June 27, 2010

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "Inside" & "Scheherazade" Jobs

Week two of Leverage's third season started off really strong, but lost some steam towards the end of the two-hours. A weak episode of Leverage is still a great bit of TV, so I'm not really complaining, but I am starting to question where they are taking this new season, especially after this week's second episode.

"The Inside Job"
Hour 1 was all about learning a little more about Parker by getting to see how she became who she is today. We all knew that she had a rough upbringing, but we really don't know what happened after she blew up her house until tonight. We had the chance to meet Parker's mentor, Archie Leach (played by James Chamberlain). Thanks to Leach, Parker got stuck in a corporate high-rise with an unbeatable security system so of course the Leverage team was determined to bail her out.

While trying to rescue Parker, the Crew learned that the company she was stealing from is planning on wiping out the country's wheat supply in order to force people to use their own brand of super-wheat which would result in billions of dollars. It's Parker of all people who decides to finish the job and to expose the company's plan.

Parker's backstory, meeting her mentor, and this week's mark were all great, but what really made this episode wonderful were the little moments shared by the Crew. Nate stepped in as Parker's new father figure and mentor, we see that she trusts Hardison the most, and this group of misfits are truly becoming a family. Oh yeah, and we got some awesome Parker/Eliot moments which are always worth a couple of laughs:
Parker: "What's sexting?"
Eliot: "I am not having this conversation with you, Parker."
Pretty great stuff.

"The Scheherazade Job"
The political subplot, the Crew has to expose the heir apparent to the presidency of a small African country, was interesting enough, but the plot started to go off track pretty quickly. I love these characters, but it's getting harder and harder to believe that they can literally do anything in order to pull of a con. I can believe that Hardison played the violin as a kid, but to go from zero practice to flawless due to some hypnosis was a little hard to swallow. Let's not forget they were able to stop a political coup in a few days.

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect Leverage to be believable because it is light-hearted, crazy, fun, but even I have my limits when it comes to suspending disbelief. Again, I love the Crew, but they need to face a real challenge and some real danger, and I'm thinking we'll be getting some of both later this season.

Also, the very end of "Scheherazade" just left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand was Nate trying to make a point to Hardison that he's not ready to run his own crew, but the way he did it was not cool. Yes, I get it that Nate wanted to drive home his lesson, but they don't trust him as it is, and this team cannot function if they cannot believe in him. Nate needs to make amends, not widen the rift. It's even harder to swallow when we know Nate's been grooming Hardison since season one, and this heavy-handed message was a punch to the gut.

So, we got some great Parker and Hardison episodes this week, and it's awesome that we're getting to know more and more about these characters, but we need to get to Nate's redemption and his earning of the team's trust soon or this is going to be a tough season to watch. Oh, and we need more Eliot-centric episodes ASAP or he'll become a one-dimensional character pretty fast.


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