"I don't suppose you've been issued a gun yet?"
Now the writers are just toying with us.
If you read last week's review, you are aware that Annie's lack of firepower is an area of concern here at TV Fanatic. At least twice last season, she found herself trapped in the sights of a shooter, requiring Jai to step in for the save. Old habits would seem to die hard, for here we are yet again, only this time it was Mossad Agent Eyal Lovine taking out Annie's would-be assassin.
By now, the CIA must realize that sending Annie on even the most routine missions will escalate into something more dangerous, so why not send her packing - or at least have a pistol waiting for her when she lands? Krav Maga can only get a girl so far, especially when she's in five-inch Louboutins and carrying a $6,000 handbag that could get trashed in the process.
It's distracting that Annie is constantly without any other means of protection. She might as well be the horror movie virgin who trips in the forest while running from a monster; she's about as vulnerable.
Supposedly, CIA operatives don't carry guns on American soil and the plan has been to depict the Agency in as realistic a sense as possible. Hey, if you want to show burn bags, that's fine - but no one went to see Salt because it was an accurate portrayal of the spy life. They went to see a pouty-lipped, hot chick blow stuff up.
Aside from one chase scene (which frustratingly didn't even involve our heroine) and a CGI-blown up truck, the action here was next to none. If this is the reality of the CIA, then someone better start passing out some Red Bull around the halls of Langley.
The minimal action might be easier to swallow if there was more intrigue or character depth in the telling of the story. Even a hint of continuity involving the Ben and Arthur setup from the premiere would have been nice. Instead, we were given another predictable mission for Annie to develop an asset who may have had some valuable intel for the CIA. Virtually no core character connections whatsoever.
Stretching the definition of character development a bit, there were tiny inklings of growth in both Annie and Auggie, such as Annie deciding to tell Danielle the truth about her French destination, even if the details were still obscured. Auggie's struggles with taking the reins in Joan's absence didn't exactly hit the target they were shooting for (pacing back and forth, waiting for Joan to call while Jai hovers like a charm-free vampire isn't exactly fascinating), but at least we saw a bit of vulnerability in his self-doubt.
The big problem here continues to be that the relationships on Covert Affairs are too hollow. Annie and Auggie are the most compatible characters and that partnership needs to deepen. Not necessarily romantically, but there should be something at stake; something that drives them from an emotional center and ties their experiences and those of everyone else around them together.
Sydney needed Vaughn. Michael needs Fiona. Even Shawn needs Gus. Annie needs to need Auggie.
Fehr's Eyal brought little of the punchy banter and sexual tension between he and Annie that existed during his first visit. The dialogue between them was awfully trite this time out, and what passed for tension was stunted silences and awkward looks. There was no believable chemistry between the two at all. Ice cubes generate more heat. Such a disappointment.
Joan's borderline-farcical side trip to the jury box was mostly ridiculous and neither added anything to the story nor to her character. This pursuit of civic duty should have been handled off-screen, allowing more time for Auggie's conflict with the weighty responsibilities thrust upon him.
Despite fine performances from this appealing cast, "Good Advices" was, simply put, a misfire. Let's hope Covert can avoid going too far down the apathetic and, quite frankly, dull direction it seems to be heading in before it is so far gone that no amount of guest stars or exotic locales can help it recover.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.