With the trio of spurned exes finally united and Maddie (Inbar Lavi) getting in over her head (or head over heels), the third episode of IMPOSTERS is a marked improvement from last week’s — and it’s not just because of Uma Thurman.
The major reason is that our vengeful trio — Ezra (Rob Heaps), Richard (Parker Young) and now Jules (Marianne Rendon) — are starting to grow on me. Ezra and Richard especially have eased into their roles as the bickering odd couple, providing the cheery repartee and laughs that the rest of the oh-so-serious cast don’t offer.
Jules does her part as well, though in her introductory episode, it’s a bit worrying about much like the stereotypical “butch and badass” lesbian she is. However, it is nice to see her opening the episode in a vulnerable state: The ex-wife of Cece née Maddie unloads about her strange experience meeting our comedic duo to her therapist. Jules tries to delude her therapist and herself that she’s made peace with her situation, but you can see the wheels start spinning.
While a flustered Richard and Ezra argue over a parking ticket, Jules cooly interrupts to tell them she’s in. When they’re at first reticent to bring her into their team, she puts on a show for them — running into the street to be hit by a car and conning a driver into handing her hundreds of dollars. And thus, a beautiful friendship was born.
Back at Jules apartment, the trio go through Jules’ trash bag of Cece paraphernalia and try to narrow down Maddie’s true persona, but it ends only in Richard bragging over his and Alice’s sex life and Ezra reminiscing over his intimate moments with Ava while Jules groans in disgust. She’s a good cynical foil to the still lovelorn Richard and Ezra, proclaiming “let’s find this bitch” to which the two men weakly plead “don’t call her that.” Later in the episode, she even smashes the window of their accidentally-locked car with a bowling — a sure mark of the hotheaded tough guy of the group.
At a loss for clues other than a shared story about Maddie’s childhood dog, the three of them descend into a moping mess. Richard broods (and gives us our first look of Maddie as New York socialite Alice) while Ezra and Jules bond over cheesecake and a joint, wondering how they could have been so easily had. “All the con books say successful cons need a willing mark,” Ezra said. “We wanted the lies.”
When Ezra mentions his blackmail envelope to Richard and Jules, he’s met with blank faces, but it does spawn a revelation — Richard and Jules both repeat Maddie’s constant saying: “It’s in the past. Never backwards, always forwards.” Excited, they realize it’s a clue and find schools with the Latin version of the motto. Thanks to the wintry setting of her dog story, the trio narrow the place down to a school in Pottsville, Pa., and head off on another road trip. Strangely, the scene closes on an odd peephole transition (a reference to the detective genre perhaps?) out of place with the rest the show’s house style. But no matter, IMPOSTERS is still getting on its feet and ironing out the wrinkles. Thankfully, The Trio is no longer one of its biggest wrinkles.
It’s unfortunate that the star of the show seems to be falling for one of those aforementioned wrinkles. Maddie, encased in her role as Saffron, finds herself flirting with danger as she becomes closer to the dashing coffeeshop boy, Patrick (Stephen Bishop). However, the source of her affection is — to borrow a word from SUPERGIRL — pretty “blandsome.” A tortured soul with a perfect house, he enchants Maddie at his house barbecue — which turns out to be more in the style of a family cocktail party, complete with an adoring sister and a suspicious aunt.
After Maddie and Patrick flirt over wine, she bonds with his sister, who tells her there’s an air of “mystery” about her and gives her a hint of Patrick’s uninteresting backstory as well as her approval. Patrick’s aunt, however, is quick to see that Maddie’s name is a fake, and warns her to stay away from her nephew.
As the barbecue winds down, Maddie and Patrick get closer, dancing to slow jazz and sharing childhood stories as well as their first kiss. However, with the echoes of Sally and Max’s warnings in her head, Maddie breaks away and resists Patrick’s enticements, telling him she wants to be friends. But when he asks her to stay for dinner, she realizes in a panic that she’s late for her date with her mark and boss Gary Heller — a clandestine meeting they had made after the dartroom disaster.
She arrives late but looking gorgeous to the all-important dinner — promising Max earlier that she would “close” the deal soon. Gary barks at her when she arrives, but softens up as she babbles off the worst but in-character excuse about her cat lady neighbor having a fire. As Gary awkwardly stumbles through the motions of intimate conversation, Maddie imagines him choking and doing on his food while she coldly chews.
Later, Gary drives Maddie home and they share their first kiss in the car, but as he starts to get things heated, she draws back and quickly exits the car before he can get a word in. She anxiously heads back to her apartment, distressed over her life’s turn of events and the consequences for getting distracted from her job.
Meanwhile, Sally (Katherine LaNasa) and Max (Brian Benben) are digging deeper into Gary Heller’s private life. Sally takes stock of the stacks of cash she found under his floorboard while Max beds Gary’s courier, revealing the link between Gary and the mysterious Doctor — whose identity i was wrong about apparently. The Doctor is an actual doctor, completing mysterious surgeries in darkened rooms when he’s not on the phone with Max, who updates him on the status of the job, the revelation that Gary is skimming off the Doctor’s profits, and Saffron’s indiscretions.
The Doctor only has a concrete answer to the last one — offering to send in the threatening Lenny Cohen, his hit man and professional intimidator played by … Uma Thurman! The long wait for the biggest name of the show is over, and she is in full Uma mode. Our introduction to Lenny starts in a darkened dive bar, with Lenny warding off the advances of a sleazy vest-wearer. She puts him in a head hold and breaks his arm, melodramatically stating her name before driving off, with a picture of Maddie and Patrick in her sights.
The wheels are in motion for IMPOSTERS, with threats coming from all sides at Maddie, whether she knows it or not. I’m starting to feel the ramping up of tensions in the show — a momentum they hopefully will keep going.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Imposters airs Day at 10PM on Bravo
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.
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Hoai-Tran Bui | Contributor