I placed third. (Incidentally right in between the two girls who'd tried to steer me wrong... ha!) *bounces*
“What did you do?”
“Don’t ask me that Parker. Because if you ask me, I’m gonna tell you. So, please, don’t ask me.”
Almost by definition all of the characters in the show have secrets in their past that they have not shared with anyone. As the show has progressed and the group has become a closer unit we have learned more about each of the characters. However after the revelations in “The Big Bang Job”, the question has to be raised what the team (and we) truly know about Eliot.
What we do know about Eliot’s past is very fragmented and, at times, contradictory. He shows an immense dislike for guns and yet was a member of the armed forces and proves himself to be a remarkably good shot when he has no other choice. We know that he has had least one serious relationship in the past – he mentions that he almost married someone but his duties to “the United States government” put an end to this. It seems likely that the one girl we’ve seen from his past (Aimee, “The Two Horse Hob”) is this lost relationship, but there are disparities in the back story – Eliot’s flashback as to why he was unable to let her know where he was seems to indicate a time after he’d left the military which puts paid to his claim that it was his commitment to the government that separated them. Whatever the case, there seems to have been a marked change from Eliot before he started breaking the law and after.
The three stages of Eliot we’ve seen so far are:
- Straight and narrow. We see him as the popular quarterback for his high school football team, he has a committed relationship and it seems likely that he joined the military for purely altruistic reasons.
- Lawbreaker. We now know that Eliot worked for Moreau – apparently in the role of a trusted lieutenant. It seems that during this time he did some fairly reprehensible things, of which he now seems to be thoroughly ashamed and the details of which he is unwilling to share. At some point he then left Moreau’s employ and became a solo retrieval specialist. From what we see in “The Big Bang Job” this parting seems to have been acrimonious, certainly Moreau is initially friendly towards him and it is only when the Italian is discovered that Moreau sets him up.
- The ‘White Hat’. This is the aspect of Eliot we see throughout the show – now committed to working with a team, he seems to have assumed the role of protector. This holds true not just for his teammates, but for several of the victims they come across – particularly children.
All of these stages of Eliot seem to be so diametrically opposed to one another that it is very hard to see how he progressed from one to the other. What happened to make him leave military service and start breaking the law? What happened to make him quit working for Moreau and strike out alone? What happened to make him feel the need to protect those who are most incapable of protecting themselves?
We don’t know the answers to these questions. We may have thought we did, but – as with all the best cons – you can never trust what you think you know.
Eliot’s growth as a character is an enigma. On closer examination he seems to have gone through the most changes of everyone in the team – but has he? I’d like to think we’ll find out, but then again, will what we learn be the truth?