But Elizabeth’s greatest trial — short of being told to pack up and run — was still to come. At home, Paige arrived with a question: Was Elizabeth the older woman who, she’d heard, had sex with a Sam Nunn intern? (Ruining his life in the process.)
“If you lie to me now, after everything, I will never forgive you,” Paige said, invoking everything she’d given up at Elizabeth’s behest. Elizabeth denied it, to no avail. Paige realized that she’d always known, and she let it rip: “You lie about everything. How many times? How many men? Were you doing this when I was a baby? You’re a whore. Does Dad know he married a whore?”
Yeah, Dad knows, and he’s a pretty accomplished whore himself, which Elizabeth, her face contorted with rage, let Paige know. The truth flared out: “We were proud to do whatever we could. Sex? What was sex? Nobody cared. Including your father.” (Oh, but Martha cared.) Paige stormed away, and while Holly Taylor will certainly appear in the finale, it will be interesting to see how the plot incorporates her — Paige clearly didn’t have any interest in seeing her mom again anytime soon.
That leaves Philip, whose role in the episode was much smaller than Elizabeth’s but just as essential. After an early visit from Stan at the travel agency — where he politely turned down Stan’s touching, if oddly timed, offer of a loan — he made the ill-fated drop for Oleg, then headed to a park to meet Father Andrei in Elizabeth’s stead. After some chitchat about the Jenningses’ marriage — in which Andrei, in response to Philip’s admission that he had lied to Elizabeth, delivered the key line, “Then there must be something between you she thinks is worth staying for” — Andrei got around to business, reporting that his rival Father Viktor was meeting with the F.B.I., maybe that day.
It was that day — we had seen the meeting, in which the insecure Viktor ratted out Andrei for being too cozy with the K.G.B. In the park, Philip immediately walked away, telling Andrei over his shoulder to book a plane ticket. On the sidewalk, Philip broke into a run and sure enough two F.B.I. agents gave chase. Philip was just fast enough, changing clothes as he ran and making it to a taxi. “Queen Street N.E.,” he said, headed toward that phone booth.
It all comes down to next week’s episode, whose title, “START,” is certainly suggestive. I haven’t watched the finale yet — I’ll be doing that as soon as I file this recap — but that title, and the pace of the last few week’s events, make me think that the suspicion I’ve carried (I swear) since the pilot six seasons ago may be right. “The Americans” is a show about a couple that always escapes, and for me, it would be disappointing (and unfair) if they didn’t escape this time, too.