23 July, 2014

The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.05: 'Elevate Me Later'


I can tell exactly when this episode finally started crackling for me based the spot where my notes trailed off: "AHH HAHA FUCK YES ANNIE STOLE THE KEY!!"  That's the last bulletpoint I have.

Is that the right reaction for me to have, or am I supposed to be pissed at her?  I'm not entirely sure, but it sure as hell seemed like the only way to salvage that mission without Auggie's love-making prowess turning it into a mushy gushy disaster.  I'll give Auggie this though - He made a great point in his argument with Annie directly following the the fast one she pulled on him: "Turning your back on your emotions doesn't make you a better spy, it's just cutting you off from anyone close to you."  Well o.k., I'm not entirely sure I agree with the first part, especially considering the events of this episode.  But the second part, no one can argue with.  And him calling her out on it has been a long time coming.  Not to mention that this is coming right off the cover-up he did for her last week.

The thing that annoyed me by far the most about the last few eps of season 4 is that after Annie went dark and then Auggie underwent the Unholy Helesa Bang - which we were apparently supposed to accept as NBD since the writers decided that A&A were "on a break" but forgot to coherently communicate that to the audience - Annie and Auggie never discussed anything that had happened from the moment Annie peaced out up until the moment she returned.  No one got pissed, no one yelled, no one acted like a normal red-blooded human being with feelings or emotions.  It was just a seemingly Prozac-induced "Aww we're still buds though!!" haze to pander to the "Aww Walkerson is so cute tee hee!!" crowd.  Not only did it not work for me, it made me want to claw both A and A's eyes out in their every single interaction.  Hmm maybe I need some Prozac too.

But that is why I am thrilled beyond thrilled that we fiiiiiiinally got an explosion between these two in "Elevate Me Later", even if it was only for a hot minute and then it was over.  At least it was something.  And Auggie was drunk, and PISSED.  I enjoyed that.  Finally, some passion.  When have these two ever fought?  The only other ep I can think of is "Sound and Vision," an audience favorite from S3.  But the fighting in that ep wasn't even in the same ballpark of intensity as it was here.  They've got a great deal more history between them now than they did then.  Count this as a win for my enjoyment of this ep.

I will admit though, at about 40 minutes into the ep, I said to myself, "This feels like one long series of annoying interactions between various people."  Tash is another audience favorite, and I loved her in season 1 as well as in what I saw of the webisodes (which I admit wasn't much), but is it horrible to say that this episode kind of maybe ruined her for me a little bit??  There's a couple very Covert Affairs-specific tropes that have annoyed the fuuuuck out of me at various points of this series.  The first one was the "Annie's instincts are always right in the end!" trope in the second half of season 3, because it meant that she never had to face any consequences for anything that happened post-Lena/Simon/Russia.  Everything just kept magically working out perfectly for her at every turn.

And the second trope is one that has been slowly grating the hell out of my nerves this season, but in tonight's episode finally reached a fever pitch: The "every woman on the planet is 100% powerless to Auggie's sexy bod" one.  It makes me angry for my entire gender that we apparently ALL have such an easy weakness to manipulate, according to the Covert writers.  The fact that Auggie has always been comfortably below Simon and Eyal on my personal hotness scale probably adds to my bewilderment here (don't worry - he's still above Ben and Dr. Scott), but it would be a problem for me no matter who the character was.  It was cute and fun in seasons 1 and 2, but we're in season 5 now and it's just starting to become a parody of itself at this point.  Literally, with the line, "Who's that, an infatuated Auggie groupie??" even being thrown in for good measure. The scene where it really got me here was towards the end where Tash had already told Auggie to eff off, and then all he had to do was grab her and kiss her and ... "OH NO!!  You've got me now with your magic pecs & peen yet AGAIN!!  Wah wah waaahhh foiled again lemme tear your shirt off."  Really Tash??  Really??  Tash's trajectory here actually wasn't much different than it was in ep 1.07, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.  On the bright side, Auggie dating a Real Doll or one of Barber's donuts would be far preferable to Hayley at this point.

And then we have Arthur and Caitlyn.  I just, I dunno.  Caitlyn is in full on category 5 balls to the wall throwing herself at him mode now.  Arthur managed to resist it here, but he's clearly wooed by the business aspect of McQuaid Security at this point, the same way Annie is.  These two A's are both getting enticed in a very similar manner this season, aren't they?  Caitlyn though ... I'm just starting to get super annoyed at how lame and cliche most of the female characters on this show are right now.  Everyone except Annie and Joan, basically.  I stumbled on an old article the other day that pointed out the fact that Covert season 3 passed the Bechdel test with flying colors.  It's no wonder I loved season 3 so much, but it also made me realize that season 5 is really not passing it quite so well.  Let's get our shit in gear guys, my feminist sensibilities are beginning to "ping".  We can do better on a show with a female lead.  What really annoys me is that Caitlyn would probably be a very good character if they weren't throwing the "obviously she's gonna seduce Arthur" bullshit in there.

O.k. let me think about this "Annie betraying Auggie's trust" thing again.  If Annie hadn't stolen that flash drive ... what would've happened?  Auggie sexed Tash ... and then she probably would have given the key to him in the morning or later in the night.  So he would have accomplished the task eventually, but it would have been too late.  Which would render the mission a failure.  I still gotta go with Annie's decision on this one, guys.  And when she said to him, "I did give you a chance, but instead of convincing her, you slept with her" I yelled, "HAHAHA YESS!!!"  Just like Auggie calling Annie on her alienating all her loved ones was a long time coming, Annie calling Auggie out on his weakness with pasta boxes was long overdue as well.  These two both got some serious personal issues, man.

Last few random thoughts:
  • Baby Mack holy cuteness ... as much as the cynical childless heathen in me wants to poo poo any focus at all on the plight of Baby Mack in season 5, dang if this kid doesn't steal every scene he's in.  He's all I can stare at when he's on the screen.  I will say though, I was afraid we'd get a lot of J&A bickering over who's gonna feed the baby and such, and I am extremely thankful that has not been the case.
  • I'm a bit annoyed that Calder's role has been reduced simply to his romance woes in the past couple eps ... they need to get back to some more substantial stuff with him soon.  I'm assuming the Sydney thing will build to something that will impact his job?
  • Annie seducing Ivan Kravec at the end felt a little jarring at first, like ... well first off, it's not as if she hasn't done this before (*cough*Simon), but the style of the scene this time was more like, "Yeeah bitches Annie does this all the time now!!  Honey Badger don't give a shit, it just takes what it wants!!"  Like on The Americans how Phillip and Elizabeth are both constantly sexing up their targets without batting an eye.  I don't have a problem with it at all, don't get me wrong, but it just felt like a sudden transition for Covert Affairs to make, until Annie thankfully managed to get the job done without sexing the guy (because let's be honest, he was NOT a real charmer so that would've been gross).
  • Annie's wardrobe was on point in this ep.  Her wardrobe tends to be more practical these days but I'm glad they still let her snazz it back up sometimes.  And what better place to let her go for it than Paris.
  • Tash referring to Annie as Auggie's "seeing eye dog" is the perfect example of why I've always liked her in the past.
  • Thank goodness they eventually spelled Kredit Krepost for us.  My first note on it (pre-spelling) says, "The money came from Credit Creampost??"

GRADE: 89/100

I had my issues with this ep, but the payoff in the last 15 minutes was a glimpse of stuff I've been waiting for seemingly since the beginning of space and time.  Since the moment God waved his magic wand and created the Big Bang, I had been waiting for A&A to say some honest words to each other, and tonight we got a few of them.  And we damn well better get more at some point this season.  And well, I just really really enjoyed Annie's hoodwink at the end, because you know what, sometimes you gotta just cut the shit and take care of business.  I know I'm sure as hell not going to go all the way to Paris with a mission to complete (as enjoyable as that may be), and then come home empty-handed.  No sir.

Tell me I'm a cold-hearted snake in the comments (EWW what's that in its mouth!?  Oh it's got a cobra, oh it runs backwards??  No watch this look a snake's up in a tree!!)

The Plopper 

Recent reviews by the writer, below:
16 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.04: 'Silence Kit'
09 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.03: 'Unseen Power of the Picket Fence'  

02 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.02: 'False Skorpion'

46 comments:

  1. After laughing hysterically about your "magic pecs and peen" comment, which I loved, I must say that was the perfect move Auggie made on Natasha right then.

    Any objection is really just a question in a negotiation, and Tash's question was, if I tell you to get lost, does your love for me still keep you around? Couple that with the loneliness of life on the run, and I can see why she ripped his clothes off again.

    This episode did a good job of surprises popping up--like what Annie will say to s&m freak Ivan next time they meet!

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    1. HA glad you enjoyed "magic pecs & peen," that was a late edit. ;-)

      Anyway I totally agree that Auggie's move in that moment was the right thing to do in order to sway Tash, and I also completely see where she's coming from in the being lonely stuff and wanting Auggie's affections to be real.

      My problem is that this is what happens with females around Auggie 100% of the time, without fail, and it's getting ridiculous to the point of feeling like our entire gender is being maligned here hahaha, or stereotyped, at least. I just want SOMEONE to flip the damn script at some point. It's never gonna happen.

      At least Annie flipped the script in a different realm by stealing the key, which is why I love that move more and more every time I think about it. Three cheers for taking care of business.

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    2. I want to know if Auggie is trying to 'friend zone' Annie by including her in his messy situation. And I want to know if Annie strategically found a way to get Tash back with Auggie so it would complicate things for Auggie, Tash and Crayley. When Tash and Crayley have it out with Auggie, Annie is left to pick up the pieces and take Auggie back. Is this a possibility?

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    3. Didn't Annie flip the script by saying 'I don't want a sex relationship with you; please just be my handler'?

      It seems like she's the only one so far to deflect the magic peen, haha

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    4. HAHAH good point, no wonder I like Annie.

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    5. "And I want to know if Annie strategically found a way to get Tash back with Auggie so it would complicate things for Auggie, Tash and Crayley. When Tash and Crayley have it out with Auggie, Annie is left to pick up the pieces and take Auggie back. Is this a possibility?"

      HAHA if they replaced Annie with a 'The Bachelor' contestant or some shit, sure. You'd have to be a sad pathetic scheming bitch to do that ... What I mean is ... you'd have to be Helesa. ;-)

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    6. ...or Joan ;-) She was pretty crafty trying to hook up Calder with a woman who doesn't charge for sex... LOL

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    7. LOL NOOO way Joan's thing does NOT count in the "pathetic scheming bitch" category because a) She's doing it for professional/positive reasons i.e. trying to prevent Calder from ruining his career and b) she was totally upfront with Calder about why she was doing it from the beginning!

      The "pathetic" part of my comments stems from trying to manipulate others to further your *own* romantic interests and the "scheming bitch" part comes from being underhanded/dishonest about it. ;-)

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    8. Good point on Joan! Thank goodness Lena wasn't there to 'fix' Calder up. LOL.

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    9. Speaking of Joan...they're not going to pair her up with Calder, are they?

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  2. I enjoyed this episode a lot... though, The Plopper is so right on how they write Auggie's love interests/relationship with Annie. It's a tired bit. It worked to some extent in this episode, and I get that in real life people repeat a lot of the same habits, and have the same things happen to them, because they project a disposition that receives a certain type of response, but when writing a TV show, it just comes off as lazy story telling.

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    1. If the writers are trying to make Auggie into a less sympathetic character, they are succeeding! He manages to manipulate the women around them but cannot quite close the deal. Annie was right when she pointed out that his libido was clouding his judgment where it came to getting the job done.

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    2. "It worked to some extent in this episode, and I get that in real life people repeat a lot of the same habits, and have the same things happen to them..."

      Yeah I'm a bit torn, because on one hand, I see where the unhealthy behaviors on both sides would only get worse before they get better. Especially considering how broken A&A's relationship/situation was at the start of season 5. And the worsening of the bad behaviors causes things to *finally* explode and forces them to duke it out with each other, which reeeeaally needs to happen in order for anything to move forward at all (and for me to be happy as a viewer) haha.

      It's just unfortunate that the Auggie trope has been the same for all 5 seasons, which makes it feel very tired and lazy. Annie's issue of prioritizing her job over everyone in her life is something that has evolved in a pretty natural way as the series has gone on, and it seems to be helping the writers (hopefully) build some depth to the character. Maybe that's the problem ... that Auggie's "woman problem" hasn't really evolved at all. It's just like same shit different season on that front. They need to make it a more dynamic. I'll be interested to see where it goes from this point.

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    3. Auggie is totally in the wrong if he uses his 'breaks' with Annie to rationalize his need to find other women in Annie's absence while complaining that she only thinks about herself. I don't see Annie strapping a mattress to her back every time she and Auggie are on the outs or in the friend zone. It appears that Auggie fails to see his own selfishness when he calls out Annie for her alleged shortcomings.

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    4. Thanks, Sarai! Someone had to say it! LOL ;-)

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  3. If I completely detach myself from the A & A drama, I can also say I enjoyed this episode. However, there was no McQuaid and that made me sad, because I love him. NO SHAME.

    While what Annie did to Auggie was the lowest blow she's probably ever dealt him, I'm irritated with the whole "Annie's a betrayer" and betrayed his trust shit. I never forgave Auggie for the Helesa Bang. I never will, and I blame the writers because they fucked up and didn't have their ducks in a row for continuity for the fans. Sorry not sorry. In Paris, Annie did what she needed to do to get the Job done.

    I did love that Annie, for once FINALLY, had to face a personal consequence for her action by choosing the mission over Auggie's peace of mind. It was incredibly ironic how reversed the roles were, and how much they were reversed in comparison to Barcelona in 302. ALSO, here Auggie berates Annie for putting the mission first and et emotional detachment (which he does the opposite of in 302). It's ironic too, because in Crackity Jones Helesa tells Annie her tendency to make emotional decisions in the field is what makes her weak - and now here we are full circle.

    I also believe Annie is fully aware of what her decision did to hurt Auggie, and emotionally I think she is probably feeling EXTREME GUILT. Even though I feel like Auggie is shoving double standards down her throat. Trust is a two way street, yo.

    And Annie being a honey badger, getting shit done? WINNING. I loved the dynamic of her working Ivan for intel and pulling off the fake-epic-sex, in her typical spy McGyver fashion. I always enjoy those scenes, I enjoy the SPY stuff, so that was really fun. I'm excited to see her get herself Into a sticky situation next week (and watch McQuaid bail her out?).

    Bonus: Piper was gorgeous in everything she wore, but especially that little blue dress and those gold heels. Smokin'! She's wearing lots of blue this season.

    Lastly, I love Dylan Taylor. First Lieutenant of the hacker army! Also "infatuated Auggie groupies": IT'S LIKE TASH KNOWS.

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    1. Imagine how 'Cool Mom' Lena would have felt about Annie using her sex appeal to get to Ivan! The difference, of course, is that Annie only had to make Ivan think that he sexed her. This is where Annie had the upper hand over Auggie. She did what she needed to without actually getting into a compromising position. Next weeks episode? I don't know what she's going to do. That is where she is much more unpredictable than Auggie. This episode makes me think that they do better on missions when Auggie is in Langley and Annie is doing the jet setting.

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    2. "This is where Annie had the upper hand over Auggie. She did what she needed to without actually getting into a compromising position." WORD. Yeah who knows what'll happen next week though. ;-)

      p.s. I miss Lena so much.

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    3. "ALSO, here Auggie berates Annie for putting the mission first and et emotional detachment (which he does the opposite of in 302)."

      HA good point, I totally forgot about that. That's actually really funny. I guess he meant, "You need to put me before the mission when it suits my needs." I will say though, from Auggie's perspective, I could see myself being pissed from the angle of, "I was doing this my way and I was sure I was gonna be able to get it done, but then you came and stomped all over me and did it your way because you didn't trust my methods." If I look at it from THAT angle, I totally get it ... I've been there before in professional situations and it's frustrating as hell.

      BUT ... that said ... I don't think Auggie's method was gonna work, and he clearly was letting his emotions cloud his judgement. I think Annie legitimately needed to step in, in order for the mission to be successful. So I still stand by her decision 100% And I find it absolutely hilarious either way, whether it was the right decision or not. I have an *extremely* low level of tolerance for a) needless bullshit and b) wasted time, so I related to her decision here SO much. SO, SO much. I would have done exactly the same thing in her position, if I actually had her mad break-in and seduction skillz hahahaa. I love that this was an example of Annie at both her top-notch badass best and her "insensitve asshole" worst all at once.

      "Also 'infatuated Auggie groupies': IT'S LIKE TASH KNOWS."

      LMAO do you think she's on Twitter??

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  4. Hey OHHHHHHH! I got a confession to make. I've watched this ep twice and I still have no clue what Caitlyn and Arthur were supposed to b doing in freakin' Iraq. I've tried to care, but I just can't. And it's probably because Caitlyn is the worst mumbler since Auggie Anderson that I have no clue WTF.They were wearing bulletproof vest. Shots were fired. Arthur had a sub-machine uzi...zzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Are you guys bored with my comment yet? Are you loving how I started it off with the dumbest part of the episode? Then how about this? Calder. Where the hell is Calder? He's been reduced to nothing but a whining penis so far this season and it's really beginning to piss me the hell off. I love the Joan/Calder scenes but really I wouldn't miss it if they weren't there. I JUST MISS CALDER. GIMME BACK MY SHERIFF, DAMNIT.

    Okay...now onto the WankersonInParis....I mean Walkerson. I was pretty scared about this Tash storyline not because I hate Tash but because I really knew there was no conceivable way they could write her back in without me being irritated at her, Auggie, or both. I loved that she initially shut him down only to turn to mush in his paws a few hours later. I get they have history and there's passion there but I just really want a female to stand up to him. NO AUGGIE. NO I'm not giving you the code. No I will not be charmed by your trouser snake. STOP IT, Covert Affairs. Women are smarter than this. We remember. We hold grudges. We form opinions. We can think for ourselves. Stop making us all seem so weak and starved for attention. It's annoying. But, what's done is done and at least I do feel like part of the line Auggie was handing Tash was truth and this bang will lead to some consequences and repercussions down the road....in couple eps or more. *coughCrayleycough* Auggie's gonna be lucky if he doesn't go down for the Chicago bombing.

    The spy stuff with Annie was cool. Hey for a while I thought I was watching late night skinemax, so it was cool to see her do her thing. It was also neat how she stoleded the cyber keys with spy magics and sleeping spell and voodoo. GO ANNIE!

    The Walkerson Confrontation was PERFECT. I didn't know who to cheer for because they were both right and they were both wrong. Equal parts truth and bullshit with some guilt tripping thrown in. It shows just how blurred the lines are for these 2 and this is a conversation that needed to happen before Annie went dark. Choose the mission. Don't choose the mission. Use your emotions. Keep your emotions out of it. They both hold each other to a different sort of standard depending on the situation (friend, ex lover, handler, operative, more than.....) and I'm thoroughly enjoying watching them work through all their ISSUES.

    How will this "betrayal of trust" affect things going forward? Prob not much b/c Annie hurriedly tried to fix it and b/c I think they'll both realize their meant to be besties (more than) just like in Barcelona. Though I don't expect smooth sailing for AA like ever. LOL.

    Faves:
    Auggie's phone blurting out "incoming call for Crayley" every 10 mins.
    Barber.
    Tash slapping shirtless shoeless Auggie out of her room in a flurry of WTF just happened here.
    Drunk Auggie smash.
    Annie's ginormous camera lens.

    P.S. McQuaid was not in this episode at all and I gotta confess I did not even notice. Ooops.

    Til next time..........

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    1. Look over my shitty typing and trouble with homophones. K? Thanks!

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    2. Maybe it is time for the agency to stage an intervention where they send Auggie to the David Duchovny/Michael Douglas Sex Addiction Treatment Center. Any one with two brain cells to rub together would know that Auggie had a major problem when he banged Helesa in her ugly-ass apartment. LOL

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  5. So I feel betrayed by the CA acct for marketing 505 as #WalkersonInParis, for two reasons. First, because what we saw in that ep was NOT Walkerson. It's like they think that if Annie and Auggie are in the shot together, that makes them Walkerson. They never called them that before they got together for a reason! I think it should go without saying that when Auggie is sleeping with someone who is not Annie, the Walkerson thing is NOT happening! Besides, the CA people are the ones who insisted that they had broken up last year and never reconciled! Walkerson in Paris implied that the episode would go a totally different direction than it did. Did they do it on purpose? It wouldn't surprise me.

    So yes, they were in Paris, which is cool, and Annie had gorgeous dresses, and the scenery was nice, but the "oomph" of #WalkersonInParis (which just implies some kind of romance, or if not, at least POSITIVE feelings between them) is sucked right out. They might as well have been in South Dakota... not that there's anything wrong with South Dakota, but it doesn't really imply romance.

    Now most people know that I pretty much hate everyone that A&A have dated since the show started. That being said, since Tash was last in the picture we've had Franka, Helesa and Crayley, among others, all of whom I REALLY detested, so I guess I don't hate Tash as much as I used to by comparison. However, I have a new and irrational hatred of her hair. It was just too short, and it sat in her face the whole time. It was just wrong. Hair in my face drives me crazy, and her hair actually bothered me enough that I wanted to pull it back for her. Or tell her "Tash, sweetheart, that is NOT a flattering look for you." Or maybe both. (Which I suppose shows that I don't hate her as much as I used to if I'd be willing to tell her this.... baby steps!)

    While I'm on the subject of hair, I need to mention the scene at the train station where Annie talks to Tash. I have trouble believing that no one working on the show noticed that in what probably amounted to one take, Annie's hair is partway behind her ears, and in the rest of the scene it hangs straight down. I don't know why these little things jump out at me, they just do. I'm all about the details.

    As Sarai already mentioned, as soon as we first saw the promo where Auggie told Annie "I always put you before the mission," I've wanted to shake him and say "Make up your mind! Were you not THERE in Barcelona when you got mad at her for putting you before the mission?" Like you said, he wants her to only put the mission first when it suits him, and OK, he really somehow thought he could pull it off in time... The fact that Annie knew he wasn't going to get the key in time but Auggie couldn't admit it was interesting. The whole episode was an interesting flip on the way things usually work, so it was kinda fun to see her having to clean up someone else's mess, instead of one she made herself. As much as I like to see Auggie in the field, their missions seem to be more successful when he stays at Langley, like John said. Of course, it's tv and they write them that way, but whatever.

    I wish there was a way for someone to tell Auggie that you can't be a spy and have emotional attachments - I guess it would have to be Annie, since Helesa's not around anymore... though I don't think he wants to talk to her about that right now. Because it seems funny that Annie got that speech and we are always complaining that she never shows emotions! It seems to me that if anyone needs to hear it, it's Auggie. I guess that means that neither of them should be spies - at least according to Helesa's Rules of Being A Spy. :)

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    1. "it was kinda fun to see her having to clean up someone else's mess, instead of one she made herself."

      True fax times 1,000,000!

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    2. I glade there finally having it out. I to feel like Auggie got away with sleeping with Helen and Annie was like oh welli was dark si its ok i love u still. I wish Annie would have nt told Tash that it was her. I want them to have some drama more then Auggies with Hailey. I feel like we are going to get a little spat them something happens to her heart in eppie 10 and bam they will be besties/lovers again. I missed mcquad. I like him. I cant wait to see what happens to him and Annie

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  6. Well, crap. I don’t know what to think.

    I enjoyed Annie taking control with that guy whose name I forgot. While I was watching the “like it rough” scene, which was hilarious and so made the hour worth watching, I kept thinking, Amy Jo Johnson needs to pay attention. This is what taking control and being in charge is like. It’s not open-mouth head-bobbing and blow jobs and giggling. She should have slapped him around a bit, tied him to the bed, and left him there until after her morning meeting, just in case she wanted seconds. I probably still wouldn’t like the character, but hey, respect.

    Related note: as much as I like AJJ in other things, I’m convinced she’s to blame for much of my Hayley Hate. There’s so much that could have been done with the character exactly as she’s written and I don’t feel like AJJ is mining deep enough with it. She’s coming across as clingy annoying girlfriend when she could be coming off psychobitch boil-your-rabbit crazy stalker girlfriend who has government access codes to boot. So that’s a little disappointing.

    Also, what the hell, Auggie kind of likes her now? What the shit is that? She was just a hole in a mattress, what, two episodes ago? Now he’s got feelings? Just not enough to not sleep with an asset who apparently has moved around but has not moved on in the past four years?

    Another related note: I still say one of Auggie’s girlfriends is going to kill him by season’s end. And then he’ll give Annie his heart. And then we can’t complain because Walkerson are TOGETHER. Like in a PERMANENT WAY. And in the end he sacrificed EVERYTHING to give Annie the only thing she wants out of life—MORE TIME IN THE FIELD.

    I’m only half-kidding. Because you just KNOW that idea has been bounced around in story breaking.

    Blah blah Arthur blah blah Calder blah blah Joan.

    I say this every week, so I’d might as well be consistent: the Annie/Auggie dynamic is just FREAKING WEIRD. I’m sorry, it is. I know everyone is like, oh, they had an argument, so it’s all better now. But no. Because seriously, how come no one sees how freaking weird it is that these two people who totes in love like four months ago, are now discussing his sexcapades with two other girls? The shit with Tash was weird four years ago, when they really were only handler and agent. The shit with Hayley is just weird, period. And they’re all, hey, we’re besties, we’re best buds, with no acknowledgment at all that they dated in the past year? How is it even possible that they’re more well-adjusted now, with more history and more baggage, than they were when they’d barely known each other? It’s uncomfortable to watch.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, Auggie got drunk and barfed his feelings all over Annie’s Louboutins. But that was nothing compared to how he reacted to Harper. Remember Harper? Wait, was her name Harper? Whatever. The chick he was engaged to, kinda sorta. She left him, he went on a drunken rampage, banged his therapist, then was like, I never want to see you again, we’re done. And all she did was break up with him.

    It’s like everyone just went and did a whole bunch of Prozac. Shiny, happy Prozac.

    God, I just wish something else would blow up already. But at this point, even if it did, everyone would just stand around, holding hands, singing a rousing chorus of One Sweet Day.

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    1. Wait. Parker. Parker?

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    2. "Yeah, yeah, I know, Auggie got drunk and barfed his feelings all over Annie’s Louboutins. But that was nothing compared to how he reacted to Harper. Remember Harper? Wait, was her name Harper?"

      LMAO, don't even get me STARTED on that. It has always annoyed the F%*# out of me that that Auggie has never in the entire history of this show gotten even 50% as upset about Annie as he did about stupid, bland, wet blanket PARKER. In ep 5.05 he probably got like ... 60% of the way there, but it was still nothing even close to crying like a little baby in his undies. I actually made a comic strip parody about Annie & Auggie's break-up because I was so pissed on so many levels about how ridiculously it went down, including the fact that Auggie looked about as upset about that as you would about, say, a loss from one of your sports teams on a mid-season game, not even like a playoff.

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    3. I also think the dynamic between Annie and Auggie is strained. Annie is so "cold"(for lack of a better word) this season. But, I've noticed they've warmed up her make up and wardrobe, huh?! Loved that color green on her at the end. Anyway, I've had trouble flowing into this season due to the lack of any emotional response from either character about the "break up" after being so in love. Love is a heavy emotion, I think it earns a response! What happened to "let's keep talking, because I don't want to loose you" kinda love? And, there hasn't been much about Annie shooting her enemy either. That's a big deal, but I don't recall any closure on that issue either.

      Anyway, I enjoyed reading your reply. I'm pretty much on the same page!

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  7. Recently read an article that said how usually TV series peak in their 3rd season. Regardless of how many seasons a show will have, fans will usually love the 3rd more.

    That being said...I think the whole Aug/Annie mess is caused by the renewal. I still remember the initial S4 ending, where Annie quit and was going to 'have a talk with someone she cared about". But my bet is that somewhere betwen filming and airing the renewal message got through and they redone everything. So this drama/soapy stuff to me is a direct consequence of that. I can even picture the writers going like "Huh. So we got one more season. What do we do now?" "dunno, dude, i didn't think we'd get a 2nd season so...I'm creatively drained". "well, me too." " what do we do then?" "Sex. Sex is the answer".

    I won't bother to defend Auggie. He's a grown man, he's not involved in any stable relationship ( I'm sure at his and Hayley's age they can both distinguish between sex and a ship as well as I'm sure one attempted date doesn't make them exclusive) so he's only hurting himself in the game he's playing - here I'm referring to next ep where he'll 'juggle multiple relationships', which with this I don't quite agree).

    Also, Annie called it quits clearly in 501; he respects her wish. Also, very rarely a guy will just sit around and wallow in self pity after the woman tell him she's done. And even more rarely that would happen to an attractive guy/someone with high self asteem. Sorry, that's just how the world works.

    While I do think Annie was all business and I get why she's stolen the key (which is also very in tune with her no-emotions character this season) her lack of feelings is turning me off. I don't feel for her, I don't care what happens to her. Her entire attitude on life is pretty scary, but I haven't seen enough to care for her. Auggie has seen his...partner (Helen; can't go with wife, not sure how legal they were) killed, had to face the consequences of his bad choices when he saw Tash, who he was in love with, getting arrested, been through war, became disabled, thought he'd get to rebuild his life with Parker, lost her to the job too, AND YET he's still human with faults and feelings and (loved it) rage.

    Funny enough, I actually think Annie is closer to real life spies, right?

    The creepiest of all the creepy stuff: Annie snuck in the hotel room while we're led to believe Tash and Augs were seelping in a post coital bliss. That's her ex. No matter how emotionally detached she is, still creepy as hell. Did they have covers on? Did she see a boob? More? Yikes!!

    The spy plot is so freakishly week and has so many holes (as Annie's spy skills) that I have to look at it from a huge AU POV. Can't really remember a good ep for the spy stuff. Just can't. It's embarrassing they're even trying to emphasize that this is a spy show. Yikes, again.

    Oh, Tash's hair...Like Annie's green dress with dark blue jean jacket --- Yikes x 1000000 times.

    Will laugh more come next episode. Sorry if formatting is bad, posting fron phone.

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    1. "Can't really remember a good ep for the spy stuff. Just can't. It's embarrassing they're even trying to emphasize that this is a spy show. Yikes, again."

      That's quite an extreme comment without any examples to explain your assertion. How many spy shows have you watched? I've seen a lot of them and they ALL have plot holes. They all have some episodes that are stronger and some that are weaker, logic-wise. None of them are truly realistic. Some are meant to be more fantastical than others.

      Like I've said, I've watched a LOT of spy shows and Covert Affairs is pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of its intent to be "true to real life." It's not fantastical like Chuck or Alias, but it also doesn't take itself anywhere *close* to as serious as Homeland or The Americans. And even Homeland has NOT been hitting the mark lately when it comes to spy plot logic. Covert Affairs is a summer TV show, meant to be escapism.

      So if you're gonna say it has some plot holes and is not realistic, fine. Of course. No one is expecting it to cure cancer or solve world hunger. No one expects that of *any* fictional TV show, spy show or otherwise. No one truly thinks that a blind spy is going out there doing field ops IRL. But to say that CA is SO bad that it's embarrassing that they're even calling it a spy show ... just ... confuses me. There's nothing that makes this show less "worthy" of calling itself a spy show than any other spy show on TV. If you know of some other example that is miles above everything I've just mentioned, please, by all means, enlighten me. (And I know it ain't 24, I haven't seen as much of that one but I'm pretty sure it's just as fallible as all the others).

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    2. "The creepiest of all the creepy stuff: Annie snuck in the hotel room while we're led to believe Tash and Augs were seelping in a post coital bliss. That's her ex. No matter how emotionally detached she is, still creepy as hell. Did they have covers on? Did she see a boob? More? Yikes!!"

      THIS. A MILLION TIMES THIS.

      Exes or not, spies or not, the whole Annie-snuck-in-to-get-the-key-while-Tash-and-Auggie-cuddled-post-coital thing is just so frat house skeevy. Betcha he won't forget to put a sock on the door ever again.

      "Can't really remember a good ep for the spy stuff. Just can't. It's embarrassing they're even trying to emphasize that this is a spy show. Yikes, again."

      "I've watched a LOT of spy shows and Covert Affairs is pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of its intent to be "true to real life.""

      I just want to say, I can see both points.

      Covert Affairs isn't meant to be real life spy stuff. They take a few common practices (like non-official covers--which, by the way, I really, really miss Annie's Smithsonian NOC) and commercialize it for television. I'm OK with that. The more commercial fluff, the better, IMO.

      That said, I agree with andrejia that the spy plot has always been the writers' weak game. I mentioned a few episodes ago that they've had one plot and they've recycled it for five years. I stand by that.

      I've also been re-watching Season 4 with my mother, who is a season behind, and I'm noticing that a lot of their plot decisions don't make a lot of sense. They're really good at coming up with a premise--Ben is a spy gone dark; Annie is his lost love / someone high-up is leaking information / Jai stumbles upon something big but before he can tell Annie what it is, he's blown to smithereens / Annie goes dark--but shit-awful at following through.

      For example, I know Henry was the villain of season 4. I just don't know why. Annie says his motivation was guilt over Jai's death--that the person responsible for blowing Jai up was some dude Henry turned his back on (which, by the way, completely unravels season 3, further proving my point), and, unable to take accept responsibility for his part in Jai's death, he began redirecting his guilt and anger onto others.

      To which I say, what the shit? Seriously? He's selling US security secrets to China..because his grief is so thick he can't accept that he was as shitty a handler as he was a father? Huh?

      This isn't a big deal unless I dwell on it. It certainly hasn't kept me from enjoying the past four seasons. But it's not like I don't see there are flaws in the execution of the story. It's been obvious from day one that they're making stuff up as they go along and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

      The big thing with the last two years, though, is that they stopped playing to their strengths--well-rounded, fleshed out, interesting characters--and started playing to their weaknesses--spy plots that are as incoherent as they are intricate.

      A character like Dark Annie would work well in a show like 24. A serious, hard-boiled, action-packed, tightly plotted show. But in the commercial fluff--and again, not a bad thing! I love commercial fluff!--that is Covert Affairs? You know...you take a C- plot and A- characters, you still get a good show. But you take a C- plot and add C- characters....

      On another note, regarding how real the CIA are portrayed, one real-ish element I miss is Annie's Smithsonian NOC. Regardless of whether she went dark or not, she's still a spy. She's still involved in covert ops. Which means she can't rightly go to CIA headquarters every day. She still has a cover to maintain, even if that cover is Annie Walker. So where does she "work"? Is she "unemployed" and that's why she lives in what appears to be an abandoned button factory?

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    3. "I've also been re-watching Season 4 with my mother, who is a season behind, and I'm noticing that a lot of their plot decisions don't make a lot of sense."

      I have a LOT of issues with season 4. I won't bother explaining what they are because it's all in my season 4 reviews, heh. Season 4 had some major, major logic/coherence issues. The thing you mention about Henry's motivation was one of my biggest problems with it. I wrote 16 reviews of season 4 so you're free to read about it there. ;) But there are much better seasons of this show when it comes to logic, namely seasons 2 and 3 (I'm not commenting on 5 yet because it's still early). And there are several individual eps of season 4 that are great, logical, coherent episodes.

      "But it's not like I don't see there are flaws in the execution of the story." You're missing my point. I wasn't taking issue with the idea that the show has logic issues, I was taking issue with the statement that it's "embarrassing that they're even trying to emphasize that this is a spy show." My point is that out of the many many spy shows I've watched faithfully for their entire runs, the amount of logic issues Covert Affairs has in its spy plots is right in the middle of the pack there. It deserves to call itself a spy show JUST as much as any other spy show out there.

      The entire point of these reviews and comments sections is to critique and discuss the show, so by all means, let's do that. But if people are gonna start throwing out wild negative assertions that make no sense, I have trouble letting them go unchecked.

      "A character like Dark Annie would work well in a show like 24. A serious, hard-boiled, action-packed, tightly plotted show ..."

      We just disagree here. I wasn't interested in the show at all in season 1 and 2 because it was too light and fluffy. Not everyone's into the same stuff. I didn't get sucked in till I accidentally caught ep 3.08, which if there was any turning point for this series going "dark," that had to be it. That's not to say I didn't have a TON of issues with the way they wrote the Annie character from that point forward (My 4.16 review details these pretty thoroughly), but season 5 seems to be starting to fix some of those issues, and I'm still hoping for more on that front. We'll see.

      "Which means she can't rightly go to CIA headquarters every day. She still has a cover to maintain, even if that cover is Annie Walker." Alias had a very similar problem; they eventually gave up too. It's a hard thing to keep writing into the show without wasting precious screen time on stuff that's not that interesting. I also can't claim to know how that stuff works in real life.

      "Exes or not, spies or not, the whole Annie-snuck-in-to-get-the-key-while-Tash-and-Auggie-cuddled-post-coital thing is just so frat house skeevy." "Did she see a boob? More? Yikes!!"

      Again I'm just not seeing this as that big of a deal. It's not that it's not a little creepy, but Annie had zero intention of going in there to gawk at their nakedness, all she cared about was getting the flash drive and getting the eff out as quickly as possible. Plus it would have been dark it's not like she flipped on the lights and stood over them like a psycho. And anyway I'd ask why you guys are so freaked out of boobs. :-P

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    4. I didn't even consider the whole Annie sneaking into her "past" love's room and seeing them! Yikes, that'd be pretty weird. Pretty sure that "compartmentalized" area of "I love Auggie" would have reared it's ugly head.

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    5. To paraphrase Top Chef, I feel like the new long arc format sets the expectation that a greasy dumpling is unforgivable, whereas a less expansive arc might make a greasy dumpling seem like a delight. And by greasy dumpling, I mean shoddy plot.

      I know there are factors in play that the writers have to rally around, but the fact is, a mediocre episode arc is forgivable. A mediocre six episode arc? Not so much.

      I don't think it has to be either/or Re: dark Annie v fluffy Annie. That's what's so frustrating. The grittiest, darkest, most action packed plot could be taking place and I wouldn't give one magic peen, because I don't care about that character. And I don't care about her because she doesn't care about anything.

      Joss whedon said something once abt how it isn't the darkness that makes something dramatic, but rather the sliver of light shining through. I tend to believe that applies here. But then, that hack also gave us giant Dawn and Buffy season 6, so what does he know.

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    6. And the greasy dumpling thing was a problem in season 4. But for season 5, I'm enjoying important parts of the long arcs so far, so I'm waiting to see where it all goes.

      I've gotta step away on some of these threads to avoid driving myself insane haha, but (last thing? lol) - I don't know that I've properly commented yet on this "Annie has no feelings and doesn't care about anything/anyone" idea that a few of you have this season. Again this is all open to personal interpretation, but I just want to call out that some of you seem to be watching a completely different TV show than many others of us on this front.

      I could write an entire blog post on this topic alone so I’ll save that for another time. For now I’ll just leave it at this:

      1) Categorize me into the "horrible uncaring" section too, but I *completely*, 100%, identify with where Annie’s coming from right now. People deal with traumatic shit in different ways, and Annie just happens to be the type that retreats into herself and her job.
      2) The writers have given us more insight into Annie and how she's feeling in these first 5 eps of S5 than they did in the entirety of S4 + the last few eps of S3 combined. That doesn't mean they're doing a perfect job now, but I'm thrilled for any major improvement. The "insight" moments often happen when she’s alone because she’s not an outwardly emotional person. I've seen many of them in these 5 eps. She plays it cool in front of others. Playing it cool absolutely does NOT translate to “she doesn’t care.”

      Before I make this last point, I just want to be clear that it’s NOT directed at anyone in particular, but it’s just a general statement that relates to this topic and a few other discussions I’ve seen here and on Twitter: There are a good number of people who watch this show and view Annie ONLY through the lens of Auggie. They only care about Annie in relation to him. e.g. How she’s feeling about Auggie, how she’s acting towards Auggie, whether she might be making googly eyes at Auggie, etc.

      And they are *absolutely* entitled to do that. Everyone has their own reasons for being into a TV show. But what those people need to be constantly and acutely aware of is that if this is their sole lens into this show, it’s going to very often be a frustrating viewing experience for them. That is because at its core, that is NOT what this show is about. This series is about a rookie CIA operative and her journey from rookie to seasoned spy. Her relationship with Auggie is only one key part of many, many moving parts in the story. And I say that because when we’re in season 5 and we’re asking ourselves the question of “What does Annie care about,” well, she cares about a LOT. She cares about a SHIT TON of stuff. Where Auggie (in the romantic sense) falls on her priority list is going to change at various points in the series, and right now, it’s clearly NOT at the top. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If I’m in her shoes, at this point, I’m gonna be prioritizing it *exactly* where she is right now – somewhere in the middle of all the crazy shit she’s dealing with.

      Bottom line – what some viewers are seeing as “Annie doesn’t care about anything” IMO is really just Annie dealing with shit differently than they would.

      And now hopefully I haven't totally jinxed Annie's character progression for the rest of S5. :-P

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    7. I agree with much of what Your Plopperness wrote. However, I disagree that the uncaring, unfeeling Annie problem is solely the fault of the viewers. The Shipper Lens theory is valid—though I won’t fault the viewers 100% on that one, either, since there are a lot of episodes in seasons 1-3 dedicated to cultivating that ‘ship and that lens—but I don’t feel the writers have been consistent with Annie’s characterization, either.

      I get that they are trying to build a character who is enigmatic, who is a “different Annie” and a “different agent” than before. They want viewers to see this “new” Annie and think, “Ooh, what made her so dark, what made her shut herself off like that,” and then be intrigued enough to sit through the ten or so episodes that dole out what happened during those four months and how and why it changed her into who she is now.

      Herein lies the problem, because this is the same speed bump the writers tend to hit with their plots. They go balls to the wall with a premise with the hopes that in sixteen episodes’ time, they’ll have figured out how to reverse engineer it into a plot.

      So there’s this premise of a darker, more emotionally adroit Annie. That’s fine. But it’s all gravy and no steak. Her motivation is unclear, and I tend to believe it’s because the writers don’t yet know what it is rather than the viewers are too impatient or unobservant or Auggie-focused to notice. The fact that her character is so polarizing, using Twitter as an example, just goes to show there’s a lack of understanding why she’s acting the way she is.

      So when I say, she’s uncaring, she’s unfeeling, I guess what I mean to say is, I don’t believe Annie’s internal goals, motivations, and conflicts are fleshed out enough to be accurately conveyed to some viewers. I see what the writers are trying to do, but I also see they’re not quite hitting the mark.

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    8. Specifically:

      * There’s a lack of personal investment in the Chicago bombing plot. Annie’s only motivation is—she’s a spy, it’s her job. Season one was complicated by her relationship with Ben. Season two saw her questioning who she could trust—could her friends/colleagues be leaking information? Season three, she’s avenging Jai’s and subsequently Simon’s deaths. Season four, she’s out to protect Auggie and get her life back. So “it’s her job”? Not good enough.

      * When you have a character premise but no internal motivation to back it up, characters and situations bend to accommodate the premise. This results in an inherent lack of conflict. We’re seeing a lot of that this season. (Calder getting her out of the polygraph test; Walkerson reset; everyone accepting that different Annie is different; Calder inexplicably in love with a hooker.)

      * Walkerson—has to be mentioned, because the writers keep dangling that carrot. I talk about their relationship weirdness every week, but even excluding that, it rings false that they would be able to go back to “simpler times” after she went dark. If my bestie went on vacation, told me they were coming home, then went AWOL for four months, I’d be hella pissed and rightfully so. Compare and contrast the blasé one-sentence reset between A&A with the argument Auggie had with Helesa in 4x12.

      * How does Annie still have a job at the CIA? Why does she even WANT a job at the CIA? Why did no one call her shit after the polygraphus interruptus? Why didn’t the polygraph show her heart condition as an abnormal read? Why is Annie willing to go behind Auggie’s back and “do what it takes” to get the key, but not willing to take control of the situation re: her medical files and alter them herself? Why is she all of a sudden the world’s best spy, to the point that her superiors are in awe of her prowess? How is it she can evade the CIA agents sent to track her for four months and not attract any serious suspicion whatsoever. I mean, come on, she’s been accused of treason 3 times now. You’d think that would send up some sort of homeland security alarm bells, or at least get her an interview with some black ops division. My point is, these are all symptoms of a character conforming, not always uniformly, to a situation, rather than a situation being driven by the character. It’s a problem.

      Anyway, TL;DR, but that’s where much of my frustration is coming from. Maybe in five episodes, they’ll have a big revelation that ties it all together, and I’ll look back and say, Oh, in light of that, everything else it makes sense. But most people aren’t going to wait that long for them to figure it out.

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  9. @Liz I think that would effectively end the show. Some taboos aren't meant to be broken, lol.

    Plus, it'd be kinda creepy/tawdry in a Florence Henderson kind of way, dontcha think? You would have to wrench Joan's character so hard from her moorings, the show would never recover (cf. White Collar). It'd be as weird/boring as Calder & Annie.

    btw, your comments are refreshing!


    @Lauren, totes agree with you!

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  10. re spy plots; I was trying to say that this show is taking itself too seriously, wants its audience to be in it for the great scheme of things - finding the Big Bad Guy- when this is actually their weak point. CA is a spy show for women, at its core, but it looks like the writers are trying to get other demo, without actually excelling at it.

    I agree that CA is great escapism, although more like 'was'. I didn't care for any plot holes or bad spy stuff before they tried to sell me Annie Walker as Most.Awesome.Spy.Ever. You are right, tho, in RL Auggie would prolly not be there, but she wouldn't be a spy either.

    And no, I don't watch any other spy shows, but that's not the point. CA doesn't have to be good by comparison, I want it to be good (without having to say - 'but see, show X, Y, has that problem too).

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    1. Yes it does take itself more seriously than it used to, and yes that does tend to make us expect higher quality. That was why I had so many issues with season 4. Season 5 thus far has ... well I'm not gonna say anything because if I do I'll just jinx it. :-P I really liked S4 for the first 6 eps and then it all went to hell. We're not even 6 eps into S5 yet so lord only knows.

      "CA is a spy show for women, at its core, but it looks like the writers are trying to get other demo, without actually excelling at it."

      The directive to go "darker" and more serialized was a directive from USA for *all* its dramas, not just CA. All their other dramas are male-fronted right now, I'm pretty sure. They did this because those are the types of dramas that are getting higher ratings and buzz in general right now. So it wasn't something they did specifically because they were trying to get more male viewers to CA, it was much more broad than that. I think it worked great for CA in S3, but S4 was shaky. I'm in wait and see mode with season 5. Side note: I take issue with the idea that a spy show for women would need to be fluffy and primarily focused on purses and shoes and cute outfits and romance, but that does tend to be how stuff is actually marketed and it's a topic I could write another novel on so I'll stop here.

      "And no, I don't watch any other spy shows, but that's not the point. CA doesn't have to be good by comparison, I want it to be good (without having to say - 'but see, show X, Y, has that problem too)."

      And I totally get that you want it to be amazing regardless of any other shows out there. We all want it to be awesome and kick ass and all that (though it's important to note that we all have different definitions of what that even means). But when you make statements that it doesn't deserve to call itself a spy show, and you haven't actually *seen* any other spy shows, it's not coming from a place of knowledge or context on that topic.

      And I don't mean to or want to harp on it either, because I don't want to be a dick. We all make off the cuff remarks in here. I just wanted to make that one point since it's a public page and silence on my part there could imply agreement.

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  11. I totally get what you mean by 'needing fluff to atract women demo' and while I'm very, very aware of different tastes (French sociologiat Bourdieu has an amazing book on tastes are developed), you can't deny that generally speaking, chick flicks are soft (which is why i loathe romcom genre), just as action movies are supposed to be for men. I'm only talking stereotipying. The fact that neither you, nor me fit the general consensus, is another thing.

    Anyway, maybe I was too harsh with the whole spy show comment (and wow, loved your insight about USA network, had NO idea!), but it's only because as well pretty much all here, I'm not very into the direction this show has takes.

    And I read your reviews of S4 and I couldn't agree more on Henry's general motives for being such a bad guy; it really felt like he came out of nowhere, and you're right, somewhere in the middle of that whole thing stuff turned too...different. And apart from all the Auggie love I used to love this show and I used to really REALLY like Annie. I loved everything about her, but I now I feel like this show is foreign to me....

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    1. "And wow, loved your insight about USA network, had NO idea!" Glad I could help. :)

      And yeah as for Henry, they waited until ep 12 of a 16 ep season to give any sort of halfway decent explanation for his motives. That should have come in like ep 4 at the very latest. :-P

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