Pop! Goes the Weasel: Covert Affairs ‘No. 13 Baby’ Review
Annie Walker’s mad, mad make-believe world of espionage and intrigue should have come crashing to a screeching halt when Auggie did the unthinkable in last night’s Covert Affairs installment, “No. 13 Baby.”
Why it didn’t is a mystery.
That’s right, he did the unthinkable: he cheated on Annie by sleeping with his ex-wife. What. The. Hell. Auggie? Also somewhat shocking though well portrayed, was Henry ‘The Weasel’ Wilcox’s ‘Indiana Jones-versus-the-swordsman’ popping of Helen Hansen. That was both conceivable and deliciously done. In Greek culture, by the way, a weasel around the house is a sign of bad luck or evil. According to Wikipedia, Native Americans believed that a weasel crossing your path meant a speedy death. As such, allow me to don Henry the moniker of “The Weasel.”
It’s a toss-up which is more flabbergasting: that Auggie slept with Helen (recurring guest star Michelle Ryan), or that there was no discernable purpose behind it. Yards of celluloid film must have been left on the cutting room floor this episode, rendering this plot twist somewhat ludicrous. Sure, it was clear to see that Auggie’s resurrected wife had covetous and lascivious intentions, but why, oh why, did Auggie fold like a paper napkin? Without the necessary context, this came across as devastatingly out of character and felt more like a eleventh hour attempt to sneak in a reason for future angst between a couple so hell bent on honesty.
Are we to swallow that Auggie did it to force Annie (Perabo) to stay away, thereby preserving her safety? That would hold if we had seen proof that Auggie was desperate to protect Annie, which we didn’t. Are we to believe Auggie’s actions were in retaliation for Annie’s lack of contact with him while she was in town? Sorry, that doesn’t fly either. So, what gives?
Throughout the episode Auggie and Annie intuited each other’s actions. Among other things, Auggie knew Hughes’ laptop came from Annie. Annie knew Auggie was having Calder followed so he could find her. So, why the twist?
Again, we return to the explanation that this presents a barely surmountable secret between Annie and Auggie that will provide for relationship drama later. Considering that Helen is dead and no one knows about the tryst so Auggie will have to grapple with angsty feelings of self loathing. No one knows about the tryst, that is, unless we are to believe that Annie followed the two from the bus stop to Helen’s lair of seduction. However, this is unlikely as Annie would have come completely unhinged for the rest of the episode if she knew about it. So, perhaps the plan is for Annie to sense a disturbance in The Force later, but have no clue what that is. As a twist, the cheat is not a bad idea, but without more substance it currently begs believability and feels woefully out of character for Gorham’s Auggie.
Back to the weasel, a.k.a. Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzen) who popped several caps into Helen Hansen’s chest, believing her to be Jessica Matthews (a.k.a. Annie Walker). This was very much in character for Henry and entertaining to watch as the culmination of surmounting freakitude on Henry’s part as the cavalry began to close in on him.
This assassination was a tidy little twist, and not unexpected. Both sporting dark tresses, Annie and Helen were visually interchangeable, and Helen was expendable plot wise. Spurned by Auggie and locked out of Langley, Helen had nothing to lose, and something had to be done to divert Henry from Annie’s scent. So, the sacrifice on Helen’s part made sense. Calder was spot on when he warned Annie that it was no longer a question of if Henry would catch her, but when.
What remains confounding about Henry is his lack of ability to make intuitive leaps. He knows the spy world. He should have questioned Annie’s death more thoroughly. He should also know better than to trust every word out of Calder Michaels’ (Hill Harper) mouth. How did he get this far in the CIA with is Spidey senses so out of whack? Or, perhaps this negligence is part of the madness of King Henry. I’m going to go with that. Besides, his non compos mentis bumbling provides for great entertainment.
Throughout the episode we saw examples of the mad, mad world of those enmeshed in espionage. Henry was stark raving mad over the cavalry closing in and his rustic hidey-hole being discovered and blown up. Joan was mad with anxiety that she may be forced to raise a fatherless child, while Arthur was angry-mad that Joan would have tortured Teo. Helen is mad to reclaim Auggie’s love, and Auggie is stark-raving mad for letting her seduce him. The only one levelheaded in this episode were Annie and Calder, who is more and more likeable as the season progresses.
Here’s how it went down: Annie returns home, contacts Calder, and hands over Hughes’ laptop. Arthur’s court date is six weeks out, so he goes for a Hail Mary pass by insisting he and Joan give thorough depositions, through which he learns Joan authorized her team to torture Teo. Ouch! Helen makes a play for Auggie and later seduces him.
Annie gives pictures of the inside of Henry’s cabin to Calder who works with Auggie to decrypt an email from Hughes linking Henry to the Copenhagen bombing. When Calder attempts to breach Henry’s cabin, the thing explodes, causing Henry to explode all over Calder. Calder provides a completely believable explanation and confronts Henry about what he’s hiding. Henry tasks Calder with killing Jessica Matthews, a.k.a. Annie Walker, but later follows Annie to the bus station. Also tracking Annie was Helen who, through a little game of feminine bait and switch, faces Henry and takes the opportunity to cop to being Jessica Matthews. Henry shoots her dead while she’s berating him, and screams something into his phone about shutting his operation down.
Though there wasn’t much, if any, of Ninja Annie in this episode, there were several scenes of her enjoying memories of her and Auggie’s relationship. Later, she follows Auggie onto a city bus and sits kitty corner from him, gazing at his face. During that scene, it was unclear whether Auggie knew she was there, but his canine sharp sense of smell should have informed him. It seemed that any moment he was going to say something to her or reach out and touch her, but, alas, he didn’t. However, this scene made Auggie’s copulatory meeting with Helen even more implausible, unfortunately.
Tune in mext week for ‘River Euphrates’ when Annie heads to New York to pursue a smoking gun; Arthur’s court date nears; Joan is forced into the field; and Noam Jenkins is back as FBI Agent Vincent Rossabi. (Yay!)
Catch it, Thursday November 7th on USA Network (9-10 p.m. ET).