Covert Affairs: Sisters On Deadly Vacation!

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In the second season finale of Covert Affairs [USA Network, Tuesdays, 10/9C] Annie’s vacation turns into a study in frustration – and terror – when a last-minute courier assignment goes wrong.

Annie Walker [Piper Perabo] is finally getting a vacation and is off to Stockholm – accompanied by her confused and blue sister, Danielle [Anne Dudek], who is despondent after learning her husband has had not one but two affairs. Auggie[Christopher Gorham] gets to look after Annie’s ficus.

In Stockholm, they are met by old friend Magnus [Joakim Natterqvist], whom Danielle has been e-mailing for six months [but hasn’t mentioned her marriage]. Almost before they are out of the airport, Annie gets a call from Auggie, who hands her a time sensitive mission – couriering an envelope – that leads her to the same big event to which Magnus was taking Danielle.

When Danielle is mistaken for Annie – which is to say, she’s mistaken for a spy – things get very dangerous for both sisters, very quickly.

Meanwhile, back home, Jai Wilcox [Sendhil Ramamurthy] fails a polygraph examination leading to an inquest where he is expected to torpedo Arthur’s [Peter Gallagher] career – and Joan [Kari Matchett] lunches with Arthur’s ex-wife Gina [Rena Sofer] to find out why Arthur consulted with her about the same operation that sparked Jai’s polygraph failure.

At the same time, Auggie sees a specialist about medical advances that could, conceivably, restore his vision – and we learn that he’s a big fan of the ’67 Corvette.

Matt Corman and Chris Ord, the show’s creators and executive producers, write the season finale – Letter Not Sent and it’s a very good payoff episode on a number of fronts. First, it pays off arcs for both Jai and Danielle – we learn what Jai has been up to and why [and he aces his duplicitous father in the process] and that Danielle’s suspicions about her husband were not unfounded.

Then we get to see a side of Auggie we haven’t seen before and Annie become protective of her big sister when the assassin [Greg Bryk] who mistook her Annie tries to clean up loose ends.

Letter Not Sent is smart, suspenseful and very entertaining. Considering that many of this season’s episodes have been very, very good, it is saying a lot when I say it’s the best episode of the season – and does an equally great job of wrapping up the season’s major arcs while setting the stage for even more intrigue next season.

Director Alan Kroeker does a terrific job of balancing quick cuts and longer tracking shots to build suspense, and knows exactly when to slow the pace for important character beats and comic relief.

Now if they’d just erase the annoying vocals from the show’s theme music…

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Photo by Frank Ockenfels/courtesy USA Network