Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Twenty-one - Leverage: Season 1, Episode 4, "Preachy Miracle Blues"

You know, I want to love Leverage... the problem is, several episodes in, I think I'm only ever going to be in "like mode" with the series.

It has a hippish jazz soundtrack that heavily features the bass line, is very much in tune with the "punish the corporate overloads" zeitgeist of income disparity America, and manages to pull off most of its capers (at least the ones we've seen for far) in forty minutes of "To Catch A Thief" theatrics. There's just the right amount of intra-team rivalries and friendships, none of the bad guys are ever all that sympathetic, and there's a soft wit that pervades but doesn't overpower... but therein lie some of Leverage's weaknesses.

Take this episode, for example. Billed as a personal job for an old friend of Nate's, The Miracle Job is about trying to scam a manic real estate developer into giving up his plans to first tear down a church... and then stop him from turning the "miracle" they used to scare him off into a religious themed amusement park which is just so off the scales ridiculous, that the episode loses me right there.

I mean, seriously, it felt like I was watching an updated version of The A-Team what with all of its melodramatic villains and corny solutions... and, in a way, Leverage is just that, only transplanted into the modern day and without the US Army making a bumbling chase in the background.

Not that I don't mind seeing DB Sweeney make a guest appearance as the priest, but I've seen him in too many roguish roles to take him seriously as a man of the cloth (rather like how Ray Wise can never do the same in Psyche, as hard as he tries).

There are a few good points to the episode, though... early on, when Nate visits his preacher friend in the hospital, there's an intercom announcement in the background that is a nice, subdued reference to his son dying previous to the series. Also, there's finally a direct mention of the tension between Nate and Sophie, which anyone can see in just about every episode, considering how much they try and emphasize the chemistry.

Still, despite its occasional strengths, Leverage is just an "alright" series, never burgeoning on genius or compelling. It's the kind of show that you can easily have on in the background and never really care about. Sure, it's fun... but ultimately, it's just generic and sterile and, well, empty. It's not bad, but it will never be great, I think.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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