20 August, 2014

The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.09: 'Spit on a Stranger'

"You let The Sheriff worry about that."  Hahaha Shelby hated this episode, but I feel like any ep with that line in it should have been an instant win for her.

That said, I do understand her frustrations with this one.  It was like this weird combination of being overall pretty predictable ... but yet somehow - for me anyway - still suspense-worthy as it went on.  I think a lot of that is because I was dying for McQuaid to NOT be guilty and I just wanted to get to a point where I could trust that he's legit.  And of course that took the entire episode.  And maybe it's because I still have this on the brain from last week's Castle-esque episode, but in the scene in the DPD where Auggie explains his whole theory about McQuaid Security being on the verge of bankruptcy and how McQ must have planned Chicago just to drum up new contracts ... I seriously almost expected to see Captain Gates (or maybe Ryan & Espo) sitting across the table from him.  It was one of those Scooby Doo moments ... but thankfully Covert doesn't play it cheesy like Castle does.  Still though, with the ever-flipping guilty-or-innocent suspicions on both Caitlyn and McQuaid throughout this entire ep ... Annie and Auggie were in a very, very Rick and Kate state of being this week.  Come to think of it, Auggie better finish his next novel soon, he's been slacking on that.

Caitlyn.  Oh, Caitlyn.  I was laughing SO hard at how exaggerated her attempts to thwart Annie were in the beginning - "As a probationary hire, you have a clearance level of 1.  It's the company policy; there are NO exceptions."  Hahaha she's been a very hate-able character for this entire season, but I've said it at least once and I'll say it again: I like Perrey Reeves.  She was funny and sassy on Entourage, and I've worried much of this season that they've just been wasting her talents here.  At least in tonight's ep, no matter how over-the-top it was, she got to flex a few of those sass muscles.  And this ep passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors due to her scenes with Annie (as well as the Annie/Joan stuff).  That always makes me happy.

I was also thrilled to see Caitlyn revealed as being a non-mole here, because of how insanely predictable her mole-ness seemed to be.  BUT ... the end of this ep and the preview for next week give me this sinking feeling that the tables will turn once again on her next week and she'll be getting that figurative mask pulled off her head by the DPD gang soon.  Zoinks!!  "And I woulda gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids!!"  This already feels disappointing to me, but I have to hold off on judging it until we see next week's ep.  For now I'll give the Covert writers this: her arc in this particular ep was entertaining.  I'll shut my eyes on what I foresee happening next week (but hey maybe Sydney will be the culprit after all).

This was a nice ep for Auggie, eh?  He even got to turn the tables on Annie from ep 5.05 and bust her balls about it a little.  Noice.  "How does it feel when the shoe is on the other foot, sister!?"  I'm paraphrasing.  Auggie was significantly more polite about it.  I did want to strangle him though, when he didn't trust Calder enough to let him in on what was going on with Annie's op.  Calder has proven himself trustworthy after all the help he gave A&A with Henry, so Auggie refusing to put that trust in him this time was not a smart move.  Noble, yes, as a friend to Annie, but I want these people to use their brains a little more sometimes.  And in the friend department, he may have been loyal on the Annie front, but it was a dick move on the Calderson front.  Lucky for Auggie their McQuaid "catch" put him and Annie back in the good graces of both Calder and Joan.

Speaking of Joan, I loved that she instantly knew Annie was lying to her when she resigned.  It felt like both Auggie and Annie were excessively impudent with their bosses this week.  It brought me right back to the second half of season 3 when Annie was just this perpetual bone-headed bratty teenager with Joan, and I constantly wanted to punch her in the face for her lack of appreciation for everything Joan had done for her behind the scenes.  And she never had to face any consequences for it!  I know it was all for show in tonight's ep, but still.  It makes me mad.  Joan being too smart to fall for the charade made me feel a tad bit better about it.

O.k. hmm let's talk predictability for a bit.  We all knew Annie would go work for McQuaid to investigate him, and I think most of us knew McQuaid would be looking a lot less guilty by the end of the ep.  I was also sure that Annie would wind up helping him by the time the ep was over, although to be fair, the description for next week's episode is literally: "Annie helps McQuaid with a difficult mission against Auggie's wishes," and that's been out for a while.  So, they didn't exactly make this difficult to figure out.  But during the ep itself ... I have to admit I was tensed up.  A typical Castle ep with many of the same tactics has me bored out of my skull, but that's because it's a a bunch of case-of-the-week guest characters that no one gives a flying frig about (plus it's also the same shit every week).  Covert, on the other hand, hooked me by making me love McQuaid with all my heart before turning him into the main suspect.  So every up and down and up again moment had me biting my fingernails praying for it to end on an upnote for him.  Was I 98% sure it'd be looking up for him in the end?  Yes, but I'm a "don't believe it till you see it" type of person, so I needed to wait for sufficient proof.  Ya got me, Covert writers.  Hook line and sinker.  Plus, there were smaller beats that worked quite well here to keep me guessing, like McQuaid's sudden move to come clean about Flint to Annie mid-ep.  Genuine gesture of friendship or counter-espionage 101?  I wondered, for a bit.

And the McQuaid speculation brings me to the fact that my cousin Katie and I spent about 20 minutes post-ep angrily texting each other about how badly the writers have cockblocked McWalker at this point.  Many a CAPS lock was used.  I can't even tell you how insane it is driving me that they can't just give sad lonely celibate Annie - who frankly could probably put in an application to reclaim her virginity at this point - just five seconds of romance before YANKING it all away from her violently.  I mean come on it's just getting cruel at this point!!  I am seriously at the brink of just screaming desperately, "The Herlihy Boy"-style about this.  "Sweet MOTHER OF GOD WHAT is the HOLD UP!!??"  Let the girl get some action.  Or at least let her comb your grandmother's hair.  R.I.P. Chris Farley.

And all I'm seeing in the preview for next week is just shooting and running all over the place and blowing shit up!!  Come ON people, enough with the distractions.  And if there is anyone out there in the universe who doesn't watch the previews for next week, skip this next part to avoid SPOILERS:

Is that McQuaid getting shot in the shoulder next week with yet another cockblock in the form of a bullet this time?  Uuuugghh.  Fine, it's just a shoulder wound.  No big.  As I told Katie, even Teo can fix that with just a hot knife and some alcohol.  We've come up with a prediction that Teo will be season 5's guardian angel.  He will descend down from the heavens above like the blessed holy puma cub that he is, and fix everything. 

"Let Go, Let Teo."  - Katie

Amen.  Let us bow our heads in silence while we ponder some final points.

  • The cut away from the scene after "let's have that coffee" was annoying.  I hate when they do that.  How did Annie get out of that pickle?  Pun intended.
  • Annie: "How do I look?"  Auggie: "You always look great."  Har.
  • Loved Annie's hot pink shoes.  And pretty much all of her outfits here, actually.
  • It was fun seeing Annie and Arthur working together again.  This also helped take a bit of the sting off the Joan fight.  It felt like the band was getting back together again.
  • Cousin Katie: "O.k. so what are we doing with the heart condition now?"  Uhh yeah good question, I totally forgot about that, except in the one scene where Annie had to beat that guy up in the factory/warehouse, where I tensed up praying that Annie's heart would keep it together.  Where are they gonna take that storyline from here?
  • Speaking of which, how the hell did Hayley find out about Annie's heart condition to begin with??  I forgot to mention that last week.
  • JUST when I finally realized last week that I haven't seen any blatant product placement this season like the Jag in S4, we got the Maserati scene here.  I know the car has been here all season but this was the first ep it felt super commercial-esque to me.
  • That was the dog walker attacking Annie in the warehouse right?  The guy who got away?
So what do I think about this ep?  I find penultimate eps so impossible to judge unless I'm re-viewing them after having already seen the finale.  And tonight's ep is no exception.  It's extremely difficult to view it without forcing yourself to make assumptions about what will happen in the finale - assumptions that are not always correct.  This ep was predictable on most of the major plot turns, but still entertaining.  And the the way it all comes together next week could totally change how we view the events of 5.09.  So I'm going to be cautious about my grade here until I see 5.10.  Then I'll revisit it next week.  I'm pretty sure I actually downgraded 4.09 last year after seeing 4.10  Let's hope this year it fares better.

GRADE: 84/100

I have plenty of thoughts about the summer season as a whole, both high points and frustrations, but of course I'll wait for next week for that as well.  Remember last year when I was trying to write these reviews from a hotel in Dublin and then from the Heathrow airport?  No?  Well I do.  It sucked.  But the vacation was fun.  This year I ain't goin' nowhere so that makes this all much easier.

Sass me like a bratty Annie/Auggie in the comments.  Let go, let God.

The Plopper

Recent reviews by the writer, below:
13 August, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.08: 'Grounded'
6 August, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.07: 'Brink of the Clouds'
30 July, 2014
The Plopper Reviews COVERT AFFAIRS 5.06: 'Embassy Row'


  1. I have nothing to comment, my ship is dead :(

  2. Can I go first? *Raises hand* Pleaseeee....I'm on different timezone (no shit!, I know y'all know) and chained to the desk all day.

    I'm surprised with your rating, tho I really have to get used to being in the minority. I loved this ep. Loved it to the end of Galaxy. The fact the I watched it at 6:30 AM prolly has a saying, but I think by far this has been the best ep of the season. Was it because you found it a bit too predictable?

    But I think we come from different POVs, yet again. I'm talking more about character development which I loved. I loved the insight, I loved every little scene. The ep was about choices, who do you trust most?
    -Auggie chose to lie to Calder because he granted Annie another day. You are right, Calder didn't deserve it, Auggie should've been smarter about it, but I just feel we got insight; we got into his head a bit, we got to know his core values.
    -Annie chose to lie to him again, choosing the mission, again. Only that this time, I got a bit of insight, she's not robotic anymore. I loved how she flipped the script.
    -Joan blackmailing-so-not-blackmailing Calder oh-so-casualy from behind that smile was by far BEST SCENE, seconded by the Annie/Auggie scene that paralleled Paris. They acted like adults. They both saw they were one step from a huge fight, took a deep breath and calmed down.

    I can't wait for the fallout!

    You mentioned the preview, but you didn't mention Hayley's annoying 'get down on your knees' line? Oh, man, I LOL-ed so hard there. I was like "but Hayley, I thought you liked to get down on your knees....".

    1. Haha well don't interpret 84 as a bad grade. Anything higher than 80 means I generally liked the ep. I'm also grading it cautiously right now until I see the finale. I'm definitely not in "best ep of the season" territory, but I still found it to be enjoyable. At this point I'm just crossing my fingers for the finale hahaha.

      "You mentioned the preview, but you didn't mention Hayley's annoying 'get down on your knees' line?" HAHA I didn't even catch that. I must have been trying to mentally block Hayley's presence in the preview while watching it haahha. I'll check it out again.

      "Joan blackmailing-so-not-blackmailing Calder oh-so-casualy from behind that smile..." LOL yeah good callout, the Joan/Calder dynamic was good here.

  3. I have another word I want added to the permanently retired list:

    1. Yep. Patriot needs to go bye bye.

    2. HAHA I'm with you guys on this, I've *always* hated that word. Well, at least for about a decade or so. It's just so cheesy sounding.

    3. True fax! I also dislike the word 'homeland.' Not that I heard it on Covert Affairs or anything, but it just seems like something that they used in Moscow circa. 1934. LOL

  4. I, too, was disappointed when Auggie refused to cooperate fully with Calder. I, however, was encouraged at the end when Auggie and Calder all but hugged it out (#Calderson lives!) toward the end.
    I have to give props to the writers for how they constructed the mother/daughter relationship between Joan and Annie. When Annie resigned, I wondered how this Kibuki theater was going to play out. They were talking about their work, but they seemed to be speaking to something greater than what appeared to be going on.

  5. I think the Beretta PX4 that McQuaid gave Annie is a product placement. I'm glad it's replaced that ugly 6 shot revolver she had in previous seasons and the Walther PPK she had before that.

    My candidate for bad guy is that always perfect no hair out of place Deputy DNI that talks in ominous innuendo and never really says anything. He's perfect. If you don't believe it, just ask him.

  6. I know we've talked, but I do have to say one thing I've noticed over the past few episodes. There seems to be a general consensus that some people are frustrated with the characters, which I disagree with, but totally understand. This episode wasn't the best episode (I think we found out this was a first time writer, so that explains a lot), but a prevalent theme this season has been "suffering the consequences". I remember last season, and even late S3 we were complaining about how Annie seems to blow through life with little trouble, emotionally or otherwise, especially after the Lena debacle. This season, so far, not only have we seen more emotion from her than we have in FOREVER, but we're also watching her try to juggle all these moving pieces and - to some degree - fail at it.

    At the end of this episode she tells Auggie that she is questioning all her instincts, proof that even Annie is having to face the reality that she is not an infallible spy girl. She is trying to do her job, she is hell bent on completing her self appointed mission, and it really is pushing everyone close to her away, including McQuaid at this point. It makes me sad for Annie, and for Auggie, and for Joan, and all the characters, because even in real life it's hard to watch someone go down this downward spiral of behavior that leads to a final breakdown. I think Annie might be headed that direction, and it's kinda awesomely tragic.

    1. Given that before we've disagreed on a lot of aspects, I just have to say that it turns out I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'll never touch the spy part of the show (again), because it's not why I'm watching it, although I do enjoy it from time to time. I'm here for the characters and you've explained Annie and the current arc wonderfully in the first paragraph above.

      My only hope now is that we're not interpreting things and finding excuses for the writers. I really want them (all of them!) to realize the consequences, where and when they've done the wrong thing. I don't expect everyone to pay for their mistakes; a final breakdown will be awesomely tragic, as you say, but if I don't get it neither from Annie nor from Auggie I won't be upset; I'm more interested in seeing what they do with all the ...intel they get about themselves once they'll catch who ever is responsible for the Chicago attack.

      What I mean is...the season started with two major questions: can you really have it all - love and be a spy and who do you trust. Therefore, in the finale, or close, Annie & Co. will find out the answers. It's what they do with those answers that interests me the most. What happens until then are just events that will color their final decision. These are the pieces of the puzzle they will have to put together to get the whole, clear picture.

      And common, I loved the earlier seasons. They were fun and all. But Annie biggest problem then was Danielle and casually dating (Dr. Scott, guy at country club). Compare that to her problems now.

      Since I first commented, I rewatched the ep & I have one negative thing to say - it's been 3 weeks since Annie's car accident. Yup. 3 weeks. So they don't sleep, traveling to other continents takes a nanosecond & more. Riiiight.