July 22, 2012

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The Blue Line Job"

"The Blue Line Job" was your typical Eliot-centric episode of Leverage where he got to be all manly and beat people up, but that's exactly why it was such a good hour of television.

A young man hired the Leverage team to look into the amateur hockey team that his father plays for because the team doctor has repeatedly signed off on letting his dad play even though he's been showing signs of possible brain damage. The owner of the team, Pete Rising, morphed the Oregon Otters into a spectacle that highlighted fighting, and Craig Marko was his star enforcer. It turned out that Marko was paid bonuses if he got into a certain amount of fights during the season, and he'd get a nice little pay day if he lasted the entire season. Since Rising didn't want to spend money that he didn't have to, he hired opposing players to take Marko out.

The Leverage Crew decided to have Eliot infiltrate the team as the Otters' new enforced as a way to keep Marko out of harms way while they come up with a plan to take down Rising. Nate decided that the way to swindle the mark was to convince him to buy into a new, world-wide hockey league. Meanwhile, Eliot continued to take on Marko's fights which didn't sit well with the enforcer. Plans took a brief detour when Rising claimed that his team was losing money, but the crew rebounded by taking money from a lock box before it was loaded onto an armored truck. After another blow up between Marko and Eliot, our favorite hitter let Craig know that Rising put hits out on him. By episode's end, Nate contacted a way for Rising to sell his team to a group of players in lieu of him getting a serious beating. Marko decided to hang up his skates and took over as the Otters' new coach.

Like I mentioned before, "Blue Line" was another standard Eliot episode which meant he was put into some kind of blue-collar role that allowed him to showcase his aptitude for sports and beating people up. The t hing is, Eliot-centric episodes tend to be the most fascinating because he's both the most simple and complicated character on Leverage. Episodes like this one, "The Two-Horse Job," "The Tap Out Job" and "The Underground Job" may showcase his brute strength and down home roots, but they also give him a chance to display how much he cherishes virtues like loyalty and compassion. Add this attributes to his soft spot for children, and you start to see how many layers Eliot Spencer has, and I can't wait until we learn more about his backstory.

The only aspect of "Blue Line" that I felt didn't quite work was the original scam. Unlike last week's episode, I could buy Rising being interested in getting in on the ground floor of a new hockey league, but I felt that the way Nate and Sophie handled to con was a little clunky. Like, why did we need some random Russian ex-hockey player? Yes, he was supposed to give their sell some legitimacy, and to be there to poke at the Nate/Sophie fire, but he just stood around for the most part. Also, things got unnecessarily complicated when bankruptcy and armored cars got involved. I'm not going to say that this was the Crew's worst job, but it didn't need to be as twisty as it ended up being.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I've been a big Nate and Sophie shipper, so introducing one of her ex-flames really didn't do anything for me.
  • On the other hand, I'm very invested in Pardison, and I loved how the writers kept their relationship subtle. Having them talk about falling asleep while watching a movie is way cuter than actually watching it happen.
  • Eliot had so many great moments during this one, but the one that stood out was the family and brotherhood speech that he gave Marko in the parking lot.
  • Another great moment, Marko's breakdown on the ice when no one would fight him. Leverage is at its best when we get to know the client instead of just seeing them show up and the start and end of the episode.
"The Blue Line Job" wasn't a ground breaking episode by any stretch of the imagination because Leverage has told this story so many times before, but I'm always going to be a fan of watching Eliot do more than just knock out random bad guys, and Christian Kane was pretty fantastic this time around. It was pretty much a winner from whistle to whistle.


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