[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about the midseason finale of Covert Affairs. Read at your own risk.]
RIP Annie Walker.
Well, in name, at least. On Tuesday's midseason finale of CovertAffairs, we finally saw the full context of Annie (Piper Perabo) and Calder's (Hill Harper) elevator shootout that had been teased since the premiere: She faked her own death.
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After Teo's (Manolo Cardona) death, Annie goes rogue to find out why Henry (Gregory Itzin) was in Frankfurt hours before he framed Teo for the missile launch that killed Solstar executives and the U.S. Undersecretary of Energy last week. That, of course, does not fly at Langley, which dispatches Calder to Frankfurt to capture Annie and unknowingly calls on Henry's Lexington Global consulting firm to assist. With help from Auggie (Christopher Gorham) and Joan (Kari Matchett) — who has been relieved of her duties because of Arthur's (Peter Gallagher) money laundering and treason charges, and is hospitalized with preeclampsia — Annie learns that Henry met with his ex-wife, aka Jai's mom, in Frankfurt and she plans to turn her to use as leverage. "If you go after Henry's ex-wife, he'll kill you," Auggie warns.
"Maybe it's time to give him what he wants," Annie says. "I'm going to take myself off the game."
Annie manages to convince Calder to go in on the plan, leading to him shooting her "dead" in the elevator as Henry watched from a feed. After Annie's body is wheeled into an ambulance, however, Eyal (Oded Fehr) climbs in and injects her with a shot to awaken her. He then drops her off with a bag and a Moussad file on Henry's ex at a train station. "So is this really the end of Annie Walker?" he asks. "Yes," she says.
So what's next for The Artist Formerly Known as Annie Walker? (Well,brown hair, for one.) Co-creators and executive producers creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord give us the scoop.
Annie Walker is no more!
Matt Corman: Nope! We really wanted to do this this year. It's not something we've ever done where she's had to go deep undercover and make decisions completely on her own. It's going to be really interesting. She changes her look. She changes her identity. She's going to be operating without any of her safeguards. She's without a net, so it's really going to test her skills and her smarts. Everything is different now. The game changes for Annie.
Some fans figured this would happen after those photos of Piper as a brunette surfaced and we saw the flash-forward of Calder telling Henry that Annie is dead.
Chris Ord: I'm sure there were theories. I think fans would know that it'd be an extremely bold move to kill your lead character. [Laughs] Annie is the heart of our show. They might have known some change was in order, but not know how or why. I think that's the fun of it too — you might know something or be "spoiled," but you still can learn the how and how this new role came about.
I thought the Eyal surprise was well done, especially if people are still reeling from Annie's "death" and don't see it coming.
Corman: Hopefully they won't see it coming! [Laughs] He's such a great character and such a fantastic person. It was fun to bring him in in this capacity where people may not have been expecting to see him. But he was the only person Annie could turn to for help in this circumstance, so it made sense for him to come back like this.
What's your take on the wistful look on his face as he hugged her goodbye? I think some might read that as romantic.
Ord: Well, they have such strong chemistry. But I think that look, more than anything, was because he, more than anybody else on our show, knows how difficult it is for her to go do what she's doing. He cares for her on a lot of levels. In many ways, I think that's what that look is about. Never say never [about a romance], but in the short term, she's really on her own now.
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How many are in the know about this besides Eyal, Auggie and Calder?
Corman: At first it's just going to be those three. It needs to be a small circle. Exposing it even further is not dangerous just for Annie but for the people who know because they're complicit in a big lie. That's the architecture of this back six [episodes] — these people are holding this immense secret to allow Annie to do her mission.
Ord: And everyone else back at Langley, you'll see in [Episode] 11, thinksshe's actually dead, even Joan and Arthur. There will be people talking about her and mourning her, wishing she's still around. That makes keeping that secret for Auggie and Calder even harder because you see pain in these people's faces and what they're going through. But you can't blow Annie's mission by telling them.
Does Henry actually believe that she's dead? Is there a part of him that thinks she could've faked this?
Corman: I think at first he does think she's dead. That's, again, the story of the back six — how they come back together in a dramatic way. She very convincingly did this ruse. Faking her death was perceived as valid and real by everyone in the CIA, including Henry, who was there watching it.
What's Henry's game plan now that Annie is "dead," Teo is dead, Arthur's in custody and he's re-ingratiated himself within the DPD?
Corman: More power! [Laughs] This is something he wanted. He wanted the people he felt were responsible for his first jail time and Jai's death to pay. Now he's gotten it out of the way and he wants to amass more power within Langley and he'll do that through his company, Lexington Global. He's never going to be satiated. ... He's not after anyone in particular — just general power — but very quickly, Annie will start counterpunching in this back six, so he'll start to have to play defense, which is a change. He had the upper hand for most of the first 10 episodes and now we'll see that change where Annie and our core characters strike back.
I'm assuming he'll find out she's alive before the season finale and then they'll face off.
Ord: [Laughs] It's something we'll be exploring. We want him to come tantalizingly close a few times and we want to really explore what it's like for Annie to be this dark. That's part of the fun — Annie trying to live in this capacity knowing that one small slip-up can really be the end for her.
How is she going to go about bringing down Henry?
Ord: First it will be Jai's mom, like she says in [Episode] 10, and to try to turn her against Henry. That will occupy 11 and 12, and it'll escalate from there. ... She's mostly on her own. The stories will have a darker feel to them because she's alone. She's going to be much more independent than we've seen. ... [At Langley] they'll be trying to take down Henry on their end and doing what they can, which will help Annie on her side even though they can't communicate. Auggie and Calder will have to create some sort of uneasy alliance since they're in on the same secret. And for Arthur and Joan will be doing what they can.
Does Henry suspect Calder at all?
Corman: Not at first, because from Henry's perspective, he saw Calder shoot the woman who was giving him trouble. In many ways, Calder's done him a big favor, even though he doesn't know what Calder's really done. Calder's really got his skin in the game now. He's trusting Annie on this. If Langley found out he falsified Annie's death, he would have a lot to answer to.
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What's next for Joan and Arthur? Will Baby Campbell be born?
Corman: Well, she's very pregnant, so it's possible! They have a lot to sort out after Teo's death and his legal travails. Their plate is very full. Joan will stay in the building, but will get a demotion, which will be interesting to see. She and Auggie are allowed to return, but it's in a much more limited capacity than we've seen them. The legal powers that be are really going after Arthur, so they're seen as not being responsible for things he's in trouble for.
Ord: Arthur will still be fighting [the charges]. His lawyer, [played by]Zuleikha Robinson, is in [these episodes] a fair amount. ... If they can only just bring Henry down, they can vindicate Arthur at the same time. In many ways, the fate of Arthur hangs on Annie's ability to bring Henry down.
Do you have the finale planned out? Is the Henry arc going to wrap up this season? You usually have payoffs in finales even with a cliff-hanger.
Matt: Right. We like to give some sense of satisfaction and that the journey was worth it. We don't like to do just strict, straight-up cliff-hangers. We like to give the audience something to hold onto, so I think that paradigm will hold. We're working on the finale right now. We're going to Hong Kong, so that's really exciting. The show's never been to Asia.
Ord: Everyone will be in danger! [Laughs]
What did you think of the finale?