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October 9, 2015

Hustle: Episode 14

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 6th 2006 8:56PM
Hustle(S03E02) This season is still going beautifully, with creative stories and fantastic visuals. However, I've noticed a recent change and it's driving me absolutely insane... They've completely strayed from their supposed Number 1 rule: You can't cheat an honest man.

As of late, they seem to be conning (stealing from, really) even the most innocent people... Like, ordinary people just going about their jobs, who haven't done anything wrong. I'd normally have no problem seeing good people getting screwed over on a program about con artists, but the characters of Hustle have been absolutely preaching their "honest man" rule since the beginning. Why is it okay for them to suddenly turn around and go against such an important part of what made them superior to the "dirty" grifters in their world? It must be difficult having to write up sleazy characters all the time, but, I've gotta admit, the change is a bit disappointing.

Before the title sequence, the screen read, "The following program contains brief nudity". Ahh. Yes. The Mickey/Danny streaking episode. I've been waiting for this. Excellent.

The episode started off with a very bored bunch. The crew was in the middle of a con, but the money pick-up wasn't going to be until tomorrow. So, they had a whole free day ahead of them and they had absolutely no idea what to do. After deciding on some drinks, Mickey and Danny went out to buy some ice. They had a discussion about what kind of ladies they liked (Mickey liked elegance, wit, femininity; Danny wanted all that and a nice set of jugs) and who had the most sex. Their argument went all the way back up to the flat, where Albert proposed a way to settle the "leader vs. young buck" fight: The Henderson Challenge.

He explained the history of it... Back in the early 20th century, a long-con guy, Charles Henderson, met a wild short-con fellow, Simon Delvin. They worked together for a while, but the inevitable "leader vs. young buck" tension built up. They began arguing about who was better, so Henderson challenged Delvin to a true test of grifter's skill. Both would be dropped off in the middle of New York at noon, totally and completely naked. The challenge was to scrounge up as much as possible before the end of the day to see who had the biggest gain (money, clothing, jewelry, and the like), using only one accomplice, when needed. Danny and Mickey both said yes, agreeing that the winner would remain/become the leader of the gang.

And that was the whole episode! The Henderson Challenge! Mickey and Danny were dropped off in the center of London... Plenty of tourists and citizens saw them running around, desperately trying to cover up their twigs and berries, bare bottoms shining in the sun. Of course, Stacie took plenty of pictures. Anyway, Mick and Danny eventually found some dirty clothes to cover themselves and started doing various quick cons to get some money. Mick got enough to buy a nice suit and sneaked his way into a limo. Danny still had on grubby clothes and some extra cash. Annoyed, he called up the police and said that he saw some black guy waving around a gun in the back of a limo. He told the cops the tag number and Mick was thrown into jail. He called in his accomplice, Ash, to get him out. Once he was free, he was, needless to say, infuriated that Danny decided to play dirty. Well, I was kind of confused. Shouldn't they, as con artists, stay as far away from the police as possible? That was an incredibly stupid move... Anyway, Mick and Ash decided that if Danny came out the victor, the two of them quit and move on. Little did they know that Danny was also talking to his accomplice, Stacie, about why he wanted to win... He didn't necessarily want to be the leader of the group (he love Mickey and his guidance), but he wanted to be treated as an equal, and the only way to do that was to win the challenge.

Mick and Ash also decided to go in a slightly different route to play the game. Since they were better with long cons, they decided to pull of a... uh... short long con. Mick already had a mark in mind, so the two of them called up Pinky, a stamp forger, and got to work. Meanwhile, Danny played pimp to cheat some horny guy out of his money and stole some deposit money. He and Mick met up at some point to talk about their progress. Danny bragged that he already had £5,000. Mick only said that he still had something in the works. Danny was tremendously cocky, so, before leaving, he placed a 50p 1 pound in Mick's front pocket, just in case he needed help. Haha, what a jerk.

Understanding that Mick and Ash had a long con up their sleeves, Danny started spying around. He saw Mick talking to a lady outside of a building, so he went up to the building's doorman to ask what he knew of the woman. After forking over some money, the doorman explained to Danny that the woman was a stamp collector. So, Danny pieced Mick's plan together in his head and tracked down the only stamp forger he knew, Pinky. He embarrassed Pinky by trying to talk to him in temple during a service, but he got his hands on the stamp that Pinky finished for Mick. He handed over £3,000 and left to find the stamp collector lady. He caught her just as she was having coffee with Mick, discussing business. Mick left to take a phone call, so Danny jumped in, presenting the stamp to her. She didn't know what was going on, because, apparently, she was just selling an air conditioning unit to "Mr. Morris" (Mickey).

Okay, okay... So... Flashback: Mickey had actually picked Danny to be the mark (predictable). Ash found an oblivious lady they would use to fool Danny. Mick knew Danny would bug the doorman for questions, so he asked the doorman if he knew anything about a female stamp collector he was meeting, only to interrupt himself with, "Oh! Never mind! There she is!". Of course, the doorman unknowingly gave Danny false information. And back at the temple, Pinky handed over Danny's cash to Ash. So, the whole thing was a con. Interesting.

After everyone returned to the flat, Mick and Danny presented all their loot. Apparently, Danny had lied about the £5,000 he already had... He actually had considerably more than that. The amount became extremely close... A 50p difference, actually. And Danny won. Mick was crushed and was about to announce his and Ash's departure, but Ash's eyes lit up and he suddenly told Mick to look in his jacket pocket. There, he found the one pound that Danny had placed in his pocket earlier. The tables then turned. Mick won by 50p, thanks to Danny's cockiness.

And then Albert dropped the bombshell: the Henderson Challenge was complete bullshit. There was no such thing. When Danny and Mickey were out, Albert was trying to rid the group of boredom, so he wagered Stacie and Ash £300 that he could get Danny and Mickey to be in the center of London, at noon, completely naked.

Wow, these grifters have strange ways of eliminating boredom. I usually just go out and rent a video...

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Eh, I don't mind the violations of the "honest man" rule--these are short cons anyway, taking a lot of people for a little bit of money. I mean, these people -are- con artists, not Robin Hoods; they're not conning people to right some injustice in the world. Also, I think the rule about conning honest people is less a product of an ethical dilemma and more a product of whether it's possible to entice an "honest" person with a shady quasi-legal or illegal deal. But one could propose a corollary: every man has his price.

This episode was a lot of fun, although I'm still unclear as to why everyone thinks Danny will be Mickey's successor. Danny's great, but he doesn't have Mickey's ability to see and account for all possible contingencies. I don't think that's a product of Danny's youth or (relative) inexperience, either; I think it's just the way he operates. His improvisational abilities make him a great second man on the inside, but he's not a mastermind. I think Stacie's the closest to thinking like Mickey, although Stacie's got less of a hunger for it than Mickey--Stacie might be able to go straight, but Mickey probably never could.

July 07 2006 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like Nick said, the short cons have always been open season. The very first episode of series one had the crew short conning (glueing ATM's shut, faking accidents, etc) to raise capital for the long con, so I don't see it as a radical departure.

July 07 2006 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

your review:

Danny was tremendously cocky, so, before leaving, he placed a 50p coin in Mick's front pocket, just in case he needed help. Haha, what a jerk.
There, he found the one pound that Danny had placed in his pocket earlier. The tables then turned. Mick won by 50p, thanks to Danny's cockiness.

Is it just me, or doesn't something light up!

July 07 2006 at 5:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But on the short con, usually anyone is fair game. I think they really only mean "you can't cheat an honest man out of big money". lol. or else you would have a hard time short conning.

July 07 2006 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree about them seeming to violate the rule and it bothers me as well. In particular, there are a couple "heist" elements like last season's (and this season's) finales which are troublesome. They actually *feel* wrong when you watch them.

That being said, outside of Entourage, there isnt a show that I have more fun watching.

July 06 2006 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Porter

Jaime was sooo hawt!

July 06 2006 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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