11 September, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.09: 'Hang Wire'

Last week I mentioned that I’d be out of the country for Covert Affairs eps 4.09-10, but that I’d do everything I could to watch them while away.  I managed to do that tonight for 4.09, late of course, so I figured I’d post a short version of my usual review.

Instead what it seems to be though, rather than short, is fairly long, but just shitty instead, with less cohesiveness in my thoughts.  Err ... maybe “shitty” is not the right word.  What I meant to say is “amazing.”  You should definitely read it.  Here are my quick and shitty/life-changing thoughts:

Remember early on in season 4, when Henry met Arthur for lunch and literally spelled out for him, “I am going to kill your son because you killed my son” ?  I’m paraphrasing of course, but that is essentially what he said.  In my review of that episode, my question to his declaration was, “WHY??”  Given the person that Henry has been for this entire series since the beginning of season 1, it makes complete sense that he’d eventually wind up as a “big bad” for our characters.  But have we ever once had it explained to us in any of these episodes, just exactly WHY Henry blames Arthur for Jai’s death??  Other than Arthur being in charge at the time Jai died??  At that time the answer was no, but I heard some good theories on it from fellow fans.  Fast forward to ep 4.09, and I just realized, we STILL don’t know the answer to this question!!  Do we??  Did I miss something?  We shouldn’t have to still be guessing and theorizing on the motives of the bad guy at the root of the *primary* ongoing story arc this season.

And what about Henry’s rundown of his ENTIRE evil plot to get his revenge on Arthur - from beginning to end - to Annie right before he had the helicopter blown up?  Reminded me a bit of the Scooby Doo-esque ending of nearly every ep of ‘Castle’, where the criminal explains every detail of their crime and their motivations for committing it, to Castle and Beckett.  “And I would’ve gotten away with it too if not for you meddling kids!!”  Only with Henry, I'm still confused on his motivations.  And then he purposely lets Annie go to see how she handles it.  I mean of COURSE she was gonna get Teo out of it, she’s the plucky protagonist who can get herself and her buddies out of any pickle!!  (Until they get shot in the leg).

And speaking of Baby Teo – my first reaction to his death was, I have to give points to the writers for bucking the norm on #5 from HGF’s article, “TOP 10 Stupid Things TV and Film Makers Do”:  “Arm and leg bullet wounds are shrugged off even though they can be extremely painful, result in broken bones, and cause severe blood-loss that can kill just as easily as any other wound.”  Good job, Covert Writers.  I think??  That is assuming that Teo doesn’t show up alive again later in a “shocking twist.”  Because if that happens, the points the writers earned here plus every point they’ve ever earned for anything else ever will be taken away.  Because not only is this one of the most cliché things in all of spy TV shows and soap operas, it has now been done on THIS show in THIS season once, and most likely twice as of next week’s ep when Annie fakes her own death.  Probably.  AND it would completely invalidate the impact that Teo’s death was supposed to have on Arthur and the rest of our characters.  Kind of like that time Annie and Auggie broke up for no reason and then made everyone cry, and then 5 seconds later changed their minds and everything was fine again.

Back to Teo.  My other thought on this is, assuming he IS really dead, it makes me even more annoyed with LAST week’s episode, 4.08, a.k.a. The Teo Braga Saga.  Because at the time, my cousin pointed out that she felt like the writers were manipulating us into caring as much as possible about Teo so that killing him off later would be more impactful.  And hey look!  It only took them one week to prove her right.  It seems.  Though it happened in an oddly rushed, off-screen manner.  Which is what makes me a bit suspicious.  And just WHAT was the deal with all of Annie and Teo’s conversations in this ep??  Her comments about not wanting to “lose him” on the rooftop struck me as the typical tactic Annie takes when trying to turn a target/asset.  So I didn’t think much of it.  But then later in the car ... I don’t know.  Was that just more bonding to make us more sad when Teo died?

O.k. last thing I want to touch on here: I’m starting to realize that nearly the ENTIRETY of the almost absent character focus or insight we’ve gotten on Annie this season has come from Henry Wilcox’s observations on how she reacts to his “challenges”.  And every single time, Annie has responded by shrugging it off.  Even in this episode, when she finally starts to concede that *maybe* she’s made some mistakes along the way in letting her heart lead over her head, she ends that statement with a sarcastic quip that she should’ve let Teo kill Henry instead of stopping him.  While it did make me laugh, it also somewhat invalidated the ONE time she actually seemed to take two seconds to consider what he was telling her.  Though she did make the same statement to Teo himself later in the ep, in a serious manner.  Maybe it sunk in a little after all?  OH and I genuinely liked Teo’s comments to her about wishing he could go back to the days when he could be carefree, but then per usual, Annie responded with her typical: dead silence and/or change the subject.  Like hey, what does Annie think about this?  Who the hell knows!!  We rarely know the answer to that question these days.

And then this made me think: I have a bad feeling that we may end up getting zero insight at ALL into what leads to Annie’s decision to fake her death next week (4.10), other than the standard plot points: “Must get out of Germany.  I’m a wanted criminal.  Must escape Henry.  Must fake death.  Must dye hair brown.” (robot voice).  A + B = C.  Zzzz.  And that will be … INFUUUURRRRIATING to me.  We’ll see; I can’t judge it before I see it.

Here are a few of my other random thoughts:

  • Do you love that the episode where we finally find out Calder is a “good guy” also involves TWO major “Calder drives his Jag in a douchey manner” scenes?
  • For her first couple scenes, I felt like the lawyer character was someone who must have been on a previous episode of CA.  Turns out it was Homeland.  I guess the spy shows are running together for me now.
  • Who is it that gets to decide in each episode whether Annie gets to wear sensible shoes vs. heels? I can never quite figure out the logic.  Sometimes it depends on her cover, but not always.
  • Is it possible in ANY circumstance to survive a jump from a building that high??  That was a little insane.
  • "Care to explain where you’ve been for the past FIFTEEN HOURS!?"  Joan’s Calder-smackdown was pretty amazing.
  • My cousin Katie’s comments on the method in which Teo was framed for the missile/helicopter bombing: “What was the plan on leaving the missile launcher with him??  The cops were going to find him passed out with it and go, ‘Well, looks like it’s definitely this guy who launched the rocket and then took a nap!’”  Mystery solved.  This made me laugh really, really hard.  I guess the assumption would be that he got knocked out from the blast itself??
  • Auggie’s gratuitous shirt scene.  Seriously.  I don’t even know.  Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Auggie’s phone convo with Annie about taking time off in the Galapagos islands, where no one can find them – Was that little reminiscent of Simon, Annie and the Maldives in “Glass Spider”?  I know Auggie’s plan was more of a vacation ... I think ... but still.  Was that on purpose?

Anyway I know I mainly just listed complaints here, but overall I thought this ep was better than last week and the week before.  I’m going to write a more cohesive review of 4.10 when I get back from my trip on Weds 9/18 that will probably somewhat cover both of these eps.  This was such a set-up episode that I’m kind of lost on what grade to even assign to it. 

GRADE: 80.  I think. 

Let’s be honest, I should’ve given 4.07 a 60.  And I should’ve given 4.08 a 70 (I know, still a bit better than HGF’s grade).  Right now I’m at about an 80 for 4.09, but at this point I’m mainly just concerned about what 4.10 is gonna bring to the table after all this.  I’ve already got thoughts on what I’ll write in my review for that one, if it goes the way I think it’ll go.  Maybe it won’t.  Maybe they’ll surprise me.  Maybe.

Tell me how shitty my review was in the comments section.

The Plopper

2013 Summer Movies in Review


  1. Okay, so first of all, thank GOD, you figured out a way to watch while you were on vacay b/c I NEED your reviews in my LIFE! As per the usual I echo you've wrote here. I've watched the Ep 3 times so far and...well...the more I watch the more stuff I find to just laugh about.

    Here are some:

    Annie looking insanely rough in the opening scene with Joan and Arthur and when she's on the plane. Yes, I know she's still wearing the same dirty shirt from last week's fiery fiasco but I dunno, it just made me laugh seeing her lay out her toothpaste and bullets with her nasty shirt and filthy hair.

    Teo's disguise and by disguise I mean his glasses and dorky hair.

    Auggie/Calder/Sunflower Seeds/Dungeon - Calder Michaels has a way of making every conversation he has with Auggie sound sexual. The sunflower seeds couldn't escape his pervy-ness. They have vitamin EEEEEEEE (he growled). *plays with Auggie's cane* I didn't see any of Annie's toiletries or shoes. (he whispers) *plays with cane some more) Calder and Auggie had like the best "feeling each other out" dungeon decryption date ever.

    Almost forgot about that stupid Jag til I remembered. It only makes me chuckle b/c of the way Calder kind of slinks and bounces when gets out of it.

    Henry Wilcox. I have to laugh at him b/c he's that damn good. It's all I can do. I mean he's gonna get to even me eventually, right? I don't fuck with that. Henry Wilcox tells me to get in the car. I'm getting in the damn car. Whatever he wants...play chess, talk opera, speak in metaphors, blow some shit it up, have breakfast. I'm there.

    "Teo Campbell" I laughed as hard at that line as I did at the stupid Auggie line from S3 when he and Parker are talking about having little Auggie and she says she wants him to be just like Auggie and he says "oh what, blind?" It's just dumb. And the fact that they tried to make us get all emo makes it even worse. Here's Arthur finally stepping up to be a dad on Teo's deathbed. Whatevs.....

    To quote the big HW, "sometimes you don't get a second chance", Arthur.

    I'm with ya on the convos between Annie/BabyPuma. Those were weird, Man. Very weird. Altho, a hospital wouldn't have been necessary because I would've removed the bullet with my teeth if I had to....just sayin...

    Damn I'm gonna miss Teo....unless.....nah...surely he's not alive, right? Joan wouldn't have told them to fake his death without Arthur even knowing, right? Nah....

    The number one thing that irked the shit out of me about this Ep: That stupd scene with the irritating gross annoying lawyer riding her horses at supposedly before the ass crack of dawn. WHAT WAS THE GODDAMN POINT OF THAT?

    Here's what we still don't know....

    Why? Howwwwwwwwwwww? Whoooooooooo? Whattttttttttttt? Where? Whennnnnnnnn? and again for emphasis...Whyyyyyyyyyyy?

    Tune in next week for more...questions...

    DUN DUN DUN..........

    1. HAHAHA YES Calder and Auggie!! I'm gonna do a full comment on this later today but for now I'll just say - I totally wanted to talk about the Calder and Auggie stuff but I actually didn't have any major issues with those scenes, other than the Jag stuff and the sunflower seeds letdown after all the Twitter teasing hahahaa. But everything you said about Calder's ability to make everything sound sexual and creepy is spot on hahahaa.

      p.s. Thanks for reminding me that Annie's in Germany at the end of the ep due to that little 10 hour drive to take Teo to the hospital hahhaha. I meant to comment on how quickly and easily Arthur got there. I know 10 hours had passed, but still. I wish I could jet around the world that quickly and easily.

  2. I just figured it out. The answers we've been looking for are on Auggie's chest. That's what the writers were trying to tell us last night. That's why that scene was so pivotal! GAHHHHH. Now, I gotta rewatch....again. That'll be torture. :D

  3. All i can say is that if any of you guys have spent more then 24 Hr (assuming that those were the clothes he wore to work that morning and the 15 Hr missing) with the same clothes you would know that the first thing you do given the chance is to change them. I'm suppreised that he didn't used the gym for his frustrations and then showered. Hmm as for the rest of the ep i agree on all accounts.

  4. Another Teo episode...try as I might, I just couldn't get myself to care much about him. I feel like I'm the only person who's not upset that he died! I didn't wish for him to die, I had nothing against him, and he didn't really bother me - except that just like last week, I don't want to watch a show just about Teo! At least this week, there were other characters involved as well. I was glad that Annie got him out of what would have been a bad situation in Copenhagen - it's what she always does... Maybe I would have felt differently if the plot was more than "Teo was shot in the leg, they escape and drive to a far away hospital in Germany, and oh sorry, he died." But then again, I'm not wishing he had MORE screen time, so maybe it's for the best. Any further development would have required even more screen time. I guess what it comes down to is as far as Teo goes, I could take him or leave him. If he actually IS dead, at least that means there won't be any more episodes that are centered around him - and I'm pretty sure that saying this makes me a terrible person...but so be it!

    One thing that really bothered me in this episode was when Annie was calling Auggie at the beginning, on the cell phone we see on the table in his apartment. At the end of 408, Calder showed up to raid Auggie's apartment and told him he was going to take everything in his place, even his alarm clock. So the chances of him not noticing that phone sitting out in plain sight seem slim. When I mentioned this on Twitter, Gene Klein tweeted back something about the fact that they all had back up phones - but that still doesn't address why the phone was out on the table after his apartment was supposedly stripped of any and all potential evidence. I think what it comes down to is that the shot of Auggie's open plan apartment with the Glowy Headboard on the back wall looked really cool, and shows easily who the phone belongs to - but seems a little sloppy. I'm wondering if the fact that Annie's apartment was stripped of everything, even furniture, and everything in Auggie's apartment appeared to be in its place (even if I overlook the aforementioned cell phone) is supposed to be because Annie was the main focus of the investigation and Auggie wasn't... but to listen to Calder talk, especially after he found evidence in Auggie's apartment, I was surprised that he DIDN'T take it all.

    Another thing that bothered me in this episode was what the hell was up with the tech ops guys? Calder has his OWN people? We really could've used some Barber and Holman in this episode! And we've never, that I can remember, seen tech ops wearing suits - it just seemed wrong, suspicious even.

    As long as I'm picking details apart, why does the random guy in the DPD pronounce it Copen-haaaa-gen? It makes me want to punch him, and I'm not usually like that! (I think I've been hanging out with Shelby too much!)

    Finally (and I've been thinking this since 408 when I first heard it), every time someone says Plaza del Turbaco (sp??) all I hear is Plaza del Tobacco - Tobacco Plaza - and in my head all I see if a plaza full of people smoking. I have a hard time taking it seriously and not cracking up, though I know it was where Teo's mom was killed and therefore not supposed to be funny... Like I said before, I'm a terrible person.

  5. How can Calder afford a Jag on a government salary? How did blind Auggie know they were sunflower seeds without opening the package to smell or taste one? How many people in excellent physical condition die during surgery from a gunshot wound to the leg after having stayed alive and awake with a tourniquet in place for 12 hours? When a major artery is hit, people die within minutes, but Tao was alive without a tourniquet for quite a while.