Friday, December 10, 2010

Undercovers: A Night to Forget (1.9)

This had all the ingredients for a great episode, but it never really came together. Leo has been the strongest character on the show so far, his recklessness and one-liners outshining the bland monotony of the Blooms, while he's played with humor and enthusiasm by Carter MacIntyre, the only actor on the show who really sparkles. It's about time he got an episode centered around him, especially as he's been so underused so far, but for whatever reason the Blooms took control midway through the episode. What began as a humorous Hangover-style comedy escapade quickly became a Bloom-heavy run of predictability.

Let's start with the good. I loved the opening scenes, Hoyt's infatuation with the dog and the revelation that Rodriguez's missing love was in fact that very dog and not the dead woman. I also thought the idea of the poison being cut into diamond shapes was interesting, likewise the visuals of the dead fish.

But Kaminsky was another underwhelming bad guy. It felt like an age since he first appeared in the teaser to when he resurfaced at the end. At the same time, the show's protagonists bother me. Week by week, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is starting to grate. She has the same tone for everything she says, it's like she can't do an American accent without that chipper whine behind it. Ugh. And the show needs to either stop implying various dirty deeds Sam and Steven were involved with pre-marriage, or drop it all together. Because it's at the point where it's just annoying.

Likewise, Lizzy is just plain unnecessary. Major Dad is equally as monotonous and ancillary, but at least he does serve some kind of purpose (as annoying as he is). She bugs, and I don't like the show pointing towards a Lizzy/Leo relationship. It's the series attempting to give her something to do away from frantic whining about responsibility and her past booze problem, and it doesn't feel right. It reminds me a little of that old Eliza Dushku series Tru Calling, where time-traveling jiggle-lady Tru Davies was saddled with an ex-junkie sister and a gambler brother. Both weren't organic or particularly necessary, it was just done because the show felt they needed to give her these 'issue'-saddled supporting characters. It's weak, and contrived, and way below J.J. Abrams.

I find it hard to write about this show, and I'm sure these reviews aren't particularly fun to read as a result. Parts are fine, parts are amusing, but Undercovers is rarely great. Personally, if I didn't know that there were only four episodes left, I would have checked out a while back. And I can see why everybody else did. Rating C

Guest stars Pascha Lychnikoff (Warner Kaminsky); Channon Roe (Larry Martin)
Writer Alex Katsnelson Director Frederick E.O. Toye

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