Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Letter Never Sent" to Covert Affairs

     In the season finale of USA's Covert Affairs, "Letter Never Sent," Annie (Piper Perabo) takes a much needed vacation to Stockholm. Danielle (Anne Dudek) finds out that her husband has been cheating on her, and Annie allows her to come, too, only to learn once they get there that Danielle has been communicating with an old flame in the area. But then Joan (Kari Matchett) asks Annie to complete a simple mission, which soon goes horribly wrong, and Annie and Danielle are running for their lives. Meanwhile, Auggie (Christopher Gorham) looks into a cure for his blindness, and Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is called in for questioning.

     On the surface, "Letter Never Sent" is a rip-roaring good time, and a hell of a finale. There is plenty of action, and plots for every single main character, which is not the status quo. However, there is something very strange brewing under the surface of the Stockholm arc. Annie just happens to be heading to the one place Danielle has an ex she's been talking to? Or does Danielle have these exes all over the world? And, of course, Annie can't go anywhere without getting drawn back into the spy business, because she's aparently the old capable field agent the CIA has. Also, Annie and Danielle make a great escape from her would-be-beau's home, and leave him a dead body in the yard to clean up and explain. Thanks, girls!

     That, aside, though, it really is a fantastic episode. Dudek is a fine actress, who is often way underused on Covert Affairs, so it's gratifying that she is drawn into the action this week, no matter how big a stretch it takes. It's also unfortunate that she looks into the cheating-for-revenge route, but it's not unrealistic, and allows for some good sisterly chemistry, including a judgy Annie who does not approve of Danielle's behavior. Danielle now gets to see just what her sister does, and is unlikely to continue to give her much trouble about the job, as evidenced by her invitation for Annie to move back in.

     Jai is an enigma for awhile. He comes to Langley to do a job, but is shoved into the background, and soon disappointed by his lot. A little scheming gets him a Special Projects job, but it doesn't seem to mean much, and few have any respect for him. Then he fails a lie detector test and comes under suspicion. Rather than redeem himself by doing the right thing in "Letter Never Sent," as viewers would expect, he goes the alternate route. Jai grows even more manipulative, turning in his father, Henry (Gregory Itzin) for illegal activities, and protecting Arthur (Peter Gallagher). This protection is not out of the goodness of his heart, but rather, a set up so he can go after Joan's job. It's wicked, and depressing, and some really, really great writing.

     Poor Auggie. Upset over Parker's (Devin Kelley, The Chicago Code) move, he tries to better his own life by having his blindness healed. But he isn't a candidate for any of the procedures that might work. It seems he feels life is passing him by, his handicap rendering him unable to do many of the things he wants to do. He can't even drive his dream car, the '67 Corvette he keeps in his garage. At the end of the episode, he gifts the vehicle to Annie. This seems to be a sign that he has given up in a lot of ways, and will no longer be trying or hoping for a cure. It's a sad moment, made even worse when he comments on how he can "literally see" the smile on Annie's face, which isn't smiling at all. Again, poor Auggie.

     On the bright side, the chemistry between Annie and Auggie has never been better than in "Letter Never Sent." Which means, after a suitable time to get over Parker, perhaps Auggie will have a new love that could brighten his world. Whether he ever gets to see again or not, Auggie has a lot going for him, and he can be happy, though it may not seem like it at this time.

     Covert Affairs will return in 2012 on USA.

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     To buy Covert Affairs DVDs and streaming episodes, please click here.

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