Covert Affairs, Season Three (2012)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Smart though she may be, rookie operative Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) isn’t prepared for what she is about to step into. She’s experienced losing an asset, escaped foreign countries and fast tracked up the ranks at Langley, impressing 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 she is transferred from the department of special operations and no longer being able to have Auggie (Christopher Gorham) as her handler. She is now working under Lena (Sarah Clarke), an old adversary of Joan’s.

Under Lena’s guidance, Annie flourishes. Here she is sent out on missions during which she works assets instead of being stuck behind a desk at the DPD doing paperwork. 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 – and Annie is the only person to have gotten 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. Writer’s go darker and try for “bigger” story arcs in its third year (where 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 has always been a wonderful character – let's face it though, 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 if an asset doesn’t want to provide the information. 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 I thought came out of left field but, regardless of that,  it was a "revelation" nonetheless so now there should be a modicum of support lent to that admission. Instead Annie falls for someone else, pulls away from Auggie and then after her heart is broken, she nearly falls into a fling with a third man. As a female viewer who is, admittedly, a romantic, this is NOT something I wanted for Annie. It’s way past time she “settle” her emotions on one possibility and either see where the relationship goes or move on.

Over the course of these seasons, she’s had contact with three possible love interests and now a fourth was introduced in season three. Complicated or not (which is often what television writing thrives on), what this does to our heroine is paint Annie as an emotionally unstable otherwise savvy woman who enjoys flirting with and being a part of an unhealthy romantic relationship. Putting aside flip-flopping emotions, I am loathe to admit, this season was “messier” than its previous track record – this season was 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 and is something of a contradictive character herself, the plate of Annie Walker is very full, becoming a balancing act as she is (or was) fast approaching a meltdown. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy this series of events – I did! In-between the good, bad and awkward, there are some excellent moments (like seeing Richard Coyle guest in a multi-episode arc – WAY cool!) and 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 has been harboring. Auggie is challenged after heartbreak and there are some excellent roots in what it means to trust blanketing the majority of the season - or the entire show for that part.

Some scenarios are “easy” to peg, others rock the comfort Covert Affairs has established in its four year run. Writers wrote an anti-climactic ending (in the best sense), leading to new horizon fandoms that most everyone should enjoy taking part in a new relationship to “ship”; let’s just hope that it wasn’t a mistake - one that could very possibly be the show’s greatest.  

(Parental Concerns: 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 are shot, one of whom suffers fatal wounds; another woman is killed after being sought out on a revenge mission. There are various tense situations and questionable ethics. Some minor profanities are interspersed throughout the dialogue. The series rates, TVPG.)


  1. I like Annie with Eyal.....but I did like the ending of S3. And frankly, I think it will stick for a while. There was more lovin' in the premiere this week than in Castle all year (which made me sad =( )....the premiere was EPIC in many senses of the word

    1. Hey, there, Ella! Nice to see your smiling face over here. :)

      I like Eyal also. He genuinely cares for Annie and that's a rare quality. However, I am disappointed in how wishy-washy Annie can be. She fell (hard) for Simon, then almost fell into Eyal's arms right after her relationship with Simon ended and at the beginning of S3, she was supposed to be in love with Auggie!? It was all sort of "too much" in my opinion. I want writers to settle her affection on one guy and stick with that - for more than an episode or two anyway.

      If you say the S4 premiere was EPIC then I CANNOT wait to see it. Consider myself sufficiently curious, girl. :)


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