"Article first published as TV Review: Undercovers - "Xerxes" on Blogcritics.org."
Let's all refresh our memory and go two weeks back. Just forget about last week's episode "Not Without My Daughter" because that episode was not in order. Focus on the episode "Jailbreak" where we all started to get hints about Agents Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Law) and Steven (Boris Bodjoe) Bloom's past, Agent Shaw (Gerald McRaney) having a mysterious conversation on the phone about being careful with the Blooms or else they would find out the truth of their reactivation and their mission was solid and interesting. Are we all placed in the context? Ok, let's proceed, then.
This week, the Blooms travel to Tuscany to purchase at auction a painting containing an encrypted formula for a biological weapon, (tested succesfully in an Australian tour bus). They are to apprehend Xerxes, a dangerous arms dealer eluding the authorites for the past three years; he is interested in getting the formula for Lord knows what evil reason why.
One of the most interesting aspects to this mission is that Sam has to assume one of her old covers and have as partner (a.k.a fake husband for the mission) an MI-5 agent called Clive instead of her husband Steven. Tension arises! So, Sam and Clive are the big frontrunners in Italy while Steven and Hoyt (Ben Schwartz) are backups along with Tessa, a young beautiful girl who comes with Clive and draws Hoyt's attention. Love is in the air...
Now, Clive is an interesting fellow because thanks to him, we get more hints about Sam and Steven's pasts. It's clear that Clive has worked with them separately and wants to take a trip to memory lane and revive some anecdotes but Sam stops him in time by mentioning the non-past talking pact we got to know in "Jailbreak".
Later, as they hack the history of every painting so they can locate the piece of art containing the lethal formula, Sam forgets about this pact. Clive starts telling her why Steven was brought out of the agency's training programme.
Hoyt likes Tessa more and more and asks advice of Steven, whom Hoyt considers a master in "risky" love relationships. Who better to play Dr. Love than Steven, who's married to a fierce sexy spy?
The story has its first twist when Hoyt and Steven are caught in the act as they proceed to exchange the painting for a replica. The day of the auction arrives and, Sam supervises the event herslef to see if Xerxes makes his appearance. Instead he has sent a lead to do the bidding. Tracing the phone used by the lead for bidding, the agents learn that the call was coming from a secured location in the villa, specifically, the room used by Sam and Clive, which had been previously set in a secured mode. Sam goes to the room and finds Clive shot on the floor.
Clive tells Sam that Xerxes is not a "he" as they assumed but a she. Why do we always initially think that villains are male? Xerxes is Tessa and she has been able to escape with the formula!! A very very nice twist for the plot! In my opinion, Tessa has been the best villain the show has had so far. Who could suspect that this innocent and nice looking girl who has stolen Hoyt's heart is actually a cold-bloodied killer? Poor Hoyt, he was so attracted to her, I feel bad for him.
In Florence, Agent Shaw informs the Blooms that the case will now be handled by the British, but Hoyt suddenly recalls hearing Tessa saying some numbers and code names on the phone in the villa. Thanks to Hoyt's good memory, they are able to trace Tessa in Hong Kong. There, the team is able to find the painting with the formula and Hoyt takes the lead in apprehending Tessa.
At the end, back home, Steven continues the story Clive started to tell Sam during the mission. Sam tells him there's no need but he proceeds telling her that he was kicked out of the training programme because he hacked in a highly classified database in order to get Sam's name and where she was because he had seen her before and was instantly attracted. He followed her until he got to marry her. A sacrifice gave a reward in return. Awwwwwwwww! But is that the real reason or was Steven just trying to sweeten the story?
So, what do you think of the episode? Did you miss Leo Nash in the mission? How about Tessa? Share your thoughts!