Nov 7, 2013

[TV] Leverage: Season 3

As a show, Leverage is actually over given the show wrapped up with its fifth season last year. And given that, my partner and I have sort of been crawling towards the end of the series in terms of our TV-watching - something that always happens whenever a show that we like is drawing to a close. It's a painful process of letting go, but we'll eventually get there.

For now, I just realized that I'm rather behind in my reviews for this particular show, thus I figured that I might as well address these gaps before we finally get around to watching the last few episodes of the show.

I think what we most enjoy about the show is how much the characters feel like the sort of characters that people create for tabletop role-playing games. And yes, I'm aware that there is actually an RPG system designed for the show. But seriously, each is ridiculously specialized in nature and yet are able to pull up seeming random skills as needed in order to deal with unusual situations that come along.

And the humor is so gamer humor at times - but I must admit that I lack the proper means to convey what I mean by that to my satisfaction.

Synopsis: Leverage is a a drama series created by John Rogers and Chris Downey and aired on TNT.

This third season begins with Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) still in prison after he had surrendered to Sterling (Mark A. Sheppard) at the end of the prior season. Naturally the team work to get him out, but they are eventually aided by a mysterious Italian woman (Elisabetta Canalis) who eventually blackmails the team into taking down international crime financier Moreau within six months. If they fail to do this, then Nate will be imprisoned once more and the rest of the team killed.

So from the get-go we have a clear meta-plot to work with throughout the various episodes as the show continues with its case-of-the-week format like before. The crew continue to help out people in need using their less than legal expertise to get revenge or at least exact some odd measure of justice.

I may be biased, but I really enjoyed a lot of the episodes in this season, thus it's a little hard to pick out a few as my absolute favorites from this run. A good contender would probably be "The Three-Card Monte Job" where we have the team going up against Nate's father (Tom Skerritt) in a rather complicated case that also involves both the Russian and Irish mobs. "The Rashomon Job" of course is the classic kind of multiple-perspective tale that has the team talking about how they had stolen a particular artifact only to discover that all of them had worked to steal the same item on the same day. Thus the mystery becomes who actually stole it and where is the artifact now.

There are lots of fun cases that involved individual members of the team being made to shine in different ways. Musically inclined episodes like "The Scheherazade Job" and "The Studio Job" involve Hardison (Aldis Hodge) playing the violin and Elliot (Christian Kane) becoming a country music star respectively. And I don't know where to begin with Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and her efforts at seduction in "The Morning After Job".

The crew just works so well together and it was nice to have Sophie (Gina Bellman) firmly back in the mix after her weird absence for most of the second season. And the growing pressure on Parker to come to terms with her feelings for Hardison are also a major point that conitnues to develop over the course of this season.

Despite the weird initial premise about Moreau, I really enjoyed this third season of Leverage and felt it was among their best. There was just so much going on and the team meshed so well and we even had more appearances by FBI Special Agents Taggert (Robert Blance) and McSweeten (Gerald Downey) - those are always fun!

More than the plot or any of the specific storylines in general, the success of the show is really about how solid and well-written the various characters are. They are more than their primary skill set and these succeeding seasons do a lot in terms of helping better flesh out the characters and really take them places.

So this third season of the show gets a good 4 instances of Parker needing to at least fake emotions out of a possible 5.

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