Covert Affairs 1.07, “Communication Breakdown” Review

It’s weird, I am actually excited to write about Covert Affairs today! Of course, that feeling suggests that there is also something wrong with the series, doesn’t it?

‘Communication Breakdown’is, by far, my favorite episode of the series so far. On one hand, I feel much better about the series moving forward because hey, at least know it has this kind of episode in it. However (and that’s a major however), the primary reason for the enjoyment of last night’s episode stemmed from who was in the middle of all the action. Instead of Perabo’s Annie, Christopher Gorham’s Auggie found himself out in the field, breaking rules and doing cool stuff. And not surprisingly, Gorham handles everything a typical episode of Covert Affairs would throw at a performer with relative ease, from the action to the more emotional moments.

Thus, conundrum. It’s nice that I, and based on my Twitter feed, lots of other folks really, really liked this episode. But it’s kind of bad that people were watching ‘Communication Breakdown’and wishing that it was the real pilot to the series, or even a backdoor pilot to a better series because we know that next week, it’s more Annie and less Auggie. I’ll be interested to see if USA gauges the response to this episode and lightly mentions it to the production staff before season two, because I think everyone watching would rather have more Gorham and Auggie than we’re getting now (even though it is healthy dose each week).

Though a lot of television geeks already knew this, Gorham proves throughout this episode that he can handle a series on his own. It’s easy to be the sarcastic second lead, but sometimes episodes that push supporting folk to the lead don’t always work as well as intended – this was not one of those cases. It’s also interesting that the episode seemed to have more emotional weight to it. I can’t quite determine if that feeling came all from Gorham’s performance versus what we usually get from Perabo (probably) or the writers actually know themselves that their no. 2 can handle material their no. 1 cannot (maybe). Either way, I felt way more invested in Auggie’s journey here than I have in any of Annie’s outside of the pilot. His history with the Natasha felt real and his relationship with the reporter was a compelling shade to a typically cool, good guy. The fact that this episode almost convinced me that a network could successfully produce an action-adventure series about a blind spy without it seeming too hammy or ridiculous says a lot, I think.

While we’re not going to get this much Auggie every week, at this we have this episode and the information from it to make all the future scenes with him more complex and enjoyable in a way. Now, if only the series could figure out how to make its lead this interesting.

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