'Leverage' travels back to WWII for 'The Van Gogh Job'
A fun flashback episode and showcase for Aldis Hodge
I write about a lot of TV shows, but there are many more that I watch but don't write about, either due to lack of time, bulk viewing (I tended to marathon "The Good Wife" a lot in season 1, for instance) or simply because there's just not enough meat there to justify episode-by-episode analysis. ("Burn Notice" is a show that I think has slipped into that territory, even though I still enjoy it.)
One of those often-watched, rarely-reviewed shows is "Leverage," and for once I'm a bit ahead of the game, having seen a screener of Sunday night's episode, titled "The Van Gogh Job." It's a notable episode for a few reasons.
First, it guest stars Danny Glover as the team's latest client, an aging World War II veteran who may know something about a long-lost Van Gogh painting. Second, it's an episode focusing heavily on Aldis Hodge, who's always been my favorite of the "Leverage" cast (and not just because he played Ray "Voodoo" Tatim on "Friday Night Lights").
Third, it's an example of the kind of episode I usually enjoy but that few shows bother to do anymore: one where the regular cast wind up playing new roles for much of the running time either as part of a dream sequence, a flashback, a parallel universe, someone telling a bedtime story to their kids, etc. The best of these remains the "Moonlighting" episode "Atomic Shakespeare," in which Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd played the two main characters from "Taming of the Shrew" with very David and Maddie qualities. (Here's Willis' entrance as Petruchio.) But I almost always enjoy them, whether it's the "Northern Exposure" flashback episode about the founding of Cicely or the three "Family Guy" salutes to "Star Wars."
Much of "The Van Gogh Job" features Glover's character telling Beth Risegraf's Parker about his adventures in the 40s, and his forbidden love for a sweet white girl in town, and those stories are then dramatized with Hodge, Riesgraf and the rest of the cast playing Glover, his love interest and the story's other major figures, both domestic and, after a while, in Europe during WWII.
It's a good showcase for Hodge, a good way for the show to have some fun with the Hardison/Parker sexual tension by having the two actors play lovebirds from another era, and an episode that proves there's a way to work a "Leverage"-style caper into any era, with any characters.
Glad I got to see it in advance, and that I had a few minutes to write about it for once.
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