Episode: Leverage 3.03 – “The Inside Job”
Original Air Date: June 27, 2010
Parker’s gone AWOL. No one knows where she is until Nate gets a call from Archie Leach (played by Richard Chamberlain — seriously!), the greatest thief of them all. Parker is trying to take on a Steranko security system (the best there is, according to Hardison) by herself. Leach has been hired to steal a container from Wakefield, an agricultural corporation. He in turn hired Parker to help him since he is no longer as physically dexterous as he once was. Parker was his protégé; he even refers to her as his daughter. She’s been trapped by the security system, which is an adaptive system that even Hardison can’t crack, although he can temporarily bypass pieces of it.
Since they can’t hack the system, they have to get inside the old-fashioned way, and so Sophie and Hardison pose as auditors of the company so Hardison can gain access. He manages to get Parker to an escape route with Eliot there to rescue her, but there’s a problem. The whole reason that Leach was hired in the first place was because of an inside man (or in this case, a woman, Dr. Hannity). She hired Leach to steal a container of UG99, a wheat blight that she hopes will infect the entire US. Why? Because Wakefield has the only resistant strain. Because of this, Parker refuses to escape until they’ve brought down Hannity (Nate’s been a bad influence on her, according to Leach), which of course they do in the end. After Hardison triggers a Level 4 alert on the Steranko system, Leach poses as part of the biohazard clean-up crew. Leach reveals himself to Hannity, who then spills her guts about what she’s been doing (memo to self: when I become a villain, never reveal my plans to anyone, ever). And it turns out the rest of the biohazard team aren’t Leach’s team, but a TV crew that Nate found. Hannity’s revelation went out live on national TV.
Yet another excellent episode. It’s always cool to get back story on characters, but what a surprise to see such a big name like Richard Chamberlain show up to be Parker’s Fagin (although Leach seems to treat Parker more like a daughter than Fagin would have done). I’ll admit that I’m not extremely familiar with Mr. Chamberlain’s oeuvre, but I’m not seeing anything on IMDb that leads me to think of him when I think of “master thief,” which is quite interesting considering he doesn’t do any actual thieving in the episode. He’s such a great actor, however, that it doesn’t matter. His final scene with Parker, when he tells her he should have made her a part of his real family (although she did find one of her own), contained just the right amount of sentimentality and humor (Parker steals his wallet as she leaves) that only someone like him could pull off.
One of Leach’s lines in the episode really struck me as commentary on the whole show. Near the end of the episode, after Parker has been rescued, he says to Nate, “I have no idea how something so slipshod could’ve worked, but it did.” He’s exactly right. In nearly every episode, just when it seems like everything is getting out of hand, Nate manages to pull everything together. And somehow the writers always make it plausible (well, plausible after you first suspend disbelief about the entire premise of the show, of course). I always love meta-commentary; must be the post-modernist scholar in me.
Something I’ve noticed in these first few episodes is the double meanings of the titles. There have been several episode titles like that before, but it’s interesting to see three in a row. I’ve mentioned the last two in a previous review, and in this one it really does seem like the “inside job” is going to be Parker on the inside of Wakefield, but it turns out to be an “inside job” in the sense that someone on the inside of the company is the one behind the job. It also occurs to me that Nate’s signature rallying cry in this episode also has a double meaning — “Let’s go steal a Parker.” It turns out to be not just about getting her out of the building, but also about her change in attitude; Nate has “stolen” her from Leach. It’s little touches like that that make me appreciate how much thought must go into each episode.
Rating: 5 / 5 stars