19 September, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.10: 'Levitate Me'


Editor's Note: This marks The Plopper's final review on this blog... ever! I'm just kidding, she's been awesome. But seriously, if she ever sends me two completely different versions of the same 20 page article, I'm going to hunt her down and smother her in cake.

Well, here I am, letting out a long, frustrated, conflicted sigh.  Episode 4.10 of Covert Affairs, “Levitate Me,” was – in THEORY – a badass episode.  In theory.

It had all the individual ingredients for a badass episode, after all: Annie stealing cell phones from small children, Annie faking her own death, acknowledgement that Danielle actually still exists rather than having been sucked into a black hole once she got to San Francisco early last season, some A&A sweet talk, a Radiohead song, a surprise Eyal scene, etc.  Even the title of the ep sounds super cool.  Oh, and fiiinnally the focus of the ep was back on our main character, with some good Auggie & Joan scenes as well.  Every single one of these ingredients, taken on its own, is awesome.  If I had seen the Danielle postcard scene or the Eyal scene on their own, out of context, I would be completely engaged by them.  But when all these ingredients were added together to make episode 4.10, the final product still somehow managed to come out of the oven just ... a bit half-baked for me.

Why??  What’s wrong with me??  I mean seriously, is it me??  Am I just expecting too much out of this show?  I should go back and watch these first 10 eps of season 4 in order again during the month hiatus.  Because as I see it now ... everything was humming along quite nicely through 4.06.  I had my quibbles with those eps, as I always do, but overall, the storylines made sense.  The character motivations made sense.  I was WITH these guys.  I was with their plight.  I felt their struggles and their happiness and pain and everything along with them.  I was on the same wavelength with both heart and mind.  And then, ep 4.07 happened.  And 4.08.  And 4.09.  And we started to go down a weird path.  Strange things started happening, and they didn’t stop.

A random guest character who we’d spent almost zero time with previously (Helen), convinced Annie to make major life decisions after only a couple fairly robotic conversations.  Annie and Auggie broke up for no good reason.  A&A decided their breakup was a mistake, but with no explanation.  Teo took over an entire episode (two eps, sorta) and we kind of forgot who the star(s) of the show was (were).  Teo died right after we got to know him, but OFF camera and with almost zero time devoted to it.  Henry continued to be the puppetmaster behind ALL of this, but without ever giving a great explanation as to WHY he blames our characters for his son’s death.  Annie & Auggie acted like star-crossed lovers with insurmountable barriers between them, but I wasn’t quite sure why those barriers were so insurmountable.  Annie risked her entire *life and career* to avenge the death of a guy she was friendly acquaintances with, at best (Teo), and to help out her (ex)boss Arthur.  (A boss who, let’s not forget, was ready to sell her down the river in two seconds when she was in that coma accused of treason last season).  And finally in the end, Annie literally went through with giving up her *entire* life and identity because of the mess she had now gotten herself into with all this crap.

I don’t know what’s happening here.  I don’t feel like I’ve been with these characters in much of what they’ve been doing since ep 4.07.  I feel like I’ve been watching them do a bunch of shit, but none of it makes much sense.  It’s like I’m observing from outside but I don’t entirely speak their language.  It makes it all seem haphazard, and it results in me not being totally invested in it.  It lessens the impact of all of it for me by a huge amount.

Can we step back and take a moment to compare eps 4.07-10 with LAST season’s equivalent eps, 3.07-10?  Why did those eps in S3 have SUCH an impact on me mentally and emotionally, while these ones from S4 did not?  They actually had some major similarities.  Last season, Simon was in the Teo role.  I’ve been complaining that this season, the “Teo Braga Saga” ep(s) leading into Teo’s death felt like an obvious manipulation to me.  But if you think about it, ep 3.07 last year was EXACTLY the same thing, but for Simon instead.  Cuba, a.k.a. “the ep where we really get to know Simon Fischer right before they kill him,” was an extremely similar story structure.  So then why did THAT story work so well for me while these S4 episodes did not??

Here is my diagnosis: Annie’s struggle in those S3 episodes was PERSONAL.  The eps where we got to know Simon were not actually about Simon so much as they were about ANNIE, and her journey into this new weird space where she was trying to work a long con on a target for the first time ever, but she was also kinda falling in love with him.  It was about HER journey in both her career and personal life, with Simon as an integral part.  When Simon was killed, ANNIE was affected by that in every way possible, both mentally because she had fallen in love with him and also physically when she was nearly killed too, not to mention being betrayed/framed by her own boss to boot.  So then by ep 3.10, when Annie was out to get Lena in Russia, we were SO WITH her.  We were with her in every step she took because we got the full impact of all of this on her character, and by proxy we felt it *with* her.  And we felt Auggie and Joan’s struggles as well, as people who care about her.  And then that final showdown scene between Annie and Lena in that cabin in the woods in Russia was AMAZING.  It was completely badass because everything had built to that moment in a very clear and meaningful way.

Now let’s look at S4.  Who has this season actually been *about*??  For the first 6 eps, it seemed like it was about Annie and Auggie and their struggles with everything going on around them, including Henry.  It felt like it was told from their perspective.  They were doing well in their personal lives, but their work life was clearly becoming a huge issue.  Ep 4.07 should have been focused on them as well, but it ended up being more focused on Helen, and the way the story was told there just didn’t accomplish its goal of convincing us that A&A would break up over the events in that ep.  And then suddenly eps 4.08 and 9 just seemed to to focus away from Annie & Auggie entirely.  Suddenly Teo and Arthur were the stars of the show, and A&A and Joan were just supporting characters.  Annie was like an impartial third party, a therapist and go-between for Teo and Arthur in their struggle with Henry.  She was just on the sidelines looking vaguely concerned and trying to help.  The last scene of 4.09 is what really cemented this for me: It ended with Arthur watching Henry kind of speak to him through the television.  It was like the “Henry vs. Arthur” element of the season kind of came out and took center stage and said, “Yes that’s right, I am the star of season 4!!”

How did Annie relate to any of this other than having gotten herself pulled into it by letting Henry manipulate her with that damn folder in scene 1 of the season??  It’s been established that this woman is WAYY too dedicated to her job, so I GET that, don’t get me wrong.  But these last couple eps leading into 4.10 have just been so focused AWAY from her and her motivations that all of this stuff started to feel impersonal to me and I felt myself disconnecting from it.  I know Annie’s relationship with Teo was supposed to have been established as something that would have sent her over the point of no return when Henry framed Teo and then when Teo died, but as usual the writers were trying to shove so many plot points into these episodes that we just didn’t get enough time devoted to that relationship and story, or Annie’s personal investment in it, for it to be convincing.  It was like somehow Arthur and Teo’s family therapist (i.e. Annie) began fighting all their battles FOR them, but I wasn’t ever fully convinced as to why she cared so much about her “patients” that she’d risk her entire LIFE AND CAREER to become their own personal warrior against Henry.

At some point in ep 4.10, Annie makes a statement to Auggie that Henry is also responsible for breaking them up, so that was another way the writers were trying to establish her personal stake in all of this.  But was their break-up *really* Henry’s fault?  Assuming we’re to buy the reason A&A broke up to begin with, wouldn’t Helen have been someone who could have shown up at any point and broken them up in this exact same way on her own??  Henry may have been the catalyst to speed this up, but he was NOT the actual cause of the root problem to begin with.  Their jobs are going to be stressful and challenging to their relationship no matter what after all; if it’s not Henry it’ll just be someone or something else.  I just didn’t buy that as being a valid personal motivator for Annie to *quite* this extreme extent.

So then, all of this somehow culminates in Annie pushing herself into such a corner in eps 4.09 and 4.10 that her career is about to be obliterated unless she can find some sort of permanent way out of the whole mess.  Calder somehow goes from “I’m bringing you in for possible treason” to “O.k. I’ll help you fake your death so you can keep working to bring down Henry” in a SPLIT SECOND with exactly ZERO screentime devoted to how he gets there.  Yes, we had Auggie making progress on convincing Calder of Henry’s evilness leading into it, but at that moment in time in his convo with Annie, he clearly still needed more convincing.  And yet, what Annie says to him in this scene somehow does the trick, magically, but we don’t know exactly how, because apparently the writers (or editors) didn’t have enough time in this ep to devote to that part of the story.

And then, we wind up with a final sequence starting with Annie’s letter to Danielle and ending with that great Eyal scene that SHOULD have been fucking amazing.  It should have been just as amazing and ass-kicking as that final showdown with Lena in 3.10.  That Annie/Eyal scene *was* amazing out of context.  Out of context, I LOVED it.  But IN context, it just didn’t feel properly earned.  I didn’t fully see how we got there.  I didn’t feel like I was with Annie’s struggle, or feeling her feels in every damn thing that led INTO it.  I was left outside of Annie’s head this time, unlike last season.

My cousin put it quite well in a text to me about that scene: “It made me sad and nostalgic for the character connections of yesteryear.”  EXACTLY.  This scene actually depressed me.  I just watched the ep for the 2nd time and it actually seriously got me choked up.  It bums me out like hell because it gives me a flash of how brilliant, and emotionally and mentally impactful this all COULD have been, if anything building UP to it had made sense and resonated with me.  Because like I said, in *theory*, Annie being forced into a position where she has to fake her own death and go dark/rogue IS FUCKING AWESOME.  This sets us up for something that COULD be amazing and ass-kicking in the back 6 episodes.  But my confusion on how the hell we got to this point makes me feel like both my heart and brain have been pushed out of the whole thing.  It’s like I’m looking at a list of ingredients that could blow my mind if they were combined together in a way that made sense and gelled, by some master chef who could turn them into a masterpiece.  But they just ... weren’t this time.  Not this season.  Not in these first 10 eps, at least.  I was teased for the first 6 eps into thinking we were on our way there, but then somehow the train went off the tracks and it never quite got back on.  And I’m fucking BUMMED about it.

Just a few random thoughts before my grade:
  • Annie spelling out “LMFAO” in the IMing scene had me LMFAO.
  • Another issue I’ve had with CA S4 is that I’ve been able to see nearly every “twist” coming from miles away lately.  It seems like the last major turn we were shocked by was when Annie killed Seth, and that was way back in ep 4.02.  And in that vein, I dunno how effective it was to put in that second flash-forward to the elevator scene in 4.05.  It had us guessing that Annie would fake her death, but I would MUCH rather the writers have spent the eps leading into 4.10 focusing on properly building up to HOW Annie would come to that massively monumental decision about her life to begin with.  Bring us into her head, guys!!  She is the MAIN character, right??  Why does this seem so impossible lately??
  • BOTH Katie and Shelby point this out to me and it’s a great point: What the hell was the deal with the scene where Annie steals the clothes in the store to change her outfit??  The new outfit looked almost exactly the same as the old one!!  And she had already miraculously gotten the blood stains out of the original one!!  Did she just want slightly cuter clothes for the rest of her mission??
  • Auggie putting Henry in a headlock.  BWAHAHA.
  • The CIA putting THAT much trust in Henry at this point, after previously being imprisoned for treason??  Come ON man.

GRADE: O.k. hold up.  Now that I’ve seen all 10 eps of the summer season, these are the grades I’d give each ep:

401: 87
402: 94
403: 89
404: 88
405: 90
406: 91
407: 60
408: 68
409: 71
410: 75

I know I changed some of them, but now that I see where it was all headed, I’m realizing that maybe I was too optimistic on a few of these before seeing the rest of the season.  4.10 as a standalone episode would get a higher grade because it was a very entertaining ep, but taken in context of the whole season leading into it, it’s a lot less effective.

I have a feeling a lot you might disagree with me on this.  A lot of you probably thought 4.10 was super kick-ass and you’re gonna wonder why I have to be such a freakin’ downer.  Well, I dunno why.  But season 3 (the first 11 or 12 eps) set my expectations of this show REALLY high.  Maybe I should have kept them lower??  Sigh.  Tell me in the comments.

The Plopper


51 comments:

  1. "But seriously, if she ever sends me two completely different versions of the same 20 page article, I'm going to hunt her down and smother her in cake." HAHAHA this just made me LOL in my cube at work. Thank you for putting up with my insanity.

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    1. "BOTH Katie and Shelby point this out to me and it’s a great point: What the hell was the deal with the scene where Annie steals the clothes in the store to change her outfit?? The new outfit looked almost exactly the same as the old one!! And she had already miraculously gotten the blood stains out of the original one!! Did she just want slightly cuter clothes for the rest of her mission??"

      Black is a good color for not standing out in a crowd, so I can see why she stayed with that. Annie changed from a blazer into a much longer trenchcoat, which would alter how someone might describe her appearance. And she went from a white shirt to a grey sweater. Was it perhaps easier to exit the store wearing something in the same tonal palette?

      With all the running and derring-do, the new clothes surely smelled a lot better than the old ones!

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  2. Oh and also for anyone reading this, sorry it's so ridiculously long hahaha. It's longer than any of my other reviews by like 5 or 600 words at least. I broke my rule of trying to keep these to no more than 1600 words, by a LONG shot. I just had a lot to say on this one and I was kinda covering the whole season. ;-) I'll be back to my old rule (which I broke pretty often but not by THAT much) when we get to the back 6 eps. Till the S4 finale at least. ;-)

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  3. I think it's funny that you sit here and pick apart the show, looking to find fault with everything, and then you wonder why you don't enjoy the show like you did last season. Last season you weren't nitpicking(for profit, I might add), and you could go along for the ride. This season you nitpicked the hell out of it, and it wasn't any fun. Surprised??

    It takes real skill to put a show like this together, and not anyone could do it. I take real issue with people who do not create anything, just sit back and complain about what several other people have invested a lot of time and skill to create. Before you diss this show the day after, I'd like to see you try to create a show half as fun and brilliant. But we both know, you can't.

    You're trying to make a name for yourself, chestbeating and banging your drum atop the carcass of a show you've picked to death. Not fun for me, and I can't say I respect it. Create something. Don't just be the Queen of Anti.

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    1. OMG is it bad that I'm kind of excited to get my first hate comment on here?? From "Anonymous", of course.

      What PROFIT am I making from this, exactly?? Please, do tell!! Do you know someone who would actually PAY me to stay up till 2:30am every Tuesday night to write these?? Because I don't.

      And I DID nitpick last season too, it just wasn't on this blog!!

      Do you work for USA network or something? I *completely* understand how much incredibly hard work it takes to create a TV show and to make it even semi decent, and I never claimed to be capable of doing that myself. That's not the career I chose to go into, so I wouldn't even know where to start. But your argument about how much work and skill it takes has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the end product. Not EVERY TV show ever created has been awesome at all times, just because it took hard work and skill to make it. Sometimes things come together and sometimes they don't. There are all kinds of factors involved in the end product. Should we all just turn off our brains each week and not think critically about anything that's happening on any TV show we watch?? Because it sounds like that's what you're suggesting.

      I wouldn't waste hours of my life writing novels on this TV show (for FREE) if I didn't love the show. And you referring to me as the "Queen of Anti" means that you clearly have NOT read any of my reviews of the first 6 eps of this season. I'm only "anti" about things when I have a *reason* to be anti. I know what this show is capable of and I just want it to live up to the levels of awesome that I know it's capable of reaching.

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    2. Fuckin' fanboys. They excuse bad writing and bad story telling because they think it somehow reflects on them when they enjoy it.

      And it does.

      Because liking shit means your taste is shit.

      That's why honest critics are great. They shine a light on the fact that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Maybe he'll put some on now that it has been pointed out.

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    3. It is also interesting that Ms. Anonymous called The Plopper out for being more critical this season because she's making the big bucks. Outside of the obvious error in that statement, she posted her episode scores in the article. And it is CLEAR AS FUCKIN' DAY that she was mostly positive about it and only shit on those episodes that earned it:

      401: 87
      402: 94
      403: 89
      404: 88
      405: 90
      406: 91

      Wow. Terrible scores. Clearly it's the mountains of cash that's motivating her.

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    4. "It takes real skill to put a show like this together, and not anyone could do it."

      Just because something takes skill is no reason to pretend it is good.

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    5. "... she posted her episode scores in the article." LMAO THANK you!! You don't even have to go back to my other reviews to disprove the "Queen of Anti" statement, you just have to properly read THIS one. Although the moniker does have a nice ring to it. And it did provide my cousin with the opportunity to text this to me a few minutes ago:

      "Btw, can I admit that I just like The Mindy Project now? Well, I misjudged it initially. I wouldn't expect the Queen of Anti to understand, though."

      Hahahaha ... maybe I should look into changing my Twitter handle.

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    6. Ah, a little bit of balance. SUNSHINE! And a skoshe of humility. Fresh air!

      Your profit is the crown of Critic, with HGFjunior emblazoned upon it.

      You obviously have skillz. How you wield them has consequences. Obviously "fanboys" like me will watch the show regardless. But do you not have a vested interest in saying, "bottom line, it sucks"? (wouldn't be much of a critique, we wouldn't see your HGF's superior taste, if you actually liked it, no?)

      I have read your reviews. They seem to be trending negative. I appreciate you bringing a bit more balance in your response to my earlier comment, and would enjoy seeing that balance (return and) continue in your future reviews.

      My concern is that people who are on the fence about this show might adopt your lately hyper-critical, buzzkill, "piss on it" attitude and miss the beauty of it. I don't want this show to get the axe like Copper.



      and to 10:39,
      in your world, you sniff that there is "no reason to pretend [this] is good". in my world, there is so much crap out there that is frankly unwatchable. this show does a lot of things right(what are they trying to say when they have the characters do this or that? what comment are they making about the world, about life, about what's important?). to you I say, be aware of wonder. don't be jaded.

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    7. "How you wield them has consequences"

      If the consequence is better writing then Plopper has wielded her power perfectly. She gave the good episodes good scores and the bad episodes bad scores. If you liked those episodes then go write a review. I respect her for writing what she feels and for detailing why she feels that way. You seem to want positivity for sake of positivity. Why would we care what she had to say if it was just oh they are so cute and this is so cute and trust the writers! That is what fanboys do.

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    8. "I don't want this show to get the axe like Copper."

      Believe me, few things will put this show more on the path towards cancellation than if the quality goes down hill and does not recover quickly. A few real, legit critics (i.e. people who are NOT me) were *just* starting to finally pay attention to this show in season 3 and early season 4, and they're gonna dump it back in the trash again in a split second if the quality degrades. Positive critical attention on a show is a HUGE benefit for both the network's willingness to keep it around and for word of mouth for people to finally decide to check it out.

      It seemed like CA was finally starting to build a little bit of that, but it'll disappear as quickly as it started based on quality degradation. And if everyone who watches this show tells the CA writers/producers/etc. nothing outside of "OMG the show is SO amazingly perfectly awesome right now!!!" ... then all it's going to do is encourage them to keep on the same path they're on now. And it's not a great path.

      Also: 2nd "Anonymous" person from 10:39 PM & 1:04 AM last night (I'm assuming these are both from the same person) - I don't know who you are or if I know you, but you are awesome haha. "... oh they are so cute and this is so cute and trust the writers!" LOL.

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  4. Thank you for putting my frustration into your 3 million plus words! :D I do enjoy reading you so you could write 10 million and I'd still read it.

    I have to say that I have enjoyed and even been excited, breathless, and maybe a little overly enthusiastic about ALL of the episodes this season...on the FIRST watch. It's easy to get caught up in the live tweeting and the newness and you think everything is awesome. It's when you really sit down, watch again, and go to thinking about things that you realize how incredibly unsatisfying this season has been. Yes, it's had moments. But nothing in any way shape or form that represents consistency or continuity on any level. And so much we've just had to dismiss, shrug off, say ummm okayyy, or just hope it gets explained later.

    I miss Annie. I'm hoping these last 6 episodes puts us back in touch with her. Hell, at least in seasons 1-3 I felt that I was on these missions with her, but now it just feels like I'm watching Annie try to figure all this shit out along with the rest of us. I want the focus back on her.

    Now....onto this episode.

    The barbarians are at the gate...err the castle....umm...at Auggie's apartment. Oh good Lord, STFU. Joan, Arthur, Auggie, & Annie have as much business at the DPD right now as Lord Henry Wilcox until all this craziness gets worked out between the lot of em. GOODNESS GRACIOUS. And I understand the full hate on that Senator Lady McNasty has for Joan about as much as I understand why Henry thinks that Auggie is "just a kid that has to cool down". Okay Mrs. McNasty, Joan sort of black mailed you, but only after you brought the Hater-Ade to the hearings first. YOU STARTED IT!

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    1. Also, anyone notice the other operatives in the DPD, when EB keeps making his speeches? They all looked hella enthused and concerned about all the shiz going down in Germany. And by enthused and concerned, I mean, they all looked like they'd rather be watching Amish Mafia or something.

      When Joan collapses and they're wheeling her out, both my bro n law and I thought the EMT dude said "due to your SMALL hands and high blood pressure" and I was like WTF do small hands have to to with preeclampsia? ENUNCIATE PEOPLE. Shit.

      The clothes. You and I have talked about this. You're gonna go galavanting all over Germany as a wanted woman, stealing phones, running through back alleys, randomly chatting up dudes to use their computers, blazing through kitchens and restaurants, and you're seriously going to steal basically the same outfit you were already wearing. YES that makes total sense! At least put your hair in a ponytail for Christ's sake!

      And I'm with ya on the Annie and Auggie weirdness. I didn't get hardly any Walkerson feels in this Ep at all. And I say weird bc I'm just not sure if we were supposed to have feels or not. It was strained but why? Because of the gravity of the situation? I dunno. There will always be some sketchy situation so.....get over it, WALKERSON, damn, you're spies, you're in love, DEAL WITH IT!

      Jai's mom? *sigh* I'm holding out hope that she has at least some of the answers for us. Otherwise......WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

      I love Joan & Auggie scenes. Those are second only to Barber/Hollman scenes!

      "Maybe once you love someone those BONDS never go away..." I swear I swear Auggie says bones. Mumble mumbles. I was like wahhhhh? Bones? Ohhh bonds. But when Annie said, "I think that's true." That was also weird b/c I really didn't know if that was supposed to be a warm/fuzzy between them or Annie questioning whether or not Auggie might still have feelings for Helesa. (GAG, VOMIT, DIE AGAIN!)

      I just gotta say this. When Annie makes it through all this, she had better say those "things" she wants to say to Auggie, FINALLY, or heads will roll.

      Annie had Calder at "truth". And that was that.

      And Danielle can find Annie in the sky. Awwh, that's sweet. Except...yeah...no.

      By the 3rd time of hearing the "I should've just said I love you...it's too late for heart to hearts...goodbye Auggie"...it had lost a lil bit of its ooomph. Ya know?

      That "Bones" song really kicks ass...especially when bullets are flying and people are fake dying.

      Eyal. I love him. I do, but it just felt like they placed him there as like a "oooh hey look it's Eyal, forget about all the other stuff that doesn't make sense! It's Eyal! He brought Annie pressies! Let's all skip off to Radiohead playing!"

      I'm still holding out hope for the final 6 episodes to give me more, to kick my ass, to get me back in touch with Annie, to remind me why I fell in love with this show above all other shows, and I think, I really think it's gonna do just that.

      :D

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    2. Wait, you mean the guy didn't say SMALL HANDS? What the hell did he say? Cause I've watched it 6 times and that's what I heard every time!!!

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    3. He did say small hands, and it has nothing to do with preeclampsia. also, the stats on her monitor have nothing to do with pregnancy or preeclampsia, actually the stats haven't made any sense. Maybe I'm nitpicking as well, but it wouldn't have been that difficult to do a proper research to any of it.
      If they wanted a credible complication it wouldn't be hard to have one. But the way Joan was "fainting" in her office combined with high blood pressure points to something else. I'm sure however, that they were not aiming for that diagnosis.
      It irritates me that they constantly disregard medical facts.
      For example where is Annie's scar from the operation to fix her pierced left ventricle?! This should have left a mid sternum scar at least. And don't get me started on Auggie's newest scar.
      I'm not making all this up, trust me I'm a a doctor...
      Being Israeli I can truly appreciate how awesome that Pesek zman (פסק זמן) comment was. It is epic not because it's indeed chocolate but the meaning of the name is timeout, and so to me it had a deeper meaning that i'm positive a lot of other people missed.
      As of the rest of the ep I totally agree, I don't get any of it. I don't understand the motives. And I certainly don't know what is happening inside the main character head. From a show about Annie (sometime Auggie or Auggie+Annie)it became a show about Arthur, Joan and Wilcox(s because Jay gets more screen time now that he is dead than ever before).
      I love this show so much and I'm really hoping for them to go back on track.
      Sorry for any grammatical/misspelling.

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    4. Don't even get me STARTED ON THE MEDICAL STUFF!! OMG I am nowhere near being a doctor and even I can tell how far off they are on some of it!! I've been harping on Annie's lack of surgery scar this ENTIRE season. The reason it drives me insane is because, like you said, it takes TWO SECONDS to use their brains to get details like this right, and if they can't even spend the time to do that, then what else are they neglecting?? What else are they not spending the time to think through when it comes to every other aspect of the show?? This has always been a pet peeve of mine, not just on CA of course. But CA is *extremely* guilty of it on a regular basis. More so than many other shows I've watched.

      I didn't notice the preeclampsia stuff in this week's ep because I know nothing about preeclampsia, so it's interesting to hear how they screwed that up too. ;-) "And don't get me started on Auggie's newest scar." HAHA please do get started because now you have me curious!

      Another reason it drives me insane is that they seem to put SO much effort into making Auggie's blindness something that is as realistic as they can possibly make it, and yet, they neglect *everything* else in the medical realm to a ridiculous extent. I just don't understand their logic there.

      "Being Israeli I can truly appreciate how awesome that Pesek zman (פסק זמן) comment was." Glad to see that at least they got this right!! But I can almost 100% guarantee that detail came from ODED and not anyone else!!

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    5. "I miss Annie. I'm hoping these last 6 episodes put us back in touch with her."

      Dude, if they can make the back 6 about Annie going rogue, off all on her own, and STILL manage to NOT put proper focus on her character, then that will be a feat of jaw-dropping proportions. Like it would take serious, purposeful effort to accomplish. And yet somehow, I have a feeling they'll find a way to do it. Uggh.

      "Senator Lady McNasty" HAHAHA we need to remember this name in case she shows up in the back 6.

      "I mean, they all looked like they'd rather be watching Amish Mafia or something." AHAHAHA I totally noticed. We did manage to get a slight wince out of a few of them when Calder "killed" Annie, and even EB himself looked ever-so-slightly uncomfy hahahah.

      The small hands shit is HILARE, I need to watch that scene again. And I swear to GOD, if you had asked me before you wrote this comment what it was that Auggie said to Annie on the phone, I would have ABSOLUTELY said "bones."

      "At least put your hair in a ponytail for Christ's sake!" Haaaa hahahahaa seriously!!

      "And I'm with ya on the Annie and Auggie weirdness. It was strained but why?" Exactly. It's strained solely for the sake of being strained. I seriously see nothing here that would stop two people who are really in love with each other from at least TRYING to do everything they can to make that shit work out. And if they're holding off on the relationship till all this shit gets sorted out, then the writers need to *properly convey* that to the audience, because right now, we're just confused.

      "Jai's mom? *sigh* I'm holding out hope that she has at least some of the answers for us. Otherwise......WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?" Oh my god, you just made me think ... I can guarantee you this chick will simply be Annie's new therapy patient. So that we can get 6 more episodes of Annie just standing on the sideline looking concerned for someone ELSE's problems. And then trying to solve them for said person. I can't wait.

      Joan & Auggie scenes are always good ones and they had a couple pretty funny jokes in this ep.

      "Annie had Calder at 'truth'. And that was that." HAHAHA, that was easy!! They should have just used that key word with him 5 episodes ago!!

      "And Danielle can find Annie in the sky. Awwh, that's sweet. Except...yeah...no." Katie told me she'd put her Danielle comment in here, but if she forgets, I'm going to do it myself hahaha. Because it was a good one.

      And that's a great point about the Eyal scene. It's like they spend these past 4 eps doing all kinds of shiz that barely makes sense, and then they try to lull us into an Eyal daze RIGHT at the end ... smoke and mirrors to hypnotize us into thinking everything we had just seen leading into it was totally amazing and that it all made sense.

      God. These back six. PLEASE, Covert Writers. PLEEEEAAAASE.

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    6. I heard, "due to your swollen hands, and pre-eclampsia..."

      And I think Auggie *did* say "BONES," like, the bones, the skeleton of a relationship remains, even when the body has dried up and blown away.

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    7. Nope! Listened again to Auggie's comment, and upon closer consideration, I got, "yeah, well, maybe once you really love someone, those bonds never go away." I thought it was cool how Annie turned his statement into a renewed promise between the two of them.


      ""And I'm with ya on the Annie and Auggie weirdness. It was strained but why?" Exactly. It's strained solely for the sake of being strained. I seriously see nothing here that would stop two people who are really in love with each other from at least TRYING to do everything they can to make that shit work out. And if they're holding off on the relationship till all this shit gets sorted out, then the writers need to *properly convey* that to the audience, because right now, we're just confused."

      Um, how can you expect people to be all lovey-dovey when they just saw someone BLOW UP A FRICKIN' HELICOPTER?!! With a missile that he has cleverly spun to look like you helped it get stolen?? So that now you're getting the fisheye from your agency? Oh yeah, I'd feel real romantic after that...

      There is no peace for Annie and Auggie to get cozy in. And there won't BE any peace until Henry is exposed for the evil, lying, sick, murderous, conniving, manipulating traitor that he is.

      Henry is like a malignant growth. He takes out the Chens. He corrupts Rossabi. He gets Auggie bounced as head of the DPD. He gets Arthur to step down as DCS. He nearly got Joan nixed from being named DCS. He gets Joan 86-ed as DCS. And then has the nerve to drop the insidious gobbet of, " I never in my wildest dreams would have thought [Annie] capable of treason. I mistook her for a patriot."

      Somebody's gotta stop this guy. And as with Lena, anybody who could pose a threat to this cancerous evil is getting knocked off the chessboard in a nasty, smear-tactic-laden way that leaves the malfeasant smelling like a rose.

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  5. Yes, yes, and yes - totally agree with you! I love this show, but this season I've been having to give myself pep talks about the fact that it will come back around. Of course, there were times when I felt unhappy about what was going on in Season 3 (I didn't like Annie falling for Simon), but the writers redeemed themselves in the end. So this season I've been having to say to myself "Well, you were unhappy with some of the episodes in S3, but you liked where it went, eventually..." I hadn't even realize the difference between the two seasons that you summed up so nicely - in S3 the journey was personal for Annie, but in S4 it's..... what? I guess the whole Henry Wilcox file thing started out personal, since she only got involved in it in order to protect Auggie, before it turned into a crazy mess... One thing is for sure, I liked it a lot better when it was actually about Annie and Auggie, with Joan and Arthur in there for good measure. I guess maybe the writers got worried because they had killed/written off several of their almost main characters (Jai and Danielle, to name a few) and felt like they needed to bring in a few more and establish them so we immediately knew them, but it's a shame that they did that at the cost of the ones we really cared about.

    Yes, I love CA, but I should just be able to enjoy it and not have to talk myself into enjoying it, if that makes any sense. What made me realize just how much I miss knowing what's going on in their heads is that this season I've read a lot of CA fanfiction (funny as that may sound), which I never had before, and my first thought when I started reading it was "OH MY GOD! I know what they're thinking! It's exactly what's missing from the actual show!"

    Maybe the problem is just that we don't know all the secrets yet, and the back 6 will make everything clear....? Doubtful, but who knows? Those covertwriters are pretty damn tricky.

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    1. "I guess the whole Henry Wilcox file thing started out personal, since she only got involved in it in order to protect Auggie, before it turned into a crazy mess..."

      OMG you made such a great point there because I swear to god, no joke, I honestly was FORGETTING when I was writing this review that Annie's initial involvement was because she wanted to protect Auggie. Part of that is probably my jet-lagged brain, but I think part of it is that it's all turned into such a crazy mess, as you said, that it's hard to remember now what it was all supposed to be about to begin with!! I'm now remembering that that is a key reason why the first 6 eps made so much more sense to me. I mean ... I'm seriously trying to think now ... WHAT exactly ended up being Auggie's big stake in this that Henry was using to threaten his career with?? Was it just that he was assigned by Arthur to train Teo?? Is that it?? I truly and honestly am not even sure anymore if there's more to it that I'm forgetting at this point.

      And at what point did that element as a motivator for Annie kind of shift away? Or did it ever? Because at some point, Auggie was risking his career WAY more by working to bring down Henry in the present day than he was by just letting Henry expose whatever his big past "dirty secret" was to begin with.

      Someone needs to make a timeline showing an answer to "Why the hell is Annie doing any of the crazy stuff she's doing?" For each episode this season hahahaa. I bet that would be difficult to answer for several of these eps. ;-)

      Oh and your comment about fanfic is SO true ... I'm not generally a fanfic reader but that element of being in the characters' heads feels like it's missing this season WAY more than normal.

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    2. Don't forget that Auggie's alias shows up on the bank transfers for Baby Puma so that's part of it too.

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    3. OH right right thank you for reminding me hahahaa.

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    4. I also think Annie got into this to protect Joan and Arthur, as well as to protect Auggie. The only way to get to the bottom of it was to get on board and see what Henry was up to.

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  6. I'm far too generous with Season 4, I admit it. I don't agree with everything, but you made some compelling arguments. One of the writers mentioned how each writer gets to pick an episode to write. That's how this season feels for me: stitched together by ten different people with ten different styles and a bare minimum of continuing storyline. Clearly one writer wanted Walkerson to break up, and the writer for the next episode diagreed, I guess. Good review, I agree with most of it. I'm still new at reviewing, so I really can't say a lot of negative things yet because I'm still a little bit fangirl. :)

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  7. This season reminds me of LOST after Season 3. I didn't understand most of what was going on and kept watching, hoping it would all be explained, but more storylines and characters kept cropping up and nothing ever really came together. Suits is also starting to have that problem, much as I love it.

    Also, what the hell was the point of the whole Chens thing? Still wondering why we spent an episode on that if this was going to turn into a Teo/Walkerson/Arthur crusade. RIP Chens. And random Solstar helicopter people, to a lesser extent.

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    1. This season is nothing like LOST after season 3. Hell, there was nothing in seasons 1 and 2 of LOST that was any less confusing than whatever happened in the rest of the series.

      Why do people say silly things like this?

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    2. LOST is brilliant, no argument there. But once they started time traveling and the scientists showed up, I didn't really understand the mythology and the motivations as clearly. Maybe I'm not smart enough to keep up, I dunno, lol.

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    3. "RIP Chens. And random Solstar helicopter people, to a lesser extent."

      HAHAH!! Good point dude. I swear to god I had already forgotten about all of them. Those poor, forgotten souls. :-P

      And yeah the motivation for the crusade has changed so much over time that I just don't even know what we're supposed to think about it anymore.

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    4. I think the motivation's pretty strong: someone who has NO respect for life, who kills people for entertainment and/or their own nefarious purposes (kinda like Lena), needs to be stopped. And he's so well-entrenched and devious, the ONLY way to get that sucker is to go deep cover.

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    5. I think the point of the whole Chens thing was to show that Henry was in it up to his neck, pulling strings, laundering money, killing people when they became a liability.

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    6. And Kate, you have just as much right to your opinion as anyone else. Don't let anyone intimidate you and make you feel stupid.

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  8. Holy SHITE!!...I'm afraid to comment after reading all of this... when does hockey start? lmao
    -Milena

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  9. I heard, "due to your swollen hands, and pre-eclampsia..."

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  10. I also think Annie got into this to protect Joan and Arthur, as well as to protect Auggie. The only way to get to the bottom of it was to get on board and see what Henry was up to.

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  11. I think the point of the whole Chens thing was to show that Henry was in it up to his neck, pulling strings, laundering money, killing people when they became a liability.

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  12. At this point I'm kind of wondering what single issue drives Annie's (and thus our) hatred of Henry. I get that Henry is the big bad this season, but is Annie mad because:

    A. He killed Teo?
    B. He got Arthur fired and imprisoned?
    C. He threatened Auggie?
    D. He killed the Solstar people?
    E. He killed the Chens?
    F. He's funding terrorism?
    G. He's working to infiltrate (and probably control) the CIA?
    H. He knows all the dirty secrets? (Seth included)
    I. He "broke up" Walkerson?
    J. He tried to kill her multiple times?
    K. He's just kind of an asshole?

    To tell me that all of these things drive Annie at the same time.... stretches the limits of plausibility.

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    1. EXACTLY. And there are a LOT of terrible bad guys in power out there. Are we gonna go give up our whole lives to go stop all of them?? I get that Annie is in a more appropriate line of work to do that and I get that her personality would drive her more in that direction, but to devote all of like 10 seconds of screentime to her decision-making process to actually do it?? It's insane. If they had conveyed Annie's motivations and decision-making process clearly, we as audience members wouldn't have to be pondering and arguing about it so much.

      There are certain things that it is o.k. to leave as a mystery for your audience, but this is NOT one of them.

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    2. "If they had conveyed Annie's motivations and decision-making process clearly, we as audience members wouldn't have to be pondering and arguing about it so much."



      When people gather together to talk about something, and ponder its meaning, that is the highest compliment of art.

      What you have people doing here with your searching blog, Rachael, is the Holy Grail of art. The pondering and arguing is where the truth lies.

      So much better to grapple for an understanding, than to have it spoonfed to you! #thejourneynotthearrival

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  13. I got no problems believing that, but I think Annie sees Henry more as a big problem that needs to be stopped. I don't think she actively hated Henry until he blew up that 'copter and (seemingly) got away with it. She saw firsthand that human life meant nothing to him, and how slickly he could put the blame on an innocent person. Henry didn't kill Teo, but his schemes led to Teo's death.

    Annie's job is to keep the free world safe. Henry is a whirlwind of threatening abuses of power. Someone's got to deal with him; no one else seems to be stepping up; good people are dying, being corrupted, being fired: Henry's gotta go.

    I think Henry is the reason Annie and Auggie are apart right now, because Wilcox needs to be stopped, and his lies to twitching ears at the Agency are sticking. I don't buy that Henry was any scintilla of the reason Walkerson briefly broke up. I'll go back and listen for exactly what Annie says when she mentions it to Auggie.

    I don't think Annie hates Henry, or at least, she didn't always hate him. She may have been willing to leave him be even though he knows secrets. But Copenhagen dropped the gauntlet. There's no going back. If she doesn't fight back, every single good person she knows, including herself, will be painted as a traitor and/or fired. There are several things Annie was the only witness to: the covert conversation in the park with the Chens; Henry's man knocking out Teo and firing the missile; Henry's man running her, Teo and Eduardo off the road in the prison transfer.

    I hate it when the bad guys win, and I think that might be an overarching factor for Annie also. Just like she stayed pissed about Simon's death, and Jai's death, I think Annie will stay pissed enough at Teo's death to take a**hole Henry down. But at one time, I know Annie felt compassion for Henry--when she realized he is still grieving for Jai.

    There are lots of things that motivate me to do what I do. We are all of us very complex people, with multiple levels of feeling, of gut reaction, of determination. Annie doesn't strike me as any less complex than any one of us.

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    1. "There are lots of things that motivate me to do what I do. We are all of us very complex people, with multiple levels of feeling, of gut reaction, of determination. Annie doesn't strike me as any less complex than any one of us."

      Just because something is complex doesn't mean that it can't be told as a story. GIVE me a complex story, I would LOVE to see it!! Devote TIME to it. Cut OUT all the other frivolous shit and extra fat from the past several episodes and focus on THAT instead. I would LOVE to see that. But that's not what they're giving us. They are trying to tell a complex story while completely ignoring 99% of the details of the complexities. That just does not work.

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    2. "Just because something is complex doesn't mean that it can't be told as a story. GIVE me a complex story, I would LOVE to see it!! Devote TIME to it. Cut OUT all the other frivolous shit and extra fat from the past several episodes and focus on THAT instead. I would LOVE to see that. But that's not what they're giving us. They are trying to tell a complex story while completely ignoring 99% of the details of the complexities. That just does not work."



      Gee, I saw a story. Every single scene was part of it. Nothing was frivolous; the scenes *were* the details of the complexities.

      Instead of *telling* us, 'Annie sees Henry's man blow up a helicopter. Henry is evil,' they *show* us that, and as with art, another visual medium, the artist(s) let us draw our own conclusions.

      I love this show because it shows things rapid-fire, kind of like life happens.

      F'rinstance, if you're a waiter or waitress at a busy restaurant, you've got the family at table 34, the couple at booth 30, and the irascible idiot at table 31. You can get sat all three tables at the same time, and it's all you can do to get to everyone and see what's going on, get their order right, nudge the order along to make sure the cooks, who don't bother to read your detailed specifications because they likely can't read, get the order right, then get the orders out to the proper people as swiftly as possible.

      You've got multiple dramas going on, with each personality at each of your tables. Neither cares about the others, they just want what they want, NOW.

      So with Annie, we see all these threads, all these individual dramas going on--with Henry losing Jai and being really bitter about it; Teo, working to avenge his mother's murder, longing to know his father; Henry disliking being ousted from power and conniving to get his way back into it, no matter whom he has to smear, funnel money to, or kill to do that.

      I love the fast-paced action of Covert Affairs, where, like the Bourne movies, we are on the run with the protagonist, we see them reacting to each new development. And the wonder of it all is how the protagonist navigates all these happenings, manages to avoid being made or killed, and, oh yeah, does some good in the world.

      I see the story right there, plain as day in each episode. I think it's well done, and pretty cool. So many other shows are boring in comparison. If they took the screen time to *tell* you what the footage *shows* you, you'd end up with an interminably boggy, three-hour show instead of a tightly knit, fast-paced hour-long one.

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    3. I'm sorry but there's been so much wasted time this season it's just silly.

      The whole horse/lawywer scene w Arthur. Pointless.
      The whole Annie stealing the same outfit. Pointless.
      The whole flashback scene w/ Baby Puma. Pointless.

      And that's just from the last couple of Eps. Wasted time like that adds up and we know they've had to cut scenes.

      If CA wanted to give us flashbacks, why not some HW flashback? Hell, they want us to believe that was Arthur and baby Puma from 25+ years ago. Fuzzing out a Wilcox flashback couldn't be that damn hard.

      I just feel like we're missing some vital story telling times w some of these scenes.

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    4. "I just feel like we're missing some vital story telling times w some of these scenes."


      what I saw in the horse/lawyer scene was that the lawyer was a fairly wealthy, very classy lady, with great discipline to get up so early. they conveyed an awful lot in just a few seconds by showing that she owns a horse, has ridden for years, is classically trained in riding, is precise in what she wears, even when no one is watching her. and she is kind.

      I saw differences in the outfit Annie stole, that could have been enough to defy APB descriptions that may have been out on her. Black is a good color for not standing out in a crowd, so I can see why she stayed with that. Annie changed from a blazer into a much longer trenchcoat, which would alter how someone might describe her appearance. And she went from a white shirt to a grey sweater. Was it perhaps easier to exit the store wearing something in the same tonal palette? With all the running and derring-do, the new clothes surely smelled a lot better than the old ones!

      I thought the Baby Puma flashback scene was cool, because he and Arthur treasured the same vividly beautiful moments. it was kind of a full circle moment for me, and showed Baby Puma was not so very different from Papa Puma at heart.

      yes, there is undoubtedly so much more story to tell, to reveal. I am grateful for what they have revealed of their story so far. each scene tells me a lot.

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    5. If I wanted to watch a TV show about a classy lawyer lady who gets up early in the morning, I would do that, and it would NOT be Covert Affairs I would watch to see that. Shelby's point is that they are wasting time fleshing out side characters rather than focusing on the *main* characters in the show. If everything else was firing on all cylinders and if I felt like we were getting proper focus on Annie herself (and Auggie to a certain extent as well), then I'd be ok to then also spend a couple minutes learning about a classy lady who gets up early in the morning to ride horses. But that is NOT the case. Instead, what we're getting is a main character who is feeling awfully fuzzy right now, including her motivations for anything she's doing, and an overall storyline that has felt increasingly confusing and convoluted in the past 4 episodes or so. And we're getting ENTIRE episodes devoted to learning every last thing that makes a guest character tick, all his deepest fears and emotions, whilst we're learning absolutely nothing of the sort about our MAIN character.

      "If they took the screen time to *tell* you what the footage *shows* you, you'd end up with an interminably boggy, three-hour show instead of a tightly knit, fast-paced hour-long one."

      I cannot convey enough how much I disagree with this. Or maybe what I should say is that I feel like you're missing the point with this statement. I have been watching Breaking Bad, especially in the second half of this final season, do correctly everything that CA has been doing wrong. We've got character arcs that are SO clear and that have developed in SUCH an impactful and logical and meaningful way from the pilot episode of the series to where we are now. We've got story arcs that have been planned and fleshed out properly since day one of the series and have built into a place that makes complete sense, while still keeping us surprised and entertained and mentally and emotionally impacted in a big way. We've got story threads that open up and are actually *followed up on* later, just at the moments of major impact, even if it's not until 2 or 3 seasons later. And when new stuff pops up that is confusing to us, we can feel fairly sure that it'll make sense later, because we've seen the evidence that we can trust the writers on it.

      Breaking Bad has never been a perfect show, but it does a LOT of things right, and it is doing them especially right at a time when I'm seeing CA drop the ball on virtually all of them. So it's just making these problems even more apparent for me on CA. And guess what? BB an hour long show. Just like CA. Because there are ways to make things clear to your audience withOUT spelling out every last detail. And CA is not accomplishing that right now. Not for me and clearly, based on this comment section, not for a lot of us. (Now hopefully I haven't jinxed the Breaking Bad series finale next Sunday to suddenly disappoint me). :-P

      I feel like you're defending EVERY last aspect of this show, and every single thing they've done, no matter how ineffective or ridiculous, just for the sake of defending it. Maybe you really do think they've made an absolutely perfect 4 hours of television in the past 4 eps, and if that's the case, then more power to you. Enjoy it. At least that will make one of us.

      Delete
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  15. I am just now watching S4 and I love reading your reviews. (And all the comments!) You've got just the right amount of snarky honesty for me. =)

    On to business: I know it's ridiculously after the fact, but I have to chime in... Clearly there is lots to discuss, but I gotta bring up the shoes. The shoes? Yeah, the shoes.

    Since Joan and Arthur put her on the jet, Annie's been wearing the sensible sneaks - this makes good spy sense, I approve. However, just for her elevator "death" scene, she is wearing totally cute high heel booties. Wha? Where'd she get those from? And how'd they magically appear on her feet when she's clearly wearing the sneakers in the Commerzbank lobby as she walks to the elevator?

    Then, poof! Post shooting, just a ride on a gurney and a shot of adrenaline later, when she hops out of the coroner's van, she's back in the sneaks! Consistency much? (And it's not like they were from Eyal, cause he hands her the duffel of essentials right as she walks off - in the sneakers!) Clearly the visuals of their overhead, 'dun-dun-Annie's-dead' beauty shot mattered more than continuity. *le sigh* Sexy, dead spies don't wear sneakers, obvi.

    I don't want to nitpick, but don't make it so easy. These are conscious decisions that more than one person had to say yes to to make happen.

    Oh yeah, I heard small hands too, had to run it back with captions on to figure out if small hands was a sign of preeclampsia.

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    1. Awesome thanks I'm so glad you found us here! :) HAHA holy crap good catch on the shoes in the elevator scene ... I don't know if anyone else has noticed that one yet! Stuff like that drives me nuts ... my assumption on the elevator scene is that they filmed that one very early on because it was shown in ep 1 and ep 5 of the season, and by the time they got to filming ep 10, they realized that they needed Annie in sensible shoes hahaha, but by then it was too late. They probably just hoped no one would notice. ;-)

      Anyway thanks again and welcome to the party!! Come join us on the season 5 reviews when you get there haha.

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