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Secrets and Lies and Then Some in Covert Affairs “Spit on a Stranger” 

Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network
Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network

OK so I think we could have called this episode “Bullsh!t” because people were calling each other out left and right, but since this is a smarter (ahem) show, nobody did actually say that out loud. Where to begin…

We pick right back up with Annie at McQuaid’s in a reverse angle shot as he comes back in and she stays for coffee (just coffee). So I was wrong that she left.

She reports into Auggie, who finds the dude from the porch on footage of the train platform, so Annie marches into Joan’s office and conveniently resigns and then even more conveniently meets Ryan for drinks and tells him she wants a job. He questions whether there will still be kissing if she works for him, “I don’t want this job to prevent what happened this morning from happening again,” and she reminds him of his motto that you can have it all.

When she starts at work, Ryan’s a little too Captain Obvious in his enthusiasm and that rubs Caitlyn the wrong way. Arthur also gets a heads up from Joan that Annie’s up to something.

Then we have a bait scene where Annie bugs McQuaid’s PC, and it’s super awkward as she sort of fumbles for how to occupy him so he stays off his computer while it transfers the files. McQuaid and Annie can ALWAYS talk to each other, so this seems a tip of the hand that he’ll figure out something’s going on. Instead she redirects attention to him, asking if he’s hiding something. Then she gets him to pour her a drink and they go sit on the couch.

Annie takes the thumb drive to Auggie, who uncovers that McQuaid has a secret ops team called Flint.

Annie confesses to Arthur and asks for his help, telling him that she’s doing this to help McQuaid and she asks him to trust her. Then McQuaid comes clean, volunteering that he has kept some secrets from her. It’s a quiet, sweet scene and I buy it–even if Annie’s not sure–and it sort of reiterates what I’ve been saying all along–that they can talk to each other.

“You knew that I was keeping something from you. I haven’t been honest with you. This has been weighing on me quite a while so I just need to put it all out there. You and I…we started with a lie.”

He tells her about Flint–it’s an above-board, deep-cover black ops team and Altan was a member–so is the guy who was on his porch. She confirms with Arthur that there are plausible deniability shenanigans in play when he asks around, so Flint is in all likelihood legit.

She wants to prove McQuaid is a good guy and she tells Auggie that her gut says he is. Auggie smarts back to her, “Your gut is telling you this, or your heart?”

With Arthur’s help, Annie tracks a fax machine to a street address, and because she’s Annie, she hikes down a rickety metal staircase in hot pink heels until Caitlyn, who has been tailing her, busts her and between them they fight back against two guys–one of whom was on McQuaid’s porch. Caitlyn shoots and kills one but the porch guy gets away.

They call Arthur, and as they investigate the basement/bunker, Annie realizes it looks like a staging area for the Chicago office. While Caitlyn confirms that McQuaid would always test run an operation, she doesn’t think he did this. Then the floor tests positive for Cemtex (in a neat roundtable scene with Arthur, Joan, Auggie, Caitlyn, and Calder in one room at the CIA) so a warrant is put out on McQuaid…who shows up at Annie’s.

Before she finds him outside her apartment, Auggie asks her if she’s OK with what they’ve learned and she tells him, “I’m questioning all my instincts.”

Back at Annie’s front door, McQuaid tells her a friend at justice has tipped him about the Chicago suspicions. She invites him and then pulls a gun on him (did I not make myself clear?). He’s surprised, and a little hurt, and sad, but heartfelt (and I believe him again) that she know shim, that he’s been real with her, and he could not have done this.

“How could you think that I did this?…A spy’s tool of last resort is his intuition and my gut is telling me to trust you . And now I’m asking you to trust your intuition. You have the best instincts of anyone that I’ve ever met. Don’t ignore them now. Think of every moment that you have shared with me. That is real. Not this…If you think that I am capable of this atrocity, then shoot me, because I’m not going to spend the next six months in some dungeon in Langley waiting for whoever set me up to carry out the rest of their plan. I have to get to the bottom of this.”

Then he walks out and she lets him go.

Earlier, Auggie nails her on thinking with her heart instead of her head–which has about 17 layers in sentiment there given her health. And in this confrontation at her apartment–with a gun leveled at him–we see that there is something there for both of them–she believes him, too. Then she lies to Auggie again when he asks her outright if McQuaid contacted her. If (when) McQuaid is redeemed (and still alive), what will that dynamic be for the three of them?

Also in the mix–Calder is threatened with an ass handing by the DCI and then he rebounds, backing Auggie’s play on keeping Annie’s secret. It helps that Joan also threatens to expose his own secrets if he doesn’t support Auggie.

So, there’s a lot of talk about instincts and trusting your gut, and trust in this episode, and since this is a spy show, there’s what we think we know and what we don’t know and then somewhere in there is the truth. We still haven’t seen whatever the actual world repercussions of the bombing were in Covert Affairs land other than everybody trying to investigate it–what’s been the “after” for the agency? When we finally get to the who and the motive, will it matter?

Next week is it for a few weeks while the show takes a quick hiatus. I’m sure there will be a cliffhanger. Twitter tells me who’s still shooting right now on those final six episodes of the season, so I’m not super worried (yet), but I do very specifically want this to go one way.  I hope I’m right.

Covert Affairs airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on USA. You can watch this episode now on USA’s website.

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