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Badass Annie’s Audacious Gambit Pays Off in Covert Affairs “Trompe Le Monde”

By on November 23, 2013
Piper Perabo as Annie Walker. (Photo by Steve Wilkie/USA Network)

Piper Perabo as Annie Walker. (Photo by Steve Wilkie/USA Network)

Piper Perabo’s Annie Walker masterfully executed the takedown of her nemesis, Henry ‘It’s My Nature’ Wilcox, in last night’s riveting season four Covert Affairs finale, “Trompe Le Monde.” From start to finish, the heart-pounding physical and emotional pace never abated as Annie relentlessly pursued her man, Calder faced the Langley suits, Braithwaite faced the music, and Joan delivered baby boy, Mackenzie Campbell.

Covert Affairs delivered a spellbinding adventure cleverly woven together using every evocative element at their disposal. Variations in film speed, color, and soundtrack dictated the mood, heightening and relaying the emotional sensuality of the journey toward Annie’s final act as Dead Woman Walking. This finale was a thematic and visual triumph.

Of particular note was the opening slow speed montage. This included Annie and Henry in the back seat of Henry’s car, Auggie navigating the streets of Kowloon, and Joan keeping vigil at Arthur’s hospital bedside; all against the backdrop of an aptly chosen industrial rock selection called All Time Low (Nine Inch Nails) which set a tone of expediency and nervous anticipation. The scenes announced, “The time for reckoning has come and there would be no turning back.”

In the final scene before fading to white (a telling color choice, yes?), the soothing breeze on Annie’s relieved face as she’s whisked away on a sleek black SunSeeker Predator 84 was palpable. Once again adding dimension to this scene was another apt soundtrack choice in Moby & Damien Jurado’s Almost Home. 

It is clear that none of this magic was happenstance.

Cinematographically, the mix of analog and digital filming added a balmy three-dimensional texture to the scenes. We can now attest to the fact that Perabo hit the nail on the head in an interview earlier this week with ScreenSpy when she spoke about the effects of these combined elements.

“Hong Kong has such an incredible film history of its own,” Perabo explained, “and because we knew were going to Hong Kong so far in advance–even the style of shooting and the style of fighting–you see a lot of eight millimeter lens in these two episodes. I think we even got to embrace the city more than usual, stylistically, because Hong Kong cinema is such a distinctive style. And we tried to consider that.”

“Trompe Le Monde” certainly delivered on Perabo’s description, as did the previous episode “There Goes My Gun,” which could have easily been dubbed “Finale Part I.” But was Gorham overshooting when he spoke to ScreenSpy this week? Let’s check.

“It’s really like a two hour movie, not two separate episodes. And Hong Kong, because we have so many days filming there, and maybe more so than almost any of the cities shot, it really becomes a character in this story. It really kind of really adds something and brings it to life in a way that’s not always possible to do.”

Hm. Interesting take on it, and he’s not wrong. It makes a person want to go back and watch the episodes back to back, doesn’t it?

Pictured: Piper Perabo as Annie Walker -- (Photo by: Jessica Hromas/USA Network)

Pictured: Piper Perabo as Annie Walker — (Photo by: Jessica Hromas/USA Network)

Despite Henry’s snide comments to the contrary, Annie is no longer the blonde ingénue she was when they first sat down together at a diner. She is cunning, she is bold, even reckless at times, but Annie is extraordinarily quick witted. That’s her superpower. From her time in Vienna forward, Annie has become confident that she can find her way through virtually any situation. She proves it in “Trompe Le Monde” when she has the opportunity to kill Henry.

In season five, going dark and faking her death may prove child’s play in comparison when Annie comes face to face with Danielle (Anne Dudek) and her parents. Whooo. I digress.

Three times, Annie finds herself with a clear shot to end Henry. Her first two attempts are thwarted, so no one yet knows, not even Annie herself, if she’s dark enough to kill a man in cold blood when she get a real chance. The answer comes several tense moments later and doesn’t disappoint.

Annie’s final scene with Henry is haunting as she sinks two bullets into his chest, steps over his lifeless body, calls ever-stalwart Auggie, and floats down to the harbor in a preternaturally calm state. Immediately following the fired shots, Annie’s world presses in on her, surreal and heavy. Her expression says. Wow. This is me. This is who I have become. There is no going back.

How did it all happen? How was Henry Wilcox finally brought to justice?

Ever resourceful Auggie Anderson navigates his way to the Consulate General of the United States of America in Hong Kong and acquires computers, a desk, and operative Sara Tan (Marianna Phung). His first act: to cloak Henry’s building in Calhoun Square, effectively forcing a technological and communication shutdown of Lexington Global East. He then uses his brainchild, Hummingbird, to get ‘eyes’ on every surveillance camera in Hong Kong. Finally, Auggie calls Calder who gets a tactical team at the ready to storm the building.

Hill Harper as Calder Michaels -- (Photo by Steve Wilkie/USA Network)

Hill Harper as Calder Michaels — (Photo by Steve Wilkie/USA Network)

Braithwaite begins sweating bullets and secretly sends in his own tactical team to shoot up the Henry’s building. Henry and Annie escape, landing in a dingy safe house (which Annie scoffs at) where Henry goads her, telling her that all her efforts were a colossal failure. Annie tells him he crossed every line, insinuating that her actions, no matter how heinous, will be righteous.

The Hong Kong police arrive, circulate a picture of Annie to evaluate her worth to them, and agree to provide Henry with asylum and protection in exchange for the woman who forcefully extradited their citizen, Oliver Lee.

Before Henry takes his leave of Annie, tears spring to Annie’s eyes. Not because of what Henry said to her, but because she’s about to watch him walk away. She’s proven to herself that she’s tough and it was worth it, slowing him down, complicating things for him. It was all worth it. But it’s not enough.

Once Henry leaves, a slimy interrogator with a suitcase full of torture implements attempts to dose her with a truth serum. Badass Annie turns the tables on the stoolie and smacks the crap out of everyone in her way, but not before extracting Henry’s destination from the torturer.

Auggie causes a traffic jam by having Sara Tan park her car in the middle of a busy intersection. As traffic slows, Annie finds Henry’s car, but no Henry. Using her spy senses, Annie tracks Henry down and hits him off at the pass in the middle of an alley. There she shoots him dead. The rest is history.

Auggie, learning of the fait accompli, sends Annie to the harbor. When she arrives, it’s swarming with police. When Annie tells Auggie, he replies with what sounded like, “Balls!”

Back at Langley, Calder is da man. He’s lauded for his DCI masterstroke and his encampment with Walker. Lee is interrogated off screen and we are to assume he squealed like a little girl. When Braithwaite realizes he’s doomed, writes a confession letter, and very predictably hangs himself, Calder is unanimously crowned interim DCS until Joan gets back and can vie fee her position once more. Once in charge, Calder arranges for Annie’s expeditious extraction from Hong Kong via the super fast boat and a US carrier in China sea.

Finally, Joan gives birth, and everything is right in the world. Or, maybe not.

Badass Annie Walker traversed Colombia, Denmark, Austria, and Hong Kong in pursuit of Satan’s Little Helper, narrowly escaping death twice. She died and was reborn. She found and lost her lover in the process. Perhaps this chase is finally over, but Annie has acquired some demons of her own while risking everything. Now Annie has to face an existence that is more a watercolor of ambiguity than a structured template she can simply step back into.

Where does that leave her? One thing is for sure, the options are wide open for whatever Covert Affairs has planned for Annie Walker.

Covert Affairs returns for Season five in the summer of 2014, and I can hardly wait.