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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Covert Affairs: "Good Advices"

Covert Affairs
Season 2, Episode 2: "Good Advices"

And we're back. And it seems Covert Affairs is stronger than ever. the season premiere drew 4.56 million viewers and dominated Tuesday night! We open on an empty CIA office; oh that is never good. Seriously, is the operational floor of CIA headquarters ever deserted? Jai appears to tell Annie she is late for a meeting whose time was moved up -- uh oh. Maybe your little Starbucks run wasn't worth it? SURPRISE! its Annie's super secret birthday celebration. A celebration she is particularly surprised about since her birthday is not for 6 weeks. After some hi jinks over the fat Asian guy not getting cake (way to stereotype fat Asians show), Fat Assign Guy blows out the birthday candle and proceeds to stuff his fat face. Side Bar: My job has LOTS of birthday cake-based celebrations and I have learned, NEVER, EVER blow out the candles -- the germophobes will HATE you. Wave at the candle or clap or wave a combustible paper plate next to it. Anything, just for the love of god, don't blow.

Auggie, being the all knowing (but not all seeing, *rim shot*) CIA spy that he is, knows that Annie will not be around for her actual Birthday. In fact, here comes Joan now to tell Annie she is going to Paris! France, not Texas though that is not the first thing Annie verifies (with the CIA, it would be the first thing I'd verify). Annie's assignment, cultivate a new asset who works for the Syrian embassy in France. After Joan reminds Annie to keep her receipts, wait, the CIA doesn't have an American Express Black card the girl can use?!?!, Annie is on her way. Cut to an Annie Surveillance Montage. See Annie follow Selma (the asset) around Paris, she her shop, see her take inconspicuous photos holding the camera at her waist as every casual photographer does. Smooth. Following Selma into a museum and flirting with Auggie (who does some more self-deprecating blind guy humor), we learn that Annie cannot multitask and loses the asset to be. Annie Surveillance Fail!


Joan has been summoned to jury duty. Auggie is pedeconferencing with her as he asks her if she is sure she wants to go -- he knows a guy, tech nerd babble babble. Joan doesn't think she'll ever get picked for a jury. I smell wacky jury duty hi jinks to come.Wait, Auggie is in charge while Joan is indisposed? Is there no one more senior? What can go wrong.? Back in Paris (France, not Texas, keep up), Annie has followed Selma into a show store where her credit card is embarrassingly declined. its embarrassing even in another language. While this is going, Annie opts to switch bags with her, instead of, you know, actually make contact with her. Annie explains to us, through an exposition telephone call with Auggie that its psychologically better if Selma discovers the switched bag and reaches to Annie instead of the other way around. ooookkk? I think someone just wanted to buy a EUR6,000 bag. As Annie is expositing, she is also looking through Selma's planner and finds some numbers (NUMBERS! LOST! HOW I MISS YOU!!!! COME BACK!!!! WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!) . The numbers are 43-59-14-17 in case you are curious or if its important later. As Annie is explaining the womanly bond of expensive handbags, Joan comes into Auggie's office, unannounced, and says that she does not in fact share the woman gene Annie, stop being a silly female. The Langley brain trust brings Annie up to speed on the fact that they understand Chemical Kanan (awesome name and nice hat tip to Chemical Ali from Iraq war fame) is going to be in town and Selma will likely know where. get on the asset cultivating Annie!!!

As Jai is having a freakout about Auggie being charge (I don't like it when Jai and I agree), Annie is (finally) making contact with Selma Devrient, the soon to be asset. As the ladies exchanges bags, Annie somehow convinces Selma to stay at the cafe and down a bottle of wine with her. Oooh, how very French of them. Selma is kind of a desperate woman seeking companionship where ever she can find it. My examples in support of this characterization are (i) her agreeing to split a bottle of wine in the middle of the day with a complete stranger; and (ii) her agreeing to have a date with a man that she doesn't even know; and (iii) her agreeing to blow off said stranger date to attend a Black Tie affair with even bigger stranger woman. Who goes to Black Tie affairs with stranger?!? French Weirdo.

As Annie and Desperately Seeking Someone Selma approach the bar at the Black Tie Affair (didn't they just finish at least 1 bottle of wine), Annie has to fend off a "French Pig", straight from central casting. When DSSSelma goes to the ladies room, Eyal Levine - the swarthy Mossad agent last scene in Switzerland when he and Annie had to clean up a dead drop gone bad - appears out of thin air and has been apparently following Annie all day. Why do you ask. Oh, hear comes the answer now back from the ladies room. Remember the stranger Selma met and blew off to come to the black tie affair with Annie? His name was "George" and this is him! Oh Hi George ... if that is your real name (which it is not). Say it with me: TWIST!

While Selma is getting in trouble for being at the Black Tie Affair with 2 complete strangers she just met by her Syrian boss who was also at the party, Joan is trying to discreetly talk to Auggie via her cell phone while the voire dire is beginning at her jury duty. Of course, she gets in trouble with the judge and its all very awkward. Let me just say Kari Matchett is very funny in this episode with the awkward body language and the dread most of us (ok, maybe just me) feel at having to serve jury duty when you know, just know your job needs you horribly. The thing is, its disconcerting for me to find her funny because its kind of like when your parents try to be funny. It makes you squirm a little bit and you'd rather they just play the roles you have assigned them in your head. Joan Campbell is not funny. Don't throw me off show!

As the Black Tie Affair ends, we see the American, the Israeli and the Frenchwoman get into a limo (sounds like the start of a horrible joke), DSSSelma breaks it down for the worst spies their respective country's have to offer - "do you think I think its just a coincidence that 2 wonderful foreign strangers pop into my life right when Chemical Kanan is coming to town; I am way too much of a loser for that to happen to by coincidence" (a paraphrasing sure, but fairly accurate). She tells them she will sell her access and what she knows to the highest bidder, Au revoir bitches.

Annie wins the bidding war at EUR50,000 and then we get to see her sitting in the Parisian diner, sitting in the Parisian diner, sitting in the Parisian diner. As Annie heads to DSSSelma's apartment to find out what's up with the standing her up in the Parisian diner, she runs into Eyal and they quickly determine that DSSSelma promised them both the information. That little desperate minx. Oops, DSSSelma is dead. See what being dishonest gets you? its get you dead. Let that be a lesson to you kids. As they are checking the apartment, the would be assassin knocks Eyal over -- wait, what kind of self-respecting assassin doesn't shoot an intruder at the scene of his own crime but rather knocks him down like they are fighting to get to the last pudding in the fridge? Lame. Anyway, the fact that Eyal is not dead allows us to chase, chase, chase the assassin across some French rooftops. Assassin is hardcore and decide to plummet to his death instead of letting Eyal help him up. Annie's reaction to the splattered assassin? Run away. Smartest thing the girl's ever done.

As Annie wanders Paris in a daze of failure, she gets a Happy Birthday video text from Cut Throat Bitch and her kids. Awwww. This gives Annie her a-ha moment (fitting given CTB's House-connection). Annie cracks the Numbers! The Numbers! are code for a train that Chemical Kanan will be arriving on. Since Auggie can't get through to Joan, who has had her cell phone confiscated, Jai does some nice peer pressuring into getting Auggie to push the button to allow Annie to extend her stay in Paris a wee longer and to try and get a picture of CK (CK, terrorist fragrances for men). With the help of Eyal, who said he was leaving but totally come back to help Annie in train station, Annie gets the picture of CK. Of course, Eyal promptly boosts the photo while Annie and he bond in another cafe about how their secret lives destroy their family relationships. I want to take a break here and mention how much sexual chemistry Piper Perabo has with everyone she is on screen with. Seriously. She is one minute from doing it with everyone she meets. That's probably a good trait for a spy. Anyway, I digress. As Annie realizes the photo has been boosted, she comes back to the table (she gone to the potty) just in time to see Eyal getting thrown into a van. Eyal has been kidnapped by a Mercedes-Benz product placement. What a horrible commercial for Mercedes. "The Mercedes Sprinter, the official vehicle of kidnappers and terrorists." Talk about going after a niche market. Annie explains to Auggie that she is going to save Eyual because she is the only one looking out for him; um, I assume Mossad is probably looking out for him too, you mother hen.

Rescue Plan! First, Annie blows up the Sprinter as to create a diversion. it works but as she is untying Eyal, a guy barges in on them. How rude! Kung Fu Annie kicks his ass and Annie and Eyal try to make a frantic break for it. however, Annie ends up getting surrounded with several guns pointed at her head. Until Eyal saves the day by shooting one kidnapper dead and snapping the neck of the other, Mossad style (I don't really think there is a different style in snapping necks but it does sound cooler).

Wrap Ups! Annie and Eyal are saying goodbye and Annie is fretting over not having a receipt for the EUR 500 car ride out to save Eyal's ass. Eyal helpfully writes out a receipt for her but when she looks at it, its a birthday wish. Nice! But hey, how about the freaking receipt she needs. Do you know how much EUR 500 is in USD? More than a stupid birthday card is worth. Joan, still stuck in jury duty and clearly about to be put on a case, finally succumbs to how crappy jury duty is and uses a stranger's cell phone to text Auggie to get her as out of there. The Judge immediately gets a note delivered to her and Joan is released. Hopefully, the stranger saves that text from his cell phone to help spring himself from the torture of sitting a jury trial. Joan and Auggie look over the pictures that Mossad has generously returned to the CIA (even though the CIA took the pictures) and Joan gives a "pep talk" about how putting your friends in danger always sucks. Go Team! I hope Joan is part of the CIA Career Advancement Mentoring Program. Last scene, CTB is giving Annie her very own cupcake for her birthday and Annie spills the beans about really being in Paris (France, not Texas). Clearly, Eyal's talk of secrets from family being bad has gotten to her. However, she doesn't mention the CIA/spy part so, you know, baby steps.

See you all next week!

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