Undercovers: You’re a little too good at sexpionage

The first episode follows Steve and Samantha, retired agents who are re-activated in order to find a missing colleague. Now that the basic summary is out of the way…

Anyone else expect an explosion at the end of that opening chase scene? The best part of the moment was when the person being chased shoots a window to one side to divert the people chasing him and then went the other way. He probably would have gotten away if he hadn’t broken the glass to get inside.

Steve and Samantha are an instantly likable couple. It feels like we know them and they know each other extremely well. I like that they are a black couple on TV that the writers haven’t overemphasized their race. How often do they have a non-stereotypical black couple that doesn’t sound like they’ve come out of the ghetto on TV? I’m guessing the goal was to make them relate-able to a larger audience. I also like Samantha’s inept sister (especially the “are you feeding the dog?” asked while working to infiltrate the place where Leo is being held), I hope to see more of her.

When an agent shows up to reactivate the pair, Samantha asks the question that I find myself wondering “there must be active agents who haven’t been out of the field for five years who can help find Leo better than we can.” We don’t actually get an answer to the question which kind of annoys me since it’s a very valid point. Samantha being involved in the case years ago isn’t a good enough reason. Luckily the writers have anticipated this by later indicating that there is some secret reason about their reactivation.

We’re meant to think that there’s something missing in their marriage (“I can’t even remember the last time we danced”) but the truth is they seem like a great, if financially strapped, couple. (Even if they sleep at separate ends of the bed, which may just be because they’re thinking.) They even have a conversation about it near the end, but the truth is we don’t really see much to make me believe there’s been something off. If anything, it seems like they’ve got a great, if less exciting, life.

Ultimately they go back because it’s their friend missing (and Sam’s ex). Steve is apparently a legend. (Not much of one if she wasn’t aware of his awesomeness.) Do they become competitive/does she feel inferior because no one studied her case file in spy school? I imagine we’ll hear that she was pretty fantastic herself.

I much prefer Auggie as far as handlers go (though there is something cute in the way he idolizes Steve, making me think he’s rather green as a handler), but there’s something nice about having a pair of spies to work off of each other rather than alone like Annie Walker. I could also imagine them having issues working together and better with others (for example with Leo who they’re searching for), which could lead to entertaining drama. We do get some cute moments of them debating the best lock-pick.

Loving the gleeful way they run out of the bank after breaking in.

Boris Kodjoe (Steve) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Samantha) are fantastic. They pick up and drop accents easily and believably. Their chemistry is undeniable. And who else loves the fact that Samantha is fit, not skeletal? I can actually believe she’d be able to fight someone off or leap over a balcony. (Angelina Jolia, please take some lessons on what you should look like; rail thin is not believable for most of your roles.)

For a spy show, there is a surprisingly small amount of running and fighting involved. We get that chase scene in the beginning and then nothing until a half hour in. I like the emphasis being on them more than the action while still making sure we get some.

I would like to point out to all the cop and police shows that they’ve managed to make Samantha hot WITHOUT having her wear high heels. So much more realistic and practical than the women we tend to see on tv. I appreciate that small detail so immensely, as we come off a week of Beckett wearing heels in Castle and Annie always wearing heels when she shouldn’t be (those black and red ones are killer though–I hate wearing high heels and I would totally wear those).

Overall, I found it enjoyable. I didn’t have the issue with it that EW had, that it was too much fun and not enough else. I think it was a good lead in episode, with a bit of mystery (why are they being re-activated and given anything they want?), but I do agree that I hope (and expect, since it is JJ Abrams) there to be a bigger mythology coming at some point. I will agree that I’d like to see more of McCray, the guy who brought them back in. He’s the Casey (Chuck) of the show, but even more stoic and entertaining.


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