Leverage: “The 12 Step Job”

3 February 2009
by R.A. Porter

Episode 109 - The 12-Step Job

My father was an addict, my grandfather. I know how these people operate.

TNT’s done a bit of a number on the order of episodes, shuffling them around for a variety of reasons. Last week’s episode, in fact, was intended to be the third on the air according to John Rogers. But we get serendipity. Nate’s drinking from last week, which seemed a bit out of place because it was more pronounced than in previous weeks, makes a nice precursor to tonight’s full-on addiction problem.

Like any high-functioning alcoholic, as long as Nate’s well lubricated (but not too lubricated) he’s fine. Hence the booze in the soda can first thing in the morning and the ubiquitous tumbler. And like any high-functioning alcoholic, any interruption in the flow can be catastrophic.

Nate’s degrading behavior, DTs, and finally his hallucinations should have convinced him that Sophie’s not slinging bull, but like with any addict, no one can help him until he’s ready to help himself. So he goes back to self-medicating instead of facing his addiction head on. I complained last week that if the team always won it would eventually grow too formulaic and I’d lose my interest; Nate’s unwillingness to accept that he has a problem changes that equation a lot.

Nate out of control guarantees future friction. Nate out of control guarantees future failures. Nate’s continued battles with his addiction – or Sophie’s battles with Nate over it – ensure plenty of conflict and uncertainty.

As for the CotW,1 it was a nice change of pace. It was nice to see the bad guy not be a bad guy for once, but just a victim of his own mistakes. I would assume we’ll see this type of setup once a season or so, and I’m glad they threw it out this week.

The group therapy sessions in rehab worked really well and I thought the Goth was fantastic. Her delivery was so flat, so underplayed, she was like a real-life Daria. And of course: Parker on happy pills. Wow. Beth Riesgraf is bringing it in a way I wasn’t sure she’d be able to. When the season started, it seemed she was struggling to keep up with the rest of the cast, but I don’t think that anymore.

I find it surprising that a couple of thieves couldn’t find the money Jack Hurley had hidden in his car, but I suppose after their Lethal Weapon moment the boys were a little distracted. I’m more than willing to let that slide, especially because we got that great scene, as well as the Mexican (and Korean) standoff with Hardison’s unsuccessful island-flavored attempt to diffuse it and Eliot’s successful re-fusing of the bomb.2

Jack seems the sort of character we might see again which would be fine with me. I think a habitual liar with a heart of gold would make a nice foil/obstacle for the team. While he’ll have his fill of tacos and burritos in Rosarito, I suspect he’ll miss the comforts of home by sometime next season.

On the topic of recurring characters, I was happy to see Mark Sheppard make an appearance, even if only in Nate’s fevered hallucinations. He is definitely a good foil for Nate, even in his imagination.

Some other thoughts:

  • I spent several minutes trying to pick out enough snippets of lyrics from the song in the cold open to track it down. The singer reminded me of Shane MacGowan, but it wasn’t a Pogues song I knew. Finally it occured to me to turn on closed captioning. Apparently, there was an issue with clearance, because the song on the soundtrack was NOT the song that was captioned. The lyrics there were for Flogging Molly’s “Drunken Lullabies” which I most definitely would have recognized. If anyone does know the song playing, please pipe up in comments.
  • On the list of Hurley’s haunts “Hutton’s Hangout” appeared several times.
  • I loved Hardison and Eliot’s childlike glee over getting to visit strip clubs…for the case, of course.
  • Hardison shoots out the engine block…but he was aiming for the guy’s leg.
  • Nate as Tom Baker yet again. Someone’s going to have to get that man some jelly babies.
  • Apparently, Aldis Hodge and Christian Kane spent the entire week filming this episode calling each other Riggs and Murtaugh.
  • I loved Hardison’s idea of using a bag of bricks even if Eliot thought it only worked in movies. Would it have hurt him to grab a bullwhip and some bricks and try it out?
  • Hardison cockblocks with the “I’m with him” line. Nice.
  • Sophie: “Ready to finish what you started?”
    Nate: “I’m ready for a drink.”

What did everyone else think?

R.A. Porter is an aspiring television writer who currently toils away in the software mines. He can be found at Sketch War, Tumblr, and stalked on Twitter.
  1. Con of the Week. []
  2. A joke too far. Forgive me. []

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posted by R.A. Porter in → Reviews

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