Sorry, they’ll if you’ve been waiting for me to continue this, but my work schedule is back to being hectic! I’m still planning to finish this but I feel some days will get a bit more spaced out again.
THIS SHIT IS HARD.
I was talking to one of my roommates as I pondered this and she said “it’s easier to remember your favourite episodes of things” and that’s so true. Also, with Leverage being my favourite show it’s harder to think about it’s flaws because I remember so much of it fondly. That’s not to say it didn’t have flaws. It could have done with more actors of colours in main roles or more — any? — LBGT+ representation. It also didn’t have the zip! and pop! that a lot of show are required to have, but I think it made up for that with really excellent storylines.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to think about my least favourite episodes because even episodes I didn’t 100% enjoy, there was something that happened within in for the development of the story or characters that stood out more.
I will say that when thinking about my least favourite episode and trying to narrow it down, I thought about episodes where a plotline frustrated me or the character development annoyed me. In the end, they focused on Nate. Nate, as I mentioned before, is my least favourite of the leads. Nate, however is a great character, so even in episodes where I got exasperated by his plotline I could still see and accept interesting character choices were happening. But my main problem with his episodes, was even in moments where he should have lost, he won. Okay, staying as spoiler free as I can get, Nate is a brilliant man, and he has lost, he’s lost big time, he’s also an addict. All three of these aspects make up the core of his character and I think that’s why the show has him so intent on winning. Even when he’s “losing” he’s still ultimately gonna win. Even when his addiction should make him struggle, he still manages to be smarter than everyone else in the room. It becomes a little annoying. I think the moment it bugged me the most is where he tell Hardison he’d never been a good Mastermind because he didn’t think about the people in the con enough. There’s a whole video game analogy here about the Rage Quit. In the end, you can view the whole exchange as a learning experience for Hardison, but yeah, it let a bad taste in my mouth.
Similarly, in another episode Nate hypnotises Hardison without his consent, which I do find that Nate is harder on Hardison than he is on the others. He loves Hardison like family, but yeah. When you consider Nate’s family history and father-son relationship with his own father, and his son, a lot of choices make sense, but they are sometimes still pretty terrible choices. Later when Nate’s dad comes in for a few episodes, again, I don’t mind my particularly interested in their drama, but the episodes themselves have some great moments I’ll think about and second guess myself.
Which is again, the frustration and beauty of me picking a least favourite episode.
So here’s a shortlist of episodes in which I find Nate’s win a little too convenient for him or he acts like he’s somehow better than someone else who has proven to be just as good as him:
- The Gold Job. This is the episode I mentioned above where Hardison takes charge of the team for a job, and is ultimately shown/told that he’d never been a good enough Mastermind by Nate.
- The Three Card Monte Job. First episode where Nate’s father comes in.
- The Radio Job. Second episode where Nate’s father comes in. Like in the one above, while interesting I don’t find their relationship something I care to watch that much. In some ways Jimmy brings out the worst in Nate.
- The Three Days of the Hunter Job. Background: Sophie takes lead on the job and from the beginning it’s grating the way he talks over and tries to take over Sophie’s position as Mastermind. Do you see a theme? The con also involves pushing their mark to have an emotional breakdown, which yeah, the mark was a shitty person, but that’s going a little too far, in my honest opinion. ETA: Someone also reminded me that something similar — the team playing around too freely with someone mental and emotional state — happens in The White Rabbit Job.
But the thing is with all these episodes? I still really like 80% of them.
Again, Leverage is genuinely a good show, with flaws, but no necessarily entirely flawed episodes. I probably should do a rewatch and then maybe I’d have a better answer.