Covert Affairs Review: Not So "Good Advices"

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"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.

Annie and Eyal Lavin

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.


Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


The best thing EVER said, 'Sydney needed Vaughn. Michael needs Fiona. Even Shawn needs Gus. Annie needs to need Auggie." They need to get a move on it. I LOVED LOVED ALIAS and own all seasons on DVD. I want some Syd action or flirting not this confused chick. She's smart but is missing the sexy the whole BEN thing is and has been RIDICULOUS....


@Judy LOL!!


@Marilyn Actually it's all Piper. Lips and all! :)


I loved Annie and her covert company from the beginning, but I'll confess this week was getting a little confusing--thank you for your comments on Joan and the jury--I thought I had fallen asleep then awakened again when it was almost over. And as for the gun---well, come on now, everybody!-does that rough and tumble little thing, who floors huge mean looking men, weighed down with guns, stand there waiting to be shot, while thinking, "Darn! I should have asked them for a gun!" Anyhow, there are always plenty lying around on the ground when she's through!


Jusr cannot get past her great big botox lips enough to watch the show


@Joe Syria its not a matter of research. its a matter of entertainment. This isn't reality, it's a TV show. Plus other agents on the show carry guns. Jai, Ben, etc. Why can't Annie? Eyal even asked if she had been issued a gun yet, implying it is something they do. Why the hold up?


A CIA OP doesn't carry a gun. Easiest way to blow your cover. People should do research before they write articles online.


I didn't see it but sound like it was better then most CIA show


@Fitc Fantastic! @Pratik Alias is great isn't it?


Actually, it was three times last season that Annie was dead if someone with a gun didn't save her. The Ben in the Pilot, Lavin in Zurich episode, and Jai in the London episode. This series is in desperate need of the same sort of long term planning that makes "The Good Wife" and "Castle" so good. In both of those series the relationships between the characters have been laid out way beyond the current episode, and the writers are doing a good job of making the individual episodes worth watching. If Annie isn't going to carry a gun, the writers need to be clever enough to find ways for her to succeed with out being saved by someone that has one. The reason CIA agents don't carry guns is to avoid the gun blowing their cover. They are in long term assignments living a double life in the same episode, so to speak. They may go years making reports, gaining the trust of the group they are infiltrating, and so forth. It would take a writer way better than any on this series, or maybe better than any that exist, to make that a compelling story drawing enough audience to be commercially viable. So one has long term threads and short term weekly stories. The short term stories are therefore going to be very un-NOC like, so the conflict resolution either ends up with Annie in a fight, or chase, or both. With out the fight or chase, it becomes just another law and order with out the "order". Most important, the mission had no meaning, no part in a larger context of significance, no clue as to why, other than saving a nice guy, Annie's heroics were worth it. Where was the urgency? I realize there are minor issues in the real CIA gathering pixels of data that eventually over years go together to make an actionable picture, like the UBL take down, but that isn't the sort of story that is going to sell in weekly TV. So the weekly episode needs to have a context of significance that makes it worth while. And this one didn't. The "picture" was apparently recovered from Lavin, but we didn't see that, and, while I may be missing something, I didn't understand what made the picture important as related to the original mission to turn the embassy employee. Fitc

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Covert Affairs Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

Annie: I totally did not see that coming, did you?
Eyal: What is it about you Americans that brings out the worst in everyone you meet?

Joan: Your honor, I know this might sound self-aggrandizing, but I cannot sit on a three week trial. My job needs me.
Judge: You're right Number 9, I do hear the sound of your own horn tooting. Sit down.