Nothing Left to Lose: Covert Affairs “There goes My Gun” Review
The bold moves continue as Annie’s pursuit of Henry Wilcox heats to a fevered pitch in Covert Affairs’ “There Goes My Gun.”
Also, Arthur catches Bianca with classified information which implicates her in Henry’s marathon of madness, a new player in the Copenhagen bombing emerges and is captured, and Annie exposes herself, taking the biggest risks of her life.
With Calder and Auggie in tow, Annie takes on Hong Kong, refusing to leave without a body. That body, of course, belongs to Henry ‘The Prince of Darkness’ Wilcox, and is her only hope of exposing his heinous crimes, exonerating herself of Seth’s murder and her rogue status, and coming in from the cold. Life on the lam has changed her, tested her, and seasoned her. She can’t remember what life was like before she went dark, but there is one thing she sure of: she no longer has anything to lose. The weight of her choices sit heavy on her heart, and the only way to win Henry’s game is to get out of it. But how? And once she’s out, what then?
Henry pulled her into this cat and mouse, Auggie reminds her, but she gets to choose what she’s playing for. The landscape has changed since she was a blond, and she can’t see past the capture and conviction of the man with three sixes burned into his forehead.
Before Calder and Annie staged her death, Annie had something to live for: A relationship with Auggie, the respect of her peers, and a job she loved. At this point, her lover has loved someone else, her peers believe her to have gone rogue before being gunned down, and her hard-won future prospects within the CIA have gone up in a puff of tar and smoke.
After fourteen episodes of foreplay, we are so very close to satisfaction that we can taste it. Any anxiety or desperation Annie may have exhibited before returning to the states has reached that quiet level of calm determination that’s almost frightening for us. Things have gotten so serious, and so focused, that fear is no longer a part of her equation. That is what allows her to boldly go where it would be stupid for anyone else to: into the viper’s nest.
Throughout the fast paced episode, even during a slow speed chase through an Oriental strip mall, Annie’s strategies flow forth as if they’d been part of the plan all along. In Covert Affairs’ fifteenth episode, Annie makes several comments about her altered life and perspective. In a very short while she’s lost the innocence afforded the fearless yet protected, and learned to trust her gut and to make unwavering decisions and courageous moves.
Auggie stands steadfastly behind her every step, but Calder maintains an anal retentive commitment to coloring inside the lines, and balks self-consciously when Annie improvises, but finally trusts Annie’s intuition, skill and mettle.
“There Goes My Gun” opens with Calder, Annie and Auggie in Hong Kong in pursuit of the thug whose job it is to deliver a briefcase with Henry’s $200 million of diamonds. After doing so, the man run over by a car. This was highly predictable, as Henry always disposes of those he no longer needs.
Here, and later in the episode, we once again see the hasty dispatch of someone who were crucial to Annie and the team in proving Henry’s guilt. Points in case: Seth Newman, Wendy and Xu Chen, Eduardo Vargas, Teo Braga, Deric Hughes, Helen Hansen, the diamond courier, and later in the episode, Defense attorney Bianca Manning, to name a few. The repetitive investment of energy into the discovery and capture of assets, only to have them yanked away immediately before coughing up the goods could easily chafe the viewer. Fortunately, the plot’s place and the fortuitous arrival of an emerging bone moves us swiftly forward without missing a beat and we’re off on another intrigue.
Covert Affairs has perfected a formula of compelling intrigue, followed by foiled plans which then inspire split second executions of ingenious strategies by our heroine. The strategies that Annie coughs up under pressure are always surprising. The foiling of the plans, at times, is such an intense viewing experience that Annie’s eleventh-hour brilliance works as a salve against the frayed edges of a viewer’s nerves. It’s not always like this, sometimes we are left in despair, but nine out of ten times (and this is where the Covert Affairs magic is most evident) these Hail Mary passes manage to exude the faintest glimmer of hope for our Annie.
Where were we? Oh yes, the diamond courier dead on the street. The only way to see the footage of the diamond exchange is to get inside police headquarters. So what does Annie do? she takes her first bold move of the episode. Approaching the scene of the accident, Annie tells the Hong Kong police she saw the victim arguing with someone in the subway; someone she thinks she could identify if she saw him again.
Once inside police headquarters, Annie snaps a photo of a man who turns out to be Oliver Lee, a Jospeh Gordon-Levitt look-alike with a British accent, who turns out to be an MSS agent in cahoots with Henry. Capturing Lee, the triad of Auggie, Calder, and Annie force Lee to arrange a meeting with Henry at a predetermined stop on the train line.
Just in the nick of time, Henry ‘Satan’s Little Helper’ Wilcox receives a call from none other than Eric Braithwaite (!) and learns that Auggie and Calder are in Hong Kong. Holy cats and dogs, Batman, so he’s Henry’s mole? Who saw that coming? Well, if it wasn’t Calder, it had to be Braithwaite, right? Now you know.
Henry, alerted to the trap (dammit all), foils the location of the meeting by refusing to get off at Lee’s appointed spot and takes Lee all the way to the top of the tracks, right into an ambush of his own goons. At this point we learn that Lee profited greatly from the Copenhagen bombing. Once Lee understands the precariousness of his position, his face belies his wavering loyalties. For a moment it appears he may flip back onto Henry’s side, but then there’s a disturbance and all hell breaks loose.
Auggie sets off an alarm by thwacking a guy with his car door, causing the man’s gun to go off. The goons scatter, Henry disappears in a puff of yellow smoke, and Calder catches Lee once more.
Back at home Arthur and Joan have discovered that Bianca, Arthur’s lawyer, is under Henry’s thumb for a reason we never learn. Arthur confronts Bianca, who bears a striking resemblance to Snow White with a Lauren Hutton smile, who admits culpability then promptly gets shot in the head. Arthur attacks Bianca’s assassin and kills him, but not before taking several knife jabs to the ribs and lungs.
Arthur calls Joan to warn her to get out of the house, and Joan foils her own assassin’s attack as well. Arthur ends up in surgery, and survives.
Back in Hong Kong, the away team is at the airplane hangar about to lift off, but Annie can’t go back without that body. She tells them she’ll get Henry, then meet them later, but Auggie sends Calder and Lee home, intending to stay to assist Annie.
We then see Annie on the verge of her final bold act before the curtain falls. She finds Henry and his men, takes a call from Auggie and says something cryptic, then advances toward Henry to give herself over to him. Henry is surprised, but something else shows in his expression. Could that be (paternal) delight? The sneak peak at next week’s episode seems to imply that Henry cries out to save Annie’s life, but we’ll have to wait and see if it truly is as it seems.
What is Annie’s plan? Is she surrendering? Hell no. We won’t know how it goes down until next week in “Trompe Le Monde,” but my guess is she ‘s entering the viper’s nest to wrangle the devil herself. That takes ovaries, Annie Baby, but you know what? Annie’s all-in, and no longer has anything to lose.
Next week ScreenSpy sits down with Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham to talk about we can expect from the finale, ‘Trompe Le Monde,’ when Annie and Auggie work together to bring henry to justice. Calder returns to the states with a win for the Agency, but Joan may remain his only true ally within the agency. Also on the docket, of course, will be questions about what’s in store for Annie in Season five!
Catch Covert Affairs Season Four Finale “Trompe Le Monde” Thursday November 21st (10-11 pm ET) on USA.