Smart though she is, rookie operative Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) isn’t prepared for what she’s about to step into. She’s experienced losing an asset, escaped foreign countries and fast tracks up the ranks at Langley. All of which impresses her boss Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett). The agency has just lost one of their own and Annie was a witness to it. Not only did the operative want Annie’s help on a new operation but Jai Wilcox was also her friend. In the aftermath of his death, Annie finds her life further upended when the department of special operations transfer her, and she no longer has Auggie (Christopher Gorham) as her handler. She now works under Lena (Sarah Clarke), an old adversary of Joan’s.
Under Lena’s guidance, Annie flourishes. Here she goes out on missions during which she works assets instead of sitting behind a desk. This leads her into an intimate relationship with a man named Simon (Richard Coyle) who’s been on the CIA’s watch list now for years. So far, Annie is the only person to get this close to the man. Losing herself in the relationship, it isn’t long before Annie’s abilities are questioned coinciding with an investigation launched into the sentence of the CIA’s former leader.
Some seasons can be summed up in one word; others are a miscellany full of emotional fallout, risks and the comfort of familiarity. This season plays with both scenarios. The one word that would be used to sum up everything is change. Spy shows have always been a favorite of mine. I like the adventure in them and usually, the characters are each personable and easy to relate to – really, that may sound hard to comprehend but it is the truth. Second only to Alias (in its genre), the more light-hearted take this series adopts of spycraft has been a joyous piece of entertainment.
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Writer’s go darker and try for “bigger” story arcs in its third year. Undoubtedly, things are more “comfortable” after three seasons on air. Unfortunately many of those challenges fall into clichés or at the very least reveal a distasteful side of Annie. First, let’s get the “bad” out of the way. Annie is a wonderful character, but let’s face it, her emotional prowess is a catch-22. It’s been her best asset and also her greatest flaw. She grows to care what happens to her contacts where most agents cut their losses. The girl is smart, really she is – her missions prove that, so why then when it comes to matters of the heart is she so… for lack of a better term, wishy-washy?
By the end of the sophomore season, you may all remember that Annie has an epitome, one that comes out of left field but. Regardless, it is a “revelation” nonetheless so now there should be a modicum of support to the admission. Instead Annie falls for someone else, pulls away from Auggie and then after her heart breaks, she nearly falls into a fling with a third man. As a female viewer who is, admittedly, a romantic, this is NOT something I want for Annie. It’s way past time she “settle” her emotions on one possibility and either see where the relationship goes or move on.
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Over the course of these seasons, she’s has contact with three possible love interests. This season introduces a fourth. Complicated or not (which is what television writing thrives on), what this does to our heroine is paint Annie as emotionally unstable. Instead of a savvy woman, she looks like someone who doesn’t what an unhealthy romantic relationship. Putting aside flip-flopping emotions, I’m loathe to admit, this season is “messier” than its previous track record; this season is more of a broken record than brilliant. Between Annie’s missions (working with Lena); her romantic liaison (hello, no one else saw the flashing warning signals here!?); or even the drama at home – Annie’s sister (Anne Dudek) makes some interesting choices, Annie’s life is very full, as she fast approaches a meltdown. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy this series of events, I did!
In-between the good, bad and awkward, there’s some excellent moments! Like seeing Richard Coyle guest in a multi-episode arc; confrontations as Joan and Annie battle it out; Auggie and Annie pull apart (after playing at being married, that is *wink*); and eventually, we learn secrets Joan harbors. Heartbreak challenges Author, and there’s some excellent roots in what it means to trust that blankets the majority of the season.
Some scenarios are “easy” to peg, others rock the comfort Covert Affairs has established in its four year run. Writers write an anti-climactic end (in the best sense), leading to new horizon fandoms like a new relationship to “ship”; let’s just hope that it isn’t a mistake. If it isn’t, it could very possibly be the show’s greatest.
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Content: there are several love scenes during the season – all involving various states of undress between unmarried couples [some involve movement under the sheets, others switch to one person in bed]. People are shot, stabbed, tortured, chased, threatened and beat up. Some with lesser consequences than others – two people suffer gunshot wounds, one of whom suffers fatal wounds; another woman dies from a revenge mission. There are various tense situations and questionable ethics. Some minor profanities intersperse throughout the dialogue. The series rates, TVPG.