Monday, February 4, 2008

4.6 Viva Las Albie

Albie assures Stacie that he is spending his vacation curled up in front of the fire with a cup of tea; in actuality, he’s playing craps in Vegas. But his history proceeds him, and despite the fact that he is not cheating, the vengeful, grifter-hating owner teaches him a lesson by bashing him in the hand with a baseball bat. When the group finds out, it’s time for some sweet payback. Can they steal 5 million dollars from ‘Big Daddy’ – the biggest slot machine in the world?


In it’s fourth season (and perhaps it’s final episode), it feels like the show has come full circle, with Danny now the flag-carrier for crew solidarity. And, what’s more, it’s become a believable character arc for him.

This episode is a notch above the last few, with the Vegas locations providing a perfect setting for con-men and cons, and with the baddies presenting a formidable and fatal threat.

I saw the ‘twist’ ending coming (that Jerry Pepper was Albert’s old friend), even though from my understanding of the workings of the mob, it would be highly unlikely that a con man that was beaten to within an inch of his life for scamming the mob would later be accepted and allowed to work for the mob.


In the end, the whole plan hinged upon Stacie being able to keep the security guard away from the back of the tank for about five minutes. She was extremely lucky that he was so easily manipulated.

Memorable Moments

  • Stacie’s American accent (and an honorable mention for Billy’s American accent)

Quotable Quotes

Ash: We’ve got a score to settle.
Billy: I take it you guys have never watched the Sopranos?

"You know what’s nice? Works out a million dollars a finger."
- Danny

4.5 Raw Con

After a successful con of a Japanese businessman, the team tempts fate and goes against the Grifter Code by attempting the same basic con again, this time with a mark roved by Billy. Just as expected, things do turn bad when the first mark’s son, bent on revenge, holds the team hostage and insists they play russian roulette with five pieces of fugu (blowfish), one of which has been lethally tainted with blowfish poison.


The episode opens with a con involving a Japanese businessman, convinced to launder foreign cash that is ‘skimmed’ by a banker who deals in international monetary exchange. The Jamaican Switch is then used to grab the suitcase of money. This same con was used by Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell in the movie Matchstick Men (2004).

There’s a long set piece where a revengeful young Japanese man makes the team eat poison fish. This overlong scene redeems itself because, in season 4, and with only one episode to go, I felt it was conceivable that Albert was going to die.

Memorable Moments

  • Stacie as a geisha

Quotable Quotes

"Excuse me. You talk about honour – what a big deal it is – and you’re about to kill a woman and an old man – sorry, Albie."
- Stacie

4.4 The Secrets Inside

As the team gets ready to con a woman who has been swindling various charities, Billy is accepted and is asked to be the inside man. But Billy hides a secret from his past: he used to be a drug dealer.


The upside to Adrian Lester leaving the show is that the other cast members get to flex their muscles. In this episode, Albert is, for all intents and purposes, the leader, Stacie is the roper, and Billy is the inside man.

After a few weaker episodes, the writing is back to the best in this installment, thanks to the prose of Colin Bytheway.

Danny’s character has calmed down in this episode and has a lot more depth, rather than being hyperactive and stupid, with glimpses of brilliance. He’s much more believable now, and it’s a natural character arc for a guy who is starting to feel comfortable as the leader.

Memorable Moments

  • To impress upon the mark that Stacie is a good friend with inaccessible designer Lu Chu, Ash surreptitiously steals Lu Chu’s bracelet, then slips it to Stacie. When Stacie walks over to Lu Chu, Chu gives her a big hug
  • Ash cons Eddie with a drinking con: Ash says he can drink three large beers before Eddie can drink 5 shots, with the condition that they cannot touch each other’s glasses. What happens: Ash finishes one of his beers in time to place the large empty glass upside down over the remaining full and untouched Eddie shot glass!
  • Stacie, Ash, and Albert as catwalk models

Quotable Quotes

Eddie: Is that supposed to be French?
Ash: Classic Normandy, with a nod to the Loire region.
Eddie: Classic Clouseau, more like.

Stacie: So, does this [car] turn into a pumpkin at midnight?
Albert: No, my dear, it turns into a felony.

4.3 That’s My Dad

Eddie’s dad is trapped in a nursing home run by an uncaring woman, and the contract states that he cannot get out for five years, even if he dies. Eddie asks the team to help him out, and they take it on, agreeing to con the despicable owner (Linda Powell).


Ashley Walters (Billy) has a (cockney?) accent that I’m having trouble fully comprehending.

This con has a nice feel to it, and the mark is extremely lacking in morals, and it feels good to help Eddie and his dad.

Memorable Moments

  • Albert revealing that he flipped (and flips) a coin to help him make important decisions

Quotable Quotes

"It’s people like that give honest grifters a bad name."
- Ash

4.2 A Man and His Horse

The mark is a porn producer who’s trying to become a successful racehorse owner. But first Danny has decided the crew needs a replacement for Mickey. After interviewing a series of ‘well-fit’ women, some of whom have no grifter experience at all, he finally is coerced to accept an eager young short con grifter into the team.


Ashley Walters joins the team as Billy ‘The Kid’ Bond.

Memorable Moments

  • Danny getting his wallet and watch nicked by Billy

Quotable Quotes

Archie: Nine hundred and we shake hands.
Danny: Seven fifty, and you can shake whatever you like.

Stacie: It must have been hard.
Ash: Very. (after spending the evening negotiating a horse price and being seduced by two porn stars)

4.1 If I Were King

With Mickey away on Sabbatical in Australia to sell the Sydney Opera House, the team takes on a new mark: a Texan with a penchant for collecting movie memorabilia - and Danny is extra-keen to prove he’s just as good or better than Mickey ever was.


The big news is that Adrian Lester (Mickey) has left the show. This is a huge loss, as his casual air and ability to be suave, yet vulnerable, will be sorely missed. He has not been replaced in the team.

Robert Wagner guest-stars as the mark, in an homage to his grifter work on the American television show Switch. He does a good job here of being amiable and trusting, so much so that it’s hard to see what is coming when he plays dirty again.

Because it is a Hollywood-themed show, the writers included a number of quotes from movies and television series, including Star Trek,Pulp Fiction, and The Wizard of Oz.

Memorable Moments

  • Danny and Ash doing some Pulp Fiction dialogue

Quotable Quotes

"Never trust Australians, tellin’ ya. They’re all descended from crooks."
- Danny

"Look, gang! We should’t be talkin’ like this, beaten before we start! We are grifters! I mean, we should dream the impossible dream! Win the unbeatable fight. Defeat the undefeatable foe! Go boldly where no man has gone before!"
- Danny

Ash: You know, we’re gonna get the leader thing at the end of this.
Albert: Listen, if he pulls this off, he deserves it.
Ash: But we can tease him for a bit longer first, can’t we?
Albert: Absolutely.

Albert: You’ve come a long way.
Danny: Just one question: if I was leader, do you think Stacie would shag me?

"Well, it was different when Mickey was here, wasn’t it? We always knew everything would come good."
- Stacie (expressing my sentiments exactly)