If only Elizabeth had a little more patience with her husband, maybe Marilyn would still be alive.
Philip was sick of playing games of any kind by the time The Americans Season 6 Episode 8 rolled around, and whatever he did got Elizabeth's attention.
After multiple attempts to share something with Elizabeth and getting shot down, Philip told her the truth about his recent activities. It didn't go over well, but a switch was flipped in Elizabeth's mind. Finally.
It's conversations like the ones between Philip and Elizabeth during this episode that will really be missed once The Americans leaves the air.
Not only are they written with a lot of depth, we're treated to emotions at an exceptional level from Matthew Rhys and his wife Keri Russel. They have a symbiotic understanding on screen that is is very rare.
We saw how many times Philip tried to get Elizabeth's attention long enough to have a conversation with her and how she slammed the door in his face. When she doesn't want to talk, there is no talking to her. Even if they had talked, she wouldn't have heard what he had to say.
This time, though, Philip was so painfully honest and sharing such information of such a magnitude that Elizabeth couldn't help but hear and allow it to sink in.
Philip: You've always done exactly what they've told us to do. I was trying to get you to think. Yes. To ask questions. To be a human being about us.
Elizabeth: You don't think I'm a human being?!
Philip: That's not what I'm saying. I would do anything for you. I always did. I just did. But not anymore. You do whatever you want, but please, some of these things? We believed in something so big. They tell us what to do and we do it, I get it, that's how it works. But we do it, not them, so it's on us. All of it.
Philip's deception was weighing heavily on Elizabeth for the rest of the hour. She was angry he went behind her back and talked with someone about her work without talking to her first.
But even more, she was thinking on her own. She was taking a hard look at the evidence in front of her and weighing what she had been and was being asked to do, maybe for the first time in a very long time.
It started with the death of Erica. Even if Elizabeth didn't want to believe Erica impacted her in some way, she felt enough about the artist to study her works and kiss her forehead before taking her life, which was done with mercy.
It corresponded with work that needed to be accomplished on behalf of the Center, but taking those extra steps was something new for Elizabeth. She rarely thought twice about how her work and her life intertwined.
What she experienced with Erica was different.
I can't quite reconcile what was going on about the painting, but I'd like to think she saw a pained Erica in the enormous work. That she remembered the woman, who missed out on time with her husband to paint and would have given anything to have that time back, and that's why Elizabeth burned it.
Some of you may have read that differently, and I hope you share with me your feelings on the subject.
That Elizabeth could learn everything she did from Philip and go out and work Jackson (or Rafifi as I like to call him) like it was any other day in the KGB was astounding. She was practically a machine going about her business.
She had Rafifi like putty in her hands, doing her bidding and taking a box straight into the summit.
But Elizabeth didn't choose her mark as carefully as she could have because Rafifi is an intelligent and extraordinary young man. He was interested in her because of that intelligence and desire to move up in the world, not because he was easily duped.
When she used him a second time so quickly to pick up the box she had him drop off earlier, he realized what he had done and began falling apart. If it weren't for Philip flipping Elizabeth's switch, Rafifi would be dead.
It was one more step to the right side of history when she let him go live his life.
Throughout the season, Elizabeth has had times when she's had confused looks on her face, but I've not fully understood the meaning for it. Now I do.
It's too bad she can't share with Rafifi what he truly did for her and his country because his actions, while despicable in his eyes, have made a world of difference to the way things will play out.
He's saved Elizabeth from walking blindly down a dark path with sunglasses and blinders. He's given her the last piece of information she needed to fully open her eyes to what her dear contact, Claudia had been leaving out of their precious conversations.
All of those conversations between the women were useless, and Claudia was keeping Elizabeth as close as possible, likely knowingly drawing her away from Philip to ensure his ways didn't rub off on Philip and Paige.
The cold facts were that Claudia lied to Elizabeth so they could eventually use her information, pad it and manipulate it into what was necessary for the Soviet military to believe Gorbachev needed to be removed from his seat, even though it was untrue.
Many good lives would be trashed in the meantime all in the name of... keeping Gorbachev out of office. Elizabeth didn't seem to know the nature of the point beyond that but wasn't interested in being used to trash good people. She's human, after all.
Elizabeth: I won't do it.
Claudia: I can't make you do anything. But, Elizabeth, keep quite. After all these years serving your country, don't throw it all away now.
Now Elizabeth sees the error of her ways and wants to get in touch with "Philip's guy." She needs to tell them what's happening so she can save Gorbachev's life.
The question is whether it will be too late to save their own lives now.
Philip: Wait. This came in while you were out. Father Andre.
Elizabeth: I can't. You meet him. Maybe he'll give you absolution.
While we didn't check in with the FBI task force too much, when we did we learned they were still pouring over the sketches, and their next avenue was to chat with orthodox priests. As soon as they mentioned the priests, the wedding and Andre's connection to Philip and Elizabeth came to mind.
If Philip takes that meeting, he's walking into a trap. Philip doesn't have a suicide necklace, so he'll be taken alive. What will it all mean? Am I imagining things by placing incorrect clues into line?
There are two episodes left, and I live in fear for the characters I've grown to love. Most importantly, I'm proud of Elizabeth for thinking first and acting second, and for Philip using as his defense in reporting her that he was only doing what she would have done: thinking of his country first.
This was an astounding installment and one in which Renee discovered she had an interview at the FBI. Is she the next wave? What's next? If you need a refresher, watch The Americans online and hit the comments. Let's chat!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.