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'Covert Affairs' recap: Gut check

Season 5 | Episode 9 | “Spit on a Stranger” | Aired Aug 19, 2014

It was the doorbell heard around the world. It was the moment that interrupted this from finally happening:

McQuaid hops up to go ask his coworker to come by another time. Since when does McQuaid hire dog walkers that live in dead Roger’s building?

Since never.

Annie downs a cup of coffee, bats a few eyelashes and runs over to Auggie’s house to review security feed from the train station in Brunswick where Roger was killed. Sure enough, camera number six uncovers Dog Walker leaving the scene of the crime. This does not bode well for McQuaid.

Since Annie is suspended, the only way for her to investigate this situation is to walk up to Joan and hand in a letter of resignation. She recites an eloquent speech about how she gave her blood, sweat and tears to an agency that could care less! She slams her badge on Joan’s desk and marches out the door, down the street and into a hotel bar.

She orders herself a drink and one for McQuaid. Annie admits that he was right about her joining the private sector. She wants a job from the man who has been trying to recruit her since the day they met.

McQuaid: Are you sure this is the right path for you?
Annie: Why? Because of my heart?
McQuaid: No. Because of the kiss. I don’t want this job to prevent what happened this morning from happening again.
Lincee: Me neither. That kiss lasted five seconds and the fans want more.

The next morning, Annie checks in with Auggie at his house. Auggie ran the train station footage through facial recognition and got a hit. Dog Walker is Allen Langer and as of three years ago, he worked for McQuaid Securities. In order to dig deeper, Annie must plant a magical jump drive near McQuaid’s computer. Even though it only needs five minutes to collect all the data, McQuaid can’t be on his computer at this time. If he tries to use his computer, he’ll immediately know something is wrong, instead of normal people like us who just assume their computer is flaking out so we reboot it.

Annie takes the magical jump drive and heads out the door. Auggie stops her, asking if she is emotionally involved with McQuaid. She laughs at the notion. Auggie reminds her that he called the previous morning, and she was at McQuaid’s house at the crack of dawn. She assures him her head is in the game.

Yeah it is.

Calder is pretty much annoyed with the game at this point. He’s called in by the DCI to discuss his lack of control over his operatives. Annie isn’t the only one being investigated. It seems a certain counterterrorist ex-girlfriend has been doing a little digging, and the DCI thinks Auggie was involved in hiding Annie’s heart condition from the CIA. In case you forgot, that is a true statement. Calder defends Auggie, and the DCI guy tells him that his employee/friend is lying, and he needs to take care of it like a leader.

Ah, yes. I remember seeing that once on one of those inspiration posters in a boardroom.

Annie arrives at McQuaid Securities and wanders into McQuaid’s office as if she owns the place. His manservant stops her, asking if she needs help?

I love that his administrative assistant is a dude. Don’t ask me why. I just do.

Caitlyn interrupts, offering to take Annie to her new office. She makes sure to let her know it’s one floor down, where all the other peons stay. She gives her a ton of busywork, explains that she’s only clearance level one, then leaves to write about Annie in her Burn Book.


McQuaid’s admin fetches Annie from Caitlyn’s clutches and escorts her to the ballroom, where the entire office warmly greets her as McQuaid Securities’ newest field operative.

McQuaid: She is a dedicated patriot who will pursue a target at any cost and is a comrade who will gladly share a bourbon with you at 10 a.m. in a hostile country.

That will be in their wedding vows. Mark my words.

Caitlyn is mad that McQuaid didn’t give her a heads-up that Annie would be starting out in the field so soon. He basically tells her to get over it and play nice.


Arthur is happy to see Annie, but soon questions her intentions when Joan phones to adamantly call Annie’s bluff. She knows she’s up to something because Annie would never just quit the CIA so quickly. Arthur promises to see what he can find out.

Annie is getting nowhere with the magical jump drive and is forced to set a meeting with McQuaid’s manly admin just to get near his desk. She casually scoots the jump drive under a convenient little ridge attached to the undercarriage of McQuaid’s desk, then turns on the charm.

She begins with a wounded schoolgirl act, pouting about the fact that she hasn’t received an assignment yet. McQuaid offers to find her something immediately. He pushes up from the couch to check his computer. Annie thinks fast and asks for some booze instead. Thankfully McQuaid is not one to turn down a cocktail. Especially if it’s the good stuff that must be sipped for at least five minutes.

Auggie pores over the magical jump drive files. Nothing is suspicious, until he runs across a file that is strongly encrypted. Since he’s Auggie, it took him no time to hack the system. He found several profiles, each with a code name, “Flint.” Not only was Dog Walker in this file, but our deceased friend Borz made an appearance too. McQuaid lied about knowing Borz for only four months; this ties everything back to the Chicago bombing.

Auggie is called into Calder’s office. Calder bluntly asks if Auggie covered up Annie’s medical condition. Auggie denies knowing what Calder was talking about. Calder takes matters into his own hands and goes directly to the doctor who diagnosed Annie’s heart condition. The doctor admits that he did diagnose her, but had no idea the medical files had been tampered with.

Back at McQuaid Securities, Annie must find a way to access files on Flint. Instead of flirting with McQuaid’s hot admin, Annie tries a different tactic to get information: She goes directly to Arthur and asks to borrow his key code so she can get into the database. He declines and she heads back to McQuaid’s office, presumably to giggle with the hottie. Instead, she runs into McQuaid, who has decided he wants to spill the beans.

He admits that her instincts were right: He has been hiding something. He wants everything out in the open. Borz completed several missions for McQuaid because he was a member of an elite group that he employs outside of the company. This group is contracted out through several federal government agencies and they have the highest clearance. The code name is “Flint.”

McQuaid: I like you. I don’t know where we stand, but the truth is a pretty good place to start. We can’t get closer if we have secrets between us.

This proves that McQuaid is not a bad guy! He told the truth and it all makes sense!

That is what non-covert people like me think. Auggie thinks I’m an idiot because the line McQuaid just fed Annie is counterespionage 101. He claims Annie is letting her guard down just because McQuaid allegedly came clean. Clearly this is a part of his master plan. He wants to know if she’s following her gut or her heart? Annie begs Auggie to just trust her.

Annie turns to Arthur for help. She tells him that she’s looking for a black-ops team called “Flint.” She needs him to find out from his White House buddies if this is a legitimate organization.

Meanwhile, Calder calls in Auggie again to tell him he knows Auggie lied about Annie’s medical records. He reminds Auggie that he just wants to help him during this tumultuous time. Remember how he helped Annie fake her death? Calder wants Auggie to know he’s on his team!

Auggie remains silent and Calder breaks. He is ordering a full investigation on Auggie’s involvement covering up Annie’s medical records. Auggie must hand over all of his operatives until further notice.

Annie is certainly having a better day than Auggie. Arthur has come through with some big news: Flint is a legitimate black-ops team. And he even managed to secure a physical address. He slides it to Annie in that slick way that rich people tip their waiters, and wishes her luck.

Annie arrives at a sketchy warehouse, reminiscent of all environments in which murders take place. Oh, look! She’s pulling up beside a van—the official getaway vehicle for murderers. What’s a girl to do? Why, you pull a gun out of your designer handbag and check the place out, of course!

While snooping around, she notices a padlock hanging above a handle on the floor. The secret door leads downstairs, where bad things always happen. That said, Annie negotiates the stairs beautifully in her four-inch orange heels, which look fabulous against her navy suit.

Someone follows her down the stairs, and within minutes she has the person in a choke hold up against the wall with a gun to her head. Caitlyn is a stalker now?

Pretty much. She has been following Annie around for days, recording her odd behavior. She thinks Annie is a spy for the CIA and is certain they suspended her so she could infiltrate McQuaid Securities. She knows that she met with her former handler, spoke to Arthur outside of the office, and now is snooping around a weird warehouse where murders take place.

Annie ignores Caitlyn’s accusations, explaining to her that she has no idea what is in the bowels of the warehouse. Oddly enough, neither does Caitlyn. Suddenly two dudes attack them in the darkness. Caitlyn and Annie beat them up, killing one, both while wearing heels. It is a Charlie’s Angels moment, minus Jaclyn Smith.

Caitlyn recognizes the dead guy as someone who used to work for the company. She surveys the room, puzzled by the debris and scorch marks on the ground. It looks like someone detonated a bomb. Annie asks if that is normal for McQuaid to have mockups of ops they are planning? Caitlyn affirms.

Then Annie notices the familiar outline. She flashes back to the bullpen she visited in Chicago before the bombing. The layout is the exact same. If the chemical signature here matches the one in Chicago, McQuaid is in big trouble.

It turns out that they do match. The CIA has also learned that before Chicago, McQuaid Securities was about to go bankrupt. The bombing of a satellite CIA office would have been a nice reminder that security is no joke. Caitlyn did not know about the bankruptcy, but she did confirm that business has been booming since the bombing.

Since Annie is questioning every instinct she’s ever had, Auggie offers to buy her a drink. She tells him she’ll meet him at the bar after she changes her clothes. Naturally, when she goes home, McQuaid is there waiting for her. He seems anxious, sharing that there is a manhunt coming for him. When he turns to face Annie, she has her gun in his face. The same chunky gun that was a gift from the man at the end of the barrel. Isn’t that nice symmetry?

McQuaid looks heartbroken when Annie accuses him of killing Roger because he found out about Chicago. He’s confused, claiming he knows nothing of Roger’s death or the bombing bunker. Someone is setting him up. And he now thinks that someone might be Annie, but he believes in what they have enough to trust her that she isn’t behind this. He wants her to do the same. He wants her to trust her gut.

McQuaid: If you think that I am capable of this atrocity, then shoot me. Because I’m not going to some dungeon in Langley waiting for someone who set me up to carry out their plan. I have to get to the bottom of this.

He passes Annie’s raised gun and gives her once last look before disappearing.

Annie meets Auggie, who informs her that McQuaid is in the wind. They have cut off his resources, but they know he will reach out to people he can trust. He wants to know if McQuaid has reached out to her?

Annie: No. He has to know what side I’m on right now.

[slow clap] McQuaid, McQuaid, McQuaid!

Covert Affairs: s5, ep 1 Nic Bishop

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

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