We talk a lot about how Parker isn’t unduly sexualized on Leverage, but I’m honest-to-goodness more impressed that she isn’t infantilized
#listen#it would be so EASY to infantilize an autistic character with ptsd#ESPECIALLY because she isn’t sexualized#but they just DIDN’T#they didn’t#they let her be reserved#they let her be excited#they didn’t portray this as some great dichotomy#they portrayed it as normal and human#they let her have emotions without making her a child#they let her be withdrawn without making her a child#they let her be autistic without making her a child#they let her work through her trauma without making her a child#they let her be human and adult and out of control and in control all at the same time#they gave parker RIGHTS#they gave her self-possession#they gave her dimension and permission to exist unapologetically#and to me that shows so much more progress in media than having her simply be not sexualized#and i think that’s one of the few thinks that’s really underrated about leverage#leverage#leverage 2#parker
Okay, actually, I have more to say about this. This is the exact reason I did not like Tara on my first Leverage watch.
-I bet you aren’t even a real lawyer.
-Aw, Sophie was right. You are adorable.
-Excuse me? [overlapping chatter] You don’t get to call me adorable.
When Tara heard Parker’s naiveté (read: sussing out what is face value and what is fabricated by a grifter she had no reason not to trust), she immediately gave her a backhanded compliment in a patronizing tone. Parker defends herself - as well as Hardison and Eliot amongst the overlapping chatter - and says that Tara doesn’t get to call her adorable (presumably, the way that she would permit Sophie to do so). Parker (and the team) is aware that she is being infantilized and rightfully resents it.
Cut to the season finale.
-You know, you actually had me worried for a second that you were going to drop me.
-[Laughs unconvincingly] That is silly.
Tara completely underestimated Parker on the rooftop. She tried convincing her to hear her out, but all Parker saw was betrayal and was more than happy to eliminate the threat for her team. Back in the car, Tara lets herself assume that Parker would not have punished her for hurting the team, which Parker does not overly care to reassure Tara about. Because Parker was absolutely about to drop Tara off the rooftop and had no qualms about it.
The Parker/Tara dynamic is such an interesting parallel to the Parker/Sophie dynamic. While Sophie sees innocence and trauma in Parker, she also sees an adult capable of paving a life for herself and seeks to be her friend and mentor. Tara doesn’t bother adjusting her preconceived notions of Parker and sees her as an ingénue who can be easily manipulated or used. None of that is true to her character. And Parker knows this because, despite how the fandom loves their selective amnesia about it, Parker is so, so self-aware, and this is highlighted in the Sophie/Parker reunion when Parker hugs Sophie.
-Oh! Parker touching!
Parker knows she isn’t touchy-feely. She knows she has trust issues. She knows physical affection is a big deal from her. Parker is not an idiot, and she is not a child. The show depicts Parker’s nuance, growth, and introspection very organically and without fanfare, the way they would with any neurotypical character. This is so much more respect than what we’re used to seeing with characters like Parker.
Not only is Parker allowed to be multifaceted and break the “only one personality type” mold, but the show calls out other people who try to belittle her. It’s just above and beyond what most other shows have brought to the table, and it’s one of the million reasons Parker is such a beloved character and Leverage is such a beloved show. She is an adult dammit, and a fully-realized, fully-capable one at that.