TV Review: LEVERAGE – SEASON TWO – ‘The Zanzibar Marketplace Job’
An old enemy is back seeking help from the team in yet another amazing episode Grade: A-
This week’s episode of LEVERAGE, “The Zanzibar Marketplace Job”, started out with a bang with the return of Sterling (Mark Sheppard) – the man who, despite everything, still always manages to win in the end. The only thing he didn’t seem to win in this episode though was the fight with Eliot (Christian Kane). But to be fair, not many people come close to matching Eliot, and especially not a sneaky IYS insurance investigator. That was one fight we’ve all been waiting for since the finale of Season One.
But not only has Sterling returned for this episode, but we also get the return of Maggie (Kari Matchett), Nate’s (Timothy Hutton) ex-wife, who has been framed for stealing a $9 million Fabergé egg and has been thrown in a Ukrainian prison. Of course, Sterling only tells them out of concern for the egg, which is insured by IYS, and not out of concern for Maggie. The whole team isn’t happy about working with Sterling, especially Hardison (Aldis Hodge), who gets angry when Sterling mentions the old offices which he had to blow up because of him.
Tara (Jeri Ryan) wasn’t around the first couple times Sterling has crashed their party, so she, of course, isn’t as ruffled about the situation as the rest of the crew is. What I did love though was how after she expressed her immense distaste for Sterling at the end of the episode, Eliot holds up his beer to her and tells her that now she’s part of the team. We’re starting to see them slowly come to terms with Tara’s presence, which personally I’m grateful for since I’ve liked that woman since day one. I think she adds an interesting dynamic to the mix.
Sophie (Gina Bellman) appeared in this episode again, though only briefly as she explained the Zanzibar Marketplace, which is basically the black market in which the mark is planning to sell the egg. Is Nate still unaware that the rest of the team is in contact with her? You would think he would have caught on by now. Maggie, on the other hand, seems to have caught onto Nate’s feelings for Sophie (let’s hope it’s just recently and not while they were married). She asked him what happened to Sophie after he and Tara pretend to be an item. This way, Maggie wouldn’t get angry with the team still being around when Nate said that he sent them away after they got her released for prison. Maggie should have known better though. Nate isn’t ever going to just leave things be; he wants to control everything.
Of course, to make things even more complicated, the mark happens to be dating Maggie. Nate has been hiding his drinking lately, though after that revelation he seemed to not care as he openly drank in front of Tara. Then again, Tara was never around for the drunken mess that Nathan Ford was last season. He’s continuing on a downward spiral though and it’s starting to really show. I think the most revealing line in this episode had to be when Maggie said, “I meant what I said before. I really like the man you’ve become… too bad you don’t.” I think it was a perfect explanation of Nate and why he’s slipping again. Eliot also said that drinking isn’t the problem; it’s the symptom, which is true with many addictions. At the root of it all, isn’t it about self-loathing?
This episode had an excellent twist that I don’t think anyone saw coming. There’s always a twist in LEVERAGE, but usually it’s the way the job is pulled off. Having the mark be the assistant was brilliant, and you never see it coming until the exact moment you’re supposed to know. It was nice for a change to see Eliot run a con, especially since Nate and Maggie found themselves kidnapped and held for ransom. His skills as a retrieval specialist really come into play in this episode, and it showed just how well he is at doing his particular job.
It truly is amazing how Sterling always ends up on top in the end, it really is. The man is the epitome of awesome with how he manipulates everything for his own benefit. But him being offered a job at INTERPOL? Let’s see how long that takes to come back and bite the LEVERAGE team in the butt. Every time they get mixed up with this man he comes out with a promotion, not unlike the team of FBI agents Taggert and McSweeten, but at least they have the decency to be clueless.
Hardison seems to be trying to take it one step further with Parker (Beth Riesgraf) too in this episode. While I think asking her to go on a two week vacation to Tokyo might be skipping a couple key stages in their slowly blossoming relationship, you have to admire him for trying. Parker is, of course, oblivious to it though, and doesn’t seem to understand the point of going on vacation unless they’re going to steal something. It was a nice try, at least. Personally, I think if Hardison was blunter about what he wanted, Parker would be more receptive.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. The guest stars were amazing, the plot had a surprising twist, and it opened up a whole new set of questions about Nate’s downward spiral. Be sure to tune in next week to catch an all new LEVERAGE on at 10pm EST on TNT to find out how it all unfolds!