Covert Affairs: Good Advices

Okay! That was approximately eighty times better than last week’s episode!

Annie goes on a mission in Paris to meet a young woman named Salma, who works at the Syrian Embassy, in the hopes of cultivating her as a CIA asset. Paris! Annie’s scenes were actually shot in Paris, which was a good call -- for once, this show actually looks like a real, grownup spy series, instead of a pretty good pretender. After much dithering around, Annie manages to orchestrate an encounter with Salma: She secretly exchanges Salma’s ridiculously expensive handbag with her own exact duplicate. When Salma contacts her to arrange a trade, she coerces her into sharing a bottle of wine, engaging in some giddy girl-talk, and accompanying her to a fancy-dress event later that same night. When Annie gets herself in gear, she works fast.

At the event, Annie and Salma run into Eyal Lavin, the dashing and roguish Mossad agent whom Annie had tangled with last season. Oded Fehr! Very pleased to see you here again, sir. Please show up on as many episodes as humanly possible -- heck, if Covert Affairs wanted to make Eyal a regular character, I’d have no complaints -- because you brighten up this show whenever you’re around.

As Mossad also has a keen interest in cultivating Salma (her job puts her in close contact with a Syrian figure of great interest to many governments), Eyal has been romancing her under false pretenses. This ruffles Annie’s feathers, as Eyal is essentially beating her at her own game.

Salma, who turns out to be no fool, almost immediately picks up on Annie’s and Eyal’s respective ruses. She coolly outlines the deal: She’ll become an asset to the highest bidder.

Back at Langley, Joan gets called into jury duty, which she does not handle with grace and dignity. During her absence, she leaves Auggie in charge of the DPD, in a move expressly designed to annoy Jai. No worries. Jai is extra-sexy when he’s annoyed.

A bidding war erupts between the CIA and Mossad for Salma’s loyalties. Auggie, through Joan, authorizes Annie to offer Salma fifty thousand Euros. Salma accepts the deal and agrees to meet with Annie at a café to complete the transaction. Salma stands her up; Annie and Eyal later find her dead in her apartment. When her murderer tries to flee the scene, Eyal chases him across rooftops (Covert Affairs has had some pretty good foot chase scenes, this one among them. Certainly better than their car chases, which tend to bring episodes crashing to a halt). Salma’s killer falls to his death from a high rooftop to avoid capture by Eyal.

While Annie was in possession of Salma’s expensive handbag, she’d taken notice of a Post-It Note listing a train route number and arrival time. Even though her mission ended with Salma’s death, she stakes out the train station in the hopes of spotting Salma’s mysterious Syrian contact. Thanks to a surprise bit of assistance from Eyal, Annie manages to snap a valuable photograph of the man. However, when she goes for celebratory drinks with Eyal afterwards, Eyal swipes her camera’s memory card and takes off.

Dashing and roguish spies. They’ll lead you into trouble every time, Annie. It’s what they do.

Annie chases after Eyal. She spots him being bundled into a van, presumably by the Syrians. She follows them to a cabin in the woods, torches the van, creates a big messy disturbance, and, after a series of hijinks and foibles and crackling romantic sparks, manages to get both herself and Eyal to safety.

Covert Affairs? Forget Ben. Eyal is where it’s at. Trust me on this.

Annie returns to Langley, her mission a success, except for the part where her would-be asset got totally murdered. Acting on Eyal’s advice, she comes partially clean with Danielle, who thinks she was on an innocent trip to Topeka for the Smithsonian. She doesn’t go as far as to tell her sister she’s a CIA operative, but she does explain that she was actually in Paris, so… baby steps.

Excellent episode. For once, the main plot, while a little lightweight, didn’t seem like an afterthought. Annie and Eyal are fun together, and Joan and Auggie and Jai were delightful. No progress was made on any of the long-running plots -- the Ben situation, the mole, the negative campaign against Arthur -- but the episode itself was brisk and breezy enough to stand up on its own. Let’s hope they keep this up.


Rosey said…
I really liked this ep! I do agree...Eyal all the way. I just feel more chemistry between them then her and Ben. I like Ben but he is always leaving her and I don't like it.
Morgan Richter said…
I'm very pro-Eyal. I don't dislike Ben, but I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about Ben and Annie as a couple. Eyal, on the other hand...
Patrick said…
Hi Morgan! The show I've been following for the last 13 weeks was The Killing which was very atmospheric and a great murder mystery. Until the final episode and the massive backlash... Might have been a fun one for you to have been recapping, just so we could go wild with the theories. Entertainment Weekly - reviewing the final episode - called it 'the new Heroes'. It was not meant as a compliment. Anyway, on to Covert Affairs.
Patrick said…
I've been fairly much enjoying the new episodes, though I think some of the old problems remain. There are a good few characters but not an awful lot for them to do each week, so Jai (especially) and Auggie tend to have a lot of standing around.

There are still some preposterous elements. There is NO way one of the key CIA officials would be called up for jury duty and, if she was, she wouldn't attempt to go through with it. This was an excuse to put Auggie in charge, and while there were some good comic elements to it (especially the way she got out of it) it was just a little clumsily set up.

In the first episode Annie came back from a 'work trip to Missouri' and the dialogue with her sister was similarly clumsy. Annie explained what she had been doing, her sister reported on what she, the kids, and her husband, had been up to, she thanked her for the postcards and so on. It was only Missouri! In real life they would have been on the phone, texting, or at worst emailing so there would have been no need for it. Especially for sisters who are that close. The dialogue was purely there for our benefit, to recap on things, and that was annoying.

This may seem a little persnickety but they are the things that undermine the attempts to create a realistic world we can believe in.
Morgan Richter said…
The show I've been following for the last 13 weeks was The Killing which was very atmospheric and a great murder mystery. Until the final episode and the massive backlash<

Hey, Patrick! I loved the first few episodes of The Killing, then I started to get frustrated with it, then I moved to New York and no longer had cable and couldn't be bothered to watch the episodes online. And then I heard about the huge viewer backlash with the finale (no specifics, just that audiences pretty much hated it), which doesn't really make me want to go back and watch the rest of the season... Still, that first episode was very, very good and atmospheric.

This may seem a little persnickety but they are the things that undermine the attempts to create a realistic world we can believe in.

That's a good point. Covert Affairs tends to take the easy way out too often -- they want Auggie in charge? Have Joan off on jury duty whether it makes any sense or not -- and it does undermine the show. Details count. And you're right, they're really not using the characters, apart from Annie, as well as they could.

I'm a little underwhelmed with the show right now, even though I really did enjoy this episode. We'll see how tonight's episode goes -- maybe that'll provide a better idea of which way the season is going to go.
Svenska said…
Eyal...I am so with you on Eyal. The whole scene at the train station...the looks that pass between them...especially when Annie turns her head away to listen to the announcements.

Eyal & Annie: would be a tough relationship long term unless one of them takes a desk job or quits their respective agency. The level of passion would definitely be stellar... for however long it lasted. Maybe they will continue to do a slow smolder (frustrating)and connect down the road a bit? I'd be a double-agent for Eyal any old time...Are you listening E.L.?
Morgan Richter said…
Svenska, I'm glad you agree about Eyal. He has sparkling chemistry with Annie, and while it would be nearly impossible for the two of them to have any kind of a solid relationship, I'd love to see him on many more episodes, flirting with Annie and being roguish and charming.
Svenska said…
Okay Morgan, since you are an Eyal Lavin fan. Both USA Network and Youtube have a clip promoting the new season of Covert Affairs. The Eyal moments (2 of them) are brief but mmmmmmmm, so promising. What wouldn't I do to walk into a lowly-lit hotel room and find a scorching Mossad guy, black trench, scotch in hand, pensive, raises his eyes to yours...oh yes. Oh and did I mention Annie handcuffs Mr. Lavin to a bed. The Mid-Season date is November first.
Morgan Richter said…
Looks good, Svenska! Thanks for the clip. I'm very glad they're using Eyal more -- he's a fun character, and thus far the episodes he's been in have been among the very best. And the handcuffs certainly don't hurt...
Svenska said…
Hey Morgan! Did you have any thoughts on the last Eyal and Annie episode "A Girl Like You"? Eyal was delish in that bar scene. I'm surprised Annie didn't fall of of her bar stool the way he was reeling her in. My, my, my!
Morgan Richter said…
Crazily enough, Svenska, I still haven't seen the latest Eyal-Annie episode. I've been meaning to, because I love those two crazy kids together, but the last few months have gotten away from me. I'll have to make an effort to track it down and watch it, because it sounds fabulous.
Svenska said…
Morgan: I think it's on the USA Covert Affairs page for a little while and maybe on Hulu?

Would love to hear your thoughts after you watch it of course.

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