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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Americans 5.3: The Cowboys and the Bugs

Philip and Elizabeth got to be cowboys in The Americans 5.3 tonight - well, at least he was wearing a cowboy hat, and she had it on, too, as she sort of seduced Philip in her tight jeans in their hotel room out in Oklahoma before the mission.

And that mission was a piece of work,  in which Philip and Elizabeth are trying to nip in the bud some nasty biological warfare, 1980s style, in which the U. S. is breeding bugs with an eye towards destroying the Soviet food crop.  One of the themes this year is how close to the brink the food supply already is back in the U. S. S. R., so this bug thread has a special relevance.

I have no idea, of course, whether the U. S. was ever breeding such insects.   It reminds me of the science fiction in one of my novels, The Silk Code.  But what would I know?  I'm just a writer and a professor with no knowledge of what our super-secret spy agencies did back then.

Or, for that matter, what they're doing now, just as I have no idea what the Russians today are really up to.  But all of that is another reason why The Americans is so especially relevant in 2017.

I should mention that I'll be giving an address in Moscow about fake news next month - via Skype - which, though I'm very much looking forward to it, I'd rather be giving in person, so I could see first-hand what's really going on there.  From what I understand, the food has much improved.

But I digress.  Back in The Americans tonight, we have a very strong ending in which Philip asks Elizabeth if they're going to tell their daughter about their killing the bug guy - especially powerful, since Elizabeth has begun to tell Paige at least some of what they're doing, including looking into the bug threat.

And I'll be back here next week with another hard-bitten review (sorry, this is no time for humor) of this dangerously pertinent series.

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