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.
Tuscany postcard. Steven is visibly irritated as he and Hoyt sell their cover as valets at a swanky hotel/resort. Clive and Sam pull up in a fancy car and it becomes immediately obvious why Steven hates the guy. He's wearing an ascot. An ascot! Also, he's pretty douchetastic, really relishing the entitlement of his cover. However, the guy seems genuinely happy to see Steven, so he can't be all that bad. Can he?
Somewhere else outdoors at the resort we find ourselves at the check-in area for the auction, where Nervous Guy drops off his painting containing the formula. He turns and calls Xerxes to let him know it's been dropped off. He drives off in a black van and rocks out to some tunes until he encounters an empty car parked across the middle of the road. Nervous Guy gets out to investigate. There's nobody around, so he goes back to his van and runs into a guy who looks like Donald Trump who shoots him with a silenced handgun. Now we know why he was so nervous. He's been gun fired.
24-karat title card. Commercials.
Steven brings Clive his stuff and tries to lay down ground rules about how the weekend with Samantha should go, but Samantha walks in from the balcony to cut off the aggression. Clive's about to reveal parts of the Blooms' pasts to each other, but they let him in on their pesky, little secrecy pact. He finds it charming. Steven just wants to get on with things, but Clive says they're waiting on Tessa. Tessa?
Out in the hallway, Hoyt arrives at the hotel door at the same time as a blonde woman dressed as a French maid. This is Tessa, Clive's partner, and Hoyt is instantly in love with her and all awkward about it.
All of the operatives gather in the hotel room to discuss the plan. It's simple, really. Just find out which painting is the one containing the formula by finding forged entry documents, swap the painting with a forgery and arrest Xerxes when he makes the purchase. They can achieve step one of this plan by accessing the auction director's computer. Hoyt has a device which will scramble the surveillance video feed temporarily so it won't draw the full suspicion of a blackout. He shows it off to Tessa and gets a chuckle out of her for his intentional pun of the surveillance system being "state of the art." Tessa's easy.
At the reception before the auction, Sam talks to an older couple. The man in the couple keeps staring obviously at Samantha's cleavage. If this were a cartoon, his eyes would be bugging out of his head and his tongue would be unraveling onto the ground. When Sam sees that Clive has gathered his intel, she offers her business card to the couple, intentionally dropping it so she can spike the man's drink with Flurazepam. When the guy finishes his drink, he has a mild heart scare, which causes enough of a scene to move security from the entrance to the main building. While everyone freaks out, Steven scrambles surveillance so Sam and Clive can get in.
As Samantha and Clive make their way into the building, Clive starts asking Sam if she really knows nothing about Steven's life. They make their way into the director's office and sit behind her desk as they hack into her iMac. Clive claims Steven was bounced out of CIA training. Hoyt overhears this and starts defending his idol to his love, Tessa, which prompts Steven to ask what the conversation is about. He demands of Hoyt access to Sam and Clive's channel and Hoyt dutifully obliges. Steven overhears Samantha asking questions about Clive's claim and butts in to the conversation. Everyone's eyes go wide, Hoyt freaks and tries to switch back to exclusive channels, but accidentally taps them all into the perimeter security channel. The guards all go on alert and head to the surveillance room. The video feed for the office is the only one down so they know the disturbance must be in there. Naturally, the guards arrive in time for an empty office. Sam and Clive are hiding in an air vent in the floor.
Steven comes to get Clive and Sam out of the vent... well, Sam at least. Clive gets left behind so Sam and Steven can argue about what was going on with that conversation. Steven digs into Samantha for buying into Clive's agenda and going back on their agreement to not ask questions about each other's past. In the process, Steven lets it slip that he ordered Hoyt to let him in on their comm channel, which lets Sam know Steven didn't trust her. Clive catches up with the Blooms and suggests Sam tell Steven something about her past to even up the score. Steven walks away and Sam gives Clive a dirty look.
Nightfall at the hotel. Hoyt cross-checks all the submitted artwork with the files Samantha and Clive were able to retrieve from the director's office computer. He finds that the painting "Decima" is the one that does not belong on the list. He excitedly goes to tell Tessa his findings and instead finds her on the phone with someone, giving out numbers. Not suspicious at all. Hoyt walks in and she starts acting all jumpy and overexplainy. Again, not suspicious at all. He shows her the painting and she immediately recognizes the name