After a lackluster season premiere that left me doubting why I even continue to watch the show, ‘Covert Affairs’ followed up last week with a pretty decent episode that has, for the time being at least, gotten me back on board.
I’m not saying that ‘Good Advices’ is a stellar episode of television, or even that it would have made a better season premiere. Honestly, I don’t think this show even has the potential for greatness in it. However, as far as this series goes, it was a strong episode that reaffirms the show’s stature as reasonably enjoyable summer programming fluff. That’s all I can really ask from ‘Covert Affairs’.
The plot of the week has Annie shipped off to Paris on assignment to cultivate an asset in the Syrian embassy. If Annie plays her cards right, a girl named Selma who works in the embassy might be able to get the CIA close to a terrorist called Kanon, whose face has never been seen. To do this, Annie needs to engineer a meeting and make friends with the girl. She does this by finding a common point of interest they can bond over – expensive purses. Oh, these silly, frivolous women!
What Annie doesn’t expect is that Mossad agent Eyal Lavine (returning guest star Oded Fehr) is also working the girl by playing a charming suitor. Annie and Eyal cross paths several times and bicker about who got there first and has dibs on the asset. Not being a total idiot, Selma figures out what they’re doing and offers her services to the highest bidder. More than that, she’s actually playing the both of them and intends to run off with the money.
Before that can happen, Kanon has Selma killed. Eyal pursues the assassin over the rooftops of Paris in a shaky-cam parkour chase scene, only to get captured by Kanon. Annie then must break him out and snap a photo of the mysterious Kanon.
Back in Washington, Auggie feels the pressure of leadership and has to make some tough decisions when he’s left in charge of this operation while Joan gets stuck in jury duty. The episode also has a fair bit of comic relief as Joan attempts to weasel out of serving on a trial jury and butts heads with a battleaxe judge.
While ‘Good Advices’ may not break any new ground, it’s an all-around solid episode that lets Annie do some actual spying that she’s not totally incompetent at for a change. Piper Perabo and Oded Fehr have good chemistry, the plotting is sound, and the couple of action scenes are competently put together. The location work also does an acceptable job of doubling for Paris. A few exterior shots, including some at the Louvre, are pretty convincing and don’t look like greenscreen. (However, once she goes inside, that museum is clearly not the real Louvre. But that’s to be expected.)
If ‘Covert Affairs’ can maintain this modest level of quality, I’ll continue to watch for a little while. There’s not much else on television these days to draw my attention, anyway.