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'Covert Affairs' recap: Suspicious minds

Season 5 | Episode 8 | “Grounded” | Aired Aug 12, 2014

Secrets. Trust. Lies. Betrayal. Even a simple act like Calder’s morning jog can be full of suspicion when you work for the CIA. Operatives are trained to question everything around them. They develop eyes in the back of their head and alternative ways to hear what’s going on even when they are wearing earbuds. Calder crouches near a curb to tie his shoe, using a car’s outside mirror to spy on the vehicle currently tracking him. Then he makes a run for it.

For a hot second I thought it was Call Girl stalking him. I was going to write a strongly worded letter to the USA Network since I thought we put that storyline to bed last week. Fortunately for them, our stalker was Hayley. It seems Calder has been dodging a few calls from the National Counterterrorism Center. Hayley tells Calder to get over his holier-than-holy attitude and tempts him with juicy intel about Annie Walker.

This has nothing to do with the fact that Hayley caught Auggie sticking his tongue down Natasha’s throat last week, I’m guessing.

Annie and McQuaid are headed home from neutralizing their target in Azerbaijan. That’s a generic way of saying a drone blew up former CIA operative Nathan Mueller, who had been trading United States secrets, including the location of the Chicago office that blew up. Annie feels restless now that the mission is complete. McQuaid tells her that there’s nothing wrong with being wired for work in the field. He feels this is normal. I feel confused that the interior of McQuaid’s private jet felt very Pan Am circa 1972, complete with overstuffed brown leather seats and mustard-yellow walls with orange accents.

Screen shot 2014-08-12 at 8.39.01 PMThe retro plane lands, and Caitlyn is there to welcome the mighty warrior home. Caitlyn bugs. She also senses a bit of attraction between her boss and the young blonde walking away from him, and I can’t tell if it’s jealousy that another woman is in McQuaid’s life, or if it’s annoyance that her focused boss is going to be distracted by Annie’s assets.

Annie discovers that she’s missed eight calls from Auggie while she was in flight. She meets him outside Roger’s building (remember the paranoid brainiac?), and Auggie tells her that the first four calls were about Hayley officially discovering Annie’s heart condition. The other four were about Roger.

Roger is eerily calm when he tells Annie and Auggie that the CIA was wrong. Mueller was responsible for a ton of horrible things, but he wasn’t a part of the Chicago bombing. Bad Guy Ivan, who gave the CIA Mueller’s name, basically used him as a fellow bad-guy scapegoat. Roger commended Annie for following a solid lead, but he pointed out that she didn’t notice the missing link. He promises he will figure it out.

Back at Langley, Annie is called into Calder’s office. Joan is there, putting off a pretty significant principal/student vibe. They know about Annie’s heart condition and have reassigned Annie as a language officer in the DPD. Annie defends her choices by saying her condition is manageable. Calder must not be capable of reading the room because he follows up with, “There comes a time in everyone’s career when they get assigned a desk job.”

Annie officially flies off the handle, demanding more from her mentors.

Annie: I expected more. More of a fight! More anger! Over and over I risk my life for this agency, job and country, and you’re standing there like a bunch of HR reps!


Auggie hears through the grapevine that Annie is a glorified translator now. She complains that the only time you’re put behind a desk is when you are of no use anymore.

Auggie: Come on in. The water’s fine.

Well, that’s awkward.

Annie tells Auggie that the only thing she wants to do is run down Roger’s lead. Auggie warns her that with a desk job, Langley expects you to stay seated.

Joan and Calder are informed that the Director of National Intelligence wants to meet with them tomorrow about Azerbaijan, because the White House is concerned about the lead operative Annie Walker has been called in to question. She needs to be at the hearing as well.

Joan finds Annie sitting at her desk looking miserable. She asks Annie to make a detailed timeline of everything she’s ever done or thought about doing since Chicago. She wants Annie to present it to the DNI. Surely her timeline won’t look like a to-do list for a terrorist, right?

Annie gets a weird phone call from a stranger, telling her to go to the parking lot. She obliges, as I’m sure we all would. Roger calls back in five minutes, explaining that he has a contact who knows who Bad Guy Ivan was really working with. The catch? The contact wants a cool $100,000 by tomorrow in exchange for the name. Now that Annie is out of the operative game, she can’t randomly drop six figures on a hunch.

But you know who can …

Covert Affairs: s5, ep 1 Nic BishopMcQuaid once again offers Annie a job when she walks into his office. She interrupts him with the news that Mueller wasn’t behind the Chicago attack. She has his undivided attention. All she needs is $100,000 so she can get definitive proof from her contact.

McQuaid: Your agency won’t give it to you?
Annie: They found out about my heart condition and transferred me to a desk.
McQuaid: I’m sorry. I’ll get the cash out of the safe.

I cracked up thinking about McQuaid, standing there at a big bank vault, twisting the knob left and right with numbers that correspond to his birthday.

Annie delivers the cash to Roger in a silver suitcase. They must keep those in the McQuaid safe too. Annie asks Roger to call her when he has something. As she leaves, Roger lingers at the door, then freaks out on an innocent dog walker down the hall. He rants and raves about how this guy has been following him for days. When Roger attempts to throw a nerdy punch, Annie steps in as he collapses to the floor in a bundle of nerves.

Annie does what any person would do in this situation and buys the guy a stiff drink. Roger tells her that he thought he had his mental illness under control, but he swears that guy has been following him. He understands if Annie needs to take the money back. She doesn’t blink an eye, telling Roger she trusts him.

Speaking of trust, Auggie has decided that it’s time to have a serious conversation with Hayley. We find him bellied up to the bar, where a server has just handed a blind guy the biggest mug of foamy beer this side of the Washington Monument. Hayley arrives and Auggie blames Annie’s current situation on Hayley caring more about her agenda than his friend’s career. Hayley leaves more angry than before. Looks like Annie’s going to be making copies tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Caitlyn barges into McQuaid’s office asking why he signed $100,000 from the company vault? McQuaid is calm, cool and collected. He’s so smooth that a simple squint of those glorious eyes is enough for Caitlyn to answer her own question.

Caitlyn: I know. Your company. Your money. But you hired me to look out for your company. Is Annie Walker an asset for McQuaid now? Is there anything you want to loop me in on?

Sure. Remove your nose from his butt, Caitlyn. Problem solved.

At the office of the DNI, Joan and Calder are asked to go in first, before Annie has a chance to defend every action she ever executed since Chicago. Naturally, this is the moment when Roger calls, frantically begging Annie to help him get out of town. He needs her to meet him at the train station in Brunswick immediately!

Annie has a decision to make. No, I’m not talking about ditching her interview (read: hearing) with the DNI. That’s a no-brainer, of course. I’m talking about her transportation dilemma. She can’t make it to Brunswick in rush-hour traffic.

But you know who can …

Covert Affairs: s5, ep 1 Nic BishopMcQuaid picks her up in his chopper. He just lands on a field nearby and whisks her away. Annie tells McQuaid that the man in possession of six figures thinks that he’s being followed. McQuaid wonders if he’s right? Auggie calls and tells Annie that Joan is extremely irritated that she left the DNI. He warns that if this doesn’t pan out, she will be suspended.

McQuaid and Annie land in another nearby field; open fields are clearly more common than you think. Her hair is flawless, even after being squished into a helmet for 20 minutes. She and McQuaid race through the train station, surging through the obligatory crowds in the opposite direction. Suddenly we hear a car crash into something and hysterical shouts from bystanders. Annie and McQuaid push through the onlookers to find Roger dead on the ground with papers strewn all around him.


McQuaid finally picks up one of the sheets and notes that it’s a bunch of Freemason research. Annie looks ill; Roger was a conspiracy theorist. As a result, she is now suspended from the CIA until further notice.

Back at home, Arthur feels sorry that Joan has lost a really good operative. Joan admits that she’s sad about Annie, but more important, she realizes that your friends can turn against you so fast in this business when they don’t agree with your choices.

Arthur: Are you talking about the Balkans? That was a long time ago, and you were careful.

Look, everyone: a perfect example of blatant foreshadowing! Isn’t it neat?

Annie mopes around at home. Instead of hitting her punching bag, she makes tea. Then she grabs her keys and heads over to McQuaid’s house. When he comes to the door, she immediately apologizes for losing his money and then lets it slip that she’s been suspended.

McQuaid: You’re staying for a drink.
Annie: I can’t.
McQuaid: That wasn’t a question.

After presenting Annie an ice cold beer, she smiles at him, saying that she’s not going to be seeing him anymore.

McQuaid: So this is goodbye?
Annie: Yeah.
McQuaid: Well, it’s been nice knowing you, Annie Walker.

Cue the love montage.

There’s drinking, laughing, snacking on weird fruit, casual touching, more laughing and sultry gazes that fade into the next morning.

Annie wakes up on McQuaid’s couch. He offers her coffee, and Annie confesses that she feels strange not knowing where to go. McQuaid tells her she can go anywhere she wants. Then he leans in and kisses her. I may have stood up and cheered.

Since we’ve been waiting for this precise moment for weeks, it was naturally cut WAY TO SHORT by some jackwagon ringing the doorbell. While McQuaid rushes off to get rid of the early-morning intruder, Annie takes a call from Auggie. He’s concerned about Roger’s intel. No matter how paranoid he was, Roger would never fall into the conspiracy-theory bracket.

Annie turns to see Dog Walker visiting with McQuaid outside. Who didn’t see that coming? After digesting the news that Annie is over at McQuaid’s house at an extremely early hour, Auggie begs her to leave and come straight to him. McQuaid returns to the living room, picks up on Annie’s jittery vibe and asks, “What’d I miss?”

You missed giving your viewers a longer make-out sessions, that’s what.

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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