[Header: Erin Ruth Walker as Emma and Aleyse Shannon as Brenna Casey | Freevee]
The job this week is brought to the team’s attention because of Breanna. We see both her and Sophie go to speak with Emma (Erin Ruth Walker) after her work is stolen by one of the professors at her university: Dr Daniel Gray (Rob Benedict) and from the get-go, it’s easy to sympathise with Emma and get behind her and the team as they make plans to take Gray down.
I loved watching Breanna and Sophie rally behind Emma throughout. The latter helping her through a panic attack at the beginning was especially good and then Breanna speaking near the end about the behaviour of the university’s president by choosing to believe Gray’s word over Emma’s.
I always thought Rob Benedict was a fantastic actor and the same can be said for this episode. His character is such a horrible person but is played so well. This is another episode in which it seems the person they’re targeting might be about to outsmart them but we also get to see Gray slowly become more paranoid and actually make things worse for himself even when he thinks he’s winning. The teams’ success was made even more fun to see due to Emma’s involvement with the process, like talking Sophie through the technical stuff in order to sell her role.
At first, Harry is still clearly in that in-between, trying to adjust to being part of the team and still often seeing the world through an old lens so he pushes for a more “by the book” and legal approach this time around — something that’s partly guided by his respect for the university — but quickly realises that things just aren’t that simple. It has been interesting to watch Harry grow into his new role and new way of life. How he approaches things are still partly wrapped up in him being a lawyer and possibly past (and current) privilege and just not having the same lens/experience as the others so to see that slowly switch has been great.
In the end, it all works out and Emma finally being able to take her stance versus when she was too anxious to prove herself near the start was so good to see. She was such a great character and a delight to watch. Despite only being in this episode, it was very easy to become invested in her and her growth felt wonderfully paced meaning it was not only wonderful to witness but believable that she took her power back.
Now, I’ve talked before about Eliot’s soft nature and this episode is no different in showing us that. He has the ability to gravitate towards people and look out for them. This week, it’s the security guards and janitors and other workers of the university who are often looked down on or not seen at all. He finds a whole group of people who have grievances with the higher-ups — especially Gray — and realises that it’s not just Emma who is struggling and needs some help. The fact this group becomes involved in the job when Eliot reaches out for help was such a wonderful thing to see.
Hardison being a part of the job was also such a pleasant and welcomed surprise! I had no idea he was going to be in this episode so when he popped up on the screen, I was a little startled and very happy. I appreciate that we’ve been touching in with him either visually or verbally throughout season 2, it makes him feel part of it even if he’s not always there in person. His little part in this episode was a delight and to see him play out part of the job with Parker (and Sophie) was another highlight even if they weren’t actually in the same room. Also, it’s always fun to watch Parker going on about stealing things and it was no different in this episode when she kept mentioning how easy it was to steal from places like universities and even proving so.
The conclusion to this episode was a delight and it worked so well that although the team did a lot of work in going after Gray, they mostly gave Emma an opening to prove herself and obtain the opportunities and recognition she deserved all on her own. It made that conclusion so much more satisfying and the overall job, just like the episode, was really great.