Gentle readers, we have to talk about that big reveal in the most recent episode of “The Americans,” entitled “Lotus 1-2-3.” For the past several weeks we have been discussing the story arc about what amounts to a fiendish plot by Ronald Reagan to wage entomological warfare on the Soviet Union, infesting its grain supply with designer pests to create a famine. We have speculated that the plot is a product of Soviet paranoia. Now, the answer has been revealed. Spoilers follow.

Elizabeth is still working her mark, a scientist working for an agricultural firm in Topeka, Kansas whom she is pretty sure is working to destroy her country.

These suspicions have caused her to be more unenthusiastic than usual playing the honey trap game with the man. In any case, she gets him to open up about what he does for a living.

It turns out that our guy is an idealist, a veteran of the Peace Corps, who is keen to find a way to end world hunger. Toward that end, he is breeding wheat that resists insect pests. He has been buying pests from that lab in Oklahoma where Philip murdered a man to put his products to the test. Far from a plot to create a famine, our KGB spies have stumbled upon a noble plan to end the same.

Elizabeth returns home to give Philip the news. Her partner in espionage is devastated. He has committed a murder for no reason.

He confesses that he has been having doubts about what they do and the Soviet cause for quite some time. Unknown to him, Moscow Center knows of these doubts and is concerned.

The people who should be most embarrassed are showbiz writers who actually imagined that the Reagan Administration was capable of plotting genocide to win the Cold War.

No one with any knowledge of the 1980s bought that. The only question was whether the show’s writers had gone off the rails with a history revision plot line or whether they were playing a clever game. It turned out to be the latter, something that makes “The Americans” one of the best shows on ever to air on television.