|In Short:||The Blooms set out to recover a missing pilot who was carrying a top-secret weapon, and things get complicated. Meanwhile, Lizzy does stuff.|
|BLOOMS:||There's still a lot of unanswered questions here, Shaw.|
|SHAW:||That's the beauty of life, Agents Bloom. Not every question has an answer.|
It's weird doing reviews for a show that has already been cancelled. It's kind of like walking up to someone on Death Row and insulting their haircut. But the show continues on, like a zombie, and it's my duty to sally forth. So here we go!
The episode begins with a really unnecessary close-up of surgery on an Air Force pilot's neck. Because no one is eating dinner at 8pm on Wednesday? It wasn't as gory as it could have been, but regardless. Not the way I'd want to start a show. The pilot wakes up and heads out on a top-secret mission with no memory of the surgery that happened the night before.
Meanwhile, the Blooms have a difficult catering job. I'll just get this story out of the way entirely right now. Samantha knows the client is a bitch, but it's tradition to do the woman's annual party, so she suffers through it. This year, Lizzy has to handle it. The client is a bitch and changes the entire order twice at the last minute, so Lizzy finally screams at her. As a normal human being would in that situation. The bitch, however, fires Bloom Catering and will never hire them again. So when the Blooms return, Samantha is...happy they don't have to work for the bitch anymore. Kind of overjoyed at the prospect, in fact. So the entire tradition and needing the money went out the window for no real reason. I've come to expect nothing less from this show.
Now that that's out of the way, the main plot.
Shaw arrives with another mission: The pilot from the opening scene -- Colonel Joseph Korman -- flew out of Turkey with a top-secret weapon and hasn't been heard from since. He was supposed to fly a stealth jet to deliver the weapon, but he went off course and disappeared without a trace over Chechnya. The mission is to find out if Korman is alive, keep the stealth technology out of the hands of Chechnyan (Chechen? I've heard it both ways) rebels, and retrieve the cargo: a highly classified fuel/air explosive device (FAE bomb) that the US can't even admit to having developed.
Shaw is sending the Blooms because Stephen has experience with this kind of mission in the Balkans, and Samantha is there because she DID STUFF SHE CAN'T TALK ABOUT. Remember the Red Light I talked about in my last review, indicating when they drop a "this will be important" anvil? Well, Samantha did some mission SHE CAN'T TALK ABOUT. I don't know why the Blooms make such a big deal about not discussing past missions. They always cave and spill "just this once" by the end. Just end the dance already, guys.
The Blooms team up with Hoyt again, and again Leo has dropped off the face of the series. Hoyt has a way of tracking the plane, and they'll have a local guide to escort them through the roughest part of the country. Things go well for round about a minute until his mine-sniffing rat (easily the cutest thing in the episode... it had a leash and a little harness) failed and they both got blown up. This series has the most potent explosions. Victims just disappear in a puff of smoke. Who needs nuclear devices or FAE bombs when people disintegrate so easily? I think these villains buy their explosives from the ACME Corporation.
They manage to escape the mine field because Samantha knows which bushes are old enough to predate the Russian invasion and therefore couldn't have mines under them. So they jump from bush to bush. Seriously. They find the plane, but Korman and the FAE are missing. So they burn the plane and follow the most-likely path Korman would have taken to a small village. They find a villager wearing Korman's IWC pilot's watch and follow him to the barn where Korman is hiding out.
Korman doesn't remember why he went off-course or how he was shot down in a stealth plane. Before the Blooms can dig further, Chechen rebels show up. The Blooms and Korman are taken hostage, but Hoyt was outside reporting to Shaw and escapes with just a gunshot wound to the arm. Apparently it hit him in the hero bone, because he goes all James Bond reporting the incident and then heading after the Blooms. Bill Hoyt, superspy.
Korman hands over the FAE, and the Blooms debate whether he's a traitor or brainwashed. Samantha saw a welt on his neck, but Stephen thinks it was just a gland. While they're tied up, Samantha reveals the THING SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT. She was on a mission where she saw "horrible things" and couldn't do anything without blowing her cover. Then she was compromised and taken prisoner. And she was told that she would be tortured, but not actually tortured. If you watch Burn Notice, you know this is an effective interrogation tool. Maybe she was caught by Michael Westen and Sam Axe. Fortunately she escaped by throwing some "chemicals she found in a closet" in the bad guy's face and getting away. I don't care who the villain is, no one is stupid enough to imprison a foreign spy in a room where there's a closet full of chemicals. That's seriously her escape story. She might as well have said she picked up the AK-47 that was propped in the corner of the cell and shot her way to freedom.
While we're on the subject, the Blooms have all these deep, dark stories from their past missions... and since they've been back every mission is like the Disney version of James Bond. I don't expect high international intrigue every week, but it seems kind of lopsided that they went from "I was traumatized for life, I can't talk about it" to run-of-the-mill type missions. I'm sure it's just a writing failure, but it still gnaws at me a bit.
Hoyt catches up to the Blooms and overhears Korman giving the FAE remote activator to the Chechen leader. The Blooms escape by using each other as a weapon; Stephen swings Samantha around so she can kick the bad guys. It's an awesome move, and it was even more awesome when I saw it on Chuck last year. It was better-lit on Chuck, and better executed. Hoyt spots the Blooms and knocks out a guard with a rock so they won't be discovered. Once again with the badass Hoyt. I'm actually liking that. Gives him a reason to be in the field.
They attach the locator beacon to the Hummer with the FAE bomb, and Samantha follows Korman. Before she can get to him, a masked man knocks Korman out, checks the welt on his neck, and then executes him. The masked man spots Samantha watching, but he doesn't shoot her. Before he runs away Samantha sees a Y-shaped scar on his right hand, just above the thumb. Getting this out of the way: It's Shaw. The masked man was an older guy, Shaw has secrets, he didn't kill Samantha, it just makes sense that it's him. Not that the show bothered to even tease us with that little reveal. No, they're still dragging out the revelations. Oh, JJ, when will you ever learn?
The Blooms track the FAE bomb to the wedding of the Russian deputy prime minister. The Blooms go undercover as... caterers! How about that! Using something from their normal life to help with the work. They never do that! Once in the party, Samantha realizes the FAE bomb is inside the five-tier wedding cake because of a Russian superstition that wedding cakes are only supposed to have three tiers. And every single Russian at the wedding was supposed to ignore that fact? The Chechen was trying to fool the Russians, not the Blooms (he thought they were dead), so even if he was banking on the fact that the Americans wouldn't notice, the deputy prime minister's security should have found it highly suspicious.
And why did it need five tiers anyway? The bomb was small enough to fit inside one tier, so he could have planted it inside of one of the three already-present tiers without drawing any attention to himself whatsoever. Adding two more tiers on top of it just to hide your bomb is just being idiotic. This show is so sloppy it makes me sad sometimes.
The Blooms get the bomb, but they can't disarm it. Another moment of sloppiness... Hoyt asks the Chechen how to disarm the bomb he stole from the US government. He says he doesn't know because he didn't make it. Sensible right? So the Blooms grab a convenient helicopter and fly toward the ocean to drop the bomb off. On the way, Samantha digs into the bomb and finds an altimeter with a safety mechanism, meaning the bomb won't detonate above 3000 feet. So they lift the helicopter and stop the clock with thirteen seconds left. Nice to not take it down to the one second mark. Props for that. The bomb stops until they reach the ocean, and Samantha drops the bomb out. All's well that ends well.
Shaw actually compliments everyone on a good job and manages not to gag when he says it. Samantha asks about the masked man she saw, and Shaw waves it off as Russian agents. His body language is less than subtle. IT WAS SHAW. Samantha doesn't buy the Russian story, and Stephen says there are a lot of unanswered questions. Shaw blows off their concern and walks out.
Later in bed, Samantha and Stephen talk about how something still isn't right. Shaw, meanwhile, talks to someone on the phone about how the Blooms are asking a lot of questions. He's not sure how long he can stall them. Shaw asks if there's anything he needs to know that can help him, and the Mystery Phone Man who sounds strangely like Gordon Pinsent says he'll tell Shaw what he needs to know and when he needs to know it. Shaw looks perturbed.
One step closer to the end of the series. I wish I could say that there was a glimmer of hope, a sign that they were just getting started. That the mysteries were building and becoming stronger and that the ongoing plot of why the Blooms were really reactivated was starting to peak. But sadly anything "ongoing" is used like the character of Leo: just a set piece brought out as necessary and then dumped once their purpose has been served. It's sloppy, and by eight episodes they should have definitely either explored the storyline further, moved it further along, or just addressed it and moved on. There's only so much mileage you can get from Shaw talking on a cell phone and looking perturbed.
As far as I know, we're down to two episodes remaining for the show. I'm not positive, but I think that Terriers first season is going to end on the same night as Undercovers, which would just be a complete irony. A sloppy mess of a show coming to an end while a brilliantly conceived and executed show might go to the same way because of low ratings (and if you think Undercovers has bad ratings...). The nature of the TV beast. Good or bad, it doesn't mean anything if you don't have the ratings (it just hurts so much more when it happens to someone good).
See you all next week! Then apparently Undercovers is taking a break, and then it'll be the series finale. Bring your popcorn!
-- Geonn Cannon