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Friday, July 1, 2011

Covert Affairs: Argentina is Off My Bucket List

Covert Affairs
Season 2, Episode 4
"All the Right Friends"

First, sorry you didn't get a full recap last episode but time marches on and here we are at this week's episode.  We start with an Auggie v/o in full on teacher mode; so obvs he's talking to Annie.  This week, her on the job training has her learning the fine are of an ally spy transfer. Turns out one Mr. Carlo Reni (the "Italian Stallion" going forward) of the Italian AISE (Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna - the Italian CIA) was caught by the FBI spying on American soil. Auggie explains somewhat condescendingly (he calls Annie "Dorothy" which I do not think he means in the "Friends of" way) that allies spy on allies. DUH! Now, the next part took me a couple of times rewinding but what I think we see is first, a version of how the transfer goes off smoothly (i.e., the Auggie version of easy peasy spy transfers, NOT REAL - not when Annie is involved anyway) and everyone is happy like a Cafe Ole Commercial.  But, then, we back up and do it again in real time and well, you know things are going to go south when the CIA operative can't get cell reception.  I refuse to believe that with all I pay in taxes, the CIA's field operatives do not always have like 15 redundant satellites in geosynchronous orbit doing nothing but making sure they have cell reception.  That shits whacked if its not true.  Anyway, the Italian Stallion is bitching in Italian about how returning spies to their home country is a perfect example of why the world hates the CIA.  I don't think that's the only reason buddy ... When Annie reveals she speaks Italian (one day we'll have an episode where she deals with a foreigner in whose language she does not converse), the Italian Stallion is all sorts of turned on.  After they play a game of where their Italian heritage is from, the plane lands.

After Annie does the whole waving your phone around on the deserted airstrip, she get a signal and checks in with Auggie .. where she finds out that the contact had to detour to the Falklands because of bad weather.  There is also the first obligatory blind joke (I am going to create a drinking game for blind jokes on this show - but only when told by Auggie) revolving around how good looking the Italian Stallion is.  Their banter is broken up by the Italian Stallion's surely ill-fated escape attempt. I mean, he's handcuffed in the middle of fucking Nowhere, Argentina -- where does he think he's going to get to before Annie flying tackles him? Which she does, natch. they have some back and forth about what's waiting for him in Italy is worse than the CIA, SHOTS! Apparently, they were so consumed with the running and the tackling, they didn't notice the car roll up to the plane, the guy get out and draw his weapon. And where are the pilots? They should have seen the guy roll up? They are probably doing lines of coke in the back ... fly high the friendly skies!  Annie's advice when the shots ring out? Run! (I think that is always Annie's advice; really girl, start carrying a gun and maybe you won't always have to run away). Credits.

When we return, we find Annie reassuring the Italian Stallion that the CIA, the Italian embassy and the Argentinian government will all work together calmly to derive a solution?  Hey? How do they know there was an assassination attempt? Did Annie make that call off screen while she was running?  Argentinian guy (Jorge) is having a conniption about the situation and takes exception to Italy (Romano) telling him to take a breath ... I think that's just practical advice?  Anyway, Jorge threatens them to clean this up ASAP or else he's going to rat them out and sic the government and police on Annie and Carlo (bored of writing the Italian Stallion). Who by the way, is more out of shape than me.  You'd think he just ran the Ironman.  Carlo has got all sorts of ideas on his goombas that they can go hang out with but Annie has her protocol to adhere to.  She also has the handcuffs and the keys. Annie wins this one Carlo.

Auggie is talking with Arthur and Arthur's eyebrow which play a pivotal role in this scene.  Arthur has just offered Auggie a promotion to run the Office of Congressional Affairs, a real office and the third public face of the CIA.  Taking the job would mean officially being done with operations, "and honestly, we're not exactly pulling you from the field." OOOOHHH COLD ARTHUR!   Auggie only makes 1 blind guy joke in this scene.   While Arthur is selling this as a huge opportunity, I think his eyebrows are saying that Auggie is being set up for something. Where are we one Arthur's legal troubles? More on that later.  USA Network gets props for its multimedia platform presentation for its shows; I'll be the first one to applaud. But I do not think we need the "Should Auggie take the promotion" prompt at the bottom of the screen when he walks out of Arthur's office, as if we're in some children's choose your adventure storybook (which were awesome when I was 9). 

Jai, playing a poor man's Auggie, is filling Joan in on Carlo and what the FBI may have known about him that they didn't share with the CIA. She also wants to know if there was really an exchange or if this was just a set up to assassinate Carlo.

Two minutes back at his desk and Auggie has already flagged the hitter (the assassin). Eat that Jai, with your vision and your slick, greasy hair.

After proving her mad mechanic skills a couple of times, Annie gets Carlo to a little coffee shop where he promises to spill what he knows about who wants him dad in exchange for some fancy coffee.  He doesn't so much spill his guts but rather stick to his journalist cover and annoys the bejesus out of Annie. After a request for a little solo potty break time, Carlo of course tries to make a break for it out of the bathroom window. I do like he asks the pigeon "scusa" only to fall to the ground at Annie's waiting feet. Annie wins that round too Carlo.

Uh-oh, road block. Bigger uh-oh, assassin in the back. What's a girl to do in the oldest, crappiest peasant pickup truck ever? Spin the car around violently and reverse your way through the national police's roadblock.  While being shot at, by everyone in the scene.  Good plan Annie. You should stick with "Run".

Joan and Romano chat about how the easy peasy operation fell apart, snooze.  Classic Joan - talk about national secrets and spy stuff in restaurants and open spaces.  Oh Joan, hiding in the wide open is like your motto.After the meeting, Joan is more convinced than ever that they are being set up by the Italians.

Annie has the light bulb idea to check Carlo's clothes for a bug or tracker.  Yep, right there in a belt.  Wait, wait, wait, Carlo had a meeting with a stranger while in detention and didn't even get a "Hey, who are you?" and didn't check his clothes that his enemies had possession of for X number of hours?  Maybe he is a journalist and a dumb one at that.  His dumbness has served to further convince Annie that maybe he really is a journalist, one that is trying to expose a corrupt oil deal between Italian oil companies and Argentinian oil fields?!?!  The information that the Langley Brain Trust relate to Annie further back that up (2 of Carlo's contacts at the Italian oil company, OCU, are dead).

A cop spies Annie and Carlo handcuffed together. Annie goes into spin mode about how Carlo is a kinky fuck (I guess that's where your mind go when you have to explain handcuffs in public, on the fly?) but Carlo sees it as his way out, or at least away from Annie and tells the cop she is loca.  He bolts and Annie disables the cop with some Annie Kung-Fu to the chest.  And her plan? Run!  (See, you're catching on). By the way,a little side bar stemming from back in the coffee house scene. Annie was making the coffee as one does at a coffee shop, walk here for the milk, there for the sugar - all the while being handcuffed very visibly to Carlo. No one thought this curious. is Argentina so dangerous or "kinky" that open handcuff use of coffee house patrons is just accepted? E Encouraged maybe?  I am crossing Argentina off my bucket list.

Because Carlo is dumb, he runs into the first newspaper office he comes upon, Annie finds him easily.  He feels he needs to tell his story before he is inevitably dead.  I am sitting, waiting for the TWIST moment to come. I know its out there, I can taste it -- I just don't know what it tastes like yet. 

Ahh, Auggie and Arthur's eyebrows have a one on one, Arthur interprets for his eyebrows.  Auggie clearly thinks he is being offered the promotion to drum up sympathy and feel good stories for Arthur during his legal problems.  Arthur acknowledges he's got motives but that doesn't change the fact that its a great offer and hey, don't worry about me, "I still have a few teeth in my hand"? What the fuck in all things holy does that mean? Has Arthur been hanging out in Argentina?  Who's teeth does he have? Is Arthur a serial killer - is that his real skeleton? Anyway, Auggie is thinking of rolling extracting Annie out of Argentina through legit channels into his "perk" package. Seems a bit shortsighted in the bargaining area ... unless its standing rule that they'll always send in extraction teams for Annie because, then yeah, that's a good perk for Auggie to have if he likes her alive cause that girl gets into all sorts of trouble on foreign soil.

So La Republica has been working on the same story as Carlo and its Romano who visited Carlo in detention and is getting a cut from the corrupt oil company.  He was trying to game the system.  And Joan.  Of course, Jorge is being an asshole to Joan too, telling her that he is still going to hunt Annie down like the dog that she is and bring her to justice -- well, we're only in episode 4 so we know that isn't true.  Dumbass. Doesn't he know we're still early in the season.    Back in Argentina, Annie and Carlo have made it to the potential extraction point, nothing concrete has been formed up yet. of course, the only thing waiting for them is a good to kill them. Annie has a plan to keep Carlo safe .. good god, this can't end well.  Commercials.

Annie's plan involves a pipe, looking suspicious to the dock workers around the area and then taking on full force the goon. While out of shape Carlo pants heavily after a little exertion.  THE CALVARY ARRIVES!! Or at least a an extraction helicopter shows up. So does la policia.  Oh Shit, Jorge showed up in person. He must mean business.  Hey, put the gun down Jorge JORGE NO!!!!! Oh, wait he just shot the other goon.  AND he's letting them leave the country on the extraction helicopter.  Oh Jorge, you big softie. I hope your rich diet of delicious Spanish food doesn't kill you prematurely.

Wrap ups!  Joan watches Romano be interrogated.  Jai is jealous at having been replaced by Auggie by Arthur. Jai has a sad (in an asshole way which is Jai's only way).  Carlo and Annie say ciao, and there is that sexual chemistry I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Seriously. Annie must have the highest STD rate in the CIA.  Last Scene. Annie getting a message from Auggie that he has news for her.  She looks pensive. And scene.

This show continues to outperform expectations for summer fluff. The biggest compliment I can pay it is that this show could air during the regular broadcast season and be successful (though it probably can only air on the USA Network; maybe a 10 pm NBC slot if it got sexier but more poorly written).

Ciao bella.

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