Maybe the production crew is a bit more aware of the series’ issues than I had supposed. At least, in terms of the terrible green-screen compositing shots. Unlike most of television production, that manages to use the technology without much difficulty, “Covert Affairs” often fumbles on the fundamentals.
So filming on location in Paris was not at all a bad idea. It eliminated one source of criticism from the episode. Bringing in one of the first season’s most appreciated guest characters, Eyal Lavin, was another good idea. It definitely gave Annie someone to play against, so that her lack of field experience could be mitigated by the superior abilities of a more seasoned agent.
Annie’s side of the equation worked out well, but they had to make sure that she was more or less on her own to maximize the interplay with Eyal. That meant disrupting the status quo back at home base. With Joan out of the picture, it gave the writers a chance to show Auggie in a different light. As much as the first season seemed to be putting Annie and Auggie closer together, this is another way that the writers keep them apart without making it seem contrived.
Unfortunately, “contrived” is the word I would definitely use for the entire Joan subplot. Let me put it this way. When I went for jury duty, one of the first things they did was ask if there was anyone who had a reason why they couldn’t serve. They were asked to approach the bench, explain their situation, and then they would typically be dismissed. In other words, the entire subplot was pretty much ridiculous, since the logical thing would have had Joan discussing the matter with the judge one-on-one, not making an ass out of herself. It turned Joan into someone out of a crappy sitcom.
If it wasn’t for the inclusion of Eyal, it would have been too similar to the season premiere, with Annie off on her own with the rest of the cast practically starring in their own show. Hopefully this will not be the format going forward. One of the saving graces of the show last season was the interaction between the main cast members, and they need to get back to that before much longer.
Final Rating: 6/10