Episode: Leverage 3.10 – “The Underground Job”
Original Air Date: August 15, 2010
A coal miner named Troy hires the team two years after an explosion killed twelve men in the mine. Stan Blackwell (played by Bruce Davison), the owner of the mine, received money from the government that was supposed to go to improving safety in the mine but instead went to buying off an Attorney General, Debra Pierce. Troy doesn’t want money, he just wants the mine reopened with better safety equipment in place.
Nate and Sophie decide to run the Skagwell Shuffle (Hardison accuses them of making stuff up — nice meta-commentary since as far as I can tell they are), which is a variation of the Fiddle Game (used in “The Scheherazade Job”). Although Parker wants to be the fiddle this time, the mine is going to be the fiddle, or more precisely what’s in the mine and the neighboring land. Sophie and Nate plan to convince Blackwell there is coltan (a mineral used in various electronics) in the mine. It works, but Blackwell decides the mine is worth more cleared out and therefore he plans to blow it up.
So now the con has to change — Nate needs to convince Blackwell that Sophie is a fraud. To do so, he lures Blackwell into the mine (thus also ensuring it doesn’t get blown up) and proves the mine has been seeded with coltan and doesn’t contain as much as Sophie claimed. Suddenly the mine partially collapses, leaving Nate and Blackwell trapped. Before they are rescued, Nate manages to get Blackwell to confess to misappropriating the government’s safety funds and using them to buy off the Attorney General. He then knocks out Nate, and Eliot comes to his rescue. When he exits the mine, however, he is arrested. Turns out Nate and Hardison rigged Nate’s com signal to be broadcast to the PA system. Since Blackwell implicated Pierce, they are both taken away. Troy, the client, is made head of safety and gets the money Blackwell had originally received.
I’m impressed with this season so far. I was fully expecting a not-so-great episode, but it’s been a season full of really good episodes (with one exception). Really the only nitpick I have with this episode is that the Italian woman wasn’t anywhere to be seen. We haven’t seen her for several episodes, and Nate has said that the clients this season should all end up leading them towards the mysterious Moreau. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Regardless, the episode themselves have been very good.
I always enjoy seeing the characters play different roles than what they usually do, and this episode had some of that. Eliot, for example, plants a bomb on Blackwell in order to further implicate him in the plot, something that would be a typical job for Parker. Similarly, Nate performs a job that would be typical for Hardison. While stuck with Blackwell in the mine, he fixes the broken PA system, which also fixes his com system. Clearly, they are all learning from each other.
Parker again acts as a grifter in this episode, rather more successfully than in previous episodes. She is the one who hooks Pierce, acting as her campaign consultant. She gets quite a bit of coaching from Sophie, who tells her she needs to size up the mark like she sizes up a bank. She tells Parker that once she does that, she can steal the mark’s — Parker interrupts her and says, “Soul,” smiling mischievously. That’s not what Sophie meant, of course, “I was going to say confidence.” Later, after the job is done, Parker breaks out a pillow and blanket in Hardison’s van, and sighs, “Stealing souls is exhausting.” She’s definitely an odd bird, but I love her anyway.
Finally, there are a couple of scenes that deserve mentioning. First is a Hardison and Eliot scene. In typical Hardison fashion, he describes in way too much detail how he’s going to get the teams’ coms to work in the mine. Eliot actually seems to be listening, so Hardison continues. Eliot isn’t, however, listening, and eventually gets fed up and grabs the device Hardison built, throwing it in his bag despite Hardison’s insistence of its fragility. “I thought we was makin’ progress,” Hardison opines as Eliot leaves.
Then there was the scene where Parker is going over her notes about Pierce with Sophie. Sophie asks if there’s anything that can be used against Pierce. Parker rattles off a bunch of basically useless facts as if they were important, then eventually settles on a private meeting between Pierce and Blackwell in which they were “working out.” Hardison then listens to the audio, and it’s clear they were not “working out.” Parker, however, doesn’t get it, so Hardison says to her, “Sex, Parker. They’re knockin’ boots!” Did I mention she’s an odd bird?
Rating: 4 / 5 stars