Episode: Leverage 1.12 – “The First David Job”
Original Air Date: February 17, 2009
This episode opens with Nate crashing a party thrown by his old boss, Ian Blackpoole, and pulling a gun on him. “Are you here to kill me, Nate?” Blackpoole asks. “Not tonight,” Nate responds. “Then come in. There’s shrimp,” Blackpoole says. “I do love shrimp.” Nate enters the party, and we realize it’s part of a con when Sophie shows up. Turns out the team isn’t happy about Nate’s drinking so they did an intervention — but it involves Nate getting revenge on his former employer, and this means a con.
Blackpoole owns a copy of a working model that Michelangelo made for his David sculpture. There are two copies known to exist — and the Leverage team is going to sell the second one to him (or, rather, a fake one). Turns out Nate knows where it is, which is why he was at Blackpoole’s party. Nate plays the desperate drunk who just wants to get money any way he can, and Blackpoole buys it.
But, of course, there’s a problem — Maggie, Nate’s wife, gets involved, and she’s an expert in identifying fakes. So the team steals the first David and replaces it with a copy, then passes it off as the second David. They almost get away with it, but it turns out that Sterling, “evil Nate,” figured out Nate’s plan because he knew that Sophie had the real second David (which she admits to). He captures Parker and Hardison and makes a deal to get the real second David back. They can’t con him because he knows the way they all think. “So we think like somebody else,” Nate tells Sophie when she points this out. She acts like Parker (and rescues Parker by jumping off the side of the building where she and Sterling make the trade), Eliot acts like Hardison (by causing Sterling’s men’s comms to squeal with feedback using his cell phone), and the Leverage team gets away — but they have to blow up the HQ so Sterling won’t get his hands on their incriminating stuff. (“Sterling, get out of my house,” Hardison says on the monitors and a countdown begins. Sterling and his men get out just in time).
When Sterling doesn’t go after Ford, one of his men asks him why. “His cover’s blown. The faces of his people have been sent to every law enforcement agency in the state. We’ve taken their money, their base of operations, and now Nate Ford will never, ever, get his revenge. They will do the only smart thing to do. They will scatter. They’re professionals; they know when the game’s up.” And the episode ends: To be continued…
The Hardison / Parker relationship ramps up a notch in this episode. Of course, there is the usual flirting. While contemplating stealing the first David, Parker says, “Give me three days of prep. It’ll be like taking diamonds from the French National Bank.” She pauses, then continues to make sure it’s clear: “That’s like taking candy from a baby.” “I got it,” Hardison says. And just to make sure, Parker says, “A very easy thing to do.” Hardison: “Got it.” She then starts making the fake second David dance around, so Hardison asks, “Can you please not play with the little naked man?” She refers to this later when they find out Nate’s wife can blow their whole plan: “We can’t let your ex-wife anywhere near our little naked man!”
But what really made me happy was when they actually made out. Well, okay, it was part of Parker’s plan to break into the vault where the first David is kept (she didn’t have three days to plan so she had to improvise: “You want me to break into a secure storage facility with whatever I can scrounge up at the buffet table?” she asks Nate. “Pretty much, yup.” “Cool.”). The two “lovebirds” “accidentally” set off the emergency exit alarm to the door to the stairs. And Hardison definitely enjoyed himself, as he refers to it several times in this episode and the next.
Not since the pilot has there been such a perfect episode. The con is brilliantly conceived (and a fitting “intervention” for Nate), and the foreshadowing of the team members playing different roles in previous episodes pays off when they fool Sterling by doing it on a grander scale. It also sets up the season finale in the next episode which will continue many of the themes and motifs (yeah, I’m an English teacher, how did you know?) of this one.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars