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'Covert Affairs' recap: Hacked off

Season 5 | Episode 5 | “Elevate Me Later” | Aired July 22, 2014

Even though this episode did not feature my beloved McQuaid—what gives, Covert Affairs?—the writers did go a little old-school with Annie serving as Auggie’s handler in picturesque Paris. Plus, we got a really juicy story between Auggie and Natasha.

Wait. Don’t you mean Auggie and Counterterrorist Hayley?

Actually, no. I mean Natasha.

Is she the sketchy one sniffing around Arthur?

No. That’s Sketchy Caitlyn.

Well then, who the heck is Natasha, and why are you acting like I’m supposed to know her?

Calm down, everyone. Natasha Petrovna (Liane Balaban) is the Russian hacker who dated Auggie once upon a time, remember? (Me neither. This is why we have Google in our lives.) She was the chick who made out with Auggie before jumping off a train back in the first season, when we had no idea Auggie had such a smokin’ body, Annie was a CIA newbie, Joan hated Arthur and McQuaid’s sunglasses weren’t even a topic of conversation in the writers’ room.

It turns out that the nowdeceased Postman left a money trail that leads to Paris; however, the private bank funding this terrorist activity obviously uses impenetrable codes to protect its shady business deals. Only a code genius would be able to crack it. And it would be super-convenient if that code genius just happened to be the same person who created the code in the first place.

Joan is reluctant to use Natasha because she is a fugitive wanted by the FBI. Auggie is convinced that if he can find her through his underground network of cyber-nerds, she will agree to meet with him so he can talk her into hacking the system. Joan digs a little deeper. How can he be sure? Auggie’s shoulders slump. Natasha will agree to meet him because she loves him.

Auggie and Annie jet off to Paris, and Auggie is reunited with Natasha immediately. They walk along the Seine catching up, and she’s clearly smitten with the idea of this being her life. She doesn’t want to run from country to country. She wants Auggie on her arm.

Auggie yanks her off that cloud of dreams and bluntly tells her that he has not sought her out for personal reasons. He needs a favor. He explains about the hack, asks if she can make a key to access the back door, then waits patiently as she tells him exactly which back door he can shove that key into before she storms away.

A frustrated Annie appears from behind the bushes. She tells Auggie that Natasha has an emotional connection and it should be leveraged. Auggie smiles, revealing that he stuck a GPS tracker on her sleeve. He tells Annie that the only thing she needs to worry about is how to get inside the bank. Annie agrees. She will do recon on the bank while Auggie concentrates on tracking down Natasha. He just needs to stall her long enough to listen to his case. The question is, what does he have at his disposal that can distract an ex-girlfriend?

I have six answers for you.

Auggie bangs on Natasha’s hotel room door, demanding that she let him in to explain. She opens the door to rip him a new one. He immediately begins spreading on the charm in thick, gooey whips, praising her for her “incredibly elegant code work.” She pauses to wonder aloud what her life would have been like had Auggie jumped off that plane with her. He answers, “But I’m here now.”

Then his stick drops. That’s not a weird sexual innuendo. The actual walking stick he carries because he’s blind drops to the ground. So does his jacket, his pants, her dress and a phone call from Hayley. DECLINED.

During post-coitus cuddles, Natasha decides to make the key for Auggie. But she has terms. She wants her FBI charges dropped. And she wants complete honesty from Auggie from this moment forward. He complies with both just as Hayley calls again. DECLINED AGAIN.

Auggie tells Annie the good news. Now it’s time for her to find a way to get close to the gatekeeper who has access to the bank’s laptop. It’s unfortunate that the laptop only works on fingerprint recognition, but that’s never stopped Annie Walker before. If we’ve learned anything from season 5 so far, it’s that there are specific ways to win a person’s heart, and most of those include abs and firearms.

covert-affairs-annieAnnie moonlights as a Browning rep and casually intercepts the Fingerprint Man at the shooting range. They flirt back and forth for several minutes before he invites her to see his gun collection. She compliments him on his impeccable taste and, when she turns around from admiring an old assault rifle, she finds him pointing a gun at her. She moves the barrel up to her chest and explains why that positioning would result in a clearer shot. He invites her to dinner.

Later that night, Annie gets a call from Langley. The FBI is unwilling to play and will not give Natasha immunity in exchange for the key. Annie knows that this is going to be hard for Auggie since he won’t be able to tell Natasha until he gets the information. Auggie decides to go another route—telling Natasha the truth.

Natasha hands Auggie the key. Before he takes it, he explains that the agency couldn’t get the charges dropped. Natasha flips out and Auggie calms her down by doing the horizontal tango. Covertly, of course.

Moments later, Natasha wakes Auggie up with a vicious slap to the face. She’s furious that he distracted her with sex so someone could steal the key. Then she throws him out into the hallway in nothing but his underwear. You’re welcome, housekeeper.

Cut to Annie suiting up. And by suiting up, I mean wiggling into a little black dress and four-inch heels. She slinks into Fingerprint Man’s penthouse, drugs his vodka shot and rattles on about guns just as he slams her head into the gun case. Someone likes it rough.

Annie pours the roofied shot into his mouth and throws him down on the floor. Hair was grabbed. Vision was blurred. Things were spanked. Finally, Fingerprint Man passed out. Annie grabs the laptop and hurries over to the body. She uses his fingerprint and Natasha’s key to retrieve all the necessary intel. While that is downloading (it takes a few minutes for super-secret terrorist stuff to transfer onto a flash drive) she tussles his hair, unzips his pants and writes him a goodbye love note. Mission accomplished.

She finds a drunk Auggie outside, who is beyond enraged that Annie didn’t trust him enough to get the job done the way he wanted. Annie explains that she felt he was emotionally compromised and had to make a tough decision as his handler. Auggie tells Annie that she violated his trust, and he would never do that to her. In fact, he is currently keeping some pretty big secrets about matters of her heart that could get him fired.

Speaking of secrets, Arthur is keeping one from Joan. He’s headed to the Middle East with Caitlyn (boo) because she needs his help with a deal. He’s not allowed to tell his wife anything about the trip, but she uses context clues to figure out that he’s going with Caitlyn. Joan doesn’t trust this woman as far as she can throw her.

Caitlyn praises Arthur for the way he handled a room, brags about how McQuaid’s security doesn’t have to jump through hoops, and adjusts her bulky bulletproof vest as she bats her eyelashes in the black of a caravan of SUVs driving through the desert. My Spidey sense went off when I saw the bulletproof vest and just before it happened, I knew there would be an explosion. The first SUV was engulfed in flames.

Arthur starts barking orders. Everyone is shooting, including Caitlyn. Arthur pulls drivers from the flames and shoves them into the remaining vehicles. They escape mostly unscathed. The ordeal rattled Caitlyn. Arthur softens a bit, telling her that she was extremely brave, not to mention a great shot! Wherever this is going, I don’t like it.

You should also know that Calder is still seeing Call Girl, and Joan is trying her best to set him up with a nice lady from the General Counsel’s office. Calder scoffs at the thought, and Joan quickly comes to terms with the fact that Calder has feelings for Call Girl. She demands that he snap out of it, because they are all being closely watched since the Chicago scandal.

Annie tracks down Natasha at the train station, reminding her that they met in season 1. She tells Natasha that she shouldn’t punish Auggie for something she did on her own. She knows that he cares about Natasha. That evening, Auggie hears a frantic knocking at his door. It’s Natasha.

Auggie: Well, I didn’t see that coming.

Get it? He’s blind. Oh, Auggie.

The episode ends with Auggie and Natasha making out once again as Hayley calls his cell phone. A blind guy, a Russian hacker and the pink Power Ranger—this triangle should be fun!

Covert Affairs, rated TV-14, airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on USA Network.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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