Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Leverage Season Three

Season One
Season Two

So far, I've been loving Leverage, as you can read in my reviews of previous seasons. I thought that season two was the perfect follow-up to season one. Actually, they reminded me of British tv shows, where each "series" feels more self contained than American television usually does.

Season three is a bit more of the same, but they introduce something I've been expecting for a while - an overall adversary. The entire season is built, more or less, around the fact that the team has been told they must take out international criminal Damien Moreau.

We start with Nate in jail after the events of last season's finale. He's resisting the urge to break out of prison because of the deal that he made with Sterling, but the deal to take out Moreau eventually trumps that, and Nate breaks out and soon enough everybody is back to their same antics.

I'll be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the Moreau storyline. I still liked it, Leverage at it's worst is still ten times better than most shows. Moreau felt almost tacked on sometimes, and it doesn't help that the actress playing the mysterious Italian was just never really working for me. I don't know why, I think maybe most of her dialogue was redubbed in ADR and it made her sound strange because her words weren't coming from her mouth. Bad ADR will lose me every single time.

But there are so many amazing episodes in season three, especially since Gina Bellman is back full time as Sophie. The Reunion Job, where the group has to fake their way through somebody else's high school reunion, The Scheherazade Job where Hardison has to perform as a violin virtuoso, or The Gone-Fishin' Job where Hardison and Elliot are taken hostage by a backwoods militia are all excellent episodes with a lot of fun moments.

The season belongs to Parker though, in my very biased opinion. Early on we meet her mentor Archie in "The Inside Job," and it's a brilliant episode that really opens up her character and starts fleshing out her past. Not too much, just enough to make her even more fascinating. She spends the season dealing with her growing feelings for Hardison (a romance I'm much more invested in than Nate and Sophie's unresolved tension), and in The Boost Job she has to deal with meeting a young girl who is very much like her. In The Underground Job, Parker is even put in the place of a grifter, dealing with a corrupt politician as a new intern. She excels, proving that Sophie's lessons are really working.

Of course, the rest of the team has to deal with their pasts' as well. Nate's father appears in The Three-Card Monte Job and Sophie must deal with her time in England during The King George Job. Elliot even gets to sing in The Studio Job, where he becomes an unlikely country star as part of the con, revealing a hidden talent (that works because Christian Kane is actually an excellent singer).

The season finale, a two part story consisting of The Big Bang Job and The San Lorenzo Job, wraps up the Moreau story and delves only a little bit into Elliot's history. The cons in these two episodes are huge, and the stakes have never been higher. The San Lorenzo job was especially fun for me, because we ended up watching it not long after the recent U.S. presidential election, so the take on corrupt American politics was especially amusing.

Overall, I could probably write a long, glowing review for every single episode of season three. They all have something good in them, even when there are parts that aren't as much fun. But the best for me is definitely how Parker, Hardison, and Elliot are evolving. I would watch entire seasons in one sitting if people would let me.