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Review #2583: Covert Affairs 2.5: “Around the Sun”

Posted on the 07 July 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

As mentioned often in previous reviews for “Covert Affairs” (and on the Critical Myth Podcast), the quality of an episode for this series is directly proportional to the level of competency that Annie is allowed to display. Unfortunately, this has been a negative correlation more than a positive one, so episodes like this are a rare treat.

Review #2583: Covert Affairs 2.5: “Around the Sun”

The core drama of the episode is Auggie’s promotion to the head of OCA (Office of Congressional Affairs), which is an overt CIA position. This effectively blocks him from any future undercover work with Annie, and also requires the selection of a new handler. Enter Riva, a quirky character with serious interpersonal skill issues and a style that clashes with Annie’s instincts. I suspect the writers were giving Riva a slight case of Asperger’s, which is actually not uncommon in certain positions of the intelligence community.

It was good to see Jai out of the office and in the field, even if it was in a very limited capacity. One of the problems with “Covert Affairs” is that some of the secondary characters are just there; they don’t have a well-defined purpose or subplot. Jai has suffered more than most in this fashion, so getting him in the mix was a good move. (I still maintain that Arthur’s subplot makes no sense whatsoever, so ending it abruptly in this episode is probably a good move.)

The tension generated by the introduction of Riva and Auggie’s career choices helped to mitigate what was a relatively simple case. I saw the “twist” coming a mile away, and while I realize that may be the end result of experience with storytelling, I think it was also telegraphed rather blatantly. Still, it’s a minor annoyance, because the character interplay was the real highlight.

If I have one real complaint, it’s how quickly Auggie came to the conclusion that he would stay on the covert side of the CIA coin. I was looking forward to an arc for the character that would also help to propel the series (and Annie) into unexpected territory. Instead, it was a one-off situation, which makes it a bit pointless. It worked to generate tension in this episode, but it had the potential to bring so much more to a show that is still trying to find itself.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Final Rating: 8/10

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