31 July, 2013

The Plopper Review - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.03: 'Into the White'

Have I already mentioned that Teo Braga may be my new Simon Fischer?  Yeah ... 4.03 “Into the White” pretty well solidified that.  For now, at least.  Sigh.  “Do you trust me?”  YES Teo, YES ... your wish is my command.  Your sweet sexy puma eyes have melted my heart!!  I’m yours.  You DO still know true north honey!!  Let’s talk it out.  There, there.

Answer me this though ... I’m tired, I have a headache, and my brain is moving slowly tonight ... but how is it that it took Annie & Team so long to figure out that the Solstar meeting was the target of the ALC bomb plot?  Didn’t we already know last week that Solstar was going to be having a big executive pow-wow in Colombia the following week?  And of course, Henry (who is in bed with Solstar) is the one who gave Annie the intel about the bomb plot to begin with.  Shouldn’t that have been higher on Annie’s list of possible targets before she even got to Colombia?  Also, is it a little convenient that amongst the torture devices, weapons, laptops, and other random junk at the CIA Black Site, there also just so happened to be a brochure/packet for the Solstar meeting laying around??  Kinda funny.

O.k. since I started this with a gripe (or else a dumb misunderstanding on my part), let me get to one more of those before I get to the good stuff:  What the hell is UP with that Senator Pierson biznatch!!??  What is her damage, and why does she have such a vendetta against Joan??  I mean ... were her accusations of Joan using Arthur to climb the CIA ranks and being too dense to realize he was cheating on her just ... a little weirdly personal?  One thing I’ve always complained about with ‘Dexter’ since day one, even when it used to be a good show, is how ridiculously exaggerated some of the “bad guy” characters are ... beyond real life.  As in, a convenient way to make them extra hate-able.  It felt like there was a *little* of that going on with the Senator Pierson character here ... but maybe that’s just me?  And Joan’s blackmail, WOW!!  I don’t know whether to be disappointed in her dirty tactics, or bow down to her badassery here.  A bit of both.  And I definitely appreciate the layered characters on this show.  No one ever seems to be 100% “good” or “bad.”

O.k. now let’s get to the stuff I liked.  First off, this episode contained a shockingly high number of moments that made me laugh out loud, by myself, at my TV.  And yes, I mean that in a good way.  Even from the very first scene: In the parking garage, Annie says to Arthur/Joan, “It’s intel that suggests that Teo may be involved in a bomb threat against an American target in Colombia.”  Arthur’s “It’s a total lie!” spoken simultaneously over Joan’s “I’ll get this to South America desk, loop in the CTC (etc)… right away” cracked me UP.  Other crack-ups: EVERY scene where Teo flustered the crap out of Annie.  From the first time she found him and he threw her exit package papers all over the ground for her to dive and grab, to the moment at the CIA black site when he answered her proud/accomplished, “That’s right I can get you out of here (if you tell me the ALC target)!!” with a swift kick to the chest.  And knowing that kick was coming (from the preview) meant that Calder’s warning, “He can kick out 5 feet so stay back at least 6,” right before leaving her alone with him made me laugh really, REALLY hard.

We got some good character interactions in this episode as well.  Annie and Calder trying to work out their different approaches to their spycraft was fun.  Like in the jungle: “Well I want him captured alive.”  Calder: “Alive is the toughest option.”  Calder then questions Annie on whether she really knows when to give up on trying to charm/turn a target and instead simply ... well, deal with them another way, let’s say.  Also, we got yet another *very* interesting Annie/Joan conversation following baby Teo’s smackdown (kickdown).  “You don’t need to worry ... do you understand?  You have my support on ... whatever you need.”  Again, Annie looked a tad bit choked up at the end of that.  I still wish these two would communicate better with each other, but I’m very glad to see them back on good terms this season.

My other random thoughts:
  • It’s one thing to ask your boyfriend for a favor like killing a spider or doing your laundry ... it’s *quite* another to ask him to break the news to your boss that you KILLED her close colleague-slash-buddy-slash-ex-boyfriend.  Oopsie!!  Auggie wins enough points for like 20 good boyfriends on that front.
  • I liked Auggie’s little Marshall Flinkman moment with his untraceable cell phone prototype.  If only he could’ve tied the number 47 in there somehow.  “It’s a prime number.”
  • “You just packed my favorite t-shirt, didn’t you??”  “I was hoping you’d think it was in the wash, and then I felt bad!!”  Last week Piper Perabo won the “cutest line delivery” of all time award (per Chris Gorham and all CA fans on Twitter) with her “That’s my forehead” line.  She may have actually managed to match it again this week with the “I felt bad!!” line here.  The cuteness of these A&A scenes this season has been pretty damn great so far.  I hope they can keep this up.
  • Colombia looked pretty fuckin’ (err, gosh darn) awesome in this ep ... damn, fans of this show are spoiled as hell with all the on-location shooting.  It’s the thing that makes CA stand out from everything else on TV, and I hope they never stop doing this as long as the series lasts and despite any budget cuts they may be forced to endure in future seasons (NONE I hope!) haha.
  • In that first scene of Joan’s “interview” with the Senate Intelligence Committee, the guy asks, “We all reviewed the intelligence surrounding Jay Wilcox’s death ... We also read a closed file about an unnamed operative who was shot in her house, here in Washington.”  Proof of how useless my brain is tonight – I seriously had ZERO idea who this statement referred to until I rewound it and watched again hahaha.  Oy.
  • I know everyone thinks Auggie’s protective behavior over Annie is super sweet and cute and all ... but at what point does it become a little too “controlling boyfriend”-y?  I get it from his side, don’t get me wrong, and it’s not like he’s not still letting her do her thing.  He is.  I’m curious to see how long that lasts though.  Is she gonna have to tell him to step off at some point?
  • Annie’s reactions/flinches to Calder’s beating Teo at the CIA black site were priceless.  And Calder’s giddiness at grabbing the jumper cable thingies and water bucket - also funny.
  • “I know exactly what I did to him.  I know that 4 blows to the head and not 5 would be the difference between the hospital and death.”  Oh, sweet Teo, you had me at “4 blows to the head.”  Swoon.
  • If that final sequence had ended before Annie made it back home to Auggie, I would’ve bashed in my TV with the remote.

One last thought to end this: Remember the quote I gave in my 4.01 “Vamos” review from Myles McNutt’s AV Club review, the one that gave me the “ah ha!” moment?  The one that asked, “Who is Annie other than a vessel of the series’ narrative?”  A major part of Myles’ point was that in season 3 (more like mid-season 3 onward in my personal opinion), most of Annie’s motivations have centered around OTHER people: Saving Eyal, convincing Simon to turn himself in, seeking revenge for Simon’s death, helping Simon’s sister, etc. etc.  This season feels similar so far: She’s trying to protect Auggie from being brought down by the Arthur scandal, she’s trying to help Arthur, to help Teo, to help Joan, etc.  Even with the theme of “secrets” this season, all the secrets so far are OTHER people’s secrets.  What about Annie herself??  What’s HER deal??  I already harped on that in ep 4.01, and now I’m thinking I may be asking that question for a while ... but we’ll see.  We shall see.

EP 4.03 GRADE: B+

I liked this one a bit better than the premiere, which I also gave a B+, but let’s call this like an 89% vs. an 87% for the premiere.  Maybe I should start rating these out of 100 like HGF does.  Now tell me I’m a nutjob in the comments below.

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  1. HA were you just out there looking for random cute pics of Piper Perabo for this one? ;-) Maybe I should do a review of Coyote Ugly next ...

    1. I just wanted something different.

    2. Hahaha well the hypothetical Coyote Ugly review that I just pictured in my head was prettyyyy ... entertaining. And it required zero effort of actually thinking or saying anything interesting or writing anything down, so thank you.

      Hahah no but for realsies it is good to change the pic up now and then. I was thinking of looking for another one last week but I got too lazy.

      p.s. Thanks for making me famous-ish!! ;-)


      Nick Frost AND Edgar Wright both called their next movie "Plopperlicious" on TV! How more famous can you get?!

    4. Wow. WOW. We have hit the big time. I never thought I would see this day. We better get some sort of credit in that movie!! Is there such thing as a "title writing" credit? Lmao.

    5. Sorry, it was Ploppalicious. You'd think I'd know my own writing.

      Anyway, I think I should be able to get my WGA card out of it... ;)


      Why are we hijacking this comment section with our bullshit?!

    6. HAHAAH to trick people into thinking this post is super popular. I've been a bit too tired to put forth the effort to beg people to click/comment yet today, but I'm going to try to do that now. ;-)

  2. i really like this episode ! it was soo action packed ! i like the way annie handles herslef in the shooting scene wit hills character . hill is a badass !! anyway , i still dont agree wit annie n auggies relationship because i also have the feeling that auggie will get over protective and become this controlling freak . trust me , i seen it happen in real life !! not a pretty picture ppl ! its nice that he gave her a phone tho lol my opinion about Teo is that i wouldnt trust him wit my last penny . i mean the guy seems toooooo suspicious to me for some odd reason . annie should of blown his head off . idk y she was stalling . lmao i thought she had already shot em when i heard the gun go off and it went to a damn commercial break . i was like "WTF MAN !!" i hate it when tv shows do that ! they make ur ass wait for stuff n u sitting there like "Well .... did it happen or didnt it happen ? whats the deal ?" know what i mean ? and i noticed that piper wore her favorite boots in this episode . she must REALLY like those boots . :-) anyway , great review ploppins . n yes u r a nutjob lol jk jk

    1. There is something about those boots of Piper's that is oddly comforting to me every single time I see her wearing them hahahaha ... like a walking talking version of the "Stars, They're Just Like Us!" section of Us Weekly. And the fact that she wore them ON the show makes it even more amazing. Also, I genuinely think they're cute. And maybe that explains how CA gets away with all those foreign on-location shoots budget-wise ... they take the money out of wardrobe. ;-)

  3. Hey Plops. Another great review! I have to agree with you that Pierson felt aggressively villainous straight out of the gate. I actually think she might have twisted her bleached moustache at one point. It seemed pretty obvious that you were supposed to forgive Joan for blackmailing such a total biznatch. I'm curious what their plan is with the Person story line in the future (if any.) Let's hope it doesn't turn into a Joan Pill Popping saga of yesteryear...(AKA classic Dexter side plot.)

    Also, the whole Annie Finds Pamphlet About SoleStar Meeting At Just the Right Moment Among Killing Objects Recovered from Jungle, moment was a bit of a WTF moment for me. When Annie's "Spycraft" becomes just using her eyes, I have to laugh. Outside of that however, I felt like the episode as a whole, was a win.

    I totally agree about Puma Cubs sweet, soulful eyes...Yes, I trust you sweet baby puma. I trust you. I'm looking forward to much more of him (fingers crossed) this season. I cant say he has eclipsed Simon for me yet though...

    Finally, the cute factor between Auggie and Annie is sickening. I love it. I want more.

    See you here next Wednesday!!

    1. "Let's hope it doesn't turn into a Joan Pill Popping saga of yesteryear..." HAHAH YES, goddamn those pills will haunt me to my deathbed.

      "When Annie's 'Spycraft' becomes just using her eyes, I have to laugh." Ha haaaaaaaa!! "Spycraft": Stumbling over the baby elephant in the room, noticing said baby elephant.

      "I cant say he has eclipsed Simon for me yet though..." OHHH no it would take a LOT to overtake Simon Fischer that's for sure.

  4. I love when the show uses real (or realistic) jargon. I love when the show does realistic mission objectives and problems.

    I roll my eyes whenever the show does the silly resolution stuff, or the cheesy OH NO HE BAD OH NO HE GOOD OH NO crap.

    It's silly. And this show has demonstrated (especially during the first half of season 3) that it doesn't need it one bit.

    1. So far this season I have learned what a "cut-out" is. ;-)

      "or the cheesy OH NO HE BAD OH NO HE GOOD OH NO crap" Hahaha I'm assuming you're referring to Teo with this one ... or is it both Calder and Teo? That type of thing can get obnoxious real quick, I agree. I'm trying to think how much they've done it in the past ... I mean I suppose Simon was a bit of that type, but they didn't waste much time on it. Actually where I think they did a poor job with this in the past was Jai, mainly because not only was I never quite sure where he was coming from or what his motivations were, but they never got around to fully defining him as a character before killing him off.

      And agreed on the "silly resolution stuff," that was my biggest issue with the ep.

  5. First, can I say that week after week, I look just as much forward to your reviews as I do the actual show? When I read you, it's like the next best thing to us watching together and it makes me super happy! So I got a question? Is Teo named the Puma after the cat or the shoe? Because the way he kept giving Annie the slip in this Ep it could honestly be either. Dude is fast. Dude is slick. Dude has moves. Dude has skill. "Sorry for keeeeeking you!" It's ok, Teo. *strokes fur* Annie was warned and we all know she doesn't take direction very well. (Just ask Auggie) Which brings me to...Auggie. This guy has some serious serious serious control issues. Remember back in the very 1st season when he was getting all lie detectored up and the guy asks Auggie something about if he thinks he knows better. And I really think that's his main issue. He honestly thinks he can control certain situations. Trying to keep Annie home by telling her Teo is bad news is his way of I guess trying to protect her. It's a sort of God complex or a form of narcissism in a way. As long as you are in control then you can fix what goes wrong kind of way of thinking. I really don't think it's done in way to be sneaky manipulative or controlling because he man and she woman. And we don't know if he was always like this or this happened after he lost his sight. I get the feeling he has always been like this. Still...it's time to tell Annie already. Read her in. Spill, damnit. She's already in this up to her eyelashes. The longer Auggie waits the harder it's gonna be for Annie to understand WHY he waited. Oh Auggie. And who knew that "it's my new prototype. You're the only one who has it." was geek speak for "we're going steady now!" God, I adore Auggie. I really do. And the T-shirt promise! OMG. The T-Shirt PROMISE! You can't break a t-shirt promise. There was also lots of way cool jungle stuff. Guns. Bulletproof vests. Calder. Oh Sheriff Calder, how I wish you were the Sheriff of my town just so I could do bad and be....hey, wait...put down those jumper cables! That's some kinky shiz. There were a lot of words Calder kept throwing around and trying to 'splain to Annie...get and alive. Speeches were made. Whispers. I'm not sure if any of it really sunk in with Annie tho. B/C even at the end with the worst pokerface ever she tries to pass off some more "bullshit" to Calder. Hey, Sheriff! I wouldn't trust her ass either! LOL. Teo saved the day by killing that Pedro Mumble Mumble bomber at the Solstar Oil Fest! And dropped some more super seeekrut intel. Mumble Mumble Chinese dude? HOORAY BABY PUMA! And Joan, Joan, Joan, Joan...Joan. How much more is this woman gonna have to deal with? She's preggers. Her husband cheated, but not really. She has a step-son who's a double agent. Or does she? Her dead ex-boyfriend was a mole. She had to mop up the mess at his house where she conveniently found that file full of dirty nude-y pics of Sen Ratchet McNasty which she then used to blackmail her way to an office full of presents and drannnk and flowers! Only to find a note from Henry...gasp...telling her "well-played"....so...is Joanie just a puppet? Or the puppetmaster? Hmmmm.....Finally. Annie after giving away Auggie's special "going steady" phone returns home with Auggie's shirt. I think he forgot about the phone thing the minute she whipped off the shirt and flung it on his shoulder. EMBRACE. KISS. DOOR CLOSE. END SCENE. Best 90 seconds EVER! Can't wait for the secret BOMB to drop next week. It's supposed to be a "WHOPPER". DUN DUN DUNNNNNN.....

    1. "Pedro Mumble Mumble bomber" and "Mumble Mumble Chinese dude" AHAHAHAA I actually wrote some of those names down in my notes for the review!! That's how dedicated I am. ;-) And speaking of names ... I just re-read my review to see how coherent I was last night, and found yet another bit of proof of my rusty brain: I spelled Jai's name wrong. Please forgive me Jai, I have completely soiled your memory here and I feel terrible about it.

      WOW I am IMPRESSED with your full psychological analysis of Auggie here ... and I think you are spot on. I would love to find out if his control issues started before or after the blindness. I hear he may be having some more anger issues this season so that should be eeeenteresting.

      And Jesus yeah poor "Joanie" really is just getting SLAMMED with horribly shitty shit lately, isn't she? This might be an appropriate time to start that pill habit back up again. Just a suggestion.

      "B/C even at the end with the worst pokerface ever she tries to pass off some more bullshit to Calder" HAHAH that was actually another scene that made me laugh out loud, cause of her complete lack of interest in even attempting to cover that up properly. She helped Calder stop the bomb plot and that was that. She was OUTTIE.

      Now it's time to get nervous about Auggie's BOMBshell ...

  6. Update: I watched this ep again with my cousin last night & realized that my statement about the convenient Solstar brochure laying around at the CIA Black Site was not entirely fair. My brain really was rusty last Tuesday because I was missing the fact that obviously the brochure came from the ALC site along with all the laptops and guns and stuff. Duh, stupid mistake on my part. Though my cousin didn't miss this obvious connection and still thought it seemed overly convenient.

    In any event though, my bigger issue with it is the fact that it took Annie and team that long to even consider the Solstar meeting as being a possible target. That should have been one of the top possibilities on their list before Annie even left for Colombia.