The Americans: The Summit and consummation

THE AMERICANS -- "The Summit" -- Season 6, Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, May 16, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FX
THE AMERICANS -- "The Summit" -- Season 6, Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, May 16, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FX /

The Summit is when The Americans consummate for intel, and question their consummate professionalism.

At this point, the summit feels like a birthday party when you’re five. McDonald’s has been promised. Ronald McDonald is showing up. Only you don’t have a concept of time, and your parents have been telling you it’s soon for what seems like an eternity. That’s what “The Summit” is for The Americans.

The buildup, however, isn’t as good as expected. The tables are greasy, and Ronald is a drunk employee who got called in on his day off. In many ways, The Americans is the same, because the actual summit is anti-climactic, and some of the spy work is far from consummate professionalism.

Philip comes clean

The episode starts off with a bolt of lightning. Philip (Matthew Rhys) tells Elizabeth (Keri Russell) about his connection to from home (i.e. Russia). All chips are on the table. He lets her know he’s been spying on her, the group that reached out to him wants to stop Gorbachev from attending the summit, and that he even knows about when Elizabeth met with the General in Mexico.

Philip says he has tried to tell her (true) and that he told the guy about what Elizabeth was up to.


She is pissed, naturally, but Philip keeps telling her he tried to tell her. He’s not lying. She’s been a raving b**ch lately. Ultimately, however, Philip goes into a speech where he challenges the entire mission from day one. They’ve never actually asked anyone from The Centre “why” they are doing most missions. She walks out without a word. No boom-boom at the Jennings’ house for a while.

Sex is a powerful weapon

Since there is celibacy at home, Elizabeth dresses up as Wendy Gallagher, foreign film lover, and meets with Jackson, horny young man easily swayed by gorgeous women (aren’t we all). She asks for a detailed report from the Senator’s office, but it’s “for the job he might get.” (wink wink) But don’t worry, she says, all the people who will read the data have clearances. Yeah, because that’s how clearances and secret information works.

Later Jackson meets Wendy at her hotel room, and he damn near knocks on the door with no hands. She opens a bottle of liquor, accidentally leaves a pair of panties on the couch, and is playing cowgirl within seconds. Jackson doesn’t know what hit him.

The next morning he’s eating breakfast in bed and she’s asking him to check out her box…that she needs him to put into the corner of a government building.

Maybe Jackson isn’t that naive?

Jackson opened her box (again) and checked out the files. He realizes she had him bug the summit meeting. His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. He wants out of the car ASAP.

Surprisingly, Elizabeth doesn’t kill him. She warns him to stay silent, but he is too dumbfounded and terrified to concur. And still she lets him go. It’s a lot like a similar interaction from Fight Club.

Russian girls club

Gorby is in the U.S., and The Americans uses it as another reason to get Claudia (Margo Martindale) together with Elizabeth and Paige (Holly Taylor). Paige leaves the room, and Elizabeth says she’s planning on putting a listening device in Glenn Haskard’s (Scott Cohen) briefcase for a later meeting.

Out of her misery

THE AMERICANS — “The Summit” — Season 6, Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, May 16, 10:00 pm/ep) — Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FX
THE AMERICANS — “The Summit” — Season 6, Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, May 16, 10:00 pm/ep) — Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FX /

Glenn messed up. He gave his wife a ton of meds, thinking it would kill her, and all it did was make her vegetative. Red-wigged Elizabeth walks into the groaning that sounds an awful lot like zombies on The Walking Dead.

Elizabeth makes him say goodbye to his dying wife and leave the room. In a moment of compassion, Elizabeth calmly surveys the room, the paintings, and then proceeds to do the most cold-blooded thing she’s done the entire show. Elizabeth takes a paint brush and shoves it down Erica’s (Miriam Shor) throat, pinches her nose and mouth, and chokes/suffocates her with green paint. Like she used to say, “paint the darkness.” One has to wonder if the death is symbolic of how Elizabeth will go down. (Elizabeth’s plan is flawed. Why not try to keep Erica alive and keep tapping Glenn as a resource?)

Nonetheless, Glenn goes upstairs and Elizabeth takes photos of his top-secret documents downstairs. As a parting gift, Glenn lets Elizabeth take one of the paintings. Of course, she chooses the most ostentatiously large one there is.

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Beeman gets closer

Beeman (Emmerich) tracks down a guy who used to hang out with Gregory Thomas (Derek Luke) and brings a photo of Elizabeth. The pizza pusher can’t remember much but says the mystery woman smoked like a chimney and had amazing hair. That’s a pretty good description of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth “accepts” a new mission

Even though she got intel on the summit, it’s nothing special. All she really learns is that Gorby wants to rid the world of nukes. The information is relayed to Claudia, and she tells Elizabeth none of it matters because Nesterenko (Alex Feldman) is now on the hit list.

Surprisingly she goes to Nesterenko’s location without planning. She can’t pull the trigger despite getting within range. Deep down she’s listening to what Philip told her earlier and doesn’t understand the true motive behind the assassination order. She wants to know why Nesterenko needs to die because all her recordings indicate him to be a great person. Is she getting soft?

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Elizabeth is still having doubts

Previous episodes have shown her worry about her daughter, as well as warn Philip. She also looked around her house admiringly at the end of last season, as if she would rather have an American life. There are more and more doubts. She kissed Erica on the head. She hesitates burning Erica’s painting (no linking evidence). Now she’s questioning and outright defying Claudia’s directives. Claudia then lays out the entire plan to get rid of Gorbachev. Everything leads to Gorbachev being removed, and the order comes from The Centre. Just as Philip intimated, and Elizabeth is shocked.

Are they becoming “more American” than Russian?

Philip goes to see Stavos to apologize for the firing. Stavos knew something was going down in the back room. He confesses he’ll always remain silent. Philip probably wonders why no one else (like a next-door neighbor in the FBI) has seen it.

When he arrives home, Elizabeth follows shortly thereafter. She now appears to be onboard and wants to contact Philip’s “guy” about what she just learned. In an interesting turn of events, Philip flips it on her and apologizes by saying he was just “putting country first.”

Via dead-drop, Elizabeth requests Philip relay the message that all suspicions are accurate, and The Centre is trying to overthrow Gorbachev.

Next: The precise moment the FBI became semi-competent

The episode ends with Philip and Elizabeth looking at a note from Father Andre. Despite everything she just learned, Elizabeth says Philip should go find out what it is and seek absolution. It could be an explosive meeting since the FBI was researching Russian orthodox priests.

The Americans is nearing its thrilling finale! Watch the final episodes Wednesday nights on FX.