Relationship Goals with “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”

Donald Glover, Maya Erskine in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

I love spies. From James Bond to Charlie’s Angels, I’ve always wanted to be one. But spy movies never gave me enough character depth. Thankfully, Prime Video’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith satisfies my need with romantic nail-biting action scenes and relatable moments in awkward millennial relationships.

More POC Spy Couples, Please

Donald Glover, Maya Erskine in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Co-created by Donald Glover himself, this gem has the camera eye of Atlanta with corner angles and smooth transitions. The guest cast list is also impressive – from Sarah Paulson to Michaela Cohel, even Wagner Moura makes an appearance. The script is fantastic and the dialogue feels natural between Glover and Maya Erskine.

It’s the getting-to-know-each-other scenes between kill shots that really amplify the flirting between Jane (played by Maya Erskine) and John (played by Donald Glover). Even when their chemistry is tense, they give us permission to laugh with them. And suddenly, the jokes are done and the tension is back, making the flow of their chemistry so satisfying.

Even their first kiss is… different. But mid-mission, there’s no time to talk about it when they both miscalculate a cue and double dose a target with some truth serum. There are pockets of humor but you have to decide whether to laugh or keep up with the action of the next scene. Like the “if you barf, I barf” scene in episode two, where I also almost barfed too, with a cackling aftertaste.

Both partners use race to their advantage as they think on their feet to navigate new mission assignments. Taking back control of their own stereotypical narratives, Jane speaks Japanese in episode one to sneak into a play and John quickly pivots in episode two when he realizes he’s going to be the only Black guy at the fancy art auction and decides to go in as a caterer to have better eyes on the target.

Totally Spies, But Also Totally Insecure

Donald Glover, Maya Erskine in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Getting to know your assigned spouse while learning how to not die on assignment is a great ice breaker for any new relationship. Each episode of Mr. & Mrs. Smith explores some of the big steps in a new romantic partnership. From arguing over a mother-in-law during their first vacation trip, to farting for the first time in bed together, their super spy ways don’t erase the fact that they’re still human and this is the first time they’re establishing boundaries together.

Like the monumental relationship moment where they decide to share their locations with each other for the sake of the mission, only to realize what a big commitment that actually is. Or when they discuss the first “I love you,” making sure the high-risk situation didn’t prompt an adrenaline impulse, but a real confession. They finally begin to trust each other when their vulnerability shines through.

These firsts and flirty earpiece missions are great but the show’s realistic progression of a relationship emphasizes how even spies need couples therapy sometimes. With more serious tones towards the end, there are still pockets of humor as they each unravel their insecurities. And when the ultimate fear of commitment arises, (if you could upgrade your partner, would you?) a new spy couple insecurity is unlocked.

Classified: Redefining Romance

Donald Glover, Maya Erskine in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Mr. & Mrs. Smith reminds me what I now define as “romance” is building trust in a way where your partner quite literally has your back. Where secrets are shared (truth serum or not) and communication is the strongest Cupid arrow that can strike.

“We’re a team” is probably the second-most romantic line in this series because yes, please, sign me up for that. But we really reach the pinnacle when John realizes, “You really care about me” and Jane responds with “yeah, I really, really care about you.” Even I said “Uh oh” out loud. It’s the acceptance of knowing that life comes with ups and downs and even in the most traumatic moments, your bond can get stronger.

As their missions progress, new relationship questions arise. Jane’s jealousy drives her to do some unexpected and impulsive things, leading to a powerful pause from all the cool spy action. Excavating the worst parts of themselves at a campfire; realizing that spies or not, relationships are a choice; proving that choosing each other and deeply understanding each other is the most romantic thing they can do.

But it’s the final episode with the nod to one of their first bonding moments that brings to life a cat-and-mouse chase to ring in their new mission. Don’t worry, we still get that epic Smith house gunfight battle, but with all the momentum and character development leading up to it, this scene is so much more satisfying. I still want more. Even if season two gives us new Smiths, I’m ready for more realistic, spy romance.

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