December 19, 2011

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The Boys' Night Out Job"

Besides Parker and Hardison, the relationships that I care most about on Leverage are the ones between the guys, so it was clear from the start that I was going to like "The Boys' Night Out Job" slightly more than last week's girl powered episode.

"Boys' Night" started just like "Girls' Night" in order to set up the continuity and to remind the audience that these two stories paralleled one another. We got the same discussion between the Crew about Nate's inability to connect with anyone outside of their surrogate family and how that could be problematic. From there we got to see more of the boys' poker night with Detective Bonanno and one of Eliot's buddies by the name of Shelley. All of the socializing got to Nate, so he snuck away to get a drink from the bar where he ran into Hurley from Season 1's "The 12-Step Job."

Hurley filled Nate in on how his life has improved since the Crew interfered with his affairs, and he even talked about how he's been helping a Mexican nun deliver statues of the Virgin Mary to cities in the States for charity, and it never dawned on him that some illicit may be going on, but being chased down by Irish gangsters should have been a clue.

As it turned out, Hurley was muling in black market cancer drugs for the "nun," but he was also unknowingly smuggling in other drugs that a Mexican cartel and the Irish mob wanted to get their hands on. Nate, Hardison, and Eliot took it upon themselves to save Hurley's life yet again while taking down the bad guys via a classic switcharoo.

Much like "Girls' Night Out," this episode was more of a character study with Nate and Hardison taking center stage. The former's storyline was a little more serious as he was forced to reflect on how he interacts with those around him, and how he purposefully segregates himself from the rest of the Crew and how that could be a detriment. Admittedly, we didn't learn any new information about Nate because he's always been this way, but that last shot of him watching everyone bonding while he sat alone with his booze was effective.

On the other hand, Hardison's journey was more light-hearted, but it was also a way to show how far he's come and how he's dedicated to keep growing. One of the running jokes on Leverage is how Hardison's the computer geek, and how he's not a "manly" man like Eliot. Watching him overcompensate throughout the episode due to his jealousy over Parker spending time with a handsome thief was the source of much of the episode's humor, but it was also an example of how Hardison wants to be more than what he seems.

I also liked how Nate and Hardison reconnected at the end of the episode, and how the student reminded the teacher about the good that they are capable of. These two have also had a strong mentor/mentee relationship, but there has been a lack of attention being paid to this bond, and I'm glad they went back to it.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • These two episodes have had a ton of callbacks which is appreciated because they reminded the audience that there's an established world beyond the week-to-week cons.
  • I'd love to see other characters from past episodes to make their returns. I'd love for Maggie to come back, but it's too bad that Kari Matchett's too busy. Stupid Covert Affairs.
  • So apparently the Crew doesn't care who they share their business with.
  • I wonder if we're going to see Shelley again, and what was going on between him and Bonanno?
  • The Irish goons talking about killing someone in church was a little out of place.
  • I love it when Eliot and Hardison bicker.
  • Aww, Hurley and Peggy!
  • "Terrorism and peanut allergies do not mix."
  • "They are not after me, Nate. Look, I don't mean to be negative here, but I've made my amends and you're still breaking the law and stuff."
  • "She's not a nun!"
  • "Let me shoot him Eliot! Move!"
  • "Hey, we beat up some dancers."
  • "This is so not cool Sister Lupe. Muy malo."
  • "Do you wanna touch my gun?"
  • "Well, I know I'm not your friend Nate, but for what it's worth you're mine."
I'll come clean. I'm a bigger fan of the boys of Leverage, so having them go on adventures sans the ladies was refreshing mostly because there was more time dedicated to seeing them interact with one another. "The Boys' Night Out Job" was also a strong episode from a character and world-building perspective, so it was pretty successful when it was all said and done.


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