In the fourth episode of the first season of Leverage, a case involving a slimy company’s exploitation of disaster victims brings up bad memories for Nathan. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of alcoholism and grief.
I don’t think that “The Snow Job” is ever truly specific about what it is that causes Nathan to drink so heavily throughout the events of this episode, but I think that early scene between Nathan and Wayne is the clue. Wayne unknowingly appeals to Nathan’s protective sense by invoking his own son, and from that moment on, Nathan drinks. Does he do this in order to hide away his own feelings towards what happened to his son? That’s my best guess. I imagine that unlike Wayne, Nathan had no one to turn to when his company refused to cover his son’s life-saving medical procedure.
Unfortunately, though, this doesn’t mean that Nathan’s work here is powered by some sort of revelatory motivation. Instead, Nathan increasingly relies on alcohol to – what? Soothe the pain? Help him think? Distract him? Whatever the justification for it, Nathan finds that his team isn’t terribly pleased with the result of this. It’s a rough thing to watch, especially when the audience starts to wonder whether or not Nathan knows what he’s doing. On top of that, the issue at hand within “The Snow Job” is a very real thing. What the Retzig company does here was not made up by the writers; that sort of predatory behavior really did happen to people who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Among many other things that targeted, for the most part, the black poor in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes.) And unlike past episodes, this story is about an entire LEGION of victims, all stemming from one single case.
So, I do understand why Nathan changes the con as often as he does. This went from Nathan projecting his own fears and grief on Wayne Scott’s case into something a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more disturbing that the Retzig’s taking advantage of a single family. That’s the portrait we get of their lives; these people are greedy, entitled, and spoiled. It’s who they are. This is not a momentary thing! As we get to know Dennis, Randy, and Henry, it’s very obvious how despicable these people are. Calling back to what I wrote earlier this week, that’s why Leverage can be so rewarding to watch. The villains are so obviously horrible people, but they’re often the kind of folks who rarely face the negative repercussions of their actions. Over the course of an episode, we get the chance to entertain the fantasy that there is a group of people dedicated to ruining the lives of those who have ruined others’ lives.
And what a perfect bunch of people that is, y’all. God, how is it that I’m so entertained by these characters interacting with one another this early into the show? I loved watching Eliot and Parker sneak into the Retzig house. I love that Parker is so horrified by the concept of not getting money, yet she still wants to help others out. (Though, real talk: What happened between her and her father? I feel like that was a little too close to home. LORD.) I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THAT HARDISON WAS CRYING OVER THE FAMILY GETTING THE RETZIG HOME INSTEAD OF THEIR OWN. There’s even some more backstory given to us about Nate and Sophie’s time together, namely that they hadn’t spoken to one another in two years before he brought her into the Leverage team. Obviously, his drinking was a problem then, too, enough that Sophie is still concerned that he’s not actively trying to improve himself. I’m curious what the rest of the team thinks of these two, since it’s no secret to them anymore that Sophie and Nate were at item at one point. But I think the show is deliberately not delving into the personal lives of these characters very much because it reinforces the notion that they’re still strangers, more or less, who have only just started to socialize with one another. (Albeit through work.) Yeah, there’s some attraction between Hardison and Parker, but I’m not surprised that the show hasn’t taken it and run with it quite yet. I like that it’s building slowly. I know I crave serialized television a LOT, but that isn’t a dealbreaker for me. These cases have been a lot of fun to try and figure out, too. ONE DAY, I WILL GET ONE. Today? Not that day.
The video for “The Snow Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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