Happy season finale!
This was not the most mindblowingly exciting Leverage episode ever, unfortunately. Part of the problem was that there was too much story for a forty minute episode. There was barely time to tie all of the con elements together, nevermind punctuate them with this show's trademark tongue-in-cheek hilarity. A five minute check-in with Sophie at the vey beginning didn't help. Most of the hour suffered from a distinct lack of hijinks. Sure, there was a little hair flipping from Eliot and some key tapping from Hardison and Nathan's citrus fruit suit was definitely worth some chuckles, but for every moment of passable humor was a complementary bit that fell short, like Parker's moment of failing to act like a methhead - not awkwardly hilarious, just boring. By the end of the episode I was SO ready for one of the blue-and-white revelation flashbacks to swoop in and redeem everything. No luck. Alas.
The good news? Jeri Ryan. My god I love that woman. And not just because she was Seven of Nine and I have an unfortunate addiction to Star Trek Voyager. I don't really watch legal dramas, so it's been awhile since I've seen her on television - she's been on Law & Order: SVU, Shark, and Boston Legal in the past few years, so she's got the lawyer schtick down at this point. And that's why I didn't blink twice when she showed up to guest star on Leverage as a lawyer, sweetly and awkwardly giving this off-kilter episode a bright spot. And then it got even better. I am not good at anticipating plot twists, even (possibly especially) the obvious ones. I probably shouldn't have been quite as suprised as I was that Jeri Ryan is going to be sticking around as Tara, a grifter friend of Sophie's, for at least a few more episodes. But I am absolutely delighted.
If the last couple of episodes haven't been warning enough, I think it is definitely time to start worrying about Gina Bellman (Sophie)'s future on Leverage. There have been some whispers circulating the interweb about her failure to absolutely delight in comparison to the other characters since the beginning of the series. She doesn't make me laugh quite as much as everyone else, maybe, but I am a fan of the character. Despite what other folks have been saying about Bellman's acting abilities (just swoop around the Leverage page on SideReel and you should see what I mean) I think she is just as talented as the rest of the cast and she has a much more difficult role - the grifter spends so much time in character for the con that the character for the show has incredibly limited opportunity to forge a personality. So, while I think that the future is looking a bit grim for this character, especially since I'm sure Jeri Ryan will in no way disappoint, I am hoping that we'll see Sophie back before long.
Time to sit back and wait for January.