FX’s The Americans season six episode eight which aired May 16, 2018 found the cast, writers, and director at the top of their games. This final season has been loaded with twists, but episode eight might have delivered the mother of all shockers thus far.
Season six episode eight picks up where episode seven left off, with Philip (Matthew Rhys) sitting on his couch contemplating life. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) arrives home and informs him she won’t need his help again. She also advises him not to worry, a difficult warning for Philip to swallow since she’s wearing a cyanide pill around her neck.
Philip confesses he was approached by someone from home who said there are people at The Centre who are attempting to get rid of Gorbachev. This man who Philip won’t name was aware of Elizabeth’s secret meetings and wanted to know what she was doing. Philip admits he told him she was working on obtaining a sensor from Rennhull, that she was looking at one of their own who might be a traitor, and she was going to Chicago. So, pretty much all of Elizabeth’s secrets.
Elizabeth tells Philip to go to hell, and he questions whether she’s even sure she knows why she’s doing things at this point. He claims he was trying to help her and to get her to think for herself, to get her to be a human being. He reminds her they used to believe in things but now she just does as she’s told without question. “It’s on us, all of it,” says Philip.
Elizabeth, going by the name Wendy Gallagher, is acting as though she’s a busy professional with barely time for lunch at an upscale restaurant. Jackson the intern arrives at her table and she apologizes she can’t stay long. He’s come to the conclusion he’s interested in the management training program she offered, and Elizabeth thinks that’s great.
Elizabeth takes his resume and promises to pass it to the guy who runs the program. She asks him to write a report about the work he’s done in the Senator’s office. It’s to show how observant he is, and she wants it in 24 hours. It needs to be detailed and he doesn’t need to worry because anyone who reads it will have a security clearance.
Over at the FBI, the team is reporting in on the used cars that were purchased with cash and on the Russian Orthodox priests. One in particular is of interest because he’s been promoted unusually quickly.
Stan (Noah Emmerich) wonders about Oleg and why he’s in town, but they haven’t learned anything.
Paige (Holly Taylor) watches the news with her mom and Claudia (Margo Martindale). Elizabeth asks for a meeting alone and Claudia says she’s sorry about Marilyn. Elizabeth reveals that Glenn Haskard’s got a meeting on Wednesday with the Russians and she’ll insert a bug in his briefcase before then.
Elizabeth shows up for her nursing job, but the house is quiet. Glenn (Scott Cohen) is by his wife’s bedside and he confesses he gave Erica (Miriam Shor) extra morphine. She’s alive but her breathing is labored. She couldn’t take it any longer and begged him to do it. It’s been a day since he gave her the overdose, and Elizabeth explains Erica’s built up a tolerance to morphine.
Glenn cancelled all his meetings to finally be with his wife. Elizabeth advises him to say goodbye to Erica and then leave. He caresses Erica’s face and kisses her before leaving the bedroom. Once he’s gone, Elizabeth gently rubs Erica’s face and then looks around at her drawings. She then kisses Erica’s forehead before shoving a paint brush in her mouth, forcing her to gag. As Erica vomits, Elizabeth holds her mouth and nose shut. Erica struggles in bed to free herself but she’s too weak. She finally gives in to death.
Elizabeth cleans the paint brush, breaks it in half, and places it in her pocket. She then gently cleans Erica’s face.
She joins Glenn downstairs to inform him Erica is gone. She suggests he spend time with his wife now since it’s his last opportunity. After he leaves the room, Elizabeth takes photos of the papers in his briefcase.
Glenn calls Elizabeth back upstairs and asks her to choose one of Erica’s drawings. He really wants her to keep one, and Elizabeth agrees to taking one with her.
The painting’s almost too big to fit in her station wagon but she finally manages. Later, she removes the painting from its frame and is about to set it on fire when she stops herself. Instead, she rolls it up and puts it into a locker. As she’s about to walk away, she changes her mind. She removes it from the locker and burns it.
Jackson visits Elizabeth and she rewards him with a briefcase with his initials. She lies and says he’s been accepted into the training program. She offers him a drink and tells him her colleague loved his report and will be calling him next week. They flirt and then make out.
At home, Stan looks through a photo album and stares at a picture with the Jennings. Renee (Laurie Holden) arrives home and opens a letter from the FBI. She has a job interview the next week and she believes Dennis helped set it up. Stan suggests all she needs to do is be herself and they’ll love her.
The following morning, Jackson’s having breakfast in Elizabeth’s bed. She asks if he can do her a favor by dropping a box off at the State Department for her. He’s happy to do it and she instructs him to leave it in room 6226 with a piece of Senator Nunes’ stationary on top with a note saying it’s for Fred Sperber DOD. That should keep anyone from moving the box.
Philip can’t concentrate at work and rings Henry. Unfortunately, he’s at hockey practice and isn’t around. Henry’s future is obviously weighing heavily on Philip.
Stan, who’s grown increasingly suspicious of the Jennings, heads to Roy Rogers restaurant to talk to Curtis about Gregory Thomas. He wants to know about the woman Gregory was hanging out with. He shows Curtis a photo of Elizabeth and Curtis isn’t sure it’s her. He does remember she was beautiful and had incredible hair. She also smoked like a chimney.
Later that day, Elizabeth calls Jackson and asks him to pick up the box he dropped off for her. She claims the meeting was canceled so she needs the box back. Of course Jackson agrees to do anything she asks.
Philip pays a visit to Stavos (Anthony Arkin) at his apartment and apologizes again for firing him. Philip confesses the company’s in trouble and might fail. Plus, he and Elizabeth are also doing bad both personally and financially. Stavos remembers he started working with Philip years ago and never called the police even though he knew there were things going on in the back room. He doesn’t really accept the apology and says, “I was raised to be loyal,” before closing the door in Philip’s face.
Elizabeth meets Jackson on the street to retrieve the box. There’s something wrong with Jackson and he doesn’t say a word until he sits in her passenger seat. He explains he looked at the clipboard and there weren’t any cancelled meetings in that room. He admits he looked in the files and found a recording device. Elizabeth tries laughing it off and says it’s just a way for her to take notes for her client. Her client needed the meeting’s details and was supposed to attend. The recording would have helped her client get a competitive edge on a bid.
Jackson’s not buying any of this. He demands to know who she is and what’s going on. She pulls over and he’s absolutely enraged. He wants to call his dad and attempts to get out of the car. Elizabeth forces him to stay by grabbing his arm. They stare at each other and then finally Elizabeth tells him not to mention this to his dad or anyone. If he agrees, he can leave. He says he doesn’t understand and finally she releases him. She advises him to go back to school and go into the pavement business. (The Elizabeth from a few days ago would have snapped his neck without a second thought.)
Philip is fitted for a suit he can’t afford but is buying anyway.
Elizabeth listens to the tape and hears about Gorbachev’s plans to get rid of the long-range nuclear missiles Russia and the U.S. have pointed at each other. Plus, Gorbachev will agree to all American requirements. A removal of nuclear weapons is Gorbachev’s dream.
Elizabeth fills Claudia in on what she heard on the tape, not finding anything suspicious in what Fyodor Nesterenko said during the meeting. Claudia reveals they have new orders and Nesterenko must be taken care of within the next 48 hours.
Philip, in disguise, heads to a video store. He rents a Russian movie and watches it at home, alone.
Elizabeth watches Nesterenko and the others exit the summit. It’s night and there are people walking around the streets, plus cars driving by. That doesn’t matter as she has a gun secreted in a newspaper ready to fire. However, for some reason she doesn’t and simply walks past the group of men.
A short time later, Elizabeth admits to Claudia she didn’t shoot Nesterenko. She believes he sounds like a decent man, not a traitor. Claudia doesn’t care how Elizabeth feels. She instructs Elizabeth she must do the hit, no matter what. Claudia then explains she’s been protecting Elizabeth so she can do her job and now she wonders if Elizabeth has lost her confidence.
Elizabeth confesses she needs to know she’s doing the right thing this time. Claudia explains that Gorbachev has no sense of Russian history or ideals. She believes he’s giving everything away and it’s almost too late to stop him. After they kill Nesterenko, they’ll alter his reports to make it appear he was trading away a highly classified defense program for Gorbachev. (Claudia has known all along what Elizabeth was working on regarding the Mexico meeting.)
The ultimate goal was and continues to be to get rid of Gorbachev. The Centre’s top leaders ordered this, working in coordination with military leaders. Elizabeth points out the party isn’t behind this and refuses to do it. Claudia warns her to keep quiet and not to throw everything away now.
Philip’s still watching the Russian movie. Across the street, Stan’s standing at a window looking at the Jennings house when Renee catches him and asks him to come to bed. He claims he’s looking at the moon. He sees Elizabeth return home.
Elizabeth immediately tells Philip she wants to talk to his guy. He explains it’s a dead drop and she asks for the contact plan. When Philip asks what she wants to say to him, she doesn’t reply. Philip truly believes he’s putting their country first, which is what she should have done. She asks Philip to pass on the message that what his contact is worried about is happening. The leaders are trying to get rid of Gorbachev. She also tells Philip she doesn’t want to kill Nesterenko because he’s not a traitor. She even reveals they want to falsify her reports to make it look bad for Nesterenko, and that The Centre’s leaders want Gorbachev out now.
Philip agrees to pass on the message. Elizabeth reveals she has to leave again to watch Nesterenko. Before she exits, Philip passes her a note saying Father Andre wants to meet her. She tells Philip to meet him instead. “Maybe he’ll give you absolution,” says Elizabeth as she heads out the door.
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”