Episode: Leverage 2.15 – “The Maltese Falcon Job”
Original Air Date: February 17, 2010
This episode continues right where last week’s ended, with the Leverage team on the run and the FBI, Sterling, and the rest of Interpol right behind them. And it gets pretty crazy, pretty quickly. In fact, it’s so complicated, I think for this review I’m just going to forego the full synopsis and do a quick summary, then get into the dialogue and scenes that make this show so great.
Basically, Sterling is after Kadjic, the mayor’s security guy, who also happens to be a drug runner. The FBI has been working with the mayor and is trying to catch the Leverage team. They have left Kadjic’s company alone as a favor to the mayor, and because it seems to be legit. Sterling and the FBI agree to help each other, with Sterling running the show.
Meanwhile, the Leverage team has to avoid everyone and prove that the mayor is corrupt. To do this, they have to catch Kadjic and the mayor with the guns that were shown in the last episode. Along the way, Nate makes a deal with Sterling to let him go free if he gives up the rest of the team, and Tara makes a deal with Kadjic that ultimately leads to the return of Sophie.
And, of course, since Sterling is involved, the team mostly pulls off their goals, but not completely. Having destroyed all the evidence that the FBI and Interpol have against Kadjc and the mayor, Nate agrees to turn state’s evidence against them (the Leverage team captured Kadjic and the mayor on their boat, Il Falcone Maltese, with the guns) if Sterling allows the rest of the team to go free. Sterling agrees since he has little choice if he wants to catch Kadjic (“So, you’re my case, or I got no case,” he resignedly tells Nate). The episode ends with an ambulance being called for the injured Nate while the rest of the team escapes in Sophie’s helicopter. Once again, the season ends in a satisfying way that could equally have been a series finale (though I’m glad it’s not!).
Wow, what a great ride after a not-so-great first part last week! I’m convinced that Sterling just makes every episode better (though too much of him would probably lessen his impact, of course). Mark A. Sheppard is just perfect in the role. Nate really needs someone else to keep him sharp, and without Sophie around Sterling does just that in this episode. I really love that Sterling is the antagonist of the show, but he’s actually the good guy; he really is bringing down thieves by going after the Leverage team, even if they are “good” thieves.
This episode seemed like a long string of memorable scenes: Tara “accidentally” losing her towel to gain access to a hotel room, Nate stalling Sterling by running up the stairs and pressing every floor’s elevator button before Sterling got to the next floor, Eliot taking out all thirteen armed men on Kadjic’s boat (with no gun of his own), the team recreating the mayor’s room to fool him into thinking he hasn’t been moved by taking photographs, Parker almost dropping Tara off the roof when she thinks Tara’s betrayed the team (“You actually had me worried — I actually thought you were gonna drop me,” Tara says later. “Ha, ha, ha, so silly,” Parker replies a little awkwardly; clearly she really was prepared to do it), and of course the return of Sophie to save the day (“We’re even,” she later tells Tara, though we still don’t know what’s between them), to name just a few. I really enjoyed how the writers tied everything together into a whole.
The writing and the dialogue were top-notch in the episode. Of course Eliot and Parker had their one liners: “Hardison, geek spiral,” is Eliot’s attempt to stop Hardison’s overuse of technical jargon, and Parker’s “It’s a long metal coffin… with wind” remark to Tara right before one of her jumps into an air duct is probably not as reassuring as she intended it to be.
Much of the dialogue, however, involved Nate for a change, from characters referring to him (“Be Nathan Ford, be the person we came back for,” Parker says) to his own speeches. His phone call to Sophie, for example, laid out how much he really needs her around: “Sophie, I screwed up. I need you to come back. I need you; I need you. Not the team, me. Not for a con, listen, I… I don’t know who I am anymore, Sophie…” he begins, pouring his heart out to her (unfortunately, she can’t really hear him since she’s on a helicopter). He very nearly says he loves her, but it doesn’t quite get out. He’s definitely hit a low point.
Then, towards the end of the episode, we see a different direction for Nate: “You guys are the most honorable people I’ve ever met in my life. You have become my family, my only family. I won’t forget that,” he says to the team. Considering that it was family that got him into this (his son’s death), that’s certainly big for him. And to cap it off, later he tells Sterling and one of the FBI agents, “My name is Nate Ford, and I am a thief.” Oh, I can’t wait for next season!
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars