‘Covert Affairs’ 2.06 Recap: “You Always Do the Unexpected Thing”

It makes me a little sad when a show like ‘Covert Affairs’ brings in a great hammy guest star like Peter Stormare and then gives him nothing to do. What’s the point?

Last week’s episode, called ‘The Outsiders’, sees the return of tech ops specialist Reva who first appeared the previous week. I guess she will have some sort of recurring presence on the show. She and Annie are sent into the field to pose as hikers and plant spy cameras hidden in fake rocks along the Polish border with Belarus. The idea is to monitor the border for gun-running. Reva is not a field agent and is very nervous about the mission, so Annie has to constantly reassure her that everything will be fine. This puts Annie in the position of being the teacher instructing someone else on spycraft, whereas usually she’s the one who needs the lessons.

Even though they never cross the border, they’re taken prisoner by Belarusian soldiers led by a guy named Max Kupala (Stormare) who tries to ransom them back to the CIA for $60 million. At Langley, Joan is willing to pay up, but can’t get the State Department to authorize the funds. Instead, she sends Jai and a team of commandos on a secret mission to violate the border (without telling the State Department) and get Annie back. That doesn’t go so well when they get mislead to the wrong location and then have mechanical problems with their helicopter.

Annie and Reva escape the soldiers, but Reva makes a real nuisance out of herself by constantly questioning Annie for not doing things by the book. Eventually, Reva trips over a pebble or something and twists her ankle, which only makes her only even more of a burden. They get chased by Kupala, have to jump off a cliff into a river, and then swim to the Ukraine border. As soon as they do, Jai and the commandos ride in on motorcycles (where did they get them?), scoop them up triumphantly, and ride back to the helicopter, which I guess got fixed in the meantime.

Back home, Annie’s sister thinks that she’s traveling to Europe (the Netherlands, I think?) on business for the museum and freaks out when she finds Annie’s passport still in her room. She tries to take it to the embassy, which almost blows Annie’s cover until Auggie saves the day by sending one of his friends in to pretend to be a helpful embassy liaison.

I complained about the previous episode having no action or exotic locations. This episode tries to rectify both counts (though a generic forest hardly counts as exotic). It’s OK, I guess. But Reva is really annoying, the attempt to make Jai into a badass is completely ridiculous given how little he actually does and how absurd he looks on that motorcycle, and guest star Stormare might as well not be in the episode at all.

Eh, I’ve really got to stop setting any expectations for this show to be good. I should know better by now.

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