This week, we get to see the other half of the story that started last week on Leverage - and it's even better than the first.
Hurley (Drew Powell), last seen in "The Twelve-Step Job," rolls into town while Nate is playing poker with Hardison, Eliot, Detective Bonanno (Robert Blanche) and one of Eliot's friends (Sean Faris). The poor guy has no idea that the nuns he's working for are not above board until Nate saves him from being shot to death. Unfortunately for Nate, hiding Hurley leads him right into a meeting for an addiction support group.
After Nate survives the meeting by faking an apology to Maggie - which is in reality a call to Hardison and Eliot for help - he confronts one of the nuns, and learns that they're not nuns, nor are they drug dealers per se. They're are trying to smuggle in cancer drugs that the less fortunate can't afford, but they're now being preyed upon by the Mexican cartel and the Irish mob. There's been a mix-up between the nuns' shipment and one of cocaine, leaving everyone confused. (One of the highlights of the episode is the two Irish henchmen arguing over whether or not the church basement is considered holy ground.)
Hardison picks a bad time to start trying to be a tough guy, leaving Eliot to have to knock an entire bar unconscious, one person at a time. Hardison then narrowly escapes a pack of police dogs at the impound lot. Between all that and his jealousy over Parker's night out, it's not a good time to be Alec Hardison, but Aldis Hodge plays that mixture of frustration and overconfidence so well. He and Christian Kane have always had a great banter between them and this episode is no exception.
Hurley gets shot, Nate steals a car, and they both lose the fake nun. In order to save Not-Really-Sister Lupe, Nate plays both the Irish and the Mexicans off one another, so it looks like they're in a drug deal together - just as Detective Bonanno, a bunch of state police officers, and Eliot's friend roll up.
All's well that ends well. Everyone lives, and while Hurley loses Lupe to Eliot, he runs into Parker's friend. Nate, as is a little too usual for him, sits back and lets everyone else have the fun, content to sit alone with his thoughts.
"The Boys' Night Out Job" is a perfect companion to "The Girls' Night Out Job," and it's a stronger episode. No offense to the ladies of Leverage, but the interactions between Eliot and Hardison, as well as Nate and Hurley, and even the bad guys, are just funnier than the ones between Sophie and Tara. It's easy to see why Timothy Hutton enjoyed having Drew Powell return; Hurley just pushes all of Nate's buttons without necessarily meaning to, and Hutton is a master at that worldweary, "are you kidding me?" attitude.
There are quite a few feature actors who have made the jump to television over the last few years, but for me personally, none have been more enjoyable to watch than Tim Hutton. Nate Ford is one of those characters I've genuinely come to embrace, even if he is kind of antisocial.
I can say the same for Christian Kane and Aldis Hodge. Like many people, I first discovered Kane when he played on Angel, and from his role there I never expected that he would be so good at comedy. It's true that he's still an effective heavy, but he's even better at the deadpan comic relief. He's balanced out well by Hodge, who can get nearly manic sometimes when called for. Their partnership is one of those cases of two good actors who are even better when they're in scenes together - that intangible thing all casting directors strive to find, and these two have it.
The plot itself is also just a little more of that lighthearted fun that Leverage is known for compared to "Girls' Night Out Job." The scenes are a bit bigger, the narrative is a little crazier, and it's a little faster-paced. On the whole, the script for this half is stronger, and that combined with the performances makes for a more impressive episode. Not that "Girls' Night Out Job" was a bad episode, but in this case, the boys are the ones having more fun.
(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.