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TV Recap: State of Affairs, Season 1, Episode 4, “Bang Bang”

Smallpox, big drama.

This week, we meet one of the President's enemies. Image via NBC.

I am normally very much pro-double entendre, but I’ve never been so glad the title of this episode was not one. Between dealing with an accidental outbreak of smallpox at a former US medical research facility in Panama and trying to track down her mysterious texter with some help from Syd and an encryption program, Charlie found time for a post-State Dinner makeout session with Nick—whom it turns out she knows on much more than a professional level. Thankfully, the title comes from a David Bowie song and not Charlie’s extracurricular activities, though the episode did feature plenty of guns. Let’s recap.


The Panama mission. Even though the smallpox outbreak didn’t really feature until two-thirds into the episode, Jack Dawkins’s recovery mission and Charlie’s subsequent (brief) moral dilemma were fairly entertaining. Extra props for Charlie’s rule-breaking leading to consequences that last beyond one episode. Also, more Dawkins, please!

The soundtrack. Yes, “Bang Bang” is pretty on the nose when you’re receiving a photo of a gun, but between TV on the Radio last week and this week’s Bowie, whoever’s doing the music is kind of crushing it.

Charlie’s conversation with Fattah. She tells him, “Despite our differences, the desire to hunt and hurt and kill is just as alive in me as it is in you,” and if the line came with zero background, I’m at least intrigued enough to know more.

Constance. POTUS continues to be pretty awesome—I enjoyed her prickly refusal to be intimidated by Senator Green, and her combination of loyalty to her allies and cut-throat political finesse.


“Boom goes the dynamite.” Hello, skeevy IT guy, that was so 2005—although, it gives me an excuse to link to this video, so…wash?

Mo and Lucas. Maybe I have developed a soft spot for puppy-dog Kurt, but Mo and Lucas flirting made me cringe.

Nick’s tete-a-tete with Dale. For someone who looks as grizzled and menacing as Chris McKenna, Nick did not do enough to convince me he was going to shoot a family man point-blank in his kitchen. And his “If you say, ‘What photos?’ I’m gonna respond by breaking your face” just made me laugh. Show me more Nick in a tank top beating up terrorists! Or just the first part of that!

Syd. Between his unexplained, undying loyalty to Charlie and his habit of feeding pigeons in the park while wearing a newsboy cap, this character is still so clichéd to me. Then again, if it turns out he is the one trying to blackmail Charleston and Nick, I’d reconsider.


The wardrobe choices. Genuine question: Is it legal to show as much cleavage at a state dinner as Charlie did? Though I guess if POTUS gets to set the standard, Charlie was totally appropriate. Apparently State of Affairs exists in a world where POTUS’s potuses would not be the only thing the press talked about the next day.

The gun. I assumed we were supposed to think the gun Charlie and Nick got texted photos of is the same one Nick had at the end of episode three. But now Charlie is sure one of her team is sending the photos—and for some reason she doesn’t automatically think it’s Lucas—and the bullets that killed Charlie’s fiancé came from Nick’s gun (though maybe not the same one).

The Creig Group. So Syd and Nick both used to work there, and they both know the other knows but Charlie doesn’t know anything? Were they the ones who dragged Nick away at the end of the episode? What’s the point of an all-powerful conglomerate digging up dirt on every CIA agent it can? How the heck do you spell Creig*? So many questions!

Charlie’s continuing favorite status. I know this goes with her whole “maverick” thing, but every single episode, Charlie puts the President in a seriously dicey situation. I was going to put this in the “bad” category, but it looks like next week’s plot deals with POTUS’s trust eroding, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

*Producer Rodney Faraon tweeted at me that it’s actually spelled Krieg. The more you know!

Still watching State of Affairs? Share your thoughts on the show in the comments.