Where We Left Off:
Last week saw Stan officially becoming part of the investigation that Aderholt has been working on, as they have caught on to an accountant in Chicago as being an illegal and are staking him out, as well as numerous storage units/garages believed to be used by the KGB. Claudia sends Elizabeth on a mission to extract the target (Codename: Harvest), and she’s not sure if the mission can be completed. Philip, having told Elizabeth that he warned Kimmy about becoming a target for the Cause, seems to put his feelings about the mission aside when he ends the episode on the phone with Elizabeth, telling her he’s coming to help. Before this, though, he also communicated with Burov via a coded message, though we don’t know what it said.
What Went Down:
Philip goes to Stan’s house, where Henry is hanging out, and tells them both he has to fly out to help Elizabeth with her work trip, and he won’t be back in time to see Henry back off to school. Stan tries to get Philip to tell him what’s wrong, as a friend. He tells Stan the business is failing and might go under, and thanks him for always being there for him, ending the scene on a powerful hug. Even with everything Stan doesn’t know, they are true friends and Philip knows this may be the last time they ever see each other, and the undercurrent of sadness when you think about not getting a proper goodbye with Henry, should he fail this mission, is terrible.
In Chicago, Philip meets up with Elizabeth in her hotel room and they go out to eat before going to bed, sharing small moments to reconnect before going over the plans for extraction on the street the next day. Stan drives around with Henry, asking him questions about his parents work and whether they have much family around. Henry knows the business is failing and that his parents are trying hard, but when he mentions that they’ve always run off in the middle of the night for work, even when they were little, and Stan is clearly suspicious.
In the hotel, Elizabeth tells Philip about the cyanide capsule, but won’t tell him about Dead Hand, for his own protection. He wants to flush the pill, but she won’t let him. The next day, they hatch the escape plan, pulling off a daring switch in traffic, managing to get Harvest out of his car and away from the FBI tail momentarily. They get into a new van and get out quickly, but another FBI car tries to stop them and there is a shootout. Both FBI agents and the Russian driver are killed, and Harvest catches a gut shot. As he’s dying, he gives Philip messages to give to his parents and says that the sensor schematics Elizabeth needs are at an air base in France. To ensure he isn’t captured, Harvest pops his own cyanide capsule as Philip and Elizabeth look for a way out.
They find an underground garage, and quickly hotwire a vehicle. In a very intense scene, Philip breaks an emergency glass case and takes out an axe, and works quickly to sever the head and hands of their comrade Marilyn so she can’t be identified, nearly being spotted by another driver in the process. Holy SHIT!!!
Back at the FBI, Aderholt tells Stan about what happened in Chicago. Stan hopes their leads will pan out, now that they lost Harvest. Aderholt tells the team that the man in Harvest’s car after the swap is seeing a sketch artist to describe the white couple that hired him. In another of The Americans’ trademark amazing musical montages, Philip and Elizabeth dump the body parts and old clothes in a safe place as they are driving back. Cut to Stan, who is approaching their house in the middle of the night, and he breaks in. Looking at their family photos, he remembers the dying words of illegal-turned-informant William Crandall from a few seasons ago, about how he’s looking for a couple with kids, living the American dream. Stan pokes around, even finding the circuit breaker that we know leads to everything he wants to discover, but he never finds anything.
Back at the Haskgard’s, Elizabeth plays nurse and shares a nice moment with her dying patient, discussing art. She refuses to take her meds because she has to focus on work. Elizabeth clearly sees some of her own resolve in this woman. Stan shares an old case file with Aderholt that he thinks may be connected, when their team in Philly was sitting on an illegal and lost him in much the same way as Harvest.
Elizabeth checks in on Philip at the office, momentarily more interested in her family than her job. She tells him she’s going to see Paige. Telling Paige about the operation in Chicago, she says it’s decision time: You’re in, for life, or you’re out, right now. Mom finally lays it all out for her daughter: this means no friends, and possibly giving up your life. She’s in, this is the life she wants. Elizabeth says it’s time to apply for an internship at the State Department.
Philip sits alone, recalling the moment he and Elizabeth were officially married. The life he wanted vs the life he has. How much longer can he move forward like this?
Where We Go From Here:
The sketches that will be provided from Chicago will likely come close to matching those provided in season 1, that have been hanging around the FBI office for years. This may be the final nail in the Jennings coffin, the one piece to confirm Stan’s suspicions. He has now snooped in their garage twice (remember the pilot, way back in 2013?) and come up empty, but with only three episodes left, the end game is right around the corner. And after another heart-stopping escape by Philip and Elizabeth, how many of their nine lives have they already used?
What did you think of this week’s episode?
Will the sketches be the key to the whole finale?
After Elizabeth’s final scene with Paige, could we see her lay down her life to save her mother from Stan or another agent?
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