Can’t Miss Episode of the Week: ‘Leverage: Redemption’ Returns With Christmas & LeVar Burton

Leverage: Redemption

Welcome to our weekly column Can’t Miss Episode of the Week! Every Saturday we’ll be spotlighting a different episode of television from that week that we thought was exceptional and a must-see. Check back to see if your favorite show got the nod — or to learn about a new one!

Our favorite heist show has returned, and with some festive holiday cheer. On October 8, Leverage: Redemption – the IMDb TV revival of the original 2008-12 TNT series – dropped all 8 episodes of part two of its freshman season, leading off with one rocking Christmas episode. Following up a spooktacular Halloween episode from the first half of the season (read our review here), this one has big shoes to fill, but it does so with a guest star you won’t want to miss: LeVar Burton!

Burton plays Mr. Robert Blanche, a kindly librarian – a vibe he perfectly encapsulates – who’s dying of stage 4 cancer. The team receives the unusual request to trick Mr. Blanche into believing his help is needed in a real-life spy mission, since he loves that genre of books so much. It seems an excellent way to pick up everyone’s spirits over Christmas, but since this is Leverage, the case doesn’t wind up being that simple.

Mr. Blanche seems to be taking the mission a little too seriously, and stuns everyone by hot-wiring a getaway car and engaging in hand-to-hand combat with some goons who crash the staged caper. Turns out, Mr. Blanche is an actual spy, code-named Copperhead, and the team just blew his cover. When Eliot (Christian Kane) gets kidnapped by a shady private security firm named RIZ, who are after a ledger full of powerful people they think Mr. Blanche has, Blanche jumps into action to save Eliot. Mr. Blanche fits right in with the team as he improvises a weapon out of a snow-globe and a sock, while Parker (Beth Riesgraf) finds an escape route through some vents. It turns out watching Burton take down bad guys is just as enjoyable as watching him trying to get kids to read, which is a nod to his time as host of Reading Rainbow.

What follows in order to shake RIZ and ensure that Mr. Blanche can live peacefully again, is a classic Leverage plot that includes faking Mr. Blanche’s death (we hope you didn’t think that part was real!) and a faux ledger for the bad guys to find. Mr. Blanche is free and clear to live his life again, but we hope at some point the show finds a reason for him to team back up with Leverage.

Other observations we thought made this episode stand out:

  • Burton is pulling off sweater season in that cardigan he’s wearing when the team hijacks him from his quiet librarian life.
  • RIZ looks like it’s going to be an ominous ongoing enemy for the team to fight and we are here for it.

Leverage: Redemption, Season 1, Streaming Now, IMDb TV