
Elizabeth’s been driving this whole time and when Philip looks away from Harvest, he swallows his pill and dies quickly.
Philip and Elizabeth make it to a parking garage and steal a car. Philip grabs the fire axe on the wall and chops off Marilyn’s head and hands with Elizabeth’s help. The hands come off easily, but the head is more difficult to separate from her body and takes multiple swings.
They change clothes and then place the hands and head in their duffel bag. The van and the remainder of Marilyn’s body are left in the garage when they leave in the stolen car.
Back at the FBI office, Stan and Agent Dennis Aderholt (Brandon J. Dirden) look at photos of the dead agents as well as Harvest’s body and the headless woman. Dennis is upset and frustrated, and finally agrees with Stan that everything they do turns to sh*t. Dennis, for the first time, really sounds defeated.
A while later, Dennis has recovered and gives his team a briefing. They’ve learned from the team in Chicago that the man in Harvest’s car was hired by a white man and a black man, but then got on the shuttle bus with the same white man and a white woman. Stan looks concerned and asks when they’re getting sketches.
Philip and Elizabeth stop in the dark of night and throw the duffel bag into a river after Elizabeth weighs the bag down with rocks.
Stan arrives home after work but sits in his car in the dark. He looks across the street at the Jennings house and then decides to knock on their door. No one answers, and he makes his way around the house. He picks a lock and enters.
The house is dark as Stan walks through the living room, looking around. He looks at the family photos on the wall and recalls how William Crandall (Dylan Baker) told him about Russian spies with a couple of kids “living the American dream.” Crandall described the woman as pretty and said the man was lucky.
Stan continues to look around, going through drawers and even entering bedrooms and examining the electric panel. He doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Philip and Elizabeth are in different disguises as they fly home. Elizabeth passes the time drawing, explaining to Philip someone’s making her learn.
They arrive home and Philip immediately calls Henry at school. He apologizes for not driving him back to school but then Henry gets off the phone quickly because it’s late.
Elizabeth needs to leave again for work and she’ll be gone at least 24 hours. She gently caresses Philip’s face before heading out.
Elizabeth arrives at Erica’s and shows off her latest drawings. Erica compliments the drawing and asks why she drew one particular image. Elizabeth doesn’t have an explanation and Erica tells her she needs to bring herself into the drawing. “If you do, there’s a moment when it’s not you seeing it, something comes through. You need to bring all yourself to it and then that lets you get out of your own way,” explains Erica, who’s in excruciating pain as she speaks.
Elizabeth wants to give her a shot of morphine but Erica refuses, saying she has to work.
Back at the FBI building, Dennis stands in front of one of the boards with photos and maps. He’s tired and hasn’t slept, but aware enough to be interested in a box of items Stan’s brought in. Stan reminds him that six years ago they had a Philly FBI team on a wife of a deceased illegal. She disappeared and they never found her.
Philip’s at the travel agency when Elizabeth shows up unexpectedly. She’s still supposed to be at work but wanted to make sure Philip’s okay. She tells him she’ll be heading to Paige’s later to tell her about Marilyn, and then finally realizes Stavos isn’t there. Philip confirms he had to let Stavos and two other employees go.
That evening Paige and Elizabeth take a walk in the rain. Elizabeth tells her the man they went to retrieve in Chicago died and so did Marilyn. Elizabeth admits the whole mission went south and that sometimes these things do happen. She then asks Paige to make a decision and commit to this work or get out. It’s a commitment for life and Paige says she understands. Elizabeth asks if Paige is willing to give up friends and even her life if necessary. Paige admits she doesn’t really have friends. Paige also says she’s not afraid to die. She’s only afraid of being alone, but that maybe someday she’ll meet someone.
Elizabeth believes Philip made a mistake committing to this life. She wants her daughter to understand this is forever. Elizabeth reminds her it’s okay to not want to follow in her footsteps, but Paige is certain this is what she’s always wanted. She just wants to make a difference.
Elizabeth decides now is the time for Paige to apply for an internship at the State Department.
Philip, home alone, remembers exchanging vows with Elizabeth.
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 8 “The Summit”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 9 “Jennings, Elizabeth”
- Recap of The Americans Season 6 Episode 10 “Start”