Leverage: “The Second David Job”


Grifter, hitter, hacker, thief. You were all trying to solve your version of the crime instead of just trying to solve the crime. There’s a reason we work together.

Even amongst critics who enjoy Leverage, it doesn’t get a lot credit for style. Dean Devlin established a house style in the pilot that has been enhanced and codified through this first season that serves the show well, but few bother to note those things it does well. One of them is on display tonight.

The opening scene closely mirrors the opening of last week’s “The First David Job”, all the way down to Nate’s line to Blackpoole: “Are you here to kill me, Ian?” And the crane shot in the closing scene mirrors the same shot of the team scattering in the final scene of the pilot. These callbacks establish a through line from the pilot, through last week’s setbacks, and into next season.

As to the episode itself, a lot of people around the web expressed their hope that the setbacks last week were part of some master plan, an idea I disliked a great deal and was happy to see was wrong. I want the team to lose some. It’s important for me that sometimes things don’t go their way. At least in the shortterm. However, if the team can regroup, heal its rifts, and get theirs back three months later? That’s drama.

Of course I know the team is going to win almost all the time. Just like I know no one is going to die, or get arrested and stay locked up. The show’s formula is pretty set and pretty clear. That doesn’t mean we can’t get some interesting twists like this two-parter. With an adversary like Sterling – who I hope we’ll see more of next season – the team is always in danger. But that just makes it more fun when he loses.

After jumping back to three days prior to the opening of the wing, it first looks like the band is back together casing the joint. No. In fact, they’re so out of joint they need to run away, mere steps ahead of security. Where Nate is conveniently waiting to drive them to safety. He knows his team, both from working with them and chasing them individually. He knew when they would be sizing up the museum and when they would need his help.

The normal bickering of the team is increased an order of magnitude by their time apart and the tension caused by Sophie’s betrayal. It takes a good while before they recover. It takes Sophie apologizing. Sort of. Good enough for everyone else, at least.

With Maggie’s help, they do exactly as Nate told Blackpoole he would: they “rob the Two Davids Gallery on opening day.” Sterling and Blackpoole take him too literally, thinking he’s going after the David maquettes again, but that’s not the plan at all. That won’t destroy Blackpoole. No, that requires stealing all the donated pieces and using them as…leverage…to get Blackpoole kicked out of IYS with all his assets stripped from him.

What follows is a cat and mouse game leading up to a locked room mystery.

This time, the team does have a second level to their plan. They want Sterling to suspect Maggie. They want Sterling to think she’s in on it. They need Sterling down in the restoration room to set off the atmospheric sensors. So they make sure he sees Parker handing off Dr. Lloyd’s phone to Maggie. That serves the immediate need of distracting Sterling from Lloyd’s meeting with Sophie, but more importantly gets Sterling sucked into his role.

Of course you know your entire plan depended on me being a self-serving, utter bastard.

Mark Sheppard’s sly little grin as Nate walks away from him after that exchange is one of the reasons I really hope he returns for more fun and games next year. Sterling, just like Nate, *enjoys* the game.

Some other thoughts:

  • Poor, poor Hardison. He still wants to talk to Parker about that damn kiss.
  • No one getting what Parker was saying when she brought up Maggie, thinking she was just saying Maggie knew their faces.
  • Once everyone did understand that Parker was suggesting Maggie be their man on the inside, the exchange between Nate, Eliot, and Sophie was priceless: Nate not wanting Eliot “feeling out his wife”, Eliot using hand gestures to show how innocent it would be, and Sophie reminding Nate she’s his *ex-wife*.
  • Nate hovering over Eliot when he called Maggie for the date, telling him how long it took before she’d go out with him…and then Eliot scoring a date within the hour.
  • Maggie’s tour de force performance on the date, bashing Nate at every turn. “Every night was prom night, you know what I mean?” Every scene Kari Matchett did was great, but this scene was comedy gold.
  • Parker *sniffing* Maggie in the team meeting, and then treating her like a pet.
  • Sterling and Geary going over the rap sheets on the team, each member being revealed as they walked by. A bit unrealistic and crazy, but incredibly cool to watch.
  • Nate using Blackpoole’s own words as a dagger: “Can’t let personal feelings affect policy. You have a responsibility to the shareholders…no exceptions.”
  • Maggie laying out Blackpoole was beautiful. Just sudden, a little unexpected, and hilarious.
  • Maggie on the new Nate: “I don’t love him. But I might like him a little more.”

What did everyone else think?