Entertainment Magazine

Review #3786: Covert Affairs 3.13: “Man in the Middle”

Posted on the 02 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Matt Corman and Chris Ord
Directed by Christopher Gorham

My relatively simple theory, coming into this episode, was that Eyal had been tasked with gaining Annie’s trust to nurture her as a Mossad double agent. This episode undermines that theory a bit, suggesting instead that the Mossad was up to something far more insidious: using Annie to plant false information to the CIA, so they could get US counter-terrorist support without going through proper channels.

Review #3786: Covert Affairs 3.13: “Man in the Middle”

It’s hardly a new tactic in the spy game, but it’s not the sort of thing that shows up often on shows like “Covert Affairs”, and not as an ongoing storyline. But I appreciate what they are doing with the concept here, particularly in light of the fact that Annie made it abundantly clear that she has no romantic interest where Eyal is concerned. In fact, Joan’s implication that Annie’s feelings for Eyal are the basis of her loyalty towards him becomes a major point of contention between them.

While one can understand Joan’s perspective on the issue, and appreciate that she is the one that is accountable for Annie’s conduct, one has to wonder how much the drug problem is factoring into Joan’s harsh tones. Even taking into account the logic behind her concerns, it’s still hard not to take Annie’s side. From her perspective, Eyal would look like a loyal ally. It’s hard to overlook the fact that Annie’s imprisonment in Russia was quite an ordeal, and it was Eyal working with Auggie, her two closest allies, that resulted in her freedom.

At the end of the day, Annie was played. At the same time, they act like this is something unusual. How often is intelligence bad? Recent history tells us that it happens with alarming frequency, and while the public may have little patience for imperfection, the intelligence community knows that they are all human. It’s not like the target was completely out of the strike zone; he drove right through the dust cloud!

Even so, I can see why there would be concern. This season has been all about how Annie allows friendships to circumvent her better judgment. Lena manipulated Annie by exploiting that tendency left and right, and Eyal has nurtured the same flaw over a longer period of time. It’s not something that can be overlooked, but it is something that must be managed carefully.

I have to wonder if this will become an issue now that Auggie has put Parker behind him, once and for all. This episode felt like a chance to cement the sense of closure with that plot thread, opening up the possibility for some Annie/Auggie time in the future. But if Annie is feeling burned by getting too close to people, especially others in the community, would she follow through with Auggie? Or will the season finale introduce a situation where Auggie has to betray her trust at just the wrong time?

“Covert Affairs” remains on the right trajectory, if it can avoid some of the plotting pitfalls that produced some unforced errors earlier in the season. The season as a whole feels like it is coming together in an organic fashion, and I’m looking forward to how they intend to wrap things up.

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

Final Score: 8/10

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