Good-Bye: Leverage

Posted on January 3, 2013

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In December of 2011, I wrote about Leverage, and why it was on the bubble for us.

On Christmas Day, 2012, Leverage aired its final episode. To be frank, I was disappointed.

We Watched It

When the episode begins, the team is planning a job to help a gravely ill kid. The building they must access has much higher security than they expected. Something is going on.

Then the job happens. There is no gravely ill kid.

Cut to Nate being interrogated.

There’s a bunch of flashbacks, until Nate reveals that he knows exactly where he is and who is interrogating him – Interpol, under the auspices of the team’s old frenemy, Jim Sterling.

Nate basically coasts through the rest of the episode while Interpol catches up to what the team really did.

Then he asks to be let go, so his team can go after the bankers who made sure all their money was safe before the big crash of 2008.

Good Riddance

Dean Devlin was an executive producer on the series, and directed many episodes. Prior to knowing if he was going to get a sixth season, he said, “John Rogers and I decided to end this season with the episode we had planned to make to end the series, way back when we shot the pilot.”

That pretty much sums up all the problems that I had with the closing episode.

First off, there’s the structure of the story. Devlin says it was the first time that they “conned the audience.” Uhm, no. Sorry to say, but there were no surprises at all in the finale. Fans of the show saw every twist coming. We knew damn well that Hardison wasn’t dead, no matter how many times Sterling mentioned it. The twisty structure, replete with flashbacks, felt like filler.

Second, there was the subject matter. Nate already led the team against a big insurance company in memory of his own son’s death. So the gravely ill kid thing felt like treading water, which automatically made me suspicious.

Similarly, going after Interpol’s black book of financiers who destroyed the world’s economy and got away with it felt tired. It was something that should have happened in the first season, or maybe the second.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Leverage started by going after people who hadn’t broken the law but still hurt people. Then it went after people who were criminals but that the law, reasonably, couldn’t touch. By the fourth season, the team was going after criminals that the police could have arrested.

This last season saw some return to the original premise, with the team going after big box retailers and toymakers who manipulate safety reviews. While good, they felt de-fanged. The way the toy-maker decided whether to recall a product is the same math used by auto makers, as pointed out in Fight Club in 1999. Yet there was no larger outrage.

So going after the black book was a throwback to first season, and not a summation or culmination.

WTF

Yes, I thought Nate proposing to Sophie was nice. It should have been awesome, and it could have achieved that by having Nate reveal Sophie’s real name with the proposal.

Yes, I thought the hand-off of the team to the younger members was a good way to end things. Better would have been having Nate and Sophie in real danger, and the younger people having to rely on themselves to rescue them.

Honestly, my favorite part was the revelation that Sophie was actually a terrific actor, and the whole shoddy performer thing was a cover identity that she maintained even with the team.

So yes, I’m glad that Leverage got a chance to wrap things up when the series ended. I just wish it had been better.

Thoughts?

What series finale disappointed you?

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