07 August, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.04: 'Rock A My Soul'

Wow, should I be flattered that we viewers of ‘Covert Affairs’ are so “high class” that the main product placement being used this season is for the Jaguar F-Type?? 

I know TV advertising and viewing habits are a much different beast these days than they used to be ... with my TiVo, I hardly see commercials anymore.  So I’ve gotten used to, and can even forgive, obnoxiously overt product placement in my shows.  Hell, ‘Chuck’ fans even supported Subway enough to come up with the “Finale & Footlong” campaign; eventually those sandwiches practically became their own characters on the show.  Oh and how bout all that Bud Light Annie & Auggie are always drinking at Allen’s??  Do people REALLY drink Bud Light??  No matter.  Point is, we fans are completely willing to put up with a certain level of cheesy product placement in order to keep our shows on the air.  But with that said - seriously, CA, did you really have END the entire episode with the ridiculous Jag commercial??  Because now, despite it being an otherwise pretty good episode, I’m left right at the end suddenly feeling annoyed.  And now I’m starting my review this way.  Grr.

O.k. sorry, rant over.  Let’s get to the ep now, shall we?  Let me start by asking this: Am I the only person who is feeling kind of relieved that Auggie’s gig as head of the DPD didn’t last long?  There's a line in the ep during a tense conversation between A&A where Annie says, “I don’t want to do this if we’re going to wind up like Joan and Arthur.”  THANK YOU Annie, I don’t want you to either!!  I’ll be honest, I love Joan & Arthur as characters, but I never found their relationship to be particularly romantic or even all that compelling, up through season 3 (though I will say, it has gotten much more interesting in season 4, which I definitely appreciate).  But through S3, it seemed like it was simply all tension all the time, with them constantly bickering back and forth about the conflict between Arthur as Joan’s boss vs. her husband.  Having A&A wind up like this is the absolute LAST thing I want for this show.  I’d rather the show focus on Seth’s zombie corpse rising up from the Potomac for revenge (like Jason Voorhees?) than to see a version of this show where the romance is completely sucked out of A&A’s relationship, and all that’s left is constant bickering.  :shudder:  Nightmare.

So not surprisingly, I spent much of the ep feeling very nervous about this.  Now that the ep is over, however, I feel fairly relieved that A&A do not seem to be headed this direction.  I don’t THINK.  Auggie’s demotion helps.  Is that horrible of me?  Sorry, Auggie.  A&A is way more important to me than your career.  There.  I said it.  It’s out there.  Sue me.  And on a similar note, most CA fans spent the entire week leading up to this ep freaking out and speculating on just WHAT the hell Auggie’s secret could be.  I heard theories ranging from Auggie & Teo being brothers (which would have been my own personal soapy hell), to Auggie moonlighting as Daredevil at night, to Auggie having bad credit (in the “mundane Auggie secrets” category).  After all this speculation, I’m downright relieved at what the secret ended up being.  I went into this episode with a horrible fear that it would be something shark-jumpingly horrible (Anyone else still scarred by Luke’s long-lost daughter April on ‘Gilmore Girls’?), and it ended up being something I was pretty fine with.  Teo caused the death of someone Auggie was in love with ("Helen").  And Auggie believes that his fully open “no secrets” relationship with Helen is partly responsible for her death.  Hence, we have an explanation for his attempts at keeping Annie in the dark on certain information.  O.k., I can deal with that.  Just so long as Helen doesn’t turn out to be secretly still alive or some ridiculous shit.  THEN we’d be in the shark-jumping zone.  Bionic Woman - I’m looking at you.  You’d BETTER be someone other than Helen using the alias of Teresa.

The reveal of Auggie’s secret is a great example of one of the things I’ve always loved about CA – it has a very “down-to-earth,” true to life quality that wasn’t there with many of the wacky spy shows I’ve loved in the past.  It’s a lot more relatable.  It’s not 'Covert’s way to make Auggie’s secret something total out-there and overly melodramatic.  And that’s why I found HENRY’s storyline in this episode to be a bit irksome.  Clearly he is the “big bad” this season, at least so far.  And that completely makes sense, given that he’s been lurking around as this angry vindictive and powerful character since the beginning of season 1.  CA is not taking this in an unexpected direction at all.  What irks me about it is that Henry’s “a son for a son” campaign against Arthur is not only a bit “operatic,” to use an analogy that Henry actually used in this ep, but it doesn’t even necessarily make sense!  We know that Henry blames Arthur for Jai’s death, but we’ve never been given a reason as to WHY.  Have we??  Did I miss that at some point??  Are we simply to assume that Henry thinks Arthur’s bad management of the DCS led indirectly to Jai’s death?  That doesn’t seem nearly damning enough for him to want THAT level of revenge on Arthur.

In any event, despite my concerns about Henry and my nervousness about A&A, I did find this to be an entertaining episode.  In the past, I’ve found that my fave shows tend to be at their best when the core characters are really banding together to fight against a common enemy.  At the end of season 3, I was really concerned that Joan and Arthur would be turned into villains this season due to the contents of Henry’s file.  Thank GOD they didn’t take this in that direction, as it wouldn’t have been true to what we’ve seen from these characters so far.  No one is perfect and they’ve made plenty of mistakes, but they’re not bad people, especially Joan.  So Joan’s line at the end, “From now on we trust NO ONE but ourselves.  No one,” gave me a very warm fuzzy feeling.  I want our main characters to grow closer, not further apart, and to work together.  And that seems to be the direction they’re going.  Joan even gave Annie some relationship advice in this ep!!  She gave Auggie some too for that matter.  Aww.

Oh, I also like that Henry called Annie out on Auggie’s involvement in this situation being the entire reason that she let Henry court her in the first place.  I suppose it’s obvious that this was her motivation, but it’s nice to see it clarified.  There’s no way in hell anyone would go through all this trouble just to help out and/or dig up dirt on their bosses.  Here’s the rest of my thoughts on the ep in random order:

  • Annnnd Annie’s red VW Golf is suddenly in perfect shape again.  I guess it really is like Walter White’s indestructible Aztek.
  • Eric Barber is back!  And trying out Auggie’s office for a bit.  I love any excuse for scenes with him.
  • Auggie makes two blind jokes within the span of like 20 seconds in this ep.  Is this a record?
  • So Annie couldn’t get the calendar with the bug in the Chens’ room, but I guess the audio device Auggie already had set up was good enough?  Also, Auggie specifically says the Chens have no cell phones in their names, and are likely using burners.  And yet, Annie is alerted when a call comes into Xu’s cell, and can hear at least his side of the convo.  How?  Is that just from the same audio sensors through the wall?  Do they have Lester Freamon working for them or something?  (High-five for anyone who gets that reference).  OH he was in two eps of this show too!!
  • Wow, Wendy Chen had quite the ‘tude going on there, eh?  To be fair, Annie WAS a bit annoying in that first convo.  For a “neighbor.”
  • What the hell is up with Eric Braithwaite??  He’s been in 4 eps of this show in seasons 1-3 according to IMDB.  Can anyone with a better memory than me remind me of his backstory?
  • “Don’t worry Olivia, my former husband seems to have a way with women!”  Nice one, Joan.
  • “I thought you said I was the type that didn’t need luck!”  Annie remembered Auggie telling her this when they first met.  Aww.
  • “My feelings haven’t changed, just my job.”  Again, aww.  Also, it’s good to see that Annie’s not listening to what Auggie tells her to do any more now than she did before they started dating haha.
  • Henry: “Just keep yourself covered, the sun can be very dangerous, if you’re not protected.”  This was an odd line.  What was up with all the “sun” references here?  My cousin Katie thinks it’s a sun/son analogy.
  • Teo: “[Arthur] didn’t raise a son, he raised a spy.”  Looks like Arthur’s got a little of the Jack Bristow thing going on in his past.
  • Annie’s call from the safe house after finding everyone dead: “Umbra 10-79.”  Is this a real term or was it made up for the show?  I did a quick Google search and came up empty-handed.

So what’s my grade for this ep?  I’m having trouble deciding if I liked last week’s ep better, or this one.  Last week was more exciting and action-packed, but this week was stronger on plot movement and character development.  And despite my concerns about A&A and the Joan/Arthur parallels, their scenes here were all pretty damn great.

GRADE: 88/100

I changed my grading system since we’ve had 3 B+ eps (IMO) so far.  Whaddya think?  Too low?  Too high?  Yell at me in the comments.

The Plopper


  1. I haven't watched the episode so I can't read the review just yet but I think The Plopper should review more shows. I think she should review EVERY SHOW ON TELEVISION!!!!

    1. HAHA!! Wow shucks thanks ... should I review your FAVE show GIRLS?? Hahahaha. Or bitch and moan about Dexter every week?? Lmao that would probably drive me too insane. I'd be too terrified to even get within 50 feet of reviewing Breaking Bad and every site already reviews that anyway. Same with Homeland, although I'm curious what I'll think of that show when it returns. I'm still feeling super UNenthused about how S2 ended. OR maybe New Girl? Hmmmmmm now I'm thinking on it. ;-)

  2. Here's my theory on why the Teo thing is so important to Henry:
    The guy that set the bomb on Jai's car was, Last Henry knew, "Rotting away in a Colombian Prison." Henry left him there.
    He had to get out of the prison somehow, and my bet is that the ALC had something to do with it, and that Henry researched the ALC a bit to dig further, finding the Teo coordination and Arthur's involvement. And through this circuitous route, it is Arthur's fault that Jai is dead.
    But that's just my theory.

    I also drink Bud Light. Mostly because sometimes that's what comes out of my mouth when I'm ordering at a bar.

    I can' even think about a grade for this one because I have so many feelings, which, to me, means it deserves at least an "A."

    1. Whoahhh completely forgot about the Colombian prsion thing. And I've watched these episodes like way more than a lot. What in the world have I been paying attention to?

    2. For all you know, I'm a spy ;)

    3. "The guy that set the bomb on Jai's car was, Last Henry knew, 'Rotting away in a Colombian Prison.'"

      GOOD point I was totally forgetting about that!! You have a great theory there. I just hope that if this is it the case, they give us more info on it soon! Otherwise we're going to be sitting here thinking the plot doesn't make much sense, when it makes more sense than we realize.

      And sorry about my Bud Light crack, I almost didn't put it in there, but I couldn't help it hahahha. My husband is a major beer lover and he loves all kinds of microbrews and stuff, so he never allows a Bud Light to make its way into our hands if he can help it, LMAO. It gets the job done in a pinch though. ;-)

    4. Oh, no apologies necessary on the Bud Light crack. I would usually mock myself over it, as well.

      I mentioned the Colombian Prison thing on Twitter, and the CA Writers responded that they were impressed, so I have a feeling it is the right track. I'm sure there are twists along the way, and I think the Russians have a role in all of this, as well. But it's more than just bitterness...

  3. Another great review! I was coming unglued this morning just waiting to read it!

    I've decided Umbra 1079 is code for "OMFGWTMFF the safe house is no longer safe and err'body is dead up in hurr". Other than that, I have no clue.

    Yeah, just yeah. So many feelings about all of it. Friction. Feelings. More friction.

    "The agency giveth and the agency taketh away" that's what came to mind when Auggie got demoted....again. LOL. Altho, I gotta admit on my first watch, I completely missed the "temporary/interim" part, so yeah, my bad for thinking it even had a snowball's chance of sticking. Auggie does way better at being the boss without a title anyways. We all know Auggie runs the DPD. ;)
    And Annie will forever do the opposite of what he says...it's "just how she rolls."
    Did anyone else get really uncomfortable during that Teo/Auggie scene? Sweet Baby Puma. I'm hoping Captain Anderson gets to unleash on him before too long. (Tho, I still want to stroke Puma's fur and scratch is belly.) You sweet little orphan terrorist, YOU.

    I didn't get the whole burner cellphone thing/did not get a bug planted but we're still able to hear what they say thing either, but then again I'm kind of technologically handicapped so as much as it made me go errrrrummm? I sort of looked over it b/c I was waiting on THE SECRET.

    At first I was totally convinced the secret was just that Auggie loved to eat Lucky Charms, but no it was that he was had *gasp* been in love with another operative. Auggie falls in love a lot, but that's why we adore him so.

    What else? Also thought every Wilcox conversation was just....weird. And for the dude to be like a former spy, he sure doesn't keep himself from being followed or notice that he's being followed. Or wait....does he? Hmmmm....

    More Eric Barber, pleeeeeeeeeeease.

    And I know I'm in the minority here, but I was so excited to see Sheriff Michaels drive his Jag all the way from Koh-luhhhm-bee-ah and swagger into Langley. BAM! Things just went NEXT LEVEL! But now I wonder....are there even less "not really" laws in Colombia now that he's gone? *head scratcher*

    And yeah, I just fall more in love with Annie & Auggie with each episode this season. You can tell that these 2 have loved each other for a long time and it shows. Can't say enough great things about Piper & Chris and the job they're doing with this story. You can't help but feel everything they're going through almost to the point of a heart explosion. And when he said he wished he could see her face...OMG, I'll admit it. I kind of cried.

    So what's next? Calder is sure to stir things up. Teo is sure to keep killing people. Auggie's temper will rise. Annie will keep being disobedient. And Henry Wilcox will speak in metaphors that only Henry understands. Will Helen come back from the dead and if so does that mean they just changed her name to Teresa to trip up the blind guy? Can't wait to find out.....DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN

    1. "err'body is dead up in hurr" hahahahaa exactly.

      Sweet baby puma puurrrrr. What is it that Auggie says to him there, is it, "What is it like to not have feelings" ?? Have you ever noticed that Chris Gorham (at least when he plays Auggie) does not ENUNCIATE HIS EFFING T'S!!?? It drives me completely insane hahahah. And yeah I would LOVE to see a Teo vs. Auggie deathmatch that's for sure. Well maybe not a deathmatch but a fistfight at least. ;-)

      "And Henry Wilcox will speak in metaphors that only Henry understands." HAHAHA seriously dude. WEIRD is the exact right word to describe every scene with him in this ep. He's living out there in his own dimension or something. And the CA Writers didn't answer my sun/son question today.

      I feel lame that my review got too long for me to properly get into the A&A dynamic in this ep, and in a sense I'm just afraid to say anything about it because I don't want to jinx anything ... but the writers have done an EXCELLENT job on this couple so far. Probably better than any other TV show I can think of, and that is saying a LOT given how many TV couples I've loved in the past hahaha. But we're only 4 eps in, so KNOCK ON WOOD!!!! FAST!!!! It can go downhill in a split second so I hope they keep on this track hahahah. Fingers and toes crossed ......

  4. Finally watched it.

    They pulled one of those "Burn Notice" ridiculous switcheroo story lines that caused me to quit that show.

    1. LOL wait ... which switcheroo are we talking about? Auggie vs. Calder as the DPD head?

    2. Hahaha just wanted to make sure; I don't watch Burn Notice so I dunno what kind of switcheroo they did there. I think I was so happy that Auggie's new gig didn't last long that I didn't really think through the details of how it happened hahah. I mean, office politics can be a bitch so it's not anything inherently implausible IMO, but I'll have to see how it plays out. The type of crap that goes on in the corporate environment (at least where I work) with re-orgs is just as riddic. We shall see what happens. I'm also not entirely sure what I think of Calder as a character yet.

    3. True, in the world of shit writing, anything is possible.

    4. Hahah sheesh!! Shitty writers must be writing my life then, because after I typed this comment today, another major bomb was dropped at my job that was really no less ridiculous than the Auggie/Calder storyline. Well ok, mine didn't come attached to a cheesy over-the-top Jaguar commercial, so there's that.

  5. Does anyone know what Teo said to Auggie after Auggie said what's it like to have no feelings. Teo said something in spanish but I couldn't translate it

    1. I could not understand it either for the life of me. And my Spanish is rusty as hell so that certainly doesn't help.

  6. The Umbra 10-79 thing was bugging me so I was on a mission to figure it out. Umbra means dark or shaded, so I think it's referring to the safe house. 10-79 is police code for 'call the coroner'.

  7. I read all this for searching connections between two different networks CIA shows and Henry Wilox. Homeland fade out when Carrie is sedated. Henry is a face in a fade out light??? Why? Simple commercialism....