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Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Covert Affairs “Rock A My Soul” Review

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 10 years ago

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Covert Affairs

In this week’s Covert Affairs episode, Annie perilously follows up on the Teo Braga intel that won him his freedom and provided the CIA continued insight into the corruption responsible for the ALC bombings of American interests in Colombia and Henry Wilcox’s involvement in said corruption.

That’s the facts, but the action this week waxes emotional as Auggie and Annie bump up against the complexities of trust and faith between those who are the least likely to cultivate them: spies.

“Rock A My Soul,” written and directed by creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord, tells the tale of two Chinese Nationals who are economic pawns in Henry Wilcox’ game of Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. Xu Chen, a Vice President at the World Bank, and his wife, Wendy, an attaché at the Chinese embassy with access to courier pouches and diplomatic immunity, are Henry Wilcox’s conduit to the funds he supplies to the ALC. Xu transfers the funds; Wendy ships it off (I think?) When their arrangement proves to have outlived its usefulness, Wilcox terminates, promising the couple asylum in the Caiman Islands in exchange for damning evidence that could implicate him.

In other news, Auggie (Gorham) is promoted to Interim Head of the Domestic Protection Division, much to Annie’s surprise, but not his. Annie is taken aback by the announcement, feeling slighted that he hadn’t forewarned her. “It wasn’t my secret to tell,” Auggie informs her. “Being together can’t change how we work.”

Annie (Perabo) survails the Chens, hears Wilcox (Gregory Itzin) admit to funding the failed bombing in Medellin, learns of Wilcox’ termination agreement with the Chens, and fears for their lives as she knows Wilcox will consider them too dangerous to live. Nursing a juicy bloodlust for Wilcox, Annie even more fervently wants proof linking Wilcox to the ALC.

Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson -- (Photo by: Steve Wilke/USA Network)

Pictured: (l-r) Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson — (Photo by: Steve Wilke/USA Network)

Against Auggie’s directive to follow, but not get involved, and not to read Wendy in, Annie enlists the technical assistance of Agent Eric Barber (Dylan Taylor of Copper, Defying Gravity) who akins their collusion to a first date—Auggie’s promotion potentially making Barber Annie’s new handler.

With Barber’s help, Annie’s attempts to bring in the couple are successful, though resolve devastatingly when the Chens and their bodyguard agents are murdered at the safe house; their package of damning intel against Wilcox intercepted and stolen.

From the events of the case erupt several conversations which have Annie and Auggie smacking into a wall of half-truths and experiential disparity that highlight the chasm between their two belief systems about the nature of romance between the ranks of ‘one of the secretest departments in the world’, as Auggie so aptly puts it.

Annie professes naïvely that they must have no secrets between them (What, no grey? Is that possible?) and attempts to exact the same commitment from him. At first, he cannot do it. When he finally professes to want the transparency she craves, he spills about his commission to train Teo Braga in combat in 2006, a mission off the books during which Teo’s bad intel got Auggies lover killed before his eyes—no pun intended, this was before he lost his sight. The six unaccounted for months in Auggie’s CIA dossier now explained, one wonders if the truth he teld her is complete, or if it’s just a morsel to sate her desire for complete disclosure.

Thing is, Annie is no fool and she learns quickly. That’s why she’s so good at what she does. Will she figure out that complete transparency is not always a good thing, and can she have a fulfilling relationship with that knowledge?

At one point Wilcox and Annie have a clandestine meeting during which Annie tells the truth about letting Braga go instead of killing him. You wanted to stop the bombing, she reminds him, Braga lead me straight to the bomber, she said in not so many words. Then, Wilcox tosses out a statement that best describes Annie’s superpowers as well as her Achilles Heel: “You restore my faith in grey every time we meet,” he says. Ain’t that the truth? When given a case and a target, Annie sees the truth behind the situation and maneuvers to achieve the goal and the CIA unexpectedly benefits. However, loving in the grey is an altogether different experience. Or is it? Can she live with the ‘pick and choose’ of personal intel she and Auggie share? When is a secret safer when it’s kept? What if the sharing of it puts lives in danger?

‘Rock A My Soul’ is the title of a spiritual whose lyrics speak of ultimate security—and lack of readiness to die.

‘Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Why don’t you rock a my soul

‘I wouldn’t be a sinner
And I’ll tell you why
If by chance my Lord would call me
Then I wouldn’t be ready to die’

A theme from this week is the increased danger for an operative when their handler or colleague is too emotionally close.  Joan warns Auggie not to let his feelings for Annie change his job. Auggie warns Annie not to believe she has everything under control because that’s when Henry wins. Arthur asserts that he’s not overreacting about Henry’s threats because he knows what he’s capable of.

“Auggie being your boss is going to present you with a whole new set of challenges,” Joan warns Anne. “I’ve been there”

“(Is) it worth it?” Annie asks.

“Love is a powerful thing,” Joan admits in a tired, wise manner that also exudes the promise of love eternal.

“Is there room for secrets?” says Annie. See, she just might be starting to realize that secrets are inevitable!

“Only if there’s room for forgiveness, I suppose,” is Joan’s final response.

In ‘Rock A My Soul’ our characters have a stranglehold on their relationships that keep them alive — despite the times when they have to ask for forgiveness— instead of permission. Forgiveness, not permission, is transformative and powerful enough to rock our souls. So, maybe they are all better for it?

‘Here Comes Your Man’, Covert Affair’s fifth season four episode, sees Arthur and Joan back together and Auggie taken out of harm’s way by his demotion from Interim Head of the DPD.

Tune in on Tuesday, August 13 on USA Network at 9pm/8pm Central.

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