Leverage: “The Fairy Godparents Job”


We talk all the time but it never feels like you’re actually sharing anything. As great as you are, there’s always a mask. I just don’t know who you really are, Katherine.

Bernie Goddamn Madoff. He takes our money, insults our legal system, makes the sick sicker, and the poor poorer. Turns out he (or someone just like him) also treats his stepson like crap and plots to kill hapless FBI agents. Special Agents Taggert and McSweeten return for their third appearance on Leverage and almost get killed for their efforts. ((If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at this great interview with Gerald Downey and Rick Overton, who play the agents, in ifMagazine.))

Tonight the team stretches itself thin as it steals a school. That’s a tough one but they succeed because Nate knows the one true rule of dealing with the rich and powerful: force them to doubt their mastery. By holding himself out as a recognized authority with a book and method that is well known and revered, he challenges the fuming parents to risk looking ignorant by standing up to him. It’s a basic trick of the conman, salesman, hustler, and writer and works best against the people who should be the least credulous. After that, the rest is gravy.

With no Sterling sighting tonight we could be pretty sure the team would win in the end and unlike last week, the stakes never felt as high. No one on the team was in any physical danger, no children were being beaten in the B-story, and the greatest threat was that in fending off McSweeten’s advances, Parker might fail to get Hardison through the apartment’s defenses. So he’d set off an alarm. Big deal.

For the most part tonight was a more humorous outing with Nate’s dreadful rug and accent, Parker and Hardison dealing with their FBI buddies, and Widmark’s ineptitude. However, it was also through sad Widmark we were given a window into Sophie’s reality.

She never had any friends, only fellow grifters she might work with on occasion, and has lied so much and for so long that she may not see exactly where the real Sophie Devereaux ((Doubtfully her real name.)) ends and the lies begin. Her new beau – who has been in her life, though not on screen, since before the season opener – dumps her in the first act because of the layers of deception that he can only sense. Only now that Sophie has a place on the gray line where she can help others rather than herself is she beginning to become less closed off and more human. Here she has friends, people who can trust and support her. Here she can take off the masks, at least in private.

She does that for Widmark.

In his lowest moment of self-doubt she speaks to him from the heart with no masks and no lies. She tells him maybe she isn’t a great actress – at least others don’t think so – and let’s him tell her she needs to believe in herself. As great a showcase as the last two episodes have been for Christian Kane, tonight’s moment in the bathroom of a toney private school in Boston was their equal for Gina Bellman. It was small and reserved but she ripped away all of Sophie’s defenses and bared her lonely, wounded soul.

This is interesting. This must be a first. I mean it’s the only time I can remember that the con depended solely on you telling the truth. How did it feel?

Felt great as a viewer, that’s for sure.

Internet Note

I suspect this is the most networked group of talent on any show running today. Seriously. Here’s the list of who’s active on Twitter that I know of: ((The web of trust is pretty tightly woven on these accounts so it is unlikely a fake has slipped into the mix.))

That doesn’t count one-time guests like Wil Wheaton (yes, the King of the Geeks is going to be in an upcoming episode) and Brent Spiner. What this means as a fan of the show is an unprecedented level of transparency into the creative process. That, and I always know what kind of sammich everyone’s eating. ((No one can explain Twitter to you. You log on and use it for awhile and get it. Or you don’t.))

What did everyone else think?