USA Network’s Covert Affairs made an unexpected move in this Tuesday night’s episode, packing a season finale-sized twist into a regular installment. After briefly flirting with the idea of running off to a remote island with fellow spy Simon, Annie and her beau were shot by none other than her mentor, Lena! Annie’s near-fatal wound will send her into a coma in next week’s episode, during which she’ll be plagued by dreams — including a very important one involving her pal Auggie.
Below, executive producers Matt Corman and Chris Ord preview the ramifications of Lena’s betrayal and Annie’s conflicted heart.
TVLINE | Is Simon really dead?
CORMAN | Yes. He’s dead. We stand by that move. Audiences should take it at face value. And I think we talked to you about this at the beginning of the season, how our goal was to make the audience aware of real stakes and the dangers people in the life of a spy experience. It was important to us in the early conception of the season to really do dramatic, big things and show the audience the perils. And we were really excited to do it at this point, as well. Sometimes, TV shows will shoot somebody or kill somebody off as a finale. We thought it was an interesting concept to do it in the middle [of a season].
TVLINE | How much danger is Annie in after the shooting?
CORMAN | Significant. Everything has changed for Annie. Her life is never going to be the same, inside the CIA or out, after this experience.
TVLINE | How much is she going to remember when she wakes up?
ORD | Oh, she’ll remember how she got there, certainly. She’ll remember everything that happened. Beyond just her own memories, it’s certainly on the CIA’s mind. This is something that they’re going to be dealing with going forward. The dreams – we’re keeping them in their own space. We’re exploring her subconscious [in these dreams], and that’s the point of the whole Auggie/Annie dance floor scene. But whether she comes out of that dream remembering that, we’re saying no.
TVLINE | Can you talk about how those dreams might forward relationships, even though she doesn’t remember them? They’re saying a lot about how she’s feeling for Auggie.
CORMAN | The dream can project what you’re feeling, but as Chris said, she’s not going to carry those forward. It’s almost like her conscious self needs to catch up with her subconscious self, and that will be the journey that she takes, where she comes to the realization of some of the things she’s experiencing in the coma state. It was a really interesting exercise for us, and it was fun to do something that’s a little different in its format and storytelling. We’re proud of it and feel that it’s still very much a part of the show.
ORD | Certainly the characters that are still alive and not in a coma state will be carrying forward the feelings that Annie’s situation evokes. Auggie is very honest at her bedside and really opens up to her. That may surprise him, and those are big feelings that he’s going to have to think about and question in episodes going forward.
TVLINE | Will Auggie find out that Annie almost ran away with Simon?
CORMAN | It’s interesting. The events on the ground — that they were together — are there, and it’s sort of like he would have to fill in those gaps in his mind.
TVLINE | There are a lot of feelings on all sides – Annie for Auggie, and Simon, Auggie for Annie. How do they reconcile?
CORMAN | Reconciling those different ideas is what the season is about. Annie’s a highly emotional person, and she makes emotional decisions. Sometimes, those decisions are bad for you. Sorting that out is the work of [Season] 3.5 and beyond.
TVLINE | Moving on to Lena: What’s her game? What’s driving her?
ORD | Lena is a double for the FSB, which is a Russian spy [group], but her motivations go beyond ideology. She’s in it for herself. It’s frustrating for a spy to be working for an institution with tons of bureaucracy. Ultimately, Lena found a way to transcend that by working both sides and putting herself in a position of power where she was privy to all the information. She found that intoxicating and, ultimately, it corrupted her and made her the devil that we see in Episode 8 and 9 [airing next week] and even Episode 10 going forward. For Lena, the motivations are [about] self-fulfillment.
TVLINE | This is a woman who Annie thought she could trust and counted as a mentor. How will Lena’s betrayal shake Annie?
CORMAN | It’ll shake her to the core. For a spy, their No. 1 tool is their intuition and their ability to read people. When that’s called into question, everything about their skill set is called into question. The fact that Annie did align herself with Lena is going to be something very tricky for her to unravel.
TVLINE | What’s Lena’s next course of action? Does she have a new target?
CORMAN | She factors very heavily into Episode 10 [airing Sept. 18]. Our summer finale is all about Lena and Annie. (Covert Affairs resumes Season 3 on Oct. 16.)