I mean ... look ... Covert Affairs ... here’s the thing. This episode was better than last week. By a comfortable margin. But, was it everything I look for in a great ep of this show? Eh, we’re not quite back to that place yet. I’ve still got a few bones to pick.
First off, I love baby Teo. Anyone who has read any review I’ve written of any episode involving our Sweet Puma Cub knows of my undying love for him. So when I saw from the previews that this week’s ep seemed to be Teo-heavy, I was happy. Especially because watching Helen take over last week’s ep was like watching a cat screech its nails across a chalkboard for a full hour, culminating in the equivalent of that Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial with those horribly sad mistreated animals, i.e. the “A&A break up for no reason” scene. “I’ve Been Waiting For You” was supposed to be like a palate cleanser for that, if you will. It was supposed to soothe my aching CA-fan soul. And it did, somewhat. But oddly enough ... the Teo-heavy nature of this episode ended up kind of *annoying* me as well. Partly. I felt o.k. with it until about halfway through the ep, at which point I realized that this was going to be the entire episode. This was IT. I mean, for the most part.
Let me explain. We spent all of last week’s ep dumping HUGE HORRIBLE stuff on our main characters. Helen was really alive, Auggie was freaking out, Annie had to go on a whole mission with Helen, Helen convinced Annie her whole life was going the wrong direction, Auggie inexplicably decided the same thing on his own, A&A broke up, everything was suddenly horrible and dark and gloomy. And then, this week, we spent almost ZERO time actually dealing with ANY fallout from that. We got a slightly angsty and awkward mission set-up scene from A&A at the beginning, and then boom, at the end ... well ok. Hold up. I’ll address the end in a few mins. Let’s talk about the rest of the episode first.
It’s not that I don’t care about Teo’s plight - about his mission to avenge his mother’s murder, his mission to stop the ALC, and his relationship with Arthur. I DO care. I just don’t care about that AS much as I care about our MAIN freaking characters. All I ask for is an episode that is a little more balanced to cover BOTH of these bases. We got some plot movement on the “Henry Wilcox is funding the ALC” plotline, the little prisoner field trip fake-out scheme was fun, and Manolo Cardona even got me a little choked up in his scene with Arthur in the forest. That was all entertaining enough. I just wish that Teo and Annie could have talked about SOMETHING else at some point in this ep (the damn hotel room maybe??) other than Teo’s daddy issues. Yes, we touched a tad on Auggie and Arthur lying to Annie, but barely anything at all. Once again, we got an episode where all the character focus went to someone OTHER than our main character(s - including Auggie this time). As happens pretty often on this show, Annie seems to exist for no reason other than to enable OTHER characters to get real deep and confront THEIR own issues with themselves and their cohorts. Annie just watches from the sideline and gives sympathetic looks and wears cute shoes and runs around crashing trucks and dodging bombs and shit. Annie, honey, I want more for you. I’ve seen glimpses in the past that we can get more, but I can’t help but constantly feel like those were just teases for something that’s never going to happen. Like the elusive backstory on Joan’s pill addiction that we’ll likely never get.
Anyway. Let’s get to that ending now, shall we? The truck blows up, the mysterious bad guy disappears, Teo’s buddy dies, Teo feels sad/pissed, Teo runs. Annie comes home, finds her apartment totally ransacked, and runs over to Auggie’s to warn him. Calder shows up before Auggie can even start to do a proper sweep of his place, but before Annie runs to hide from Calder, we get Auggie’s “Wait Annie!! I decided everything Helen said was wrong!!” OK GREAT Auggie well I’m glad you finally pulled your head out of your ass on that one, but WHY!!? HOW did you come to this decision?? WHAT was it that led you to realize that everything Helen said was wrong?? Oh, sorry!! We didn’t get to see any of that because we spent the ENTIRE EPISODE on Teo. We had to spend the whole thing focusing on a character that for all we know, could very well end up dead a few eps from now. Remember, no matter how dreamy he is and no matter how much we love him, he’s not a series regular. He’s only a guest star. We can’t get too attached (remember Simon and that hail of bullets?). That convo between Joan & Teo about him joining the CIA after all this felt a bit foreboding to me for some reason.
I don’t think I would be nearly as annoyed right now if this was, say, ep 4.03 or something. Early in the season, we’ve got more time for episodes like this. But this was 4.08 – there are only TWO episodes left of the summer season. We only have approximately one, maybe 1.5 more episodes until Annie somehow finds herself faking her own death (err, most likely, based on all the obvious clues we’ve been given so far). I feel much less like we can afford to spend an entire ep focusing solely on a guest star this late in the season. This ep reminded me a lot of eps 313-15 last year, when 95% of the episode time was spent focusing on friggin' Megan and Khalid instead of giving proper focus to our main characters. Maybe I should just be happy that at least I LIKE Teo, unlike Megan and Khalid (blech).
Do any of you watch ‘Castle’? Anyone who watches 'Castle' will understand what it’s like to spend 97% of every single episode suffering through the case-of-the-week, in the desperate hope that they’ll give us like TWO MINUTES of general character development time or Castle/Beckett time before the ep is over. And that’s if we’re lucky. CA, thank GOD, is NOT normally like that at all, because the mission-of-the-week is rarely boring and the ongoing plotlines are a *bazillion* times more engaging. But I swear to god, this week, I felt that exact “COME OOONNN!!” feeling I get from‘Castle’ nearly EVERY week. Again, I totally get that we can’t get character time in every episode of a given series, but the closer we get to the end of the season with so many unresolved issues, the more frustrated I get.
Here are my general ramblings:
- Teo’s story to Annie about doing deep cover work w/the ALC … I’m not sure if that is yet another clue about Annie faking her own death in 4.10. It’s not like Annie can pretend to be someone else with Henry after she’s “dead.” We’ll see.
- Again we have protective Joan in this ep, which I continue to enjoy.
- Annie punching Teo in the hotel room was pretty hilarious.
- Again Manolo Cardona did a really good job with the scene in the woods w/Arthur. I got a little verklempt.
- Uggh effing Calder in the helicopter. And smashing apartments. And everywhere. I had hoped we’d find out in this ep that maybe he’s actually a good guy, but no dice. I’m still convinced he’ll eventually wind up on Annie’s side though. Otherwise that flashforward scene from the elevator just doesn’t work, unless he’s *actually* shooting her. But there’s no way in hell they’d shoot her nearly dead AGAIN.
- So Henry essentially killed Teo’s mom, eh? Sucks but I mean ... Henry is responsible for EVERYTHING bad this season, so, duh. It’s like my friend Shelby said the other day ... I’m paraphrasing but it was something like, “They can’t just make Henry responsible for SOME of the bad things, he has to be responsible for ALL of the effing bad things.” I’m totally fine with having a “big bad” this season, but I feel like it worked a bit better with Lena last year, because we didn’t KNOW she was bad until 3.08. But I guess in the end, she was kinda responsible for all the bad things too.
- The prisoner truck-crashing scene was kind of ... awkwardly filmed. I laughed when it crashed because of the way poor Piper was having to throw herself around in that thing during the “crashing” hahaha. And the guy shooting at the truck, conveniently a HORRIBLE shot until the second Teo finally got out of harm’s way.
- So the flash drive has been found!! Uh oh. This honestly seems like a much bigger bit of plot movement than ANYTHING that happened regarding Teo and Henry. And it happened in the last damn minute of the episode. Grrrr.
- Where the hell do A&A go from here? Well, at the very least, they’re back in a place where they are fully out in the open with each other that they still WANT to be together. But I have a feeling they will need to stay “broken up” for now in order to take down Henry the way they are planning to.
[Editor's note: The Plopper's being too generous. We, the executive group at this blog, give the episode a 60 out of 100. Last week's was crap too. We now return you to your scheduled program.]
I know this is only 3 points higher than last week, but if I had last week’s grade to assign all over again, it would be lower. I probably would have given it like a 73, tops. Maybe my opinion of 4.08 will change depending on what happens 4.09 & 4.10, but I won’t know till we get there. What do you guys think, am I just being a dick?? Are my expectations too high??
NOTE: I will NOT BE IN THE U.S. for eps 4.09 and 4.10. Clearly I should have checked with the PTB at USA channel on CA’s summer schedule before planning my vacay. I’m going to do *everything* in my power to watch those eps from Europe. Pray to the sweet puma gods for me; I hope I’m successful. IF I can make that happen, I *might* do a super quickie short review of 4.09 (tho it’ll be late bc of timezones). Then, I will be back home the day AFTER 4.10 airs. Not until the afternoon though. My plan is to have a FULL review of 4.10 (or maybe both eps together) up by late Wednesday, 9/18. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.