Covert Affairs: I Can’t Quit You Baby

A medical supplier named Donald Ridley is detained by Customs while flying back into the United States from London with a crate of undeclared diamonds in his possession, intended to finance Angolan insurgents. For whatever unfathomable reason, Arthur brings evil old Henry Wilcox out of retirement to consult on the case (Arthur: “I may not like you, but I respect your talent.” Henry: “Isn’t that funny? I like you, Arthur, but I don’t respect your talent at all”). Outstanding! Everything’s more fun when Henry’s around. Annie and Auggie are a couple of nice kids, but it’s the supporting characters -- Henry, Jai, Joan, Arthur -- who really make this show zip right along.

A chatty young vice-consul at the Embassy in London named Vivian Long (adorable former child star Anna Chlumsky, who has evolved into an adorable adult) has been routinely providing Ridley with a highly fishy surplus of assistance in easing his shipments through Customs. The CIA suspects Vivian is complicit with the smugglers, so Joan sends Annie to London, using her cover as a Smithsonian employee, to befriend Vivian and infiltrate the operation.

Glamorous Jai accompanies Annie to London. He teams up with Roach, an old crony at the Embassy, to investigate the smugglers (Roach greets Jai with, “You look like crap.” This must be an example of that famous dry English sense of humor, as Jai spends the episode looking even dewier and more scrumptious than usual). Jai and Roach investigate the address from which Ridley’s shipment originated, which turns out to be a deserted nightclub. A mysterious woman opens fire on them, then escapes in the chaos; Jai traces her fingerprints and discovers that she’s Ridley’s wife, Alara Komen, a former Turkish intelligence operative and current mercenary with ties to Angola.

Feigning a compulsive gambling addiction, Annie wheedles Vivian into taking her to an upscale gaming club, where she drunkenly and obnoxiously gets herself into serious debt from playing craps. Vivian offers to help her find a way to repay the debt -- all she needs to do is transport a few crates filled with unknown stuff through Customs into the U.S. Annie cheerfully agrees to this.

Alara meets with Annie in Hyde Park and explains the smuggling operation to her. She excuses herself to take a phone call in Turkish; Annie, whose repertoire of foreign languages expands with every episode, eavesdrops and discovers that Alara is planning on having Vivian killed.

Annie calls Auggie to brief him on this. Joan gathers everyone -- Annie, Jai, Henry, Arthur -- on a conference call to mull over their options. Everyone except Henry thinks it would be a good idea to get Vivian to safety; ever the contrarian, Henry thinks it’d be better to let Vivian get whacked. When Arthur overrules him, Henry flounces out of the room. Henry has a knack for perking up dull conference calls.

(There’s some kind of wacky and moderately tedious subplot about how Annie promised Danielle she’d arrange a field trip to the Smithsonian for Danielle’s daughter’s classmates. The arrangements fall through, so, to keep Annie’s cover intact, Auggie nobly steps in at the last minute and lead the kids on a way-cool tour. Zany hijinks ensue, and yes, there is a scene featuring several small children climbing all over their new best friend Auggie.)

Alara and her henchmen lure Vivian to the abandoned nightclub to kill her. Annie sneaks in with the intention of saving Vivian, but gets captured as well. Jai and Roach arrive, a gun battle ensues, Jai shoots Alara, Annie gets Vivian to safety, and everything turns out fairly well. The smuggling operation is disbanded, Henry and Arthur hurl more insults at each other, and Annie, Vivian and Jai fly back to Washington.

Fine episode. Good to see Henry again, Vivian was cute and likeable, and Sendhil Ramamurthy was pretty much born to wear expensive suits and run around with a gun while looking sexy and grim. On to the season finale.

Comments

starrdust411 said…
I wasn't really surprised that this episode didn't connect with the season finale, but I was expecting at least a cliffhanger or something to lead us into the next episode. What was the point of showing them back to back instead of giving us another week of Covert Affairs? Did USA feel that despite the show's strong ratings it would be unable to compete with next week's premiering fall tv shows?

Also, this episode continued to showcase Danielle's crazyness. Asking her sister to schedule a field trip for a 3rd grade class two days before the trip? Wow, how high up in the Smithsonian is Annie supposed to be? In fact, I doubt that the school would even approve of such a last minute trip since they'd have to get permission slips and such signed/revised.
Morgan Richter said…
What was the point of showing them back to back instead of giving us another week of Covert Affairs? Did USA feel that despite the show's strong ratings it would be unable to compete with next week's premiering fall tv shows?

I have no idea. It was odd. My best guess is that USA wanted to fill the 9PM slot, which was suddenly open after last week's White Collar finale, so they could finish up all their original summer programming at pretty much the same time before heading into their fall schedule. They hyped this heavily as a "two-hour season finale," which was pretty misleading.

In fact, I doubt that the school would even approve of such a last minute trip since they'd have to get permission slips and such signed/revised.

Yeah. While it was kind of interesting learning how the CIA handles this sort of thing -- that they've got a department devoted to maintaining the covers of their operatives -- this whole side plot seemed improbable and kind of silly. It seems like the writers are having difficulty getting Auggie out of the office and keeping him relevant, but they probably could have come up with something stronger than this.
Rosey said…
Was Anna the girl in "My Girl"??
Morgan Richter said…
Was Anna the girl in "My Girl"??

Yep, that's her.

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