Articles, opinions and reviews about cinema and entertainment
viernes, 15 de octubre de 2010
TV Review: Undercovers - "Devices"
"Article first published as "TV Review: Undercovers - "Devices"" on Blogcritics.org."
This week's mission of Undercovers centers on recovering a code breaking device that could crack open the identities and covers of all CIA agents around the world and put them in jeopardy.
The episode opens in Germany where two armed men infiltrate a secluded hospital and extract Mathias, a psych patient who loves jelly beans, with the promise that he'll back to the hospital safe and sound if he does what they say. This beginning could ring a bell because the procedure (entering-killing-kidnapping) is exactly the same as last week's episode "Instructions". I truly believe writers should change this format as soon as possible because the audience will get tired of the same old story over and over again. Think about more possible scenarios!
The action moves to Samantha and Steven Bloom's (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe) bedroom where they are enjoying the aftermath of a nice morning loving. it seems the couple has brought back the sparkle they used to have in the very beginning of their relationship.
In the pilot, we saw a very different picture of the couple. We saw them as a young beautiful couple who had fallen into a monotone relationship pattern, and by the way Samantha moved around Steven, they only had sex every so often. What on earth happened between these two? A five year old marriage suggests they are not in the so-called honeymoon phase but why acting so cold? Now, everything has taken a turn; they are both more passionate and devoted to each other, and despite all the bantering, their relationship is healthier and solid. So deep down, the Blooms must thank the agency for reactivating them as spies because it has mended their marriage.
I think we are able to describe Agent Shaw (Gerald McRaney) as a sarcastic, witty and tough boss that is able to do anything to make a point. His point being that the Blooms are not qualified for the job. His breaking and entering into the Blooms' residence in order to brief them about their new case (going to Germany, talk with Hans Bauer about the code breaking device and stop him) makes us smile but at the same time, it makes us believe Shaw's point somehow. Five years off the field is not such a long time for the Blooms to forget what is like to be spies and what precautions have to be taken.
After Shaw leaves the premises, Samantha expresses her concern about working with her husband, worrying that their marriage could get in trouble if they work together. Steven assures her that nothing wrong is going to happen; they have worked with many people in the past and this time won't be different. They are married, yes!, but when they're working, they are partners. Period! Do you want to know my opinion? There's no way this couple will be able to separate their personal and private lives.
In the Bloom Catering, we are introduced a new character, Lance (Jay Scully), a gay cook who has a rather tense relationship with Lizzy (Mekia Cox). They are all the time bantering making their interactions very funny to see. Now, why does it seem that Lizzy is a much more interesting character than Samantha? Last week, there were hints about Lizzy's possible past alcoholism. This week, we discover Lizzy's dating problems. What's best, real dating or online dating? Sam thinks dating and advises her sister to try to look for someone in the real world rather than virtually. It's not going to be easy, I'm sure.
Lance's introduction to the show adds an element of tension in the kitchen. His constant disapproval and concern about how things run in the business when Lizzy is involved proves that Sam treats Lizzy as her protegée. Ok, they are sisters but it's a fact that Lizzy works in the catering because her sister is there and not for her skills as a cook or as someone who can be in charge of a client's catering.
In Berlin, Bauer dies during the meeting and Steven put himself near death for not obeying Sam's orders which causes another moment of tension between the couple. One of the things I truly adore about the show is the nice touch of the writers when relieving moments of tension like this one with smart dialogues and hilarious situations. In this episode, the change of tone happens thanks to Hoyt (Ben Schwartz), our Gadget Man, who appears in his pajamas (96% silk and 4% Lady Gaga) and tries to put some peace between the couple.
In my opinion, Hoyt is a very endearing and funny character, he always seems to be in the middle of the Blooms when they are scolding each other. In a way, he acts as their peacemaker when it comes to marriage issues and as their guardian angel in missions. His abilities as tech man are unquestionable but why do I have the feeling that he'd like to be Steven's skin every now and then? He always shows such admiration and respect towards the Blooms - he never refers to them as Steven or Samantha but as Mr or Mrs. Agent Bloom - that makes us think he really thinks of them as mentors.
Leo Nash makes his entrance to the mission as extra support for Sam, Steven and Hoyt again. We can see there's a very good comradeship between the Blooms and himself as it's seen in the scene at the club where Steven asks Leo to follow the lead they used in a past mission in Budapest. Leo is also a very interesting character to explore. He was their partner and he even dated Sam in the past but are his feelings towards Sam a thing of the past? Does Leo really want to help the Blooms to restablish the good status as spies they used to have or does he want to win Sam back?
Despite Leo's help, the Blooms fail at the mission and as you can imagine Shaw is not happy about it. Shaw takes them off the case but the couple doesn't surrender and keeps working in the case on their own. Don't miss Steven standing up to Shaw, it's priceless!! Deep down, the Blooms are good spies, they speak several languages, they have experience, they know how to use gadgets and everything but they are not efficient.
The mission takes a turn when they realize the code breaking device is not machine but a person, Mathias. Once the mission is over, the baddies are taken into custody, Mathias is safe and the Blooms are able to save the identity and covers of all the CIA agents.
The episode ends the same same way it started: in Sam and Steven's bed, reprising the conversation about separating their professional life from their private one. It's clear that both tried their best to stay focused on the mission, but let's face it, they are married and care about each other: that's the deal, no matter what.
I think it was a nice episode but it seems the show is (so far) very formulaic. I really hope we get to know about the real reason why the Blooms left the agency five years ago and how they both were as independent agents. Ratings show the series is not doing as well as expected but I have the feeling that Undercovers is going through the same thing Fringe went through in its first season. Quite regular ratings and then a big boost as the plot developed. It seems next week some of the issues from the Blooms' past will be dealt, so stay tuned, please! J.J Abrams' shows never tend to disappoint.