Episode: Leverage 2.13 – “The Future Job”
Original Air Date: February 3, 2010
I told my wife that after so many great episodes in a row, that this one would be a mediocre one. I just wasn’t sure if they could continue the greatness based on what I’d seen in the first season. Fortunately, I was wrong. In fact, the skeptic in me absolutely rejoiced on this one, which may make it difficult to be objective in evaluating this one, but I’ll certainly try.
This was a different kind of episode because it wasn’t so much about conning someone as it was exposing a con. Of course, being con artists themselves, the Leverage team certainly did con the con artist. Dalton Rand (played by 90210‘s Luke Perry), a small-time TV “psychic,” has been taking money from the sister of the man who hires the team. She’s even considering putting up her house on the market which, for the brother, is the last straw.
Nate and Parker pose as audience members in Rand’s show with Eliot along as well. Rand “reads” Parker — and he seems to be amazingly correct about her brother getting hit by a car when she was much younger. She leaves, crying and clearly shaken up (“I don’t like psychics, they freak me out,” she had told Nate before her reading). When the rest of the team arrives at Leverage HQ, they proceed to explain Cold Reading to Parker. They pretty thoroughly debunk Rand (and, in my opinion, most [if not all] other psychics), though it might have come across as a bit preachy to some viewers. Parker reacts rather violently to this revelation: “[Can we] cut off his arms and his head? I wanna kill him. Can we make that happen?” To which Eliot replies, “Yeah, I mean, I could…,” leaving us in no real suspense as to what he means.
In order to con the con, Tara plays a psychic that is actually able to read people and predict the future. Well, actually, her team helps her “read” Rand (via Hardison accessing information about him in a method called Hot Reading that Rand also uses) and “predict” his future (by “stealing” it, as Nate says; i.e., Parker and Eliot set things in motion in the background that the viewers see in the usual flashback reveals).
Convinced that “Bethany Noble” will get him his big break on TV, he recruits her to work behind the scenes for his show. Again using Hardison, Tara Hot Reads the audience for Rand. At one point, he reveals to a woman in the audience what she wants to know (that her husband was having an affair). Her husband, thinking that Rand is the real deal, has him kidnapped so he can find money that he and a now deceased accomplice stole from a bank. “We need to find [Rand], rescue him, and then take him down,” Nate says.
The Leverage team, via Tara, communicate the location of a storage facility that she claims the dead man has revealed as the location. Not finding the money, the kidnapper confronts Rand, who reveals that he’s a complete fraud. Suddenly, the wall behind them explodes, and the studio where Rand tapes his show is on the other side (yeah, that’s a bit far-fetched, I know). And playing on the in-studio monitors to the in-studio audience is Rand’s confession of fraud. The police then show up to take away the kidnapper as well as Rand. “Any way we can get them in the same prison?” Nate asks Hardison, who says they can. The brother that hired the team is quite happy and is surprised when Parker hands him the money his sister gave Rand. At first, I assumed it must be her own money, and that maybe Parker felt sorry for the sister since she, too, had been duped by Rand, but no. It seems somehow she and Hardison really did find the dead man’s missing money, proving research is better than psychics any day.
I think one of my favorite scenes had to be the first reading that Tara gave Rand. Her portrayal of a New Age hippie who “somehow” received psychic powers after brain surgery (complete with a real scar) was spot on. Her prediction, that actually later “came true,” certainly sounded vague enough and ridiculous enough that Rand’s initial dismissal was justified. Nate rigging the table with a small electric shock (which Parker approves of, though Eliot doesn’t) was a nice touch. Admittedly, Parker, Nate, and Eliot “stealing” the future so it would conform to her prediction stretched credulity, but it was certainly fun nonetheless.
Hardison also had some great moments in this episode. While setting up for Tara’s reading of Rand, Nate sets Hardison up with some orange soda — “And my gummy frogs. I need my gummy frogs,” he tells Nate. He also sets up a fortune cookie that Rand finds, helping confirm Tara’s predictions. He and Parker then both use the language of fortune cookies later in the episode: “He who sells miracles will have the devil knockin’ at his door,” Hardison says regarding Rand’s arrest. “What is that, a proverb?” Parker asks. “No, fortune cookie. What, it started with ‘he who,'” is Hardison’s reply. Later, Parker picks it up as well: “He who looks for hidden money shall find it — if he is also a thief.” Yay, more Parker / Hardison ‘shipping to end the episode!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars