Episode: Leverage 3.09 – “The Three-Card Monte Job”
Original Air Date: August 8, 2010
Andre, a phone company employee, receives a threat from a group of Russians: answer the cell phone they give him and do what he’s told to do, or they will kill his family. Andre knows he can’t go to the cops, so he hires the Leverage team. And Nate discovers that it is his father, Jimmy (played by Tom Skerrit), who is behind the whole thing.
Needless to say, the rest of the team, especially Sophie, doesn’t think that Nate will be able to take down his father. But Nate has something to prove to his father. Jimmy never believed his son had the necessary skills to be good at anything. In flashbacks, we learn that Nate could never beat his father at three-card monte. This is clearly a metaphor for Jimmy’s lack of belief in Nate. The con that Jimmy is running this time is also a three-card monte, and it seems to be the three phones that the Russians gave to innocent people. After Hardison locates the last of the phones, however, Nate realizes that his father never had the Queen on the table at all — his plan is to rob the police station while they are off investigating false alarms set off by a black box installed by Nate (working in place of Andre who was asked to do it). Thus Nate finally beats his father. And Jimmy tells his son that he’s proud of him just before Nate allows him to get on a boat going to Galway to retire with some of his family that’s still over in Ireland.
This wouldn’t be one of my reviews of Leverage without a mention of some fun dialogue. Parker and Eliot, while trying to figure out who the Russians are, find the second of the red phones with someone else who turns out to be innocent. Before discovering this, however, the Russian and Eliot get into a fight. Parker tosses a crowbar to Eliot, who then growls at her, “You don’t throw crowbars at people.” She then reenters the van she was searching and sarcastically repeats the line to herself. Evidently, Parker can’t throw. Later when the crew is putting together information on the local banks (to figure out which one Jimmy and the Russians are going to hit), Parker has the information in her head already. “What do you guys do on your weekends?” she says. Maybe she should be practicing throwing things. And finally, Hardison gets to deliver his signature line to the Russians after he tricks them into getting caught in the evidence locker at the police station, but he adds an extra twist this time: “Age of the geek, baby. Stay strong.” I’m totally gonna start using that!
We’ve known for a long time, possibly since the first episode (my memory isn’t that great for those kinds of details), that Jimmy Ford was a crook. Watching Jimmy and Nate interact with each other gave us some interesting insight into Nate’s psychology. Although he despises what his dad has done, Nate clearly wants his respect and acknowledgment. Nate didn’t get into the criminal business for the same reasons as his father, but Jimmy assumes that he did — and that he isn’t cut out for it. This just makes it all the more meaningful when Jimmy tells Nate that he’s proud of him after being beaten at his own game. It also feels natural for Nate to allow his father to escape even though he could easily have allowed the Three Families (Jimmy’s former employers) to kill him (Nate sets it up to look like Jimmy wants to blackmail the Families). It’s been a while since we’ve had this kind of background about Nate, so I really enjoyed seeing it in this episode.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars