Covert Affairs Season 4: The Frustration That is Annie Walker

Covert Affairs Season 4 Episode 2 Dig for Fire (5)

It’s no secret that Annie isn’t my favourite character on Covert Affairs. I adore the actress (especially in earlier roles – I’ve seen ‘Imagine Me & You’ an embarrassing number of times) and I like strong female main characters in dramas, but Annie just isn’t working for me, especially not this season.

Some of the blame has to lay with the season arc. Does anyone have a real clue what’s going on right now? Henry’s starting his own intelligence business (or something), he’s trying to get hold of missiles, he’s trying to bring down the CIA, he’s trying to keep Annie close to him, and if you take what everyone says about him at face value, it’s all because he’s grieving. Poor Jai is getting more plot action now that he’s dead than her ever did alive. It’s getting so convoluted that I almost want Henry to come out on top, just so that we don’t have to deal with everyone running around, looking for clues that’ll bring him down.

Annie suffers the most in this season arc, being thrown halfway around the globe each week in her search for evidence that will uncover Henry’s shady dealings and bring him down. As I mentioned in my last TV chat, it was only really Arthur Campbell who had anything to lose. Now, because of the need to protect Arthur, Henry has some amount of leverage over Annie. She might think walking away from him after he’s saved her from being accused of murder is a good idea, but surely he can use that knowledge to destroy her whenever he so chooses? A better question may be, why doesn’t he? With Annie out of the picture, the hunt for evidence against Henry would slow down, and he’s smart enough to know that extra time is all he needs to outwit Arthur and co.

Clearly the other characters should shoulder some of the blame for Annie not being stellar this season, since they occasionally slip out of character or contradict themselves in order to be convenient to the plot. Take episode 4.07, for example. In ‘Crackity Jones’ – seriously, Crackity Jones; this song title schtick has gone too damn far – Joan tells Auggie that working relationships in their field rarely work out, despite having been married to Arthur. Did it work out? Perhaps not entirely, but their longevity is an indicator that it might be worth trying. In the same episode Helen, Auggie’s ‘dead’ wife, tells Annie that she’s thinking with her emotions, even though Helen did the very same by faking her death to try and ‘save’ Auggie’s life after her cover was burnt. (Let’s not even get into how Annie’s cover is burnt a few times every season…)

Covert Affairs Season 4 Episode 9 Hang Wire (5)

With all this contradictory advice, it’s no wonder Annie isn’t a particularly successful character this season. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m still getting over the train wreck that was Annie’s decisions in season 3. At least then she was doing what she thought was best, even if it was a complete clusterfrak in the end; here, though, Annie’s decisions don’t feel like her own. The Annie we know would perhaps have played nice with Henry because she knows you catch more flies with honey, and she sure as hell would have fought for a relationship she believed in; this is the woman who joined the CIA to find a long-lost holiday romance and who almost left the agency to be with a foreign spy. Yet all it takes is a woman who made a stupid decision telling her that she’s being equally as stupid and Annie’s ready to give it all up.

It seems as though I should say my frustration is with the show overall, rather than with one character, but the truth is that Annie bears the brunt of the show’s weak spots. It’s unfair, but true.

There’s some fairly solid stuff going on around her, though: Calder Michaels is a strong antagonist; Auggie finding out his wife is alive was clichéd, but the strong acting on Gorham’s part made it work; and while Henry’s season arc is a hot mess, Henry himself is a good antagonist who, with a better motive, would be a pleasure to watch. (Grief is a strong motivator, but given what we’ve seen of Henry and Jai’s relationship in the past, and that Henry is going as far as illegally moving weapons into rebel hands in order to bring down Arthur Campbell, it would be nice if the fact Henry is a power hungry bastard was touted as the reason for his actions.)

As for Annie, well, I’m not sure what I hope to see from her, dear reader. Definitely some smarter thinking, for a start. Perhaps a return to a more tolerable season 2 Annie, with fewer romantic entanglements and more outright fun. Could we get Eyal back into the picture? Or a Reva-type character to be another CIA agent for Annie to pair up with? Heck, why not toss her and Auggie out into the field together again, without the massive Henry arc looming over them? Annie’s always more fun when she has someone ‘in the know’ to play off, and a bit of playful banter may be just what she needs to pep up and be an exciting character to watch.

What do you think, dear reader? Am I being harsh by hating on Annie? Should I blame the show for her being a weak lead in season 4? Or do you think she’s actually been pretty good? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!