This is the episode so many have been waiting for – the story of how Auggie lost his sight. But really, any episode that focuses on Auggie has to be a good episode, doesn’t it? Of course, there’s one critical detail that confused us about this Covert Affairs episode…
As the episode starts, Auggie is on his way to Istanbul to go to a musical festival and while on the plane he makes friends with a pretty flight attendant, Franka (Rebecca Mader). I particularly loved the minute or so of footage after Auggie arrives in Istanbul (this was filmed on location, by the way). The audio track is turned up so we can get more of the feeling of what Auggie is experiencing. He meets up with a friend and records the performer and then puts together a mix at the hotel – where Franka is waiting under the covers. That Auggie – he is quite the ladies man! But the flirting and foreplay come to an abrupt stop when he hears a voice picked up from one of the ambient mics – the man who blinded him.
Flash back to 2007 in Baghdad where Auggie and his special forces squad are playing football. Shirtless. Okay, shallow moment over. After a rousing game (Auggie’s team won, natch) he is brought in to see the squad leader to be given an assignment – taking down an Iraqi terrorist, the Jack of Diamonds (you remember they all had a deck of card code names, right?). I’m just going to keep calling him that because there is no way I’m going to get his name right. Plus this is just easier!
Back in 2011, Auggie calls Annie and asks her to look up the Jack of Diamonds to double check he is dead. She agrees, even though it is time for her to go home for a 48 hour break. Oh, and says to not tell Joan. When he hangs up, he doesn’t say goodbye, which has happened once already. She gets annoyed. (What do you want to bet that later in the episode he will be facing what he will only assume is going to be a certain death, so when he talks to Annie that one last time he says goodbye and she realizes something is horribly wrong?) Annie discovers the guy’s file has been removed but using the “file tree” (fancy nerd talk for searching for the files associated with the deleted file) she discovers he has a sister in Baltimore. So Auggie asks her to go to Baltimore. Auggie gets some more ambient mic recordings from his friend at the concert. Some things sound interesting and he wants to investigate, so with some help from Franka, Auggie goes exploring in the city and finds the man who the Jack of Diamonds was talking to. Franka and Auggie follow him in his car through Istanbul.
In the flashback, Auggie and his team are driving in their humvee and see something in the road which they think is a dead dog. They stop and the interpreter talks to the goat herder that is also there about it. He gives them a heads up – it’s a trap of IEDs. So they back track and head towards their destination from another direction.
In Baltimore, Annie heads to the salon to get a manicure from the Jack of Diamonds’ sister, Layla. Annie gets Layla to say that her brother is dead (it’s an awkward conversation). But Annie leaves a message for Auggie saying she thinks Layla is hiding something. I think she is right since as soon as she steps outside, FBI Agent Rossabi (Noam Jenkins) pulls up in a big black “I’m a government agent” SUV. (In case you don’t remember, Annie has dealt with Agent Rossabi on several other occasions, and while he has been suspicious, he has never learned that she works anywhere other than her Smithsonian cover) He chides Annie for getting in a vehicle she doesn’t know but she says it is obvious those were FBI plates on the car. But how would a Smithsonian employee know that? They had an exhibit on license plates through the ages. They go back and forth like this a bit, but really he just wants to know why she is talking to Layla – he has been using her as an asset for 3 years to get info on her brother who isn’t so much dead as he is running 3 separate terrorist cells in the Middle East. Rossabi even mentions a special forces unit that pursued him in 2007, which piques Annie’s interest, of course.
Back in Istanbul, Franka and Auggie have followed the other man to a restaurant. Auggie puts a bug on Franka and instructs her on how to act. When a glass breaks, we are transported back to 2007 where we see Auggie and his team entering a city and approaching the Jack of Diamond’s safe house. Before they can even get a plan underway, a sniper starts firing from the roof and kills the driver. Another team member is then shot and wounded. Auggie works his way in while his team takes care of the wounded soldier under cover of the humvee. He takes out guy after guy up to the sniper, who he appears to think is the Jack of Diamonds. I will admit I’m a bit confused because obviously the Jack of Diamonds isn’t dead. So, was that not him? Or was it him and he was wearing a vest? It is never very clear!
Back in Istanbul, Auggie hears the conversation between the two men thanks to Franka. Looks like the guy from the market is going to help him get into the US and go to Washington. When he calls Annie, she throws him a bit of sass because she realizes he knew this guy was alive. He thanks her for her help and apologizes. She asks to help him but he just thanks her again and then says goodbye. (SEE!! Sigh…. I watch far too much television.) The goodbye is enough to force Annie to bring this to Joan. Joan seems to only pay half-attention til Annie gets to the “I walked into an FBI investigation” part of the story. When Annie tells Joan that Auggie is going to a little airport that only has a cargo plane heading to Lima, and then who the terrorist he’s asking about is, Joan puts it together and gets her “my kids are so difficult sometimes” face.
Back to 2007 – From the rooftop, Auggie sees a guy put a bomb under the humvee his team is next to. He runs down and tries to call to them to move, but it is too late. The bomb goes off, Auggie is thrown back and blinded and the rest of the team is killed.
Franka and Auggie head to the airport as Franka gives him details about what is aboard the plane. Meanwhile, Annie goes to see Rossabi asking if Jack of Diamonds were to show up on a tarmac in DC, would they have enough to arrest him. He basically tells her to call in the tip anonymously because the are obligated to check out all anonymous tips. Franka and Auggie agree to meet in Barbados in a month. So sweet. But then Annie calls Franka’s phone and asks to talk to Auggie and ruins the moment (love that Franka thinks it’s his wife. Pretty much, sweetie). She tells him that the FBI are going to arrest him and they have rerouted the flight to DC, so please don’t do whatever he is planning. He says it’s too late. And then he tells Franka that’s not his wife. You know, just in case. As Auggie leaves Franka asks how he knew he could trust her, and he says he couldn’t. This makes me nervous, but off he goes to the plane.
On the plane, Auggie uses a mic to pick up any small noises and figure out where the guy is hiding. He picks up some breathing but instead of going to him, Auggie draws him out with a recording of gunfire and they fight. He recognizes Auggie and things start going poorly. But our boy is a BAMF and gets the upper hand. He goes to blind him with a knife, but stops himself because he is also a good man. When the plane lands at Dulles Int’l Airport in DC, Rossabi is basically handed a tied up terrorist. And after they pull away, Auggie walks off the plane. We see back in 2007 Auggie gets his purple heart and then back in 2011 he is telling Annie the whole story. He says he doesn’t talk about it because he is ashamed he got that purple heart at the expense of his entire team. He tells her he can still see every one of those guys and that day vividly in his head and carries around a picture of them even though he can’t see it. And Annie, along with the rest of us, falls a little bit more in love with him.
So what did everyone think of this Auggie-centric episode? I loved it. I thought Christopher Gorham did a fantastic job with it and the story was a nice tribute to all the men and woman who are currently serving or have served over seas. My only complaint: no Jai. But it made sense not to have him in this one. And do you think we will see more Franka?
Next week: Ben! I missed you, Eion Bailey! I wonder if we will find out if Annie is still supposed to be dating that doctor.
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter: @serrae
Read Small Screen Scoop daily to learn how to be as effortlessly charming Auggie.