Look ... I mean ... I had a feeling I was going to come out of this episode feeling extremely uncomfortable. Let me first start by asking – Do you watch 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’? If not, and if you enjoy demented humor, you’re missing out. I spent 99.9% of this Covert Affairs episode, “Space (I Believe In),” in a pretty decent frame of mind, and then the last 30 seconds suddenly sent me into feeling exactly like the YouTube supercut of every single utterance of the phrase “GODDAMNIT!!” in the entire ‘It’s Always Sunny’ series. Google “always sunny goddamnit supercut” and you’ll find it. That is me, right now.
If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know that I’ve been dead set against this “Helen is really alive!!” twist since the second we found out Helen ever existed to begin with. And that is all while knowing it was 99% likely to happen, due to Bionic Woman constantly lurking in the background the entire season. Why do I feel so uncomfy with this? It’s two reasons, really. First, it gives me horrible flashbacks to ‘Alias’. There’s GOTTA be some ex 'Alias' superfans who watch CA, right?? Well, if you live in my head, which is not at *all* something I’d recommend, you’ll know (remember, this is pure fact because you’re hypothetically living in my brain), that the first two seasons of 'Alias' were amazing and seasons 3 through 5 were an ever-increasing pile of steaming shite. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it was a STEEP slope into season 5. :shudder: Anyway. The turning point was the last scene of the season 2 finale, when Sydney wakes up confused and disoriented in Hong Kong, meets up with Vaughn, and Vaughn tells her, “Syd, you’ve been missing for 2 years, we thought you were dead.” Syd then looks at Vaughn's left ring finger and is like, WTF dude, is that a WEDDING RING!? Then we got to spend the ENTIRE 3rd season with some random blonde being MARRIED to Sydney’s new boyfriend. What a nightmare. In all fairness, JJ Abrams leaving the show to focus on ‘Lost’ was really the larger issue at hand; the overall quality of the show took a major dive at the same time.
But point being, one of the major suckage points was the fact that the writers purposely threw in this love triangle so as to *manufacture* drama and put a wedge between Syd and Vaughn. It FELT contrived, and caused nothing but lameness the entire season. I don’t know what the angle of the CA writers is with this Helen thing, but if it’s to set up a manufactured love triangle, then no. No thank you. It’s been done on many other shows, and it has always been lame. If, on the other hand, it’s to INFORM our lead characters and give them insights on next steps to deal with Henry, or to help them to grow as characters even, then maybe it’s something that can be of value. We shall see. There’s another reason I feel uncomfy with this though, as well - The whole “OMGWHUUT she’s still alive!!” thing is a liiiittle on the wacky side for this show. It would feel right at home on many other spy shows, but one thing I’ve always liked about CA is that it usually tries to keep its head a little closer to reality and away from soapy town. Now, to be fair, the Lena storyline also veered a bit close to soapy town, but I loved that storyline so much that I was able to get past that. Likewise, IF this “Helesa” (the Twitter fans came up with this nickname: a Helen/Theresa hybrid) thing is done well, I’ll be forgiving. We just won’t know what this is about until we get there. Fingers crossed. BIG time.
Have I seriously just spent THREE paragraphs on the LAST 30 SECONDS of this damn episode!? Lord. Writing the rest of this is going to be a rough ride. Let’s get to *everything* else now, shall we? Outside of my uncomfortable feelings about Helesa, I actually enjoyed this ep. I’ve gotten a big kick out of the whole “Annie killed Seth” storyline this season in general, and I’ve had to really sit and think about why that is. I’m a HUGE sucker for spy shows. A running theme on these shows is that bodies tend to pile up at the hands of the lead characters pretty regularly, and as far as I can think of, it’s pretty damn rare for the characters to ever face REAL consequences for that. Think about ‘Homeland’ - Brody has killed several people, from Tom Walker to that tailor who made the suicide bomb vest, to the damn VICE PRESIDENT of the United States, and has he really had to face consequences for ANY of these?? I don’t think so, not yet anyway. He dumped that tailor’s body in the woods and I don’t think we ever heard another peep about it. Did we, or is my memory failing me? OH my cousin Katie just reminded me – “Well he WAS a no-show at his wife’s fundraiser event that night, which was NOT COOL.” True. Maj consequences.
Now take ‘The Americans’ ... the bodies piled up all season, including the damn PARTNER of the FBI dude/neighbor investigating the KGB. There’s constantly the threat on that show of any one of these killings coming to light, but that hasn’t happened ... yet. Granted, it’s only been one season, so there’s plenty of time. But you see where I’m going with this. On CA, again keeping itself somewhat in the realm of the “real world,” when Annie accidentally kills someone, she has to face REAL consequences for it. She has to sit in the hot seat for an entire in-depth murder investigation. Yes, Henry saved her ass in the end, but her going against him now means she’s in even hotter water now than she was to begin with. She doesn’t just get to wipe her brow in relief and go on her merry way. She’s now even more screwed than she was when this ep started. Like I said, the effort to stay within the realm of logic and reality is one of the things I’ve always loved about this show. And the tense and suspenseful way they played out each bit of Seth’s murder investigation in this ep was great. I’ve always loved Rossabi as a character, and Noam Jenkins was awesome in that final scene with Annie, after he had been “broken” and turned by Henry. You could really feel his pain. Poor Rossabi has been the CIA’s punching bag throughout this entire series, so I’m glad Annie defended him against Henry in the end. The poor guy deserves someone on his side. Marlon, on the other hand, is f*cked.
Here’s my random thoughts before I get to my summary and grade:
- The exposition spent re-introducing Rossabi to the audience every single time he shows up again on CA drives me insane. Wouldn’t a new viewer be able to figure it out from less obvious comments here and there??
- Hahaha poor Tim Griffin – how would you like to be killed off of a TV show, only to be forced to return for one more episode to play your own dead body? Oh well, part of the job of an actor I suppose. ;-)
- I recall recently saying, either in one of these reviews or to my friend Shelby, “Joan’s goddamn abandoned pill addiction storyline will haunt me to my grave.” FINALLY it reared its hazy drugged-out head again tonight!! We still have zero background on it, but at least it’s something I guess. Oh and Annie jumping in to stop Rossabi’s line of questioning in defense of Joan gave me the warm fuzzies.
- Calder, seriously, continues to be ... THE WORST. It’s frankly kind of annoying me, because he really didn’t seem THAT terrible in eps 401 or 403. I could at least identify with where he was coming from in those eps. But in 405 and 406 he’s just been downright insufferable. I hope they put a little humanity back into his character soon.
- “Now Rossabi thinks there’s a conspiracy to cover up Seth’s murder.” Auggie: “Well there kinda is!!”
- Bwahaa when Annie secretly calls the FBI chick in the evidence room to distract her – I love that she keeps the sound on her damn cell phone turned ON. Great spycraft there – “Swipe click click dial!!” Very inconspicuous. Hahhaa I do like that her trick didn’t work here though. Rossabi caught her. That woulda been way too easy.
- They can’t possibly have much of a budget on this show for fancy stunts, I’m assuming, but they still managed to make Rossabi and Marlon’s fall from that balcony look pretty cool. Didn’t feel fake at all – props to the director and stunt coordinators for that one.
- Annie/Auggie HAD to realize that Annie’s number would be all over Henry’s call history. But Rossabi’s initial investigation was focused on Seth’s call history, not Henry’s. I suppose they simply had no better option at that point than to put Rossabi on that goose chase, to buy themselves some time to get Henry’s GPS data.
- I already called out Noam Jenkins for his awesome performance this ep, and holy SHIT Gregory Itzin in that final scene with Annie?! The recurring guest actors they have on this show really are top notch. What a great scene. I liked his line too: “You haven’t lost nearly enough yet.” YET. And we’ve never seen him that out of control.
GRADE: 91 out of 100
Dang, I feel like a zork giving so many eps B+ and A- grades other than 4.02, which I thought was a solid A. But that’s just how these have been for me. And believe me, if you were to read my old reviews of eps 3.13 and 3.14 you’d see that I have NO problem giving episodes “eh, not awesome” reviews just after watching them in real time. I just luckily have not run across any of those in season 4 YET (knock on wood). Am I lame?? Tell me in the comments.