Review by C.J. Bunce

A few days ago we reviewed the new comic book series Great Pacific and its writer fearlessly taking on real-world topics of protecting the environment from pollution.  In a similar theme TNT Network’s hit series Leverage, in its final episodes of its fifth season, has been known for having a small, crack squad of criminals turned do-gooders–a Robin Hood meets the A-Team, with Academy Award winning actor Timothy Hutton as the mastermind Nate Ford, Christian Kane as tough guy Eliot Spencer, Beth Riesgraf as ace thief Parker, Aldis Hodge as hacker/tech guru Alec Hardison, and Gina Bellman as grifter Sophie Devereaux.  The Leverage crew takes on the real-world bad guys in every episode, from greedy sports managers, to evil scientists, Wall Street, insurance companies, to corporate agriculture and defense contractors, to embezzlers and corrupt government officials, Leverage has conquered them all, so its about time they take on big box stores in the fall return episode, setting the mindset for shoppers just in time for the holidays.

Tuesday night’s episode added another solid episode to what is turning out to be the best season of Leverage so far.  What do you do with actors who are so comfortable with their characters after nearly five years?  You give the fans more, and one of the story devices that keeps the show fresh, as reflected in “The Low, Low Price Job” is letting one character take center stage in each episode.  For this week’s episode it was Christian Kane’s Eliot the hitter, who decides to help a small town shop owner who is getting harassed by the local government for contrived city code violations, all at the behest of a big box store “Value! More,” opening soon, that will certainly run all mom-and-pop stores out of business.

Hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) delivers some much deserved payback to a supervisor who mistreats his employees

At first, the gang is hesitant, pointing out the value side of big box stores, but mastermind Nate concocts a plan to not take out the entire national corporation, but take a “one step at a time” approach by preventing this one store to be able to open in this small town.  Nate almost seems to almost meet his match in a field manager for the store played by Brigid Brannagh, an actress who has appeared in dozens of TV shows, including the role of Ruby in the Enterprise episode “First Flight.”  Brannagh plays the character as very real, almost too real–to the point where she is so unlikable that it’s almost hard to watch.

In the end the bad guys gets theirs, and the Leverage crew–a superhero team in its own right–chalks up another big-time baddie conquered, pulled if not “from the headlines” then at least from the realities of daily life.  Too bad the creators of Leverage aren’t doing all this in real life.

Leverage continues next Tuesday night on TNT.

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