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Covert Affairs tries to 'Hang On To Yourself'

Covert Affairs poster

Written by : published Saturday 14th July 2012

Covert Affairs tries to 'Hang On To Yourself' main image

Covert Affairs reminds you to bring your umbrella in season three premiere

To describe the first five minutes or so before the opening credits of Covert Affairs one must first remember the line from Jurassic Park from Sam Jackson and it is, and I quote: “Hold on to your butts.”

To say spoilers, warning for those who continue reading would be silly, but if you watched the first episode of the third season of Covert Affairs then, you are aware that Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is no more. He has ceased to be. He is pushing up the daisies and singing with the choir invisible. He has shuffled off this mortal coil; bereft of life, he rest in peace. Or should we say, pieces? Yes, Jai Wilcox met his end via car bomb in the opening moments of Covert Affairs first episode back titled “Hang On To Yourself” as the entire series seems to be drifting into new territory.  Is this new territory good though?

Covert Affairs Auggie and Annie

And that’s the real problem. The first episode showcasing the return of Annie Walker left me cold, and undecided. I have had the first episode back for a few weeks now and I have consumed it a few times before and after airing this past week and I am still left mostly undecided on my thoughts on the episode. This naturally makes for tough goings as a television critic, online or otherwise, so I’ll do my best to continue forward.

Annie is no longer working with her pal Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham) who has also been moved under Joan’s team by Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher) in light of Jai’s assassination. And then there was the whole reason why Jai died. Jai seemed to stress before his death in the opening moments that everything Annie thought about Langley and the government protecting the country and themselves was a lie. And apparently he was on to something. I say that as he was blown up in a car bomb. Joan (Kari Matchett) isn’t too happy losing Auggie after seeing Annie re-assigned. And Annie is re-assigned to a new team headed up by Lena Smith (Sarah Clarke).  Lena is part of a specific task force who are targeting Simon (Richard Coyle), a British businessman who may or may not be a KGB spy. 

Perhaps my ability to not really have a direct feeling on the first episode as it feels part one of something.  It sort of just ends, and in some ways really adds a nice sense of drama to the proceedings with Jai’s death. The idea that there are a few facts that pushed at you that might be easy to miss (such as the two tourists who ask Simon for help end up dead) and are not beaten over the head for us but are morsels for those who are watching and paying attention is another nice touch. I missed it myself the first two times I watched the episode, but it is definitely in there. 

The real problem though is that I never thought Annie would commit to sleeping with someone on a mission. Or maybe I missed something. But that is the thing. It is something that a real spy might have to do.  Usually shows like Covert Affairs really deal with characters who never go as far as they would have to sometimes due to this being a television show.  To save herself and her cover Annie had to sleep or have shower sex with Simon. For the good of the mission in that situation it is do or die and usually shows like this on USA Network no less, they don’t show too much like this.  But having Jai die sort of gives the show a real sense of ‘nothing is sacred’ which is nice.

But being that the show just seems to end on Simon and Annie getting it on*, leaving lots of things unresolved, really felt like for me to give a real judgment, I’d have to watch further installments. Usually that is fine, but it also lead to a big shift in tone for Covert Affairs one that seems at war with itself.

* There are a few mentions in Lena and Annie’s conversations about being a woman spy that seems to hint at using feminine wilds to get out of the scope of a gun and because women fall for their targets. I get that, but it still feels like something we’ve not seen Annie do.

Like Auggie taking Jai’s special projects job while also secretly investigating who would kill Jai, but that in itself is somewhat bringing back up a lingering plot thread that was resolved in the previous season.  It also removes or creates the problem of finding ways for Annie to utilize Auggie. The final few episodes of Covert Affairs during the Auggie in a new role storyline really was missing the Annie and Auggie dynamic, and to see it again cut off at the knees a bit was depressing and frustrating.  Unless they find a way to really make it work, Covert Affairs seems to have a lot going for it but also against it. Also I can’t help but think that Jai isn’t really dead, but it is all a big cover up to find the bad guys led by Jai and Arthur. If Sean Bean can survive a car bomb in Missing from ABC, then surely could Jai. But despite my enjoyment of the actor and the character when he was used properly, to keep him dead and buried could be interesting too.

So as you can see, I have very conflicting thoughts and feelings on “Hang On To Yourself” and thus, Covert Affairs.  Hopefully the next episode or two will really quell this uneasy feeling. But what about you? Did you absolutely love the return of Covert Affairs or did it leave you a bit dry too? Sound off below!

About the author goodbadgeeky

goodbadgeeky

Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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