Entertainment Magazine

Review #3123: Covert Affairs 2.12: “Uberlin”

Posted on the 09 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Right off the bat, this episode brought me back to the first half of the season, when the producers and cast made a huge amount of noise about filming on location in Paris. Why? Because they couldn’t figure out how to use basic compositing technology in the first season, making those scenes look as bad as the primitive compositing of classic “Doctor Who”. The benefit, of course, is that we get episodes like this with that authentic Berlin atmosphere.

Review #3123: Covert Affairs 2.12: “Uberlin”

All that said, I wasn’t thrilled to discover that this episode was going to focus so much on Arthur and his history. Arthur is quite possibly the most boring and underdeveloped character on the series, and that’s saying something, considering how Jai has been written until recently. The entire subplot involving his legal troubles earlier this season was completely botched, to the point that even devoted fans of the series couldn’t remember what it was all about (or be bothered to go back and find out).

Given all of the marital tension between Arthur and Joan at the beginning of the series (something that was so emphasized, it seemed like it was originally supposed to play a bigger role), I suppose it’s not a shock that Arthur once stepped over the line with an “asset”. I’d be more surprised if this turned out to be the only example of such an instance. Whatever the case, Arthur’s complicated motivations for helping Elsa drive a great deal of the tension in the episode, as Annie has to manage the situation and get everyone out alive.

Speaking of Jai, he’s back in action, but now he’s the Head of Special Projects, which means that he has a lot more authority than he used to have. And considering that he’s following in his father’s footsteps more and more, this actually might go in some fun directions. It’s about time Jai’s subplot went somewhere; now that he has the power to affect Annie’s state of play in the field, I wonder if the writers will try to rekindle the semi-romantic elements.

Things do escalate in Berlin, with lots of emotional moments regarding the night that Arthur was supposed to help Elsa out of East Germany, and Elsa’s husband getting them into one heck of a car chase. I imagine that fans of Arthur (and the actor, for that matter) probably loved every second of it. Being less than enthused with Arthur, I really didn’t care much. (Though, I must give Arthur credit for getting so excited about having Eli Manning on his fantasy football team. Someone in production has some taste, it seems.)

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Auggie goes to a memorial for an old friend, and runs into his rather attractive sister. Because it has long been clear that Auggie gets more action than everyone else on the series combined, this seems like the beginning of a character arc for Auggie. Hopefully this one won’t end as awkwardly as his first season tryst. Sadly, this also means that adorable Annie/Auggie flirting might be toned down for a while. Though, this new love interest is going into the Peace Corps, so it seems there is a bit of a time limit already written into the equation.

As if that’s all not enough, there was a bit of a truce declared between Annie and her sister. I should have seen it coming when they had their most heated argument yet towards the start of the episode, but I was under the impression their rift would last a bit longer. While I do think it’s a good thing for Annie to have this other side to her life, to balance out the canvas of the series, this all feels a bit too quick for my tastes.

All in all, an episode with a lot of good elements to it, but ultimately, not one that I would call a favorite. The focus on Arthur, while perhaps overdue, was also not something I relished to see.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10

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