Covert Affairs Review by John Keegan

Covert Affairs 5.03: Unseen Power of the Picket Fence

Covert Affairs 5.03: Unseen Power of the Picket Fence

Written By:
Tamara Becher-Wilkinson
Directed By:
Stephen Kay

A bit surprisingly, this episode of Covert Affairs is a direct follow-up to the previous installment, which is a level of serialization that has typically occurred closer to the end of a season.  Regardless, the circumstances were perfect for it; the momentum needs to be maintained to avoid the impression that the show is losing traction.


So now the identity of the mastermind of the Chicago bombing is revealed: a figure by the name of The Postman.  Cringe-worthy memories of the endless Kevin Costner film of the same name aside, this is certainly a nice way to bring a new villain into the mix.  And it presents the very real possibility that people already close to Team Annie are connected to The Postman in nefarious ways.  Suddenly all these side liaisons and hints that Arthur is working for McQuaid undercover make a lot more sense.


I keep coming back to the suggestions at the end of the fourth season that Henry’s support system was still out there, even if the spider in the center of the web is dead and gone.  Why wouldn’t someone else pick up the remnants of Henry’s network and pursue his or her own agenda?  And of course it could be someone deep in the intelligence community, because that was part of parcel of Henry’s success.


What makes it fun is the growing mountain of evidence that McQuaid is far from above board.  Even if he and his firm have absolutely nothing to do with The Postman, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t running a massive operation right under the noses of the CIA.  Hence Arthur’s apparent infiltration, not to mention dangling Annie out there as a very reluctant recruit.  Either she’s in on the whole plan, or she’s going to be tempted into jumping ship, only to find that her moral relativity is even more sorely tested.


For now, though, my guess is that Hayley is the one working with The Postman.  If not, then she’s up to something that will end badly for Auggie.  She was doing a capable job of distracting him while getting him to sign that document in an awfully specific place, and I doubt it was just because she was craving a little yoga practice.  Compromising one of the key members of the team leading the charge against The Postman would be a logical move.


The one weakness of the episode was the subplot with Calder and the call girl.  Unless she also ends up being a plant for The Postman, this feels like a way to inject a little skin into the mix and live up to the title of the show.  Unless it’s to present two options to the audience, with one as a red herring, when it comes to whether Auggie or Calder is being played, it’s trending on over-repetition and standard dramatic tropes.  Surely they can do better than that, given how well they’ve developed Annie over the years?

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The Annie/McQuaid banter continues to shine
  • The season is given its first major antagonist
The Bad:
  • Calder’s subplot doesn’t seem to add anything new

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 - 7/10/2014 11:14 AM162 views

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