Leverage: Outside the Goalie Box

Leverage S05E02: "The Blue Line Job"

If Season 5's first episode was about reinforcing who the standard villain is, then Episode 2 was all about shaking that up. "The Blue Line Job" took a turn away from the Leverage crew's natural habitat.

Usually Leverage kicks off with some downtrodden, victimized everyman character looking to Nate for help against the corporate giant who wronged him or her. This time the victim didn't come for help: His son did—and not because his father had died or was otherwise unable to seek retribution. He came to Nate because his father was convinced nothing was wrong.  

 

The father, Craig Marko, was a semi-pro ice hockey player. Craig was an enforcer, the player designated to keep fights from happening on the ice. But the owner, Peter Rising, realizing audiences love fights, started giving Marko a bonus every time he fought another player. Marco's doctor assured him he was physically fine, but his son was suspicious. Parker broke into the doctor's office claiming to be one of the player's wives with a shoulder injury. Sure enough, Marko's health was anything but okay. One more head injury could have been enough to kill him.  

It was hardly the typical Leverage set up, but I actually liked that. In real life, victims often don't realize what's going on. sometimes the person taking advantage of them is too skilled, and sometimes to victim is too proud to admit they've been had.

As a professional athlete, Marko wasn't the typical everyman character. At the same time, he was still in danger from a rich, powerful man he had no ability on his own to stop. The scenes with his son also reinforced that no matter what Marko did for a living, at the end of the day he was just a dad trying to take care of his kid. When little Marko Junior (did we ever get his actual name?) came into the locker room after the game and told Nate not to fuss at Marko even though Junior knew Nate was right, I got the feeling there was a powerful bond there. I know telling someone not to tell your dad what he needs to hear may not sound like love, but in that scene, it was.

There were more classic Leverage moment as the episode went on—Rising wasn't just paying Marko to get in fights, he was also paying enforcers from other teams to intentionally get in fights with Marko. This way, Marko would get too injured to play, which means Rising wouldn't have to pay him his bonus. In essence: evil team owner had evil scheme that would likely kill an innocent man. And because that wasn't enough to make him evil, Rising started skimming from his team's profits, unhappy with the earnings his team could get him.

And we got one of Sophie's best aliases to date! I loved her turtle-obsessed Russian hockey mogul. The crew's plan had originally been to trick Rising into paying Sophie half a million dollars to join her fictitious global hockey league. To sell the scam, Sophie called in her ex, Vlad, a famous hockey player. Their relationship felt a little unfinished, though, so I hope the show brings him back. I mean Nate and Sophie's relationship is on the verge of getting a little too complacent. We can't have TV characters in happy, well adjusted, drama-free relationships, can we?  

When Rising decided to go backrupt rather than compete with another organization, the crew had to return to one of their own classics—stealing the money. Rising was taking his ill-getten gains out of the stadium the night of the season's final game. Using a high-powered electro-magnet, Hardison and Parker stole the money out of its lockbox. I'm not entirely convinced elctro-magnets work like that, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief.

So in the end, the hockey players took control of their own team, Rising was left penniless and Marko was safe. And that right there, is a classic Leverage ending.


Questions:
...What type of industry tycoon would you like to see the Leverage crew take down?
 
...How do you think their restaurant is going while the crew is distracted by all this Hockey? Has it failed already?
 
...Will Vlad be trouble in the future? Are you hoping he will be?

Comments (14)
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I did love Sophe's latest character. Quite funny. I found the episode to be a bit slow...but I do love watching my Leverage team.
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Okay, so when is Eliot gonna get some lovin'? Everyone else on the team is hooking up; Eliot's gotta feel like a 5th wheel.
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There are not enough (any!) hockey storylines on tv, except will arnet!!!!!

its a shame!!

and what a great tv show it would make!!!!
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Can we have the Leverage crew steal Barack Obama and his minions away from the White House?



"Let's go steal a country back."
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The kid's name was Danny. They only mentioned it about a half-dozen times. Which is why we have it listed on the episode page. :)



I imagine they have some kind of covert website where people who get referrals can go. You know, '76 Stingray Corvette for barter or sale, that kind of thing...
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As far as "typical everyman character" it's not that far. This wasn't the NHL.. this was a small team in the minors. They're not exactly raking it in.

A typical AAA hockey player makes around $35k a year if they're good and have been in for a while. Which isn't exactly a huge amount... considering how hurt they might get.

Some single father is getting $35k a year, getting injured a lot on the job, and it LOOKS like the boss is hiding just how hurt the guy is... is exactly the kind of job they'd take.

Also... the bonus in question isn't an "each time" thing... it's "if he does it EVERY game he gets a big fat check in the end"
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As for electro magnets... Hardison said it was a Rare Earth Electro Magnet. Unfortunately, those don't mix: you can have rare earth magnets (permanent STRONG magnets) and Electro magnets... but you CAN'T have electro-magnets made up of rare earth magnets. Because the same properties that make Rare Earth Magnets magnetic also prevent electro magnets from working.

Hardison should have used different tech-babble: like "a electro magnet using experimental coils" or something.

Also, turning on that small magnet in the building that grabbed Nate's watch... would have also messed with the computers in that room (and perhaps adjoining rooms).
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I didn't think this was a "job" that they would ever be approached with (how did the kid know about them) or bother with. Oh, darn this guy is willing to keep playing injured to make $500k - man I feel terrible about that. It took until the end for the owner to actually be revealed as "bad".



I'd rather watch Goon again TBH.
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But I have the same question about how the kid found them. Last week: fine, Hardison and Parker FOUND the person that needed help. And Season 1: fine, they had a big consulting company set up in a high rise.

Now, they're on the down-low hiding from almost all of the federal agencies in the US. So how exactly did the kid know about them and find them?
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This seems to be the first "suspension of disbelief" most viewers have to go through in a typical Leverage episode. MOST episodes, I find myself wondering how exactly these people find or hear about Leverage, and it's even more significant now that they're in a new city.



They could have inserted a statement in this episode to address it, like Nate and/or Eliot were at a hockey game and somehow started talking to the kid or something. But even the writers were probably like "Screw it, no one really believes this anyway," hehe.
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Well, the kid did notice that his father was suffering brain injuries. Slow, confused, etc. So until it was revealed that the father KNEW about all of this, it really did look like the owner was letting him play himself to death.

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It was Elliot in the locker room, not Nate.
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I imagine Sophie stealing "The Cup" had to be the easiest grift ever. I mean, from what I've heard that thing travels A-ROUND. Clubs, bars, parties, apartments, limos. What did she have to do, swap out a forgery and cover the real one with a lamp shade?
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Love Sophie's story of stealing the Stanley Cup. Of course I had to break it to my cousin that the Los Angeles Kings had just won a fake cup. Heartbreaking.
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