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October 10, 2015

'Undercovers' Season 1, Episode 5 Recap (VIDEO)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 21st 2010 12:15AM
Undercovers['Undercovers' - 'Not Without My Daughter']

So NBC ordered an additional four episodes of 'Undercovers.' When I first heard that news, I have to admit that my first thought was "why?" I don't know if J.J. Abrams and company have laid out where the show is going for NBC or if other shows on the schedule are worse or if the midseason shows that the network has just aren't promising. Whatever the answer, more 'Undercovers' is coming.

And I have to admit the show is beginning to grow on me. That doesn't mean that it's must-see or even very good, but it's an OK way to kill an hour. It just needs a lot of work.

Am I wrong to think that a spy wouldn't stop in the middle of an important mission to find a kidnapped girl in North Korea to talk to her husband about how she feels about living the double life of a spy and a caterer, and how it's affecting her relationship with her sister -- and whether that sister will trust her in the future?

That's partly what I was talking about a couple of weeks ago, about how the marriage/family stuff sometimes gets in the way of the spy stuff. And that's a problem, since the show is kinda based on that, two married spies having another life, but also getting back into the espionage* biz. It's not that it can't be done, it's just that it really sticks out when it's not done that well. And in tonight's episode, it just seemed out of place and whiny.

I'm going to assume that there will be an episode where the sister (or someone else) finds out about the spy stuff and their lives are put in danger. They haven't really dwelled on that though. We haven't had too many scenes where the sister finds paperwork or overhears a conversation about missions and is confused, and then confronts Steven and Sam, but one has to be coming.

It's funny how all spy shows, whether it's this show or 'Alias' or 'Covert Affairs' or 'Chuck,' have the heroes keeping their spy life secret from loved ones. I think one of the reasons I loved 'Alias' and love 'Chuck' so much is that the story and the characters changed and grew and learned new things about one another, which took the plots and the shows in a different direction. So far the episodes on 'Undercovers' are all self-contained and I don't sense that happening, though I hope I'm wrong.

If they are going to include a lot of the marriage stuff, then they really have to tie it in with why Steven and Sam left the agency. They're both keeping the reason why from each other and only Hoyt seems to know. I'd also like to hear more about why Shaw (and whoever he's talking to on the phone all the time) brought them back for missions. Of course, I'm sure we're going to get a lot more of that plot as the season goes on, and those four additional episodes might give them time to put more meat on these bones.

But it was an OK episode. Yes, I do realize that I keep calling this show "OK," and that's not the highest compliment that you can pay a show, but it is getting better, so that's something. This episode even introduced a rival husband and wife team from France that could cause problems for Steven and Sam down the road. Sure, they were captured at the end but they're alive and could easily escape. They're spies, after all.

More thoughts:

• Did they establish that Lizzy was an alcoholic earlier in the series? That seemed to come out of nowhere, unless I missed it.

• That was an awfully large button on the device, wasn't it? Especially for something you shouldn't press. It could have been set off by just dropping the thing.

• Did the scientist's daughter write the word on the floor and cover it up with the rice? That seems like a rather shaky way to give a clue to people you're not even sure are going to show up.

• A couple of episodes have had some gun play and actual deaths, but more often than not, the bad guys are just knocked out or arrested. This seems like an unrealistic way to go, and just adds to that feeling of "fluff" that the show can often drift into. I want more 'Alias,' less 'A-Team.'

*And no, I'm not going to use the word "sexpionage."

'Undercovers' airs Wednesdays at 8PM ET on NBC.

[Follow Bob on Twitter.]

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You know like someone posted above, I "watch" this show because there really isn't anything else on during the time slot. So last night I catch the first five minutes or so - the set up for the ep, if you will - and then I got distracted with something else in another room. I came back about seven minutes before it ended and I swear it didn't matter that I had missed all the stuff in between. That's part of the problem with this show, the opening and ending sequences are the most entertaining parts. You really don't need to know what went on in the middle. You don't need to know the details about the guest characters or the regular characters. It doesn't matter. That's bad. I'll be switching to "Human Target" as well come November.

October 21 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guess I just missed it. Thanks.

October 21 2010 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the bit about the sister being a recovering alcoholic has been mentioned in passing in the last couple of episodes. if i recall right, last ep, the husband openly wondered if the sis hadn't fallen off the wagon again.

October 21 2010 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the announcement read that NBC merely ordered 4 more scripts, not actual episodes. Did something change?

Yeah I wondered where that alcoholism story came from too.

I keep wondering what's with Gerald McRaney's character. I liked his acting in his previous series, but his character here is sometimes wooden, sometimes corny. Maybe they told him they wanted his Marine Corps character from "Major Dad", but it doesn't fit in this show.

I agree that overall this is just an OK series so far. We watch it simply because there's nothing else on. When Fox puts "Human Target" on in this time slot next month, we're switching to it.

October 21 2010 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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