So, this episode is a little below par for the series so far. The case of the week involves a secret program called Thorngate which is enabling the NSA to spy on American citizens; ripped from the headlines much? But the show ends up weirdly coming down on the side of the NSA; it’s the mole who’s trying to release information about the Thorngate program that turns out to be the really bad guy and in the end Thorngate goes back to the NSA and they apparently keep using it. Well, I try not to get to upset by the actual politics of a show like this; it’s first and foremost entertainment and it’s just a twist, I suppose, that the informer turns out to be the bad guy, and perhaps not a political statement. Anyway, the character work is really fine here; Fitz has to take his annual hunting trip and his annoyance at having to tramp around the woods for a weekend just in order to win votes from the red states is quite funny. But both Goldwyn and Washington really sell a sequence of Fitz and Olivia meeting clandestinely in the woods. Also, one of my favorite minor characters really starts to come into her own here; it’s David’s (former?) secretary, Alissa, played with real verve, energy and wit by Brenda Song. As we progress through the second season, we won’t see nearly enough of her in my opinion. Anyway, not a lot of progress on the season long arc really; a pretty weak case of the week. This one’s got some nice character work, as I said, but it’s no masterpiece. Recommended if you’re into it. 3 stars.
tl;dr – lame case of the week and no real developments in the season long story arc detract from an episode that features fine character work. 3 stars.