Mr. and Mrs. Smith Season One | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Season One)

Amazon Prime Video, February 1, 2024

Feb 02, 2024 Photography by David Lee/Prime Video Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share


For a shoot ‘em up, Mr. & Mrs. Smith sure is subtle. The Amazon Prime Video remake of the 2005 hit spy film boasts blazing guns, car chases, and stars Maya Erskine and Donald Glover wielding machetes on a mission strewn with both gore and gallows humor. Satisfying as all that action is, the eight-episode first season is most memorable as much for its dialogue as the captivating way those lines are delivered. The two leads, who a mysterious spy agency matches as spouses with licenses to kill, trade suspense and romance-building furtive glances. They nimbly talk over each other and smoothly finish each other’s sentences with chemistry that crackles louder than the bullets they load into the numerous guns hidden throughout their new home. Your hottest Tinder hookup will look tepid in comparison.

The first of many aptly-titled episodes, “First Date,” finds the soon to be renamed “John Smith” spy (Glover) agreeing to cut all personal ties, carry out missions for the strange agency, and report to a mysterious superior solely via text message. These deadly come through with an ironically upbeat greeting: “Hihi.” John is soon partnered with “Jane Smith” (Erskine). These early match-up scenes are eerily effective. They each go into an empty room, alone, with a screen and a camera. The questions they have to answer are on the screen. They look into the camera to give their answers. In the process, they reveal why they are dysfunctional enough to drop everything for a fake marriage with a fellow spy that will back them on their mission of the week. From that point on, it is literally ‘til death do them part– and they didn’t even need to swipe right. So thoughtfully written and executed is the satire here that viewers will ponder what dating app algorithms have wrought on romance.

Jane and John arrive at their agency-arranged, impeccably decorated New York brownstone and await their first assignment. From the moment they lock eyes, John is clearly smitten, and spends much of the premiere making hesitant advances at Jane. But her emotional guard is raised as if she’s already on a dangerous mission. Then those risky tasks begin. They deliver explosive packages, brave hypothermia in a knife fight at a luxury ski resort, and protect a key asset from assassins who rappel down a pristine Italian mountain range. The locations and sets are lavishly exotic, with backdrops rivaling any Bond film. The apartment interiors are primed for a high-end brand’s ad in a glossy magazine spread. Erskine and Glover look even better, sporting just-so fitted casual wear as they tote pistols and speed down winding European roads in luxury sedans.

But, both protagonists are far less glamorous than they appear. The danger of this job that they so recklessly signed up for ratchets up the sexual tension to a point where their spy alias marriage becomes a true romance. But not before they engage in a game of cat and mouse courtship, rifling through each others’ belongings and internet search histories to get a sense of who they’ll be both boarding and slaying targets with. Jane parries away John’s overtures, at least at first. But their brushes with death, and mutual competence in the face of that danger isn’t so much an aphrodisiac as a fast track to vulnerability and intimacy.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s layers are far more nuanced and provide a richer character study than any remake of a mediocre mid-aughts actioner needs to be. Glover and Erskine’s fans will have high expectations after the ground they broke on Atlanta and Pen15. This follow up project will prove to be no less enjoyable, even if it is more conventional and vying for a broader, thrill-and-romance seeking audience. The expert crafting of superficial pleasures, plus distinctive chemistry and heartfelt exchanges between its leads helps Mr. & Mrs. Smith hone in on an elusive target. (www.amazon.com/Mr-Mrs-Smith-Season-1)

Author rating: 7/10

Rate this show
Average reader rating: 5/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

There are no comments for this entry yet.