Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leverage - The Carnival Job

The team's latest job, reacquiring a revolutionary computer chip from a greedy developer and grieving husband (Erik Jensen) takes an unexpected turn when the man's daughter (Lea Zawada) is kidnapped by the group he was going to sell the chip to on the black market.

With the exception of Sophie (Gina Bellman) each of the characters has a secondary story going on here. Nate (Timothy Hutton) is obviously relating to a man whose world has been shattered after a family death, Elliot (Christian Kane) gets to show a softer side by spending some time with the young girl, and there's some humorous bickering for Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Hardison (Aldis Hodge) over his new invention "the Parker 2000." This episode also marks one of the few times Elliot is outmaneuvered by an opponent (although he gets his revenge before the episode's end).

The job itself isn't the payoff (although the show does keep a Leverage twist for the end) but how the team adapts to the new situation once the girl goes missing. The choice of the nearby carnival as the spot for the exchange, and how the team quickly takes the home field advantage away from the Russians also works well.

It's also worth noting that this episode was directed by longtime Muppet performer Frank Oz who does a good job and providing a bit of the zany to go with the episode's tense moments. A solid episode all-around as Leverage takes a week off before returning on August 14th with a pair of new episodes about a crooked funeral director and a dying young girl. I'll be waiting.

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