IMPOSTERS Review: “Is a Shark Good or Bad?”


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The Thurmentum — a term I’m coining here and now because Uma Thurman deserves a phenomenon named after her — continues in the fifth episode of the season, with ’ best episode yet. The show seems to have finally gotten a hold on of its fractious tone and style, balancing the wacky shenanigans of the trio of spurned exes with the increasingly dire and tense Maddie (Inbar Lavi) and co., storyline. A good thing too, as the two disparate groups finally collided at the end of the episode, putting Maddie in quite a conundrum.

Let’s talk about Maddie. Aside from that brief moment alone we got with her in that seedy motel room in the first episode, this is the most turmoiled and vulnerable she’s ever seemed. For good reason too — she’s just about to help Max (Brian Benben) and Lenny Cohen dispose of the body of Gary Heller (Aaron Douglas), her former mark who she only ever learned had liked darts.

Despite the shocking revelation that Heller was an accountant for their employer, the Doctor, her guilt starts to quietly manifest. She grows more pensive as she helps Max scrub the floor while Lenny unpacks her toolkit, and even more so as she goes about her day at Lenny’s urging — blankly answering the calls about her absent boss and planting the evidence from Lenny absolving them of any blame of Gary’s disappearance.

Turmoiled, she takes refuge with Patrick (Stephen Bishop), meeting him at the most hipster wine bar and explaining away the Gary incident from earlier. They take it back to his house, and a very jump-cutty sex scene ensues, with lots of staring and non-sensual close-ups. After the fact, Patrick sees the ankle bracelet she’s still wearing from Ezra and she tells him that she couldn’t get it off. He fiddles with the clasp and takes it off, but Maddie looks a little regretful.

Meanwhile, Max goes on the hunt for Sally (Katherine LaNasa), who had fled the scene of the crime at Maddie’s urging, bag of cash in hand. He finds her at a train station, trying to hide her injuries from her scuffle with Heller and about to use his money to go on the run. After he explains Heller’s connection to the Doctor, she pleads with him to join her on the run, knowing if she goes back she’ll be killed. He gives in, and they rush out to put together a plan, Max frenzied and Sally gleeful that he’s “riled up.”

In a flashback, a happy and enamored Max and a bewigged Sally pull a con while discussing teaming up with the Doctor. In modern day, Max smiles over the memory and wakes Sally to make their escape. But as they leave their boat, they see Lenny (in a sharp new suit!) waiting for them with her car.

Fumbling, Sally offers up the bag of money, claiming that she called Max and promising that “we were never going to run.” “Stop saying ’we,” Lenny responds, glacing at Max. Betrayed, Sally looks at Max, who Max coldly rebuffs her. Lenny drives Sally away after telling Max, “It’s better to be sad than dead.”

Thurman doesn’t actually get to do much in this episode except look intimidating and deliver solid one-liners, but in the few scenes she shows up, she absolutely nails the cheery malevolence of the character. The best scene of the episode was a throwaway one, in which Lenny arrives to clean up Gary Heller’s murder. She runs into a neighborhood boy, who naively asks her if she’s a “good or bad guy.” They debate the moral nature of sharks and the boy flaunts his plastic “Hammer of Justice,” when Lenny responds, “I’m a tool too, so what do I know about good or bad? Maybe I’m not good or bad, I just am.” She’s, to borrow a popular cliche, chaotic neutral, and Thurman plays her with wonderful gusto.

Maddie leaves Patrick in the predawn morning, waltzing out of the driveway grinning when she finds Max waiting for her in his car. Her face drops and they drive away, Max amiably chatting with her about Patrick until Maddie tells him to cut the shit. To her horror, he reveals that Patrick is her new mark. She tearfully protests, but Max tells her it’s the biggest hit they could make, and the only way they both get to live. Maddie tries to appeal to him, asking about Sally and his feelings for her, but he says love isn’t worth anything in the game. Hurt and at a loss, Maddie leaves, responding, “see you in the game.”

A few hours away, the trio of bickering exes (Rob Heaps, Parker Young, Marianne Rendón) provide some levity, launching a scheme against rich and mean passerby at a mall to get enough money to make their way to Maddie. A fun montage ensues and the giddy trio celebrate their success at the criminal life.

They fall into silence upon the realization that they’ll see Maddie soon, causing Jules to remember how she fell in love with Maddie — then a brusque punk-goth bartender named Cece. They dance and make out on the dance floor when Richard and Ezra intrude upon her memory, and in a strobe-saturated freakout, she emerges from her daydream to demand that they “need a Maddie code.” The three not to fall for Maddie’s deceptions, and in an adorable color-coded manifesto, agree not to try to take Maddie for themselves.

Shaken by her experiences, Maddie is staring ponderously out the window at a cafe when someone speaks to her in French. She responds automatically before looking up and realizing it’s Ezra. Stunned she sits back, when suddenly they’re joined by Richard, then Jules in quick succession. They all greet her with her previous aliases, triumph in their eyes.


Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
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, , 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

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