TV Recap: State of Affairs, Season 1, Episode 2, “Secrets and Lies”

Under the sea.
TV Recap: State of Affairs, Season 1, Episode 2, “Secrets and Lies”
This week, Charlie takes on the Case of the Russian Submarine. Image via NBC.

Guys, I have a confession: I realized after my recap of last week’s pilot that the screener I watched had a different ending from the one that aired on TV. Matthew Del Negro was nowhere to be found in the broadcast version, replaced by Chris McKenna as Nick and the bombshell that Abdul Fattah used to be Charlie’s CIA asset. I guess Del Negro is too busy being Cyrus’s new house husband on Scandal for a recurring role in this show. Hopefully none of you read the post and decided I am not-so-secretly insane.

This week’s plot centers on a Russian submarine that’s been stealing super-sensitive US intelligence information by tapping a fiber optics cable on the floor of the Bering Sea*. On board the submarine is a CIA asset who, when the sub runs into trouble thanks to a huge storm, barricades himself in the comm room and calls Charlie to help get him out. Oh, and also he used to know her dad. There’s minimal new information about the Aaron/Omar Fattah situation, though the anonymous texter has a photo of Charlie and Nick with Fattah. Let’s break down the positives and the not-so-much.

THE GOOD

Constance. The show doesn’t shy away from having her make decisions that hurt one person for the good of the country. She makes no bones about telling Charlie the submarine needs to sink, and bristles when Charlie hints at questioning her authority. I also liked the small detail of her touching up her makeup before the ceremony announcing the new CIA director, though I’d assume she has a makeup artist on staff.

Raymond Navarro. Acting Director Skinner was apparently fired after last week’s massive screw-up, and the former governor of Wyoming (played by Lost’s Nestor Carbonell) is taking his place. In his short time on screen, he managed to come across as a far more interesting character and possible nemesis for Charlie, especially in his sly dig, “You won’t be working with me—you’ll be working for me.” And am I imagining things, or did he make a penis reference?

The team dynamic. My favorite scene in the whole episode was when Lucas waltzes in late, complaining about a flat tire, and everyone just stares at him blankly. While plenty in the show still needs to solidify, the actors have already nailed the wordless communication that’s only possible from spending long, intense hours with people—which can also be seen toward the end of the episode, when Charlie lies to Anatoly that she can get a message to his daughter.

THE BAD

The drinking. There’s no way Charlie shows up at the office drenched in Eau de Vodka—even if she came straight from that melancholy birthday celebration for her dead fiancé, a pro boozer like her would definitely have mouthwash stashed in her desk. Also I highly doubt a sitting President these days is ripping shots at the dinner table, dead son or no dead son.

Charlie’s spy skills. First she leaves a highly suspicious, highly trackable voicemail for Nick from her cell phone when she gets a photo from her mysterious texter. Then she hilariously shows up for a covert meeting in a park wearing a trench coat and the biggest pair of sunglasses since Paris Hilton’s heyday. I half expected her to follow it up by pulling off her shoe and phoning someone. Also she’s still named Charleston Tucker, which continues to be unfortunate.

Lucas. He was hired as Navarro’s briefer before the staffing switch was even announced, so he apparently he knows a few things the briefing team doesn’t—but he came across as more than a little condescending this time around. He needs something to do other than wink at Charlie and contemplate how good his hair looks.

THE CONFUSING

Mo’s love life. In the screener version of the pilot I watched, Mo had just finished moving the rest of her stuff out of her recent ex-husband’s house, and the rumor in the office was that she was dating someone else at the agency, which she denied. This episode, her coworker Kurt starts flirting with her, and by the end of the episode they’re kissing? Did I black out during a key scene or something?

Charlie’s dad. Have we heard anything about Charlie’s family before, other than her in-law situation, of course? I don’t think Sid is supposed to be her blood relation, so I hope Oliver Tucker wasn’t just an unseen character trotted out for plot convenience.

What’s the deal with Nick? Mo hates him, razors hate him, the Secretary of Defense calls him a “scary son of a bitch.” What’s his connection to Charlie, Fattah, and Aaron? And what does he know that he won’t tell Charlie?

What did you like or dislike about last night’s State of Affairs? Sound off in the comments.

*This post has been updated from a previous version.

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