Covert Affairs Review: Into The White To Find True North
By Catherine Cabanela
Waving a flag of anything but surrender, Annie Walker boldly forays into the jungles of Medellin Colombia and the heart of an ALC terrorist stronghold to extract CIA-trained double agent, Teo Braga. Colombia-based CIA Bureau Chief Calder Michaels, portrayed by the swaggerific Hill Harper (CSI: NY, The Handler), assists in exchange for the promise of intel about a bomb threat against an American target in Colombia.
In Into The White, this week’s Covert Affairs episode by the dynamic writing and executive producing duo of Chris Ord and Matt Corman, Annie (Perabo) does what we’ve come to love her for: taking bold risks and making impactful decisions seemingly by the seat of her pants. While Braga’s allegiance is a veritable morass of ambiguity, Annie remains committed to the possibility that he’s retained his moral compass despite his voluntary inculcation by the ALC and his lack of communication with his father, Arthur Campbell, of late.
Throughout, Annie maintains a rational and judicious posture by invoking what she knows works: unemotional treatment of an assumed persona. The original strategy is to treat Braga (Manolo Cardona, one of Colombia’s sexiest exports) as an operative who wants to come in out of the cold. When that proves ineffectual, she adopts the stance of one pursuing a terrorist. When her captive is combative, she doesn’t flinch at the possibility she may have to employ extraordinary measures in pursuit of intel that means the difference between life and death for the American targets.
In the end, Braga’s true North becomes evident: he rides a white horse, albeit a somewhat muddied one. His true aim is to maintain his infiltration of the ALC and thwart their attempts against the innocent. When his intent is revealed, Annie’s ability to recognize human conviction and use it to her advantage (and the CIA’s) serves her well once again. In a maneuver as brilliant as her Khalid Ansari coup when she turned son against father and preserved the CIA’s façade of uninvolvement, Annie parlays a pact with Braga wherein he gets to live to continue infiltrating ALC as it goes global as long as he maintains contact with her and he provide her with some real intel.
Braga accepts her truce and her untraceable phone in exchange for the names of two Chinese nationals living in DC who supply billions of dollars for organizations like the ALC who funded the attempted bombing in this episode. En fin, Annie is able to report to Arthur (Peter Gallagher) that his son, Teo Braga’s GPS still directs him to the True North.
Not to be overlooked is the professional advancement coup executed by Joan Campbell, ever divinely played by Kari Matchett whose small screen success are too numerous to list. Joan wins herself Arthur’s evacuated seat as Director of Clandestine Services through cunning use of intel on the misogynistic Senator Pierson who audaciously asserts that Joan’s successes are a direct result of her marriage to Arthur.
Going forward we still have the question of Henry Wilcox played by the estimable Gergory Itzin of Big Love and The Mentalist. When we last saw Wilcox he still smelled like yesterday’s garbage—unpleasant in every way. What will he say when he learns Annie didn’t pith Braga as proof of her commitment to him? And what about Calder? Will he assume that Annie herself snipered the suicide bomber in this episode?
And what of Auggie and Annie? Everything seems copacetic in Wonderland so far, but relationships are challenging at best, tenuous at worse, especially when the intimacies of friendship and love are at stake and not nearly as tightly swaddled as the secrets that bind them. In last week’s episode, Annie and Auggie were not the only characters faced with having to choose between keeping secrets and telling lies. In the world of espionage, relationships are defined by which of those we keep and which we share.
This week, Arthur warns Auggie that if he couldn’t handle secrets, he shouldn’t be dating a spy. True enough. But maybe not so much. We’ve come to accept that Covert Affairs is a tangle of string art connecting almost every character by a length of multicolored floss spanning time, history, and geography. In the center circle, we have Augie and Annie, Joan and Arthur.
This season, look for great things from Braga, Michaels, and an as of yet unintroduced female character who will surprise and delight you—and add fascinating color into the white.
The August 6th episode will see Annie and Auggie’s romance heating up. However along with the passion comes a realization that their private relationship is putting a strain on their working relationship within the CIA. Catch “Rock A My Soul” Tuesday, August 6th, on USA Network at 9pm/8pm Central.