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Annie is treated better as a character and the show gratefully backed off on making her more of a damsel in distress as in the previous episode and we get to see her as the tough CIA spy we are supposed to see her as. There is still a hint of her being scarred and overwhelmed but it helps the viewer sympathize with her. She is tasked with working with a British MI6 agent whom, at this point in her development, is the antithesis to her character. A strong, causal, veteran of international espionage, we see Annie somewhat afraid of this future because she does not want to lose the relationships that make up her life. This juxtaposition between the two characters is interesting and the conclusion of the episode is both unexpected and meaningful to Annie as a person and as an spy.
The story of the episode falls somewhat flat. The genius child plot is neither original nor executed particularly well. I can buy a child prodigy discovering a secret that the CIA couldn’t crack because I have been conditioned to follow such stories, but both the actors playing Walter and his mother are not too convincing. They are given minimal screen time, which may be the reason for the lack of believability, and when they are told to convey the story I never really bought into it. Walter seems content to simply read his novel and let his mother do all the work but the actress cannot carry the plot not a conversation. I do not mean to be over critical of the actors but when the plot revolves around their performances, a failure to deliver harms the stability of the episode.
In Walter’s Walk we are introduced to Jai Wilcox, played by Sendhil Ramamurthy of Heroes’ Mohinder Suresh fame. Jai is a sort of liaison between Joan’s Domestic Protection Division Arthur’s directorial office. It is easy to see that Jai will become the new love interests for Annie and Eric Lively’s character, Conrad, seems to have been dropped between the pilot and Walters Walk. Suffice it to say Joan is not happy about having someone who does not report to her in her unit. This leads to more hostility and estrangement between Arthur and Joan. The relationship is not as big a focus in this episode as last weeks and the episode is stronger for it. Last week it was as if the director was simply telling us to like the two characters while this week the relationship seems more natural and when they were given screen time it did not feel like time wasted.
The Ben Mercer storyline is brought up again, and for the second week in a row seems to be discussed in private without answering too many questions. We are supposed to wonder who he is, why he’s so important, and why are they using Annie for. This works but it just seems as though the show is saying, “we have a plan just work with us to get there”.
I would like to take this time to announce how unbelievably awesome Auggie is. Christopher Gorham plays the blind character perfectly, which is a feat he should definitely be commended for. When he needs to be Auggie is, funny, helpful, and caring. He has really become the best part of the show and supplements Annie perfectly. When the two are working together we really think they are unstoppable. Gorham turns in another great performance and the best parts of the show are interactions between Annie and Auggie.
Overall the episode was a bit stronger than the pilot but still has not broken the wall. We see, once again, that the show has great ideas along with some interesting characters. We can forgive the errors in the show for now but the window to sell us on the show is closing.