Monday, October 11, 2010

Take Three: Undercovers

Undercovers: Season 1, Episode 3 “Devices” (B+)

I’ve read some unfavorable things about this show, including a Television Without Pity piece implicating Ben Hoyt as one of TV’s most obnoxious characters, and I can’t really understand why. It’s fair to argue that this show might not be as focused on depth and believable plotting as others, but that’s not the point. A friend of mine compared it to “Chuck” (in a less than positive way, of course), and I think it’s an appropriate to posit it next to since it’s just as entertaining and action-packed, making each hour feel enormously fulfilling and jammed with plenty of excitement and thrills. Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw also make a great case for the hottest couple on TV, both skilled at the comedy and the action scenes in addition to creating a decently believable husband and wife duo. It’s also not always like “Nikita,” where every episode now finds the titular heroine rescuing some poor target who desperately needs their help. In this episode, the kidnapping victim just wants to eat jelly beans, and he’s willing to do whatever codebreaking he needs to in order to get a new handful. I will concede that it took Steven and Samantha way too long to discern that the codebreaker was actually a person, and Carlton’s refusal to believe it almost puts him into the category of obnoxious TV cop bosses who can’t possibly do their job adequately. Fortunately, Carlton’s dry demeanor and ability to break into his agents’ home using nothing more than a pen (I believe that was his weapon of choice) makes up for it, as does his decision to eat (and then criticize) Steven’s breakfast.

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