Wow, should I be flattered that we viewers of ‘Covert Affairs’ are so “high class” that the main product placement being used this season is for the Jaguar F-Type??
I know TV advertising and viewing habits are a much different beast these days than they used to be ... with my TiVo, I hardly see commercials anymore. So I’ve gotten used to, and can even forgive, obnoxiously overt product placement in my shows. Hell, ‘Chuck’ fans even supported Subway enough to come up with the “Finale & Footlong” campaign; eventually those sandwiches practically became their own characters on the show. Oh and how bout all that Bud Light Annie & Auggie are always drinking at Allen’s?? Do people REALLY drink Bud Light?? No matter. Point is, we fans are completely willing to put up with a certain level of cheesy product placement in order to keep our shows on the air. But with that said - seriously, CA, did you really have END the entire episode with the ridiculous Jag commercial?? Because now, despite it being an otherwise pretty good episode, I’m left right at the end suddenly feeling annoyed. And now I’m starting my review this way. Grr.
O.k. sorry, rant over. Let’s get to the ep now, shall we? Let me start by asking this: Am I the only person who is feeling kind of relieved that Auggie’s gig as head of the DPD didn’t last long? There's a line in the ep during a tense conversation between A&A where Annie says, “I don’t want to do this if we’re going to wind up like Joan and Arthur.” THANK YOU Annie, I don’t want you to either!! I’ll be honest, I love Joan & Arthur as characters, but I never found their relationship to be particularly romantic or even all that compelling, up through season 3 (though I will say, it has gotten much more interesting in season 4, which I definitely appreciate). But through S3, it seemed like it was simply all tension all the time, with them constantly bickering back and forth about the conflict between Arthur as Joan’s boss vs. her husband. Having A&A wind up like this is the absolute LAST thing I want for this show. I’d rather the show focus on Seth’s zombie corpse rising up from the Potomac for revenge (like Jason Voorhees?) than to see a version of this show where the romance is completely sucked out of A&A’s relationship, and all that’s left is constant bickering. :shudder: Nightmare.
So not surprisingly, I spent much of the ep feeling very nervous about this. Now that the ep is over, however, I feel fairly relieved that A&A do not seem to be headed this direction. I don’t THINK. Auggie’s demotion helps. Is that horrible of me? Sorry, Auggie. A&A is way more important to me than your career. There. I said it. It’s out there. Sue me. And on a similar note, most CA fans spent the entire week leading up to this ep freaking out and speculating on just WHAT the hell Auggie’s secret could be. I heard theories ranging from Auggie & Teo being brothers (which would have been my own personal soapy hell), to Auggie moonlighting as Daredevil at night, to Auggie having bad credit (in the “mundane Auggie secrets” category). After all this speculation, I’m downright relieved at what the secret ended up being. I went into this episode with a horrible fear that it would be something shark-jumpingly horrible (Anyone else still scarred by Luke’s long-lost daughter April on ‘Gilmore Girls’?), and it ended up being something I was pretty fine with. Teo caused the death of someone Auggie was in love with ("Helen"). And Auggie believes that his fully open “no secrets” relationship with Helen is partly responsible for her death. Hence, we have an explanation for his attempts at keeping Annie in the dark on certain information. O.k., I can deal with that. Just so long as Helen doesn’t turn out to be secretly still alive or some ridiculous shit. THEN we’d be in the shark-jumping zone. Bionic Woman - I’m looking at you. You’d BETTER be someone other than Helen using the alias of Teresa.
The reveal of Auggie’s secret is a great example of one of the things I’ve always loved about CA – it has a very “down-to-earth,” true to life quality that wasn’t there with many of the wacky spy shows I’ve loved in the past. It’s a lot more relatable. It’s not 'Covert’s way to make Auggie’s secret something total out-there and overly melodramatic. And that’s why I found HENRY’s storyline in this episode to be a bit irksome. Clearly he is the “big bad” this season, at least so far. And that completely makes sense, given that he’s been lurking around as this angry vindictive and powerful character since the beginning of season 1. CA is not taking this in an unexpected direction at all. What irks me about it is that Henry’s “a son for a son” campaign against Arthur is not only a bit “operatic,” to use an analogy that Henry actually used in this ep, but it doesn’t even necessarily make sense! We know that Henry blames Arthur for Jai’s death, but we’ve never been given a reason as to WHY. Have we?? Did I miss that at some point?? Are we simply to assume that Henry thinks Arthur’s bad management of the DCS led indirectly to Jai’s death? That doesn’t seem nearly damning enough for him to want THAT level of revenge on Arthur.
In any event, despite my concerns about Henry and my nervousness about A&A, I did find this to be an entertaining episode. In the past, I’ve found that my fave shows tend to be at their best when the core characters are really banding together to fight against a common enemy. At the end of season 3, I was really concerned that Joan and Arthur would be turned into villains this season due to the contents of Henry’s file. Thank GOD they didn’t take this in that direction, as it wouldn’t have been true to what we’ve seen from these characters so far. No one is perfect and they’ve made plenty of mistakes, but they’re not bad people, especially Joan. So Joan’s line at the end, “From now on we trust NO ONE but ourselves. No one,” gave me a very warm fuzzy feeling. I want our main characters to grow closer, not further apart, and to work together. And that seems to be the direction they’re going. Joan even gave Annie some relationship advice in this ep!! She gave Auggie some too for that matter. Aww.
Oh, I also like that Henry called Annie out on Auggie’s involvement in this situation being the entire reason that she let Henry court her in the first place. I suppose it’s obvious that this was her motivation, but it’s nice to see it clarified. There’s no way in hell anyone would go through all this trouble just to help out and/or dig up dirt on their bosses. Here’s the rest of my thoughts on the ep in random order:
- Annnnd Annie’s red VW Golf is suddenly in perfect shape again. I guess it really is like Walter White’s indestructible Aztek.
- Eric Barber is back! And trying out Auggie’s office for a bit. I love any excuse for scenes with him.
- Auggie makes two blind jokes within the span of like 20 seconds in this ep. Is this a record?
- So Annie couldn’t get the calendar with the bug in the Chens’ room, but I guess the audio device Auggie already had set up was good enough? Also, Auggie specifically says the Chens have no cell phones in their names, and are likely using burners. And yet, Annie is alerted when a call comes into Xu’s cell, and can hear at least his side of the convo. How? Is that just from the same audio sensors through the wall? Do they have Lester Freamon working for them or something? (High-five for anyone who gets that reference). OH he was in two eps of this show too!!
- Wow, Wendy Chen had quite the ‘tude going on there, eh? To be fair, Annie WAS a bit annoying in that first convo. For a “neighbor.”
- What the hell is up with Eric Braithwaite?? He’s been in 4 eps of this show in seasons 1-3 according to IMDB. Can anyone with a better memory than me remind me of his backstory?
- “Don’t worry Olivia, my former husband seems to have a way with women!” Nice one, Joan.
- “I thought you said I was the type that didn’t need luck!” Annie remembered Auggie telling her this when they first met. Aww.
- “My feelings haven’t changed, just my job.” Again, aww. Also, it’s good to see that Annie’s not listening to what Auggie tells her to do any more now than she did before they started dating haha.
- Henry: “Just keep yourself covered, the sun can be very dangerous, if you’re not protected.” This was an odd line. What was up with all the “sun” references here? My cousin Katie thinks it’s a sun/son analogy.
- Teo: “[Arthur] didn’t raise a son, he raised a spy.” Looks like Arthur’s got a little of the Jack Bristow thing going on in his past.
- Annie’s call from the safe house after finding everyone dead: “Umbra 10-79.” Is this a real term or was it made up for the show? I did a quick Google search and came up empty-handed.
So what’s my grade for this ep? I’m having trouble deciding if I liked last week’s ep better, or this one. Last week was more exciting and action-packed, but this week was stronger on plot movement and character development. And despite my concerns about A&A and the Joan/Arthur parallels, their scenes here were all pretty damn great.
I changed my grading system since we’ve had 3 B+ eps (IMO) so far. Whaddya think? Too low? Too high? Yell at me in the comments.