Entertainment Magazine

Review #3642: Covert Affairs 3.5: “This is Not America”

Posted on the 16 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Julia Ruchman
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Whenever the writers trot out Eyal, I get worried. No matter how competent they make Annie at any other time, Eyal seems to be the trigger to dial it all back. And since they already appear to be doing everything possible to return the characters to their original status quo, regardless of how good the changes at the start of the season were, Eyal’s smarmy presence in this episode stood out like a flashing warning sign.

Review #3642: Covert Affairs 3.5: “This is Not America”

That concern was only compounded by Arthur’s decision to send Auggie back to the DPD, just like Annie. While Auggie’s outburst in the previous episode was out of character, and definitely worthy of some kind of censure, what was the point of putting him in Jai’s position in the first place, if they were never going to show him doing the job at any point? At least Annie was shown working on the case for Nina!

It leaves me even more confused as to the intended direction for the season. Is this a temporary diversion, given that there was an obvious connection between Simon and something that Jai was investigating? If so, Jai’s cryptic conversation with Annie at the beginning of the season may point to a much more complex set of circumstances, one that makes this apparent setback more a ruse than a press of the reset button.

In this case, Eyal’s long-established superiority as an agent, however cloying, is actually a plot point. Arthur knows that Annie has a rapport with Eyal, and that he has some insight into her skills and motivations. More than that, he is an outside observer; someone who can be trusted to give an honest assessment of Annie’s response to a case that touches on her potential psychological vulnerabilities. Oddly, it’s as much about Jai’s death as it is her reassignment.

Oddly enough, the episode ends in such a way that it may be the ultimate undermining of Annie’s competency as a spy. Does she contact Simon because she has been compromised by her emotions, just as the CIA suspects, or is she trying to show everyone that she is committed to seeing the case through, orders be damned?

If the writers are really pushing the boundaries of their storytelling, and the plot is as complex as all these little hints might suggest, then I’m inclined to think that Annie and Auggie’s current circumstances are all a part of a larger ploy. What if Annie is being pushed to take this step? What if this is something Arthur and Nina concocted when Simon did the unexpected?

To a certain extent, this is bringing the series to a critical juncture. If everything in these last several episodes is part of a much larger skein, then the writers will have successfully taken the series to the next level. But if things never come together, it will expose the writers as completely clueless, and render the show ridiculous.

All that said, this was probably the best appearance for Eyal to date; it wasn’t so much that Annie was dumbed down to make Eyal look good, as Annie’s actual choices were being questioned for reasonable cause. As with much regarding this season, it’s all going to come down to how it all comes together in the end.

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

Final Score: 7/10

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