“I’m a spy. This is my life.”
Those seven simple words sent Annie’s (Piper Perabo) sister Danielle (Anne Dudek) into a state of shock in last night’s Covert Affairs Summer finale. It was the inevitable moment that we all knew was fast approaching: Annie came clean to her sister, breaking the news that she is a covert C.I.A. operative and rendering Danielle’s trust as more collateral damage of the spy game.
Danielle: Why do you choose to do this?
Such a great question, Danielle, because it is ultimately about choice. For 20 episodes, we’ve applauded as Annie has been built into a veritable action hero, traveling the world, scaling buildings and bringing down the minions of evil. That’s the angle on the spy profession that TV and film always focus on – the sexy side. As such, we’ve been steered to ignore the true nature of Annie’s job: the deceit of others, including those closest to her.
Danielle’s hurt reaction was no surprise and kudos go to Dudek for impressively nailing this crucial moment of the series, expertly taking us through Danielle’s denial, anger, acceptance and ultimate support. To come to the realization that her younger sister has been lying to her all this time was a pretty tough cookie to swallow, especially for someone so family-centric as Danielle. I’d imagine this was a fun sequence to shoot for Dudek, whose character has been sold to us as the naïve and loving sibling that seemingly bakes cookies 24/7. Her about face featured yelling, screaming and culminated in the packing of Annie’s boxes. And despite how much of an inconvenience this is for our star, Danielle was justifiably angry, especially when the safety of her family might’ve been at stake.
But even more compelling than Danielle’s initial shock is the frustration of not being able to hear anything more than Annie’s declaration. Annie will still have to protect classified information and Danielle can never know just where Annie is going and what she is doing. Imagine finding out your sister is this mysterious covert CIA employee and then she ends the conversation there. You can’t know what she’s done on missions, if she’s killed anyone or if she has anyone dangerous coming after her. There’s a whole cloud of mysteriousness that now floats above someone you thought you knew and there’s a huge part of their life that they can’t share with you. This will be a key element going further as Annie works to rebuild that trust, all the while keeping such a large part of her life secret still.
Annie’s fieldwork was about collateral damage as well: the new Chinese asset she attempts to extract (while he’s on American soil) catches fatal radiation poisoning. Again, another unfortunate side-effect of the job; people will get hurt and it’s all hopefully for the greater good.
At least that’s what Auggie believes. In the denouement, Annie takes him to a baseball game where she asks if the job is worth it. Wrong question to ask a guy that can’t live without being a covert operative. Of course, Auggie tells here that it is, but that she has to throw herself back into the field to see if still fits her.
Meanwhile, Jai’s frustration with Joan and the DPD has finally come to a head. It’s usually a bad idea when you say to your boss “this is bad management.” And Joan doesn’t take his insubordination too lightly. In curt fashion, she ships him off to the new Phoenix office, a move that undoubtedly infuriated him. Oh, but Jai is not done yet – he places a mysterious call at the end. Who was he talking to? His dad? Liza? Is revenge on the menu or will cooler heads prevail? Hopefully, the writers have something good in store, because Jai is underused at this point. I do like that they’ve been ambiguous as to if he’s good or bad, but it may be time to draw a line in the sand and explore him more.
Back to Annie, now that Danielle has kicked out her from her house, we have to wonder how the dynamic of her home life will change. Who will cook her meals and hook her up on dates? Hopefully, Danielle will continue to be a part of the narrative as she’s helped keep Annie grounded to the real world, where our connection with our heroine most resonates. In fact, the domestic aspects of Covert Affairs have been the perfect complement to the espionage side (hence, why it was great to see Arthur stick up for Joan tonight). Annie needs Danielle in her life as a person that’s truly in her corner, even if she doesn’t necessarily need anyone to protect her anymore.
With no cliffhanger ending, the Summer finale left us wondering how things will shift when the action picks up later this year. From the preview, it looks like Ben will be back in the mix and that Annie will take a trip to Paris. Hopefully, the wait until then won’t feel too long.
I loved how nervous Annie actually spelled out “Central Intelligence Agency” instead of defaulting to the well-known C.I.A. acronym when reading in her sister.
Arthur Campbell put the smackdown on the State Department guy and let out an uncensored “S” word. Note to Doug Liman, Matt Corman and Chris Ord: We need more of this!
Auggie’s “I can’t believe you’re pulling a Lando Calrissian on me” line was the ultimate geek moment of the night.