July 10, 2011

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The 15 Minutes Job"

After an episode that veered away from the typical Job of the Week format, "The 15 Minutes Job" was back to form, but it still built off some of the character moments that we got glimpses of last week.

This week's mark was Reed Rockwell; a public relations consultant who made his name by bringing down high-profile people through blackmail and fabricating scandals. Unfortunately for Mr. Rockwell, one of his victims was an old friend of Nate's, so the Leverage Crew decided to give him a taste of his own medicine.

At first, the Crew couldn't pin any dirty laundry on Rockwell because of his ability to scrub away such details. In order to make the con work, they decided to take Rockwell out of the shadows and front and center so he could have a public profile for them to dirty up. The Crew tried to force him to be a Good Samaritan with various set-ups, but they quickly learned that he's just not a good guy. Finally, they staged a stick-up at the place Rockwell got his coffee, and essentially made him to the right thing. Hardison was even to spread the word of Rockwell's good deed by having the "heroic" act go viral online.

Once Rockwell's public image started to get some positive recognition, Nate swept in to be his own PR man while the rest of the team dug up dirt on the mark. They found out that Rockwell did have a past, he was responsible for a fatal car accident because he was drunk but he tampered with the evidence so someone else took the fall, so they had what they needed to finally nail Rockwell. After they staged another car accident, Reed was brought in for questioning, and the truth finally came out. Now that Rockwell was exposed for being a bad guy, Nate's friend and the guy he framed for the first car accident were redeemed.

This week's baddie was a special kind of scum, the kind of person who will take down seemingly innocent people down for profit. Oddly enough, the mark was very similar to Nate, which was mentioned constantly throughout the episode. Since day one, it's been documented that Nathan Ford is not a good man which has caused a good amount of conflicted emotions and self-hatred. Reed Rockwell was just a device, and thankfully Michael Gladis made him an interesting device, to show the audience Nate's internal struggle which has spilled over to impact his relationship with his team.

Speaking of the team, I'm glad they continued to show how Nate alienating those around him, especially Eliot, which should lead to some interesting fireworks down the road. Now, I've been a big fan of this story arc because it's by far the most interesting aspect of the show, but I do have to admit that it's starting to wear thin. For example, his total disregard for the feelings and thoughts of his crew solidified his role as a bad guy, but I'm starting to wonder why these people stick by his side. Ford has proven time and time again that all he cares about is his tortured soul, and seeing him constantly pushing people away has become frustrating. Now, I get that's the point, but we need some further insight into what makes Nate tick, and more importantly we need to know why everyone puts up with him.

Maddening character moments aside, "The 15 Minutes Job" was also chock-full of some great one-liners and pop culture references which lightening up what could have been a dark episode. Plus, we got some great moments between some of my favorite pairings: Parker & Hardison, Parker & Eliot, and of course Hardison & Eliot. Seriously, those three characters make this show

Other Odds and Ends:
  • A small glimpse into Nate's childhood was a nice touch.
  • Good Samaritan Cons: Eliot stealing Parker's purse, Sophie chasing a baby carriage, and Hardison choking on a hot dog.
  • I don't know which was better: Eliot starting a slow clap or Parker saying "squee" all sexy like.
  • Parker's obsession with the seminar brochures was gold. And so was Eliot's annoyance with her.
  • Was this Eliot's first big fight of the season?
  • Pardison shout-out! As Parker would say, "squee!"
  • Why would Nate dismiss Eliot just to bring him back at the end of the job? Yes, it added to the tension, but they could've at least addressed it.
  • And we're back to the big season-long mystery of who is listening in on the Crew.
  • "Only our heroes fall."
  • "I kinda like CGI Yoda."
  • "I said, 'almost.'"
  • "Yeah, and you can't say booze."
  • "I got heimliched."
  • "I didn't even stab him!"
  • "No Stabbing Wednesdays. New tradition."
  • "Why don't you just ask me to join the Dark Side? Go ahead."
"The 15 Minutes Job" had all of the elements of a great episode of Leverage: a slimey mark, inter-turmoil, tension among the team, and some good laughs. Everything worked this time, but we're going to need some forward momentum soon before the show starts spinning its wheels.


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