IMPOSTERS Review: “Always Forward, Never Back”

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Despite a sleek, clever episode that ends with the triumph of our trio of exes and the reveal that they are the titular “imposters,” the season finale of ultimately felt incomplete, as the show obviously looks forward to a second season, without any guarantee of one. Like the story it’s telling, this episode of revels in its own artifice and intelligence, patting itself on the back while failing to nail the emotional notes. But hey, at least Maddie (Inbar Lavi) looked great in that wedding dress.

Richard is admiring his mustache in a hilariously campy but too brief scene, while everyone else preps for the wedding — the FBI staking out the scene, Team Imposters getting ready individually and matching watches. Meanwhile we linger on Ezra (Rob Heaps) waiting in a car staking out the scene.

As Maddie stares in the mirror, we cut to a flashback of young Maddie fidgeting with her appearance in the mirror. Her parents call her to breakfast, asking her to stay home to let in her cousin Danny. Despite her pleas to let her hang out with her friends, she concedes, and endures her friends’ teasing that “Maddie’s a good girl.” Modern day Maddie’s reverie is interrupted by Ezra’s knock, who checks in to ask if she’s playing them again. She asks what he wants, to which he says he doesn’t know anymore. After a pause, Maddie starts to narrate her real life, telling him about her first con was against her cousin Danny, in which she pretended to be Maddie’s spunky friend who steals beers and flirts with strangers. Danny teaches her to “wrestle” and they kiss. Later at dinner, she basks in his panic, greeting him with a straight, blank face. Ezra brushes off her story, telling her he really knows what “gets her off about the con” but leaves without telling her.

Richard (Parker Young) and his mustache is directing cars toward the wedding, but he and the rest of the crowd seem oblivious that it’s not a great disguise — despite all his and Max’s (Brian Benben) efforts, it just looks like Richard with a bad mustache. Agent Colleen (Denise Dowse) sits with Gina (Chastity Dotson), annoyed that they went through so much effort to bring in such a huge crowd. After Gina informs her that they’re all actors, she walks off to secure the briefcase full of money and meet Jules (Marianne Rendon). They awkwardly chat, and Gina shyly compliments her art piece as Jules walks seductively toward her. But with the camera on her and an amused agent and Maddie watching, Gina stops Jules. Max enters in his Doctor disguise and Maddie points him out to Patrick (Stephen Bishop), who gathers his agents.

As the ceremony starts, Richard gets out his crowbar to do his part, but pauses upon seeing Maddie in her wedding dress. Jules and Ezra are similarly stunned by their deja vu of Maddie in a dress as she walks down the aisle. Outside, Patrick breaks into several FBI cars and rips out their wires, but one alarm goes off, and he panics and gets locked out. Suspicious, Patrick sends an agent out to check it out but Richard quickly defuses the situation as he the agent inquires into the situation, later entering the chapel to give a signal to Max.

As the minister rambles on, Maddie smilingly makes barbs at Patrick who stands in silence. As the minister proclaims their marriage, Jules takes a picture on her polaroid of Maddie and Patrick’s kiss.

Maddie and Patrick greet guests, putting on a show for an unamused Agent Colleen. After Maddie makes a few more underhanded comments to Patrick about his lies, Max walks up in his Doctor getup and the tension mounts.

In the room with Jules’ art piece, Gina and Jules are getting closer, allowing Jules to successfully distract her and the agent watching the CCTV while her art piece near the money catches fire.  The fire and smoke obscures the money from the camera, and Jules smirks and stands near her art piece as Gina runs off to get a fire extinguisher. She dramatically objects to Gina extinguishing the fire piece, yelling, “you’ll ruin it!” Gina apologizes as Jules brusquely drags her art piece to throw it out, allowing Richard to grab the money stored in the art piece as Gina pleads and kisses Jules, who ultimately rejects and leaves Gina.

At the reception, Maddie pulls Ezra aside and they leave to sit on the steps of the steeple. She asks1 him what he was going to say earlier, and he confesses that her leaving him sparked a change in him that made him love the high of the con, but when he found her, he realized what Maddie loved was not that adrenaline. “You’re not tortured, you’re just scared” he accuses, as Maddie denies it, laughing. He reprimands her for being the same little pretending girl from Pottsville. Hurt, she tells him he doesn’t know her, but he cuts through her facade.

Meanwhile Max is on the move, grabbing the attention of the agents who follow him as he makes his way through the church. They are baffled when he leaves without the money, bumbling to find out his next move. Outside, Richard tosses Max his key, exchanging their signal and agreeing to meet at the rendezvous. The agents set off to chase the Doctor, but find their cars won’t start, and Patrick searches for Maddie in the chapel, who is passionately kissing Ezra behind a column.

Patrick interrupts them, Maddie and Ezra playing dumb when Patrick accuses them of playing him. Ezra picks a fight with Patrick as Maddie runs off, Patrick giving chase but ultimately losing her as she jets off in a boat. On a sign near the pier Patrick sees written a website with his name, paralleling the first episode with Ezra.

Patrick, Gina and Boss Lady grab the minister’s van and drive off to find Max. Patrick enters the website into a laptop and plays the video, in which Maddie gives her usual “gotcha” spiel. The true events play out for us — Maddie and Jules had switched as she ran off, Maddie hiding in a house near the church as Jules takes the boat and changes out of the faux wedding dress. Max makes his way through a checkpoint, no longer matching the Doctor’s description without his bald cap, and Jules slips past the agents looking for the boat in in her usual black leather jacket. The video ends with Maddie wishing Patrick luck, smugly saying, “you’re gonna need it.” Agent Colleen orders him to play it again but the video is gone, replaced by a silent comedy short of cops being foiled by an fleeing criminal.

Jules is the first at the rendezvous point at the bus station, with Richard and Ezra arriving together in a cab. Relieved, the trio of exes process the whole heist, anxiously waiting the arrival of Maddie and Max — if they arrived at all. But Max is calling Maddie, telling her to meet him at the real rendezvous so they can “ditch the amateurs.” He opens the briefcase, only to find it empty except for a note from Maddie saying “this one is for Sally.” The FBI agents open their case to find it full of the correct money, confused they wonder how they got played, but remember the expensive ring that Patrick proposed with. Meanwhile, Maddie makes her way to Patrick’s house to open the safe for his ring, but finds it empty.

A dejected trio board the bus after waiting for Max and Maddie realizing that perhaps they were played after all. Hurt but unsurprised, they banter over their betrayal when Ezra reveals that he had the ring all along — the scene at the beginning in which he was staking out the wedding was actually him arriving at Patrick’s house to steal the ring from the safe. They laugh and celebrate, reciting Maddie’s mantra “always forward, never back” as the bus departs and Maddie watches from across the street, smiling and walking off.

In an unknown city, Lenny Cohen (Uma Thurman) is threatening a mark when she receives a call from the Doctor, who briefs her on the Seattle situation and orders her to find Maddie and Max before the feds do. And “those three imposters too” he orders, revealing that the trio are our titular . Lenny congratulates the man on his lucky day, and walks off.

The open-ended season finale is quite optimistic for a show that threatened to go into some dark places despite being billed as a “black comedy.” Ultimately, it was more frivolous than it was incisive, living up to Bravo’s penchant for low-stakes, all-frills shows. I would say I was disappointed if I had expectations for this show, but since I had none outside of Uma Thurman, perhaps that was a gift.

TB-TV-Grade-C

Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
Imposters airs Tuesdays at 10PM on Bravo

Read all of our reviews of Imposters here.
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


Hoai-Tran is a freelance pop culture journalist based in D.C., with an affinity for superheroes, TV, movies, and Jeff Goldblum memes. She currently works as a web producer for the Washington Examiner and has written for USA Today.
Follow Hoai-Tran on Twitter: @htranbui

Keep up with all of Hoai-Tran’s reviews here.

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