Episode: Leverage 3.14 – “The Ho Ho Ho Job”
Original Air Date: December 12, 2010
Santa got fired and he needs the help of the Leverage team. Not only that, but he was framed as a drunk by the owner of the mall where he worked. Yup, even Leverage joined in the holiday spirit with their very own Christmas episode.
Santa is actually Frank, and he really wants to work as a mall Santa, but the owner (played by Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley) wants his own ex-cons in there. He has a plan to steal credit card information from mall shoppers and use it to get money, somehow without raising their suspicions (Hardison explained it all, but I didn’t really follow it). And he has some help, too, in the form of… cha0s, Hardison’s nemesis from “The Two-Live Crew Job.” I’d known Wil Wheaton was going to be back for an awfully long time so I was glad to finally see the episode. Cha0s distracts the team and Nate actually falls for it, at least temporarily, but of course the Leverage crew wins in the end (though not without casualties — more on that a bit later).
This episode paid homage to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The mall owner, Dooley, is clearly the Grinch (Nate even says at one point that he’s “stealing Christmas”). And he eventually has a change of heart, though in this case it’s brought about by high levels of morphine and a visit from “Santa” (played by the client, of course) — a little Miracle on 34th Street (with morphine), perhaps? It’s not just the Grinch who gets referenced, however, there’s also A Charlie Brown Christmas: “You forgot about the true meaning of Christmas,” Hardison tells cha0s after defeating him. And Parker is yearning for a “White Christmas,” which she actually gets in the end (more on Parker later — she was, as usual, absolutely adorable). And speaking of carols, there’s “Santa’s Comin’ to Town,” which Eliot says during an epic battle of ex-con Santas and Eliot (complete with beards!).
With cha0s involved, you know there have to be plenty of geeky references, and he doesn’t disappoint. He hijacks the team’s coms at one point and says, “I take it I am, via your coms, talking to the whole Justice League.” Even Nate joins in this time, telling Eliot to be patient while he’s collecting donations (he infiltrated the mall Santas in order to find out their plan — and, yes, that means he was dressed as Santa), saying, “There’ll be plenty of clobberin’ time…” Speaking of Eliot, there’s a sub-theme of the hit toy for the season being a “Rubbery Robbie” (Stretch Armstrong, I’d bet). At one point, Eliot, posing as Santa, is mean to a little kid. Later, however, he gives the same kid a Rubbery Robbie, telling him, “Shh, don’t tell anybody.” I love to see that side of Eliot. Finally, at the end of the episode, Nate and Sophie give out gifts to the team (although not all of them are geeky): Eliot gets a Hanzo katana (a reference to both Kill Bill and also actual history), Hardison gets a “prototype 7” (Windows 7 reference, I’d guess) smartphone, and Parker gets a stack of money (“Non-sequential serial numbers, my favorite!”). Nate gives Sophie a necklace with ”Your Name Here” on it, and Sophie gives Nate a piece of paper which presumably has her real name on it (we never find out what it is, however).
I have to take time to write about how adorable Parker was in this episode. She’s always very childlike and Christmas just brought it out even more. First there’s her outfit at the beginning of the episode, followed by her elf costume (“You look yummy in that elf costume,” cha0s tells her. I have to agree). She’s very excited about getting to play a mall elf helping Eliot’s Santa to infiltrate the mall Santa ring: “Best job ever!” she says while at the same time Eliot says “Worst job ever!” She also makes a gingerbread house that she tries to give to Eliot (who gruffly refuses it), puts tinsel on things (“Sad,” before putting on the tinsel, “Happy!” after doing so), and decorates a tree with her stolen jewelry (“Happy Birthday, Jesus!” she exclaims). As I said, adorable!
Oh, yeah, nearly forgot — the casualty to the team I mentioned earlier? Lucille 2, Hardison’s van. Cha0s hits it with Hardison’s own EMP gun. Can’t wait to see what Lucille 3 will be like!