This week's episode of Leverage offered us a glimpse into the workings of the Ford family, as Nate went up against his dad Jimmy.
Overall, "The Three-Card Monte Job" was better than the last couple installment have been. While we yet again did not get any progress on the Italian lady or her blackmail, we did get a unique episode with the team having no real overall con and instead, actually working to figure out and break a con.
It was a refreshing change of pace from the normal way it works a job.
Of course, the job was not supposed to be typical from the moment it was clear that Nate’s father was the mark they were working to stop. I know the writers wanted this to have tension from it being family, but something didn’t click with that idea. There was something very subtle early in the episode that felt out of sync: Nate was too casual about the job being one to stop his father and/or send him to jail.
I know there we should expect some false bravado, but until Nate sat down at the police station after letting his dad go, I never felt he was having any kind of difficulty with the prospect of sending his dad back to prison.
When I was growing up, the iconic father/son event was to play football or catch a baseball. In the 21st century it has changed dramatically. Spending time in the same online game is considered quality time in more than one household, and it works well for a good majority of them. For the Ford family, it seemed to be pulling a con together.
The scene where Nate and his dad pulled a quick “pill con” to get the alarm codes was a nice bonding moment between Nate and Jimmy. You could tell that Jimmy had always wanted Nate to follow in his footsteps and this was the first time that Nate was on the same side of the law has him. This really did seem like the Ford family’s version of going on a fishing trip. Even as short-lived as it was, it was a lot of fun to see them get to spend some time together.While I do think the show pushed the limits on number of times it showed the flashback to Nate learning three card monte, I did very much enjoy that the entire episode really came down to Nate finally beating his dad at the game. We learned from the numerous flashbacks that Jimmy not only beat Nate often, but gave him a good deal of grief trying to get him to figure it out.
It was nice that the episode ended with Nate not only finally beating his dad at the game but with his dad being very proud of him. That moment speaks to any of us who has wanted our parents support and approval. I think we all have a moment in our adult lives where we will ask our parents (or parental figure) “Are you proud of me?”
We could tell that until now Jimmy had considered Nate a failure for being “law abiding,” regardless of his skills. Now that Nate was able to show his skills and Jimmy is proud of him, it will be interesting to see how it will affect Nate in the long run.
Lastly, I have to say what a great job Tom Skerritt did in this episode as Jimmy Ford. His subtle Boston accent was right on the mark. I really hope that the writers can figure out how to bring him in again. I would love to see Skerritt come back working with Nate or even better work for Nate on a job and learning what his son really does with his gifts.
What did you think of the episode? Did you like or hate Jimmy Ford? Do you think Nate is like his father?
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.