Undercovers Review: "Instructions"

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The second episode of Undercovers followed pretty much the same formula as the pilot: a bad guy does something horrible, the Blooms are activated, they chase down some leads, share some fairly witty banter, kick a little tail, get the bad guy, then retire to their bedroom for a little kiss'n'cuddle... all the while looking smashing in the process.

But is this all there is to this show? I want some real intrigue, shocking reveals and a cliffhanger. Is that too much to ask?

Undercovers Characters

I know "Instructions" was only the second episode and it takes some time to build your characters, but let's face it: given the fact that the axe has already started dropping this season, freshman shows with high expectations shouldn't dawdle about.

I get J.J. Abrams and company are taking the anti-Alias approach in an attempt to make it more accessible to casual viewers, as well as rerun-friendly, but do you really have to dull things down to achieve that?

The big twist that Kruger really was the mastermind wasn't too surprising.  You see that sort of thing on Law & Boredom every week. The one glimmer of hope that there is more life to breathe into this series came when Leo made reference to the "real reason" Steven left the agency, something of which Samantha doesn't seem to be aware. If that doesn't pan out into something interesting, I'll be sorely disappointed.

I also got a kick out of Samantha deciding to clip the black wire, as all I could think of was Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57 saying "Always bet on black."

I really want to love this show. I'm not giving up on it yet, but thus far, the only thing it really has going for it is the Abrams pedigree - which is beginning to show some wear - and the charm of the cast. Oh, and it's got plenty of charm to spare. Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are so captivating and gorgeous that it almost makes me forget about the vapid plot. And I really like Carter MacIntyre as Leo.  His egocentric charisma is bewitching.

In fact, the second half of the episode was significantly more entertaining, and I attribute much of that to Leo's presence. The back and forth and back again between he and the Blooms added some fire to the generally bromidic proceedings that I readily welcomed. The scene with the three stripping down and putting on fancy duds to infiltrate the summit fogged up the TV screen.

Run, Steven!

Hoyt was far less of an irritant this week, and I did enjoy he and Samantha going off together to hunt down the Seidel boys.  Hoyt actually showed some prowess as a spy, which was good to see, and his attempts to be cool during the interrogation of Kruger were amusing.  But the man-crush on Steven shtick has gone from slightly annoying to simply old. No way would any guy actually believe that when Steven calls his wife "sweetie" that it might actually have been directed to him.  That's not funny, that's just stupid.

I'm beginning to wonder if Shaw's character is meant to reflect audience response, since he pretty much said what I was thinking when he expressed his disdain for the Bloom's constant "simultaneous yammering."  I hope so because maybe he can find a way to give the story more weight. I like Shaw, he's a great foil for the Blooms, yet shares too little screen time with them for my taste.

There were moments this week when it seemed as if Undercovers wanted to break out into something extraordinary, which made it all the more frustrating to watch.  Unfortunately, so far it appears to be nothing more than a sexy procedural masquerading under the guise of an espionage adventure. Not to say it's not a perfectly fine and fairly enjoyable way to spend an hour. But it simply doesn't supply enough of what I want from a spy dramedy. Here's to hoping it picks up some steam in episode three.

** Browse through our collection of Undercovers quotes now!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
  • 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (7 Votes)

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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guys, i seriously think that Christian is on to simotheng, i first went to the website and saw the flashing letters on the official webpage inside of the camera lens, i couldn't decifer much but i did see kodak flash by. that got me to thinking, so i googled super 8 kodak' and got a whole bunch of results. then i realized that it was a camera film developed by kodak that ran from the 1960 s to the late 1970 s. then i googled some film shot in the super 8 film format and compared the two. the one from the website with the letters flashing on the screen, and the video shot in the super 8 format. the results were strikingly similar. at the beginning of the teaser it said that in 1979, the air force shut down a part of area 51. the date from the teaser and the timeframe of which the super 8 film format was used are too uncanny to be considered a coincidence. i also remembered what jj abrams did for the first cloverfield teaser. it never actually said Cloverfield , just 1-18-08 . then, i realized the answer to the question, What is Super 8? . it hit me like a nuclear bomb. i couldn't believe how simple it was. the answer is that Super 8 , isn't the title for the movie at all! its classic abrams. think back to cloverfield. 1-18-08 turned out to be a cover for the real movie's title, cloverfield. as it turns out, Super 8 is a geniously crafted false title to conceal the movie's true title. all the peices fit the puzzle

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This show is bland, bland, bland...if it wasn't JJ Abrams am sure it would have gone the way of My Generation by now!

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I did appreciate how they actually mentioned that their skills would be a bit rusty and they would be behind on the tech. I like SP enjoyed Leo's interaction in the second half a lot. Further I agree, if Hoyt will stop "fanboying" and just do his job, he would be a huge asset as he was awesome when he hit that guy with the car!.

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The previews for it, didn't really intrigue me. So I'm not that excited to see any episodes. It's almost the couple are too "clean". I kind of want to see them get a lil grimey/dirty not scared to get their pedicures messed up. Obviously, they're good looking actors which help, but at the end of the day I need more than that to keep watching a full season.