[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's Season 5 finale of Covert Affairs. Read at your own risk.]
Thursday's Season 5 finale of Covert Affairs had plenty of literal explosions as Annie (Piper Perabo) and McQuaid (Nic Bishop) tried to escape Buenos Aires with Belenko (Shawn Doyle), but it was the off-field bombshells that left the most impact.
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While trying to evade the Russian Vega Force that is after Belenko, McQuaid suggests that he and Annie get married (!) if they make it out of this. They survive, bringing in Belenko alive as Joan (Kari Matchett) requested, and have a heart-to-heart afterward. "I don't want to lose you," Annie tells McQuaid. "Then don't," he replies. For her work on the mission, Joan gets appointed head of a new task force within the DPD and she wants to recruit Annie, her heart ailment be damned.
While Annie mulls returning to the CIA, Auggie (Christopher Gorham) — who survives a hit Belenko put on him and Deckard (Kenny Johnson) via Langer (Joel Keller) — decides to quit to travel the world with Tash (Liane Balaban). "I realize this life gives me a lot, but there's a price," he tells Annie. "And I don't really know anything else, but I'm ready to try something new." Annie tells him she's happy for him, while vaguely revealing that she has some big choices to make too. Auggie tells her to close her eyes, trust her instincts and decide. "Got it," she says.
Auggie is not the only one departing though. Arthur (Peter Gallagher) has his eyes on the Senate after political advisor Karen Coughlin (Ana Ortiz) informs him of an upcoming vacant seat and convinces the intelligence committee to declassify his file about Teo so the public knows that Arthur didn't quit the CIA because of an affair. Meanwhile, Calder (Hill Harper) is still at an unconscious Stephanie's (Nazneen Contractor) side while she recovers from last week's shooting.
So what's next for Annie and Auggie? Are she and McQuaid really getting married? Can Auggie stay away from the CIA? Co-creators and executive producers Matt Corman and Chris Ord answer our burning questions and tease what we could expect from a potential Season 6.
There was a lot happening in the end there. What was your goal with this finale? It's quite different from your past ones.
Matt Corman: We always want to leave the audience satisfied but with questions. Even when we've done things that have been classified as cliff-hangers, we want the journey to have been a fun one and a worthy one, and one that the audience wants to come back for. We probably have left more questions than we ever have before with this one. [Laughs]
The episode certainly hearkens back to your season theme of balancing personal and professional lives. But I don't think anyone saw a sort-of proposal happening.
Corman: [Laughs] Good! In a fashion, it was a real [proposal]. He suggested they get married. It was a very McQuaid way of doing it. She says, "Are you serious?" And he says, "Absolutely."
Chris Ord: That's McQuaid, and that's McQuaid and Annie in a nutshell. They don't do things as conventionally as any other couple. If anything, we felt like that was the perfect time to propose. This is what they do. This is their passion.
Corman: To get a reservation at a fancy restaurant, it rings false. When you see them in the heat of the moment, for us, that seems the most appropriate time.
I thought it was interesting how in the past two episodes, Annie made it clear that she wouldn't do something unless McQuaid was on board too. That's the complete opposite of what happened with Auggie in Paris. What do you think that speaks to about her relationship with McQuaid?
Corman: Right. We're happy you picked up on that. They definitely have a strong relationship. I think that it's probably true that Annie's changing a little bit too. She's opening up a little bit more and is being open to the type of questions that McQuaid is asking. Some of them are existential life questions. You have to open yourself up to things, and we've definitely seen her do that this season slowly.
So are they officially engaged?
Corman: [Laughs] Let's just say she's trying to decide all those questions that have been posed to her.
Ord: It's a big decision in her line of work. She speaks to it on the bridge. It's hard. If you look at Annie's life the past five seasons, virtually every guy she's fallen for has been shot or killed. I think she recognizes that is this job and those are the stakes. You make a connection and you're vulnerable to losing that connection. It's a trade-off she has to think through.
She does say "Got it" in the end. Is that about the engagement, the job or both?
Corman: That remains to be seen! It could be anything really, especially after Auggie's news.
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What is Joan's top-secret new task force?
Ord: It's top secret! Whatever it is, we don't want to spill too much, but we can say it will be complicated for everybody.
Corman: In our minds, even if Annie did that job, I think there would be ways for her to break off and be rogue in it. I don't think she's ever going to be camped down.
Auggie's decision to quit also fit into his arc this season, especially after his conversation with Deckard on the plane about life outside of the CIA and with Tash back. Can he actually quit cold turkey?
Corman: Yeah. I think it's her, and Deckard is a close buddy to represent the other path. He did get out and he says it's possible. The fact that you saw it coming is probably good because it had to build to that moment. Kenny Johnson was great.
Ord: Auggie is a brave guy. He likes these challenges. What will be interesting for Auggie's life is he's built such a role inside the CIA — they know him and what he's capable of — but when he goes out into the world, people just look at him as a blind guy. I think that's exciting for him to explore that world, see what's out there, pun intended. What we want is nobody seeing that coming because he is so tied to the CIA. Sometimes you need to jump in a new direction.
Was part of his decision because of Annie and McQuaid being together? He finally met him and he told her last week that "all the good ones" are stubborn.
Corman: I think you're drilling down into the deep subconscious of the characters, which is interesting and possible. That is definitely possible.
How will this affect Annie? Will she even want to return to the CIA without Auggie there?
Ord: I think anything's possible. A) We don't know if she'll come back, and B) if she does, she'll be there without Auggie. We saw what Auggie means to her [two weeks ago]. I think it'll be interesting to see this new life challenge. How will she make her way in this building if her bedrock isn't there? For us, it's an exciting chapter, but we don't know exactly how it's going to play out.
And Arthur — senator?
Corman: [Laughs] He's always carried himself with the air of a politician. Ana Ortiz's character said the things he dealt with with Teo might be a positive. It might be spinnable, so we'll spin!
Ord: It's also our way of saying Peter Gallagher should run for Senate.
I mean, with those eyebrows.
Ord: [Laughs] He's an extremely smart, personable guy. Capitol Hill needs someone like him.
Belenko is not dead. Could we see him again?
Corman: It's definitely possible. Shawn Doyle is great and I think now he is angry at the Russians in the way that Annie was predicting. He could be an asset of sorts. He knows a lot about the Russians and is valuable for the CIA going forward.
What are your plans for Calder and Stephanie? She's still alive... for now.
Ord: Yeah, she's not dead. She could still be in a coma. If she doesn't wake up, that's tragic. If she does — there was a real kinship. We loved seeing their chemistry.
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You haven't officially been renewed for Season 6 yet, but what other general plans do you have in mind?
Corman: I think we will answer some of those questions right off the bat if we were given the opportunity. What is nice about the way this season ends is everyone can impose their own thoughts on what we're seeing. It's open-ended in that way.
Do you expect to get word soon?
Ord: We would love to get word soon. For us, we're happy with the work we did this season and we have some great ideas for next season. We just need to wait and see.
What did you think of the Covert Affairs finale?
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