Well, I must apologize. It's been a long time since I've posted. There hasn't been a whole lot going on in the world of television, but that's not my excuse. Here's some unsolicited, un-television-related advice for you. If you find yourself pregnant with twins, don't decide to buy a house. Stupid. Just stupid!
Because of all that, I'm way behind on my television. But this past weekend, I finally saw the final finale of three of my cable shows. I thought I'd give my impressions.
Leverage is new for me. I didn't see the first season, except for a couple episodes. Those episodes impressed me so much that I put Leverage on my DVR schedule. As you know, the relationships between characters is often what draws me in to a show. It's one of the things I love about Lost and about Bones. If the relationships aren't true, or are forced, I will eventually lose interest. Heroes is one show that lost me because of their failure to develop characters who could grow.
Leverage has a host of interesting characters. Nate Ford is a former insurance investigator who quit the business and sank into a drunken rage when his son died after the insurance company refused to pay for treatment. For reasons I don't understand, seeing as I never saw the pilot, Nate decided to help someone, but he needed skills he didn't possess. So, he found a grifter, hitter, thief, and hacker. All four of these characters were basically amoral who used their skills to help themselves, not others.
Sophie is the grifter. She's also an actress, but a terrible one when on stage. She fabulous when working a con. She works the most with Nate, and a romance of sorts is brewing between them. She humanizes most of the other characters who are somewhat socially limited. Sophie left to travel for a number of months "to find herself". The real reason is that Gina Bellwood, the actress who plays Sophie, was on maternity leave.
Eliot is the hitter. He's the hitter because he doesn't really like using weapons, though he can if he must. Skilled in martial arts, he mostly protects the group. He's often assumed to be a dumb jock, but he's actually smarter than he looks. He likes being underestimated.
Parker is the thief. No one knows if that is her first or last name. Raised in a number of foster homes, she is socially backward and relies on Sophie to help her with social skills. She is an extremely skilled thief, and is probably the most amoral of the group.
Lastly, Hardison is the hacker. He was also raised in foster homes, though it sounds like his childhood was more stable than Parker's. He's a self-professed geek who is able to hack into just about any computer system. However, in a funny joke, he did point out that he cannot "hack a hick."
But that doesn't tell you what the relationships between the characters are. Sophie and Nate are attracted to each other, but, of course, they keep fighting it. Hardison is attracted to Parker, but she doesn't recognize his flirting for what it is. Eliot is protective of the team, though he gets frustrated when Nate doesn't give them all the information he believes he needs. The group broke up at the end of the first season (for reasons unknown to me), but the four thieves found that they couldn't return to their normal lives. They liked helping people too much.
Nate changed the most in the second season. He sobered up during the break between seasons, but relapsed during a job. Although he tried to curtail his drinking, he never quite gave it up. He made it clear that, unlike his cohorts, he was not a thief. All he was doing in setting up his cons was helping the downtrodden get what was rightly theirs from the rich and powerful. He always maintained an aura of superiority over his colleagues, which they did not fail to note. But in the final episode, Nate lost control over his con and his own actions, partially due to alcohol and partially due to other reasons too long to discuss here. His team confronted him on a few occasions, but he insisted he was fine. What his team didn't know was that he had been caught.
In exchange for his assistance, Nate would go free, but his team was not. After all, they were thieves, Nate was not. There appeared to be no way out. But, as usual, Nate outsmarted the officials. The only evidence to convict a truly evil dude was Nate's testimony. And the price for his testimony: his colleagues go free. His team was not grateful, however. Sophie even slapped him. As they took off in a helicopter, Nate pronounced to the world, "I am a thief."
I guess they'll have to get the team back together in the first episode next season.
White Collar has been essentially mind candy. The only reason to watch it, other than the impossibly handsome Matt Bomer, is the bromance between Bomer's Neal and Tim DeKay's Peter. Peter was the only FBI who could capture Neal (which he did, twice), but is hesitant when Neal suggests that Peter allow him to help solve white collar crimes. You know, an "it takes a thief" kind of thing. Have you ever noticed that thieves are all terribly handsome?
Despite his reluctance to work with Neal, and despite the differences in their character, Peter finds himself appreciating Neal's skill and enthusiasm. He finds himself relying on Neal's advice on their cases and in his personal life. He even moves in with Neal when his home is being wired (that didn't work out so well).
But as Neal got involved in a plan to steal a music box to free his girlfriend, Peter becomes suspicious. He tries to talk Neal out of the theft, even promising to arrest Neal if he attempts the crime. Peter's no fool, though, and he realizes Neal will go forward with his plans regardless. What Neal didn't anticipate was the effect this would have on Peter - Peter's wife was accused of various crimes (clearly bogus), and Peter was suspended for two weeks.
Of course, Neal stole the music box, and Peter couldn't arrest Neal because Peter was on suspension. Neal is promised to be reuinited with his girlfriend with a new identity. He says good bye to everyone, except Peter. Peter find him, and Neal acknowledges he didn't say good bye to Peter because Peter was the only one who could talk Neal out of escaping with his girlfriend. Frankly, I thought Peter was doing a bad job of convincing Neal to stay, but it turns out his intervention saved Neal's life, as the airplane containing the girlfriend (allegedly) exploded.
Michael Weston has spent three years trying desparately to find out why he was burned from the CIA. In this season's finale, we finally learned why. A rogue agent was so bad that he was placed in a remote jail. Because a power that is needed someone like this rogue agent, they altered Michael's file so that it appears Michael committed the horrible acts of the rogue agent. Both the rogue agent, Simon, and Michael protest they want their lives back. But Simon, who has escaped from his jail, is a true psychopath, and doesn't care who he kills to get what he wants. He even bribes Michael into helping him by putting explosives in a Miami hotel. If Michael doesn't help, the bomb goes off.
The FBI are onto Michael and his activities, and they believe what his CIA file contains. They try to find him, interrogating his mother, Maddy. Despite their attempts to convince her that Michael is a killer, she refuses to give her son up, and is eventually arrested by the FBI. But she's devastated. Michael managed to stop Simon, but was captured by the FBI. Within 2o minutes of his capture, another "suit" took custody of Michael. We last saw Michael being led in chains with a hood over his head to a meeting. But Maddy has no idea where her son is. Her distress was palpable.
Buffyverse fan alert - Christian Kane, Lindsey McDonald on Angel, plays Eliot on Leverage. The two characters are not all that alike. Lindsey was amoral, yes, but he committed his evil as an attorney for the soulless (literally) Wolfram and Hart. Eliot, on the other hand, prefers to use his fists, and has discovered that he has a desire to help people.
Deadwood fan alert and The 4400 fan alert. Garret Dillahunt, Francis Wolcott and Jack McCall on Deadwood and Matthew Ross on The 4400, played Simon on Burn Notice. I wonder, is Dillahunt as disturbed as the characters he plays?
Lost fan alert - Marsha Thomason, Naomi Dorrit on Lost, plays an FBI agent on White Collar. She is apparently joining the cast for the next season. Although she has an American accent on White Collar, she really is from Manchester, England, just like Naomi.