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A Woman Scorched: Covert Affairs ‘Crackity Jones’ Review

By on August 28, 2013
Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christpher Gorham as Auggie Anderson -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christpher Gorham as Auggie Anderson -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

In ‘Crackity Jones,’ Covert Affairs had the fandom reeling from a gut-wrenching break-up after a three-year build and only eight episodes on the mattress. What the flapjacks, people?! Did Auggie and Annie really just break up?! Perabo and Gorham’s portrayal of star-crossed love gone lorn was deliciously painful to watch. How poignant—that look of utter abandonment on Annie’s face, and hopelessness on Auggie’s. How anguished the silent, shaking, swallowed sobs—the forced calm in their voices—the lack of touching afterward. How forlorn the silent, abrupt departure. Ya-wowsa!

Queue ugly crying sequence while cursing Helen/Teresa, Henry and Joan—and, as always, Arthur, for being a cad. This question has some of us gagging for the next episode: can we trust that Helen/Teresa isn’t part of Henry’s elaborate ‘scorched earth’ strategy to get between Auggie and Annie? Looks to me like that’s exactly what she just did! The scorched earth strategy, which is what Arthur aptly accuses Henry of, is a Stalinist approach to thwarting your opponent. It involves leaving absolutely nothing viable or useful in your wake—food stores, munitions, buildings, landscape, technology, even people, Anything! It’s ruthless, as is Henry. His relationship with Helen/Teresa deserves scrutiny. If you think they don’t have one, let’s talk again in a couple weeks.

So, do we even bother with the synopsis, or should we get straight to the burning questions? Fine. We’ll play by the rules—but let’s be brief, then get back to the skinny on the skeleton from Auggie’s closet.

This week, Annie and Auggie are thrown by the reemergence of his deceased ex-wife, Helen Hansen, also known as Teresa Hamilton (Michelle Ryan, aka The Bionic Woman). To everyone’s relief, Auggie was in the dark about the shadowed Ophelia, whom Annie recognizes to be Teresa Hamilton, Arthur and Teo’s go-between, or, in spy-ese, their ‘cut-out.’

In a two-second scene that had us all spewing diet cola and cheering boisterously, Auggie sucker-punches Arthur in the face and demands the truth about his ex-wife, which Arthur doesn’t hesitate to provide. Helen Hansen, Arthur insists, was responsible for faking her own death to protect Auggie and their mission in Rome seven years prior. Helen goes now by the name Teresa Hamilton and is a well-connected high level operative whose mission is to thwart munitions proliferation across the globe. Helen has been investigating the five missing Viennese missile launchers from Annie’s op in Venice—the same op where Tao Braga (Manola Cardona) killed arms dealer Stavros and his thug, Günther, leaving Annie holding the bag.

Arthur suspects Henry wants to frame him for providing those five missiles to terrorists—so someone has to stop him. Annie and Helen/Teresa are thrown together on a mission to Lyon, France, to subvert Henry’s plan to purchase the missile launchers from Sabino Laurent, a crooked munitions officer who hides behind his title while making a killing laundering purloined munitions.

"Crackity Jones" Episode 407 -- Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

“Crackity Jones” Episode 407 — Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson — (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

While Annie is in France with Helen, who accuses Annie of being incapable of objectivity, Auggie brings techies Hollman (Michael Therriault) and Barber (Dylan Taylor) to his home on a super secret decryption mission to identify suspicious images in what appears to be a jungle. As the women are setting up their op in Lyon, Auggie and the Techies (Sounds like a band, doesn’t it?) discover Henry Wilcox cavorting with one of Braga’s ALC terrorist comrades in the jungle—two days earlier than expected.

Per usual, the op is fast-tracked and the deal has to be done, like, in the next five minutes. Helen gets creeped-out by Henry’s early arrival and insists on aborting the mission. Annie refuses, eliciting discouraging exhortations from Helen. Helen insists falling in love is the worst mistake a spy can make. Going with her gut—that is her superpower, after all—and, You Go Girl, by the way!—Annie arranges to meet with Laurent on a dock in the middle of the Lyonnaise nowhere. Laurent predictably attacks Annie and the two tumble into the water where Laurent is quickly shot by Helen, who arrives on the scene despite her refusal to have anything to do with a mission she felt should be aborted. It turns out that the crates Lauren brought to the exchange were full of statues of L’Arc de Triumph—not the missiles. So—did Henry end up getting the missiles?

Okay. Deep breath in, cleansing breath out. Now the questions and suppositions. Clearly both Auggie and Annie are more acutely than ever fearing for their love’s viability in such an abnormal environment. They’ve questioned since the beginning–so what’s different now? Henry is getting to them. Helen has presented the dim reality that one day Annie will have to choose between ruining Henry and loving Auggie. Do we believe that?

Annie and Auggie have acknowledged that Henry will use anything to put a wedge between them. Isn’t that exactly what just happened? Is Henry going to win? Joan says most relationships don’t go the distance because lies told to protect the innocent are still lies. But—haven’t Auggie and Annie been focusing on being truthful with each other? They have, but short of watching a video of your lover’s entire life, there’s no way to download every detail from your past. Stuff’s gonna come up! But if they trust each other—like Annie trusted Auggie when he said he hadn’t been in contact with Helen—then they can move past those instances. But, knock, knock, Annie! You’re the one who has shown countless times that you can have your cake and eat it, too. So why give up? Because it provides for good drama and lots of angst, of course.

And, what do we think of Helen/Teresa? Looks like she’s doing some hefty projecting of her own feelings onto Annie! Her bogus visit to Auggie’s apartment made it clear that she’s still in love with Auggie and/or remains devastated by her decision to leave him. *CoughBullShitCough* We better keep our eye on this little—uh—witch!

We’ve already established that the episodes for season four are named for the titles of songs by the alternative rock band, Pixies. More often than not, the connections between the song lyrics and the episode focus are ambiguous at best, but this time perhaps they hold a crucial clue. ‘Crackity Jones’ is a schizophrenic-paced song about the song-writer’s experience living with a psychotic roommate. Coincidence? You be the judge. Maybe Teresa spent some of her time in the shadows of a padded room, huh? Ever think of that?

Final notes: Caulder Michaels was clever and not as obnoxious as usual this episode; he was perhaps even likable. But—we still don’t now if he really shoots Annie at the end of the season. What’s up with that? Also, some of the best dialog belongs to Barber, the techie. He’s always quirky, but this time I couldn’t help thoroughly enjoying his remarks! My fave: You had me at pizza!

Tune in to the USA Network next Tuesday, September 3rd at at 9pm/8pm Central for ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’. Annie asks Teo to help her take down one of her most powerful opponents yet, and the colors in Caulder’s rainbow begin to shine through. See you then!