Episode: Leverage 3.06 – “The Studio Job”
Original Air Date: July 18, 2010
Kaye Lynn and her brother recorded a demo tape for Mitchell Kirkwood (played by John “Bo Duke” Schneider), but he tries to screw them over. He claims they went to see a lawyer, and so he has his goons break the brother’s fingers so he can never play guitar. Kaye goes to Nate to get the demos that she and her brother recorded back from Kirkwood.
Nate and Sophie decide to run “The Fiddle Game” on Kirkwood in which they will sell a “fiddle” for far more than it’s really worth. The “fiddle” in this case is Eliot who pretends to be a country singer with a new single that is sure to be a hit (not much of a stretch for Christian Kane since he really is a country singer. I believe one of his actual songs was the song used in the episode). While Kirkwood is distracted by Sophie and Nate playing rival record company execs, Parker will steal the demos by pretending to be a recording artist produced by Hardison who will also produce “Kenneth Crane,” aka Eliot (I love how the name sounds similar to Christian Kane). Of course there are problems — Hardison forgets the actual demo tape after Parker steals it, and Kirkwood wants the single for himself so he can sing it and so tries to have Eliot killed. When he attempts to perform the track in front of a live audience, however, Hardison cuts his mic so that Kaye can finish the song herself. Then he plays a recording he made of Kirkwood confessing to Eliot that he killed another singer to steal his first single. After her performance, Kaye seems well on her way to getting her recording contract.
The summary of this episode doesn’t begin to do it justice. It’s really the little details that make it so good. One example is Kirkwood’s ringtone. It’s “Dixie.” How appropriate both for the character and the actor. Then there was Parker’s costume as an eccentric performer. Her dress featured a swan around her neck, and when Hardison tells an assistant that she’s Icelandic, the assistant nearly calls her Björk, but Hardison stops her, claiming Parker is sensitive (and yet Parker says, “I don’t think I’m being weird enough.” No one else on the team agrees). It’s nicely done, and finally Parker gets to rely on her social awkwardness as an asset. Another nice detail is Nate’s cowboy hats. At one point, he’s wearing a white one, then later he’s wearing a black one. Good subtle touch since he’s played both sides (and still does in some ways).
Eliot’s time as a country singer also made for some great moments. Before Eliot goes on stage for the first time, Hardison samples his voice in order to run a program similar to Autotune, but even better. He plays around with Eliot’s voice, altering the way he sounds. He goes a bit too far, however, when he makes Eliot sound like a Smurf. All Eliot has to say is, “Hardison…” and Hardison gets it: “Don’t ever do the Smurf thing again.” After performing his song, Eliot acquires a fan base, complete with Internet page and everything. They follow him around, making it hard for him to get to the studio to record his song. But later Hardison uses them to stall Kirkwood when he is going to perform the song near the end by posting online that “Kenneth” is in Kirkwood’s car. Finally, when Eliot and Hardison are recording the song, Hardison keeps telling Eliot that he’s “pitchy.” After getting sick of hearing it, Eliot growls, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” Inconceivable!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars