Covert Affairs "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" Review: Trust Among Spies

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 07, 2012

Covert Affairs S03E14: “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”

The downward spiral continues. I’m not even entirely sure what’s going on anymore, but I’m fairly certain that—though it pains me to admit it—I liked the Lena Smith storyline better. Annie was misguided and full of herself, but they were understandable character traits and the actions fueled by those traits had consequences.

I pointed out last week that Annie’s resistance to being debriefed at Bluebonnet Farm was tiresome and irritating and her superiors’ inability to use their higher rank to ORDER her to go (as superiors are wont to do) was infuriating and broke my admittedly weak ability to suspend disbelief for this series after spending so much of an initially great season strengthening it. We were in a good place, Covert Affairs. Way to blow it.

Annie was still calling the shots—though why anyone with any authority was LETTING her was beyond me—but at least Joan was starting to get sick of the shenanigans and put her foot down. I assumed that Annie would eventually be forced to, you know, do her job properly, but that was a silly assumption. What was I thinking?

In the end, the specter of Bluebonnet was chased away from Annie by none other than Joan herself. You see, Joan had an epiphany somewhere around the time she started her random, never-before-seen-or-mentioned pill habit, and decided that she was a terrible boss. Why did Joan suddenly decide she's a terrible boss? Well, she works weekends and holidays and expects her underlings to do the same.

No, really. OMG, how AWFUL.

Granted, working for Joan is probably infuriating for just those reasons, but I imagine that being a spy is the kind of job where you enter it with the full understanding that you will be working weekends and holidays. So, you know, get over it. What do you mean I have to go defuse a bomb? It’s SATURDAAAAY.

Even Auggie and Eyal jumped on the Annie-is-a-special-snowflake bandwagon, with Auggie encouraging Joan to be nicer and “give Annie respect.” No. Annie has been shirking responsibility since she came back from Russia. Joan has every right to be a hardass about it. Joan’s inability to make Annie attend the debriefing led her to believe she had lost control of her entire department and inspired her to take some time off. I guess what I’m failing to understand in that entire situation is how Annie could just refuse to go. How does she have that kind of power? Her boss ordered her to do something and she didn’t do it. She even went as far as to refuse to do it. In any job, that’s a serious case of insubordination. You don’t think the fry guy at McDonald’s isn’t going to get a reprimand if his manager tells him to sweep the floor and he flat-out refuses? How the hell is Annie Walker allowed to compromise national security and just go on her merry way?

Eyal even RESIGNED over his disgust at the way Rivka used him against Annie by planting the corrupted info about Khalid. Seriously, bro? I get it, Rivka is skeevy and it was wrong and blah blah blah but seriously, the dude is a professional spy, possibly the MOST professional spy we’ve seen on this show. Everything he said to Annie about how she is naive and too trusting and regularly turns herself into a target was absolutely correct. By resigning, he essentially said that Annie’s way of doing things is the right way, despite the fact that Annie’s way of doing things routinely backfires and occasionally comes with a body count.

Annie doesn’t get to be a special snowflake until she proves that she’s a special snowflake. She's come a long way this season, but after taking Lena out of the picture, it’s been business as usual on Covert Affairs and I don’t know about you, but I loathe business as usual.


– We spent the entire episode hunting the missing Megan, who appeared to have been taken hostage by Khalid as revenge for helping Annie last week, only to find, surprise surprise, Megan went with Khalid willingly and even flashed us some sort of nefarious grin before the credits rolled. Are we supposed to be worried? I’m not worried. Megan doesn’t really scream "criminal mastermind" to me. In fact, I’m not entirely convinced Khalid isn’t just milking her for intel about Annie before he wastes her anyway. You?

– Henry Wilcox’s sentence is being commuted. Who is he again? DOES THIS MEAN WE WILL FINALLY GET BACK TO THE JAI STORYLINE?

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  • bluemystique Nov 09, 2012

    Even though I pretty much agree with everything you said in this, I still found the episode good. I guess it's because Annie doing all of this and behaving the way that she did is pretty much how Annie has always been. It's annoying as hell and at times I want to reach through the television and throttle her...but I'm one of those people who watches this show despite Annie. LOL! She has this way of doing whatever she wants to do regularly without ever facing the repercussions that she should. She is too naive for words...and I think initially it was expected but as time went on and she was seemingly evolving into this experienced spy it's become more difficult to swallow. I think that's why when Eyal told her off in the manner that he did I was kind of pleased. If she was going to listen to anyone, she should have listened to him. He was essentially one of the first spies she had to work with and they've worked together countless of times before. He knew her in the beginning and he knows her now, and there is a certain level of growth you'd expect from a person in that field over time and she hasn't really had any of that. So even though things were business as usual on Annie's end of things, it was great to finally see Joan express her aggravation, and Eyal tell her the truth about herself amiss the lies he was telling about his involvement in matters.

    Yes, because obviously Eyal would never betray Annie on his own in that manner. He just wouldn't and I could never be convinced otherwise. He genuinely cares about her and while I admit that that aspect of this show is as aggravating as all the other shows and books where every member of the opposite sex finds themselves in awe of or smitten by the "aww shucks" female lead, their friendship has been one of the highlights of the show since the beginning. I actually didn't think of Eyal's resignation as affirming that Annie was somehow right. I think Eyal was always a competent and more realistic spy in his practice, but he genuinely considers Annie and friend and betraying her and having his own agency use him to the degree that they did and seemingly betray him was a bit much. I always got the impression that Mossad had a certain amount of upfrontness with their agents that the C.I.A doesn't have. His issue with Rivka was clearly deeper than what was going on with Annie. He did a sucky job at trying to convince Annie that he was playing her. She threw all the key things that suggested otherwise back in his face. Isn't she still staying his his apartment? They should be back to braiding each other's hair and flirting in no time. I only hope they don't think of killing him off though. I would be pissed.

    Yeah what was with the Henry stuff? I forgot about him and I figured they forgot about Jai Wilcox.

  • bluemorphotat Nov 08, 2012

    Yes, well... I like this show purely because it is not really believable and it is like having pop corn... only this season we were being served 1st quality popcorn: fresh, warm, fluffy but then it started to get stale again... I agree that Eyal character has been depicted as the most professional spy character so far and with this last ep he was made to look a bit silly... pity.

  • smorbie Nov 08, 2012

    I have to say I don't really know why the guy was in prison anyway. I'm so over this show. I quit watching it and starting again during the summer when it finally got good. But now that it's back I find I'm forgetting to watch it again. I think that's my subconscience's way of telling me I'm just not enjoying it. I've let Covert Affairs, White Collar, and Royal Pains go, and I really don't miss any of them.

  • ionee24 Nov 08, 2012

    I just love Oded Fehr! It doesn't matter how great this show actually is, he makes any episode 10 times better.

  • frwillia Nov 08, 2012

    I see it differently. Annie is not actively avoiding going to Blue Bonnet. She would go, but she feels her responsibility to Megan is more important. I agree with her. People are more important than procedures.

    She doesn't go against rules and find Eyal, he finds her.

    Eyal is not telling her the truth when he doesn't deny he modified the pictures. He didn't know it was done, he's doing what he thinks his boss wants him to do. He never actually says he did it. He just doesn't deny it and Annie takes that as an admission of guilt, but doesn't believe it.

    Annie has read Eyal correctly. The real bad apple is either Eyal's boss, or someone giving her orders. I think Mossad or the CIA has someone going rogue, and it isn't Eyal.

    I guess we will find out which of us is right over the next couple of weeks.

    I may be a minority of one, but I'm really enjoying this second half season's arc with Eyal. Piper and Oded work very well together.

    I still don't like the stupid revolver they have Annie lugging around. It looks a little like a rock with a handle.

  • ALR Nov 10, 2012

    frwilla - I agree with your analysis

  • ElisaDiaz Nov 08, 2012

    Well, there are more good episodes than bad episodes this season, but given the last ones are turning the worst ones, we might loose all that magic anyways. What a shame. I also agree the whole insubordinate thing is annoying. We know hard types tend to live out of the rules, but the writing of it in this case just sucks. Joan says "dont do this", and she just goes and does it, like my 3 yo nephew when he wants to challenge his parents. Gee. As for the other thing, the naive thing, also big agreement. The story with Eyal didnt need to become this girly and Barbie tale with little hearts of trust all over to be interesting. They are professional spies working for different agencies. Or am I watching the wrong show?. Well, it seems we most agree on these points. I hope that notes are taken for season 4. This season was about to be perfect, maybe we can have a perfect one next year?

  • Mate Nov 08, 2012

    Still am not watching this. But I agree with you wholeheartedly, maryann. Had they done the smart thing and not kill Lena this show would have had more of a direction and Annie would have been forced to become a better agent. The writers dropped the ball with that one. And now from your review it sounds like they are wandering around in a dark room with no torch.

  • maryploppins Nov 08, 2012

    Haha I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling frustrated. Though I knew you would be, as soon as Joan so easily decided to totally blow off the Bluebonnet thing. I got sucked into this show just 2 months ago because the first 11 eps were so GOOD ... I even spent the time to catch up on the first two seasons!! I didn't even think they were bad either, they were fluffy and not nearly as good as season 3, but I still found them thoroughly entertaining (and I felt that the show quality improved over time). Anyway point being, I have invested TIME getting into in this freaking show and the past 3 eps in a row have me wondering if I just got duped the same way Annie did by Eyal and Megan!

    Beyond everything you mentioned, to me it also feels as if they are trying to shove so much plot into this final story arc in the last few eps that they aren't focusing enough on the characters. Annie has felt kind of ... off ... to me in the past couple eps. Why was she so UNfazed by her fight with Joan at the end of 313 and then by discovering that both Eyal and Megan duped her by the end of 314?? I mean yes, she did seem a bit disturbed by the situations ... but ... it didn't seem to be more than a minor bummer. It was like, "Oh well that sucks but I guess I'll finish up my work and go to Bluebonnet. Oh sweet I don't have to go to Bluebonnet!! Whew, dodged a bullet there. Maybe I'll go have a beer instead and cuddle with my new blankie." Like, what's the point of giving Annie lessons to learn via plot developments, if she doesn't really seem to care that much about them? Or does she? I can't tell much, from these past two eps.

    I don't want to act as if there weren't plenty of things I DID like about this one ... there were ... and I thought it was a mostly decent ep until the last 5 mins. Then the last 5 minutes plus the preview for next week brought me back to being almost infuriated haha. Because again they shoved in like 3 MORE new plot twists right at the end, which means that the last two eps will just be jam packed dealing with those, without proper character focus. Maybe. I dunno. It seems like with each of these most recent 3 eps, they've gone about 50% of the way I expected and hoped they'd go, and 50% in a totally ODD direction that I'm not feeling great about. Yeesh. Two more eps left guys, come on.

  • JustinJohnson9 Nov 08, 2012

    I'm partially with you on Annie being too naive and trusting, thereby making herself a target. She tends too look for the good in people too much, no matter how much the situation goes against it. Sometimes, its beyond ridiculous how she believes there's a little good in everyone. On the other hand, I hear myself and you punishing her for having a "heart of gold", and that sounds horrible too. I'd like to believe in the idea that you don't have to be cold and ruthless just to survive as a spy. So I can't agree with you all the way on that.

    But your other points make a lot of sense. The Bluebonnet farm thing and the non-disciplinary actions of Joan or Arthur really bug me. A little punishment is all I'm asking for. Not a season-long thing, but just a few episodes. As boring as that would be for the show, it would make a lot more sense that what's happening now.

    I actually applaud Eyal for saying what he said to Rivka and quitting. He did exactly what she wanted and he didn't like it. He spoke up!!! Good for him! That bitch was totally out of line anyway. He doesn't like to betray his friends, and in the spy game, they're a total rarity when you're sometimes as cold as him.

    WIth that being said, I still like this show a lot. We're not seeing the same cookie-cutter Annie from season one. She's developed a hard shell at times and her mistakes make for intriguing circumstances, and good tv to me.

  • Mariegal19 Nov 08, 2012

    I so agree with you, I liked how Eyal even after a long time in the spy game still has a conscious! I hope we see him again before the Season is over.

    I like the hardened Annie as well, I hope she ends up getting some therapy before long otherwise she's bound to go off the edge!

  • Mariegal19 Nov 08, 2012

    I thought this episode was amazing! I'm giving Annie the benefit of the doubt, I mean she look at all Annie's been through this year.

    She watched her friend die in car bomb, she saw she lover shot dead she herself was shot twice in the chest by her mentor, she was set up by her mentor, She shot her mentor and then she was thrown in a Russian prison and tortured!

    I think those circumstances alone make her recent behavior completely understandable!

    However I want to yank that damn key right off her neck! She needs to finally admit to herself that she loves Auggie!