COVERT AFFAIRS “Begin the Begin” Review

COVERT AFFAIRS Season 2 Episode 1 "Begin the Begin" (4)

COVERT AFFAIRS “Begin the Begin” Season 2 Episode 1 – We start the season 2 premiere with a continuation of the season 1 finale: Annie is still in tropical climes, Ben is recovering after being shot and all is well. But when gunmen sneak into the hospital and try to kill Ben, the pair find themselves back home and separated. Arthur offers Ben a fully autonomous position within the CIA and he accepts – but it means not seeing Annie again, at least for a while.

Annie doesn’t have a chance to be too upset by Ben’s sudden disappearance (yet again) – she’s busy trying to help a professional Russian tennis player, Nadia, who is the mistress of an Estonian mobster. Annie thinks Nadia is the one in danger, but it soon becomes clear that the mobster’s business activities are a danger to Nadia too, leaving her with no way out but to kill him. Annie intercepts and the CIA grant Nadia a new life of anonymity in the USA.

Meanwhile, Liza Hearn (the reporter Auggie romanced in season 1) has released sensitive information in her reports that leave Arthur scrambling to try and keep his job. Joan convinces him to hire an expensive lawyer. Will it do the trick?

The problem with this week’s episode is that after the first few minutes, when Annie returned to DC, it stopped being a season premiere and instead became an average episode worthy of being buried somewhere midseason. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means but there was just too much happening overall.

While it’s understandable that the episode needed to be easily accessible to new viewers, dropping the Ben storyline for the Nadia storyline was kind of weak. We didn’t have time to care about Nadia as a character, especially not when her main focus was on chocolate. I get that it held a wider significance but it all just seemed too downplayed. It could have done with a lot more emotional impact – or just, you know, more explosions. Something to make it more interesting.

A better option would probably have been to focus on tracking down the people who tried to kill Ben. That side of things was much more engaging – however briefly it featured in the episode. It allowed a lot more interaction between our main characters too. One of the main reasons I watch Covert Affairs is the way the characters interact with Annie and each other. The scenes Annie shared with Auggie, Jai and Joan (individually) were great and I can’t wait to see more over the rest of the season.

Focusing on Ben would also have given Annie more of a reason to be out in the field so soon after the events in Sri Lanka and Guam. That she was immediately sent back out by Joan seemed foolish. There was no cool down time and no reason she had to be the one to take on the role of Nadia’s handler. Hopefully the burglary mistake was just a sign that she’s being vigilant and not, as Auggie suggested, paranoid after all she’s been through.

Summary: a good episode but not a great series premiere. That said, it’s great to see Annie and the gang back in action – I’d missed them!

What did you think of ‘Begin the Begin’? Let us know in the comments below!

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