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Covert Affairs' Season 3 Finale: The Band Was All Together

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Covert Affairs S03E16: “Lady Stardust”

The first half of Covert Affairs’ third season gave us some of the very best storytelling and character growth we’ve ever seen on the USA Network staple. It was so delightful that the definite decline in anything resembling a coherent story in the latter half of the season was hard to stomach. However, last week’s penultimate episode took some welcome steps toward rectifying many of the flaws that came after the defeat of big baddie Lena Smith, and the finale was more than happy to roll with them... which is awesome.

Fresh off of murdering his girlfriend (or not murdering her, as we’d later find out) Khalid had Eyal tied to a chair and Annie had 24 hours to deliver the names of the CIA operatives who'd infiltrated Khalid's father’s company before Khalid’s hospitality ran out. Annie was pretty quick to roll over on her fellow agents, which is certainly one of my lingering concerns when it comes to “Lady Stardust” and one that I doubt will get much attention when we return for Season 4 since it’s apparent that Annie Walker is back to being the moral compass of the CIA and every single choice she makes is always the right one. Eye-roll.

Lucky for Annie (and those operatives), Joan and Auggie banded together to give Annie a hand. With Auggie on the scene, they managed to formulate a plan to rescue Eyal without completely compromising fellow agents’ lives. In the end, the only information Annie passed to Khalid was the real identity of Megan’s killer (hi dad!), but I was still left with the impression that if Auggie and Joan hadn't intervened, Annie would have theoretically handed over the names. After all, it was Auggie who acquired the handy-dandy blank-firing gun that gave Annie the leverage to bluff her way through the hostage exchange. If Annie had no intention of giving Khalid the names he demanded, then why bother going through the complicated infiltration of the consulate in order to uncover them in the first place?

Though I have to admit, it was an impressive bit of spywork, staging a mugging to justify access to the American consulate infirmary—which is where, apparently, the only computers capable of tapping into the government’s super secret closed-circuit internet were. I’m sure Danielle would be thrilled to know Annie used her name during her extracurricular espionage. Actually, I thought that was a pretty sloppy move, but I chalked it up to desperate times and all that.

So fine, Annie is back to being a total waste of a spy. I’ll cling to that handful of early Season 3 episodes where I didn’t have to be in a particular mindset—like, say, drunk—to get through her missions without rolling my eyeballs right out of their sockets. I mean, as soon as Annie got the call to stand down on her pursuit of Khalid because the Saudi government and the Dutch government had decided to be friends again, as soon as she lifted Eyal’s gun upon disconnecting the call, my insta-thought was, “She’s going to do something stupid, isn’t she?”

Yes and no.

Yes, Annie fled the safety of the S.S. Getaway Boat to track down Khalid before he hopped on his daddy’s chopper and flew home. She claimed that the CIA totally wanted her to kill the dude, even though no one had said anything even remotely close to that. I can kind of see her rationale, but I also kind of think she’s a dingbat, so, whatever.

But in the end, Annie let Khalid go. She shared her information about who really killed Megan, and even though Megan totally sucked and I didn’t mourn her death even a little bit, the revelation that Khalid actually sincerely loved her and wasn’t just using her was a nice alternative to the heartless terrorist persona we’d been led to believe in for the past several episodes. After dropping that cheerful little bombshell, Annie told Khalid, “What you do with that information is up to you,” and my money is on either outright ganking Daddy Dearest or eventually becoming an asset himself.

Back with the boys, Eyal asked Annie to run away with him. She showed some growth from the whole Simon fiasco by turning him down, leaving the playing field nice and open for Auggie to score a total touchdown. He asked her out on a real date and she accepted, and then he decided that Friday at eight was entirely too long to wait and showed up at her apartment. Ladies and gentlemen, there was a kiss!

And back in the States, while Annie and Auggie were busy rescuing Eyal and getting all snuggly on the flight back, Henry Wilcox, Jai’s father, was released from prison for assisting in that drone strike a few episodes back and Arthur decided to extend an olive branch to the disgraced CIA official by working to have Jai’s missions declassified and his name added to the memorial for fallen operatives. His effort was promptly rejected by Henry who, after briefly seeming civil last week, was back to hating Arthur’s guts, replying to Arthur’s, “I’m sorry for your loss” with a snarky, bitter, “No you’re not.”

Ouch.

Buy hey, maybe the man is on to something. Or maybe we’re supposed to think he’s on to something. Or maybe he’s playing Annie like so many others before. Wilcox called a secret meeting with Annie at the diner where Jai went kaboom and handed her a file. She was reluctant to take it, claiming that she wasn’t going behind Joan and Arthur’s backs anymore, but after some prodding, she peeked and whatever she saw was startling. Greeeeat.

While I feel like Annie should know better than to just take anything Henry Wilcox says, claims, or hands to her at face value (I mean, c’mon, the last time someone conveniently handed her a world-shattering file, the intel was doctored), I just want to point out how amazingly shot that entire scene was as a sort of inversion of the meeting with Jai that started this entire season. They met at the same diner, under the same rainy weather conditions, and (I think?) shared the same booth—the only difference being that the meeting with Henry took place at night, under cover of darkness, while the ill-fated one with Jai was in mid-afternoon. I see what you did there, Covert Affairs.


QUESTIONS:

1. What do you think was in the file Henry gave Annie? Can he be trusted?

2. Auggie/Annie: awesome? Or are we dreading the inevitable break-up and awkwardness?

3. What do you want to see more (or less!) of when Covert Affairs returns for Season 4?

4. Are we ever going to find out what’s in Simon’s freaking trunk?


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