Covert Affairs returned to the airwaves for it’s fourth season tonight in the July 16th episode entitled “Vamos” which sees Annie (Piper Perabo) in Cuba with Auggie (Christopher Gorham). Annie has apparently aligned herself with the infamous former head of the Department of Clandestine Services, Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin). Supposedly Joan (Kari Matchett) and Arthur (Peter Gallagher) are at the top of a huge scandal. Or are they? And what does Auggie have to do with this? Is Annie being hoodwinked? What is Wilcox really planning?
In the past, this examiner has had an interesting take on Covert Affairs, be assured. Here is the odd but unique look at an odd random Ninja Turtles-esque look at the series plotline last season. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
But looking at this episode, I really have no ‘clear’ idea where they, they being the writers of Covert Affairs, are going. I have a vague clue that Wilcox is up to something, but what if Arthur actually is a bad guy?
When a show gets up in age, or see: past two seasons, usually a show continues the back-story on beloved characters. Sometimes it paints them in less than favorable lights, showing them to be the villain all along. What if this is the play Wilcox plans to do, uncovering his evil schemes for allowing the murder of his son? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Covert Affairs has always dangerously skirted around Arthur and Joan’s true alliances (are they with Annie, are they not, do they like pie, do they not like pie, etc). The answer has always been that in the last minute, Arthur reveals himself to be of sound and pure mind. There is always a reason Arthur does what he does and for good reason.
So there are two alleys that Covert Affairs can go, but the reveal that Arthur has a son, illegitimate or not, feels true with a hint of falsehood or just completely false. Why would Arthur send 10k a month or so to him? That feels a bit much. So there either is some truth that it is his son but he is doing something else with the funds, or it is all a damned lie.
What is also crushing to me, is that Auggie is in on the whole Arthur situation. Auggie even lies to Annie about what Arthur is ‘really’ up to, whatever that exactly is. And that feels suspect too. Auggie is the guy to stick to his guns about keeping secrets but with Annie, it feels a betrayal. Which is what I’m sure the writers of Covert Affairs are expecting. We as audience members to feel conflicted about not just Arthur but also Auggie.
While I am in the boat that Auggie and Annie, might not stay together by season end, will remain good friends though, instantly quells any fears. But Covert Affairs has been known to somewhat rock the boat a bit, and that definitely plays to its advantages with any fears I may have. Yet… “Vamos” is the beginning of the story.
That means that the Covert Affairs team could completely surprise me in terms of completely playing with the tropes I expect, or they suspend my belief enough that I buy into the tropes themselves. There is the other possibility that it takes me completely out of the whole shebang, but it could be a fun pop corn ride. Honestly, I hope they surprise me, mixed with a hint of pop corn fun. I do feel that, despite any odd projecting of the teenage mutant ninja turtles onto Covert Affairs last season, my beef with Covert Affairs and the Nina character being quickly silenced was a genuine concern, one that I hope that Covert Affairs will learn from and apply this season. Another USA Network show has a similar problem, in regards to introducing new characters only to quickly kill them off right as they begin to get interesting or before they can add anything further than a macguffin and that is Burn Notice. *
(*) – Note, I understand the argument that Nina wasn’t exactly a macguffin but with how quickly they killed her off, it ultimately felt like one. The idea that Annie had to kill someone, had to go off the grid, and go down a dark path, Nina felt more like someone to push her there, more of an object than anything, to push Annie to where the writers felt she needed to go. Nina did bring up some amazing ideas and concepts, some that were introduced but then not really followed through with. This is more likely due to money, time and actors schedules, and possibly networks wanting a season finale where Annie kills the baddie, but I digress.
Overall, Covert Affairs is just starting off an intriguing storyline that could be a lot of fun, but could also go south quickly for long-term fans who really dig Arthur and Auggie as 100% on Annie’s, and thus, the audience’s, side. While the show will most assuredly take the long way to tell the story, it is too early to say for sure thusly if Covert Affairs is going to a dark path or be reciting Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. I remain highly optimistic until it proves otherwise.
Covert Affairs airs on the USA Network which is on Channel 5 on Columbus Insight Communications and Channel 29 for Columbus Time Warner Customers.
But what do YOU think?