Season 5 | Episode 7 | “Brink of the Clouds” | Aired Aug 5, 2014
Annie Walker is acting extremely covert. We follow her four-inch heels through a pharmacy and as the camera pans up, I half-expect to see our favorite operative rockin’ a hot pink bustier, bad weave and mouth full of chewing gum. Instead, alias Lisa Morton adjusts the collar of her power suit, hands over a West Virginia driver’s license, shoves a wad of cash into the pharmacist’s hands, stuffs the drugs in her purse and rushes out to meet Joan after receiving an intriguing phone call.
Auggie receives the same call. He ditches Counterterrorist Hayley for work (surprise), but not before Hayley casually asks if he knew Annie had a medical condition? Auggie chokes on his greasy grilled cheese. Hayley continues to babble on, wondering what else Annie is hiding? Auggie convinces her to keep it under wraps for now.
Then he heads over to his legitimate girlfriend Natasha, who has passed the point of stir-crazy. She comes in from the market looking like a hacker version of Justin Bieber in a gray hoodie. Auggie is furious. She answers with a sharp, “Did you sleep with her?”
He counters her question with another.
Auggie: Where have you been?
Natasha: We ran out of coffee. And I’m sick of using your shampoo and smelling like a pine tree.
Interesting. If I were a betting woman, I would swear that Auggie smells of leather, respect and worn braille.
Auggie makes Natasha promise she will never go outside again until they can figure out how to get her immunity. She shouts that he should try harder to keep her around.
Careful, Natasha. I wouldn’t put it past Auggie to handcuff you to the chair. And I’m pretty sure the Miss Havisham look would not work on you. You don’t have the right bone structure.
Back at Langley, Bad Guy Ivan has spilled his guts to Joan. He admitted to buying CIA intel from a major player in the Middle East. No one ever knew this mystery man’s identity until this moment. He’s really Nathan Mueller, an American citizen who just happens to be CIA.
Auggie served with him on several military missions. Apparently one day he cut ties with his handlers and disappeared. Joan ignores Auggie’s trip down memory lane and reminds the crowd that this guy is responsible for several suicide bombings, and he needs to go down. He has transferred a lot of money into prepaid cash cards, and a Russian courier is going to deliver them in five seconds. There’s no time to lose!
Who do you call when you need to catch a courier really fast and Langley makes you take backup? Why, McQaid, of course.
McQuaid: We can have wheels up in two hours max.
Annie: You’ve got 45 minutes.
McQuaid: It’s no coincidence that our paths keep crossing. I thought I earned your trust in Paris?
Annie: I appreciate you and trust your abilities in the field.
Lincee: LOOK AT HIM, YOU FOOLISH GIRL!
McQuaid: And what about off the field?
Annie: There is no off the field.
Lincee: I’ll take center field.
Annie, McQuaid, Frick and Frack (remember McQuaid’s security goons from episode 2?) arrive in northern Azerbaijan. According to the New York Times, Azerbaijan is a rich place that now wants to be famous.
McQuaid tells Annie that these village communities are tight-knit. If a foreigner passed through, they would know about it. They stumble upon a group of men with machine guns. McQuaid is floored when Annie suggests they just walk up to the armed guards and ask if they’ve seen the Russian.
She pulls out her phone and shows the group a picture. One recognizes the man and takes them to his boss. That’s pretty much all it takes. It’s times like these that I convince myself I could totally be a CIA agent.
The boss man looks like a descendant of Yul Brynner. He throws a bunch of prepaid cash cards on the table, warning Annie and McQuaid that it’s not safe to travel through these parts with valuables. Instead of singing “Getting to Know You,” he shares a warm story about how he slit the Russian’s throat for snooping, asking too many questions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Anne remains calm, explaining how they plan to take Mueller down. Yul softens and even shares a rumor he heard about Mueller hiding in the Blue Valley. He sends a man to guide them and makes them promise to put a bullet in his head.
Joan updates Calder on the Russian courier situation, telling him that the mission has become extremely volatile. Her assistant walks in, handing off a file. A diplomat was arrested with a call girl.
You have one shot to guess which call girl. WILL THIS STORYLINE EVER GO AWAY?!
Meanwhile, McQuaid and company arrive at the Blue Valley. Annie wonders if Yul translated wrong? Instead of Blue Valley being named after the blue flowers surrounding them, perhaps it’s the blue sky. She basically tells the group that hiding way up high in a dangerous mountain is way more secluded than tiptoeing through the tulips.
Scarves up, people. It’s time to climb this mountain, Mother Superior–style.
Annie uses an old-school brick phone to update Joan. McQuaid spies a scout a few miles away and seconds later, Annie has mastered the treacherous terrain, caught up with the dude and wrestled him to the ground before stabbing him with his own knife.
Then she has an episode. McQuaid is there in a flash, demanding she tell him what she needs. She’s dumps her backpack, looking for her state-of-the-art EpiPen, but they all seem to be used. McQuaid finally finds a fresh one and jabs her in the thigh. Annie holds back the tears, even when McQuaid offers his hand to help her up.
This does not bode well for Annie. Especially since Hayley keeps digging around in her files. She now knows Annie has a heart condition. Auggie asks her to look the other way for now. Hayley is hesitant since her job is on the line. But she agrees to focus her investigation elsewhere for the time being, while Annie tracks down Mueller.
Speaking of tracking down, Calder bailed out his call girl. When she laughs at the “slap on the wrist” she received, Calder explodes. He pulled a ton of strings to get this off her record.
Calder: I’m done.
Call Girl: Don’t call me again.
Annie and McQuaid have a visual on Mueller’s compound. She uses her space phone to call Joan. They don’t have the manpower to engage in an extraction. Calder makes the decision to move forward with the termination plan. Send in the drones.
Annie hangs up the phone and turns to find six bad guys. One socks McQuaid in the gut. MIND THE FACE, TERRORIST! GEEZ!
Annie whispers to McQuaid that they have seven minutes before the strike. When Mueller arrives, Annie tells him they will all be dead in a matter of minutes if he doesn’t let her use the space phone to contact Langley so they can call off the attack.
Mueller scoffs. Annie tries to appeal to his human side. When she drops Auggie’s name, Mueller pauses. He begins a long soliloquy about how he was a puppet for the government. (Two minutes.) He blew up the bridges they told him to blow up. (One minute.) He brought in 15-year-old kids because they might be in terrorist rings. (Package delivered.) He laments that they are all pieces on a chessboard and they will die alone.
Suddenly McQuaid hears the missiles and everyone scatters. Annie manages to punch Mueller in the face, acquire a knife, and cut herself and McQuaid loose from their zip ties. McQuaid fights Mueller as she gathers laptops, video cameras and whatever else she can find. They jump off the side of the mountain and roll down a hill upon impact. Mueller does not survive.
Monologuing. It will get you every time.
McQuaid takes Annie and his bodyguards back to Yul’s house for some R&R. He goes out of his way to make sure Annie knows that she will never be alone like Mueller.
McQuaid: When you are broken, you still have the strength to do the right thing. Even when it comes at a personal cost.
Just when you think Annie is going to be OK, Auggie fights with his girlfriend in the middle of the street in broad daylight. Natasha is leaving! Auggie can stop her, but he is invited to join her. He says no. She dramatically kisses him goodbye. I yell, “Get a room!” and Hayley witnesses the entire thing from across the street.
Annie is going down.
Auggie makes his way into his apartment. Roger the Brainiac is calling on the burner phone. He needs to talk about Nathan Mueller. There’s a lot Auggie doesn’t know.
What we do know is that call girl is gone, Natasha is gone, Annie is slowly beginning to trust, and McQuaid can pull off a man-scarf. Solid episode, don’t you think?
Covert Affairs, rated TV-14, airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on USA Network.