Entertainment Magazine

Review #3103: Covert Affairs 2.11: “Wake Up Bomb”

Posted on the 02 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

One nice thing about USA running their typical “summer shows” in the fall/winter is that it provides a bit of perspective. On the one hand, it demonstrates that a lot of the USA “summer programming” really is a bit more diffuse and light as compared to traditional network fare. But it also works in the reverse, pointing out how many of the more serious new shows are more pretentious than weighty, and less effective as a result.

Review #3103: Covert Affairs 2.11: “Wake Up Bomb”

It helps that the latter end of the first half of the second season of “Covert Affairs” (to be rather specific) was a run dominated by the show’s strengths: Annie was finally a more competent agent, silly subplots were more or less relegated to the background, and the entire production just seemed more confident as a whole. Most of that translates into this episode, which is about as good a mid-season premiere as a show like this could desire.

Based on this episode and the USA promotional campaign leading up to it, I’d say that there was something to the fan speculation that sex appeal was going to be emphasized for the rest of the season. I vaguely recall other USA using similar tactics during their winter runs, but this actually makes sense within the context of “Covert Affairs”, considering that the show has used the vague promise of Piper and her costars in skimpy clothing as a lure since before the series began. (And you won’t see me complaining.)

That doesn’t mean that the show is ignoring some of the character work that was the hallmark of the strong summer run. For instance, Annie is still dealing with the fallout of telling her sister the truth. Thankfully, that relationship is still front and center, and not being tossed aside. The show needs to continue exploring that delicate balance in Annie’s life to keep her relatable to the audience, and the family dynamics in this episode accomplished that.

While I’m still a bit frustrated with Jai and his subplot, there are some indications in this episode that his part of the story might finally start meaning something. (Even if his scenes at the gym reminded me discordantly of the “Chuck” season premiere!) But he’s shown a shrewd, calculated side since the beginning, so it would be nice to see the character utilized in a consistent manner.

Another thing I really liked about this episode was the glorious Annie/Auggie interaction. I’m not typically a shipper in the traditional sense (I don’t watch any show exclusively for romantic elements), but they have a remarkable amount of chemistry, the kind that just brings a smile to your face when they’re on the screen together.

This was a good start to the second part of the season, and reminded me of how much the show has grown. It’s no longer a show to watch because little else is on; it has met its potential enough to stand on its own against network competitors. It may not hit the heights of the most acclaimed dramas, but as we sometimes say on the Critical Myth Podcast, not every show has to aspire to the same accolades. Sometimes, it’s good just to be a fun show to watch.

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

Final Rating: 8/10

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