domingo, 3 de octubre de 2010

TV Review: Undercovers - "Instructions"

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With the second episode of Undercovers, we can see that the show seems to follow the formulaic path we all know: first a teaser about the mission to come followed by the assignment itself, and then its development and conclusion. Nothing new.

As in many spy/action shows and movies, one of the things that can make the path more dynamic is to take the action into new and different locations. This week, the action starts in Pakistan, where a pair of armed men escort some business men into a science lab located in the middle of the desert. What seems to be a business meeting turns into a massacre when one of the men (John) suddenly opens fire, surprising his comrades (John's brother, Bruce and Hollis Krueger) killing the business men and all the scientists working in the lab. With everybody dead, John finds what he had been seeking: Dr. Nassir, the only survivor of the massacre, a scientist whom John hopes to coerce into creating a bomb once she learns that they have her husband.

The action now moves to the Bloom's catering company, the business Samantha and Steven Bloom opened together after marrying and leaving the espionage; now it serves as cover-up after they got reactivated as agents in the pilot episode. In this scene, we see Samantha and Steven bickering over a coffee machine he broke after not reading the instructions. It's impossible not to smile at this situation because it is so domestic and fun, plus the chemistry between these two make it believable. As you probably can imagine the bickering could continue on and on but Lizzy (Sam's sister, who also works in the catering) interrupts them by announcing Carlton Shaw (Sam and Steven's boss at the agency), or as she calls him, the "hotel guy".

In Bloom's little office, Shaw informs them of Dr. Nassir's kidnapping and presents them the suspects (John, Bruce and Krueger). Once he explains the mission, Shaw shows some distrust to the couple's spy abilities, which are a bit rusty after years off the field.

Shaw has definitely a point; after all, if Steven doesn't even know how to make a coffee machine work, how can he complete this complex mission successfully? Afterwards, Sam announces that she must leave for a trip again, leading Lizzy to believe that they are planning to sell the catering business to the "hotel guy" (you know, spies, they always have that double life!), which could leave her without a job and, possibly relapsing to alcoholism.

(Is Lizzy a former alcoholic? What happened to her in the past? I guess we'll have to wait and see.)

Before travelling to Turks and Caicos to find Krueger, we see another domestic scene of Sam and Steven at home packing and mission planning. This time, the lady takes the lead in the mission.

Once in the exotic location, Sam approaches Krueger using her charm while Steven supervises from a distance. A third party, Hoyt (the Gadget Man and backup support for Sam and Steven in the missions) enters the game, which later gives Steven access to the tools needed to enter Krueger's room while Sam keeps "distracting" him.

The tropical action takes a brief break and moves to Stockholm where we see Dr. Nassir being rushed to finish the bomb. Back in Krueger's room at Turks and Caicos, Steven cracks a safe and finds some documents in Arabic that he cannot read — but his wife can.

I'm starting to wonder what Steven's abilities are in this game; his wife seems more prepared for the job. Steven asks Sam to lure Krueger into the room while he plants a tracking device into Krueger's watch without following Hoyt's instructions on how to do it properly. You know what is going to happen, right?

Sam and Krueger get into the room, Krueger gets knocked out and after Hoyt joins the couple, the interrogation starts. Krueger blames everything on John Sidel and tells them that he has to deliver the Arabic documents to an unidentified contact tonight at the bar. While examining the documents, Sam discovers the address of John's residence in Caracas, and Steven suggests Sam and Hoyt to travel there while he supervises Krueger's meeting with the contact. As you can imagine, the debate of who goes where and with whom starts another bantering moment between the Blooms.

In Caracas, Sam and Hoyt pick the lock of John's residence and after doing some search around the house, they find nothing, but they encounter John's brother Bruce, initiating a chase between him, Sam and Hoyt. Hoyt stops him with their car and the two agents urged him to tell them what is really going on. Bruce reveals that initially everything that took place in Pakistan was John's plan but once they got Dr. Nassir, everything turned and Krueger took the lead and shot him and his brother resulting in John's death. The target of the agents is not John or him but Krueger. In the meantime, Steven, who is supervising Krueger's meeting with the unidentified contact in the bar, gets distracted when a bunch of ladies approach to seduce him and loses sight of Krueger.

Back home, Shaw again questions the espionage abilities of the couple (especially Steven's) because not only did he let Krueger go but the tracking device isn't activated. What did I say? Oh, yeah, it was bound to happen.

Shaw's patience has a limit and brings Leo Nash in to activate the tracker and finish the mission. As you can imagine, Steven is not really happy with this decision because Leo has a kind of romantic past with her lovely wife. Leo exploits his charm in flirting with Sam's sister, who happens to be in the room asking them to try the quiche she's cooked. Of course, Sam doesn't really like the flirting because Leo is an alcoholic and Lizzy is recovering from her alcoholism. Whoa!

At the Bloom's house, Leo tries to reactivate the tracking device which is in silent mode while Steven tries to fix the coffee machine. While doing that, both men start talking about Leo and Sam's former relationship and about what was the real cause that led Sam and Steven to leave the espionage in the past. Steven says it was because they wanted to have a normal married life but Leo doesn't buy it at all. The tracking device activates and locates Krueger in Stockholm.

In Stockholm, Krueger tries the effectiveness of the first bomb, which causes a big explosion and confirms Dr. Nassir's abilities. Later, he urges her to prepare the other bomb but she demands to see her husband, which Krueger refuses. Sam, Steven and Leo pick up Hoyt and lead their way to the location the tracking device indicates, a ship. There they find Dr. Nassir on the floor bleeding after Krueger shot her. She tells them Krueger plans to detonate a bomb in the Global Business Summit taking place in the city.

Hoyt stays with Dr. Nassir while Sam, Steven and Leo dress up to infiltrate into the summit. Once there, they learn the bomb is attached inside Krueger's cell phone, which he has left at the metal detector entranceway by security request. Sam decides that she'll find the cellphone and asks Steven and Leo to go after Krueger. Sam finds the place where all the cellphones are taken into custody, but the problem is, which one is it?

While Steven and Leo chase Krueger and fight against him, Sam finds the cellphone, takes it into a rather safer place and tries to deactivate the bomb with Hoyt's help. Moment of tension: which wire should Sam cut? Two red wires, which one of the two? One of the red wires doesn't deactivate the bomb, oh, wait, there's a black wire, let's cut it! Deactivation completed! Well done, Mrs. Bloom!

Mission completed! Everybody is safe at the Summit and Krueger is not longer a menace. Shaw appreciates Leo's input to the mission and announces to the Blooms that he's going to be joining them in future missions as his expertise is a lot more proficient than theirs together. Leo keeps flirting with Sam and Steven gets upset. These three together in further missions could lead into... trouble in paradise? At home, Steven - after he fixes the coffee machine and serves a cappuccino to Sam - voices his concern about Leo to her because he has the feeling she still feels something for him. At that, Sam tells him that her relationship with Leo was something from the past, and what happened in the past, remains in the past. If you ask me, I really don't find this explanation very convincing. We gotta stay tuned!

So what did you think of the episode? Did you like this one more than the pilot? What do you think it's going to happen with this triangle?

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