12 December, 2014

The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.15 'Frontwards'


Well, that was a squeaker.  I spent the first 40 minutes of this one feeling increasingly exasperated thinking that this ep was going to amount to nothing more than Team McWalkerson running around a pretty place (Buenos Aires being their final foreign shoot for season 5), trying to figure out how to rescue a character we only met one episode ago.  Like I said, I'm a fan of Kenny Johnson, but that can only carry me so far, given that his character is not at all central to this series.

And then there was The Annie Problem.  One that, as Shelby pointed out to me after she watched the ep earlier, tends to sometimes occur when Annie is on a mission with Dudes.  Dudes not named Eyal, that is.  It's a problem I also noticed in that other thing I tend to fangirl each November - Mockingjay - another situation where there is a lead female, and two dudes who would both love to win her heart.  [FYI the next paragraph will NOT be spoilery IMO, but if you want to be 100% safe from any info on this movie then you can skip over to the following paragraph.]

Mockingjay Part 1 has taken a lot of flak from a good number of critics for being half a movie.  And they're right, it IS half a movie.  A very GOOD half, I think, but it's not whole.  However, while watching it, I discovered what I think might be a major part of why it frustrated people - There is a climactic scene that comes far too close to the end of the movie that involves Katniss's Two Dudes participating in and being the center of all the action, while Katniss quite literally stands on the sidelines watching the action from a television screen.  If you've read the books (or frankly if you have any common sense), you know she's gonna get back into the action immediately in the next movie, so it lessens the frustration.  BUT, given that she is the main character, it does leave the viewer feeling somewhat limp during that scene that the hero of the movie is not the center of the climactic action sequence.

This is exactly how I felt for the first 40 minutes of "Frontwards."  Annie Everdeen tends to her poor injured Auggie Mellark as he works on the plans to rescue Deckard, while McGale heroically saves the day by stepping directly into the center of danger at every possible opportunity.  Hahaha holy shit I never realized how perfectly these three fit into the Katniess/Peeta/Gale roles.  It's uncanny.  But I digress.  The Covert writers have done immensely better with Annie from ep 4.11 onwards than they had for far too long prior to that, so I don't have a ton of room to complain.  But like Mockingjay Part 1, the reason it feels frustrating is that it's happening right towards the end - in the penultimate episode of the entire season.

BUT FEAR NOT!!  Miss Walker finally got a chance to do what she does best in the last 20 minutes of the ep.  And it's also simply where the ep finally hooked me in in general, with the story.  Because like I said, even regardless of The Annie Problem, the ep felt like nothing more than a bunch of running around and discussing logistics in a pretty setting, until two things happened: 1) McQuaid and Deckard began their jailbreak, and 2) Annie caught sight of Belenko and immediately you saw the gears start to turn in her head.  YES.  Theeeerrrre's our Annie.  Theerre's the girl who's sure as hell not gonna let an opportunity to catch a baddie pass, no matter WHAT she has to - wait WTF??  Did she just ... she just let that opportunity pass!!  And Deckard even called her a chicken-shit for it.  What in the Puma's name is this Auggie-instruction-following, stay-on-the-map Annie bullshit I just witnessed??  Not any kinda Annie *I* want to know, that's for damn sure.

Ohhh k thank god.  Turns out she was just being shrewd about the best way to attack the problem - i.e. minus Deckard to get in their way.  Speaking of which, poor Auggie.  Awesome Joan!!  But poor Auggie.  Let's start with Mr. Anderson first.  As much as we love to give Auggie crap for his wandering peen ... Times like this remind us that it's not easy being Auggie Anderson.  When it comes to fieldwork, he's forced to be constantly on the sidelines for the rest of his life due to his blindness, and for a guy that came from a CIA Field Op and Special Forces background ... that has got to suck HARD.  I don't even know that this can be blamed for him getting yanked back home in this particular case, as I think most of it was a result of Joan wanting to keep him safe after all the shit he just went through, but still it was yet another example of Auggie getting forced onto the bench.  And watching him give that "company man" line to Deckard was rough.  I dunno about you, but as I get older, I have more and more of a problem with feeling like a "company (wo)man."  It feels less an less comfortable for me every day.  So that moment and line definitely struck a chord with me.

And JOAN wtf, damn girl, you go ... err ... you tell 'em ... err ... why can't I think of the right way to say this??  Just do your thang girl, that's all I'm saying.  Shelby was frustrated by this entire ep, but the one thing she said she loved was Joan.  And now I see why.  Joan was doin' WORK, she was cracking skulls and gettin' shit handled.  Like a BOSS, son.  Literally.  She was even bossing around her boss.  Right?  Calder is her boss right?  It's so hard to keep track of all the promotions and demotions anymore.  She fixed the Russia problem after Calder screwed it all to hell, she realized that the Russians had ulterior motives with Belenko, and she put the smack down on her favorite Tech Op when she wanted to keep him safe.  She was Joan at her very Joan-est here, in the best way possible.

And Calder.  Calder Calder Calder.  With the (real life) CIA torture reports being released this week, I couldn't help but be reminded of this as Calder beat Mashkov's face in (just like Annie with poor ol' Omar and his leg-crotch last week).  Not that creepy Mashkov didn't deserve it, he certainly did, but beating the man to a bloody pulp is also crossing a line that the Russians were obviously not happy with.  I certainly understand his motives though, with Sydney being on death's door.  I'm curious what they'll do with her next week, and also curious what will come of Calder's retaliation plan on the dog walker.

Aannnnd obviously I can't end this review without touching on the "I love you."  Or, the "I love you"ssss, plural, considering that if McQuaid had not responded properly to Annie there, heads were going to effing ROLL.  Luckily for everyone involved, I did not have to do any head-chopping.  Clearly Annie's declaration was motivated by McQuaid's heroic prison break + his immediate "all-in" response to getting Belenko, but I don't think it was just that.  Auggie's verbal approval of McQuaid to Annie just prior to this was a huge part of it.  I think it's just human nature to feel validated when you get that confirmation and approval from someone you greatly respect and/or love.  But it certainly could not have been easy for Auggie to give the approval to begin with.  So.  "Poor Auggie" was a definite theme in the latter half of the ep.

Random thoughts:
  • Things that are magically no longer a problem for our characters: Joan's Balkans secret, Belenko's deadly ALS-type disease, Annie's heart condition.  If these aren't followed up on in SOME way in the finale, I'm going to be angry.  I'm going to be very angry.  Spoiler: They won't be followed up on.  At least I'm certainly not holding my breath for it.
  • With all the cop-vs.-citizen situations that have been in the news here lately, I couldn't help but think of this when McQuaid intentionally provoked the cop to get himself arrested.  That certainly wasn't difficult, was it?  Nope.
  • The "lice-check in the church" scene (a.k.a. another excuse for Auggie to take his shirt off) was just as awkward and uncomfortable for me in this ep as it was in the preview from last week.  But I was extremely glad they didn't play up a jealousy thing when McQuaid walked in on it.  It would just be too groan-worthy.  That's not to say they won't try to go for the love triangle thing next week in the finale, because that's absolutely the type of thing TV writers love to do in finales, but we'll have to wait and see.
  • If I have to hear one more GODDAMN thing about Chrisley Knows Best, I'm gonna cut a bitch.  NO, USA, I am NOT watching A Very Chrisley Christmas!!!!  You can take that Chrisley Christmas and SHOVE IT UP YOUR ... chimney. Or something.
What grade to give this ep?  I grade the final eps of the season a lot more stringently than I do the others, because they have a much more difficult job to do - tie everything together.  Like I mentioned last week, Covert has a history of NOT properly tying a lot of important things together at the end of each season, and I spent the first 40 minutes of this ep in the process of throwing in the towel for season 5 as well.  But in that last 20, it felt like I started to get a bit more of a feel for where they might be taking this.  Do I think they're gonna bring it all together in a way that leaves me fully satisfied next week?  Absolutely not.  But I'm also a pessimist and I'm going based on the show's past performance.  Regardless, we won't be able to make that call till we get there.  I'd say 5.15 worked about as well for me, maybe slightly better than, S4's penultimate ep, so based on that, I'm gonna give it a:

GRADE: 86/100

The last third of the ep saved it.  On second viewing, I actually quite enjoyed it, knowing what was coming.  If it had never kicked in, this grade would be much different.  Next week's ep is going to make a HUGE difference as to how I view this season as a whole; probably much more so than was the case in season 4.  So ... we shall see.

What'd y'alls think?  Throw a Santa suit on me and shove my fat ass up a chimney in the comments.

The Plopper

Recent reviews by the writer, below:
5 December 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.14 'Transport is Arranged'
21 November 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.13 'She Believes'
14 November 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.12 'Starlings of the Slipstream'

33 comments:

  1. Annie's 'I love you' signed McQuaid's death warrant.

    Thank God!

    Toss the bum!

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    1. Annnnd now begins my prayer to the TV gods that he survives. Not that I didn't want him to survive anyway, but I now want him to survive specifically to spite you, Anonymous.

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  2. I recently came across your blog (well at 5.8 actually) and so thoroughly enjoyed it, I decided to look up your older reviews. I do understand your frustration with the character development. It does seem as though the series is written for maybe 20 to 22 episodes, but since they only have 16 episodes (bad USA network!), a lot of things had to be cut out. Unfortunately it has not always been the right things that have been cut out. I recently read an interview with Nic Bishop where he said that when he got the role, he was also given the back story of his character, which was quite extensive (it included his dead wife, etc). Again unfortunately, the character development, as you have said, has not always been translated into the script.

    I too loved Joan in this episode. The steel and efficiency in her character were more similar to what was seen in the first few episodes in S1 and diminished in later seasons, although it would come out every once in a seldom while. In this case, I guess she took to heart McQ's justified criticism in 5.13 when he took her to task after Auggie's abduction (and she quickly looks down and scribbles in her notebook).

    Auggie to a certain extent redeemed himself in this episode. The old Auggie would have stayed no matter what (even disobeying a direct order from Joan) in order to "save" Annie. However by leaving he acknowledges that he now considers Annie his equal.
    I wonder if Auggie even realized that he was the one that led to Roger's death. Auggie was on Belenko's radar and Allen Langer was likely following him around. When Auggie went to Roger's apartment to research the Postman in 5.4, it is certain that they looked up who Roger was and what he was up to.

    The fans of the show you called Auggie's Affairs (love that description - it's perfect!) are probably not going to be happy with the development of McAnnie. Auggie will probably end up with Tash (she was already calling him from Canada), although I think a better match for him would be Hayley(!). After all, he was trying to turn Annie into Hayley. Hayley did bring out a light-heartedness to Auggie that has been absent since S3. Like you, I liked the fact that Auggie voiced his approval (as well as he could) about McQ.
    Annie ending up with McQ was hinted at in 5.13 when Annie was speaking with Olga and Olga was telling her about her former (underlined) handler giving her info when she needs it. CA is fond, as you have previously said, of this sort of hints, parallels.
    Annie telling McQ that she loved him was also, I think, because she knew they were going on this mission where sh*t could happen. Taking Eyal's (good) advice that words are just as important as actions to heart, she just blurted it out, true to character. I really did not expect anything more than that.

    I actually do think Annie's heart condition will be addressed in the season (I said season, NOT series) finale. The promo for next week had the sound of the heartbeat that they always play when she gets an attack. Also, for whatever reason, aside from the 1st time the heart palpitations were shown, she is always abroad (Maracaibo, Azerbaijan, Istanbul); now that she is in Buenos Aires . . . . Would make for a cliffhanger, anyway.

    Any word on whether USA network renewed CA? or when they will make the announcement one way or the other? I look forward to enjoying more of your reviews next season.

    Another anonymous

    PS In reference to your "Throw a Santa suit.." statement, I'd rather shove (Auggie's definition of shove) Chrisley's skinny butt up his .. to put it politely, where the sun don't shine. (People actually can sit through an hour of this?)

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    1. Dear "Another Anonymous",

      I will comment on this fully later, but please know that your comment has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise exasperating day observing the Twitter meltdown of much of the fandom hahaha.

      "The promo for next week had the sound of the heartbeat ..." I absolutely did NOT notice that hahaha I will now check it again and listen for it. Thanks for the tip. I'll comment more on this later when I have time.

      Thanks!!
      The Plopper

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    2. It was in the preview that came on after the broadcast, but not in the YouTube videos online.
      Another Anonymous

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    3. Hehee k watched again. I still don't hear a heartbeat, but rather a drum beat and then at the end I hear heavy breathing of someone (probably Annie) like freaking out or running hard or something. Hhmmmm what does it all meeeaaannnn ..... ;)

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    4. What Anon and Mary P said above : ) Nice to see some discussion. Absent on twitter, it's just a place for shippers to vent. This is why I really dislike shipping. It's the curse of every show. Character development, good or bad doesn't factor into the show, it's all about who ends up with who?

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  3. To me Annie and Auggie were much better together as friends and confidants, not as a couple so I really hope they end the season (series?) with them happy in their separate lives. Annie has been terrible to Auggie throughout the show and I really hope the writers let him find happiness with Tash. Will this happen or will we get an Annie torn between two men cliffhanger? Uh, what looks to be a poison gas attack cliffhanger? Who knows. Remember waaaay back in the day when this show was fun? Like, one of the many fun shows on USA? Before they decided to be a knock-off BRAVO poor man's Lifetime/HBO mash-up? What happened to the blue skies? Chrisley??????Really?????

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  4. Hey MaryP, I'm pretty new to your blog too, and I wanna play :) I really appreciate your reviews, even if I don't always agree with everything. Lets just call me Anon #1855

    I hear you about the 'the Annie problem', but it does seem to be prevalent in shows where the Dudes are out with the hero of the show, if she happens to be female. I first noticed that in an early season episode with Annie and Auggie, and it frustrated me since. I guess it depends on the individual writers too, and in this episode, I had the exact same frustration, for all the reasons you cited. What surprised me thought, wasn't this a Stephen Hootstein ep? He's usually one of the better Annie writers, but I guess it's not all up to him.

    I guess it really depends on the show runners, some are very comfortable writing their female leads as leads period. I pretty much grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Joss Whedon never wrote his heroine that way. Buffy was always center of the action, even with all the Dudes around. :) Same with JJ Abrams' Alias and Fringe. Sydney and Olivia were never on the sidelines. At least I don't remember them being there.

    But I'm afraid I didn't really get the poor Auggie feeling, lol. I was actually shouting kudos to Joan for shooting him down. She's been molly coddling him his whole career with her, and he's pretty much got her wrapped around his little finger. I rolled my eyes when he stomped his foot and called Big Sis to whine and fully expected to get his way, so when Joan, with her delightful little grin said no, I cheered out loud, especially at his shock of being told NO. Ha.

    As for that horrible scene in the Church, 'the lice check'. Ha, I love your labels, btw. Again, I gotta agree. I also thought it was awkward as hell. It's really rare to see The Piper seemingly awkward with a scene unless it's meant to be awkward. She's always 110% invested. And even CG's love of taking his shirt off for his fans didn't save that one! It was just pure fanwanking, and tbh, I wish they would consider weighing the benefit of these moments against the disservice it does to the show as a whole. It totally took me OUT of the show. But that's just me.

    Here's a question though. Why does Annie get so much grief for wanting to be out in the field with her heart condition? And i imho, that is why she insisted on working alone throughout most of the season, because she knows that it does put whoever works with her in danger. Joan reamed her out for it in an earlier ep because it might put someone in danger. But then, she lets Auggie go, even though his liability is greater.

    So it's okay for Auggie to lobby and want to be out in the field where his safety had got to be the priority for whoever he's working with. That doesn't endanger people he works with? According to fans, Annie's selfish, but Auggie isn't? Explain that one to me. They can't exactly be covert, when 2 or 3 people are walking around with a very conspicuous blind guy, and certainly can't make quick get aways. His character just seems to get away with a lot more, and I'm wondering if it's because he's a Dude? Or maybe I'm new to this, and just never come across any such discussions. I'm not sure I should have even asked.

    Anyway, that was a lot longer than I expected, and I meant to discuss your bullet points. Lol.

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  5. Anon #1855

    I have some takes on your bullet points. But first, looking at the promo for the finale, there's a melancholy to the Pipe's voice over that indicates some serious reprications and damage to her heart. I'm willing to overlook a lot when it comes to medical stuff unless it's a medical drama, because it's a highly specialized and complicated field, but some decent research should be done! My biggest pet peeve for Annie is the lack of an open heart scar! And if her heart condition isn't at the next stage of major cardiomyopathy , or somewhere close to it with the non stop abuse it's taken, then the writers should just leave writing medical stuff alone entirely.

    I've always thought that Annie's heart condition, on top of the obvious GSW, the event that really did the current damage was the voodoo shit, some (cardio-respiratory suppressing anesthetic such as curare, maybe) followed by a big dose of stimulant, is what gave Annie, her current heart problems. Adverse reactions to drugs and toxins can cause Myocarditis. (Not that there's an actual drug that can mimic death, but this is TV land.) Annie needs a heart transplant, that is where this story line must go, or she dies. There really isn't much room to spin what they created.

    As for the Joan-Balkans story line. my take is that it was the original plot that tied to Belenko, and it was dropped mid season in favor of the current 'Auggie is epicenter of the AnnieQuake' story line. I doubt we'lll see a satisfying resolution to the Joan-Balkans thing. But I'd sure like to be really wrong about that.

    IDK, and it's just my story mind thinking, that the writers needed to 'rehabilitate' Auggie's character and mostly pointless story lines, so decided to make him front and center, and replaced the Balkans plot that tied Joan's past to Belenko. Also, to bring him close to their main character as he had pretty much no story with Annie other than yell at her in every scene by mid season. This is a much better use of him.

    The same with the initial ominous fore-shawdowing of Khalid's words directed at Annie, "If they can do this to me, what do you think they will do to you." He wasn't speaking to the CIA in general, he was speaking to her. But this can be waved away, because it's just a feeling of what's to come, and nothing more solid, so the writers can ignore it, and hope none of us paid any attention to such fore-shadowing.

    I'm not down on the show. I've really enjoyed this season when I ignore all the gratuitous distractions. I've even loved the show many times, like back in season 3 which could have been awesome. Lena/Annie/Simon was sublime. Add in Joan/Lena and it becomes a masterpiece. There was even hilarity. Cool Step spy Mom vs. Stick up the butt spy Mom fighting for custody of baby spy. Just glorious stuff. But sadly, we only got a glimpse! And I could have watched an entire season, but that might have been way to much estrogen for most : )

    And McQuaid's character has really worked for Annie and the Show in general. Boy has it worked:) Sorry if I'm clogging up your blog. :) Has anyone watched State of Affairs and is it any good? I keep missing it.

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    1. No worries keep the comments coming; you're not clogging up anything although I do wish more of the Anons would post from actual accounts with names so I can keep you all straight hahaha. Glad to have you guys on board; the more the merrier. ;)

      I have thoughts on a bunch of this stuff which I will post later when I have more time, but for now I'll just say - I refuse to watch State of Affairs because a) Katherine Heigl no thanks and b) it has not gotten good reviews. Most of them call it a mediocre Homeland wannabe. Plus its use of "Affairs" in the title coupled with its theme just rubs me the wrong way hahah. Now everyone will get it confused with CA. Pfft.

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    2. At least I left you a tag, Anon #1855. I came here because of CA, and if it's gonna get cancelled, there's not much reason to have an account. So here's hoping it'll get a final season, and I'll join :) I think it will, but a shortened one to wrap things up?

      NO WAY can anyway confuse Piper with Katherine Heigl, so no worries about that! O, I loved Homeland S1 and 2, majorly loved it, but 3 just made me crazy and I haven't tried since the baby scene IDK, I might rent DVDs to see what became of Quinn. He kinda became my fav. But back to CA, I'll look forward to your thoughts.

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    3. What you said about Homeland echoes my experience with it almost exactly hahaha. It started to annoy me mid-season 2 but I stuck with it. I HATED season 3, and still tried to watch season 4 but gave up after like 4.04 or so. Quinn was also the only reason I was still watching by that point. Supposedly last week's ep was a great Quinn ep so now I'm tempted to go back and watch it. Errgh.

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  6. "Mockingjay Part 1 has taken a lot of flak from a good number of critics for being half a movie. And they're right, it IS half a movie. A very GOOD half... Katniss quite literally stands on the sidelines watching the action from a television screen."

    I actually loved that they went for it and put her on the sidelines. It's daring to not hammer the same, predictable, nail into the wall in every movie. If there is anything I can praise this series over others is that they have not been afraid of shifting things up. However, this splitting the final movies up into two... fuckin' idiotic. Even more so with "The Hobbit" but I felt Harry Potter failed miserably on that front too.

    Anyway, as a hardcore, radical, fuck-men-and-not-in-a-good-way feminist, I also think feminists tend to be too sensitive about male perspective story telling. Let the story tellers tell the story they want to tell. When we push for them to tell a story differently, we are taking inspiration away from the writers and essentially asking them to write fan fiction versions of their own work. That's how we end up with shitty work that purports to be about "girl power" or "feminism" when all it is is SHIT STORY TELLING pandering to an ideology.

    I feel like what too many people want is "girl power" and not feminism. And I have as much distaste for "girl power" as I do male dominance. If the story doesn't call for it, please don't pander.

    Having said that, the problem with this episode, for me, is characters behaving in ways that contradict years of setup, just so the writers can surprise the audience later. This is my problem with virtually all television and movies. It's also why I appreciate GONE GIRL... it stuck to its premise. It didn't try to trick you at the end. Hell, it didn't try to trick you at all. It just told a story that had a mystery for some of it. But in the end, the characters did EXACTLY WHAT THE WRITING SET UP. Sure, some people disliked the ending, but it's honest.

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    1. Anon #1855

      All great points.

      I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't want 'girl power'. I just want 'Protagonist Power', who in this case, just happens to be a girl. Don't know if that makes sense.

      I'm not even sure I would call myself a feminist. I'm just a girl, who loves stories about powerful girls in stories. :)

      But one of my favorite stories at the moment is Arrow, and Oliver is definitely not a girl.

      But seriously, what you said is what frustrates me too. I joined in the discussion, but I wasn't talking about male vs. female storytelling to pander to any ideology. It should be about storytelling period. My itchy scratch with this series is exactly about this. They clearly set up a premise and a Protagonist right at the start, and they chose to tell a story about Annie Walker. The problem I see is that the writers haven't allowed the character to develop in a way that's satisfying. I feel like I'm always getting the appetizer. Season 3 was showing a lot of promise.

      Take Suffragate City, for instance. A huge missed opportunity to delve into the unconscious of their main character. To give us some insights as to what makes Annie Walker who she is, especially in light of pre shooing, and post shooting Annie. But instead, we get a romantic reset. Epic fail. What I saw there was pandering and they sacrificed a great vehicle to pander to shipping. What I got from that ep was, 'O she's still harboring a previous crush' to justify the last few seconds of that season.

      I realize this is television, and it needs to have a sense of ensemble, as oppose to film or a novel where you can really focus on the main character, but you can still develop and center the series around your main character and tell his/her story while simultaneously develop interesting characters with their stories and how it relates to the Protagonist.

      I absolutely agree that good story telling is best when it's about the story the author/creator wishes to tell, but that requires a solid VISION. And that's where CA frustrates me. I just don't get a strong sense of vison for their main character. I mean, they can't even get her birthdate right!

      IDK, I guess in the end, we all get frustrated when we care about something enough to bitch and moan about it. Which in itself is an achievement in many ways, that we invest in it. For all my moaning, I'm invested in Covert Affairs until the end.

      But yeah, tell the story you want to tell, and let it rest it's case is the way to go

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    2. D'OH just saw this! Been going crazy on something else today. I'm still going nuts on the other thing BUT I'm curious:

      "Having said that, the problem with this episode, for me, is characters behaving in ways that contradict years of setup, just so the writers can surprise the audience later."

      What contradictory ways did you notice? Just curious. I didn't catch them or else maybe I'm just forgetting hahah.

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    3. O.k. I have a few more minutes now to comment on the rest of this haha - I'm totally with you on the "girl power" thing - I've read a couple great articles on the fairly bullshitty nature of today's "Strong Female Character" ... and now I'm too lazy to find any links hahah. But anyway it probably came off like I was talking girl power here because of the "Annie plus dudes" and "Katniss plus dudes" thing, but I actually meant it in more of a "main character" way than a "main *chick* character" kinda way. And I agree 100% that first and foremost the writers need to focus on telling the story well, I just also think it's human nature for the audience to feel frustrated when the main character gets sidelined either right at the end of the season or right at the climactic part of the movie. I tend to be on edge with it about Annie in particular too, because the writers have had so much trouble in the past with writing her as a fully-formed human (but I greatly appreciate their improvement on that this year).

      (Side Note: Of course the one example that pops into my head of a scenario when I'm FINE with the lead character being sidelined would be Homeland hahaha. Give me The Quinn Show and THEN I'll watch).

      Anywho with all that said, CA actually *does* have a bit of a problem with a lot of its female characters other than Annie and Joan. So some of us who watch it do tend to get a little jumpy about the female stereotypes. And I think some of that jumpiness did play into our "Annie plus dudes" annoyance ... "Like oh my boys are here yay they can do all the hard stuff and I'll just run around looking vaguely concerned" hahaha. But again it actually worked out completely fine because they all played their part. And part of the intent of my review was to argue that everyone actually DID pull their equal weight on the mission by the time the ep was over. And it felt perfectly natural to me; I thought the story was well-told and didn't feel forced. BUT I'm still extremely curious to find out who you thought was behaving out of character for story contrivance purposes hahaha. I can't think of who it could be ... other than maybe Auggie leaving Argentina at the end. Or Joan? Hmm.

      As for Mockingjay - It's funny because I honestly spent the last 15-20 minutes of the movie mainly just being confused at why a particular part from the book had not happened yet. I realized later that it actually occurs later in the story; my mind was just fuzzy because it's been like 3+ years since I read it. But I definitely noticed the "Katniss on the sidelines" situation mainly because I was trying to diagnose why some critics were so pissed off haha. But you're right that if they hadn't split the movies, none of this would be a problem to begin with. And I'm also totally in agreement that they've taken risks with this series that have largely worked out and let it stand out from many other YA series. Other than the whole, "We have to split the final book into 2 movies" thing that EVERYONE does now haaha.

      p.s. Is it weird that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 is my favorite movie in that whole series? I can't entirely explain why. It's slow. But somehow it worked for me.

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    4. That's what I meant about it being 'Protagonist Power.' They asked us to follow the main character and go on this journey with, in this case, 'her'. So the audience has expectations, unless off course, you simply can't stand the main character, in which case, most just stop watching.

      That said, I don't have to like the protagonist either. The character can be either really compelling, or so likable that I'll go along with him/her, or the content is so compelling I'll watch even if I hate all the characters. lol.

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  7. CanadianAnon

    I watch these episodes ahead of time here in Canada, and let me tell you this episode like the last one was a waste of my bandwith. Maybe I have become jaded as i've been watching CA since the very first episode and no longer expect much in writing in this show or maybe I pay too much attention and realize the gaps in this show. It's no MI5 that for sure, loved that British spy show... Maybe the writers of CA should watch it and pay attention to how spy shows are done.

    I think the Auggie-fanfanatics in Twitterdom and Facebookland are just cementing the idea of me no longer watching this show. Seriously, I often think I'm watching a different show ! I'm starting to think the
    writers follow the suggestions of the Auggie Affairs fans.

    They have released the plot idea for Season 6 and it's to somehow reunite Annie with her sister. How they are going to do that with her sister thinking she's dead will be interesting. It's sooo Days of Lives... We are going from a spy show to soap opera. Plus I landed on a link that is introducing a new character. Great. This show is so The Walking Dead, multiple story lines with nowhere to go...

    The only good part of this episode is Joan putting her pants on and putting Auggie in his place and the
    McWalker scene. The rest was worthy of my fast foward button. Auggie's head is getting to big for his blind eyes. What's with the contact lenses anyway? It would make sense if he had partial sight (researched this) and not if he was fully blind.

    Personally, I think her heart condition is going to play a major role here in the last episode. I'm secretly
    hoping they kill off Auggie. Unfortnately, they don't show the promo's for the next episode here so i haveto rely on the crap that's on youtube. It seems to me she says "she will risk her life to keep her job". It could mean she will over exert her heart to save the blind man who is a liability on the field
    and will end up in hospital with McQuaid at her side.. (like she was for him).

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  8. CanadianAnonFan

    OMG, canadian Anon, tell us how you feel:) How'd you get the dirt on S6? They won't kill of Auggie. They write the show around how many scenes can they take his shirt off. It's quality writing you know.

    Those were my favorite scenes too. Especially McWalker kicking ass. I do hope you'll visit again if you get anymore goods on S6, if it happens.

    I think you might have the ending right about her heart. But I think it'll be because of Joan and the CIA's demands to keep Belenko alive. The difference being a quick bullet in the head, or extensive evasion, battle and running around until her poor little heart can no longer take it. The promo looks like Annie is breathing hard.

    Sister and walking dead? Hmm, actually that's peeked my interest. Where is this link? Heh, I wouldn't mind a reunion, and it doesn't have to be a soap opera. I never got the impression with Annie and Danielle being soapy, because they're not melodramatic actors. Melodrama = Auggie. That's where all the melodrama is, and it appeals to the most vocal fans of CA's fandom, who are probably young, female and thinks that this is a soap opera about something or another.

    The thing you said about Twitterdom and Facebook is interesting, as I was just reading some discussions in another fandom about social media being too influential on show runners. And the fact that the most rabid, vocal ones may in part, drive the direction of the stories because the writers are trying to please the most vocal fans as that's all they'll hear. Usually too, that these fans are shippers who don't care about the stories, premise or the show at all, just about their favorite pairing getting together.

    After reading some tweets like, "This show would be so much better if it were centered around Auggie" or "I can't wait for this show (Covert Affairs) to get cancelled." I remember thinking that's pretty fucked up, wishing the cast and crew out of a job just because the show isn't being written for your ship. But I do think that this is just a handful of obsessed fans, and I do think that the majority of fans or perfectly nice and sane, but you know what they say about squeeky wheels.

    I hope the show runners realize that, most vocal, does NOT equal consensus. Especially in CA, as the show skews older. The majority of CA fans watch it without ever talking about it on social media. In the case of this show, the Auggie Affairers, though not running the show, just might be running their twitter numbers, which is tracked by Nielsons? (correct me if I'm wrong) with specific hashtags. Why do you think the hashtags have been biased for Auggie of late. They want these guys to tweet. Off course, I could be completely wrong, not knowing all the ins and outs of this stuff. I'm willing to be educated.

    You too! I don't think there's many in the fandom who doesn't find August Anderson perfect. He's such a MARTY STU I can't take the Auggie character seriously and haven't in a long time. What with everything he's able to do. Leap tall buildings, hear everything, smell every perfume. But I guess if you've bagged every woman in DC, you might know alot about perfumes. Not to mention that he knows EYERYONE, everyone loves him and all owe him a favor or three. O and he's been on every mission or know about missions that the CIA doesn't. As for his ego? It was already fat, frequently telling us he's the best at his job, what a great body he's got, or how great he looks in a tux. HaHa. He might as well be a comic character, except they are more interesting.
    uhm sorry, rant over.

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    Replies
    1. Hey CanadianAnon and Other Anon (lol) -

      I haven't gotten a chance to read through these fully yet (I will later I swear ;), but for now I just want to make a note that I'm pretty sure no info about any S6 plan has been released. The most I've ever seen about Danielle was in a fairly recent(-ish) interview with Corman & Ord (showrunners) where the interviewer asked if Danielle might ever be brought back if there is a season 6 of the show. Their answer was like, "Oh hmm maybe." Which is essentially completely meaningless hahahh. It was an answer of "maybe" to a topic that would not have even been touched on (or may have never even entered their minds at any point) if it hadn't been specifically asked.

      So bottom line: I don't think anyone outside of the showrunners/producers/USA know what season 6 might entail. Assuming they actually get one (arrgh - eff you USA Network).

      p.s. I actually DO hope that Danielle would at least be in an ep or two if season 6 happens. I don't mind that they got rid of her as a series regular, but her complete and total disappearance off the face of the earth (in CA land) has been unfortunate.

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  9. CanadianAnon,

    I read the Plopper review since landing by accident on it via a google search several episodes back of CA, but I don't always comment. Too Canadian of me :)

    The worst comments on FB page are "This show is too violent, I couldn't sleep", "Don't use the lord's name in vain", and what they pretend to see what's in a scene "Did you see how lovingly she touched Auggie while searching for tracker?" or "Did you see that smile she gave Auggie, she loves him" Huh? Am I watching something else?

    The ratings are bad. They took a severe dip on Ep. 11 and Ep.12 because heaven forbid should the episode star Annie and not the "I haven't hit puberty" Anderson. Someone should tell him the starved waif look went out the window years ago. Can you tell I really don't like him? LOL. I think the Auggie Affair fans are going to be one of the causes this show might be cancelled, and I have a feeling it will. It's unfortunate. It's somewhat an original show (see my comment about MI-5).

    Ratings Info: http://seriable.com/covert-affairs-cancelled-renewed-season-6/


    My reference to Days of Our Lives was to "dead" characters coming back to life in the show. Why don't they revive McQuaid's dead wife while they are it? I think they have no idea what direction to go into.

    In looking back for my links about season 6, I found this but wasn't my actual link:

    "Our family is always a part of our life. For Annie, in her life, I think her sister is always there. She sent a postcard to her last year in a moment of great duress. So if you asked Annie, I think her sister and her nieces are always close to her heart, so it’s not inconceivable that they would circle back in a potential season six."

    When did she send her sister a postcard? Is she even aware Auggie called her sister seasons ago and told her she was dead when she wasn't? Possibly, more lies Mr. Anderson has been keeping from her but yet has the gall to chastise her for lying. A pure case of "Pot calling the kettle black". Auggie has issues with girl power and tries to use the fact Annie has issues with guilt to control her so he feels like a man.

    The new character is played by Ana Ortiz from "Ugly Betty" ?? Here is the info
    http://www.buddytv.com/articles/covert-affairs/covert-affairs-season-5-finale-ana-ortiz-55327.aspx

    I think this is supposed to tied into the DPD losing their funding and being outsourced.

    That's all I got for now until the next comment or last episode.

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  10. CanadianAnonFan

    Hey thanks for that link. :) I lurked for a bit too before commenting. Probably too British :)

    Seriously!?! "That's hilarious. You're definitely watching a different show, and if your show is anything like mine, it went something like this. "Man, he looks like shit, but why the hell do I have to do this? Maybe I can get Ryan to hunt for bugs." Glances at the door and willing for McQuaid to hurry up. "I hope he gets here before I have to start looking south. Damn, If he'd stayed at home, we wouldn't be followed by invisible bugs. Why the hell couldn't he have stayed at home where Joan can babysit his ass."

    As for ratings, to be fair, that happens like clockwork in this series as the eleventh episode starts the returning Fall eps. And here in the U.S, that goes up against one of the strongest network nights during Fall TV. I think if this show ran straight through the summer, the ratings would stay as they did in the summer. But there has been an alarming drop in ratings in the last couple of seasons. Coincidentally, when the soap opera began! And really, it's natural for shows to lose viewers over time for whatever reason. But I do suspect a lot of the remaining fan base are looking for the romance in the show rather than the show that was originally created. I'm guessing that's why we see the pandering.

    Annie did send Danielle a postcard right before she faked her death and the tone of it would have made any sister go storming into DC demanding answers. But...

    I really don't know how it's possible for Auggie to have known what she and Calder had planned as Calder sure as hell would not have been burning up the airwaves disclosing any plans, so he must have told Auggie in DC. The following ep made it look like Auggie was in on it from the beginning. Probably a plot hole. But he was the logical choice to tell Danielle, after all, they went all the way and legally declare her dead. And as many issues as I have with his character, this one had to be hard for him. What happened after that is anyone's guess as the writers didn't feel like addressing it.

    See, I hate that Annie's 'legal resurrection' was never mentioned at all considering she had a death certificate. And off course in real life, she and Calder would have been in front of the Senate hearing Committee for months answering for all this, even if they were ultimately declared heroes at the end of it all for taking down a heavy weight traitor like Wilcox. It would have really added some gravitas to the show, made us 'feel' the aftermath, and would have made for interesting character development. I sure would have like seeing something like this and traded in some of those useless Auggie Affairs scenes.

    I'm not exactly his biggest fan either, lol. I used to really like him despite his ego, but since somewhere around late season 3, he's just been grating and grating on my nerves, especially his double standards. One set of rules for him, and one for Annie. Ugh! Hypocrite. See, you shouldn't have gotten me started, lol.




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  11. I was one of those bitching about this show on Twitter, and fwiw, I think it's unfair to blame everyone's lack of love for CA this season on "Auggie Affairs" showblindness and 'shipper woes.

    For starters, I was totally supportive of the Auggie/Annie relationship at the end of S3 and was hoping they would reunite after S4. But then I saw the premiere of S5 and realized that was a) not going to happen, and b) that not happening was the least of this show's worries.

    I'm also not a fan of McWalker, largely because it takes what could be an interesting character (McQuaid) and shaves him down until he's nothing more than a Love Interest for Annie. That's his sole purpose, and he has no agency outside of those parameters. A couple of people have nitpicked how the women have been treated this season, and I wholeheartedly agree. It's a damn shame a woman can't walk by Auggie without his magical peen piquing her interest. But the same thing happened with McQuaid.

    My main nitpick this season has been the boredom factor. Early on in the season, I would watch an episode, and get to the end, and not really know what happened. So I would re-watch it. And still not know really what happened. Around episode 4 I stopped re-watching. By the mid-season finale, I half-heartedly listened to episodes while I cleaned my kitchen. I haven't watched an episode since. I'd much rather skim a recap than sit through an episode.

    The writers shit the bed on this season. They just did. Too many balls were dropped. Too many punches pulled. Too much stuff swept under the rug, retconned for shits and giggles. And the most frustrating part is that they had so much to work with. They didn't need to throw in all these half-assed plot threads that ultimately lead nowhere. Like Annie's heart condition. Like Annie leaving the CIA. Like McWalker. Like Auggie boning Tash and that other girl whose name I forgot. Like Calder and the hooker.

    I could go on about things they could have done better, but no one wants to hear that. Instead, let me say that the reason I hated this season had little to do with things not going my way, and everything to do with the fact that in wanting to go another direction, the writers ended up writing a completely different show with all new characters.

    And they wonder why they're bleeding viewers.

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  12. **CanadianAnon**

    CanadianAnonFan.

    It's different up here because we don't have a "mid season break" when watching CA. It airs in the
    USA first and then starts here a few weeks later (mid-season break delay) so that we watch it as a whole season. I noticed on FB that alot of viewers are confused about Thursdays episode.

    Liz, with all due respect, each and every person has the right to voice their opinion, and it's not for
    me to poop on. My gripe with the Twit and FB fandom is the shippers who disrespect others people's opinions who do not match theirs and threaten the show with their leaving if the show doesn't go their way (Walkerson) and with whom you cannot hold an intelligent conversation about anything because their views are narrow-sighted and won't listen to reason. And go as far as stating the show has been ruined because of it. Since we are both on the CA FBland, we both know who this is.

    I personally find that Annie/Auggie were friends with benefits at most. I really don't care about the love
    interest, although I took offense at the Annie/Auggie thing because of Auggie's personality and really
    it was weird. His issue with girl power, being manipulative of Annie to his benefit and becoming the male version of Sydney. I really don't care who she's with, she can be with Barber for all I care. I like McQuaid only because he treats her the way a woman deserves to be treated, with respect and undivided attention and keeping the zipper to his pants closed around other women. I also like Eyal, who with his easy going, fun personality brings a different dimension to the episode. He's like Annie's conscious, he's a soothing balm to her soul.

    what i am not understanding is let it go. It's done, it's over. Auggie can't keep the zipper to his pants
    closed. Don't tell me cheating on your partner, then rubbing said multiple lovers in her face is seriously
    acceptable in society now and still deem it as "True Love". Come on he was sleeping with two women
    at a point Tash and Hayley. People like that end up on Maury Povich. It's a form of psychological and emotional abuse. What gets my blood pressure up with when I read it's Annie rubbing her lovers in Auggies face and she's being malicious. Is there some kind of double standard where what Auggie does it accepted but what Annie does it, she's become a loose woman?

    I want my storyline back, it's all I ask. I want it the way it was back in Season 1 and Season 2 where my fast-foward button reserved for commercials only and not the show.I want the showrunners to take the center of attention off of Auggie and put it back onto Annie where it belongs. I whole heartedly agree with you, it's become boring. Why? Because the center of attention has shifted. Auggie started as a supporting character who suddenly became the main character and Annie the main character
    has become a supporting character. Hence the "Auggie Affairs".

    Argh!

    I think i ranted too long. I'll be quiet now. LOL.

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  13. Anon,

    We're on the same wavelength. For my part, I'm often criticized by the anti-Walkerson contingent and accused of being a mad shipper who wants the show destroyed. Like any complaint at all must be born out of Walkerson Breakup Anger and is therefore invalid, when really, the relationship drama, no matter who's side you're on, is kind of the cherry on top of a bullshit sundae. The show has so many other, serious problems.

    I don't get the "Auggie Affairs" perspective. But that could be because I didn't give much attention to this season, and follow things on social media. I bitched about the show and got some responses, both from the WALKERSON FOREVER and YOU'RE JUST A BITTER SHIPPER camps, but I don't actively participate in communities, except sometimes here, where I skim recaps every now and then. Not saying it's not there. I'm sure it is. But I'm not inundated with it therefore it doesn't bother me so much.

    (It took me a while to figure out what CAFBLand was, but once I got it, omg, agree. I don't venture round those parts now unless I'm drunk or in a particularly rotten pit of self-loathing.)

    I will say, though, that I totally get the 'shipper anger. It's not my jam, but it's totally justified. I've watched from the beginning, and Annie/Auggie were clearly set up to be endgame, much like Castle and Beckett or Luke and Lorelei or Booth and Bones. It was never poised as a question of "if." Whether you're pro-Walkerson or anti-Walkerson, the fact is, the writers spent four years building up that relationship, only to crap all over it in season 5.

    And you're right. It's over. It can't be endgame anymore. They screwed the pooch. The only way to achieve that endgame is to open season six--and it's highly unlikely there will be a season six at this point--with a retcon of season five, which is how we got into this mess to begin with.

    So while I don't always agree with how and where that anger is directed, I still believe even the maddest of shippers are entitled to their ire.

    I can't buy into McWalker because it rings false that Annie would have fluffy bunny feelings for anyone at this point. She can't even keep a plant alive. She can't even call her sister. Yet she's OMG SO IN LURVE with McQuaid? Right. Whatever. The whole thing felt rigged and held about as much interest for me as a Duggar courtship. And I still say the writers neutered McQuaid's character by developing him as Annie's Love Interest. They played it too safe and ended up making him this perfect(ly boring) guy who is just awesome(ly boring), when they could have played up the moral ambiguity that goes into building a private security firm.



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  14. McQuaid's last episode .. tonight.

    Any opposers?

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    1. Not really, since it's the last episode for everyone. Good luck to the cast in their future endevours. Special thanks to Ms.Perabo for carrying this series for 5 seasons.

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    2. Was that a grenade or a ladyfinger firecracker?

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  15. **CanadianAnon**

    Has it been made official? I thought they were waiting for the ratings for tonight's show?

    I don't think it's McQuaid's last episode, I think the issue will lie with Annie not McQuaid. I'm not saying Annie will be killed off but something will happen to her.

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  16. CanadianAnon

    (CanadianAnonFan) So did you see the S5 finale yet? What did you think? McWalker was totally the best part of the finale.(For me anyway) I could just watch a brand new show with these two and Eyal. Then with Belenko being an ambiguous character. Maybe Olga didn't die so she would work with Annie too.

    I think USA should give us a TV movie, like sometime in the future of the characters, since I don't think we'll get anymore with that ending.


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