There's a formula for a biological weapon which has been hidden in a painting at an art auction in Italy. A notorious and enigmatic bio-arms dealer by the name of Xerxes is suspected to be using this whole auction as a machination to securely acquire the formula. The auction is so exclusive that the only believable way for it to be infiltrated by our favorite operatives is for Samantha to assume a past alias as the wife of a British field agent named Clive. Clive Owen!? Not quite.
The problem with all of this is Steven knows Clive. Hates the guy. That hate is probably amplified by the fact Steven has to play background on this mission with Hoyt while this guy cozies up with Sam. To top it off, Hoyt falls for Clive's beautiful blonde partner Tessa and starts talking Steven's ear off about her while Clive starts telling Samantha about Steven's past. Turns out Steven dropped out of an elite training program for the CIA. At this point, you're like, "So? He obviously became a CIA agent anyway," and I totally agree with you.
Once settled at the site of the auction, the plan is to forge a counterfeit of the painting that has the formula and replace it so that the formula never falls into the hands of Xerxes and they can capture him when he makes the purchase. The plan naturally does not unfold as intended. Hoyt and Steven get captured while trying to make the swap of the painting and are driven off-site to be executed. They escape death in time to make it back to the auction and tail the guy who made the purchase until he explodes. Yeah, the guy is blown up by Xerxes, and it's every bit as ridiculous as the idea of a foot chase ending with a person blowing up. Clive goes MIA during all of this, which leads them to suspect Clive is Xerxes, but Samantha finds him with a gunshot wound after an encounter with Tessa, who turns out to be Xerxes and has escaped.
Steven, Sam and Hoyt track Tessa/Xerxes to Hong Kong. Hoyt's so pissed off that he almost maybe would've tried to give his heart to this girl that he insists he take point on capturing her. They chase her on foot through back alleys until Hoyt cuts her off and clubs her with a pole. Textbook espionage. He makes sure as he detains her that she's aware of the romantic life with him she threw away to be a no-good, lying, international terrorist. Scratch that -- a no-good, lying, lucky, international terrorist.
Steven reveals to Samantha what the story about him being kicked out of that special training unit was all about. He had hacked into the CIA database to get the name of a girl he saw there, was ratted out by Clive and subsequently kicked out. Turns out the girl was Samantha. Aww... that's so sweeTUPID! The best secret past we're going to get is the story of the first time Steven saw Samantha? Balls. Big, retarded, testicular torsion balls.
"The Australian Outback" is the caption for our establishing shot of a deserted landscape. A small bus drives toward us from the horizon down an empty highway with that cliché, wavy heat effect, "Aussie Excursions" emblazoned on the sides. A twitchy and nervous guy sits in the back of the bus among excited tourists. After some suspicious eye darting, Nervous Guy inconspicuously pulls out a gasmask and straps it on. He then pulls out what looks like a smoke grenade, arms it and tosses it up the aisle. It lets out a toxic gas which knocks everyone, but the driver, who should've had the most time to react since he was furthest away from the origin of the gas makes sure to swerve the bus out of control for a while instead of immediately pulling over like any sane person would do. The bus finally comes to a stop. Nervous Guy gets down, pulls out a cell phone to let a mystery person on the other end know that his creation worked. All of the passengers are dead. What we just witnessed could've been the most effective anti-flatulence medication commercial in history, but instead it's another ho-hum setup for a device or weapon our Undercovers will surely bumble their way to recovering.
Bloom Catering. Big Chef Charlie stands with pause over a pot of boiling water with live lobsters in his hands. Lance is being decidedly less stereotypically gay than in his big coming out party and tells Charlie to just do it quickly like a Band-Aid. There's a woman cook with the two men who is asked by Steven when he enters where he can find Samantha since they have a meeting with Shaw.
Sam's in a storage room with Lizzy talking about a guy she's hesitant to date because he's a drummer for some band that's really big in Eastern Europe. Her anticipatory anxiety won't let her risk falling for someone who can become famous and leave her behind. I'm not sure what she's worried about; she could definitely be reality TV material. Steven enters to remind Sam about their meeting with Shaw who is as irritated as usual when they meet him. He's ready with photographs of the victims of the bus poisoning in Australia. Evidence at the apartment of Nervous Guy shows that he plans to sell the toxin to an infamous and elusive weapons dealer named Xerxes. The CIA suspects the formula will be transferred by being printed underneath a painting which will be auctioned off in Tuscany. The auction will be too exclusive for the Blooms to infiltrate together. They will be operating in conjunction with MI-6 with Samantha resuming her old cover as Amanda Yorn, the fake wife of Agent Clive Garrity. Steven balks at the mention of Garrity. He makes it clear that he does not like the guy at all. Shaw sits back bemused at Samantha's disbelief that Steven could dislike as charming a guy as Clive. Steven to Shaw: "She's married, so what's my cover?" Shaw just laughs.