On “Undercovers”: A picture-perfect, young married couple has their own catering company together. What a novel concept. This could be a quaint little show. Never mind that odd chase and shootout scene across rooftops in Paris to start this episode. What was that about? That must’ve been some television show the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Bloom were watching before they got back to preparing food in their cozy catering business, right?
Moving on, it seems like there’s trouble brewing in the kitchen between the happily bantering couple and their staff. Samantha Bloom (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has been overpaying her employees, her husband Steven (Boris Kodjoe) points out. It’s hard not to over-compensate hardworking culinary experts, Samantha; don’t sweat it. But on top of that, there’s been a slight misunderstanding between Sam and her sister Lizzy (Mekia Cox) over the spread for a wedding where one of the parties is an Orthodox Jew. Lizzy has OK’d pork. Oh no! This one’s going to be a sticky mess to get out of.
Now that we have our conflict, let’s meet some more of the interesting characters we’ll be spending a lot of time with. Before Lizzy and the Blooms can tackle their catering conflicts, an older man shows up at their door by the name of Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney). He’s all gruff and business. (He must be one of their regular catering clients who is always causing trouble.) Shaw asks to speak with Samantha and Steven in private to offer them a job and begins implying he knows exactly who these people are. We’ve only spent five minutes with these two, and we think it’s safe to say we all know exactly who they are, Shaw. They’re the hottest couple to hit the catering industry since sliced bread and butter, that’s who.
Mr. Shaw plops a file folder down in front of the Blooms to tell them the guy that was being chased through Paris is missing and… WAIT. That was real?! Carlton Shaw is a CIA agent and the Blooms are retired agents, five years removed. Whaaa?! Well… our dreams of a fictional, clever culinary couple show have been dashed. Shaw puts on a guilt trip when grudgingly fulfilling his duty to try and recruit Sam and Steven to track down the missing Agent Leo Nash, which festers in their minds the rest of the night along with their shared realization of romantic stagnation until they both separately seek out Shaw to accept the assignment — first discussing it, as any married couple would, in terms of, “Can we do this?” They decide they can and have Shaw’s full cooperation and resources at their disposal. Here we go.
The Undercovers Couple’s adventure takes them first to Madrid, Spain where they meet their sycophantic errand boy, Bill (Ben Schwartz), who helps them infiltrate a bank so they can hack into an ATM surveillance camera to get a clue about who Agent Nash was in contact with before his disappearance. Footage reveals the logo of a nearby dry cleaners.
The Blooms break in and turn up info about a suit which needs to be ready for the wedding of the Spanish Defense Minister’s daughter. They can’t just walk into something like that, so, of course, they parachute onto the grounds of the wedding reception and work their way into the crowd, looking for a guy in blue pinstripes. They find him and identify him as Claudio Vega, a known weapons trafficker. Sam puts the moves on him to pry him away from his cell phone so she can plant a bug on it to download data from the device. “Sexpionage,” she calls it. We thought we hated the word “sexting.”
Meanwhile, Agent Nash is being tortured. During his chase at the Paris hotel, he stashed away a little toy robot USB thumbdrive, [Editor’s Note: Not so coincidentally reminiscent of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company mascot/logo] which had sensitive information, but he offers up documents little by little to the henchmen of Alexander Slotsky, claiming he wants out of the CIA. Schlotzsky’s is the quintessential bad guy of the proceedings, and the guy Nash was supposed to be trying to capture before he was captured himself.
After searching through the data mined from Vega’s phone, the Blooms find a phone call in which Leo Nash is offering up government documents to his captors, which doesn’t help Steven’s suspicion that Nash is a traitor. You know what else doesn’t help that? Turns out Nash is Samantha’s ex-boyfriend. Oh, snaps. It’s really hard to convince any man that your exes weren’t traitors and terrorists under the best of circumstances.
Bill is able to help triangulate Nash’s coordinates when he made the phone call, which leads the investigation to Paris and then eventually to Moscow, where Nash is being held captive. The Blooms infiltrate Schlotzsky’s hideout and rescue Nash. The only problem is Leo was trying to draw in Schlotzsky’s by pretending to be a traitor, and he was moments away from capturing the guy. Steven and Leo shoot their way out of the hideout, even evading a guy with a rocket launcher and three (!) rockets, while Sam pursues Schlotzky’s in a car chase. How does she capture him? By blowing up his car with a rocket launcher. Don’t use up your rocket allotment in the pilot, guys, please.
Returning stateside, The Undercovers deliver Leo Nash and Alexander Slotsky to the CIA. Shaw reluctantly is impressed and even more reluctantly he offers the Blooms their old jobs back permanently on any terms they wish. They accept under the terms they get to keep their catering business as a front and have all of the same access to the resources they had for this mission. That’s J.J. Abrams’ way of saying to you the viewer, “If you liked what you saw tonight, stay tuned. There’s more where that came from.” With the excitement back in their lives, Steven and Samantha go home and get it on. Sexpionage: Are your teens doing it?
Photo credit: NBC