Covert Affairs Review by John Keegan

Covert Affairs 5.01: Shady Lane

Covert Affairs 5.01: Shady Lane

Written By:
Matt Corman and Chris Ord
Directed By:
Felix Alcala

The fourth season ended with some huge events in Annie Walker’s life, from faking her own death to exacting vengeance against Henry Wilcox.  The question was never whether or not she would be coming back, but rather, how.  The fifth season premiere answers that question easily enough, while also setting up some of the new story arcs moving forward.


Annie has learned a lot about herself, and not all of it was good.  And she clearly had to find herself after the Wilcox crucible.  Calder and Auggie know Annie well enough to recognize that she’s not being completely honest with them, and quite possibly herself, but this is still Annie Walker.  What she may find hard to accept is how her absence has changed those around her.  Shutting out the world to find yourself means risking the possibility that the world, at least to some extent, has also moved on.


One of the biggest questions coming out of the fourth season was how the writers would deal with the gaping hole that Henry Wilcox left in the narrative.  He was the looming villain (and then the overly-arch one) for four seasons!  Even accounting for his allies striking out on their own, he left big shoes to fill.  Having someone blow up a secret CIA facility, killing 12 agents, is something of a start.  And one has to wonder how the ones behind the bombing will connect with other emerging threads, since nothing ever seems to happen by coincidence.


It’s actually a nice way to start off the season, because this gives the agents time to investigate and uncover the nature of the threat while taking the time to learn more about Annie’s current situation.  And it’s not a pretty one.  It would appear that Annie has panic attacks, and it’s quite unclear if this is a result of her experiences at the end of the fourth season or something that happened in the intervening months.  It’s the sort of thing that could (almost inevitably) emerge at the worst possible moment in a future episode.


Meanwhile, side stories continue to unfold.  Annie’s absence means that the Annie/Auggie romance has hit the skids, especially with a hot sparring partner making moves on him.  Arthur and Joan are happy parents, but his reputation is little better than dirt, and that means finding work elsewhere.  Anyone want to bet that McQuaid Security is going to end up connected to the season’s major threat?  Oh, and Joan is back on the job to some degree, but being Arthur’s wife has tainted her own career path.  So no small amount of tension there.


Covert Affairs has long since shuffled off its original incarnation as a breezy, lightweight summer espionage show, and that sense of maturity has gained it a great deal of leeway.  The fourth season had its issues, and left the series looking at a wide-open canvas, but this return is promising.  It’s just going to be a matter of how solid the slow burn to the next crisis can be.


Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Annie seems to have learned from her mistakes
  • The stakes are nicely raised from the start
The Bad:
  • Shouldn’t Annie’s reintroduction to the job have taken more time?

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Covert Affairs by - 6/26/2014 12:55 PM213 views

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