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Covert Affairs Season Premiere Review: Marrakesh Impressed

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Covert Affairs returned with a bang to start season three, but it was where things went after the shocking opening that made "Hang On to Yourself" a great beginning to this Covert summer.

Yes, Jai Wilcox was blown up by a car bomb in the early moments of the episode, and I was very surprised by it due to the fact that I hadn't heard anything about Sendhil Ramamurthy leaving the series.

Annie Walker Photo

Other than scaring the crap out of me - and freaking out Annie enough to make her afraid to start her own car even after checking thoroughly for bombs - Jai's death led to a number of new developments for the rest of the Covert crew. We can only hope that said developments keep the stories going in new and interesting places, and that the series doesn't simply bring everything back to the status quo within a few episodes.

That happens far too often on shows like this. New and different avenues will present themselves, the series will explore them for a bit, but then everything will go back to normal after a short while. It's as if the writers are too afraid of changing what is working for them, but thankfully Christopher Gorham has assured us this won't be the case in Season 3.

I can only think of a couple of minor situations when Covert Affairs has fallen pray to this fate, but when Auggie was given a new job last season it seemed like that could have created a number of new and interesting stories. A few episodes later, though, he returned to his desk and everything was back to normal.

Now, during and after this Season 3 premiere, a couple of things have changed the dynamic of the series: Auggie is investigating what happened with Jai by running his Special Projects department, Annie is working for Lena Smith in a new area of the CIA and Joan will most likely have issues in the DPD working without two of her best.

If Covert can build on these stories, instead of finding ways to work back to the way things were, the series may be able to grow into an even better show than it already is.

The progress I enjoyed most in the premiere itself, and the one I will be looking forward to most throughout the summer, is Annie working for a new department.

It is not only because I get all tingly seeing Sarah Clarke working for a government agency again, wondering every second she's on screen if Lena will end up dirty like Nina in 24, but it has also already created interesting relationships and questions to be asked.

Who is this Lena Smith? What is she about? And why do so many have interesting things to say about her department? Annie seemed to work well with Lena's you-are-my-equal managing style on this trip to Morocco, but will that continue?

Annie and Auggie Scene

The fact that Annie isn't - and wouldn't be - working with Auggie regularly intrigues me, especially after their phone conversation in which she lied to him about running away from the Germans. Will working in different departments compromise their relationship? Or will they be able to get over that?

All of that is not to say that Auggie looking into Jai's cases, and Joan working with a depleted DPD, don't also seem like a great start to new episodes of Covert Affairs.

The fact that "Hang on to Yourself" ended with Annie still on her mission with Simon, and Auggie opening up a box with an identical symbol to the tattoo on Simon's neck, only gets me more excited about the possible increase of serialization that Gorham referenced.

The return outing was also filled with plenty of foot and car chases, Annie once again using her feminine charms (this time with the new ability to add sex to the mix), the fact that Jai originally came to Annie to tell her something important - and a vicious sand storm!

I thought it was a great start to season three, and hopefully a precursor of good things to come. But what did you all think? Let us know your favorite moments of "Hang on to Yourself" in the comments, and don't forget to follow @CovertTVF on Twitter for news, reviews and live tweets during the show!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (122 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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No offense fellows, but can't they find hunkier actors to work with Annie? Auggie is great but none of the others compare.

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Jai is not dead. Jai parked next to a similar make and color car. Another man in a suit left right after him. When you are going somewhere with someone do you go wait in the car or wait for them to catch up. He wouldn't oh told anyone he was still alive to protect himself.

Josie-leeds

Went back and watched the episode again after I cooled down. Unfortunately, nothing changed. Crappy writing, sullenly delivered dialogue, poor editing and absolutely no heart in any of the major characters--at least, none on display in THIS episode. Lena is OBVIOUSLY a dual agent, using Annie for her own nefarious ends and Piper delivers her lines like an automaton--where has her spark gone? Had great hopes for this show but it would appear they are all for naught. Pity.

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Hate that they killed off Jai but the show destroyed his character in season 2 for no apparent reason except that they are inept. Useless writers on this show. I do think that Jai really is dead since twitter says Sendhil Rammamurthy signed on for some movie with Kristen Bell. Good luck to him. The writing has become even more transparent which i didn't think was possible. I don't think there is a single person who thinks Nina/Lena isn't going to turn out to be the bad guy in whatever ill-conceived plot the writers come up with. I used to really like this show in Season 1 when Annie/Auggie/Jai were a team meeting up in the bar at the end of the missions. Its USA. Thats what the viewers come to USA for. Not some c-rate HBO/Showtime wannabe with curse words that are said just to show how "edgy" and "dark" the show has become. Lame. I'm done with this show and this is someone who will watch almost anything on USA.

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Not all change is good. This was a great show. I will not miss Jai because the writers did not give this talented actor good story lines. Many reviewers recommend changes that end up destroying good shows Ghost Whisperer, Without a Trace and Shark are good examples. This was a wonderful show but the new characters are boring. I did not like Annie's new boss and Annie's new assignment was needlessly complicated and confusing. Disaster awaits this show.

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Im sorry Jai is gone. He is a great actor and I really liked him in Season 1. However in Season 2 his story got weird as if the writers didn't know what to do. I'm disappointed there is no longer any diversity on the show. Do the producers know we live in a diverse country? I don't think the show is representative of the real USA.

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potty talk? they come on at PM so their allowed to have adult talk

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@Chris: Shows will leave departing actors/actresses in the opening credits if they stay on to help the story transition without their characters. I know Ghost Whisperer did it in its second season with Aisha Tyler's character Andrea. After her character "crossed over", Aisha's name disappeared from the opening credits. Sendhil Ramamurthy's name will appear in the credits for "Sound and Vision" next week, but he won't. And what is up with all the dirty language? Did USA get some kind of special clearance for potty talk from the FCC?

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I think season 3 maybe Covert Affairs best season ever

Fortyseven

Very good. Hooray for serialization and mystery!

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