IMPOSTERS Review: “In the Game”

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The game of cat-and-mouse begins, as Maddie (Inbar Lavi) becomes aware that Patrick is an FBI agent, and enlists Richard, Ezra and Jules in her plan to get out of their predicament. But, like one of the best episode of FRIENDS, this week’s becomes a series of “they don’t know that we know that they know that we know” — nearly descending into a comedy of errors if not for Lavi’s anchoring performance.

Cornering Maddie in the same booth in which they first confronted her, Richard, Ezra and Jules reveal to Maddie that Patrick’s in the FBI. Disbelieving she tries to leave in a huff, but Richard stops her, telling her that he saw Patrick and his so-called “family” were agents. Ezra coldly twists the knife while Jules offers her help, but teary-eyed, Maddie leaves for the bathroom and escapes through the window.

At her apartment, Maddie hurriedly packs, throwing her bag down the fire escape and arming herself with her gun. In a taxi to the airport, she ruminates on her relationship with Patrick, her emotions changing from betrayal to rage (another great show of emotion from Lavi). Redirecting the cab to Patrick’s house where he’s in the shower, Maddie walks in and draws her gun, choosing instead to surprise Patrick in her birthday suit. They have steamy sex and Maddie asks Patrick to marry her, throwing him off for a second before he happily agrees. He opens a safety deposit box behind a painting, from which he takes out a ring and places it on her finger.

At their headquarters on the boat, Max explodes at Maddie for “bringing the feds to the Doctor’s door,” and panicked, he packs to go on the run. But Maddie stops him, saying they’ll bring Jules, Ezra and Richard in, to which he scoffs, but Maddie reminds him that their lives are on the line.

At an aquarium, the trio meet up with Maddie, tensing up at seeing that Max has joined her. Maddie diffuses the tension, saying they need to work together or lose their lives. She lays down a plan, offering to teach them their skills so they can steal from Patrick’s safe, pay off the Doctor and go on the run.

In another experiment with the show’s visual style (which is frustratingly inconsistent episode to episode, engages in a split screen montage, a la OCEANS ELEVEN — paying homage to the iconic heist movie of this generation.

As Maddie diverts Patrick at a dinner with him and Gina, Max and Richard break into Patrick’s safe, finding nothing in there or the house, but bonding all the same, as Richard impresses Max with his observations and Max plays with Richard’s easy trust.

At the dinner, Maddie gets interrupted by a drunken Ezra who obstinately wanders in and sits at their table. She tries to stop him, shoving him away as he yells about Maddie not being who she seems she is. She drags him outside, yelling at him before breaking the facade and complimenting his performance, and the two of them congratulate themselves and go off for a drink. Stunned, Patrick and Gina are confused, earlier convinced that Ezra was working with Maddie, and now worried that he’s scared her off. At the bar Ezra and Maddie banter and reminisce before Maddie checks herself and tries to get the focus back on the game, but not before speaking her mantra in French. Hurt, Ezra  repudiates her, demanding that she not try to be Ava and leaving her with the bill.

Patrick is lounging in his bed at home when Maddie comes back, dejected and apologizing for her “brother.” She seduces Patrick and handcuffs him to the bed, before dropping the revelation bomb: “I really, really almost fell in love with you.” She reveals that she knows he’s in the FBI; tense, he objects but Maddie tells him to settle down and offers him a deal.

Patrick strains against his cuffs while Maddie cooly negotiates, putting on her best Humphrey Bogart impression — hands in pocket and smoky voice and all. She demands the government provide half a million dollars as bait for the Doctor and she’ll hand him over. Patrick is reticent, but Maddie appeals to his heart. They bargain that she’ll testify against the Doctor for her immunity and the FBI leave her acquaintances and exes alone for the moment. Eventually, he agrees, asking for the ring back.

Later, a melancholy Jules helps Maddie with her wedding dress fitting. Maddie gets pensive about the many times she’s played this con, and as they reminisce, Jules sadly kisses Maddie, telling her she missed her. Maddie pulls away and hurt, Jules explodes at her and bails out of the con. Frantic, Maddie calls Ezra to fix it, and he arrives at Jules’ motel room where she’s hurriedly packing. Ezra persuades her that they have to finish it not for Maddie but for themselves and Jules accuses him of being her favorite before she becomes subdued and collapses on the bed, telling Ezra that he should know she’s playing him too. “This is still a con, we’re all suckers,” Jules says defeatedly. “Now we’re just the suckers who are in on it.”

Later, Ezra is strolling in the street when the police suddenly arrest him. He’s brought to an interrogation room where Patrick cuts a deal with him, showing Ezra the evidence they have of his recent crimes, and telling him he has no choice but to cooperate.

All the twists and turns! But are they earned? Meh, is my response. Like I said before, this episode honestly felt like a less-funny version of that FRIENDS episode, with everyone just sad and downtrod. Lavi anchors the episode, and the rest of the cast tries their best to support her, but I’m missing the electrifying presence of Uma Thurman’s Lenny Cohen.

TB-TV-Grade-B-

Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Imposters airs Tuesdays 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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