In the ninth episode of the second season ofÂ Leverage, I ADORE THIS SHOW SO MUCH. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Leverage.
Bless this show.
I was surprised by this show opening with Sophieâ€™s ongoing storyline, since I got used to the cold opens that introduced the case for the episode. But I understand why that scene needed to be at the beginning of â€œThe Lost Heir Jobâ€: We needed to see why Sophie rejected Nateâ€™s offer to come back home. Itâ€™s one wrought with frustration because itâ€™s clear to me that Sophie wants Nate to desireÂ her, and not just for her skills. And given that she went on this sabbatical in order to escape the world that had made her life so confusing, itâ€™s perfectly understandable to me why Nateâ€™s offer was offensive to her.
She needs more.
A new ally
Iâ€™ll talk about Tara herself later on in this, but I wanted to address my perception of this episode prior to the reveal of who Tara actually was. This was an ambitious story from the start because the very presence of Ruth Waltonâ€™s lawyer complicated matters. This team does not allow anyone to see the inside of their operation. Period! It doesnâ€™t work that way, and thereâ€™s too big of a risk of the whole thing falling apart if they do. The number one problem I foresaw here was that Tara Carlisle wasnâ€™t going to support the sort of things that the team does. Lying, theft, deceitâ€¦ how would a lawyer â€“ particularly one as strict as her â€“ ever accept the kind of work that the Leverage team did?
The believable scenario, then, is desperation. This case was so impossible to prove that CarlisleÂ had to accept that her method couldnâ€™t work. (Jesus christ, the layers of manipulation here are unreal. TARA KNEW EXACTLY HOW TO BEHAVE SO THAT THE TEAM WOULDNâ€™T SUSPECT HER.) And that first attempt to persuade someone connected to Bennettâ€™s past was the Â perfect way to demonstrate that traditional means of justice werenâ€™t going to cut it. Carlisleâ€™s methods were too on-the-nose, too precise, tooÂ legal. And thus, it was time for the Leverage team to step in and dominate.
All while trying to keep track of Tara Carlisle, mind you. Nate manages her by giving her a taste of the excitement that comes with their job. While Hardison and Eliot con the man who can provide the best skeleton from Bennettâ€™s closet, Parker and Nate are off conning Peter Blanchard, the entitled lawyer who believes that his life spent covering up Bennettâ€™s crimes means that heâ€™s owed Ruthâ€™s money. CAN WE PLEASE HAVE JIMMY PAPADAKALIS BACK AGAIN? That may be Nateâ€™s most ridiculous character, yâ€™all. HEâ€™S SO SLIMY AND PERFECT. And I think in that instance, heâ€™s more in tune with Hardisonâ€™s style, since Jimmy Papadakalis exists to stall and to distract, and he does so GLORIOUSLY. Heâ€™s an utterly-on-the-mark stereotype, someone thatâ€™s so easily recognizable as such that nobody questions him. Thatâ€™s what makes him so believable!
That doesnâ€™t mean that everything works smoothly, because letâ€™s be real: This isÂ Leverage. Something always complicates matters. In this instance, the team overreached, convinced they had the perfect skeleton in Bennettâ€™s closet: George Gilbert. Bennettâ€™s lawyer paid off someone who was traditionally a hit man, so CLEARLY, Bennett and Blanchard had done something SCANDALOUS! Which, ironically,Â was the case, but not in the way they believed. Like all my favorite episodes of this show, the team is forced to re-adjust their con on the spot, which gives us THE LOST HEIR CON. Except the lost con is Parker? Which goes about as well as you think it would? Which is very awkwardly??? Oh god, itâ€™s from disasters like this, though, that ENTERTAINMENT GOLD is born. Watching Carlisle get the hang of conning was a delight. (I realize how ironic it is to say that.) Hardison and Eliotâ€™s prison guard routine was beautiful. AND PARKER AS THE LOST HEIR, HOLY SHIT.
I canâ€™t believe I missed all the clues to Ruth Waltonâ€™s identity, which was one hell of a resolution, BUT TARA CARLISLE. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Look, I couldnâ€™t see a solution to this con after Blanchardâ€™s men shot at Parker and Nate. If Parker couldnâ€™t make it into the courtroom, how could she help compel Blanchard to settle? BECAUSE NATE HAD A PLAN THAT WAS BETTER THAN SETTLING:Â giving all of Bennettâ€™s estate to Ruth Walton. Well, giving it implies it was his to give. Nope, it was always hers. And I liked that the show didnâ€™t erase the fact that Bennett was still gross; most of his life, he was an awful person. And Ruth would have been furious with him if sheâ€™d gotten to know him in another circumstance, and she admits that! But this is how she gets to interact with her biological father, and itâ€™s the best possible outcome.
BUT HOLY SHIT, TARA COLE. I CANâ€™T. I was so ready to write a review where I begged to see her again because I loved the idea of them having someone within the legal system that they could use. But Sophie sent this friend of hers, knowing that they truly needed a good grifter. This is such a bold thing for a show to do, especially one where the chemistry between the characters is so integral to the story. BUT I AM SOLD. ABSOLUTELY SOLD. Jeri Ryan is unbelievable, I want a million episodes with her in it, and Iâ€™M SO THRILLED THAT MY WISHES WERE GRANTED BEFORE I COULD EVEN SPEAK THEM.
The video for â€œThe Lost Heir Jobâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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