28 August, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.07: 'Crackity Jones'


I feel … weird … right now.  And confused.  And cold.  And alone.  Somebody hold me.  Please.  Tightly.

I finished this ep like 15 minutes ago and I think I’ve now set a new record for the longest time I’ve spent sitting on the couch post-ep, staring into space,  trying to get my head around it and to decide whether I enjoyed it or whether I want to drag my TV into the front yard and set it on fire.  I mean obviously, if you read my review of last week’s episode, you know that I was NOT particularly thrilled with the insertion of the “OMGAASH Helen’s really alive!!” storyline.  But still, despite that, I went into this ep with an open mind.  I swear.  I gave the writers the benefit of the doubt that this Helen character could wind up being interesting for the storyline, and that her presence could force our main characters into confronting feelings and situations that they would not have otherwise.  i.e., character development.  I’m a *huge* fan of character development, so if that’s where this gets us, I can be extremely forgiving.

And after watching “Crackity Jones”, I see that this is indeed exactly where the writers were going with it – to push the story, to push our characters, and to give them some insight on themselves, their situation, and each other.  Which is a GOOD thing.  So then why did this ep feel so ODD to me??  So ... kind of ... off?  I’ve been texting back and forth with my cousin while writing this and I think with her help, I’m starting to diagnose the sitch.  Or at least some pieces of the sitch.  Here’s my take: This episode required a LOT of exposition and flashbacks to get us up to speed on who Helen is, how Auggie wound up thinking she was dead when she really wasn’t, what Arthur’s doing with her, and why the hell we should give two shits about ANY of this to begin with.  So as a result, we ended up with an episode of Covert Affairs that starred some random-ass chick who we’ve barely even MET before today.  It was an ensemble effort, yes, but Helen’s screentime had to have been at least equal to both Annie and Auggie here.

So start with that jarring and foreign situation, and then add to it the fact that the amount of time that had to be spent on the flashbacks took away essential story time that was needed to show Annie and Helen’s relationship build and develop on that mission to Lyon.  Crucial time that we did NOT get.  Instead, we got a quicky mission, plus two and a half dialogue scenes.  And this is between two characters who have not only never met before this mission, but have every reason to dislike and distrust the HELL out of each other from the get-go.  Yet somehow it only took a couple chats with Helen to convince Annie that the entire way she’s living her life right now might need a complete overhaul??  Really??  It’s one of those things that ... I would imagine, when you’re mapping out a storyline, makes sense in theory.  In the writer’s room you’re like, “Yeah ok so Helen shows up and she tells Annie her story, and then Annie starts to doubt her sitch,” and then yadda yadda yadda A&A break up.  BUT when the rubber hit the road here, the writers didn’t allow themselves enough screen time to execute this in a convincing way.  The dialogue between Annie and Helen even felt strangely forced to me at many points, like overly on-the-nose.  I’m pretty sure this is because they needed to move these characters from 0 to 60 in their relationship with so few scenes.

So THEN, we get back home from the mission, and Annie goes to Auggie’s apartment for their H2H.  And while Chris and Piper played the HELL out of this scene – major kudos to both of them for that - and it gave me plenty of angsty feels ... it still somehow didn’t seem ... right.  It didn’t feel natural or organic to how I imagine *I* would be acting in that situation, or decisions I would be making.  The events of this episode were plenty to plant seeds of doubt for both Annie and Auggie, sure.  Even plenty for Annie to decide she needs time to herself to process all these crazy developments.  But to call it quits for good??  If you put yourself in their shoes, is this situation even close to enough to make you decide, “Aiight.  That’s it.  Fuck it.  I’m outtie.”  (mic drop)  ?  After ALL that they’ve been through over all these years and that bond they share and everything??  Not even close, for me.  Granted, I do get that in break-up type conversations, the way one person says a little something and then the other party kind of agrees with it, and once that little snowflake starts, you keep pushing each other until it becomes a huge snowball avalanche and you can’t get yourself out of it.  Because neither of you has the balls to be the one to be like “OK JK JKaaaayyyy I didn’t mean it I don’t really wanna break up!!”  I get that, and I think that’s part of what was at play here.  But still, it just wasn’t enough to convince me that they’d go anywhere near this far.  And I’m being 100% honest when I say that I don’t have an issue with A&A breaking up IF it feels organic to the progression of the story, and IF it’s something I can absolutely believe the characters would and should be doing, based on their circumstances.  My issue with this episode is that this was not the case.  It felt much more manipulated and manufactured than it did organic.

There’s another thing I noticed about that final scene too.  It’s of very minor importance to the scene itself, but it reminded me of something I’ve been observing and irked by for quite a while now.  And please forgive my comparisons to other spy shows again, but it’s how my though process works - One thing I always found interesting about ‘Alias’ was that Sydney Bristow was written as a tough character, but she was also allowed to be very “girly” in many ways.  And that was nice, but she was almost TOO girly, in the sense that the woman bawled like a baby every damn time you blinked an eye.  Going back and watching old eps now, the amount of crying Sydney does drives me INSANE.  And that’s the main reason I loved Annie’s long-lost cousin Sarah Walker so much on ‘Chuck’ – She was tough as nails, and rarely showed her emotions, UNTIL the series progressed and the character developed *naturally* from a pretty cold and ruthless spy, to basically kinda opening her heart as a result of Chuck’s influence and impact on her.  It felt right, it progressed naturally, and it was fun to watch.  And she never came even CLOSE to being the weepy baby Sydney was.  She was well-balanced in that sense.

And like Sarah Walker, one thing I’ve always appreciated about Annie Walker is her LACK of weepiness.  Not only that, but she has a cocky swagger about her, that type of cockiness that’s actually even a level or two above what she probably deserves to give herself credit for, that I don’t recall seeing in female characters all that often.  Maybe I’m crazy, but this seems like a traditionally very male quality to me, like Jeff Winger on ‘Community’.  Or every guy on ‘Gigolos’.  Point being, it feels like an interesting change of pace to me, and I like this about Annie as a character.  And her tough-ness is a good thing, but sometimes she can seem like the exact inverse of Sydney Bristow to a fault.  i.e. In the interest of the writers making her “tough,” she can almost border on beyond human sometimes.  Like she’s some sort of robot who can get through anything with barely a quick brush of a little dust off her shoulders.  Like that time she returned home from the Russian prison after the Simon/Lena/nearly-dying debacle and she was just like, “Ok well that was lame.  Next?  No prob.  Back in action and better than ever.”  She never had any sort of emotional breakdown, she never hit any rock bottom, she never had PTSD, nothing.  She just kept on going.  It’s always seemed very odd to me, and it’s hard for me as a human audience member to relate to someone with such super-human cyborg-like powers.

And then, in the break-up scene with Auggie, we saw Annie break down FAR more than she ever has before, that I can remember.  And it was nice to see her finally having some real normal human emotions, BUT even this was quite interesting in terms of the way the scene was filmed.  She started to break down but then she stood up and walked behind the couch, and we could tell that she was crying, but we couldn’t see her face.  The point is that she was trying to hide it from Auggie, but at the same time it almost seems like the writers/director/etc. didn’t want the *audience* to see it either.  And then when she left the apartment, the focus at the end was on Auggie.  I think that was to show him breaking down after she left, but it still struck me as kind of interesting.  Like the writers themselves are afraid to let Annie act like a normal human being with real emotions, every once in a damn while.  I dunno, I could just be in a bad mood at this point and being too nitpicky.  But it’s one more thing adding to my constant nagging feeling that CA’s lead character is the LEAST fleshed-out character on the entire show.

UGGH holy shit this review is so long already.  Let me just do a few other quick random observations before my summary/grade:

  • Watching Auggie look people in the eyes in flashback scenes is always weird, isn’t it?  And in this ep we got him running too.  Without tripping and stuff.  Kinda fun.
  • The transition from the Auggie->Arthur punch to the flash of the title screen thing made me LOL.
  • The way Annie approached Sabino also made me LMAO – “I’m the owner of the missile launchers you stole??  I want them back.”
  • Ha, I love that Myers-Briggs got a shout-out in this ep.  I took one of those many years ago, but at my company they’ve run through several other assessment methodologies since then.  We’re currently using one called LinkUp.
  • Convenient that Helen’s cover for this ep’s mission gave an excuse to let Michelle Ryan use her real accent.
  • Ok that was the best Barber scene EVER, right??  He even came within an inch of going full-on Abed.  “Cool.  Cool cool cool.”  Frankly, he was probably the only bright point of this entire depressing episode!!  Thank you, Barber.  And Auggie took his words to heart, too.
  • The fight scene underwater was kinda cool.  With the bullets going through the water.
  • Ok so it was already obvious to pretty much all of us that the flashforward they keep giving us from ep 10 is Annie faking her own death.  This episode just punches us in the face with it 50 times in case we hadn’t already figured it out.

Ok.  Now for the grade.  I re-watched this ep while writing my review, thinking it might change my feelings on it.  It didn’t.  As a matter of fact, I was even more annoyed on second viewing. 

GRADE: 77 out of 100

I’m so freakin’ tired right now I almost reverted back to my letter grading system on accident.  Is 77 super harsh??  My network just went down so now I’m in a SUPER bad mood, right at the time I’m assigning the grade.  That doesn’t help.  What did you guys think of the ep?  Will I need to fake my death to hide from you after this??  Will my network ever come back up so we can POST this review??

The Plopper


24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Exactly. Wait, you're being serious, right? You watched it? I can never tell hahhaa. The thing that pisses me off so much though, is that they SHOULDN'T be running out of ideas at ALL. They have SOOOO many avenues they could explore this season based on everything they've set up prior to this, including so many things from season 3, and yet this is the path they chose. I've said before that one thing I loved about the show in seasons 1 through 3 was the fact that they did NOT make the romance storyline(s) the main focus of the show.

      This season, the A&A romance has become one of the main focus points ... and maybe that's not a good thing for CA. Because I'm just seeing them fall into the same traps I've seen so many times before on other shows. "Put them together, have a little fun, manufacture some drama to break them up, give the audience some angst, let them stew a while, put them back together, blah blah." UGGH. I don't WANT CA to be ABOUT that. I want it to be about the experience of being SPIES, including the romance piece of it, but not ENTIRELY focused on that (in a melodramatic manner to boot).

      It's extra frustrating to me because I'm starting to see a pattern where the writers set things up for the characters, put them through situations, and then they don't fully finish exploring those situations or playing them out before they move onto the next thing. They give themselves so much ammo for interesting avenues to explore, but then they don't take advantage of it because they want to move onto new storylines. And when stuff like what we got last night is what they choose to focus on, it multiplies my frustration about 50 times over.

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  2. I think the grade is very generous. It was very out of character, and like you said, didn't flow and expose itself well. These are people that never give up, yet they just gave up? I can MAYBE write it off to exhaustion. But not really.

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    1. I know right!? The more I think about it the lower I want to make the grade hahahaha. I didn't want to go too low at the time I wrote it though because it was late and I was tired, and I wasn't sure if I was just going insane.

      There's so many things I couldn't even touch on in this review too, because it was already so long I didn't want it to turn into a Tolstoy novel. But I didn't even touch on the fact that AUGGIE'S path of coming to a point where he would so easily agree with Annie in that final conversation did not make one BIT more sense than Annie's path to get there. A tiff with Annie about Helen and ONE conversation with Joan where she puts a little teeny nugget of doubt in his head and that's it?? Uggh. LISTEN TO BARBER, AUGGIE. Riddic.

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    2. Well for me the simple answer is that Auggie is defeated and that he feels in a way that's it is best for her. Also maybe he feels that he doesn't deserve Love or this kind of a relationship as normal people do.
      It felt like after he was voicing her concerns that he just let it all slip.
      This episode was Heartbreaking wrenching and whatever other synonym you'll want to use. But for me the heart breaking wasn't the breakup it self. Rather it was the wrenching feeling I had for Auggie.
      Here is a guy who saw is wife//girlfriend get killed in front of his eyes. Then, a couple months later (assuming i got the timeline right) he falls for a Russian anarchist only to come to terms with the fact that he cant truly be with her. Yet a few months later he is off to a war-zone, where he loses his subordinates and his sight.
      We meet him at season 1 without all that knowledge and he is portrayed as a one night stand kind of a guy (to put it nicely). Part of it might be his copying mechanism (with those heartbreaks) they haven't given us much in that regard (his rehabilitation and such). At one point he even declares that manipulating women is a part of his job.
      But then, he jumps into an engagement with Parker quite quickly (also a coping b******t)only to have her leave him when the going gets tough. At least he fight for that relationship. I guess that somewhere along the line he got it into his head that maybe he is damaged goods. And well we know that he didn't quite liked the idea of therapy... so never really forced all those feelings.
      When Annie is being shoot he is forced with a reality that she might die and so finally realizing his emotions (or more accurately just verbalizing,them to himself. Thus understanding how deep they run.).
      Well he cant really do something about it for some time due to all sort of issues.
      When he feels the time is right he confronts her and ever since their life is a roller-coaster of conspiracy that in whole truth could have gone a lot better if Annie wasn't as trusting of Arthur and Joan as she is.
      Because it is all Arthur fault he has been playing the both of them from the get go.
      Anyways all of this stuff can really screw a guy to think that he be doing her a favor in breaking up.

      footnote:
      Just occurred to me; When Auggie heard the shots in Ep1 he had a #PTSD flashback to Helen being shoot. Which makes all of this even stranger because I'm convinced that he truly loves Annie more than the rest of them.
      Argh i have so many feeling about this show I'm way to invested in their lives. Now I have to go back and study for a stupid exam. RL can be so annoying. Plus i hope that there aren't any typos or horrible grammar mistakes i believe I'm awake for about 36 Hr now.
      I'm posting here as anonymous but you can find me @ my_afterthought over at twitt.

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    3. "Because it is all Arthur fault he has been playing the both of them from the get go.
      Anyways all of this stuff can really screw a guy to think that he be doing her a favor in breaking up."

      Yeah I definitely see what you mean. And I agree in theory, I just didn't see any sign that his head was anywhere near this space until about halfway through ep 407. It felt like he went from 0 to 60 really fast on it. As did Annie.

      "Just occurred to me; When Auggie heard the shots in Ep1 he had a #PTSD flashback to Helen being shoot."

      Are you talking about ep 401? I don't recall the PTSD flashback?

      "... i believe I'm awake for about 36 Hr now.
      I'm posting here as anonymous but you can find me @ my_afterthought over at twitt."

      LOL! Cool. :)

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    4. All of it was just not right. They accelerated the plot to try and get us up to speed on so many levels and IMO they failed miserably.like was that sex scene really was necessary, love doesn't equal sex.

      Honestly I couldn't remember the last time I slept, and I stayed awake a couple of more after that.
      So we didn't see any flashback. It's just that at 401 at the very end shots are being fired and Auggie was very hysterical really it didn't seem right to me. So after 407 it just seemed a logical explanation with Teo being involved and Helen supposedly dying.

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    5. Forgot One last thing "All of it was just not right...." except for Barber and Hollman that is. I've been dying to see those interactions and they were perfect. They deserve their own spinoff; Tech guys of the DPD. Highly geeky of me but right now I prefer that to the show.

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  3. Ohhhhhhh, my god. What happened here CA? When tiny Calder Michaels is one of the least annoying parts of an episode, we have a problem. For the record, even with the brief 2 minutes of screen time he received this ep, I still wanted to punch him in his wiener. When he's chatting with his buddy in Vienna and he says something along the lines of "It's called dedication. Look it up, it's under "D"" I wanted to stab so many things.

    Okay, on to more important things I disliked about this episode...starting with Helen's entire existence. I know this has been covered at length, but for this being her character's big Coming Out episode, it was clumsy and poorly executed. First off, I had mixed feelings about the scene where Helen and Annie first meet on the plane. It was very obvious they were not big fans of each other (as one would expect) but I feel like this could have been expressed or demonstrated in a less obvious "lady cat fight" way. I wanted more REAL tension and less of a "we were/are in love with the same guy and now we're going to be bitchy to each other about it" feeling. You know? Maybe that was just me.

    I agree with you completely that all of the Helen "set up" and flashback nonsense wasted a LOT of valuable time we could have spent developing the mission and the relationship between H&A. Also, I'm still not totally buying Helen's reasoning as to why she felt she had to fake her own death in the first place, but whatevs.

    The break up scene was a weird vortex of feelings for me, and I felt them hard. P and C worked the hell out of it to the point where I was almost too distracted to notice that they were BREAKING UP AFTER A 2 MINUET CONVERSATION. A conversation, mind you that was essentially instigated by Helen!!! WTF, Annie?! (On a side note, I have been so deeply scarred by Claire Danes and Jennifer Garners Cry Faces, that the SECOND Annie got weepy my very first thought was "THANK YOU!!! THAT is how you cry without it looking like your face is going to fall off.") This would be a great time to FINALLY provide some insight in to Annie Walker's damn character. Making the decision to break up with the person you clearly love, so that you can focus your entire existence on being a spy, thus choosing a life of solitude, is a pretty serious one. So WHY would she do it? Please explain to me HOW Annie Walker became a woman so hell bent on being a super spy she would completely blow off having a personal life as par for the course.

    This "comment" is so long its gross. Thanks for bearing with me while I work out my feelings. This was a great session...Next week lets cover my feelings on how Joan only makes 2 faces ever (Pensive and Patronizing Smirk.)

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    1. "I feel like this could have been expressed or demonstrated in a less obvious 'lady cat fight' way."

      YESSSSSSS SO MUCH YES I can't even tell you. That scene was SOOOO awkward to me. They ALL were, between A&H. It made me squirm but not in the right way.

      "Also, I'm still not totally buying Helen's reasoning as to why she felt she had to fake her own death in the first place, but whatevs."

      ME NEITHER!! It still does not make sense to me and I watched the scene a few times to try to get it. First off, the decision Helen made in that story she told Annie was STUPID and clumsy and NOT something Annie would ever be dumb enough to do in the FIRST place!! So how the hell did that convince Annie of anything at all about her own life??

      And cry face HAHAHAHAHA YESSSSSSSSS agree a million bazillion percent. Claire's is like a 2 year old whose toy has just been taken away (quiver lip) and remember how JenGar's nose used to SNOT like crazy?? And she would never wipe it!! THANK YOU Piper Perabo for crying like a normal person. I'm not being snarky, I could not be more deadly serious about this hahhaha.

      "This would be a great time to FINALLY provide some insight in to Annie Walker's damn character ... break up with the person you clearly love ... thus choosing a life of solitude, is a pretty serious one. So WHY would she do it?"

      A thousand bazillion quadrillion times yes EXAAAAAAAAAAAAAACTLY. Aaaarrrrgghh.

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  4. Spoiler Alert ---My comment, like this episode, will not answer any pivotal questions and will most likely leave you completely unsatisfied.
    I'm just gonna jump in here and ramble away if that's cool.

    1. So Arthur is sanctioning missions from his couch now, huh? OK, you're married to the DCS I get it, but really?

    2. Calder has spent the last couple weeks being up in err'body's bidness and this week he's content to diddle around with some pics and vids b/c he obviously still "don't trust (Annie's) ass"...err ummmm ok, I guess?

    3. Auggie should've punched Arthur at least twice. Once at the door I KNOW ABOUT HELEN *PUNCH* and then again when Arthur was all like yeah I knew blah blah *PUNCH*...no wait...3 times...at the end with Arthur's like, I didn't do it to hurt you but I'd do it again. *PUNCH*

    4. Auggie. Everyone in this episode including Annie was so goddamned selfish about the whole Helesa thing. How about the guy who spent the last 7 years thinking she was dead only to find out that the person he trusted the most (behind Joan) was keeping this secret from him. He has to feel betrayed by the agency he fights so hard to protect. I guess that's why he went to Joan, because I gotta be honest, that whole convo was a little odd to me, but I'm gonna just say it was b/c he was feeling completely mindfucked and trusted Joan to be honest about why he was paired with Annie. Having something like this happen to you would HAVE to make you question everything and everyone, right? Poor Auggie. Poor angsty wonderful Auggie.

    I gotta put this in 2 damn comments...LOL

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    1. What number am I on?

      5? HELL-esa. *sigh* I don't know. Mole? Super duper dark secret spy? If the way she failed at dodging Wilcox is how we're supposed to judge her mad skills then I'm left to wonder if "dark ops" just means she's good at following people in the dark.

      6. Those flashbacks. Just pointless. Although, on rewatch, I got 2 big laughs out of em. When Helesa does this falling on her ass "thing" and kicks the guy and whatever...FUNNY AS HELL! My Sis and I watched it like 5 times. Best ever. The other time is when my Sister said, "her British accent is so horribly fake" and I had to break the news to her that in fact, Ms. Ryan, is British. My Sister's face ---> O_O

      7. Why didn't Puma just kill Wilcox in DC? We could have saved ourselves this whole mess.

      8. Spy vs Love. Okay, Helesa's whole speechy preachy thing about Annie being too emotional and not letting emotions get in the way and you can't have love and spycraft....OH SHUT THE HELL UP, HELEN? Or is it Theresa? You chose to fake your death to supposedly protect the person you were in love with, right? If that's not a decision based on emotion I don't know what is! And kind of God-complex-y too b/c when you make a decision like that all for the good of another person what you're really saying is "I think I'm GOD and I can control the universe and I choose to set you on this path in life". What you don't realize is that you might be sending that person on a highway to hell...you don't know how a person's life is gonna turn out. You can't protect them. It's just bullshit. Do you hear me Annie & Auggie?

      9. The break-up. I felt bad for both of them and wanted to smack the shit out of both of them. I sometimes feel like Auggie doesn't let Annie (or anyone) really speak but I also feel like Annie is scared to really let out her feelings and emotions. One different word from Auggie and I do believe Annie would've said, you know what, Helen did try and hand me a line of shit, but I love you and I'm gonna fight for us. Instead, just like when he gave her the corvette, she choked back her words (at least we got real tears this time) and walked away. Of course this won't be the end and we all know they both think they are doing the best thing for each other blah blah blah blah blah. *cue the angsty awesome music*

      BEST PART OF THE NIGHT: BARBER BARBER BARBER
      BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT: "It's not like I look at em..." When Annie who has a necklace, a shell bracelet, and a scrapbook tucked away, asks Auggie why he has pictures of his (EX)(DEAD)Wife

      So yeah...nothing answered.
      More questions.

      Is Helen a mole for Henry or is she going to end up being the person who somehow brings AA back together?

      Is Baby Puma to blame for everything bad? LOL

      Will Arthur continue to run black ops from his living room?

      Will Sheriff Calder go back to being his dedicated irritating self?

      Will Barber be Annie's new handler?

      Will Auggie ever trust again?

      Will the love of Walkerson be strong enough to fight off Wilcox and the weight of the spy world?

      Dun dun dun............

      P.S. I DID NOT PROOFREAD...so yeah...

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    2. 1) Yes!!

      2) Sorry, we had to devote extra screentime to Auggie and Helen BONING for NO goddamn reason. The fact that the show has now spent the EXACT same amount of screentime on A&H sex as they have A&A sex is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

      3) Hahahaha Arthur is REALLY effing with Auggie this season.

      4) HAHAH I know good point!! Even the scene where Annie tells him Helen is still alive based on that pic, we barely get ANY reaction from him other than a little wince!! Again, yet another essential piece of the story that suffered from trying to shove this ALL into one ep. (Then again if I would've had to sit through TWO eps of this I would've gouged my eyes out, so maybe this is the lesser of two evils hahhaah).

      5) Exactly. What exactly is she doing to be "dark"?? Just go by a different name?

      6) HAHAH oh right I gotta rewatch that scene.

      7) Yeah Baby Puma needs to get his hot ASS back over here and clean this shit up. Purrrr.

      8) LMAO I can't add any more to this than what you've already said. Every single one of those preachy scenes was just ... uggh. SOO strangely executed. Now I have "Highway to Hell" in my head.

      9) Yes Annie was CLEARLY wanting Auggie to disagree with her, and the fact that he didn't, makes ZERO sense to me. His path to that decision was no more logical than Annie's. But you're totally right that then when he agreed, she felt there was no turning back. Like "Oh whoops I guess this is really where we're going with this."

      "When Annie who has a necklace, a shell bracelet, and a scrapbook tucked away, asks Auggie why he has pictures of his (EX)(DEAD)Wife" I AM SO GLAD YOU MENTIONED THIS because this drove me INSANE too!!! I didn't mention it in my review but that's another thing that drove me into that rant I went on right at the end!!! It makes ZERO sense for Annie to act all smug there when she's guilty of the SAME shit, and yet that gets NO mention at all.

      "Is Baby Puma to blame for everything bad? LOL" I forgive him. Rrrrrrrrr.

      "Will Barber be Annie's new handler?" YES PLEEEAAASE!!

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  5. Hypocrisy:
    Annie was willing to give up an emotional relationship with Augie so easily, in order to remain a spy(ep 7), but she was willing to run away and give up being a spy (with a guy who she was never as emotional about as with Augie) just before getting shot by Lena(Season 3)--

    Give up being a spy for a guy she never was emotional about! C,mon now.[I always felt that was a bit forced.]
    (Did they ever even kiss,or get in bed once? don't recall, but it was never as emotional as with Augie).

    Sort of ridiculous re. lack of character behavior consistency, which they obviously don't care, or think, about
    The writers are indeed in outer space. No wonder there is no character development.
    Season 4 is more interesting in one sense; plot twists--but CA has significantly gone downhill / deficient compared to past years.

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    1. I didn't see any hypocrisy. Annie loved Simon, and had been intimate with him. She reconsidered running away with Simon. I think the show's writing is absolutely brilliant.

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    2. It's cool that you think the show's writing is "absolutely brilliant" but that means you are easily impressed. Early season 3 had some impressive writing for a show like this. At times it was better than HOMELAND.

      But right now, it is on par with any spy show ever made and that's disappointing. Because once you show that the writers can do so much better, being average is lame.

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    3. "Because once you show that the writers can do so much better, being average is lame."

      RIGHT. That's where I am with this too.

      Although I should say that I disagree with a majority of the comment from "Anonymous" that is the parent comment in this thread. The person who wrote it apparently wasn't paying much attention to the Simon storyline at all. And if someone considers seasons 1 and 2 to be the best seasons of this show then clearly they are judging everything in life on a scale that is the polar opposite of mine.

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  6. I actually disagree with your review on several key points, Rach, but you HAVE brought up good points, as usual.

    It takes a lot of compassion to reveal to someone how you screwed up your life, and help them avoid it. I had a friend in college who wanted nothing other than to be a spy. Her senior year, she goes for her interview. They ask her if she sleepwalks, she says yes and--BOOM!--she's out. If someone had warned her, her entire life would be different. So I thought it was actually kind for Helen to admit her mistake to Annie.

    Though not obvious from the beginning, because I was so angry from all the previews, this whole episode is about the incredibly profound love Helen still has for Auggie; and the whole principle of (as someone else noted) "if you love someone, set them free."

    My first runthrough of 407 I was so hostile about Helen. But I couldn't tell whether she was working for Henry or not. I rewatched the Ep looking closely at Helen, and that's when I realized she wasn't selfish--she was selfless.

    From the data they revealed about her, we have no concrete evidence she's an evil romance-wrecker. As I rewatched, it seemed quite the opposite, in fact. She seems every bit Annie's peer, and actually pretty noble.

    Because Annie loves Auggie so much, she listened to what Helen had to say about emotion *possibly* coming to a point one day, that Annie might have to choose whether to get Henry or to love Auggie. First and foremost, Annie wants to protect Auggie from Henry, so I get why Annie even considered stepping back from the relationship.

    One thing's for sure: Michelle Ryan is a damn fine actress. Her American accent is amazing. Helen didn't have to stick around to cover Annie's six--Annie had already let her off the hook.

    When Helen saved Annie at the dock, and then got down on her hands and knees to help Annie out of the water, my opinion of her as a good egg was solidified. Also, it is interesting to note the people who have saved Annie's life. Annie has saved lots of people. It doesn't seem she gets saved by many: Ben; Eyal; Teo; Helen. Anyone else?

    Tamara Becher said I was on the right track with how incredibly much Helen still loves Auggie. See my comments at #407Favs.

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    1. Good to see you commenting on here Alicia! Your comment is an argument as to why Helen is a good character ... and in theory it makes sense. But in my review, I was actually *not* trying to make the point that Helen is a bad character. The point of my review was that the EXECUTION of the introduction of Helen, the telling of her backstory, and the telling of the present day story of how her relationship with Annie develops to the point that Helen actually puts enough doubt into Annie's head that the ep ends in A&A breaking UP ... was NOT done well. At all. It didn't even come CLOSE to convincing me that it's something that would actually happen in any sort of logical scenario.

      I really don't even blame Tamara for this either, as the writer of the episode. I'm assuming it's not each individual writer's decisions which plot points it is that they need to put into each ep they are writing. I'm assuming there's some sort of group decision made in the writer's room led by the showrunners. Granted, I know NOTHING about how this process works, so this is complete guesswork on my part based on what little I know of this. But I'm just picturing Tamara being given these bazillion HUGE plot points that she needed to shove into one episode, like 50 clowns being shoved into a clown car. Maybe it seemed workable at the time but ... I dunno. It didn't work IMO, on screen. And of course, how something translates from the paper to the screen involves a LOOOOT of things beyond a writer's control, as well.

      I don't know what you saw in those scenes between Helen and Annie that I didn't, or vice versa ... but they were *painful* to watch for me. They were awkward and stiff, and the dialogue very on-the-nose. It had to be on-the-nose to get us from point A to point Z in only 2 or 3 scenes, but they shouldn't have been trying to do that to begin with. And in terms of Michelle Ryan's acting skills ... I actually saw a few eps of Bionic Woman, and while the show was not good, I never saw any issue with MR's acting skills. She seemed fine and perfectly capable. In this role though, as Helen, in this ep of CA ... I don't know what happened but ... it just did NOT work for me.

      I want my experience watching eps of my favorite shows to feel like I'm being led down an exciting road, and fully getting what the characters are experiencing, in a way that makes logical sense. Most CA episodes are fairly successful in that, for me, give or take some minor quibbles. But this one was not. I felt like we'd just stumbled and tumbled to a place where suddenly A&A were breaking up and everything was sad and terrible, for no reason at all other than the fact that the writers wanted to create angst and allow/open themselves a particular path for the rest of the season. The "man behind the curtain" of their intent there should not be so obvious to the audience.

      We'll see where they take it from here. All I can hope is that all this craziness ends up being worth it, based on whatever's coming in the next few eps. It better kick some major ass.

      Sidenote: The story about your friend, the CIA interview and the sleepwalking was a good one. ;-)

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  7. I've been thinking it for a while but this episode cemented it. Barber is the Morgan Grimes of Covert Affairs.

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    1. LMAO I never thought about that, but you have a point. He's kind of the Morgan to Auggie's Chuck, in a sense. If you made Morgan super tall and Chuck normal size hahaha. The main difference is that Barber actually has valuable CIA skills (tech wizard), unlike Morgan. In a sense he's like season 1-2 Chuck, before Intersect 2.0 haha.

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  8. I been noticing that TV writers have a very difficult time leaving what I consider to be "strong" couples together. It becomes necessary to have the characters break up (as in this case) or separate them (as say was done on Chuck). Wouldn't it be more satisfying to have the two characters fight "together" for a common goal.

    In this case, for whatever excuse the writers gave her, Annie is now a much shallower person. It doesn't matter what struggles lie ahead or if they put Annie & Auggie back together at some point. Annie has shown that she is willing to bail on the relationship instead of trying to fight for it.

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  9. Ok . this review jus made me laugh my ass off ! lol i really dont have much to say about this ep , but there's a couple things that i gotta point out . What is up wit dis helen chick jus walkin up in someone's apartment uninvited ?!!! auggie dont want u no mo girl !! get da hell on !!! lol she got a lot of nerve jus comin in like that when the dude has obviously moved on . what is up wit females nowadays ?!!! she annie have all kinda head trips . lol anyways ... this ep really wasnt all a dat to me but i still think its deserves at least a B- ms plopper ! 77 , girl u trippin ! and the chick u said that seemed stiff , i didnt even pay her that much attention to notice how stiff she really was . she could walk in them heels tho ;-) erm .... o yea , when annie started crying , piper did a good job wit that . she almost made me cry :( at least she said it wasnt hard to do lol and i think their relationship wasnt long enough to call it quits . they didnt even give it time to blossom ! i jus think it was a waste . what da hell is up #$%#$&%^$#T%#$%^%^&*#%#$^ !!!! im sorry , i jus hate it when ppl get in relationships and dont even give it time to progress into something they been asking the universe for they whole damn life . really ppl ?? come on now . smh i still think they shouldnt b in that kinda relationship because the kinda work they do will put all kinds of strain n stress on it but u cant tell the heart who it shouldn't love ya kno . if u fall u fall . cant do anything about that . thats reality . well , thats all i gotta say bout dis right here . im outtie ! lolol

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