Sigh. Olga, just when we were starting to get to know you. It's been SO long since this show has allowed Annie to have a worthy female adversary and/or partner in crime, and the minute we finally got one, they couldn't let the poor woman last more than one episode. Yes, she was in 5.11 & 5.12 too, but she barely spoke more than three words until this ep.
I liked the role Sana played last season, but she was just an innocent civilian getting pulled into the spy shenanigans against her will at at that point. Other than Joan, I can't think of the last time Annie had another female SPY to work with and play off of, and learn from ... was Lena the last one before now? More than 2 seasons ago? Sure, the writers made an incredibly feeble attempt at putting Helesa in this role for one episode last season (ep 4.07), but they failed miserably by also attaching the stereotypical "evil predatory female" qualities and soapy Auggie love connections there as well. "Hey Ladies, watch out for those other non-penis-having creatures out there!! Danger! They'll manipulate you and dupe you into faking your own death so they can screw your boyfriend behind your back while you're gone!!" Uggh.
Anywho. When Covert Affairs spends too long of a stretch as just "Annie and a bunch of dudes," it starts to grate on me after a while, so Olga was a very welcome addition to this ep for me. Frankly, I'd actually go so far as to say she was the best part of the entire ep. I had a feeling from the previews that most of this ep would be spent searching for Auggie without much sign of Auggie himself, so what I hoped we'd get out of it instead would be Angry Torturous Annie, which I always quite enjoy. Sadly we didn't get nearly as much of that as I had hoped though, as it took a long time to get Belenko where they needed him (which makes sense), and once they did finally get him in that chair, Annie's "torture" methods failed so fast that it had me cracking up at the TV. And this is where Olga jumped in from the bench to save the day and show Annie just how the hell a good torture session is conducted. Granted, she didn't quite get Belenko to sing like a canary about Auggie, but their session was cut short when they realized Belenko had a tracker in his mouth. And at least they confirmed Belenko had Auggie, still alive.
For her part, while Annie wasn't exactly kicking ass and taking names left and right here, she was able to get in a few brief moments in the sun and sassy quips in here and there. And speaking of moments in the sun, this show has me starting to wonder if see-through tops/sweaters that allow your bra to shine right through and become the star of the show are actually super in style right now and I just totally missed that trend?? Or is that a look that Annie Walker is just trying to start all on her own?
I digress. This ep started to make it apparent why the writers gave Belenko that hand tremor. It allows Annie to use her experience with The Myocarditis to find B's weak spots and strike from that angle. Convenient, contrived? Sure. But I can usually forgive this type of stuff if a) it's an interesting enough story that plays out in a believable manner and b) it allows for development of the main characters. I thought "A" was accomplished pretty well here, but per usual for this show, the "B" carrot was only dangled out there very briefly in the form of a quick snark-off between Annie & Belenko, before being quickly yanked away again. That's how Covert rolls. They like to throw in little quips here and there and call it "character development" for Annie. Not sure if they'll go any further with this or just leave it at this superficial level, but this show could go either way.
For what it was worth, both Annie and Belenko sneered enough attitude at each other during that scene to make it amusing in its own right. "That must be hard. Having to cope with your .... condition." "And how is your condition Annie? Is your heart slowing you down??" Lol just the idea of two people throwing their respective medical problems in each other's faces is kinda hilarious. Annie also got a good Dexter moment in here too, when she had to grab the hypodermic needle and jam it into Belenko's neck herself to knock him out when the doc failed to get the job done.
Calder, Joan and McQuaid all had some decent roles to play here too, working together to follow the clues and eventually figure out Auggie's general whereabouts by the end of the ep. At least they managed to narrow it down to a country and city. And that's a pretty major accomplishment when you begin with the entire world as your starting point. McQuaid got a fun scene where he got to pummel his old trafficking contact into telling him where Mr. Dog Walker had been shipped off to. If only Ziggy Sobotka were still working at the docks, McQ probably coulda gotten the goods out of that dummy a lot easier. If anyone actually gets that reference then you'll win a big gold star from me. Oh and McQuaid sure is quick on his feet for someone who recently took 2 bullets to the torso eh?
Now for our Hooker With a Heart of Gold, Sydney. I spent a good part of the summer season cringing every time she came on screen, as it seemed like all we ever got from her was moaning and groaning of the porn variety and meaningless chatter with Calder about his job woes and his love-sickness towards her. She started to finally slightly grow on me right around the time she told Calder to eff off at the police station, and in "She Believes", it actually culminated in her being directly helpful to the mission, praise the flippin' Puma. It only took 13 damn episodes, but we finally got there. The way this ep played out with Mashkov wrapping his gross chubby sausage fingers around her neck, I was afraid she might not make it through the ep to accomplish her goal. I still wonder if she'll survive the season, but we'll see. But it was nice that she finally got a chance to shine here.
Like I said earlier, I had a feeling this ep would be Auggie-light, but I didn't expect Auggie to be almost entirely absent. We did finally get a glimpse of him at the end, being dragged to his (final?) destination (Grozny?) where they will presumably be torturing our dear Mr. Anderson for info next week. Maybe Chris Gorham wanted a week off after directing himself in such an Auggie-heavy ep last week, lol.
Here's a few random thoughts before I get to my conclusion:
- Annie literally did nothing at all to protect Dr. Schumer after he helped her grab Belenko. A bit of a Carrie Mathison a-hole moment? Will it come back to haunt her later?
- This show really loves its meaningful trinkets, especially necklace pendants and postcards. Olga's postcards were somewhat reminiscent of Annie's childhood postcard stories from season 3.
- I expected Annie to lose her shit in this ep more than she did. She managed to keep it together shockingly well, considering that her wittle Auggie bud had just vanished off the face of the planet. Maybe next week she'll go crazier?
- Olga looked like she was bashing Belenko's skull in with that hammer, and then a few minutes later he was totally fine. This is a TV/movie pet peeve of mine.
As I am a fan of the hour-long drama Covert Affairs, I thought this ep was ... certainly not amazing, but aiight. The ep respectably accomplished its goal in getting us from Auggie's kidnapping to finding Auggie's whereabouts, with a few interesting moments along the way. It would have been nice if they could have really wowed me with something during this part of the story, but they didn't put anything quite exciting enough in here to accomplish that goal. Although Olga cracking fingers and stabbing hands came somewhat close. Next week seems like the one where all the shit's gonna go down, so we'll see how they do with that one. So far the fall season has been 3 decent eps in a row without completely blowing my socks off yet, but I'd say last week (5.12) was most definitely the best of the three. I hope they give us some thrills next week. Oh crap, I just remembered that we have to wait TWO weeks for the next ep. Balls. Now I know what I'm NOT thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Bash me in the head with a rusty hammer in the comments.
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