Hey, we finally get some continuity and some overarching plot! I hope it's not too late, because this episode finally--FINALLY!--seems to have gotten the formula right.
First up, Leo's back in the gang, even if his bizarre MIA-ness for the last few episodes isn't even addressed. He's a nice foil for our leads, and adds to the already considerable eye-candy. The episode centered around Sam facing down the demons of her past--she was partially responsible for the death of her CIA mentor, which is why she left the agency in the first place--while Steven plays a mock assassin to route out a plot in Peru.
This week's mission involves thwarting the would-be assassination of the President-Elect of Peru Albert. The original hitman's been nabbed by the CIA, and Sam and Steven are tasked with finding his boss and keeping a low profile while making sure the Prez-Elect ends up not-dead.
The dreaded catering side of things even came into play in a meaningful way--a Yale classmate of Sam's shows up to hire them, and we learn Sam was a star journalism pupil (!) before being tapped by the CIA. It's nice seeing these people get pasts beyond shadowy half-allusions to CIA shadiness--it was well-integrated into the episode and added a dimension to Sam that I liked.
It was also awesome to see David Anders--Sark from Alias--as this episode's big bad-in-disguise. Sam's cover for the episode is as a journalist, who befriends a fellow reporter named Matt--who, surprise surprise, is a wealthy heir/mogul/overmind behind the whole assassination plot. They've done this plot before (SURPRISE! The bad guy's not the bad guy but this other guy you've met is!) three or four times, but I was just happy to see Anders chew some scenery. Man, wouldn't it have been cool if it had actually BEEN Sark? I was about 30% sure they were going that route before my hopes were dashed...
In the end, the plot's thwarted, and Sam reveals her reasons behind her leaving the CIA to Steven--her journalism mentor at Yale was ALSO her CIA recruiter, and his death in a car accident disillusioned her and caused her to leave. I think there's more to this--and, while I liked having this element of back story added, I'm really tired of Sam getting captured, needing rescue, and doing the "girl falls victim to her feelings"/"damsel in distress" thing. Can someone please tie Steven up a few more times and hand Sam the AK-47? I think she'd do just fine.
All in all, we're getting better. The chemistry sizzles, and I have high hopes the next few weeks will continued to hook us all even more. See you back here soon, friends. Have a lovely week!