Episode: Leverage 2.11 – “The Bottle Job”
Original Air Date: January 20, 2010
In this episode, Nate has to save his local pub, which also happens to be where his apartment / Leverage HQ is located (and where he and his father spent a lot of time when he was a boy). John McCrory, the owner, has just died, but he owed loan shark Mark Doyle $15,000 (from a $5000 loan). Doyle shows up to collect from Cora, McCrory’s daughter. She doesn’t have the money so Doyle gives her two hours, or he’ll take the bar instead. That’s where Nate and the Leverage team get involved.
Although they have less than two hours (Doyle is flying back to Ireland at that time), Nate tells the team they are going to pull “the wire” con. Normally this actual con takes time to set up (and requires cash on hand for which the team has to raid their various emergency funds), but of course they somehow manage. Hardison hacks the cable from the bar so that he can watch a basketball game live while the bar gets it on a five minute delay. Nate, who is posing as a bookie, deliberately starts out losing to Doyle to draw him in. Of course in the end Nate himself ends up winning, and he gets McCrory’s “mark,” thus saving the bar.
But Nate’s not done. He wants Doyle gone from the neighborhood completely. Turns out he’s been loan sharking to the whole neighborhood. Nate sets up a poker game in the back while Tara sets up Doyle into thinking that he’s going to con Nate with her help. Interesting that in both cons where Tara is a member of the team she reveals to the mark that Nate is a liar. Meanwhile, Parker and Eliot break into Doyle’s warehouse (guided by Hardison) to steal his cash to use in the game since they don’t have enough cash. And that’s how they get Doyle: when he sees his own money (he marks the bills with a special mark that he recognizes), he admits to loan sharking. The other poker players are not who Nate claimed they were, as Doyle points out, but they’re not who he thought they were, either. They’re cops. And Doyle has just admitted to at least two felonies in front of them. At this point, Nate (who has been drinking again in order to keep up appearances for Doyle) slams Doyle down on the table and tells him never to return. It’s a surprising turn of events, and if it wasn’t clear to viewers that Nate was having issues with Sophie gone, this pretty much proves that. Doyle leaves, with his tail between his legs, and the team returns the loan-sharked interest to neighborhood people (reluctantly, in Parker’s case).
This was a bit of a different episode. Something about it felt different in tone, more serious than other episodes. Probably part of it is the continued descent of Nate. There’s definitely something going wrong, and it seems to have to do with Sophie’s departure and Tara joining the group in her place. Nate is drinking again, although at least this time he realizes that he’s not okay, which he says is the difference between his drinking now versus previously when he thought he was fine. I have a feeling there’s more to come with this.
Despite the seriousness, the episode did have its funny moments (which is, obviously, one of the main reasons I love the show). The scene where Hardison, Eliot, and Parker are searching their “emergency” stashes for cash is one such scene. Although the scene is more visual than dialogue heavy (and therefore really needs to be seen to be truly appreciated), there is some good dialogue as well. Hardison, in typically geeky fashion, says to Nate, “Look, if y’all want me to do an electronic wire transfer of 100 grand between the Caymans and Madagascar, I can do that. But if you’re talkin’ cold, hard cash, you’re out of luck. I’m sorry. Welcome to the future.” That last part made me think of Jonathan Coulton‘s song, “The Future Soon.” Or Wil Wheaton saying the same thing on Radio Free Burrito. Definitely authentic geek speak (and his whole statement is definitely true — I personally haven’t carried cash for months!). We also discover the real reason Hardison kept around the portrait of “Harlan Leverage III” — that’s where he keep his emergency stash (“Oh, what, you thought I kept ol’ Nate around for sentimental reasons?”).
Another great scene is when the team tries to convince Doyle to stick around longer than he originally intended. Hardison has to fake a weather report (complete with “green screen” provided by an old sheet) that the snow has shut down the airport. Watching him scramble around to get set up, and then nearly mess up the forecast, was hilarious. And then when he was done, he said, “And the next time y’all call me, it better be for somethin’ easy, like fakin’ a moon landin’.” Maybe Hardison should read Phil Plait‘s blog if he truly believes that.
Oh, and just one other thing worth mentioning: “Can’t Go Home Again,” the Joe LoDuca track from “The 12-Step Job” and the soundtrack showed up in this episode. Certainly appropriate for an Irish bar. I was really pleased to hear it since it’s one of my faves from the soundtrack.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars