You know, this episode was really going pretty damn well until they had to ruin the ending by going out in the very last frame with HELEN. Current reigning queen of unnecessary and grating TV characters (well, in my world anyway). I swear I haven't had this visceral a reaction to a TV character's presence on screen since, oh right, well Dana and her stupid boyfriend Baby Dex every Sunday night on Homeland.
You know what's crazy though? I've been thinking about this lately now that Homeland is back on the air: No matter how frustrated I've been with Covert Affairs off and on this season, I'm still enjoying it a hundred times more than Homeland. If you had told me that would be the case a year and a half ago (when HL was still great and when I still had zero intentions of ever watching CA), I would have told you that you were INSANE. Completely, utterly bonkers.
Now, sadly, that alone isn't saying much for Covert, given how disappointing and fairly obnoxious Homeland has been since about the last third of season 2. However ... episodes like "Something Against You" do make me hopeful again (if I can try to forget the Helen scenes). It’s kind of interesting because the last few eps of CA’s summer season last year were the episodes that pulled me into this show to begin with, but then I found 3.12-16 to be disappointing by comparison. This season however, has been kind of the opposite: The last few eps of the summer season were some of my least favorite eps of this entire series, while the first couple of the fall season are actually slowly pulling it *out* of that hole for me. I’m sure I’ve jinxed 4.13-16 to suck now, but we’ll see.
We’re entering our second week in a row now of an actual story being told here. A real, complete story that is coherent and engages me enough to be nervous when I should be and surprised when I should be and makes me yell “Oh SHIT!!” at the TV at the right parts. And “Ohhh SNAPS you did NOT just say that Sana, you go girl!! You tell Jessica!!” Part of the reason I was so disappointed with the fall season of S3 is that Megan and Khalid were just random characters that were brought in as the main focus for Annie and team for nearly the entirety of those episodes. I didn’t know them, they didn’t tie into any existing elements of the series, and I didn’t feel like they were bringing anything new or interesting to our main characters (like Simon and Lena had done so damn wonderfully in the summer). By comparison, season 4.5 seems like a significant improvement on season 3.5, in the sense that a) Sana and the main story arc tie strongly into the history of the show and b) the storyline is bringing in the kind of character development for our main characters that I find quite interesting.
And hey, guess what!? We FINALLY got an explanation for Henry’s motives in all the insane shit he’s been doing for the past TWELVE effing episodes!! Granted, it's an explanation that you have to be a serious fan of this show to get ... I think. I’m not sure, but I feel like if I had been just a casual viewer, I would have been confused by it. In case you are indeed confused, it ties back to a scene in ... I’m pretty sure ... ep 3.08, “Glass Spider.” There’s a scene where Arthur visits Henry in prison and tells him that they’ve found the guy who planted the bomb in Jai’s car. Arthur sees the pic of the guy and makes a comment like, “Last I saw him he was rotting away in a Colombian prison.” Something like that. One astute CA fan actually pointed this out on either Twitter or one of these blogs a couple months ago, but the writers didn’t bother to actually give us this connection until tonight. WHY wait so long, guys!? Why leave your audience so confused for SO much of the season that it seems like it’s just a huge plot hole that’s responsible for our characters doing insane things like faking their deaths and helping their coworkers fake their deaths?? I really honestly don’t understand the logic there.
And how ‘bout the question of whether the explanation was at all satisfactory? That can definitely be argued either way. I, personally, was o.k. with it, although to a certain extent that is just because I’ve been so desperate to get something that practically anything would do at this point. And the explanation is only partly based on fact to boot; it’s also partly just conjecture on Annie’s part. But at least it’s conjecture that’s starting to make sense, the more and more we learn about Henry. This episode (and last) have finally given us insight not only into Henry’s motives, but also into the way he operates. Auggie and Calder are working to beat him at his own game on the home front, and Annie is doing a bit of the same in Geneva ... albeit to much less successful results than Auggie so far (not everyone can be as cool as Auggie).
Annie’s complete and utter failure in this ep was another thing that won it points with me. First off, am I crazy in feeling that 100% of Annie’s character development this season has not actually come from or been demonstrated by HER character, but rather by OTHER characters making observations about her, to her face?? Henry, Auggie, Teo, and now Andrew (before she killed him) and Sana? They talk shit to her and then 95% of the time she completely ignores their comments and moves right past them. She’s like Teflon. This has been driving me insane and I’m not sure if it’s on purpose or what. But in this episode, Sana talked SO much shit to Annie (err, Jessica) that she couldn’t entirely ignore it. And then in the end, when all her plans (and Sana) completely blew up in her face, she had no choice BUT to finally face it. This moment for Annie has been a long ... LONG time coming. Way too long, if you ask me. She never faced any major or lasting consequences after Russia/Simon/Lena; she just decided she was a bad-ass, and then she proceeded to bad-ass it up all over the world from that moment literally until just right now. She’s never had a fuck-up of quite this magnitude or really lost her shit even one time other than when she broke up with her boyfriend (grr pet peeve).
So after all this, after aallll this ... what does it take ... what has to happen in Annie’s life to finally push her off the rails a bit?? Faking her death and trying to take down the most powerful evil mo-fo the CA world has ever seen, that’s what. That’s kind of a lot. But at least it finally happened. Things aren’t that interesting, and characters are not that interesting, when there’s not much of a struggle for them, are they? It seems like the writers are finally showing proof that they realize this ... but I also won’t be the least bit surprised if Annie figures everything out next week and she’s just back to being her usual Teflon badass self again. Because that seems to be the status quo for this show nowadays.
Anywho, here’s a few random thoughts before my grade:
- An early example of Sana calling Annie on her shiz in this ep: “We tortured a man! You shot him, he’s dead!! That doesn’t affect you??” The fact that we actually got a split second of Annie going, “Errrr ...” is a gigantic improvement on anything I’ve seen from her in quite a while.
- Something about Reese offering Annie weed after she told him she killed “her ex” and then her reaction, “No thanks I can’t, I have to figure out what to do!!” made me laugh. Definitely not a great time to get stoned.
- I’m still trying to ignore Helen’s existence. The bullshit she laid on Auggie in his apartment confirmed for me what a horrible person she is. She completely contradicted literally everything she’d said and done in 4.07. And what the hell was up with the look she gave right at the end, when spying on Annie?? Did she not know Annie was alive? I suppose she must not have, otherwise she’d have told Joan and Arthur.
- Oh speaking of which, if Auggie had not told Helen to go SCREW herself in the apartment scene, I’d have lost all respect for him. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he did.
- Barber the office gossip ... BWAHAH hilarious.
- The police scene near the end was kind of visually cool but weird. I don't know why Annie would be dumb enough to go back to the club to meet Reese. Seems like just a fancy way of saying "Hey the cops are after Jessica now!"
- Who is Violet??
- Who is Nelson, for that matter? That actor looks familiar. Should I know him from other things? Has this character been on this show before and I forgot? Or is he new?
Ok. Grade time. Hmmmmmmm well I’m still feeling incredibly untrusting of this show ... but I’m gonna go ahead and take a bit of a leap here and rate this ep without taking my trust issue into account.
O.k. wait, maybe I am still letting my lack of confidence on where any of this is headed affect my grade. Maybe I’d grade it a teeny bit higher otherwise. I’m still treading carefully here. I can’t help it. What did you guys think of the ep? Should we get our hopes back up or keep them low?