IMPOSTERS Review: “Frog-Bikini-Eiffel Tower”

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After the genuinely shocking last episode, I was expecting a hell of a follow-up this week. Instead, took us on a dull detour that slowed the momentum that Uma Thurman had so generously started three episodes ago. Ezra returns home to his caricature of a family while Maddie and Patrick bide their time at a weekend getaway in the woods. We do get some welcome antics courtesy of a bickering Jules and Richard, as well as some unexpected character growth, but it’s not enough to liven up this tedious episode.

In a flashback, Jules (Marianne Rendón) and Maddie (Inbar Lavi) are nervously anticipating a meeting with Jules’ parents — in present day, Jules angrily storms away as Richard chases after her in a panic, revealing  his discovery that Patrick is an FBI agent. Flustered, they drive back to the hotel, paranoid that the FBI is on their tail. They engage in some hilarious pantomime before agreeing that they need a lawyer, driving off to get some counsel.

Jules and Richard (Parker Young) arrive at a high-flying country club dressed to match, Jules putting on the air of a privileged, wealthy heiress and easily manipulating the receptionist into get them a free room.

Jules tells off Richard for ogling the opulence of the club and correctly guesses that she’s a former rich girl, teasing and ridiculing her for rejecting wealth. Annoyed, Jules goes off to find a lawyer while Richard easily falls in with the club members at the bar. Jules scopes out the room and hits it off with an older woman who offers her a cigarette. They bond while Jules hones in on a potential lawyer to help her out of her conundrum, but the woman, finding her worthy, offers her services as a lawyer instead.

The group of lawyers listen raptly to Jules as she recounts the entire story of their pursuit of Maddie and their discovery of the FBI’s involvement. Richard meanwhile has gathered a group of buddies at the bar, bonding over their bro-ness and love for stocks. Jules tries to pull him away when one of the bar mates recognizes her, lashing out at her and accusing her of being a fraud. Shaken, Jules tries to leave but he grabs her, causing Richard to push him away and threaten him. Jules and Richard quickly leave the country club, Richard asking the story only to be shut down by a dispirited Jules.

Consulting secretly at a carnival, Jules tells Richard that the lawyers said Maddie could get 20 years in jail, while they could get 5 years for the cons they pulled to get to her. If they work with the FBI, they could lessen those years, and the decision hangs heavy in the air between them. She thanks Richard for sticking up for her and he asks if the bar buddy’s accusation of her was her envelope. He takes her lack of a response as confirmation and confesses in his envelope was a scheme he engaged in to help his sick mother.

The two of them are the bright spot of this episode, deftly handling their duties as comic relief with the subtle unveiling of their own traumatic pasts. If I hadn’t already stood firmly in Camp Uma, they would be my favorite characters. It’s unfortunate that the show seems to have picked Captain Bland, Ezra (Rob Heaps), as the main protagonist, even going so far as to return to his family life after being our entry point into the show.

After enduring a plane ride stuck between an overly comfortable and chatty couple, Ezra nervously arrives home, finding his supposedly sick dad singing and exercising enthusiastically in the basement. Ezra stops him and demands to know about his heart attack, but his dad confesses that it was actually a panic attack. Ezra gets cornered by his brother and realizes it was a scheme by the family to get him home so his dad could tell him “some news.” Ezra leaves in a huff, eager to get back to his mission, but mom waylays him to offer him self-help clips and gossip, easing Ezra’s tension and convincing him to stay a bit longer.

It would be a sweet homecoming if Ezra’s parents weren’t so cartoonish — especially with his father (Mark Harelik)’s boisterously assertive demeanor. Ezra’s brother Josh (Adam Korsen) is a little more subdued from the frat boy persona he had in the first few episodes, though Gaby (Megan Park) is as typically quirky as ever.

They all congregate at the dinner table, where Ezra’s dad announces that he and their mom are taking a six-month “second honeymoon,” and that he’s giving the family business to his two sons and Gaby. Overjoyed, Josh tries to discuss their newfound success with Ezra, who is hesitant to take on the company while his mind is still on Maddie. Their discussions get interrupted by a confusing emoji-coded text to Ezra from Jules and Richard, and Gaby asking Ezra to join her on a dog walk. Ezra tells her about his reservations to take over the company, but she advises him to forget about his con ex-wife.

At his dad’s office, Ezra is setting up, reveling in his status, but the dream becomes a trippy nightmare as he recalls his attempted suicide. He wakes suddenly to his phone ringing — it’s Jules and Richard calling him from a phone booth, frenzied about his unanswered texts. They finally tell him that Patrick is in the FBI and he assures them that everything will be okay, immediately heading on a flight back to Seattle.

Ezra’s boring home life (and seemingly cathartic self-realization?) aside, the last subplot of the episode was the most disappointing. I was all set to like Patrick (Stephen Bishop) with the revelation of his new layer — the playee had become the player. Unfortunately, Patrick remained as dull as ever, only he was taking a few more secretive phone calls. Worst of all, there was no transformation in the portrayal of Patrick and Maddie’s relationship. I expected their playful banter to have turned into a cat-and-mouse game of double entendre, the two of them desperately manipulating each other in order to achieve their individual missions. Instead, I got a few “deep” monologues about love, and one scene that Lavi heavily carries, clowning about with pieces of food.

On their weekend getaway at a cozy cabin in the woods, Patrick and Maddie both get a phone call from their bosses, the show trying to amp up the suspense with them having parallel conversation on two sides of a glass door. Agent Cook (Denise Dowse), Patrick’s boss and fake aunt, and Max (Brian Benben) separately pressure both of them to finish their missions, to which Patrick and Maddie both promise to get it done.

As they lounge in front of a fireplace, Patrick slips a saffron ring on Maddie’s finger, proposing to her. Shocked, Maddie whispers “no” to his heartfelt proposal, agitatedly proposing instead that they run away together. “We don’t have to live by anyone else’s rules,” she pleads, doing all the dramatic heavy lifting in the scene. Patrick puts on an act of looking turmoiled (though I can’t tell with Bishop’s lackluster acting) and refuses. The question remains unanswered as they return home in a private jet, Maddie sadly looking out the window.

TB-TV-Grade-C+

Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Imposters airs Day at 10PM on Bravo

Read all of our reviews of Imposters here.
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Hoai-Tran is a freelance pop culture journalist based in D.C., with an affinity for superheroes, TV, movies, and Jeff Goldbum 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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