Entertainment Magazine

Review #3155: Covert Affairs 2.14: “Horse to Water”

Posted on the 23 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

One of the better subplots of the season has been the strained relationship between Annie and her sister Danielle. Rather than using it as a basis for stripping away one of the elements of the show necessary to reflect Annie’s humanity, the writers have explored the tension and its implications in more detail than I would have anticipated. So setting up a case that brings all of those emotions to the forefront was a great idea.

Review #3155: Covert Affairs 2.14: “Horse to Water”

Granted, the execution wasn’t perfect. Annie may still be suffering from the side effects of her suppressed agency after exposure to Eyal in the previous episode, but her objections to Joan’s orders were about as subtle as a brick to the head. It’s one thing to feel as though you are compromised under a given set of mission parameters. It’s actually smart to bring that sort of thing up to your superior, so adjustments can be made to keep the right talent in the field with the right kind of support. Outright refusing to follow orders is a bit different.

It’s almost as if the writers didn’t trust the audience to recognize the tension created by the parallel between Annie’s external/internal conflicts, even though the more subtle approach would have sent the stronger message. It’s much like Grace’s little code message to her sister towards the end; they might as well have flashed a warning message on the screen saying “Suspicious dialogue! Pay attention!”

Regardless of all that, I couldn’t help but enjoy how this put Annie through the ringer. It was certainly a more convincing personal struggle than her conflicted actions in the previous episode. And the whole question of what effect being the CIA might have on a family, raised earlier in the season, is now once more front and center. In fact, a lot of this serves to put Annie on a course to reconsider and rededicate her choice to work in the agency. (As her decision to get firearms training indicates.)

Meanwhile, Jai continues to make his moves behind the scenes, and those moves have never felt so questionable and disturbing. His awkward conversation with Auggie is a rather telling reflection of his own lack of experience with such underhanded dealings, but serves to communicate to the audience how far he’s willing to go. Stealing Auggie’s assets thus becomes a somewhat chilling move. We’re not sure of Jai’s endgame, and that’s what makes it more intriguing. That it is becoming vaguely threatening to Annie’s world is an important consideration.

I’ve also noticed that Joan is taking more and more of a central role in Annie’s development. I think this is one reason that the series has improved this season, because it adds an important layer to their professional relationship. Could Joan see herself in Annie, back when she first began her field career? I think it’s rather likely, which makes the conflict in this episode all the more interesting. And should Jai make a play to recruit Annie, it would mean a lot more due to the preparation.

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

Final Rating: 7/10

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