Monday, June 21, 2010

The return of Leverage

It's been a long...however long it was...but Leverage is back. On a new night too, Sunday nights at 8 PM, which works out just swimmingly for me. Even better, last night (and next week) was a double dose of cons. After last season, we had Nate bleeding from a gunshot wound and under arrest, the rest of the team (including Sophie) safely off, and Sterling triumphant...mostly.

Last night, we start right off with breaking Nate out of prison. A well-oiled plan that goes according to schedule, and then...turns out to be a fantasy that Sophie is spinning to Nate while he's in jail. He doesn't want them to break him out, he wants to serve his time. Well, I guess that rules out Nate, let's see what the rest of the group will get up to. Oh wait, Nate found a client in the clink. Guess it's time to break open that kielbasa, dig out the earbud, and get back to what they do best: providing leverage.

Turns out the warden is crooked and is paying off judges in exchange for them giving out jail time to middle-class petty crimes in order for him to make his jail's capacity quotas. Shifty deal, and since the guards are beating (and killing) prisoners for money on the inside, it's none too safe for Nate and Billy (the client, or at least, I think that's his name). Fun fact, looks like Billy was played by Aldis Hodge's brother. Nepotism? Who cares, he was good.

Nate stabs Billy to get him in the protected confines of the infirmary, and Eliot comes in as a new prison doctor to provide extra protection. Good scene where Nate fakes a toothache to get a chance to talk to Eliot in provate, which Eliot uses as a chance to get Nate under the lights and let him know how he feels about being conned by him (in the season two finale). All is well though (although Sophie told the rest of the team her real name while Nate's been in the clink), and Hardison comes in to work the warden and get into his files. Sophie ropes him in, using a fake Senate campaign to set him up to take a fall. From the inside, Nate has to walk the prison, helping them build a map from the inside of cameras, heat sensors, and motion detectors. Love the trichotomy of Hardison's computer map, Parker's glassboard map with stickers, and the one Nate makes out of a chess board and various game pieces. The escape was a wonder of low tech, with steam fooling the motion sensor and a frozen trash bag getting Nate past the heat sensors. Parker's model helicopter (which had been set up at a couple points in the episode) fooled the guards, and a ruse with Hardison's new van helps Nate escape and set up the warden as an accomplice. Even better, we get Hardison and Parker pretending to make out in the van as a distraction (or as Parker asks "We were pretending"?). Parker had some great moments in the episode, especially the photoshoot for the fake incriminating photos (of the incumbent Senator, used to help sink the hook).

However, the con had a wild card in it, a mystersious (and hot) Italian agent who is after Nate and his team in order to set them on this season's Big Bad, a guy who bankrolls many different major criminal organizations, and a man not to be taken on headfirst. As Nate reasons out though, they can keep taking their usual jobs, and just try to steer towards ones that will help them get a hook into the Big Bad. Oh and Nate's drinking again.

Which leads us into Episode 2, as the team proceeds to take a job with...absolutely no obvious tie-in to the Big Bad. Eh, can't have everything on a platter, I suppose. Instead, we get a mysterious program called Manticore, which is stifling internet traffic to and from Iran, and helping Iranians catch some protestors or somesuch. Honestly, it's probably an interesting issue, it just gets shuffled to the side for the main thrust of the episode, which is that the computer software guru (and jerk...and nerd) who runs the program. They break into his office, but the program is running off of his 1985 computer, which Hardison just can't hack. Instead, they need to get his password, which they deduce is based off of something from high school, since his office (and the computer) shows that he is obsessed with his high school experiences. So (although they don't say it), let's go steal a reunion.

Sophie (showing off an array of voices), manages to get the reunion moved up a few months so that they can use it to pump Duberman for information. Sophie creates a fictional student, while Nate just borrows the identity of the class clown (and Duberman's nemesis). Hardison gets to stay in the van and run rapid-fire background checks on the other attendees while Parker works the room as catering and provides backup. Eliot gets to go back to Dubertech to be able to punch in the password once they discover it. And eventually, beat up some Iranians who came for Manticore.

Throwing a wrench into the works is a hot assassin played by MTV's Kari Wuhrer. Still kinda hot, not gonna lie. She puts the moves on Nate to get him out of the way, then we get a kung-fu vs fire extinguisher fight with her and Sophie (also hot). They dispatch her (she was sent by the Iranians too...they ruin everything), but slip on a detail and reveal themselves to Duberman as fakes. He changes his password...which Eliot is able to punch right in thanks to Sophie's linguistic programming. It was set up earlier, with Sophie able to train Eliot to unconsiously pour and prepare her tea with the right verbal and tactile cues. In this case, they were able to hack Duberman into changing his password by using repeated variations of Badger85 (school mascot, and graduating year). Eliot's consternation at missing the reunion was hilarious at the end. Couple of sweet moments too, as Nate and Sophie manage to be crowned King and Queen of the reunion and get a dance together. Even sweeter; Hardison and a dangling Sophie (from her thieving harness) sharing their own dance up in the rafters.

Next week, Parker gets caught during a break-in, and Hardison must pass as a concert violinist. Yes, two more new Leverage episodes in six short days. Be there!

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