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This #LeverageRedemption episode starts with a relocated domestic violence survivor being found by and scared of her ex. #Parker's puppet therapy, explained in the first episode of this series, and an evil clown memory from the original #Leverage series are interrupted by the frantic call. Parker demonstrates her new control and authority (gained over 8 years of Parker, Eliot, and Hardison working together as a team) when #EliotSpencer arrives worried, angry, and ready to take action. The topic of the start of the Privacy Apocalypse (identity recognition software enhancements and cameras everywhere) is given a light touch in this episode. I prefer talking about the team pairings and references to other #LeverageRedemption and #Leverage episodes. I loved the Eliot and Parker dynamic, which demonstrates their closeness through the shorthand they use with each other; no long verbal discussion needed, just a word each and they are in synch. #SophieDevereaux and #HarryWilson have a bit closer relationship building. I am liking the growing relationship between Eliot and #BreannaCasey in this episode, particularly when Breanna talks about SearchLight reminding each of us of our worst actions and days - Eliot definitely has lots of those days he doesn't want reminded. Breanna's statement, "fire solves all problems" reminds me of one of my favorite original #Leverage episodes, #TheRundownJob, where fire was needed to wipe out the weaponized virus. And then there's The Marshall. There's a good dynamic between Eliot and #MariaShipp, which is just beginning in this episode. That "relationship" brought about one of the funniest scenes in this episode: Eliot is being teased about his Marshall girlfriend's texts. Instead of getting mad, he merely says, "I'll give you 10 seconds to have fun with this." That is Eliot allowing himself to be a bit vulnerable in front of his family and friends. Great scene and good episode.
Favorite of the First-8
#TheCardGameJob is my favorite #LeverageRedemption episode of the first-8. Great ensemble dynamics from the #Leverage team pairings. #HarryWilson and #Parker looking for a vault, with Parker unable to recognize visual clues from Harry to remove her ear bud so they could talk (which was so like Parker of the original #Leverage series), and Harry providing advice to Parker on mentoring a Gen-Z #Breanna's age, as a dad of one. Breanna holding her own with the mark in the card tournament. For me, the funniest pairing in this episode was a pouting #EliotSpencer and #SophieDevereaux picking out costumes (E: "don't want to be an elf!"; S: "woodland fairy?"; E: "SOPHIE!"); Eliot's deflating dragon and excellent swordplay and fighting (for which #ChristianKane gained appreciation from an actual swordswoman reviewing this episode); Eliot trying to stop Sophie from performing, with Sophie swatting back; Eliot's dismay at having to endure Sophie's bad acting; and Sophie's turnabout when her performance became part of the con. Loved seeing guest #FrenchStewart and the quirks and depth he added to his character. Guest #MaxSheldon portrayed the smarmy vulture capitalist well ("nothing is beneath you, Carter"). Hope the Spirit's Ruse card game can become available to the fans - and loved its comparison to rock-paper-scissors. All Eliot has to do is find the "tell" to win.
They're Not Good Guys; They're Just Necessary
The #LeverageRedemption team is asked by #HarryWilson, portrayed by #NoahWyle who also directed this episode, to take down a rich building owner and his wife, whose cost-cutting caused the collapse of a high-rise building killing 4 workers 3 years earlier. Initially thinking that #OurMrWilson just ran into the desperate daughter of one of the killed workers, I thought he was starting to get the "do good" bug. No, just another hidden fact that shows Wilson is still the crooked lawyer trying to fix all his bad work, through any means possible. Going off-con after whatever might be in a safe was a Strike 2, and blowing his part of the con, possibly risking #EliotSpencer and #Parker in the process, was a solid Strike 3. Fortunately, #BreannaCasey's Little Bucky and other building rattlers did their job, and #Sophie Devereaux let Wilson redeem himself, so all ended well. Reminded me of #TheIceManJob in the original #Leverage series, where #AlecHardison overplayed his part of the con and needed the others to rescue him. In #TheTowerJob, I liked the Harry and Eliot conversation in the elevator, with Parker chiming in from the covered cart. Breanna's attempt to "help" Eliot fight a guy was funny. Good episode.
I started this review immediately after watching #TheRollinOnTheRiverJob for the 10th or 11th time. I was eager to talk about the cool effects shots of the skeet shooting; how much extra work #AlecHardison did, like get jobs and 401(k)s for #EliotSpencer; how the "Pearl" looked like an undented golf ball; how a card changes when flipped one way or the other; how #Parker could get through a doorway with that huge dress; how #BreannaCasey clearly explained a vapor lock; how cool the actor was playing the Security Guard Dennis, with his delicious carrot cake and lemon juice; and how nice Eliot was to Dennis, offering to help him study for the law enforcement exam and play cards with him after he took a hit for Eliot and lost his job. I loved this episode because it was fun, had great guest stars, and provided opportunities for each of the #LeverageRedemption core team to shine. The main topics to me were Russian Mob, greedy casino owner, and the #Leverage team winning (and gloating) at the end.
Then I read the other reviews and rewatched the episode to see if I missed something controversial that bothered some people. I first researched the word "woke" as the definition I remember, "Aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues," did not make sense as the current definition because I didn't see "too Woke" as a negative. Yes, Breanna did call #HarryWilson "privileged," which lawyers usually are, and yes, she said the world sucks (which I totally believe). Breanna is a young Gen-Z who really did grow up with 911, economic collapses, and the immense growth of white supremist groups. I think young people of all races feel that way, and rightly so. During the original #Leverage 5-year run, there were a few complaints about the statement "The rich and powerful take what they want" yet the well-researched stories were taken from the daily media. The #LeverageRedemption stories are still taken from the headlines, well-researched, and relevant to today's world. To ignore aspects of the world as "too Woke" or "too liberal" turns a blind eye to the effects these issues have on all people. I read lots of unpleasant references to Breanna and I am curious what those same people feel about Hardison. I don't remember such negative comments about Hardison in 2008-2012, or even now with the new series. Maybe it's the age difference.
Almost Paradise: It's Personal (2020)
This second episode of #AlmostParadiseTv introduces a Filipino girl who is initially bribed into helping #AlexWalker carry water to his Gift Shop. Following an opening fun sequence that appears to set the scene for a light episode, the girl is told that her father has been killed. Sitting alone in the hospital, she seeks comfort from Alex. Fantastic acting by the girl and #ChristianKane to switch so quickly from play to grief. #ArtAcuna, who portrays Detective #ErnestoAlamares, has a major role in this episode - and has his own grief from the murder, as he knew the man and his family. Acuna shows his acting range and his fighting ability much more in this episode, and he is quite impressive in both. Now I have Acuna as well as Kane to watch in this series. Sex trafficking of young girls is the main topic of this episode, and it is not given the light touch. An episode with heart, depth of character, and grief, where a sensitive talk by Alex's doctor is followed by a gentle scene with Alex and the girl sitting silently "asking the ocean for answers" (as Ernesto tells Alex in the first episode). Powerful episode.
This second episode of #LeverageRedemption introduces the second new member of the #LeverageVerse: #BreannaCasey portrayed by #AleyseShannon. Breanna is #AlecHardison's younger foster sister, who built a drone and tracked down Hardison and the others on a con in Panama City. #HarryWilson portrayed by #NoahWyle, who was introduced in the first episode in this new series, has been working with the #RobinHoodlums on the con, so now the #LeverageTeam consists of 6 members. #SophieDevereaux portrayed by #GinaBellman, is the temporary leader of the pack. #AlecHardison (#AldisHodge) and #Parker (#BethRiesgraf) are still partners after all these years. Parker and #EliotSpencer (#ChristianKane) usually pair up to visit the 12 teams throughout the world which make up #LeverageInternational. Eliot and Hardison continue the brotherly love, including the season's second "Dammit Hardison!" from Eliot. I have mentioned in other reviews that I personally like Eliot and the trio (Eliot, Parker, and Hardison) best, so my focus is on them when I watch and in my reviews. I love the trio dynamic in this series so far, with those 3 closer and more comfortable with each other, 9+ years after Eliot said he would protect the other two "until my dyin' day." All three are supporting Sophie in her grief and letting Sophie run things as a "distraction" for her #Leverage idioms carried over from the original series: "Dammit Hardison!"-"Let's go steal a ..."-"Has a distinctive sound"-Eliot throwing an orange (usually a rock) and hitting something-Parker loving her vents and caressing every new safe to be cracked-and others. Those nuggets are worked into this episode, not forced or by checklist, just by habit of what works. With Hardison away, removing two of the three trio pairings, it leaves the Eliot-Parker pairing stronger than ever. Loving this #LeverageRedemption series!
Ready for Season 2
In the review of #TheMuddyWatersJob episode, I mentioned that each season of #Leverage and #LeverageRedemption ends with a satisfying gift wrapped with a bow. This first season of #LeverageRedemption ends with #HarryWilson becoming a helpful storefront lawyer, #SophieDevereaux realizing that her stage is with her "family," #BreannaCasey as a solid member of the family, and - of most interest to me personally - the threesome of #EliotSpencer, #Parker, and #AlecHardison is still together "till their dyin' day" or forever, if they get those robot bodies. The dynamic between each of the #LeverageTrio in pairs or as a threesome is the glue that holds it all together for me. This season-ending episode leaves lots of opportunities open for a second, third, fourth, etc. Season on #IMDbTV. The original #Leverage series started soon after 911, when the world needed some heroes, especially good "bad guys" taking down those who prey on the innocent. #LeverageRedemption has been rebirthed at a time when those predators of the past have become evil, revising laws and morality to fit their personal agendas for domination. I believe we need heroes like the #LeverageTeam even more now than ever. I am ready for Season 2, #IMDbTV.
Almost Paradise: Finding Mabuhay (2020)
Strong Out of the Gate
Full Disclosure: I am a #ChristianKane fan; I have watched almost every movie and TV appearance he has made. I like his acting range, from drama to action to comedy - all of which are demonstrated in this series - and that he performs his own stunts. There are 4 main characters in #AlmostParadise, and we are introduced to all 4 in this first episode #FindingMabuhay. Kane plays ex-DEA agent #AlexWalker as a man trying to make a difference, and ending up being broken by the process. His response to being told that his partner didn't actually kill him, Walker responds "Didn't he?" The second character introduced is #KaiMendoza, a strong, capable member of a law enforcement team which includes the third character, #ErnestoAlamares whose hand-to-hand skills are impressive and are actually performed by #ArtAcuna. I like the combination of Walker and Ernesto best because of their true fighting abilities. The fourth character - which is the first introduced in this episode - are the Philippines and its people. I love seeing a different (less seedy) side of the Islands in this series, particularly when I found out that most of the cast and crew are Filipino. I will see how long it takes for the Philippines to become my co-favorite star, right up there with Christian Kane.
First of 2-Part Season Finale
During the original #Leverage series 5-year run, each season ended with a 2-part episode that ties up all loose ends and provides a "conclusion" of sorts to that year's season episodes. That practice was implemented because the producers never knew whether the show would be renewed until AFTER filming the last episode for the year, and they didn't want to leave the fans with an unresolved cliff-hanger. #LeverageRedemption continues this practice - for the same reason - with #TheMuddyWatersJob / #TheHarryWilsonJob 2-part season-ender. This episode has quite a few loose ends to tie up - #HarryWilson's ex-wife and daughter are finally shown, #EliotSpencer's love interest wants to know what Eliot really does (for which he actually asked for #Parker's relationship advice, showing a lot of growth in Parker), some close (and some funny) interactions between #SophieDevereaux and #HarryWilson, and a tempting offer for Sophie to return to the London stage as a director. #BreannaCasey's growth throughout this first season is displayed in this episode through her "strike" and how well Breana and Parker worked together on the oil rig tech. This episode ends with three shocking developments: (1) Harry's ex-wife has no intention of leaving her current husband despite all the evidence Harry uncovered about his shady dealings; (2) the oil rig is destroyed by fire, killing 4 workers whom Eliot recognizes as friends at his "baby shower" party; and (3) Harry has moved out of the #Leverage house (I didn't know he actually lived there) and has offered his services to RIZ. All is set for a fantastic season-ender. Fingers and toes crossed that it is not a series ender.
Beth Riesgraf Great Director/Conductor
This episode, like the previous #LeverageRedemption episode #TheHurricaneJob, starts with a dark, potentially triggering, vicious attack - this one is by 4 large men with bats against one unarmed man, which is something that happens much too often in our supposed civilized society. After that opening, the remainder of #TheGreatTrainJob episode is a fun romp in the #Leverage-verse. Beth Riesgraf directed this episode (as well as #TheBucketJob), bringing interesting sequences to events on a train and in an empty field. For example, #SophieDevereaux walks from one train car to another, changing outfits and hair styles in an instant. Like #TheHurricaneJob, this episode breaks the #LeverageTeam into pairs - with different pairings plus Breanna this time. #GinaBellman, #BethRiesgraf, and #AleyseShannon are on the train, while #ChristianKane and #NoahWyle are in the field. #Parker acts more like #Leverage Parker in this episode, playing a funny train conductor. #BreannaCasey has more depth added to her story, finding a kindred spirit. #EliotSpencer hits and takes down the bad guys; #HarryWilson tries but doesn't. I liked the "family" feel of the last scenes. Oh, and the Canadian Mounties always get their man.
Port in a Storm
I have been looking forward to #TheHurricaneJob when I read that it was an #EliotSpencer (#ChristianKane) and #Parker (#BethRiesgraf) episode. They are 2 of my 3 favorite characters in #LeverageRedemption (with #AlecHardison (#AldisHodge) being the third). Like some other episodes in the back-8, it started darkly, with a vicious attack by two cops on an unarmed man. The switch being a white cop, a Black cop, and an Hispanic man. This is a #Leverage staple "pairing" episode, with #SophieDevereaux (#GinaBellman) and #HarryWilson (#NoahWyle) together at Leverage HQ while Eliot and Parker have shipwrecked on an island and find the two cops from the opening - along with a lot of other cops - have taken over the hotel. Loved the visual effects of the hurricane. At first I thought they were brave enough to film during one of the five hurricanes the #LeverageRedemption cast and crew endured during the filming of the first season. Turns out it was a hurricane machine. Still extremely effective. And fantastic action sequences of Parker climbing 3 roofs during a hurricane and taking out a couple of bad guys on her own. The presence of U. S. Marshall #MariaShipp, called in by Eliot earlier to get them off the island, was taken as a threat by Parker. Although the Eliot/Parker banter is fun to watch, the writers also write heart-felt scenes where one of the trio (Parker in this case, Eliot in another episode) fears the other will move on without them. Touching Eliot/Parker scene at the end. Oh, and don't miss Harry channeling Wyle's ER doctor role with a flair, a wink, and a smile.
Leverage: The Two-Horse Job (2008)
Strong Out of the Gate
#Leverage settles into what it does best in this third episode, The Two-Horse Job. There is an evil horse-killing bad guy who needs to be taken down, not just a few notches but all the way down. There is some backstory for one of the team, #EliotSpencer in this case, whose high-school sweetheart is the trainer client's daughter who doesn't understand he was unable to return due to a dangerous operation he was assigned. There is a quick win, where the #Leverage team accomplishes it mission of "stealing" the bad guy's last horse to give to the trainer. Easy con. Until ... the unique music that will become his trademark introduces #JamesSterling to the #Leverage-verse. Sterling is a formidable adversary of #NateFord and, at times, his equal. Throw into the mix #SophieDevereaux as a Southern Belle (always fun), #AlecHardison's magic with computers, and #Parker's fear of horses from a traumatizing and lethal fight between rival horse and clown characters at a children's party, when Parker was an impressionable young girl. The final team member, #NateFord, portrays a sleazy guy who often makes the evil mark look like a candy-striper in comparison. Later in the series, we find out #NateFord wasn't acting - he was actually being his real self. More on that in later episode reviews. Following the easy first con, our team pulls off a complicated second con to win for the client. I liked this episode for the depth of character provided for the team and for the introduction of an antagonist who thoroughly believes he is on the good side.
The Boys Night Out Job - Part 2
The original #Leverage series had a pair of episodes - The Girls Night Out Job and The Boys Night Out Job. We saw #LeverageRedemption's The Girls Night Out Job Part 2 with The Paranormal Hacktivity Job in the first 8 episodes. The Golf Job is The Boys Night Out Part 2 episode - except it is during the day and at a golf club. Fans of the child-like lovable trouble-prone teddybear addict #Hurley in the #Leverage series will be so proud of the (sort of) grown-up version in this episode. Hurley is now working with the 12 #LeverageInternational Teams and contributes a lot to the con. For #AngelTV fans, it was great seeing #JamesMarsters and #ChristianKane all (sort of) grown up and switching roles: "good vampire" #Spike has become a "real boy" - and a really bad boy at that. Morally ambiguous lawyer #LindseyMcDonald has become morally righteous and criminally ambiguous hitter #EliotSpencer. The friendship of those three actors carry through on the screen, making this a light-hearted funny contribution to the #LeverageRedemption-verse. Loved how Eliot yells "dammit Hardison" to Hurley and the funny montage of tricks Hurley uses to get Eliot angry and playing golf better. #NoahWyle and a fantastic actress portraying a young lawyer keep the action going in between golf sets. I hope the actress comes back on a future #LeverageRedemption episode; I liked her character and her morality. A heavy topic, human (not sex) trafficking, is given the #LeverageRedemption light touch.
A Flashback Episode
In the original #Leverage 5-year run, there were two "flashback" episodes, where #Leverage cast members took the place of the person needing help. First was The Van Gogh Job in Season 4, with #AldisHodge and #BethRiesgraf portraying star-crossed lovers facing racial bigotry. Second was The D. B. Cooper Job in Season 5, with #ChristianKane portraying D. B. Cooper and @BethRiesgraf portraying the flight attendant who became his wife and hiding his secret. In this third flashback, @GinaBellman portrays the younger version of the Jackal, the world's best grifter, played by #JoannaCassidy. I liked the way Bellman portrayed a much younger woman, a gay free spirit who fell in love with her mark's wife. As with The Van Gogh Job, the Jackal and Jo are star-crossed lovers still not accepted by some of society. It is bold and refreshing for #LeverageRedemption to tell stories such as this. It is also a change of pace episode based mostly on narrative and backstory, which is not always expected of the #Leverage or #LeverageRedemption crew - and can become fan favorites (like the first two) or questionable as this episode appears to be thus far. I loved this episode for a variety of reasons: #JoannaCassidy is a brilliant guest star bringing such incredible depth of character, #GinaBellman's portrayal (as mentioned above), #AleyseShannon's opportunity to shine, and a story filled with heart, love, and hope. The con itself is secondary to the love story, which is a nice switch.
Leverage: The Homecoming Job (2008)
Establishing Some Basics
The Homecoming Job is the first job where a victim contacts the #Leverage team (via the internet, no less) asking for help. This episode includes a lot of "firsts": the first introduction to Leverage Headquarters; the first (and second) use of the word "distinctive" by #EliotSpencer to describe his uncanny ability to identify people, objects, and scenarios by sound or pattern; the first time #AlecHardison is pushed off a roof; the first time #Parker's absolute love of money is revealed; the first time #NateFord shows his drunk side; and a second example of #SophieDevereaux's bad acting. All this would become boring and predictable if the actors were all "one trick ponies" and the writers ensured that each of those "firsts" is repeated in every subsequent episode. Fortunately, the actors and the writers are more interested in telling unique stories and in character growth. Yes, although each of the things I mentioned are repeated throughout the 77 episodes (and some into the #LeverageRedemption resurrection series), they are not repeated in every episode. They are interspersed throughout the 5 years, are always relevant to the story, AND always bring me a smile. I love revisiting these great stories, often finding new nuggets I missed the first dozen times. For example, this time I heard #EliotSpencer tell #NateFord, "Next time, I wear the suit" instead of playing the waiter.
Leverage: The Nigerian Job (2008)
How It All Began - Re-re-re-re-watching Leverage
This must be my tenth (or fifteenth?) time going through all 77 episodes of the original #Leverage series. The Nigerian Job is the perfect introduction to our band of #RobinHoodlums. I love watching each of them grow through the years - some needing more growth than others. I love the major U-turns in this episode and the clever introduction of humor that prevents the show from becoming too dark and makes re-re-re-re-watching so much more enjoyable.
My Favorite Leverage Redemption Episode
"The Bucket Job" is the first of the back-8 episodes of the new #LeverageRedemption series on IMDb-TV. I have watched all 77 of the original #Leverage episodes and the first 8 episodes of the #LeverageRedemption episodes, and I must say this is the arguably the darkest of all 86 episodes. #EliotSpencer - especially his backstory - is the focal Leverage team member, teamed with a fantastically wonderful character created by guest star #LeVarBurton. This is Eliot's most difficult psychologically painful episode, coming in a one-two-punch out of nowhere. I admire #ChristianKane's performance in this episode, which made the story even more gut-wrenching than expected, and my current favorite episode of both series. #LevarBurton brings such a surprisingly different character to life as the local librarian. (Wink) Only one more word I can add: #ChairFlip!
Beware Snakeoil-Peddling Wellness Gurus
This was a fun episode dealing with a serious subject: "Wellness Gurus" who tout magical elixirs and supernatural products as "food supplements" to avoid the strict oversight the Food and Drug Administration enforces on drugs. Although there are many healthful food supplements out there, none of those are being pushed by our snakeoil (or bee venom) peddler. Sophie beats the fake guru at her own game, taking her down - and taking $40 million in bitcoin "money" from a money-laundering scoundrel in the process. I liked Sophie in this episode; she seemed so playful while out-calculating the primary mark and expanding the con to take down the money-launderer as well. I thought the guest stars were great - realistically evil, each with their own justifications for their actions. This is the kind of "con-based" #LeverageRedemption show I love.
Leverage: The Rundown Job (2012)
Pilot for New Leverage Series
This episode focused on the 3 younger #Leverage Team members: #EliotSpencer, #AlecHardison, and #Parker, who worked together as a strong solid unit. Lots of action throughout. I would watch an entire series with only #ChristianKane, #AldisHodge, and #BethRiesgraf based on this episode alone.
The wait is over, the #Leverage family is back! Fantastic #EliotSpencer fight! And the most compassionate and emotional tribute to Eliot from #AlecHardison I have ever heard! A lot of heart was packed into this episode. This is the start of my third watching of these 8 new episodes, and I find some new heart-warming interaction in each viewing. Love #LeverageRedemption, #ChristianKane, #BethRiesgraf. #AldisHodge, and #GinaBellman! Welcome back, #Leverage team!
Great Eliot Moments
After initial concern about a "Fake Nate," I loved this episode! It is among my top 8 favorite #LeverageRedemption episodes thus far. :-) To avoid spoilers, I will just say that, as a #Kaniac, I appreciated seeing "Crazy Eliot," "Romantic Eliot," and #EliotSpencer showing he does more than "hit people and flip his hair." Funny, fantastic moments in this episode. Nice work, #Christian Kane!