On the one hand, the changes in the Season 3 premiere of “Covert Affairs” are mostly to the good (with one extremely large exception for one character): A big event shakes up both the characters and the format of the show and makes Annie Walker’s journey that much more interesting.
On the other hand, though, the show also depressingly fails to follow through (at least for the moment) on one of the major threads left hanging at the end of last season — namely, the relationship between Annie and Auggie and the feelings she started to unpack right before Auggie left for Eritrea.
Dealing with that first: The show picks up on the Fourth of July. Auggie’s back, but the only mention of Eritrea is a sidelong one — he says he liked the food, and he asks Annie about his vintage Corvette. Parker isn’t mentioned, and Annie has either buried her feelings or is putting on a serious poker face at the office, because she scarcely even casts a wistful look his direction. (Even Annie putting her chin on Auggie’s shoulder at the gym reads more brother-sister than romantic.)
There’s a lot of season left after “Hang On to Yourself,” of course, so here’s hoping the show circles back to the Auggie-Annie question. Because the rest of Wednesday’s (July 10) premiere was pretty solid.
(Get ready for a major spoiler, in 3, 2, 1…)
Veteran TV watchers had to know something bad was about to happen to Jai when Annie paused in the diner to retrieve her umbrella, but still, his death was a bit of a shocker. Story-wise, though, it sets up some pretty intriguing avenues to travel for the rest of the season. Annie is transferred to a different division with a different boss (“24’s” Sarah Clarke — and hands up, everyone who thinks her character has a secret agenda). Auggie takes over for Jai, which in turn leaves Joan and the DPD without their best tech guy.
Annie and Auggie’s stories will converge, perhaps rather quickly, as at the end of the episode he orders his new staff to look into the deaths of the “tourists” in Morocco, and a box of Jai’s files bears the same symbol as the one Annie’s asset/adversary has tattooed on his shoulder. “Covert Affairs” has always had a tendency to slide back to its original footing, but at least for the time being, the shakeup inside the agency has given the show a shot of energy. Even structurally, “Hang On to Yourself” isn’t as case-of-the-week-ish as episodes usually are; Annie is far from wrapping up her mission in Morocco, and Auggie is just getting started with his.
Let’s hope the new order of things stays in place for a while. As Joan says to Annie about her transfer, “around here, movement is progress.” Let’s hope so.
What did you think of the “Covert Affairs” season premiere? Were you surprised at the big plot twist?