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'National Treasure: Edge of History' episode 3 review: 'Graceland Gambit' tries too hard at the wrong things

TV Reviews

‘National Treasure: Edge of History’ episode 3 review: ‘Graceland Gambit’ tries too hard at the wrong things

Common issue is just part of the problem.

After the first two episodes set the stage for the series, the latest installment of National Treasure: Edge of History has the hunt for the treasure truly begin. Jess Valenzuela (Lisette Olivera) sets off with her friends to solve a centuries old mystery. At the same time, Billie Pearce (Catherine Zeta-Jones) wants the same thing at any cost.

Though it seems like every new movie and television show integrates a socially conscious message into their narratives, few have figured out how to do it effectively. It is unfair to knock Edge of History for its lazy attempts at commentary since that is more the norm than an aberration. Still, it is hard not to cringe when a character randomly asks what a “mansplainer” is trying to say. This happens throughout the show, with multiple uses by almost every character of progressive buzzwords shoehorned in.

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While this is a prevalent problem in Hollywood (Disney properties are particularly bad at making relevant statements), what makes Edge of History so frustrating is that it is completely unnecessary. Jess has a built in story that could be explored organically. (She is a DACA recipient who fears being deported.) Her friend Tasha (Zuri Reed) is a Black woman who distrusts law enforcement. Again, this is an area rife with opportunities that goes unexplored.

Edge of History could partially offset this problem by giving National Treasure fans what they want: an over the top mystery that is ridiculous and ridiculously fun. If the latest episode is any indication, it looks like the series is going to settle into a “mystery of the week” format with allusions to the grander puzzle. As is, there is little suspense. The majority of episode three is spent at Graceland and involves a heist that is equal parts convoluted and underdeveloped. Moths, bad wigs, and an impromptu Elvis sing-along are just a part of the shenanigans.

national treasure

Therein lies the biggest problem. National Treasure: Edge of History has the same silly ingredients that mad the original movies so popular. Any puzzle whose solution includes Elvis Presley, Richard Nixon, and secret societies is dabbling in the right kind of goofy. The show just lacks any charm or charisma. Its attempts at telling a women-centric story are commendable, but falling flat.

National Treasure: Edge of History airs on Disney+ 

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