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Leverage: Different Places, Same Old Faces

Leverage S05E01: "The (Very) Big Bird Job"

Oh, Leverage. How I missed you, with your clever cons and ragtag crew of misfits. Never go away again!

Season 5 shook some things up. The crew left my native city of Boston for Portland, Oregon. Psh. They'll miss us. It was kind of inevitable though, since the show has been filming in Portland since Season 2. I will miss the extras' mangled Boston accents, though. Good times.

Along with the location change, the crew was in the process of opening up a restaurant to hide their schemes and allow Hardison and Parker to experiment with their handcrafted beers. I'm so happy the show finally let those two get together. The whole "I like you but I'm crazy" thing was getting increasingly weird and awkward. How amazing were the scenes of their vacation? Of course Parker's idea of a romantic getaway involves jumping off of tall buildings!

Despite the changes, Leverage is clearly still Leverage, and this episode was all about proving that.

There are a lot of shows that can be summed up as "stop the villain." But Leverage has a very specific type of villain it stops, and it's right there in the opening—the rich and powerful who think they can get whatever they want. Some episodes don't emphasize this as much, but the writers obviously wanted to start this season off by reminding viewers exactly what sort of bad guy the Leverage crew is after. I'm guessing—and hoping—this is going to play into this season's overall arc.

Scott Roemer was the embodiment of a Leverage target. He was arrogant, blasé about human life, and thought himself above all things like laws and morals. The connection he feels to Howard Hughes, a wealthy industrialist from the early 20th century, just drives home how off-base his morality is. Hughes was a brilliant man, true, but he also spent four months living in a film screening room using empty milk bottles as a toilet. Not exactly the best role model.

Roemer was an airline executive who allowed for the usage of faulty planes. When his neglect killed a pilot, the man's widow asked for Nate's help in getting enough money to send her daughter to college. Nate followed Roemer to the Evergreen Aviation Museum to scope him out. Yeah, we get it. Portland has cool stuff. Whatever. Boston has the Citgo sign, couldn't they have had a con revolve around that? Like, some corrupt politician turns off the sign while in a mad rage and suddenly no pedestrians can locate Fenway—okay, fine. You win this round, Portland.

Inside the cockpit of Howard Hughes' famous plane, the Spruce Goose, Nate asked Roemer about the charges against him. Roemer proceeded to do pretty much the worst thing he could have done in front of Nate: brag about how he can get away with anything. Roemer went on and on (and on!) about how great it was that his company could literally kill people and only have to pay so much as a fine. The look on Nate's face was pure disgust—you could pretty much tell the only thing he wanted to do was cause that man as much pain as possible. But for Nate, pain isn't physical.

It's offering to help Roemer buy the Spruce Goose.

Nate told Roemer he was working for a group of foreigners who wanted to buy the iconic plane. After the deal went wrong, the crew led Roemer into believing that the plane, made entirely out of wood (which is true) was an early form of stealth technology (which was not true—historically the Spruce Goose was made out of wood because the US Government wanted Hughes to build a plane that wouldn't use the strategic materials it needed for World War II).

The con ended with Roemer thinking he was flying the Spruce Goose to safety, when he was actually just sitting in a stationary plane Hardison had souped up to feel like it was flying—then crashing. After Nate punched him out, the crew placed Roemer's unconscious body (must have been some punch) near the Canadian border and surrounded him with fake plane wreckage. I love how much trouble the team goes through to pull these cons off, by the way. When the authorities found him, it was clear to them that he was fleeing the country, because no one would believe his ridiculous story about flying a plane that never actually left the museum.

I'll admit, I thought this episode's con was a little weak. I tend to like the more complicated ones, when there are a bunch of different pieces that only start fitting into place within the last five minutes of the episode, as you realize that everything that seemed like a mistake was really just part of the plan all along. But truly, this episode wasn't about the con. It was about establishing where the characters will start out for this season's arc, and re-establishing what they're all about—cutting down the corrupt who think they're impervious to consequence.

Questions:

... What were Hardison and Nate plotting at the very end of the episode?

... What was Nate doing on that boat at the beginning?

... Anchovy/pineapple pizza. Yay or nay?

... Would you drink Thief Juice?

Comments (15)
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1.) I have no idea, but all I could do was sit there in dismay recalling an episode from a previous season where Nate told Hardison he could never be the leader because it would call for manipulating the other members.

2.) I want to say he was sailing the world.

3.) Terrible topping combination. Some salty/sweet combos work, but others just don't.

4.) I would probably drink Thief Juice over True Blood any day of the week.
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-No telling. Maybe they want to get them all out of the biz but safely. They've been having so many close calls and all. Or maybe someone is posing a threat to them again only this time Nate is keeping it on the hush. Either way, it makes things interesting. I love the almost father/son relationship that Hardison and Nate have. It's been more obvious the past season and a half or so.



-Honoring his dear ole Da

- Um Nay.

-I would totally drink Thief Juice just because Hardison and Parker are awesome.



It was so great having this show back. It's one of my fave feel good type of shows and I was missing new episodes like crazy. I was not fond of the case of the week at all. I can't lie. My eyes glazed over on more than one occasion but as per usual the chemistry and great character moments throughout made it worthwhile. Can't wait for the next episode.
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Yeah, the con was pretty bland, and the "flight" wasn't really believable. Flight simulators need not only good video and sound, but motion, which is why the realistic ones are built as cabins that can move up and down and around.



Cary Elwes' most used line was just laughing over and over and over again. Honestly, he's not a great actor. He's only good when the role allows him to play over-the-top melodrama. Perfect as Westley or Pierre Despereaux, but not here. He would be awesome, however, in one of Sophie's plays.



The only really interesting bit was in the last minute of the show. Since the week to week has become so obvious in its formula, the show needs a good story arc, and I look forward to seeing this one develop.
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I always giggle when Eliot gets so uptight about his foodie stuff.
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Loved the Adam Baldwin Cameo. Great episode and quite funny. Cary Elwes was good too in his role as the bad guy.
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It seems like they are setting up for a last season of Leverage and it will be a global thing. I would laugh if they are opening up Leverage offices EVERYWHERE and each member will take a branch.



The premier was VERY Leverage. In fact, it was Leverage to the nth degree. Nat comes up with some CRAZY elaborate plan (that was crazier than normal... in line with Hardison's TPM plan). Eliot punches a bunch of people until they fall down. Parker does some crazy acrobatics, Sophie cons her way past a whole bunch of people and Hardison uses TECHNOLOGY to win. Honestly the episode was pretty average comparatively, though the ending was pretty fantastic with Roemer's confession and the set up for the season story arc.



I have missed Leverage and I am glad it's back. I think what really makes the show are the little things. The buddy cop Hardison/Eliot moments, Parker's eccentricities, the family moments with the entire team. If this is Leverage's last season I hope it's a good one.
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Maybe in the next episode the team could track down whoever's behind these fuckwads and bankrupt them so they can't afford internet and can't spam us anymore.
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Think we need to mention Adam Baldwin's cameo at the beginning and the fact that Roemer was played by CARY ELWES
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AS YOU WISH!!!



Wouldn't it be funny if it was John Casey.
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I had no problem with the con being fairly straight-forward. It still had to have certain things happen at the right times, so there was still some complications to worry about.



Whatever Hardison and Nate were planning at the end was very intriguing and will make for a nice overarching storyline.
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They didn't have any cons revolve around things in Boston because they weren't actually IN Boston to film said things. Using Portland landmarks is kind of a nod to their filming location, one that I hope they don't plan to harp on.



Nice profile pic there safibwana. You must have loved this ep's awesome cameo.
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Whatever Hardison and Nate are up to, it's got me hooked. Something funky is going on there, and I feel like Nate is quite capable of going full dark side thinking he's doing whats right. I liked how Eliot was just itching to take over the restaurant and brewery from Hardison and do things right. At least Thief Juice is drinkable... unlike Gap Beer (Australians who like Hamish and Andy will know what I'm talking about)
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And hey, cameo by Adam Baldwin. He's supposed to have a bigger role later this year in... five episodes?
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I actually liked the fact that this was a straight up con. Like you said this episode was about reestablishing the show that we love in a "new" city and it kind of needed it not to be too complicated.



What were Hardison and Nate plotting at the very end of the episode?

two theories

- I think it has something to o with the CIA guy from the "experimental job". He did sound super ominous when he said "was it worth it? getting my attention." in the episode. Could he be the big bad that they're trying to get rid of?





Anchovy/pineapple pizza. Yay or nay?

-NAY! I'm a fan of pineapple pizza but anchovies? nope. ew. gross.



More than that Adam Baldwin!! Loved his cameo. It would be cool to see him back later on this season. :)
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What you say is true about the ostensible reason for building the plane out of wood, the thing is though, what they say is true, wood vehicles are nearly undetectable by radar.
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