January 9, 2012

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The Radio Job"

I've been wanting this season of Leverage to come full circle by giving us a story that connected previous episodes, and that's what we finally got with "The Radio Job," but part of me wonders if it was too little, too late. Now, don't get wrong. I really liked this week's episode, but I would've liked it even more if the writers spent more time building up to the climatic moments, but I digress.

Like all good shows, Leverage comes down to family, either biological or surrogate, and we got the best of both worlds during "The Radio Job." Things started out like your everyday episode as this season's big bad (if you can even call him that), Jack Latimer, informed Nate that he hired his father for a job that the Leverage Crew turned down and that more than likely he'll be arrested and end up dying in jail. Even though Nate's relationship with his father's strained, he still felt the need to save him, so he took off after him without telling the rest of the team since it was a personal matter. Of course, the Crew had his back, and they felt the need to save Nate.

The job itself involved Jimmy Ford stealing an application from the United States Patent Office, which turned into a stand-off/hostage situation with the Feds when someone blew the whistle on them. Although, in reality it was all a set up created to pray on Nate's weakness. The person Latimer was working for knew that Jimmy would do anything to protect his son, so the original plan was for Nate to take over the job from his father, deliver the goods to an abandoned warehouse where he would blow up. Since this is Nathan's show, it was clear that he was not going to meet his end this time around, but the same could not be said about Jimmy who ended up taking his son's place.

So, that's what happened during the actual episode, but let's get back to the idea of family. Nate's always been defined by his family, whether he's dealing with his son's death or being brought up by Jimmy, and Leverage's spent so much time on the former that I was glad that we got more of the latter during "Radio." We never really got a good grasp on Jimmy as a man, but we got a clearer understanding of him as a father, and his story came down to his love for Nathan. Plain and simple. Ultimately, that's all we really needed to know about him because Nate's going to be colored by his relationship with his father and his ultimate sacrifice from this point forward, and where he goes from here has the potential to be some great television.

What I also liked about "The Radio Job" was how it punctuated the fact that the Leverage Crew has truly become a family and is not just a band of crooks. I truly believed that they were concerned for Nate, not because he's their leader, but because he means so much more to them, and that's what makes Leverage work. Last week, I wrote about how I enjoyed the Nate/Hardison dynamic, but another one that's just as intriguing is the one between Nate and Eliot. To me, they've had an almost brotherly bond, and seeing how they interact with one another has been one of the highlights for me.

Now, Season 4 has been billed as the one where the Crew gets a taste of their own medicine, so the final reveal that Victor Dubenich has been the one messing with Nate this entire time wasn't entirely shocking. I for one am glad that they finally have to pay for some of the things they have done, but I wish that the theme of comeuppance had been used more throughout this run (payback's always been a part of Leverage, but you know what I mean). Having Latimer show up from time to time to remind viewers that someone's plotting against the Crew was not sufficient enough to build any real tension, plus the overarching story got lost among all of the standalone episodes, and it feels like the show missed a big opportunity.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I love it when Eliot eggs on Parker.
  • I didn't know you could beat someone up with duct tape. Thanks Eliot!
  • Hardison can make fake I.D.s with a George Foreman grill? That's cooler than Eliot's trick with the tape.
  • How many shows are going to riff on Die Hard?
  • While I makes sense that Dubenich was the man pulling the strings, I would have preferred if someone like Blackpoole or Tobey Earnshaw was behind it all.
  • Parker: "Is there a time machine?"
    Eliot: "There is. Yeah, not so much a machine as probably a portal..."
    Parker: "I'm going to go get that portal..."
  • "Let's go steal a time machine."
  • "Why y'all always pushing me off of stuff? Don't I get a say? I vote no."
  • Parker: "It might be easier if he's asleep?"
    Eliot: "Want me to put him asleep?"
    Hardison: "Hey, I'm standing right here!"
  • "Squishy? Opps, peed my pants. Alright."
  • "Where do they get these guys?"
  • "In Homeland, we're not paid to think. We're paid to act."
Long range storytelling has not been this show's strongest suit, which is fine for a con-man procedural, but it does have a knack for giving fans strong finales ("The Second David Job" and "The Maltese Falcon Job" were two of the show's best episodes), so I'm confident that next week's "The Last Dam Job" will satisfy. It's just too bad that we don't have a strong villain to root against, but at least Dubenich is more interesting than Damian Moreau. Talk about a wasted opportunity.


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