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Leverage: “The Runway Job” Review

First, apologies for forgetting the turn of the maintenance mode once I was done!

Here’s a review of Leverage 2.10 The Runway Job. Caps and clips are coming, but I want to see first if I can get a better version of the episode to work on.

Leverage: “The Runway Job” Review

Team Leverage returns to create Pilgrim Sheik.

by Matt Fowler (Source)

January 14, 2010 – With Gina Bellman’s Sophie jaunting around the globe, avoiding Nate’s (Timothy Hutton) frustrating pride, set on finding herself, Team Leverage was short a grifter. I suppose I can buy that fact that Sophie needed to take a cold hard look at her life after having to fake her own death in the excellent episode “The Two Live Crew Job” from last summer, but having her globe-trot seems a bit unnecessary. Especially since she still keeps in regular contact with the gang via video conference. I do like seeing Sophie appear in Paris however, complete with red beret and Eiffel Tower in the background. Likewise, whenever Sophie shows up via satellite from a foreign land she’s hilariously wearing the stereotypical cultural garb with some ridiculous landmark in the background. It’s good fun.

But I think that I’d rather see Sophie take a full leave of absence from the show (while actress Gina Bellman takes care of her pregnant self) altogether. That way, when she returns to the fold, it will truly feel like a return. If she keeps in touch with the gang on a regular basis then it won’t ever feel like she left. It will hurt her return and it will hurt Jeri Ryan’s assimilation into the group. Ryan’s Tara is a good addition to the team and I know we’re not really supposed to believe that she’s a permanent replacement, but I think it would work a lot better if we actually thought she was.

“The Runway Job” spends a lot of time dealing with Tara and Nate butting heads and trying to figure out a way to blend her into the team. She’s a strong personality, who expects to be paid for her work and doesn’t appreciate taking a back seat to Nate. That’s an interesting dynamic to explore – and it’s also a tried and true TV cliché. Now, normally the new person in the gang would signal the dying embers of a series – the fresh new, sassy character that’s supposed to breathe life back into the series that’s run its course. But this is only Leverage‘s second season, and since I know that Bellman will be back eventually, I don’t exactly find it all that worthwhile to spend this much time acclimating the “temp” into the group when she’s just going to leave.

I’m not saying that the show can’t and won’t find a way to make this situation more interesting. A few twists and turns and things could get overtly dangerous, but that’s not how we’re meant to feel after “The Runway Job.” We get a very “this could be the start of a beautiful friendship” vibe at the end that doesn’t really work to spice up the proceedings much. I would have much rather been left feeling like Tara was still a dangerous puzzle piece. She still could be turn out to be something more refreshing (villain, lover, etc) but as of right now she’s a bit underwhelming.

The rest of the episode was fine; nothing spectacular, but still filled with the little kibbles and bits that makes Leverage an enjoyable show. As the team works to swindle a heartless sweatshop owner with secret aspirations of being a high end fashion mogul (Grace Hsu playing a hack designer obsessed with large black Pilgrim buckles) and her ruthless husband (Tom Choi) they all get caught up in various silly fashion show hi-jinx. Hardison (Aldis Hodge) makes fun of Elliot’s (Christian Kane) guy-liner, Parker (Beth Riesgraf) winds up taking an impromptu, and disastrous, catwalk trek, and Nate got to add a new ridiculous character to his assortment of comically bad disguises – the nebulous, effete Euro-dreg. As “heightened” as some of the cons can be on Leverage, I always find Nate’s characters to be the most glaringly clown-ish.

As “let’s steal us a (fill in the blank)” antic-filled episodes go, “The Runway Job” was pretty good. I just wish that the show would take a more definitive stance when it comes to the characters of Sophie and Tara. They’re both half-in/half-out of the gang and makes it hard for us to invest and engage in their stories.