Saturday, September 18, 2010

What I’m Watching: Covert Affairs (Season Finale)

Covert Affairs: Season 1, Episodes 10 & 11 “I Can’t Quit You Baby” & “When the Levee Breaks” (B+/B)

It seems a bit strange to me that the first season of this show would include eleven standalone episodes rather than ten installments, the first and last of which were super-sized. The series premiere back in July was 75 minutes, and I had presumed that this two-hour finale was one extra-long episode. Instead, it’s merely two separate entries, the first of which is definitely better and more exciting than the first. That’s partially due to the very smart casting of Anna Chlumsky, first seen back in 1991 as the star of “My Girl” and more recently in “In the Loop,” as the genuinely nice contact who didn’t want to corrupt Annie because she liked her. It’s nice that Annie felt the same way, and even nicer that they both survived the ordeal, because it didn’t seem that way for a bit. Unfortunately, Chlumsky was nowhere to be found in the second episode, which introduced some convoluted plot twists and numerous questions of loyalty on the part of Ben, and then ended with Ben taking a bullet which isn’t overly tragic because he’s not all that much of a stand-up guy. Even if he is a do-gooder, he still can’t bring himself to trust Annie, and therefore doesn’t deserve being mourned for too long. The revelation that Henry Wilcox, now without goatee, is the leak is a bit of a surprise, though not a terribly interesting one. Auggie’s willingness to come through for Annie and give the kids a tour of the Smithsonian was touching, and he truly is the show’s most endearing character. This show hasn’t crafted a finale that truly delivers or creates anticipation for the show’s return next summer. The show ended up getting a little better, but still doesn’t have me hooked. What did you think of the first season?

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Christopher Gorham as Auggie

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