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.”
Hmm, another new episode of RESCUE ME, another new Tommy? This is getting to be a habit.
Following last week’s night of passion with Janet (Andrea Roth), Tommy (Denis Leary) woke up early and burned some eggs. But what really bothered me was him wearing a Boston Bruins shirt – that’s just something no true New Yorker would be caught dead wearing! Tommy should have been wearing a N.Y. Rangers sweater, but this is a case of Massachusetts-born co-creator Leary throwing his weight around and allowing his own sensibilities to compromise the character. Something else that seemed out of character at first blush? Tommy actually wanted to talk about last night! But of course Janet didn’t. Then Tommy forced the issue. She admitted that she was assuming this meant they were starting over, all “happy, happy sunshine.” He confessed that the sex just happened, but maybe it was the beginning a “recom…commitment…thing.” Surprisingly, she was willing to give it one more shot. (Apparently the memories of the late Connor that were conjured last week were damn powerful.) But this was The Last Time. If it crashes and burns, or if it’s just another one of his empty promises, it will be the last hurtful thing he ever does to her. Janet’s one caveat: zero contact with Sheila. She called him turning to Sheila an emotional betrayal, like a dagger to her heart.
This week’s MAD MEN was all about keeping one’s eyes on the prize, whether it’s a fat corporate account or a little tiny baby. Basically, it addressed what men and especially women want — or, rather, what they wanted back in 1965.
One could be forgiven for forgetting that Pete is part of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce operation, but Mr. Campbell came back back with a vengeance this week, and it was acceptable. Or, rather, Mmm-mmm good!
Oh, those sneaky powers-that-be at BURN NOTICE! They pulled a bait-and-switch with this episode, teasing viewers with a Simon story that quickly gave way to a case-of-the-week that had nothing to do with Simon. However, on the plus side, BN put an entertaining spin on the all-too-familiar “hero behind bars” scenario.
Sam (Bruce Campbell) needed to protect Juan (John Verea), an old asset who was locked up and marked for death by prison gang, so Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) went inside, posing as Juan’s cellmate. He called on feds Lane and Harris (who still owe him a big favor – or, as we’re discovering, a lot of little ones.) Once inside, the first thing Michael taught viewers was a handy tutorial on the importance of eye contact: make too little of it and you’re seen as a victim; too much, and you become a threat. Michael had the advantage of knowing a hit was coming, so when he recognized players falling into place for the actual attack, he was able to level the playing field a bit by ingeniously fashioning light body armor from the hard covers of big law books. And he made sure the attack took place inside their cell, so the narrow door served a choke point that reduced the effectiveness of the gang’s numbers.
Sometimes it feels a little exhausting just watching MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, because the girls have such a demanding schedule of national team practices, assorted auditions, special meets, showcases, invitationals, international travel and even World team try-outs (not to be confused with the Olympics or whatever it is the national team does). Then pile on all the personal intrigue of boyfriends, friends with secrets, rivals, frenemies and a job at the Pizza Shack, and I’m out of breath!
This week, bids for the world team took the focus off a full national team practice at the Rock, meaning pint-sized bitch-queen Kelly Parker (Nicole Anderson), who is worth twice her weight in snark, was back in town. It’s almost funny the way she can get inside Kaylie’s (Josie Loren) head so effortlessly. But more than a psyche-out artist, she is a straight-shooter, so while I was glad that Kelly instantly diagnosed Kaylie’s eating disorder, I was stunned that she volunteered to keep Kaylie’s secret. At least she expressed sincerity when cautioning Kaylie to “be careful.”
I guess Annie impressed someone over the course of her last few missions, because this week’s assignment was much more complicated then the simple contacts and exchanges she has managed to bungle so far…
Annie (Piper Perabo) was asked to convince a former operative to return the fold and help bring in an arms dealer. Turned out the retired asset, one Christopher McAuley (Eriq La Salle), had a history with said baddie, Hassan Waleed. Only McAuley had no intention of capturing Hassan; he wanted to kill him.
RESCUE ME began with the aftermath of Tommy’s desperate bid to save the life of one child, and ended with the long-delayed fallout of the loss of another child.
Tommy (Denis Leary) was in jail following his booze baptism of daughter Colleen (Natalie Distler) last week. While locked in stir, he apologized to the ghost of Connor, whom he had previously roughed up (alongside Jimmy’s shade). Janet (Andrea Roth) eventually sprung him and took him home. When Colleen suggested that her father’s extreme aversion therapy may have actually made her lose her taste for alcohol, Tommy insisted on testing it by forcing her to take a drink. She promptly puked. That wasn’t enough for him, so he made her down another shot; she got sick again. Hammering home the point, Col wanted to try a swig of wine, but just looking at the bottle in the fridge made her toss her cookies. Janet realized his homemade “tough love” may have saved Colleen, and Janet agreed to go to dinner with him.
Well, I know which episode of MAD MEN I would submit for the Emmys this year: In one episode viewers have seen a Best Drama nominee, as well as Jon Hamm’s lead actor reel.
However, before delving into what was so great about the episode, I have to address MAD MEN’s big screw-up! At last, we have found the chink in MAD MEN’s much-vaunted period-research armor: kaiju eiga, or Japanese giant monster movies! Late in the episode, the drunken and stoned Don and Lane decide to take in a movie, and after passing up such cinema treasures as Zorba the Greek and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, they end up watching Gamera. Well, sort of. The problem was, the movie was not released in America until Dec. 15, 1966 — in a vastly edited form and under the new title Gammera the Invincible (Yes, they added an M to his name!). So whether the guys were in the theater in the last days of 1964, or the dawn of 1965, they were still nearly two years early for the feature presentation.
If one is supposed to keep one’s friends close, and one’s enemies closer, then where does one keep one’s frenemies? The boys of HankMed got to ponder that question on this week’s ROYAL PAINS.
It definitely seemed like no news would be good news for Hank (Mark Feuerstein), who would have been better off not seeing the local paper – especially since it contained a full-page ad for Dr. Peck (Anastasia Griffith) and a story that quoted Dr. Elizabeth Blair (Marcia Gay Harden) bashing Jill’s (Jill Flint) free clinic. Of course Blair claimed she was misquoted, and what she was really trying to get across was that waiting a few years to open a bigger clinic would help more people. Whatever, Doc.
BURN NOTICE just sort of simmered this week, with Michael agreeing to help recurring feds Lane and Harris while marking time until he could set up a meeting with his incarcerated opposite number, Simon.
Before getting tangled up in the case of the week, Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) summoned Vaughn (Robert Wisdom) to Miami — during a hurricane, no less – confront him about Simon. Well, it was less of a confrontation and more of Michael screaming in the face of his recalcitrant “trusted teammate” before literally and figuratively booting him out into the storm. I loved it when Sam (Bruce Campbell) referred to the Simon connection as “a disturbance in the Force.”