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'Covert Affairs' recap: We have a situation

Season 5 | Episode 12 | “Starlings of the Slipstream” | Aired Nov 13, 2014

For the second week in a row, the opening moments of Covert Affairs include a shot of McQuaid putting a shirt on his body, instead of taking it off. I’m no expert, but wouldn’t it be more comfortable for a man with two bullet holes in his abdomen to go shirtless? I’m sure Annie was just about to make the same suggestion when she got the call to bail Auggie out of jail.

Apparently Auggie’s verbal argument with a medical examiner turned into a physical one due to a disagreement over what caused Tony’s death. The report says too much vodka. Auggie knows Tony was a bourbon man. He also knows that this is the third guy from his former unit who is dead. Charlie was blown up in Chicago, Mueller was blown up on the mountainside in Azerbaijan, and now Tony. Guess who is the only one left? I’ll give you a hint. He carries a collapsible walking cane.

Auggie is convinced Belenko is targeting his old unit. Unfortunately, he’s not going to prove conspiracy from the comfort of his Langley desk. Joan benched him for being arrested. His next best option is to let Annie help. She breaks into Tony’s house, confiscates the vodka bottles, and has them tested. Sure enough, they find traces of synthetic tetrodotoxin. That’s a scientific term for poison and only a handful of labs can make it. Belenko flew through Germany on his way home from Istanbul. It’s no coincidence that one of the labs is in Germany too.

Annie packs a suitcase full of stilettos and waits downstairs with McQuaid for her car to arrive. Auggie is also there, so the two men in Annie Walker’s life meet for the first time. McQuaid is mature. Auggie looks bitter. Especially when his sensitive hearing picks up on a goodbye kiss.

Covert AffairsAnnie arrives in Essen in a power suit carrying a fabulous bag. She may be covert, but that’s not going to stop her from looking like a million bucks. She notices the random woman from Istanbul and takes a picture to send to McQuaid. The woman’s name is Olga and she is one of the best operatives the FSB has to offer. Olga just happens to be spying on a lady in a lab coat named Britta. McQuaid discovers that she’s an organic chemist. I best she knows how to spell tetrodotoxin without having to look it up.

Auggie calls to complain about the guy who is shadowing him (courtesy of a favor Annie asked of McQuaid) and follows that complaint with another one. Why did Annie have to tell McQuaid about this lead? Annie reminds Auggie that McQuaid has tremendous resources. Exhibit A: Meet Olga. Exhibit B: Meet the chemist she’s tailing. Auggie concedes, giving Annie the go-ahead to break into a second home in 24 hours. Surely Britta kept something lying around that would link her with Belenko.

After coming up short, Annie decides to leave with only a few pictures. Suddenly the door begins to unlock. Annie hustles into the bedroom to hide just as Olga enters. Let’s all go in together and buy Britta a security system for her birthday. Or a new doorman.

Olga retrieves a bug from the smoke detector. She turns to leave and hears something from the other room. With her gun pulled, she and Annie play an impressive game of hide-and-seek. Annie wins by hopping onto the neighbor’s balcony, just out of Olga’s sight. I’m going to count this as three home invasions in one episode. Annie is so covert.

Ryan shows up at Auggie’s house to introduce him to his babysitter (hey, Pete!) and to give him a military-grade laptop. Braille included. Auggie tries to sulk, but he’s too stoked about his new toy. He gives it a spin, digging up additional intel on Olga. He calls Annie to tell her the bad news. Our Russian friend had four kills in the last six months. She’s not there to keep tabs on the chemist; Belenko has something more permanent in mind.

Annie wonders why Olga hasn’t killed Britta yet. She must be working on something else. It’s time to fast-track this business. Auggie yells at her through the phone to wait for backup.

Auggie: The last thing I want is to lose another friend.
Annie: That’s the last thing I want, too.

With no time to lose, Annie approaches Britta and gives her the 411. She basically says, “Belenko has sent the woman outside to kill you because you are close to finishing the job. Here are some pictures of people she bumped off. Helluva way to go, am I right? Take me to your lab.”

Olga tears through the lobby, catching a glimpse of a blond ponytail headed out the back door. She runs to catch up with Lady Lab Coat, and when the woman turns, it’s Annie. Let the chase begin! May the woman with the stronger heels win.

Annie jukes through people exiting a train. She hops on, with Olga close behind. Then she waves on the platform as Olga passes her by on a train headed to its next destination. For a killer FSB operative who can leap off of Turkish buildings in a single bound, that feels like a rookie mistake.

Annie calls Auggie to fill him in. He yells at her for ignoring his advice and putting the mission in jeopardy. He lectures her on the relationship between and operative and a handler. She cannot be trusted.

Annie tracks down Britta at the lab, demanding to know what Belenko had planned and whom he’s targeting next. Britta’s attitude shifts. She wants to know about the woman Belenko killed. Confused, Annie tells her about Caitlyn, including the tidbit about the wedding ring. Britta pulls out the same exact ring from a chain around her neck. We’re going to add “player” to the long list of Belenko’s character flaws. Should it go above or below “murderer”?

Britta freaks out, confessing that Belenko told her that she was the love of his life. She heads to her office to pour herself a drink. Vodka. Do you see where this is going? Britta hands Annie a concoction that she was making for Belenko before keeling over dead. Security guards find Annie over her body performing CPR. That doesn’t stop them from zip-tying her hands together and hauling her off to be questioned.

Naturally, Olga walks through the door, flashes an Interpol badge, and escorts Annie into the alley. Annie puts up a good fight but Olga slams her to the ground. She pulls out a knife and cuts the zip tie.

Olga: We’re on the same team, Annie Walker.

(You need to read that sentence with a thick Russian accent.)

Covert AffairsMeanwhile, McQuaid and Auggie finish a night of toasting Tony. Auggie yells for Pete to follow him as McQuaid smiles. They’ve definitely bonded. Auggie arrives home and fires up the turntable. When he hears his door slowly unlock, his hands go up in surrender. Two goons walk in and all I can think is, “Where the heck is Pete?”

Several of Auggie’s punches and kicks hit their targets. He’s totally winning this fight, until one of the guys uses a taser. They tape his mouth, tie up his hands, and throw him in the back of a bad-guy van. Oh, there’s Pete. With a slit in his throat.

Do you think Belenko is behind this? What about Sydney going deeper undercover? Why was Joan so nervous about her polygraph results? Is Olga your new favorite character?

Covert Affairs 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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