Season three is the first season to really have an over-riding story arc - what with ‘the Italian’ and the struggle to take down Damien Moreau – which seems to culminate in The Big Bang Job. Which, given that it’s not the last episode of the season and not (really) the first of a two part episode, may seem a little strange.
But then, that’s what this show does best – strange and unexpected.
From the start of the episode we have the ‘flip the script’ deal again, with the research scientist hustled out of her lab by masked goons – only to find that the lab was about to be blown up and the goons are, in fact, our heroes.
There’s a lot of story to cram into forty-two minutes, but somehow the show manages to do that whilst at the same time opening up a whole new level of intrigue – one which has arguably captured the imagination of fandom more than any previously – Eliot’s history with Moreau.
It’s easy to view this episode purely from an Eliot-centric perspective, but it very cleverly manages to focus on all of the core five whilst at the same time bringing in some old favourites (Bonanno) and some... *not* so favourites (The Italian). However, it really is Eliot’s story.
Perhaps the most telling point comes at the end of Act One, when Eliot reveals what could be read as a betrayal of the team by telling Moreau’s men his name rather than playing along with Hardison’s subterfuge. Eliot has never seemed to have the kind of identity crisis we’ve seen the others go through in the previous three seasons – he’s always seemed to accept who he is; so to have his particular identity crisis start with acknowledgement of his own name lets the audience know that they – and the team – really have no idea exactly *who* Eliot Spencer is. Following this story arc through we – and Eliot – are faced with the dilemma of embracing the ‘bad’ things he did in order to do ‘good’.
Eliot’s arc comes to its conclusion when, in order to give Nate and the Italian time to get away with the evidence that will bring Moreau down, he picks up a gun and embraces the man he was in an explosive set-piece which, instead of leading to a new openness with the rest of the team, prompts Eliot to ask Nate to keep the secret of what he did between the two of them.
The rest of the team haven’t been idle during this episode – what with finding and preventing the bad guys getting the ‘Ramshorn’ bomb – and really it is quite stunning just how much story there actually is in 42 minutes. This is a fantastic episode for the Eliot fans among the audience – of which, this reviewer is unashamedly one – but there really is so much more.
Quotable Big Bang Job:
Eliot: “You think you know what I’ve done? The worst thing I ever did in my entire life, I did for Damien Moreau. And I’ll never be clean of that.”
Parker: “What did you do?”
Eliot: “Don’t ask me that Parker. Because if you ask me, I’m going to tell you. So please, don’t ask me.”