*WARNING* SPOILERS AHEAD
I first heard the word Arpanet when we were studying it back in high school. I don’t know a lot about computers and networking but I knew it as an earlier version of today’s internet. So when I heard it on The Americans, I initially though that it was a “nudge nudge wink wink” moment for all of the netizen fans of the show. However, after watching episode 7 of the hit spy show, I realized that it was more than a “I saw what you did there” moment, it was an integral part of the plot.
Basically, a lot of things are going on right now on The Americans. Arpanet took center stage on this episode and acted as a symbol of sorts of how espionage was changing during the Cold War. Yes, it was a revolutionary time for Washington and Moscow, for capitalism and communism, but it was also a time where technology was affecting the lives of the people who lived in that time. And yes, when it comes to progress, a battle line is drawn between people who dislike new things and the lovers of anything new and exciting. In this episode, the battle line was between man and machine. Philip VS. the Arpanet, Nina VS the lie detector machine, Philip “the spy machine” VS Charles “weak human” Duluth, and Philip VS Henry who really wants to play video games.
Mostly, the battle was won by the humans. Philip installed the bugged, Nina passed the lie detector test, Duluth got his exhilarating experience working as an accomplice, and Henry found a way to play video games.
But the humans didn’t hog all the victory that night. Lucia, our fire cracker of a spy, is intent on killing Larric. Elizabeth drills into Lucia’s head that Larric is an asset to the revolution and the KGB. This brings upon the best line of the episode: “The operation and Larrick are bigger than your wish for revenge. Larrick is a monster, but he’s our monster.” Still, Lucia burns hot with rage and revenge which makes Elizabeth worry for her safety.
Speaking of monsters, Oleg is being more and more beast like after every episode. On the past weeks, he was seen as the spoiled, worthless kid, but now, Oleg is proving to be a valuable addition to the Rezidentura. He even taught Nina how to “fool” the lie detector test which leads to Nina successfully passing the said test and eventually jumping in bed with Oleg as a gesture of gratitude (?). Poor Stan Beeman, this season is really doing a number on him.
And by the way, the whole polygraph scene was very intense. Ever since Game of Thrones started killing their lead characters, TV is in the mood now to off anyone they can think of. So when watching TV shows at the present, it’s best to prepare ourselves for sudden death scenes that sometimes don’t even make sense. Seriously, TV people, stop killing characters that we like.