Wow ... for a few minutes during "Silence Kit," I started to mentally plan out the rest of season 5, and it consisted solely of Annie surfing the web for new career opportunities, updating her LinkedIn profile and getting pissed when her profile views go down by 10% even though she just revamped the entire thing and she thought she was using all the right key words, goddamnit. This is not me speaking from experience, by the way. It’s just ... you know ... how I would imagine ... something like this might go.
I’m on vacation right now and tonight marked the first time I’ve ever watched a brand new Covert Affairs episode in the same room with my oft-quoted cousin Katie. It made for a fun time when we laughed our asses off at our version of the rest of season 5, but it also makes it a bit hard for me to judge the episode overall. Well, that and the fact that I have the horrible disadvantage of watching it in 1995-o-vision: low def, tinny TV sound, no pause button, no rewind button, and no replay. One and done, baby. You miss a line and you’re screwed. Maybe the replay will come on while I’m still writing this. I hope so. I am really, seriously roughing it here. I'm practically in a third world country. But alas, I shall persevere.
God, I’m so confused. What the hell was the explanation for Annie’s heart condition again!? I blinked my eyes and feel like I missed the entire thing. Well first off, I chuckled at Dr. Eyal at first, trying to diagnose her himself, although in the moment I was forgetting that he used to be a med student. So at least he has some experience in that area. And at least he got her to a real doctor eventually. But the explanation was SOO ridiculously glossed over – Eyal mentioned the scars from her shooting, and then she said that myocarditis is caused by an infection ... and then Eyal said “So I was right about the scar tissue” ... wait what?? Scar tissue from what? The infection? Lena's bullets? What am I missing? They damn well better give us more explanation for this in future episodes and if it’s completely unrelated to the injury + open heart surgery that she already had (which left no surgery scar) then I’m going to lose my gat-damn marbles.
Also, I love any glimpses of Eyal we can get, but I also can’t help but feel annoyed with the way they sort of trot him out for a quick thrill once a season these days. I’m a little torn because I’m glad this episode didn’t diverge from the original spoilers I saw (and liked), and a key part of that involved the Eyal scenes being flashbacks, not present day. But at the same time I just get bummed out thinking about the probability that this will be all we see of him the entire season. Who knows I guess. We’ll see.
Let’s talk about Annie for a sec, guys. Let’s have a slow jam. Do we have any fans of The Wire here? Remember Jimmy McNulty? When I got to one of the late seasons of The Wire, it suddenly struck me that Annie Walker and Jimmy McNulty are the same character, at their core. Both are cocky in a way that is alternately obnoxious and/or charming depending on the situation, and both have extremely strong natural instincts for what they do. They also both have a passion for their jobs to the point of obsession – and hey, it’s great if you can find a job you love – but when your job is Homicide Detective or CIA field operative, an overabundance of passion for your job can get a bit unhealthy and dangerous. Both of these characters have been completely willing to throw their entire lives in the garbage, if necessary, to capture a bad guy.
Jimmy as a character always felt very real and human because you could see the mental/emotional toll his job obsession took on him. He was a womanizer, a not-great dad to his kids, an unfaithful boyfriend and a raging alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic, yes, but just barely. And the degree of fucked-up-ness in his personal life was always a direct function of how obsessed he was with his work at any given moment. Annie, on the other hand, has mentally and emotionally always seemed a lot like Teflon to me ... particularly since Russia in mid-season-3. Starting with Lena/Russia, it has just been - throw whatever crazy tragic shit you want at her, homegirl is gonna bounce right back and act like nothing ever happened within 3 episodes. The woman is unbreakable at this point, and we’ve never gotten much insight at all into why, or how she feels about any of what is happening to her. If I were to rank things that drive me insane about this series, this would have to be at the very top.
Is Annie ever going to feel as human to me as Jimmy? I doubt it. But the potential I’ve seen in season 5 from the start has been that the exploding heart situation might finally challenge Annie enough at her core to make some progress in this area. And for that reason, I appreciate what we were able to eke out of her in this episode. Annie completely forgot how to articulate words ... to convert feelings into audible sounds coming out of her mouth ... in mid season 3. Tonight, she gave us more of that than we’ve seen in nearly two seasons. She admitted that she’s freaked out, and she admitted that she literally doesn’t know who she is as a person outside of her job at this point. The fact that her problem was magically resolved for her by the end of the episode when Auggie somehow redacted the medical info from her record was nearly as obnoxious as when he got her out of Bluebonnet in season 3, but I don’t think her happy dance will last that long. There wouldn’t be a season 5 arc if no one in power at the CIA finds out about this. It’s really just a matter of when and how, at this point. I hope we get a lot more of this Annie character progression as a result.
Now, I’ve been off Twitter, but my gut feel is that Walkerson fans were probably 8 million times happier with this episode than they have been all season so far. And that is because not only did Annie finally produce real sounds out of her mouth hole, but A&A actually conversed back and forth to each other. Thank god Annie told Auggie wtf is going on, because if they had dragged this out all season a la “Castle & Beckett hold huge secrets from each other for 22 1/2 full episodes” in Castle season 4, it would have been infuriating. But just as importantly, thank GOD Auggie finally called Annie on her bullshit. He has always handled Annie with such kid gloves - because I guess he’s afraid of losing her or alienating her or something - that it often makes me want to violently strangle both of them. That’s why everyone loves Eyal, because he has the balls to call her on shit (and he’s sexxayy while doing it). So for me it felt extremely refreshing to see Auggie finally get fed up and take a page out of Eyal’s book when he told Annie to fess up after they left the hospital. For believability, we probably should have seen a little more wavering from her between “I don’t want to drag you into this” and “Let me vomit the entire history onto your lap,” but hey. At least we got the end result. I suppose we’re to assume the wavering happened during the commercial break.
The end scene with the two of them was ... really hyped up by the CA Writers' Twitter account. I have found that in nearly 100% of situations, when the CA Writers hype up a particular scene before the episode airs, it winds up being anywhere from disappointing to rage-inducing on my side once I actually see it. This time it was ... hmm. Somewhere in between. Maybe it was Annie’s giddiness that got to me, or Auggie’s lack of concern for the fact that this heart condition could actually kill her during the time he’s taking to hide her medical problems from everyone ... yeah. I think that’s it - It’s the Bluebonnet-ness of the whole thing. Auggie saves Annie from facing consequences once again, and Annie jumps for joy like a 5 year old whose parents have just given in on buying her a Happy Meal after she’s begged for it for an entire car ride. I’m trying to remember to just be happy they talked at all.
Here’s my other random thoughts on the ep:
- I’m glad this show has finally discovered Bon Iver, and is now using his actual music rather than that cheap bland Bon Iver knock-off song they used at the end of ep 4.16. It's about time (or maybe it was just a licensing issue).
- Calder and Sydney ... uuuugggghhhh I’m sorry but I’m still feeling like nearly every second of the two of them on screen is wasted time ... though this episode did seem to indicate that the storyline is leading to something. I’m just still not entirely sure I’ll care what it is. Joan calling him out was fun though. “Whatever she costs is NOT worth it.”
- I still feel exactly the same about Hayley as I do about the Calder/Sydney storyline, but at least the scene where she and Annie met was hilarious. Crayley finally emerges! I’m nervous for where that’s heading, though. I don’t want it to be the jealous catty “Hayley tries to sabotage Annie” cliché that I fear it will be. Like maybe Hayley will discover Annie’s secret and out her or something. I don’t want to be reminded of the soapy Helesa bullshit from S4.
- I actually found myself bummed about the scarcity of Annie/McQuaid scenes in this ep. I’m still very interested in where that relationship is going.
- The “DPD vs. McQuaid’s private firm” stuff continues to be fairly amusing, and I continue to not know how realistic any of it is.
- Annie is exactly as good at keeping plants alive as I am.
I have to admit it’s hard for me to judge this ep’s plot logic without my DVR to re-examine stuff. I need to double check how Crazy Roger uncovered Harris Wilson ... and actually now that I think of it, it’s kind of doofy that all the Harris-stalking Annie spent this entire episode working on didn’t really pan out to much other than him discovering her and her killing him in self defense. Then all the uncovering of incriminating info happened offscreen by other CIA peeps. All the real movement happened right at the beginning with Roger IDing him and then right at the end after Annie killed him. In any case, it’s not all that important to me, since this was a pivotal episode for the character arcs, so that’s mostly what I’m judging this ep on.
I’m extremely glad we got movement on the A&A front and that we were treated to some Eyal screentime, but I’m getting annoyed that they’re dragging out the explanation of Annie’s exploding heart, and I’m still feeling very wary of whether it will actually be a meaningful consequence of her past experiences, which logically should be a cause of a physical problem like this. I’m also noticing how infuriated I’m getting with every second we spend on B plots, particularly in the last few minutes of each ep, and I wonder if they’ll become more interesting to me at any point this season. The potential of season 5 is all still here, I just hope it's realized.
Tell me I'm on crack in the comments.
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