LEVERAGE “The 10 Li’l Grifter’s Job” Review

LEVERAGE “The 10 Li’l Grifter’s Job” Season 4 Episode 2 – Well, that was…erm…an interesting episode. You have to give the show props for going for a fresh idea (in this case focussing the episode on a mishmash of every detective novel Agatha Christie has ever written – as the title of the episode alluded to – and the board game Cluedo), even if it didn’t completely work out.

That’s not to say that this episode was a flop, because overall it was entertaining, if at times a little boring (which is something no show can afford to be, but especially those like Leverage or USA’s Covert Affairs or White Collar-any lightweight crime comma-dramedy? Too heavy?)

So the episode let us know who the killer was immediately; of course he wasn’t acting alone (they never are) and so we were lead on a half-baked quest of intrigue and not-so-shocking betrayals. As usual, it wasn’t the investigation but the team’s interactions.

There’s something ludicrous in my perception of the show’s quality when Hardison and/or Parker are on the screen, versus when they’re not. As in the show goes from one of the most enjoyable shows on television when these two are doing something as mundane as glaring at a wall (they literally spent about half the episode doing just that) to merely a nice show that kills time when Nate, Sophie and, to a somewhat lesser extent-though this episode was not a great showcase for him-Elliot take the reins (as they so often do).

The emotional peak of the episode (the ending argument between Sophie and Nathan) wasn’t as high as last week’s, simply because it seemed so forced here.

If the show had they gone full-on weird or full-on funny or full-on dark, instead of pulling the punches it would have been a potentially arresting episode. It was still good, but it’s that sort of forgettable, “well, that’s over, time for bed” good that’s never even aiming for great. With television show that has a premise as fun (and malleable, as this episode proved) as Leverage‘s, with a cast who can handle the dark and the comedic, I hope the writers can deliver the punches. This could be a very good show.

Random Tidbits…

Nate’s disguise was Ellery Queen, a television show about a real life detective of the same name from 1975-1976. Queen was played by Timothy Hutton’s father Jim Hutton. Aw!

The Halle Berry Oscar gag? Whomp whomp.

If the mass audience of the second and third decade of the 20th century managed to guzzle down three hour long silent movies with nothing more than the actor’s performance to relate his or her emotional experience and the sporadic title card to help out when the plot got a bit complex, I’m sure the viewers of Leverage could suss out Parker and Nate’s brief bit of mouthy mime. That being said, I would love to see the reaction of Inception as a silent. How small d’you think the font on those title cards would be?

“Medium build, dark jacket, short hair.” Looking around the costume party of detectives: “Bingo.” Are you kidding me? You wouldn’t identify the guy on a topless French beach in July with that description.

Wrench in the library: glad to see they’re obeying Chekhov’s rifle rule.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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