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Covert Affairs “Begin the Begin” 

Photo Credit: USA Network

And…we’re back! Covert Affairs kicked off its second season with a fairly straightfoward assignment of the week while planting the seeds for seasonal arcs. It was refreshingly normal and dare I say, calm–no big event pieces, characters we know and love were back, and they just picked up seamlessly from the end of last season.

Annie settles Ben in at Walter Reed and then heads to work and is assigned liaison duty with a seemingly reluctant asset–a tennis pro who’s been a CI for three years while dating an Eastern European kingpin (a really sadly wasted James McGowan). McGuffins ensue and it turns out that the tennis pro was being strong armed by her trainer/KGB-type agent to keep quiet with the threat that she’d kill the boyfriend. Annie resolves it and gets the gal in witness protection but we don’t hear how the boyfriend fares.

On the personal front, Annie stays away from Walter Reed long enough that when she returns (at Auggie’s insistence that she take a breather), he’s checked out and nobody’s heard of him. Somewhat frantic about it, she goes to talk to Joan (against a really abominable green screen shot) at her house and Joan sort of allays her fears by talking around the subject but essentially telling her Ben is exactly where he’s supposed to be and she should just move along now.

As for Auggie and Annie, they pick up their banter where they left it (although he doesn’t get a hug the same way Jai does–WTH?) and he gets out in the field to lead the EE kingpin to safety. He intervenes for Annie when she gives him a heads up that her sister’s place was burgled, interviewing a couple of kids as a their faux lawyer to confirm they were the prowlers and it wasn’t an agency issue. We also find out that Annie keeps a safe in her sofa for a stash of cash and various passports. She has a couple of scenes with Danielle, who’s still in the dark, and runs her out of the house so the CIA can sweep for bugs by instigating her nieces in grape juice vs. carpet espionage.

At Casa Campbell, we learn that Arthur is still being investigated and Joan would rather he hire a big money attorney, which he finally does at the end (AGS #2). Liza Hearne is mentioned but Emannuelle Vaugier isn’t in the episode. And finally, Arthur has hired Ben back into the agency, but he carrots Ben’s request to speak to Annie as a reward to come later. So those arcs will unfold as the season goes along.

All in all it was a welcome return of summer comfort TV. I’m so glad they’re back early and that we didn’t have to wait until well into July for the return. We get 13 episodes this season. Next week, Oded Fehr! Sweet! You can catch this episode online at USA, and if you missed season one, it’s now on DVD.

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