We're moving Forums to the Community pages. Click here for more information and updates.

Covert Affairs "Hello Stranger" Review: Annie's Assets

Covert Affairs S03E06: “Hello Stranger”

After spending half the season building up the tension between Annie and Simon and Annie and Joan and Annie and...everyone, “Hello Stranger” felt like a throwback to previous seasons of Covert Affairs with its rather cut-and-dry mission and squeaky-clean ending. The Prime Minister of Yemen was admitted to the Mayo Clinic under heavy State Department monitoring to undergo heart surgery. Annie thought that would be a good time to turn his chief of staff, Sayid, into a CIA asset. Despite his protestations, in the end, Annie’s dreamy blather about saving the world, one little piece at a time, spoke to the repressed idealist in Sayid and he ended up calling the asset hotline...right after Annie told Joan she requested a transfer out of the department.

Okay, so it wasn’t a completely squeaky-clean ending. Still fuming about Eyal being sicced on her in Jerusalem, Annie has basically adopted the “taking my toys and going home” method of coping with her co-workers. At least she didn’t go crawling back to Lena.

Does Annie seem just a little off her rocker to anyone else? Sure, she’s showing assertion and being proactive, reminding everyone who will listen that she is a fierce spying machine. However, she’s also been ignoring orders at an alarming rate, which makes her anger at being reevaluated by her superiors kind of childish. Has Annie always been this impulsive? If not, why the sudden change?

Joan raised a good point during her little chat with Annie when she said that the spy life was good for her, that she was happy in her line of work, but that it isn’t for everyone. Annie is an excellent operative, but lots of people are very skilled in positions that they don’t particularly enjoy. Could this be the case with Annie? In the past, there was never any doubt that she loved her job and loved what she did, but this season, we’ve seen Annie grow angrier at the system, unhappy with her current place, and I wonder if she has finally simply burned out.

Meanwhile, Auggie tried to kill his therapist with a blindfold and a cane. Actually, he tried to reach out and teach her how to cross the street as a blind person, theoretically in an attempt to enlighten her to his experience as a man who could once see and found himself forced to adapt to an entirely different way of life as an adult. I’d understand if she thought it was an attempted homicide, though.

Auggie’s shrink learned quickly, and in no time at all, she and Auggie were having a grand old time frolicking back and forth across the street. However, she didn’t care much for his essential takeover of her session. She pointed out that the lesson was a nifty distraction from talking about Auggie’s real issues. He admitted that he once tried to kill himself by wandering into traffic, only to be saved/disappointed by the affected drivers’ surprisingly good reflexes. However, Auggie bristled at the idea of examining that incident any deeper than the surface—it happened, he survived, end of story.

Still, the fact that Auggie went to therapy at all should count as some sort of progress considering his doctor gave him her blessing not to come to sessions at all last week. Auggie reached out. He’s a control freak. I don’t think that being stuck in a room talking about things he’d rather not talk about is an approach that will work for Auggie. At one point, the doctor asked, “Are you always trying to manage people and situations?”

Have you read his job description, lady?

So, how long until Auggie and his hot lady doctor end up doing the naked tango together? It's going to happen. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.



SPY NOTES


– “And you claim this is a free country!” Okay, look dude, I’m not one of those people who gets bent out of shape about where it is and is not acceptable to smoke, but for SURELY even hospitals in Yemen would frown upon lighting up in the ICU?

– This week, Action Annie got to wear scrubs and masquerade as a nurse (or doctor!) to evade capture. In an attempt to mellow some of the angst that seems to have invaded Covert Affairs this season, I propose regular missions involving situation-appropriate costuming. We've had Nurse Action Annie. How about a cop? French maid? French maid is a classic. Maybe she can borrow some of Amy Pond’s kissagram costumes?

Comments (29)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
"Does Annie seem just a little off her rocker to anyone else? Sure, she's showing assertion and being proactive, reminding everyone who will listen that she is a fierce spying machine. However, she's also been ignoring orders at an alarming rate, which makes her anger at being reevaluated by her superiors kind of childish. Has Annie always been this impulsive? If not, why the sudden change?"



Two words..... Claire Danes.
Reply
Flag
Wow, I actually spend the entire episode hoping that Annie would fail and that Sayid had enough integrity to stay true to his beliefs and loyal to his family. Instead he turned into a traitor (aka asset? you know, since it's a US show; you can only be a traitor when the exact same thing happens, except you are a US citizen who cooperates with agents/spies from one of those other evil countries). I should really stop hate-watching this CIA-glorifying show. Congrats Annie, you got a man to betray his country, let's drink to that!
Reply
Flag
I think the answer to Annie's impulse control and issues with following orders are probably related to how she is coping with seeing Jai getting blown to pieces. She's always been one to trust her instincts and push the boundaries with Joan and I think she's just acting out in her own way as a result of anger, fear, ect...Eyal did mention last episode about how he thinks it is affecting her
Reply
Flag
Meanwhile, getting both demoted + reviewed within a few days/weeks of eachother can't be helping. To the point that she's over compensating and/or angry.

That being said: her outburst in the middle of the briefing for the upcoming mission seemed (to me) to be more of her being used to "talking out" the missions with Lena (building them, discussing what the objective SHOULD be, etc) than her just being a jerk.
Reply
Flag
I still like the show very much. Precisely because it is light.

I feel that the writers are thinking that Annie is ready to be her own woman now. It feels a bit like when you are a teenager and then one day you start making decisions like a grown up...
Reply
Flag
I gotta admit, I was kind of half watching TBBT on TBS but when I turned over to Covert Affairs, there was Annie hurrying down the street with her phone to her ear. I realized that scene sums up this show for me, Annie with the phone to her ear. Someone has to tell her what to do, she screws it up, and then the phone is to her ear again as she scrambles to do something else, that, of course, always works. Ho hum. What started out with such promise as a show about a young spy has turned into a slog of phone-in-ear conversations. I quit watching last year because it was so dull and predictable. I started back this summer because I thought there was going to be more Auggie and Annie together. But I was wrong. I'm thinking about dumping it again.



And don't get me started on Arthur and Joan.
Reply
Flag
I was completely surprised by Annie saying she put in for a transfer. Joan has been her biggest supporter most of the time, and was here once again, so I don't see the basis for where this came from. She still doesn't even know if it was, in fact, Joan who wanted her evaluated by Ayal in Israel. It seems she found out at the very end that she may have been wrong to do it, but I felt like it should have never come up in the first place.
Reply
Flag
Auggie is tappin' that ass inside 2 episodes. Also, yes please on the kissagram.
Reply
Flag
It was a mixed bag of an episode that really showed the good and bad things about Annie and the show.



First, Annie is both smart and stupid. She is insightful and has good instincts. But I swear for someone supposedly so competent she has crazy amounts of self esteem issues. Which I think is the basis for many of her mishaps. And is going to eventually lead to her demise. She gets upset because Auggies was going to propose to his girlfriend, she runs to simon. She is upset because she thinks Joan doesn't like her. So she does her own thing. So much so that she thinks that Joan initiated her review. And most likely she didn't. I am betting that it is Lena or someone else.



I mean she has issues, she witnessed a murder of a colleague, And every freaking mission they have to tell her what she is supposed to do like 8 times. I would have her under review as well. To see if her success is based on skill (which largely it isn't) or just blind stinking luck (which it largely is. )



Not that it matters The CIA in this show (and Burn Notice for that matter) is largely incompetent. I mean really. None of them aside from Auggie, I doubt would have any place in the real CIA. Or the CIA in shows like POI or really any of the other shows that have had them as characters



But back to Annie for a bit. She is going to screw up because of her issues and it is going to lead to something bad. Which she will inevitably stumble into the solution and come off looking good. Which I don't think is a good story.



Back to Auggie. He is going to mess around and the therapist is going to fall for him. Which is good and bad. Good for Auggie, because she is hot. Bad for the CIA because it goes to their incompetence.



As for the rest of the show. I don't think Arthur can leave fast enough. And take Joan with you. They really are horrible characters. I think this show has a lot of potential, but I think it squanders a lot of good actors but it is wasted on the story lines and making the most wishy washy spy there has ever been. I thought it was going to be a good season and they were going to make Annie a Sydney bristow kind of character. Which would have been badass. But she is lacking.

More+
Reply
Flag
She's not supposed to be a badass. She's supposed to be learning. That's what I like about this show, she wasn't an instant super spy. We get to see her make mistakes, and have rules she has to follow. People discount this show because it is light, but I actually think it's the most realistic show about the CIA I've ever seen.
Reply
Flag
I'm with you, I like this show. I'm currently watching Buffy the Spy (Alias) and I like that too but this one seems more realistic. To each his own, I guess. James Bond is fun but people who do the things he does have a half-life of only a few months at best. I've never seen a good spy fight where either combatant couldn't win - now that's gambling. Syd Bristow could have died many times and didn't thanks to the miracle of writing. I also thought the short-lived shoe Chaos was great and very realistic including its claim of being a spoof. If you don't like Annie Walker then move on but she's a keeper in my book.
Reply
Flag
I agree, I loved Alias too that was a great show. But this one does seem more realistic, you don't want a copycat show. I like the fact that she is still learning and not a super spy yet, having said that I hope she does slowly morph into one, and I'm totally on board with undercover costumes more.
Reply
Flag
Where Alias went wrong was with the Rambaldi shenanigans and some of the stuff with her mom. I do think Sidney Bristow was a more compelling character, and Jennifer Garner is a much more subtle actress. Remember, Sidney wasn't just working at the CIA. She was a deep undercover double agent from episode 1.
Flag
But this is the third season and she still is falling into her solutions rather than getting things together herself. I don't know I think that she should have progressed more.
Reply
Flag
I'd really like to see her rely less on luck and writer manipulations.
Reply
Flag
Writers are what they are...
Flag
I actually think she's overly competent for only two years on the job. Think about a real workplace, how knowledgeable are the people with 2 years experience? They are still rookies.
Reply
Flag
Meh, yes and no. There are such things as very competent rookies. And in the Pilot itself, Joan said that Annie was thrown into the thick of it on her first day as most agents either never experience a dangerous scenario or at least not for years. And yet due to Arthur's manipulations she was in a lot of sink-or-swim situations involving real dangerous people.

I'm not saying she's "great" and I agree she was probably feeling a bit too "good" after her promotion to Lena's group.

So while I wouldn't call her a super-spy or even a well-honed vet, she's more than a rookie.
Flag
Having been a big boss back in the day I saw a few great rookies and treated them well and they never let me down. It ain't braggin' if you could do it - Ring Lardner Jr...
Flag
I disagree she's acting like she's a badass and much better than vastly senior agents. Her ideas are better, she doesn't need evaluated, she doesn't need a superior telling her what to do. Just beause other people follow rules and have tried something and failed doesn't mean she isn't so perfect she can do anything. With the Simon thing she didn't listen to Lena. Last week she didn't listen to Eyal. This week she doesn't listen to Joan. The show manipulates it so everything she tries works, even though logic seems to indicate it wouldn't, she just keeps getting lucky. She should have gotten shot last week.
Flag
I simply see this good episode as Annie being more proactive about a possible asset in a country where the US had none. Heck Joan even said this was a good opportunity. If she were in Annie's place, she would've done the same thing. This is the all-out spy Annie has been capable of being coming out and I love it. This was no easy mission at all. She worked her rear off for this one and I'm glad it worked our for her. Annie voicing her opinion over Joan was a little surprising to me but in a good way.



Auggie and his therapist are getting along better but you're right about the control freak in him taking over. It was daunting to see but understandable given its Auggie. If a hookup happens i wouldn't be surprised.



Reply
Flag
This whole Joan has been holding Annie back storyline has totally come out of left field for me. For one Annie was constantly getting into trouble in past, calling for help, in over her head--and she still is! But she is showing no respect to Joan and we don't even know if Joan requested the review. We do know that Joan stood up to her boss and the State Department for Annie, which she totally didn't have to do.
Reply
Flag
Yeh, did we ever get any hard confirmation that it was JOAN that initiated the review? Couldn't someone else above her have requested it: or just someone in a position to do so (the internal-affairs guys, Lena, Arthur, etc).

She has been getting a little *itchy lately though. I guess getting kicked out of the Majors (Lena) + getting reviewed all within a few months probably makes you hate your job quite a bit.
Reply
Flag
As far as Annie's loud stance in front of everyone at their briefing, I imagine that was rub-off from working with Lena. Where they talked out what was going on: boss-to-spy. Where as here's it's more "shut up and talk to me after the meeting." Both have their advantages / disadvantages.

Reply
Flag
I don't even think Lena's "we're all equals" allowed for interrupting your boss in the middle of a briefing. Talking, yes. Highjacking, no.
Reply
Flag
I dunno, I think what she did would have been totally appropriate with Lena.
Reply
Flag
IMO Lena would never have been comfortable with the disrespectful power play it would have implied.
Reply
Flag
I agree with safibwana though I also think Annie was trying to prove something to Joan as she is still annoyed by the "review"

When Annie started working under Lena, she was hard-wired to go by Joan's workflow. She assumed Lena would just give her an assignment and some rules and send her on her way.

Instead, Lena said something like "No, we talk it out between you and me... we decide together what we're doing and maybe the goals" So Annie started getting into THAT for a few weeks/months/whatever.

Now Annie is working back with Joan and is still hard-wired for Lena: she talking about the mission, how it should be run, what goals they should strive for.

Obviously, to the other agents in the room they were shocked because Lena's workflow was a LOT different to what they were used to.
Flag
You're misreading the situation and the scene. People interject when they have highly pertinent things to say in some environments. The point of the scene is that she learned behavior working with Lena that doesn't work inside Joan's group.
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook