Entertainment Magazine

Review #3657: Covert Affairs 3.6: “Hello Stranger”

Posted on the 23 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Steve Harper
Directed by Elodie Keene

With the series dangerously close to hitting the dreaded reset button, I wasn’t sure what to think about this episode when it started. Annie was back in the fold with Joan, butting heads with her superiors over an operation with the potential for serious repercussions. Besides Auggie being in therapy, how was this an evolution of the story?

Review #3657: Covert Affairs 3.6: “Hello Stranger”

As it turns out, it’s a means to a more satisfying end. Putting Annie back in the DPD bottle sounds a lot easier than it is. Annie’s had a taste of operational authority in the field, and she rankles at being restrained from making her own calls. She does come close to stepping over the line and acting the fool, but at the end of the day, she just knows that the benefits outweigh the risk. The end result is a transfer request.

It plays into my running theory that Arthur, with or without the complicity of Joan and Lena, is positioning Annie to be a more credible “rogue” for the sake of selling her to Simon, should he learn the truth about her. It’s a dangerous game to play, and as I mentioned in the review for the previous episode, it puts the onus on the writing staff to sell it properly. On the other hand, if there’s not a hidden agenda with Arthur holding the cards, then this season will have quickly lost all direction.

If that is the intent, however, then everything up to this point works relatively well. While Annie may feel like she’s being trusted less than ever, putting an operative in this sort of position requires an enormous amount of confidence in the agent in question. Those running the ploy would need to know Annie well enough, and anticipate her psychology in enough detail, to anticipate her response to certain decisions and have the necessary support in place.

For all that this continues to suggest a grander plan for Annie, I’m not as confident in terms of Auggie. Auggie’s handling of his therapist strongly suggests that this is a potential rebound relationship following Parker’s rejection of his proposal, which would just be another irritating barrier between him and Annie. On the other hand, could that also be part of the overall scheme? Set up Auggie with someone else, thus driving Annie even more in Simon’s direction?

More troubling is the lack of any stimulus to push Auggie to sidestep his reassignment and investigate Jai’s death and the secrets of Jai’s old department on his own. Maybe that will come if/when Annie makes her own move, since one could anticipate that she would go to him for help before anyone else.

There’s still the sense that pieces are moving around on the board, but the big question is whether or not there’s a method behind the madness. It’s going to be very disappointing if it turns out that the players are just randomly scattering around the board without a clue what to do next.

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

Final Score: 7/10

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