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Covert Affairs – What is and What Should Never Be

So Annie finally comes face to face with the man she loved and the reason she is in the CIA. What Is and What Should Never Be is the first episode that focuses on the overall arc of the story, instead of a part of the whole. You could say it is a macro episode, as opposed to the micro episodes we have seen in the past. Ben Mercer come out to Annie and lays a lot at her feet in the first few minutes. Annie, and the audience, are given two competing ideologies and this split will most likely make up the crux of conflict in the future.

The episode’s opening is pretty intense and much like Annie, we are left wondering just what the hell is going on. She wakes up being arrested with a dead women we don’t know in front of her and a gun in her hand. This part made me think, have we seen Annie kill anybody yet? She doesn’t even carry a gun, which is very farfetched, as I am sure that all operatives are required to have a gun. Annie is relaying the information to Joan and Joan does not look too happy. It is Annie's recollection of events that we see Ben show up unannounced and unexpectedly, sneaking into Annie’s bedroom.

I found this scene a little off. We have been waiting to see it since the show started, we knew it was going to happen and they had plenty of time to build towards it. Instead he appears far too suddenly and while a surprise is nice, I feel like we should have earned it more. Annie just kind of sits there dumbfounded. She barely says a word at the beginning and then towards the end she suffers from all the clichés one could think of in a scene like this. “You leave me with only a note”, “you just show up out of the blue”, and other such empty expressions that don’t properly convey her, nor our, feelings. I may be a bit too hard on the scene, but it should have been the most important part of the show so far. Annie and Ben are obviously going to be important long after this episode and they have plenty of time to even out their relationship, but it did not start well.

Ben gives her a mission, or asks her a favor depending on how you want to see it, and tells her not to trust Joan and Arthur. He says that they are just using her to get to him, which…isn’t that something of a insult. Annie quickly takes on the mission from Ben and she returns to an art gallery that she was at before. She finds out that Ben has been 'working over' the auctioneer and that the auction is a cover for extorting weapons and information. She does this off the radar and off the CIA books, which brings her back to the beginning of the episode.

Ultimately, Annie figures it all out with some last second help from Ben and it leads to a showdown at the docks. The chase scene is great, as we see Annie as an out and out badass. She looks determined and as if she is a step ahead, which is a nice change from her usual demeanor. In the end, we are no closer to understanding who Ben Mercer is, nor why Arthur and Joan want him back so bad. We still don’t have enough information to make a judgment as to who is right or wrong. It is nice to see that the show is not willing to string us along forever and that they do at least have a plan to give information. While this week’s episode was not perfect, or the best of the series, it was solid and entertaining.         



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