06 August, 2014

The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.07: 'Brink of the Clouds'

Ahh, episode 7 of the season.  We have arrived.  Historically, this has been either an instant classic or a disastrously terrible ep, depending on the season.  There's no middle ground.  It’s also an extremely pivotal ep, as it tends to kick off the eps leading into the summer finale.

We were actually on a fantastic roll there for the first several seasons – 1.07: The original Tash ep.  Train bang.  Adorable “Annie fixes Auggie’s collar” moment at the end.  2.07: The Iraq/Auggie background ep, with the great scene at Allen’s at the end.  3.07: Simon.  Oh, sweet, hot, sizzling Simon.  In Cuba.  And his psychotic handler, whose throat Simon slit whilst simultaneously staring directly into Annie’s soul.  Granted, that sounds horrifically creepy, but in my humble opinion, it’s one of the best eps of this series.  We were on such a roll, until we got to 4.07.  That blasphemous, illogical turning point of season 4, where we could feel ourselves been shoved down a hole into soapy hell(esa).  For shame.  Season 4 had its ups & downs after that, but never entirely recovered.

So I was a bit nervous about where this one would fall.  Colossal failure, instant classic, or will we buck the trend with a "meh" middle-of-the-road ep 7 for the first time ever?  I just finished watching "Brink of the Clouds", and I gotta say ... I can't call classics this close to airing, but I really, really enjoyed this ep.  It wasn't without its issues (wow they sure found Mueller quickly) and its cheese factors, but I was able to forgive those things because it was effective for me on so many other levels.

It was the polar opposite of last week in terms of B plots - Every minute of last week's B plots drove me absolutely insane because none of them tied back in with the A plot very well, if at all.  It's not that I didn't know they would tie in eventually, but they just seemed to be off in their own individual worlds last week.  Auggie was juggling chicks, Calder was boning, Joan and Arthur were having marital woes.  All while Annie was off working the actual mission in Paris.  It was disjointed.  But this week?  Well o.k. granted, the Syd plot still doesn't tie in.  But at least we spent mercifully little time on it.  And Calder, thank GOD, managed to be involved in the actual mission in an interesting way this time, with the drone strike, as did Joan.  Arthur and Baby Mack were off this week, and frankly that was fine with me.  This episode required full focus on the main story for how densely packed it was.

And Auggie.  Thank GOD ... I mean yes he was still juggling chicks, but it meant something this time.  There was legit tension around what Hayley was gonna dig up, and when, and whether he could stop her from blowing the whistle.  Tash, who felt like a whiny teenager at least for the first half of last week's ep, started to make sense again here.  She stopped being obnoxious and turned back into an adult woman, and called Auggie out on the fact that, job or not, the situation was not something she could endure and still respect herself in the morning.  I liked that she finally made the tough call and extracted herself at the end.  It was the right thing to do for an adult person with any self esteem.

And in the meantime, Auggie's connection to Mueller was interesting and it allowed him to contribute vital support to the mission rather than just going around randomly boning everything that moves.  Plus, the connection to Annie that has been missing for a lot of this season felt like it was partially back again, with him working to save her from being exposed.  This ep reminded me of what always endeared Auggie to me in the first 3 seasons of the show, in terms of his approach to both the job and to his "bestie" Annie.  And then, BAM!!  Crayley's claws emerged at the end, big time.  It's not like this wasn't a predictable development to the situation, but at the time it happened here I wasn't really in that frame of mind, so it was a fun "Oh shit!!" moment.

Another reason I enjoyed this ep?  Timeliness/relevance of the storylines.  O.k., yes, the fact that Team McWalker found Mueller so quickly and easily was totally absurd.  They accomplished in half a day what it seems to take years and years to do in real life.  Then again, I guess it had already taken them years to track down "Faruq", but this ep had the final break in intel that led them to him.  Still though.  It felt ridiculously fast because our first intro to him was at the beginning of this ep.  Oh and on another logic note, escaping from that missile seemed like a real breeze for Team McWalker.  NBD.

BUT, timeliness - Man did these guys just get lucky with this airing so close to the Bowe Bergdahl situation that was all over the news in recent months??  Admittedly, I haven't been paying close attention to that story, but the way Bergdahl kinda "disappeared in the night" reminded me a lot of the Mueller storyline here.  Yes I know a lot of the Bergdahl story is hearsay, but still, it's data that has been floating around all over the place very recently in the news, so it lent some credibility to the Mueller plot for me.  Of course it's not the first story of its kind either, it's just the most recent that I know of (and o.k. yes it also closely resembles Brody on Homeland).  And then, obviously, the drone situation plus Mueller's gripes with the CIA and US Government were also very in line with current events.  So even though this was just kind of a quickie high level glimpse into this stuff, it felt reasonably plausible for a fictional "summer fare" TV show.

And then we have Annie's story, which of course, currently heavily involves McQuaid.  My cousin Katie was weirded out at how the pharmacy scene at the beginning was shot (I think it's just the Felix Alcala directing style), but I liked that they included this scene.  It gave us insight into the hoops Annie has been jumping through this entire time to keep her myocarditis a secret.  Seeing the logistics of it made that storyline feel a lot more real.

Were Annie's parallels with Mueller's character a total TV trope that has been done a bazillion times before on various shows?  Absolutely.  It's convenient, and it's a bit on the cheesy side.  But I'm willing to forgive it at the moment because like I mentioned last week, I'm just so thrilled that they're finally focusing on delving into their lead character again.  Obviously none of us think Annie is in any danger of becoming a terrorist, but she most certainly has been in danger of a mental breakdown for QUITE a while now.  Or she should have been, at least, ever since the Lena/Simon/Russian prison debacle, and continuing into Henry and Helesa and beyond.  But she was too busy being Anndroid during that time.  Anndroid was not unlike the T-1000 in terms of sheer resiliency.  But now as Anndroid gets pushed further and further into the rear view with every episode this season, I praise the Holy Puma Cub of all that is good here on earth and in the heavens.

The Mueller parallel may have been a bit heavy-handed, but I think it was worth it if only to get us to the mental breakdown-ish Lisa Morton scene on the mountain.  If Mueller on his own wasn't thoroughly effective, this scene absolutely was.  They lingered on the scene purposely for quite a while, even after Annie's "episode" was over, for a reason.  They were pulling us into her complete and utter exasperation with her situation.  It feels impossible to overcome at the moment, nearly hopeless, and we've just watched her smash head-on into that brick wall for probably about the billionth time, as the number of injectors she's keeping around seems to indicate.  I personally don't have an exploding heart (except in my hypochondriac head when I watch this show), but for various professional reasons, I will admit that I'm relating to this storyline hardcore right now.  I haven't been with Annie's plight like this since the "Let's Dance" and "Rock 'n Roll Suicide" days (you know, due to my hard time in that Russian prison back in '84, obvi). 

And McQuaid ... oh ... always-there-at-just-the-right moment McQuaid.  Sweet blonde private security firm CEO of love and light.  And charm.  You're doing aaaallll the right things, hon.  Just be careful of newly single and always horny Auggie swooping back in to steal Annie right back out from the palm of your hand.  Because Annie's fiiiinnnnally there right now, as I would be too (o.k. let's be honest, I've been there since 5.02).  You found and engineered the magic usable injector when Annie couldn't?  You said all the nice things to make her feel better?  You researched her heart condition, for Christ's sake??  Maybe that's the spy equivalent of social media stalking, but it's working for me right now.  I shouldn't speak for Annie, but you've sure as hell got ME wrapped around your little finger at the moment.  Again though, watch out for Auggie next week.  He's a wily one.  I repeat: He. is. nimble.  Get those sparring gloves ready.

A few more random observations:
  • In the scene where Annie wrestles the bad guy right before Lisa Morton rears her ugly head, her stunt double is ridiculously obvious in a couple shots.  The stunt double's hair is SO much longer!!
  • After they filmed in Paris, the cast & crew went to the South of France, which I believe is what was subbed here for Azerbaijan.
  •  I went to high school with a guy named Farough Tabrizi.  For a second there, I thought maybe his post-HS exploits involved becoming a Covert Affairs character.
  • I liked the little nod here to Annie impossibly speaking every single language in the universe.
  • A sign of my enjoyment of this ep: I wasn't even annoyed by Sydney.  I liked the way she told Calder to go eff himself outside the police station.
  • Annie: "The plan was to move forward [with the drone strike] unless I call back."  McQuaid: "Well that's unfortunate."
  • Nathan Mueller sure did have a deep sexy voice didn't he?  Too bad he got blown to bits.
  • Calder is falling down on the job.  Get it together dude!!
  • What the heck info does (not-so-)Crazy Roger have now?
Hmmmm what is my overall grade of this ep?  It had some extremely convenient plotting, which I have to acknowledge, despite my enjoyment of it.  I gave 5.02 a 92, and that ep was probably a bit more solid plot-wise.  Maybe I should have graded that higher??

GRADE: 91/100

I guess I'll go with 91 then.  I'll check when the season is over to see if I want to adjust any of these.  OMG thank GOD this didn't go the way of ep 4.07!!  Whew.  Blow me up with a drone strike in the comments.  Plop a comment missile on me, Crew.

The Plopper

Recent reviews by the writer, below:
30 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.06: 'Embassy Row'
23 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.05: 'Elevate Me Later'
16 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.04: 'Silence Kit' 


  1. I've been waiting for your review since, well, a couple hours ago, and I hoped you'll post it before I actually get to see the ep. So this along with several tweets convinced me to finally watch the whole episode. I'll give it a try. I've been horrible because I skipped through a lot of stuff (I'm sorry, but I don't find McQuaid interesting at all and his entire character is such a huge cliche - he seems too perfect. Granted, there are many, many cliches and whatnot, especially when it came to Annie's love interests - Simon was the ultimate Harlequin romance hero, the bad guy with a heart that falls for our troubled heroine, and he's a lot more better developed than Tash, Hayley and Sydney altogether, but still).

    I'm so, so happy they're starting to shine some light into Annie! Or you know, just make us feel something for her.

    Argh. Can't wait to see it :)

  2. Five things that I learned:
    1. Auggie needs juggling lessons.
    2. Calder has love for them hoes.
    3. Lisa Morton doesn't need ObamaCare.
    4. Rogue CIA agents sound like the evil bear from Toy Story 3.
    5. Money not only talks, it screams out for cooperation.

    Great review, my friend!

  3. Full disclosure: I fell asleep at the commercial break where Annie has her heart attack. Not out of boredom though, just because the show doesn't come on until 11 here. So..... Stay tuned for my comments lol

    1. LOL that is quite a place to fall asleep. Although I'm suddenly more curious about why the show doesn't come on till 11pm in the SLC!? WTF is going on out there haaha ...

  4. Hey-Oh! Now I really wish I had found time to comment last week b/c I could've skipped this week. LOL. And I'm so in the minority and by minority I mean I'm like the only one who kinda sorta didn't particularly like this episode. *sails through the air, drops, and rolls behind couch to dodge bullets*

    First things FIRST....for the love of the sacred bones of the Baby Pumba Jeezhus....can we please please please retire these 3 words/phrases:
    1. Kind of epic
    2. Make it rain
    3. Lone wolf

    I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple but if we could just start with these 3 I'd be forever grateful. YAY.

    Here's the thing I don't know if I can pinpoint it down to one specific reason why I didn't like this episode or at what exact moment I realized I was completely annoyed (tho my phone does show that I texted Lauren at 10:51 saying "This episode is just annoying."). It was a nice enough episode I suppose. I mean it kind of had to happen just like it happened and things had to move forward and yeah it was just all a little too precious and cute and convenient. BUT WHAT DID YOU WANT, SHELBY? I don't know. I honestly at this point I don't know what I want from this show anymore. BUT WALKERSON, SHELBY? Yeah, about that...I'm not even sure how I feel about that anymore.

    But didn't Annie and McQ look cute traipsing about Azbechistakijan in their muted fall colors and snazzy scarves? Yes.
    But didn't you have have feels and go OMG OH KNOES ANNIE PLEEZE DO NOT DIEUHHH when The Myocarditis jumped on her? Yes.(And now I have The Myocarditis)
    Weren't you glad McQ was there to MacGyver up her meds? Sure. Yeah.
    But didn't Bueller make some very valid points to Annie in his over the top accent? *shrugs* I guess so.
    The drone strike was kind of tense and cool tho, right? Not really.
    But now Crayley knows about The Myocarditis & Tash? So.......get back to me when she finds out about #Walkerson. I'll bet she throws more than coffee and bagels in the trash.
    But aren't you sad that Tash had to go? No. The real Tash would've burned down the city.
    Hey Calder was in the episode! Remember him? Wait....who's Calder?
    Roger's coming back!! Surely that excites you, right, right? YAY!! DONUTS!

    Until next time.........

  5. PART 1

    Even while parts of it were slow, I loved this episode for a million reasons, namely the fact that we are continuously getting insight into Annie’s increasingly fragile emotional and physical state, and I love that the writers are finally, FINALLY going there with her after all the insanity she’s been through. I know I’ve said this already, but we’re getting more emotion from Annie in the past few eps than we have in seasons. Piper is fucking amazing and even if it’s just the lip quiver or puppy dog eyes she breaks my heart with her sad faces and I almost have a heart attack just from that. She and Annie, as an actor and a character, have changed so much over the course of the show, and you really saw that in this episode - especially on the mountain when she almost has a meltdown on McQuaid - one word: perfection.

    Let’s be honest for a second, I admit that I have never fully gotten over Auggie sleeping with Helesa, and because of the poorly constructed excuses and explanations as to why he did it and how Walkerson were “broken up”, I probably never will. Maybe I’m a bitch, maybe my opinion is different, maybe my standards are higher (ooooo, snap), whatever the case may be, after episode 7 of S4, Auggie’s character was irrevocably changed for me for the worse, and there is no going back (why yes, I do hold grudges). That being said, the more I think about how complicated he and Annie are together, the less and less I want them that way - and this is so hard for me to come to terms with because I have always loved them together, I was a die hard Walkerson junkie, until everything happened and shit hit the fan.

    Now? They aren’t good for one another.

    And that brings me to the other reason I love this episode: McQuaid. I loved his and Annie’s exchange in the DPD, I loved him coming to the rescue when Annie had an episode, I loved him at the end when he told Annie that she doesn’t have to be a martyr and suffer alone. Slowly but surely, he is working his way past her defenses, and I am cheering for him.

    1. PART 2

      Second admission? I’ve been a closet McQuaid fan from the beginning. A lot of people are up in arms over Walkerson being over, and a lot of people don’t like McQuaid because they want Auggie and Annie back together, and while I respect this, I really don’t understand it. Because here’s the deal, McQuaid is GOOD for her. He goes toe to toe with Annie on numerous occasions from the get go and calls her on her shit when NO ONE ELSE will, THANK YOU PUMA JEEBUS. Sometimes he’s charming, and sometimes he’s an asshole, but at the end of the day he is a genuinely good person with priorities and morals and ethics that he upholds himself by. He listens to Annie, but he doesn’t enable her, he might not agree with her, but he doesn’t try to control her either. He doesn’t freak the fuck out when she has an episode on the mountain, but he’s right there to help, and at the end of the day he wants her to have someone she can trust and confide in, but he doesn’t force her hand. HE CARES. He cares and he is a breath of fresh air, and BRAVO to the writers and Nic Bishop or bringing him to life.

      And yes, for whatever crazy reason McQuaid is intrigued enough by Annie that he wants to pursue her, he wants her trust, and I am totally ok with that. You GO McQuaid, because it’s about time Annie found someone she could trust outside the agency, and she deserves at least that much. The biggest question I’ve seen people asking is WHY does he like her, WHY does he have to have an emotional connection to her? My question is WHY NOT? Being attracted to someone, love, and the likes doesn’t always have a concrete explanation. The world they’re in is crazy enough, it doesn’t surprise me that two people like that might fall for each other at some point. If the writers can make it happen in a way that doesn’t seem forced, then I’m ok with it.

      So, now that you’ve all got to listen to my McAnnie rant and probably think I’m insane (if you disown me, I’ll understand), I will continue by saying that the rest of the episode outside the stellar character development moments between McQuaid and Annie were all awesome. I actually felt bad for Auggie and had an “OH SHIT” moment when I realized Hayley was watching when Tash walked out on him, and believe me it’s hard to make me feel bad for him these days, so that’s saying a lot. I am digging that Joan isn’t so beneath Calder that she isn’t afraid to call him out on his shit, and I was cheering for Stephanie when she basically told Calder to go fuck himself at the police station. I feel like we are on this upward climb all the way around, and we’re finally getting back to what made this show great in the first place and why I really fell in love with it in S3 - focusing on the characters, especially Annie.

    2. PART 3

      Also, here are my random observations.

      *During the McQuaid saves the day scene, Annie's scarf kept changing positions LOL.
      *I want all of pipers clothes.
      *I am really missing the Sheriff of Medellin and I hope he comes back someday - sigh.
      *I also loved the "That's unfortunate" line.
      *When Nic Bishop says "Venezuela" he adds an -er to the end of it hahahaha.
      *Yes, looking up Annie's heart condition was a squee/awww moment for me. ANNIE PAY ATTENTION HE LIKES YOU, GAWD.

      That's all I got.

    3. Sarai Angelle
      Love your post. You are so right on about the McAnnie relationship. Annie Walker has bitch slapped Ryan McQuaid every chance she could. That scene in the CIA hallway was perfection. She made it clear that she did not need or want his help on or off the job. He reminded her that he was trying to prove she could trust him when they were in Paris. What does it take to win this girl over? Next week's episode should prove interesting. Annie is as fragile as she has ever been and several times has been close to losing it. My money is that when it all comes flowing out she will be looking for McQuaid's shoulder. The reason these two people are so attracted to each other is that they are exactly alike. Focused, driven, patriots, and in it for the right reasons. Neither has a social life and when McQuaid met her he realized this was what was lacking in his life, someone he can totally relate to. Can't wait for Annie to finally realize this. Calder and Auggie have been getting some action and soon so will Annie and McQuaid. So what will it be. As McQuad noted, Annie wears the wet look well..............possibilities -

      1. Possible shower scene. Annie wrapped in a towel finds McQuaid in the shower tells him she can get his back or offer him her towel. I will let you fill in the rest.

      2. Annie is driving around about to have a melt down, it's raining. She arrives at McQuaid's house. Dripping wet, she rings the doorbell, McQuaid opens the door, she is crying, and he reaches out to her.

      3. Annie and McQuaid have a blow out. He goes home and gets into his hot tub. He is trying to relax after getting bitch slapped by her again. He is in the tub, eyes closed when he hears something drop on the pavement. He opens his eyes to see Annie dropping her trench coat in her birthday suit and she enters the hot tub.

      4. After the upteen time of being shot down, McQuaid goes out on the town to a social event with a debutante and runs into Annie, who is quite jealous to see him with another woman. She get to his date and gets Auggie to tell the date that McQ had to leave due to something coming up and offers her a ride home. McQuaid is told a limo is awaiting him and when he opens the door, he finds Annie inside.......She tells him that she did not like seeing him with another woman. He smiles and quickly gets in.........you can fill in the blanks here too.

      Any of these plotlines work for me.

    4. "When Nic Bishop says 'Venezuela' he adds an -er to the end of it hahahaha." HA totally noticed that too. And last week he said "heleecopter."

      "Second admission? I’ve been a closet McQuaid fan from the beginning." LOL why were you ever in the closet?? Ain't no shame in the McQuaid game.

      "And yes, for whatever crazy reason McQuaid is intrigued enough by Annie that he wants to pursue her, he wants her trust, and I am totally ok with that."

      I don't think this is even the LEAST bit crazy. As a matter of fact I can't think of anything that makes more sense haaha. They are two very similar personalities who clearly work well with each other, and they've both been able to learn from each other at various points on their missions. They've developed a mutual respect which feeds to the chemistry that already naturally exists between them. Not to mention the fact that they're both hot haha, so, physical attraction exists too.

      I mentioned last week that I was a little wary of what has convinced McQuaid at this point that Annie is such a great spy, because she's in such a shaky state right now and he keeps catching her at rock bottom low points. But he's also seen her do some great stuff, and I think it's clear to him at this point that she's going through something right now (I'm also curious if he realizes that the myocarditis is a recent development, not a problem she's always had). Also, my theory is that he's kind of a "fixer", like, he sees someone who needs help and enjoys that challenge (especially because he feels like he has the experience to help). Annie is like a jumbled up ball of potential right now, in a very broken state. McQuaid wants to fix it, and he likes her, he's impressed by her, he sees her potential, he's developing a bond with her, and he probably has the hots for her, etc. Makes complete sense to me. I think it would be a hell of a lot harder to argue against this than for it. ;-)

    5. It's always nice to see different POVs because between them all McQuaid falls flat to me. Always on TV there are going to be extraordinary characters, but at least some can pretend are close to reality. That's my biggest problem with this one, he's straight out of a cheap romance novel and guys like that Don't.Exist.In.Real.Life. I get he ain't main cast so no proper time for development but it's a bit frustrating to see some main love interests being so...naively presented.

      He's just so perfect, always perfect timing, always helping, always there for her if she's ever in need and I honestly grew out of this type after high school. The modern heroine shouldn't have someone to save her and I honestly hope that even if he's Annie's endgame, his part in the whole shebang is more than that. Cause at this point, he's a huge Marty Sure.

    6. Also, given that I'm everything BUT shallow, I can't fall for a shallow written character. I'd much rather watch Auggie struggle with all his faults and changing morals and I'd much rather watch the story of two VERY imperfect people (Annie and Auggie) dealing with their differences, hurting each other, disappointing each other then finding forgiveness, because THAT is closer to reality. All relationships require work.

      And I'm kinda glad people don't 'get' Auggie because it only makes me like him more :)

    7. I think it's interesting to see our different opinions Andrea, I think we are so different from one another personality wise, age, background, et cetera that we have very juxstaposed views of the world and how it works, and our expectations of how people should be.

      That being said, I don't think McQuaid is a shallow character. He might not be unique in that he is your typical rich guy at first glance, but to play deviles advocate and be fair, we really don't know that much about him, aside from his time in the Navy. It's just like you said, we haven't had a whole lot of time for character development. For all we know there is a past behind his character that could potentially make him just as interesting as Auggie is, or Eyal, or Simon, or Teo have been in the past. That being said I know how much you like Auggie, and that may seem impossible for you, but it's just food for thought. I don't think he falls flat, Nic Bishop and Piper Perabo have great chemistry together (although Piper could have chemistry with a cardboard cut out, haha), and Nic does a great job giving McQuaid a lively, stubborn, got-get-em kind of personality that I can gravitate toward. I am hopeful that as we go, the writers will expose more of what makes him tick, and hopefully a flaw or two that won't make him seem so perfect. ;)

      As Rachael said, and I didn't even think about it before she said it, but I agree that McQuaid is one of those "fixer" type personalities. Let me clarify by saying I don't think you can categorize him with the impressionable women who sometime fall into that same category of wanting to fix men and "change" them. But I do believe McQuaid is kind of guy who is genuine, and he sees Annie struggling, and is highly aware of that struggle. And like Rachael said I think he is impressed by her work and he respects the sacrifices she's made for her country, they are both patriots, they're both very driven, and because of that he can relate to her and it makes her that much more attractive. They've been in several situations now where they've had to trust one another or perish, so to speak, and for Annie (who isn't the type to express emotion or use a whole lot of words, like her predecessor Joan Campbell haha) that means a lot to her.

      I don't think that McQuaid necessarily is always there to save Annie, we are all perfectly aware that Annie is capable of taking care of herself, but the question is (and she actually posed this question to Auggie in Vamos), "Would having someone to take care of you be the worse thing?" McQuaid essentially asks her that same question in Paris on the balcony. We've been through seasons and seasons of Annie being invincible and taking the world by storm. For me, seeing her suffer, and seeing her need help is refreshing. We're getting an emotional depth from her that we haven't seen in AGES, and if it is McQuaid that pulls that out of her, then he's doing better than most everyone else has so far.

      I think if you take a step back, and look at McQuaid from a different perspective, and try to see him as a human being who probably does have flaws just like the rest of us, you MIGHT feel a little differently.

      Also, fun fact, but some of you might remember that when Covert Affairs first started filming, they were given a chance to go to Langley and speak with real life agents. One of the women that Piper Perabo spoke too was a clandestine services officer, and she told Piper that all she dates are PMCs, because they're the only ones that "get it". So, these guys DO exist, though I doubt they're all as charming and good looking as McQuaid LOL. ;)

    8. Oh, I very very very much agree that if time would permit it we'd get great character development with Ryan too. But the truth is, there's no time so I have to settle for what I see. Our different POVs probably just stem for the fact that you're basically TeamAnnie and just want her to be happy with whoever, while I'm quite indifferent to her. Nothing wrong either way, of course, and I have same feelings for Auggie - I don't care WHO he ends up with as long as he's happy. Seriously. Hayley is a caricature of a character (can't figure if acting, writing or both), but I'd honestly be ok with her as endgame too. I'm putting this out there just to show that I'm totally open at this moment with anything and can see things objectively.

      With McQ, that's the whole thing - I don't see any flaws. I have to guess and assume he has some, but all the writers have fed me is pure awesomeness. He flies his own plane, he's rich, he's good looking, he's smart, he's protective, he keeps her secret, he wants to break through her shield, he says perfect things at perfect moments. He's fairytale, really. I think one dimensional is the proper word. It's like the writers have put this gigantic 'You have to like me' sign on his forehead.

      With Annie and Auggie (apart, not saying couple), if you take away their jobs or tone down how amazing both they are at them, you could really see some real people there. They're not that extraordinary. So I guess my problem comes from the fact that I'd rather watch something as close to real people drama as it gets.

      That being said, I'm very glad he's starting to crack her open. You're right, it's been ages (since Barcelona, actually, right? I do think she honestly loved Simon, but that relationship was a lie and it ended before she could really drop her mask) so this Annie reaching out and allowing someone to take care of her -baby steps! - is refreshing and long overdue.

    9. Oopsie there, sorry, forgot to add - " we have very juxstaposed views of the world and how it works, and our expectations of how people should be."

      I'm not quite sure this is the case; I'm actually a romantic-love conquers all - idealistic type. But my type is dorky - interesting, broken, dark men. Which is wrong on so many levels, LOL. I think this is the main difference, and your type is probably the healthier one :)

    10. andrejia: "That's my biggest problem with this one, he's straight out of a cheap romance novel and guys like that Don't.Exist.In.Real.Life. I get he ain't main cast so no proper time for development but it's a bit frustrating to see some main love interests being so...naively presented."

      Well, first off, he actually is a series regular. He's not a Simon or Hayley type that we can expect to be in just 5 or 7 eps and then killed off or broken up with or whatever. Or the Eyal type that just shows up for a couple eps a season. My point is that the plan from the writers' angle is clearly not that what we've seen of him so far is ALL there is to his character. You are making an assumption that this is *it* in terms of defining his character, and I am not making that assumption at all.

      The idea that a "good guy who is good at this job" character must be a mythical unicorn out of a "cheap romance novel" seems super cynical to me ... or at the very least ... presumptuous. We don't *know* enough about the guy yet to know all his faults and his issues and deepest insecurities etc. etc. etc. He's new to the show, let's give the writers some time to flesh out the character.

      Think about it this way - in real life, a LOT of people *seem* pretty perfectly awesome until you really get to know them and see all their issues and weaknesses and their asshole moments. We've had 4 1/2 seasons to flesh out Auggie and like 4 1/2 *episodes* (counting up the ones he's been featured in this season) to flesh out McQuaid so far. We don't KNOW him that well yet.

      What we do know about him is that he's at a reasonably stable and high-functioning point in his professional life right now, and that Annie is NOT in that state. We don't know what state he was in a year ago or 5 years ago or where he'll be next year, or even next episode for that matter (that mole thing could trip him up pretty soon). We know that he can be a cocky bastard, but that he's been there for Annie when she's needed it several times in the past 7 eps.

      The idea that a glimpse of a character who is currently doing well and has been able to help out at several key moments so far is "naive" ... again, feels not only very cynical but just ... doesn't ring true. Let's see what they do with him before we write him off as a fantastical prince from an old Disney flick.

      O.k. lastly let me just address this purely from the love interest angle: Christ, Annie has not been laid in a full year at this point (unless she hooked up with some island hotties after HK, which would be nice) ... let the poor girl have some fun. He don't need to be Mr. Right, all I ask for our girl is a Mr. Right Now (cliche as it is).

      This next statement is not directed at you (Andrejia) but is just a general statement: There seems to be this weird expectation from some fans that Annie needs to be this pure celibate nun, and then go straight back to Auggie. It's an extremely disturbing notion to me. And the idea that she would do that seems not only unrealistic, but totally unhealthy. Blech it gives me a bad feeling in my stomach just thinking about it.

      O.k. I have non-romance-related thoughts on an Annie comment too but I have to do some chores first haha.

    11. O.k. onto the Annie thing: "The modern heroine shouldn't have someone to save her ..."

      I could go on about this one at length, but I don't have to, because someone else already has, here: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/i-hate-strong-female-characters (I don't think links work in these comments but copy/paste should). ;)

      A well-written female character/heroine should be exactly the same as a well-written male one: Someone who is human, and well-rounded, with faults and strengths and high points and weak moments where they need help from other humans. A blurb from that article:

      "Are our best-loved male heroes Strong Male Characters? Is, say, Sherlock Holmes strong? In one sense, yes, of course. He faces danger and death in order to pursue justice. On the other hand, his physical strength is often unreliable – strong enough to bend an iron poker when on form, he nevertheless frequently has to rely on Watson to clobber his assailants, at least once because he’s neglected himself into a condition where he can’t even try to fight back. His mental and emotional resources also fluctuate. An addict and a depressive, he claims even his crime-fighting is a form of self-medication. Viewed this way, his willingness to place himself in physical danger might not be 'strength' at all – it might be another form of self-destructiveness. Or on the other hand, perhaps his vulnerabilities make him all the stronger, as he succeeds in surviving and flourishing in spite of threats located within as well without.

      Is Sherlock Holmes strong? It’s not just that the answer is 'of course', it’s that it’s the wrong question."

      If Annie had spent this entire series bumbling & fumbling and needing saving, of course I'd be annoyed; this wouldn't be much of a show. But quite to the contrary, she has spent the better part of 4 seasons being like, Terminator levels of indestructible. So the idea that she'd go through a phase of troubles and weakness and needing help doesn't make her a crappy heroine, it makes her a more well-written, more interesting, more realistic one.

      Side note: I have mentioned (I think last week or the week before) that I think Covert Affairs could do better with their female presence this season. We always have Annie & Joan and now we have several female guest stars running around, but they are very rarely interacting with *each other*. The lack of substantial Annie/Joan stuff this season has made that feel even more severe. And Danielle seems to have just disappeared into thin air. So yes, I am definitely missing the strong female presence of season 3 (Lena-Annie-Joan) right now.

      But, if we're looking at Annie on her own, I don't see the fact that she's had to get help from McQuaid at several moments to be a bad thing at all, but rather as quite the opposite. I see it as a great sign of improvement in the writing of her character. She's evolving and she's gonna get to a more steady state eventually, but she needs to work through her shit in the meantime. And maybe it'll be up and down just like real life. Bring it on - this is where the interesting stuff is, IMO.

    12. "Think about it this way - in real life, a LOT of people *seem* pretty perfectly awesome until you really get to know them and see all their issues and weaknesses and their asshole moments. We've had 4 1/2 seasons to flesh out Auggie and like 4 1/2 *episodes* (counting up the ones he's been featured in this season) to flesh out McQuaid so far. We don't KNOW him that well yet. "

      Ok, ok, you are spot on here. I'll keep waiting for that character development because now he's kinda a Marty Sue. My main pet peeve is that people seem so ready to throw rocks at Auggie, and as my main interest for watching the show that kinda bugs me because Ryan seems to solve all problems Auggie couldn't. It's like people who have been waiting for Annie and Auggie to happen for a while jumped ship at the very first sign of Aug-imperfection, so yeah, I like to defend him.

      So it's like McQ is here to be just what Annie needs. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what his purpose really is (romantically or not). :)

      "The idea that a "good guy who is good at this job" character must be a mythical unicorn out of a "cheap romance novel" seems super cynical to me"

      I didn't mean good at his job, I meant his character in relation to Annie.

      "There seems to be this weird expectation from some fans that Annie needs to be this pure celibate nun, and then go straight back to Auggie. It's an extremely disturbing notion to me. "

      Ok, I have NO idea who is expecting this and I know you said that you didn't direct the comment at me, but this is just...ugh. At first I thought that with Auggie it was all about sex, while they were building up McQ & Annie as possible endgame and that bugged me a bit, but that was before the Tash...thing. Now that it's clear he's not pinning after Annie, I don't mind super crazy Sri Lanka love affair. They're both free to have as much sex as they want.

      On a funny note, I saw the exact reverse opinion - 'why is Aug sleeping around and not waiting for her to make up her mind?!' and I find that equally disturbing.

      Anyway, I don't wanna highjack the comments section so I'll just refrain from commenting on the whole McQ thing from now on because debates over characters are futile since no one call tell any one of us to like something different :)

  6. Finally watched this episode. Good stuff. I've actually enjoyed the last two episodes a lot.

    1. Whew I was a little nervous that after I gushed all over this, you'd come back and say you hated it hahaha. Shelby up there had me second-guessing whether I was losing my marbles. Seems like most folks quite enjoyed this one though.

  7. That's what I'm hear for, Rach to make you 2nd guess and question the sanity of your marbles (or mine) at every turn. Someone's gotta balance this shit out, Yo!

    1. HAHA Shelby you're probably the reason I loved 5.07 and 5.02 so much - You set my expectations at rock bottom right before I watched them, so that way it wouldn't take much for them to seem like masterpieces to me LOL - Thank you!