Welcome Back Covert Affairs fans ... I know you are out there and I know you feel shame but DON'T! Its Summer! its time for the USA Network to carry us away with beautiful people doing impossible tasks in unlikely scenarios. Let's get to it shall we and see if my sexy proposition proves it self out
Cut to the opening scene of episode 1 of Season 2, Covert Affairs. Annie Walker (played by the "Golden Globe nominated for her work on Covert Affairs," Piper Perabo) is in a tiny bikini, walking the beach looking thoughtful, as you do in a tiny bikini. Turns out that Annie is having some flashbacks to the immediate aftermath of Season 1's finale, in which her lost lover, Ben Mercer, had been shot in the back as they were embarking a helicopter at the end of an asset extraction in Sri Lanka. We see her in the ambulance, we see her crying, we see Ben flatlining. Ben's dead baby, Ben's dead ...
Ben's not dead; he's in a wheelchair! On the beach! With Annie! They kiss. Also, they are at the US Naval Base at Guam (fun fact, Guam K-Mart is the world's largest K-Mart). Do me a favor, scroll back to my opening sentences: beautiful people (check!); impossible tasks (ever push a wheelchair on the beach? check!); unlikely scenarios (do you think a lot of tiny bikini beach walking goes on at THE UNITED STATES NAVAL BASE AT GUAM?!?! check!).
Back in his hospital bed after the sexy beach walk/push, Ben is being debriefed by Annie in such a manner as to make me think she is going to be debriefing his underwear in a second ... even though they are in a hospital bed where there is a duty nurse watching them ... hey? Where'd that duty nurse go?!? Uh oh, duty nurses probably just don't disappear from their station at the US Naval Base at Guam. RUN!
Luckily, Ben and Annie take my advice because 2 of the worst goons ever bust in a door and begin machine gunning the fuck out of the clearly empty hospital bed and room. Dumbasses. As Annie helps a hobbled Ben down some stairs they make a quick duck into a different floor entry way. As the goons go to bust down the door Annie opens it on them and shocks the one with CPR paddles, electrocuting his ass and sending him flying. To be fair, she did not shout "Clear!" which I think makes her move slightly underhanded.
Anyhoo, the dynamically hobbled duo run outside towards the US Naval Bases' front gate and just as they are going to be killed, the one guard on duty AT THE US NAVAL BASE AT GUAM shoots their assailant dead. Whew, thank goodness they were somewhere where an entire military garrison consisting of one soldier and a crappy duty nurse was stationed.
OOOOH, an updated opening title sequence with each cast member's face being displayed next to their name (very handy when recapping). Sadly, Peter Gallagher's eyebrows do not get their own separate cast billing. =(
Ben has been moved to Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland. And for his troubles has to deal with Jai Wilcox calling him an "asshole" (talk about the pot and the kettle buddy). I like that basic cable no longer has any fear of the FCC and can use "asshole" gratuitously. I use it gratuitously throughout my normal day so it makes me relate to the show's realism. As Annie heads to leave to go back to her job as super spy, clearly dreaming of her future with Ben by her side, Ben clearly makes the shady face of foreshadowed mischief. (pssst, Annie. Don't make any wedding plans with this guy just yet). Just to catch you up if you didn't watch last season and really? What else were you doing? Ben hit it and quit it with Annie some time ago in an exotic island, up and leaving her one morning and never telling her that he was a super secret spy in a deep BlackOps world. This experience was the entire catalyst for Annie joining the Company and being plucked from the Farm (think I read enough CIA spy novels?), seemingly for her killer language skills but really, just as bait by Arthur and Joan Campbell (the husband and wife team that run this section of the clandestine service of the CIA) as to lure Ben in from the cold since he had gone some what rogue. I'll save you an entire season worth watching and just tell you, it worked! Here we are.
Annie is returning home after being away, her cover story being that she was off hunting blah blah nonsense for her blah blah cover job of Smithsonian Museum artifact hunter blah blah Lamar, Missouri. Annie lives in the guest house of the home owned by her sister (played by the awesome Anne Dudek, who will always be Cut Throat Bitch to me and so shall be here, or CTB) and CTB's shady husband. This scene serves only to tell us that CTB's house was broken into while Annie was away, BTW thanks for the postcards from Lamar, Missouri that you clearly aren't aware you sent (smooth move super spy - its called keeping your cover story), but no worries, nothing was taken. Annie kind of freaks out and goes to her batcave, er, guest house and opens her spy safe, conveniently hidden in her couch cushion (I only keep crumbs, change and the remote in my couch cushion). Seems that all of her spy possessions are safe (see what I did there) and sound. While I clearly suspend by disbelief while watching this show, c'mon, the CIA doesn't know that the home of one of its operatives who was almost killed in both Sri Lanka and on the US Naval Base at Guam was broken into?!? Sorry. Disbelief re-suspended.
Back at the office, Joan and Annie have a girl to girl chat on whether Annie is ready to go back to work. Always the professional (when not trying to bed the hobbled CIA operative in a hospital), Annie says, yep, bring it on. New Job: Annie will be the new handler for an asset named Nadia, who is also the 79th ranked woman tennis player in the world. She is also the mistress of an Estonian trafficker named Morozoff ("Estonian Baddie" since I cannot confirm the spelling of his character's name) who is in town with her for the BMW DC Invitational (not a real tennis tournament, from what Google tells me). Annie is to deliver some flowers to Nadia at her practice and Nadia, using prearranged code words, is to tell Annie if she has new intel to deliver. Through a cool story telling device whereby Auggie v/os whats going on, we see the action play out. Oops, Nadia uses the wrong code words. Annie takes this for a sign that she is trouble. Auggie just thinks Nadia's an asshole (see the negative influence this show has had on me) asset that forgot the right words and that assets are like horrible children that make your life horrible. Okay grandpa, settle down. Anyway, Auggie tells Annie that if she must pursue this nonsense with Nadia, then head tail her (advanced spy driving maneuvers FTW) to her hotel and see if she can make contact. She does. In a sauna, sexy spy sauna time. Ew, Nadia is eating chocolate in the sauna -- not sexy and probably very melty. Gross. Anyway, she denies needing help but Annie sees the abuse on Nadia ... on her ankle, and her shoulder? Who abuses people in their ankle? Weirdo Abuser! Joan is telling Annie that they can only help Nadia if she requests help; did she? Um, she said, "leave me alone." Now, I'm no spy but that seems the opposite of "help me." BUT, what do I know. Joan greenlights surveillance on Nadia to be done by Annie, Auggie the blind guy and some IT nerd, who makes sexually suggestive equipment jokes. Nerd.
Meanwhile, Joan and Arthur are having a conversation that Arthur needs to hire an outside lawyer named Chet Liguardi, who will bankrupt them but probably keep Arthur from going to jail. Oh yeah, I skipped over this but Auggie's old flame, Liza Hearn, has been publishing weak stories about Arthur maybe being a corrupt seller of secrets. he is toxic to be around and now, with this whole Chet Liguardi business, probably poor. See, CIA heads are just like us, they have financial woes as well.
Ok, back to the worst assembled surveillance team ever. Annie hears what she thinks is a gun shot and goes bounding into the building where Nadia has just entered. Except, it was champagne being uncorked and there is a party going on in Nadia's honor, thrown by the Estonian Baddie, and boy, is Annie embarrassed. Joan, however, is not so much embarrassed as she is pissed and tells Annie the next day that she is shutting down Nadia as an asset and for her punishment, Annie has to review back issues of the Montreal Gazette for increased signs of chatter or some such post-9/11 worry stuff.
Cut to CTB's house to where some hardcore carpet cleaners have shown up in order to treat the carpets that Annie arranged to have ruined, with the help of CTB's clumsy kids and some grape juice. Hardcore Carpet Cleaner is really a CIA tech guy and seems overly pleased himself when he gets CTB to vacate the house so that they can sweep it for bugs (the electronic kind). Dude, you used a bunch of scary words and showed the soccer mom a gas mask. Not a terribly tough nut to crack; you didn't kill Osama buddy (GO SEAL TEAM SIX!!!!)
Back to Annie. So remember when Joan told her to stop working the Nadia angle; yeah, Annie apparently doesn't because here she is doing that thing they do on TV when keeping surveillance where they use a high speed telephoto lens and take 15,000 pictures a second of the same fucking thing because the guy isn't moving at all. Yeah, she's doing that. When she goes to tell Auggie about how the Estonian Baddie is still handing around Nadia's practice, Auggie tells her that she is paranoid and there is a fine line between being suspicious (good for a CIA agent) and paranoid (bad for everyone). Then, he tells her to go take the day off. Not so much my thing but for the women out there, Auggie has been doing chin ups and is all sweaty. Auggie is pretty ripped for a blind guy.
So, on her day off, Annie goes to the hospital to see Ben and ruh-roh, Ben is gone and according to the nurse, no one name Ben has been here. CIA SPY MAGIC! Obviously when your super spy boyfriend disappears on you, again, you go to your bosses house and try and demand answers. I think someone took the girlfriend to girlfriend scene a little too much to heart before, hmm? Anyway, Joan, in her good graces, does not bitch slap Annie for the breach in protocol but she also doesn't let her inside either (which I found very funny for some reason). no, instead they talk about spy stuff on Joan's front porch - I sweat these people never met a secret they weren't itching to have others find out about. Annie is making her demands on where Ben is but Joan decides to turn it into a secret spy mind trick thing; which Annie passes by successfully deducing Ben's general welfare without Joan telling her anything specific. Well done grasshopper. Annie and Auggie meet in the cleverly named bar, "The Tavern." As they begin to discuss Auggie's investigation results on the attach at the US Naval Base in Guam, Annie has a very House speaks to Wilson "a-ha" moment and tells Auggie they have to go. Hey, dude didn't finish his beer. Chillax super spy. No, ok.
As we revisit the v/o storytelling device, this time its Annie doing the talking and Auggie doing the (blind) walking. Annie has deduced, somehow, that Nadia is not the target but the assassin and Estonian Baddie is the target.
But, yep she's right. The handgun is sitting right there in Nadia's open gym bag during the BMW DC Invitational. Subtle Tennis Assassin. While Auggie is getting Estonian Baddie to safety, via some funny blind man at, the tennis match humor, Annie has decided Tennis Assassin is a is a sympathetic character and needs help. She intercepts Tennis Assassin in the tunnel after the match (which Tennis Assassin wins) and convinces her to not shoot Estonian Baddie but rather, come in and let the CIA protect her. Oh, there's coach, HI coach! Shit! Coach is shooting at us. Oh yeah, Tennis Assassin forgot to mention her new tennis coach is really FSB (new version of Russian KGB). Shoot shoot shoot. Run Run Run and Annie and Tennis Assassin Turned Not Assassin escape out the front of the hotel, jump into a car and speed way. TATNA: "How'd you know the engine would be on." Annie: "I didn't. Some of this is improvised" HA! Funniest exchange of the episode. Assassin Coach also jumps into a car who's engine is conveniently running and off we go. not before taking out a bunch of stereo-typed Russian drivers, playing chess on the trunk of waiting cars. Oh Come On. The Russian drivers are playing chess?!?! For shame show; the cold war has been over for some time now. Let's stick to making fun of terrorists.
Where were we. Oh yeah, chase, chase, chase. Nadia is muttering foreign words. Apparently they are Estonian curses and they are the only Estonian Annie knows. In her defense, I don't think I would learn much beyond the Estonian curses either. Annie does some super spy driving moves and gets Assassin Coach to crash herself into a tree. I like the arm pat Annie gives Nadia afterwards like she is consoling her over a lost puppy and not escaping a murder plot.
Wrap-Ups! Joan goes to her door and I swear I thought it was going to be Annie dressed in pajamas for a sleep over but no, its Chet Liguardi who Arthur has apparently hired (way to speak to your wife about that decision buddy) and who insists on starting work that night, at Joan and Arthur's house. ooookay. I think Chet might be homeless but that probably won';t come out until a later episode. He definitely has some social interaction issues, but maybe that's just how the actor was playing him. Nadia has to begin a new life; that includes no more tennis playing. Eh, she was 79th -- no big loss. At least she gets to eat chocolate without Assassin Coach yelling at her. They have a cute conversation about how Estonians only aspire to live and nothing more, way to paint a bleak picture of Estonian life, hopes and dreams Covert Affairs. Ooohhh secret meeting between Arthur and Ben. Ben can't see Annie but Arthur would like him to pick up his work where he left it, except now he'll have the CIA resources behind him. But, yeah, no more contact with Annie -- maybe in a few years. If you're good. Arthur's eyebrows have nothing to say on the matter. Arthur is kind of a dick, but I like that about him. And, we finish on Annie inviting Auggie out for a drink at The Tavern; except the creepy blind stalker is already standing behind her. And we fade out on the two with the best chemistry on this show.
This is a fun show; mindless but moves along well. It would never last on a broadcast network and would never even get picked up by HBO but its perfect for USA Network and its perfect for the summer!
See you next week when I promise to get the recap up sooner.