Undercovers episode 2 review: Instructions

Undercovers is still struggling to find an identity or niche of its own, argues Ti, in spite of an interesting second episode...

2. Instructions

The Blooms are back, and this time they’re trying to find a Pakistani scientist specialising in micro-explosives and other top secret government stuff. So, of course, this means the very attractive husband and wife team must jet around the world to track down the scientist that has been kidnapped by a group of mercenaries. Cue gratuitous shots of Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a bikini and Boris Kodjoe in an open shirt.

While it’s only the second episode in the series, it’s all feeling very samey and by-the-numbers so far, Samantha Bloom using her looks to seduce assets, Steven dropping witty observances over the comms system, and tech support guy Hoyt just getting in the way.

However, saying that, the show has made an interesting addition to the team by making ‘pilot plot device’ Leo Nash a permanent member of the team and cast member. Not only is it refreshing, as he’s arguably the funniest cast member, but his previous relationship with Samantha Bloom and his friendship with Steven makes for some amusing banter and scenes.

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I could go into detail about the episode’s plot (mercenaries planning on blowing up a summit with an explosive in a cell phone), but just like Chuck isn’t about the missions but about Chuck’s relationship with Sarah, his friends and his family, Undercovers isn’t about saving the world. It’s about making the leads as hot as possible while being as glib about the danger as possible.

For example, going to stop a bomb at a summit features a scene with the three leads stripping down to their underwear to get dressed in smart suits and dresses. There’s no real point to it, just like there’s never any point to the numerous scenes in Chuck where Yvonne Strahovski parades around in her lingerie, but it gives the audience what they want: pretty people in next to nothing.

The show does stand out for its exotic locals, even if they are all probably filmed on back lots or in and around LA. Pakistan, the West Indies and Spain are just three of the locales visited while the Blooms try and track down the mercenary team.

Apart from that, it’s business as usual, fistfights, defusing a bomb by wondering which wire to cut and foot chases. As I said last week, not particularly original, but at least it has fun getting there. The show won’t win over anyone who is expecting something new, but the latest episode does hint at secrets between the Blooms that could make things more interesting. However, there is the chance we’ll never see them, as the show is suffering from rather poor viewing figures, meaning that it could be cancelled in the near future.

Read our review of the series premiere here.