August 21, 2011

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The Cross My Heart Job"

Season 4 of Leverage has been a mix of business-as-usual and outside-of-the box episodes, and "The Cross My Heart Job" was somewhere in the middle. Instead of being a transcendent episode that was the best of both worlds, it ended up being a decent enough placeholder for next week's summer finale.

The Crew was on its way back from a job, and landed in Cincinnati where Nate noticed that a woman in distress had just tried her hand at a dead drop. After some investigating, they found out that the woman worked with organ transplants, and her daughter was kidnapped in order to force to help Dean Chesney, a corrupt defense contractor, get a heart meant for a dying young boy. Nate made it his mission to get the heart back and to the original recipient, but first they had to find the girl.

Thanks to the ransom photo, and Nate's keen knowledge of airport restaurant chains, the Crew was able to find the girl fairly easily. Once they took out the kidnapper, they were on to phase two of the plan which was to stop the heart from making it to out of Cincinnati. In order to do that, they ended up taking over the airport. After beating up some thugs, fabricating a tornado, and swapping out coolers they were able to get back the heart and save the boy's life, but not without ruffling some feathers.

Since Nate had personal experience with this kind of situation, his son died at a young age, it was hard for him not to take the job personally. He was so upset that someone would put an innocent child's life in danger that he wanted to make sure that Chesney knew that it was him who cost him the heart. Nate even told Chesney that he'd be watching him to make sure that he doesn't try this stunt again.

"The Cross My Heart Job" was a typical episode of Leverage because it once again pitted the Crew against a corrupt individual who was screwing over the innocent little guy. What made it interesting though was seeing them pull of a job on the fly, which is always a fun way to liven things up. Unfortunately, the con-by-the-seat-of-your-pants device wasn't enough to make "Cross My Heart" a top-tier episode.

Maybe I'm just not empathetic enough, but I'm starting to feel like Nate's son has become a crutch that really isn't needed anymore. I get that his death really affected Nate, and was the catalyst for the entire series, but I start to tune out every time the show reminds us about what happened. I'm not saying that Leverage needs to forget about the past, but I am in favor of Nate finally getting some closure and moving on as much as he can. The change in his motivations may alter the nature of the show going into Season 5, but that may not be a bad thing.

One of the aspects of "Cross My Heart" that was both impressive and unsettling was how dark it became towards the end. Nate was so consumed by anger and grief that he exposed his true identity to Chesney so he could take ownership of the pain he caused, and the line about how God killed Chesney and he was there to make sure it took was cold-blooded. Nate's need for revenge has clouded his judgment plenty of times in the past, but it's clear that what he did to Chesney, and the fact that Jack Latimer has tabs on the Crew, will surely come back to put them all in danger.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • The direction of the episode was too stylistic and distracting.
  • I like it when they talk about off-camera jobs. It adds to the mystery.
  • Still loving the Parker/Eliot dynamic. Although...
  • Immature Parker started to get a tad bit annoying. The writers need to ease up on that side of her character before it gets old.
  • Why am I not surprised that Parker would teach a young girl about using a taser?
  • Dial-up?!?! Hah!
  • The fact that Eliot knew that Hardison would pick up on "Mr. Kirk Picard" was brilliant, and another reason why I love this show.
  • Hardison's "angry black woman" routine was definitely the comedic highlight of the episode.
  • "Look man, it's like stone knives and bear skins okay. Nobody is asking Eliot to fight a guy with a Nerf sword."
  • "Settle down!"
  • "I used to be Francesca, and now my name is Frank."
  • "You better readjust your peripherals."
The possibilities that were set up during "The Cross My Heart Job" are by far more intriguing than the episode itself, which means that it was ultimately a success. I guess I was just expecting it to do a little bit more. Regardless, Sterling is coming back so I'm already pumped for next week's summer finale. Man, I've missed him.


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