COVERT AFFAIRS 1.6: Houses of the Holy

Can you believe it? This week’s episode of COVERT AFFAIRS is exactly what I was begging for last week: a mission that did not hinge on Annie screwing up and then recovering!

This week, the agency was searching for another pesky leak – at least I think it’s a different leak than the leak who is feeding information to Liza (Emmanuelle Vaugier). This mole was suspected to be in the Senate Intelligence committee itself. Annie (Piper Perabo) was assigned to investigate Sen. Jarvis (D.W. Moffet), the committee chair. This brought her into contact with his wife, Madeline Jarvis (Lauren Holly), and Ashley Briggs (Anna Camp), the senator’s chief of staff. Turned out the senator was a serial philanderer, and perky, pretty Ashley was his latest fling. So there was plenty of suspicion to go ‘round. As Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy) pointed out, senators are not supermen. “They’re fallible, just like you and me.”

Meanwhile, Auggie (Christopher Gorham) was taking on his first mission as handler for his old unit, meaning he was coordinating a strike remotely. Auggie was feeling the pressure and worried that his old buddies no longer trusted him, but in a sweet scene, Annie bucked him up with an encouraging speech – just like he usually does for her. That demonstrated the strength of the bond between Annie and Auggie already. Annie had occasion to question the bond between her sister, Danielle (Anne Dudek), and her husband, Michael (Evan Sabba), because Annie saw him coming out of a downtown hotel when he claimed to be in Baltimore on business. It turned out he lost his job at the Brookings Institute two months ago, and has been hiding it out of shame. He has been living on savings. Annie saw him coming out of a job fair; he was too ashamed to admit it, so he made up the story about traveling to Johns Hopkins. So Annie got to play the supportive sister/sister-in-law.

Annie also demonstrated how far she’s come as a field operative when she gained Ashley’s trust as a girlfriend in order to pump her for information. Annie took her out and got her drunk and got her comfortable by talking about boys. Annie showed a real faculty for deception; I was actually kind of proud of her! I felt bad for Ashley, who was just an ambitious girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was being set up by Madeline to take the fall for selling secrets to foreign governments. But the real leak was Madeline herself. She was in turn being blackmailed herself by one of her friends, the wife of the Indonesian ambassador. I found it terribly interesting that Indonesia, a real nation, was tagged as the bad guy here. Usually these shows fabricate a fictional nation (complete with a clearly fake name) so they don’t have to worry about making people angry. If a real country is used as a villain, it is usually North Korea or maybe even China, but here Indonesia was fingered. So points for bravery…

When Annie confronted Madeline with an offer to work for CIA, Holly turned in a fine weepy, sympathetic performance. In a nice sequence, Joan (Kari Matchett) connected with Madeline as two women married to powerful men. However, Joan turned icy when she told Annie that Ashley still has to take the fall – at least technically. The CIA will set her up with a new life. Annie was bummed, but Auggie’s enthusiasm for his job inspired her to look at the big picture; more than one young woman’s reputation was at stake. In fact, her very life was at stake! Jai realized that the Indonesians would have to kill Ashley after she takes the fall in order to keep her quiet. Annie rushed to protect her pseudo-friend, and got into a great fight with the assassin in a boat house. I had to laugh when Ashley tried to escape the villain by crawling under a door on her belly, only to be dragged backwards into the baddie’s clutches. It was a scene straight out of any number of cheap horror flicks.

It turned out that one of the missions compromised by Madeline was Operation: Goliath – the mission Auggie was running point for! The men in the unit were in radio silence mode and could not be recalled. Then Auggie came up with the idea of crashing the air-support drone into the building that the soldiers were intending to storm. That convinced the operatives to abort the mission, and saved their lives.

There, that wasn’t so hard was it? A story in which Annie does not screw up can result in a perfectly fun, entertaining show. My prediction for next week? Annie bungles something… LOL…

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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