25 October, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.12: 'Something Against You'


You know, this episode was really going pretty damn well until they had to ruin the ending by going out in the very last frame with HELEN.  Current reigning queen of unnecessary and grating TV characters (well, in my world anyway).  I swear I haven't had this visceral a reaction to a TV character's presence on screen since, oh right, well Dana and her stupid boyfriend Baby Dex every Sunday night on Homeland.

You know what's crazy though?  I've been thinking about this lately now that Homeland is back on the air: No matter how frustrated I've been with Covert Affairs off and on this season, I'm still enjoying it a hundred times more than Homeland.  If you had told me that would be the case a year and a half ago (when HL was still great and when I still had zero intentions of ever watching CA), I would have told you that you were INSANE.  Completely, utterly bonkers.

Now, sadly, that alone isn't saying much for Covert, given how disappointing and fairly obnoxious Homeland has been since about the last third of season 2.  However ... episodes like "Something Against You" do make me hopeful again (if I can try to forget the Helen scenes).  It’s kind of interesting because the last few eps of CA’s summer season last year were the episodes that pulled me into this show to begin with, but then I found 3.12-16 to be disappointing by comparison.  This season however, has been kind of the opposite: The last few eps of the summer season were some of my least favorite eps of this entire series, while the first couple of the fall season are actually slowly pulling it *out* of that hole for me.  I’m sure I’ve jinxed 4.13-16 to suck now, but we’ll see.

We’re entering our second week in a row now of an actual story being told here.  A real, complete story that is coherent and engages me enough to be nervous when I should be and surprised when I should be and makes me yell “Oh SHIT!!” at the TV at the right parts.  And “Ohhh SNAPS you did NOT just say that Sana, you go girl!!  You tell Jessica!!”  Part of the reason I was so disappointed with the fall season of S3 is that Megan and Khalid were just random characters that were brought in as the main focus for Annie and team for nearly the entirety of those episodes.  I didn’t know them, they didn’t tie into any existing elements of the series, and I didn’t feel like they were bringing anything new or interesting to our main characters (like Simon and Lena had done so damn wonderfully in the summer).  By comparison, season 4.5 seems like a significant improvement on season 3.5, in the sense that a) Sana and the main story arc tie strongly into the history of the show and b) the storyline is bringing in the kind of character development for our main characters that I find quite interesting.

And hey, guess what!?  We FINALLY got an explanation for Henry’s motives in all the insane shit he’s been doing for the past TWELVE effing episodes!!  Granted, it's an explanation that you have to be a serious fan of this show to get ... I think.  I’m not sure, but I feel like if I had been just a casual viewer, I would have been confused by it.  In case you are indeed confused, it ties back to a scene in ... I’m pretty sure ... ep 3.08, “Glass Spider.”  There’s a scene where Arthur visits Henry in prison and tells him that they’ve found the guy who planted the bomb in Jai’s car.  Arthur sees the pic of the guy and makes a comment like, “Last I saw him he was rotting away in a Colombian prison.”  Something like that.  One astute CA fan actually pointed this out on either Twitter or one of these blogs a couple months ago, but the writers didn’t bother to actually give us this connection until tonight.  WHY wait so long, guys!?  Why leave your audience so confused for SO much of the season that it seems like it’s just a huge plot hole that’s responsible for our characters doing insane things like faking their deaths and helping their coworkers fake their deaths??  I really honestly don’t understand the logic there.

And how ‘bout the question of whether the explanation was at all satisfactory?  That can definitely be argued either way.  I, personally, was o.k. with it, although to a certain extent that is just because I’ve been so desperate to get something that practically anything would do at this point.  And the explanation is only partly based on fact to boot; it’s also partly just conjecture on Annie’s part.  But at least it’s conjecture that’s starting to make sense, the more and more we learn about Henry.  This episode (and last) have finally given us insight not only into Henry’s motives, but also into the way he operates.  Auggie and Calder are working to beat him at his own game on the home front, and Annie is doing a bit of the same in Geneva ... albeit to much less successful results than Auggie so far (not everyone can be as cool as Auggie).

Annie’s complete and utter failure in this ep was another thing that won it points with me.  First off, am I crazy in feeling that 100% of Annie’s character development this season has not actually come from or been demonstrated by HER character, but rather by OTHER characters making observations about her, to her face??  Henry, Auggie, Teo, and now Andrew (before she killed him) and Sana?  They talk shit to her and then 95% of the time she completely ignores their comments and moves right past them.  She’s like Teflon.  This has been driving me insane and I’m not sure if it’s on purpose or what.  But in this episode, Sana talked SO much shit to Annie (err, Jessica) that she couldn’t entirely ignore it.  And then in the end, when all her plans (and Sana) completely blew up in her face, she had no choice BUT to finally face it.  This moment for Annie has been a long ... LONG time coming.  Way too long, if you ask me.  She never faced any major or lasting consequences after Russia/Simon/Lena; she just decided she was a bad-ass, and then she proceeded to bad-ass it up all over the world from that moment literally until just right now.  She’s never had a fuck-up of quite this magnitude or really lost her shit even one time other than when she broke up with her boyfriend (grr pet peeve).

So after all this, after aallll this ... what does it take ... what has to happen in Annie’s life to finally push her off the rails a bit??  Faking her death and trying to take down the most powerful evil mo-fo the CA world has ever seen, that’s what.  That’s kind of a lot.  But at least it finally happened.  Things aren’t that interesting, and characters are not that interesting, when there’s not much of a struggle for them, are they?  It seems like the writers are finally showing proof that they realize this ... but I also won’t be the least bit surprised if Annie figures everything out next week and she’s just back to being her usual Teflon badass self again.  Because that seems to be the status quo for this show nowadays.

Anywho, here’s a few random thoughts before my grade:

  • An early example of Sana calling Annie on her shiz in this ep: “We tortured a man!  You shot him, he’s dead!!  That doesn’t affect you??”  The fact that we actually got a split second of Annie going, “Errrr ...” is a gigantic improvement on anything I’ve seen from her in quite a while.
  • Something about Reese offering Annie weed after she told him she killed “her ex” and then her reaction, “No thanks I can’t, I have to figure out what to do!!” made me laugh.  Definitely not a great time to get stoned.
  • I’m still trying to ignore Helen’s existence.  The bullshit she laid on Auggie in his apartment confirmed for me what a horrible person she is.  She completely contradicted literally everything she’d said and done in 4.07.  And what the hell was up with the look she gave right at the end, when spying on Annie??  Did she not know Annie was alive?  I suppose she must not have, otherwise she’d have told Joan and Arthur.
  • Oh speaking of which, if Auggie had not told Helen to go SCREW herself in the apartment scene, I’d have lost all respect for him.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he did.
  • Barber the office gossip ... BWAHAH hilarious.
  • The police scene near the end was kind of visually cool but weird.  I don't know why Annie would be dumb enough to go back to the club to meet Reese.  Seems like just a fancy way of saying "Hey the cops are after Jessica now!"
  • Who is Violet??
  • Who is Nelson, for that matter?  That actor looks familiar.  Should I know him from other things?  Has this character been on this show before and I forgot?  Or is he new?

Ok.  Grade time.  Hmmmmmmm well I’m still feeling incredibly untrusting of this show ... but I’m gonna go ahead and take a bit of a leap here and rate this ep without taking my trust issue into account.

GRADE: 89

O.k. wait, maybe I am still letting my lack of confidence on where any of this is headed affect my grade.  Maybe I’d grade it a teeny bit higher otherwise.  I’m still treading carefully here.  I can’t help it.  What did you guys think of the ep?  Should we get our hopes back up or keep them low?

The Plopper

12 comments:

  1. I watched this episode with my hubby first time through (which is rare) and was surprised at how much more into it he's been getting in these last few episodes. I think that supports what you're saying. There seems to be a lot more actual suspense and forward-moving plot. He likes that. I'm easier to please - just give me enough on-screen Auggie and I'm happy. #shallow.
    On Helesa - I'm so with you on this. Hate this storyline, dislike the character, ugh, ugh, ugh! I guess we learned the motives for her "advice" to Annie. It was all about manipulating her way back into Auggie's arms. Resist, August. Resist with all your might. (Thankfully he seems to be doing OK in that department for now, but I wonder if that may cause problems when it comes to Helen's loyalty later...)
    - Barber has finally decided that the official period of mourning is over and he can put his own stamp on Auggie's office. Using chips. And other forms of junk food. <3
    - Barber too: Barber mentioned Allens! We've never seen him at Allens! I now am DESPERATE for a scene with Barber at Allens. Thanks for that, writers.
    - Really liked the Joan/Auggie scenes this week. Loved that they visited each other's "new" desks so we could see how far they've fallen. Bless - they're both working in proper holes. Which I find oddly amusing and quite endearing. Am wondering what Joan's reaction is going to be when she discovers what Auggie's been hiding from her. I suspect she may not take it well.

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    1. OH yeah I wanted to mention the Allen's shout-out too!! Hahaha I was so happy to hear that.

      And yeah I also thought it was kind of hilarious that Barber was talking to Auggie like everything was mostly fine other than just the usual work drama and office gossip hahaha. Annie doesn't seem dead to us because she's plenty alive, but every time they show scenes at the CIA I have to remind myself that she's supposed to be dead. Joan and Barber have really taken the news shockingly well hahahah. And yeah the new "decor" in Auggie's office thanks to Barber is hilarious.

      And Helesa, yeah, seriously, just die for real already.

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    2. "I guess we learned the motives for her "advice" to Annie. It was all about manipulating her way back into Auggie's arms. "

      Well that's also no sense because in the same episode she told to Auggie she never loved him. If she wanted just manipulate Annie why did she tell Auggie she never loved him?

      Her whole storyline has no sense and full of holes and contradictions. Shame because the character has good potentials but not in this way. Honestly I think the writers just put her in to be hatred.

      (And I feel a little sorry for Michelle, I'm a fan of hers for a long time and I know it's a big thing for her to play in a US TV Show. This is the second time she's doing that and she got a character again what she can't do too much with it. Shame because I know she's a fantastic actress. But as my tutor told me in the dramaschool: Without a well-written script -and character- an actor can't do too much...)

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  2. This comment is being written after approximately 3.5 hours of sleep the night before and just to kick things up a notch, I've just popped 2 tylenol PM's and a melatonin. Hardcore, man. Hardcore. This 10pm time slot is kickin my ASS sideways. ;)

    Not a lot of bad things to say about this episode. I enjoyed it. Had some real genuine bona fide feels that started with....

    OMGGODIEHELESA!...Seriously? My burning hatred aside, I can't tell if this chick is just a really shitty liar or just allergic to speaking the goddamn truth. Maybe it's spy games. Maybe it's a lame attempt at being sincere. Either way her character makes no sense to me whatsoever. And it makes even less sense to me that she's supposed to be following around HW for Joan & Arthur when obviously everyone including HW knows that she's no longer dead. Oh...wait...forgot to flip the off switch on the logical part of my brain again, my bad. But anyways...yeah, I hate her. I'm ready for her to get very extremely awesomely...no wait...for real this time...DEAD. Pretty sure that HW is thinking that Helen is Jessica Matthews and not Annie...even tho those sneaky promos want us to think that HW is talking about Annie...or maybe he is talking about Annie...Annessica...who knows...just yeah, die, Helen. Goodbye. My heart did sort of explode with what I thought was her only genuine emotion to date...the confused as hell look on her face when she watched Annie flail around in the dark and smash her phone in Geneva.

    Barber makes me happy. Like baskets of kittens and puppies happy. Loved that the #WhisperCampaign started with him and my Sister and I got a kick out of pausing the TV and finding all the snacks and bobbleheads and cool shit on his desk! #BarberIsBoss

    Still crushing hard on the Covert Bromance known as #Calderson. My heart explodes and tingles when these 2 are together scheming and planning and making snarky comments to each other.

    Speaking of tingling. Joan's spidey senses. Yay. She knows somethin's up...But it's hard when you work inside a box...err crate.

    Seeing Henry Wilcox getting all flustered and break glass and turn red and play with hammers got me giddy! For as much as I want this HW story to come to an end and for him to get what's coming to him, I sure do enjoy watching Greg Itzin. HE OWNS!

    But my favorite most fave part...the part that made me scream "YES" at the TV was when Annie lost her shit at the end. FINALLY. FINALLY. FINALLY. God, yes! It's ok, Annie. You fucked this up in at least 29 different fucked up ways and it's ok to be pissed about it! Smash things if you want. Scowl. Speed away on your Ducati in a huff. Cry if you wanna. Scream into the night sky! Be a real girl for once.

    As long as I don't think too hard about things like...if HW is so in love with Sana wouldn't he have eyes on her (besides Goodman) all the time? if HW is so hell bent on taking Arthur down, wouldn't he have eyes on the Campbell house and Joan ALL THE TIME? if HW is a super duper spy, wouldn't he have eyes on Auggie too? Come on CA, you made him into the big bad guy responsible for not just some of the shit but ALL of the shit so you can't blame me if my mind wonders such, right?

    And finally....

    Nelson (is he the guy from CSI) and Violet? God, do we really need more characters just when we were finally starting to focus and narrow shit down?

    Sana? What does she do from here? Will we even see her again? You never know with this show.

    And Helen, I'm guessing she bites it in the next Ep. Can I start dancing a jig now? They can't really expect us to be sad that she's gonna end up in the Annessica/HenryTheWedgemaker crossfire, can they?

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

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    1. HAHAH nice, I'm glad you have written this comment on almost no sleep and while trippin' balls, doped up on sleeping pills hahaha. That really is the only way to do it and I regret not writing my response while in the same state. Next time.

      "Either way [Helesa's] character makes no sense to me whatsoever." Seriously, she is a plot device that I really think they'd have done just fine without this season. Or if she had to exist, they could have cut out the stupid romance "love triangle" aspect of the whole thing. One of the things I loved most about this show in the first 3 seasons was how NOT SOAPY it was. But now this season, they've decided to do ALL the soapy romance cliche storylines they can possibly think of. Why did they have to go and ruin a good thing by doing that?? I don't get it.

      "And it makes even less sense to me that she's supposed to be following around HW for Joan & Arthur when obviously everyone including HW knows that she's no longer dead." Yeah it makes no sense at all.

      And yeah #Calderson, I definitely prefer these two as a bromance team rather than fighting with each other. The bromance makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

      "I sure do enjoy watching Greg Itzin." I know, it's a bummer that they had to turn Henry into such a cartoon villain around ep 4.09 or so. The last couple eps have been significantly less cartoony at least. But I definitely want him to die soon. And I'm not sure if they'll have the balls to kill him.

      "...if HW is so in love with Sana wouldn't he have eyes on her (besides Goodman) all the time?" This actually has not been something that's bothered me all that much, simply because he did have Goodman on the situation, and he had no reason to need anyone else until Goodman fucked up by getting kidnapped by Annie hahaah. And we saw in this ep that he clearly had other ppl waiting in the wings that he could bring in to figure out what was up if need be.

      "...if HW is a super duper spy, wouldn't he have eyes on Auggie too?" Yes I do feel like if Auggie & Calder's alliance has been so obvious to Joan, then it should be obvious to HW too because he should have someone keeping an eye out for that type of thing.

      As for Annie losing her shit at the end, yes. Everything you said hahaha. This should have happened a LOOOONG time ago, like, sometime in the fall season of S3, post-Russia, probably right around the time she was drone-striking the wrong people & nearly getting fired for it hahaha. I still wonder if they won't just let everything magically work out for Annie next week now, which will be totally lame and obnoxious but also typical for this show. We'll see.

      Oh and you are MUCH more optimistic than I am about Helesa's chances of dying anytime soon (with death being the GOOD outcome in this case) hahahhaa.

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  3. It took me 45 mins to write that? What's wrong with meeeeeeeeeeeee? LOL

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  4. Just to give you guys a little insight the tattoo parlour that was in this episode and the last was filmed in downtown Toronto and the place is call tattoo rock parlour.

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    1. HA wow so is it really a club + tattoo shop combo?? I was thinking that was kinda strange, and I assumed they'd made it up for the show. ;-)

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    2. Yea it's that combo and yes it's strange but that sometimes brings the weirdoes out just look at Covert Affairs.

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  5. I'm not happy 100% with Season 4 so far. Sometimes I feel I'm watching a bad soap opera...

    I liked Helesa's character in ep. 407 (and I love the actress who plays her) but this "I never stopped being your wife" thing...come on...wtf?
    In this way as she was involved to the story line, the whole character has no sense. And that's a shame because otherwise there would be great potentials in it.
    But I feel the writers don't know what to do with her character and her storyline is full of holes and contradictions.

    And an interesting thing: Auggie told to Helesa he watched her dying. Well...technically it's not true. Auggie just saw that Helesa "got shot" and Arthur told him she was dead. (Anyway for me it's very unrealistic that he just believed she was dead because Arthur told him.)

    I think the writers can do 2 things with Helesa now:
    1) Kill her off quickly...I think they'll...it'll turns up she's a traitor or something...But I wouldn't be surprised if it turned up she's Henry's daughter. :D :D
    2) Bring her as series regular in Season 5 and write for her a NORMAL storyline and not this soapy crap. (I don't think so...)

    Ok I can imagine another scenario: I can imagine that she'll sacrifice herself to save Annie and to proof she still loves Auggie and that would make a little sense for the character.
    But if she dies because HW thinks she's Jessica....as no sense as the whole character...


    "when obviously everyone including HW knows that she's no longer dead"

    Actually HW told Annie first (in the end of ep. 406) that Helesa is still alive. But the interesting thing: Since when knows Joan about Helesa? Because we were told that only Arthur knew she was still alive.



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  6. My take on Helen: I think the whole "I never stopped loving you" was just a play. She went to Auggie to gather intel about Copenhagen. When Auggie refused to give it, he expressed a lot of anger, so Helen turned on the lovey dovey charm. She was trying to break down the barrier that was preventing Auggie from giving her the intel on Copenhagen. Her mission for the meeting was to gather intel, not to reestablish a relationship. She was probably using the same methods she used during the marriage when she needed something from him. Saying sweet nothings about love and sentimentality has probably worked for her in the past with Auggie. However, Auggie saw through her motives. She didn't get the intel on Copenhagen.

    I also think Arthur came clean about Helen with Joan when he came clean about Teo. Helen was the go between with Teo and Arthur. It didn't surprise me that Joan knew about Helen. Arthur has been very upfront with Joan since he resigned. He strategically waited until after Joan's polygraph to read her in. They are working as a team now. It didn't surprise me that they hired Helen even though HW knows she is alive. Helen knows how to stay in the shadows and out of sight. She isn't likely to do anything that will call attention to her self or her mission. I thought it was interesting that the Campbell's hired her to find out about Henry's finances though. I wondered how she is going to do that by tailing him? HW is too pompus to think that any agent could bring him down, much less young females like Annie or Helen. However, the theory that HW will kill Helen because he thinks she is Jessica is a very interesting thought. Helen would be killed because Annie was unable to stay in the shadows/hidden. Annie screwed up and has brought a lot of attention to Jessica. If Helen is mistaken for Jessica and killed, it will be Annie's fault. How will Annie deal with that?

    Annie's transformation: With Helen now spouting longer hair, I wondered if that is to make it believable for HW to mistake Helen as Jessica. Although to me the color and styles are very different. Annie did change the length of her hair, she made it longer with extensions instead of cutting it. It is also curlier, but it is the same messy layered look and looks the same around the face. It is hard to notice that she added 4 inches and the back is curlier.

    Violet: I think the writers put Violet in the script to remind us, that even bad guys leave behind people who love them when they are killed. At some point Annie may have to face the fact that she killed a husband, father, brother, or fiance, etc. Also HW has intel on all his employees that he uses to control them. Violet is obviously someone that HW used to control Goodman. Now that Sana is a dead end, Annie has no other leads, no other Assets.. Maybe she will seek out Violet to see what she knows of Goodman's activities with Henry. Maybe Violet is actually knowledgeable and Annie is able to turn Violet to take down HW. Annie only has 4 more episodes to take him down. She needs to find an Asset quick! Seems like a long shot to me, but these are the only 2 reasons I can imagine for the mention of Violet in the script.

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    1. "Violet: I think the writers put Violet in the script to remind us, that even bad guys leave behind people who love them when they are killed. At some point Annie may have to face the fact that she killed a husband, father, brother, or fiance, etc. ... Maybe she will seek out Violet to see what she knows of Goodman's activities with Henry ..."

      Agreed. There's no way they'd bring her up in such an obvious manner unless they're planning to do something with her, or that she's at least going to become significant in some way later. Will be curious to see what happens there.

      I *really* hope they give us decent resolution on the Henry thing by the end of the season. The guy is driving me bonkers.

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