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‘National Treasure: Edge of History’ Episode 3 REVIEW: Fools Rush In

I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas watching National Treasure: Edge of History’s Elvis-themed third episode.

READ: ‘National Treasure: Edge of History’ Episodes 1 & 2 REVIEW: Some Things Are Better Left Buried

The Good

This episode picks up where the cliffhanger from the second left off, with the new crew learning more about Jess’s parents and their foray into the search for the treasure. Seeing the backstory of why Jess’s parents, especially her father, got into treasure-hunting, was one of the best parts of the episode. It now makes sense why Jess’s father would put his life on the line – it wasn’t for the glory; it was for his wife. Even when Jess’s mother had moved on from the hunt, he kept going because he wanted to prove his wife right. Sometimes love is the most powerful motivator of all.

From there, the episode moved into this week’s location for the next clue to the treasure – Graceland. Bringing Elvis into this mystery was not something I saw coming, but I liked how they tied it into his Native American heritage.

Rounding out the positives from this episode was Catherine Zeta-Jones’s Billie Pearce. As you may remember from my review of previous episodes, her wig and accent were a distraction from what could be a fascinating character. Yes, the wig is still jarring, and her accent isn’t well-maintained, but near the end of the episode, she travels to Central America, and something happens to her team that brings out the humanity in Billie. We see that underneath the cool demeanor, she cares about the people that she works with. Finding the treasure is still her main goal, but I’m curious to see if her heart will still be in it as the price to pay to find it grows.

The Bad

While this episode had positive attributes, more than the first two did, it is not without flaws that ultimately still outweigh the good.

Like the first two episodes, Jess solves problems that come her way not by using clues or historical knowledge she already possesses, but by her powers of observation. Which are fine, but once again, nothing like the National Treasures that came before it. When trying to determine the code for a door in Graceland, she makes assumptions that the password would be Elvis-related and happens to be correct. When she reaches the clue, she instinctively knows what they need from it without considering any other option. It’s not her powers of deduction or prior knowledge that make her successful, it’s just lazy writing.

Another problem with this episode lies in the fact that this series is not National Treasure, but it wants to be. Riley Poole was a centerpiece of the films, the comic relief that broke up the intensity of the action and puzzle sequences. Edge of History lacks this character (for now) and tries to replace him with Oren. Whereas Riley was jovial and genuinely funny, Oren’s jokes come across forced and cringey. Antonio Cipriano is doing the best with what he’s given and his physical comedy lands, but I actually wince preparing for his dialogue. Oren lacks the heart and sincerity that Riley had stemming from his relationship with Benjamin Gates. Hopefully Oren’s relationship with Tasha is explored more in the coming episodes to add depth to his character.

In Conclusion

National Treasure: Edge of History tries so hard to capture the excitement and intrigue of the films that came before it. Now, one-third of the way through this series, I’m not certain it will be able to do so.

Episode Three of National Treasure: Edge of History will be available to stream on Disney+ starting Wednesday, December 21st.

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