Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: By Any Means 1x05

Original Air Date: Oct. 20, 2013

So, I've tried to sit down and write about this show before but each time I fall into a trap about how much I loved Tom Tom (Andrew Lee Potts) and Charlie (Elliot Knight).  So with only one episode left let’s see if I can be any more articulate.

If you've never watched By Any Means, it’s vaguely reminiscent of  Leverage in my opinion.  Not to say it has anywhere as near perfect characters as Leverage but it has similarities in the way the story unfolds.  By Any Means centers around a team of four who operate in that grey area.  When someone commits a major crime but for whatever reason the police are unable to convict said person that’s when Jack Quinn, as played by Warren Brown, and his team are called in.  Their mission: to by any means necessary get their man (like I worked the title of the show in there).  What reminds me of Leverage is in each episode their mission seems to be going horribly wrong but in the end its all revealed in quick flashbacks, that had previously been kept from the audience, that everything had happened exactly as planned. 

This week’s episode begins with a man named Ahmed (played by Ashraf Barhom) who shoots and kills a man in the woods whose only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Ahmed is able to get out of his arrest by promising MI-5 important information on suspected terrorists cells working within the country.  Helen Barlow (played by Gina McKee), the team's contact, feels that while the information is important Ahmed’s previous human trafficking and murderous exploits should not go unpunished, so she calls in Jack Quinn.  Jack and the team set out to break his former accomplice, Mehmet (played by Stewart Scudamore), out of prison in order to frighten Ahmed into a murder confession.

It should come to no surprise that for me, I’m not too excited about the stand-alone episode cases of this show.  The cases aren't anything unique or even all that interesting.  In fact, quite often I've discovered myself zoning out while details are discussed because it isn't really all that essential in enjoying the show.  My favorite thing about this show is The Team.  I love ensemble shows, and I love teams who work together and at the end of the day are almost like family.  Each week I found myself pausing and rewinding just to enjoy how the team interacts with each other.

Jack Quinn:  He's the leader with a failed marriage and complicated past.  He's been around the block a few times but he keeps to himself and doesn't allow too many people in.   

Charlie O’Brien: He's really like the little brother of the team.  Formally a cop and the subject of the pilot episode, in which he was suspected of being dirty.  Jack, however, saw him for who he really was and offered him a place on the team after helping him clear his name.

Jessica Jones: The cool, confident, chameleon on the team who can take care of herself (which it takes all I have not to rant that without giving her a backstory, no matter how awesome and smart she may be she gets reduced to being “the girl”.  I want more episodes if only to allow the audience to learn something about her.  We have no idea how she ended up on this team or why.  We know at least a little about everyone else, but it seems nothing about her). 

And rounding out this team we have…

Thomas Tomkins aka Tom Tom:  He is the all-around awesome hacker, man in the van, miracle worker with a tablet.  Pre-series, he got into trouble for hacking and given the option of prison or being apart of the team, he chose the team (even when  he was finished with community service hours he still chose the team).  

It’s this team which has me coming back each week.  In the first episode it was obvious that this team was a new one.  They haven’t been working together for all that long and their family didn't seem all that complete, but then they added Charlie and everything sort of fell into place.  Don't even get me started on the friendly rivalry between Charlie and Tom Tom because it is quite adorable.  However, I do tend to roll my eyes at the fact that they do try to hint here and there that each of the guys has a thing for Jess. Luckily at the end of the day its mostly a sibling vibe I've get from their interactions with each other and I love it. Which is saying something coming from a hardcore shipper addict such as me.  Trust me I’d want nothing more than to scream “Tom Tom x Jess = 5eva!! xoxo”, but I'm not seeing it too much. That's not to say they aren't perhaps trying for something of the sort especially at the end of this episode.

My favorite bits from this episode include:
  • The opening and closing scenes of their game of Monopoly.  I loved to see them laughing and getting all srs bzns about the game.
  • Charlie tattle telling on Jess on how she really found Ahmed’s number.
  • Jess making fun of Jack’s bright pink dress-shirt.
  • Tom Tom worried about offering Mehmet tea vs coffee.
  • Jess falling asleep on Tom Tom’s shoulder on the couch. Add that with Tom Tom bailing her out in Monopoly and the kiss and if I didn't know any better, I’d be a happy little shipper.  

Now if only we could get some actual character development this could be a great show.  This is the one show on television I actively try not to analyze because honestly I enjoy the fluffy team work and I don’t want to get upset about all the casually sexist things going on around Jess (seriously she deserves better than what she’s getting from the writers).

No word if there will be another series after next Sunday’s episode.  To be honest, I’m not holding my breath.  It wasn't really a knock it out of the ballpark kind of show and I'm not sure how many people chose it over Downton Abbey.  That being said who here has that crack!fic of Tom Tom and Hardison meeting and having a hack off? "Age of the Geek baby!" vs. "What you've never heard of Geek chic?" Who doesn't think they would have an epic bromance?

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