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State of Affairs - Bang Bang - Review: "Continued Momentum"

Last Monday night we saw an outstanding all round performance by NBC's newest drama series. While not quite matching the caliber of last week's effort, tonight's fourth episode of State of Affairs, titled "Bang Bang" continued the momentum, and went a long way to putting some more pieces of the puzzle in their place. Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West combined to write the episode, with Nelson McCormick directing.

Last seen in the series premiere, special ops top gun Jack Dawkins resurfaced tonight, leading his team on an off the books mission into a Panamanian Red Cross medical center in the wake of a smallpox outbreak caused by a violent earthquake. While the extraction of the remaining smallpox was successful, Dawkins was detected by the Panamanian government and jailed under the assumption he is a spy.

This is good work by the creative team here, as State of Affairs looks sharpest when focusing on the serialized elements of its story by leaving Dawkins in limbo for a period of time. Dawkins was the man who rescued President Constance Payton and Charlie from the ambush in Afghanistan. How Charlie and President Payton returns the favor will be interesting to watch.

The primary storyline underwent further growth tonight, with the relationship between Charlie and Nick taking an interesting turn. In flashbacks early on in the hour, the episode built on what we saw last Monday night, with further scenes on board CIA black site 'Midnight City' showing the outcome of the interrogation Omar Fatah underwent at the hands of Nick.

In present day, Charlie and Nick upped the ante, with Nick tracking down the source of the incriminating photo that has everyone worried. The source turned out to be a guard on board the Midnight City, who sold the photos to a shadowy organization I understand is called the Creeg Group (spelling or pronunciation is unclear). Charlie enlisted the help of Syd, who sent one of his contacts to meet her, who installed a bug on her phone, leading her to one of her team as the source of the mysterious text messages she has been receiving.

Adding to the intrigue, Syd and Nick meet for the first time. Turns out they both have ties to Creeg. Further, President Payton met with a former colleague, Senator Green, warning Payton of an impeding report that could burst open the shady circumstances surrounding the death of her son in Afghanistan in what looks increasingly like a friendly fire incident on a convoy. We also once again saw President Payton's husband Marshall, a character who hasn't developed much in the four episodes the series has been on air, but he made the intriguing comment to Charlie that his wife isn't the same person he married since she became President. While this is seemingly minor on the surface, it makes me wonder whether the creative team are setting things up for a confrontation in the near future.

The biggest moment of the hour, as so often happens in television, came in the dying moments. The sexual tension between Charlie and Nick has been there, but not played out until now, which has worked well because too many showrunners let this get in the way of the story. It's also worth bearing in mind that it's only been a year since Charlie's love of her life was taken away, so in that respect it's probably a good thing that the heated moment in the car didn't progress to the bedroom. Charlie also missed a game-changing phone call from Syd, with the shocking revelation that it was Nick's gun that was used to kill Aaron Payton.

But who kidnapped Nick? I certainly didn't see that coming. Could it be the Creeg group? That's where my money lies at present. That final scene wrapped up what I thought was a pretty solid episode, and will provide a great place for next week's episode, titled "Ar Rissalah", to pick things up from, due next Monday night, December 15, 10|9c, on NBC.

Thanks a lot for reading! Who do you think kidnapped Nick? Be sure to share your thoughts and theories about that and the rest of the episode in the comments below, and follow State of Affairs' ratings on my TV ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com/stateofaffairs.

Jimmy.

About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand, and works in the IT industry. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, The Blacklist, The 100, How To Get Away With Murder, Elementary and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.
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