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Leverage "The Gimme a K Street Job" Review: Backflips and Ballots

Leverage S05E05: "The Gimme a K Street Job"

What I gathered from last's week's "next week on Leverage" promo was that "The Gimme a K Street Job" was going to be about government, but I didn't know it was going to be about cheerleading as well. Had I known, I might have been concerned that such different subjects would make for a terrible, poorly structured episode. And I would have been wrong! Shockingly, the balance between scenes at the cheerleading competition and scenes in congressional offices was satisfactory. Both sides of the story were equally interesting, and they actually complemented each other really well.

My only real complaint is that Eliot didn't get to hit anyone, but that's mostly because last week reminded me of how much I love Eliot's rage. If the rage doesn't return soon I'll be very sad.

A high school cheerleading coach approached Nate because one of her girls got injured at practice. Technically cheerleading wasn't considered a school sport, so it didn't have strict safety regulations. One company, Prep, owned by Wendy Baran, benefited from this. She ran all of the companies that sold pretty much anything to cheerleaders, from uniforms to competition fees to insurance (remember that one, it'll be important later). Basically she owned cheerleading. If cheerleading were to become a recognized sport, though, Baran's monopoly over it wouldn't be possible, since one company isn't allowed to own a sport. The coach was terrified that if everything continued at the status quo, more girls would get hurt.

Nate's solution was a lot more extreme than usual. I get the feeling he's getting over-confident. I can't imagine Season 1 Nate manipulating congress to get a law passed. But yes, Nate's solution was to get Congress to make cheerleading a sport—there's the political tie-in! Seven congressmen would be deciding, so the crew needed to convince four. And of those four, one had to be LeGrange, since he was in charge of the committee.

And there you have it, any doubts I had about a cheerleading/government plot being convoluted died on impact. The show found a way to combine the two and it made perfect sense. It also helped that Parker—pretending to be the cheerleading coach's replacement—was hilarious. She tried to make the girls run a "standard" gymnastics drill through a laser grid. While at the competition, Parker tried to break into Baran's office. This took her longer than usual, though, because there were cameras everywhere and she had a squad of cheerleaders to look after.

Each of the four congressmen had a different "hook," or way to get them to do what you want. Nate's target was easy—his congressman just wanted money. The other marks' demands were a disturbingly accurate assessment of why it's so hard for government to do anything. Hardison's mark was against making cheerleading a sport because it would cost $20 million. She wouldn't sign on unless Hardison could find the money. Each time Hardison found unused government money, there was some stipulation—often from the first half of the twentieth century, restricting how the money could be used. Sophie's congressman would only vote her way if she could get him corn subsidies. This led Sophie on a trail of deals, since no one was willing to give anything without getting something in return.

Eliot's assigned congressman, LeGrange, was by far the hardest. He didn't want money or power, and as Eliot said, "You can't con an honest man." Eliot tried various tactics but none of them worked. Baran, however, had no problem at all convincing LeGrange. She didn't try big bribes: Instead, she named the competition after him, put a picture of him from his high school quarterback days on a big screen, and gave him a trophy (oh, and remember that trophy, too!)

Parker finally broke into Baran's office and discovered she was trying to get a lot of money together very quickly. Nate found out that Baran was looking to buy Prep, since she ran it but didn't officially own it. So it was actually in her best interest for congress to vote in her favor (against the bill), but only after she had enough money to buy the company. If the bill to make cheerleading a sport did not pass, which was certainly where it was headed, Prep's stock would go up but so would the price to buy it.

Knowing Baran's game gave Nate the perfect way to trap her. First, he moved the vote to the very next day and told Baran about it. She needed to get the money to buy Prep that day, and tried to siphon money from her other businesses. Hardison, using his new-found knowledge of archaic law, got Baran's computer to come up with a reason for why taking money from each company was illegal. Eventually she took the money from the insurance division. See, told you that'd be important. The fund was huge because the insurance hardly ever paid claims.

It was a bold move, and stupid, too: The Federal Insurance Commission started investigating her. And it all went down at the competition, right in front of LeGrange. Things looked especially bad since Parker had planted money in LeGrange's trophy, making it appear an awful lot like a bribe. LeGrange was terrified of bribery allegations, so Nate advised he stay as far away from Prep as possible. Hardison and Sophie finally got their congressmen what they needed, and with all four congressmen on the team's side and their rival out of commission, the law passed easily. Go, Go S-A-F-E-T-Y SAFETY! (For cheerleaders!)

This episode wasn't a far cry from the other Leverage episodes we've seen so far this season, but the two corresponding storylines were actually tighter and more dynamic than we've seen yet. Here's hoping that this trend continues!

Questions:

...So, should cheerleading be a sport?
...Who do you wish Eliot had punched in this episode?
...If Parker had been the cheerleading coach at your high school, would it have made you try out for the squad?
Comments (17)
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This was a pretty good episode. My biggest disappointment with it was the lack of focus they put on Parker and her role as cheerleading coach. I thought there was a lot of potential there for some humor, showing off her physical skills, and actually getting to know the cheerleaders. For example, it would've made that hug she gave the cheerleader at the end a lot more meaningful if I had seen them get to know each other more than that little peptalk about being there for her friends.



Sometimes I get annoyed by it, but sometimes I just love Sophie's over-exaggerated accents. I kind of loved it in this episode.



I'm okay with Eliot not punching anyone in this episode. I really like his fights and it's fun to see him kick peoples' asses, but I also don't want to see it forced in. There was no one to punch here... it's usually thugs and "security" that he has to fight with, not cheerleaders and congress.
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I thought the episode was okay. I liked it better than the first couple of episodes but not as much as last week's.



I think the most interesting aspect of it all was the ending scene with Eliot and Nate. It was great to see another glimpse of whatever the heck is going on with Nate and his preparing the others for...him not being there anymore? I dont know. But if all people to have a scene with it was fitting that it was Eliot. He's the most perceptive of the bunch and he immediately sensed something was up.
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Great episode. Like you, I like how the two storylines corresponded with each other. Cheerleading and Government?!!! Wow, who would've thought?!! Nate had a big ego in this episode, but 9/10 the end justifies the means with him, so I was worried, but not too worried.



Eliot doesn't need to punch people as much to be interesting to me. He has many other skills besides beating people up, and that was on full display here. The man definitely knows how to talk the talk.
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The real question is Nate, grooming Elliot to be in charge. I thought at first Hardison, but Elliot is a better leader.

Also I want to see Det. Bonanno!
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My memory could be wrong, but for some reason, I remember Nate trying to groom Hardison as the leader in previous episodes. Hardison does all the research and presentations at the start anyway, and he often quarterbacks cons with his gadgets and hacking... that should translate well enough into leadership, right? So it was a little bit odd for me to see him trying to groom Eliot in this episode. But overall, maybe Eliot would make a better leader.
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They did not do nearly as much with Parker's storyline as they could of. I was rather disappointed. But Sophie's bit with the subsidies and subsequent deals was hilarious. (I'm from Ohio, so I appreciated her efforts on our behalf)
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"could have"
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Did anyone else catch that scene at the end with nate and elliot? i am wondering what nate is planning? is he planning to leave the crew and put elliot in charge? or start a second crew with elliot in charge?
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As far as Nate over-reaching... we've seen him reach for some pretty wacky stuff back in the day. This really wasn't over-reaching that much considering how Politicians work. Grease a palm here, make them think that their electorate is FOR an issue, or stroke their ego and let them think that by spear-heading an issue they will gain fame and political clout.

The other thing more depressing than the obvious stuff that SHOULD get passed... is the insane tripe that DOES get passed.
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Cheerleading should definitely be a sport. Anything that requires you to physically, or mentally, compete against another person or team meets my requirements.
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Most people see cheer leading and think 100% of it is just doing their pyramids and cheers at football games. Far from it: it's actually quite rigorous and their focus is on competitions.

The football games are pretty much just warm-ups and light practice for the stuff they REALLY do. The football games are the equivalent of batting practice / practicing plays / etc.

Add to that how dangerous it is... YES... I believe it should be a sport. You're talking about something where people can fall from 10' or higher, or literally get THROWN. That demands safety.
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"You can't con an honest man."



Uh, yeah you can. In fact, I'm pretty sure a significant part of the people who are conned are honest.
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You can definitely cheat or trick honest people; happens all the time. The traditional "con", however, involves turning people's own dishonesty against them: using their greed, selfishness, malice, etc. to take from them, knowing they can't cry foul when their own participation compromises their case.



And when it really comes down to it, I could count on one hand the people in this life I've met who were always honest. I haven't been. Have you? (You either answered "No", or you lied.)
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Maybe, but every con man for 150+ years has believed this, so it makes sense for them to say it.
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Really, I think you're wrong. The con is about making a lot of money under shady circumstances - getting something for nothing. Honest people don't fall for this kind of crap.
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Parker's storyline was nonexistent again, 2 weeks in a row where she is basically just phoning in from scene to scene until her plotline picked itself up at the end for a quick moment, you'd think she was a pregnant sitcom star in the '70s. She doesn't interact with the cheerleaders at all until the end, aside from a quick gag or two. So the cheerleader side of the story wasn't really a side of the story at all.



The company was PEP, not Prep.



I'm not sure if you're right, or if Nate's confidence is from knowing his team can pull it off - which they always do (it's time for a non-season-finale fail though to put the potential for failure back on the table) - but you could be right, Nate is full of flaws and this would fit, even if Nate had been pretty careful in the past.



All in all, this was a cute episode but I felt like it was 15 minutes too short, like it wasn't long enough of a story to fill 2 episodes but too long to fill 1 episode, so everything got rushed and we didn't get to enjoy enough of it.



Cheerleading is a sport these days as much as Rhythmic Gymnastics at least, but the problem is that it's a sport that's gone beyond its original goals so it's become technical and nebulous to judge. Perhaps if it had a qualifier at the beginning, it'd be a recognizable sport: "Athletic Cheerleading" or "Gymnastic Cheerleading", to separate it from the standard pep-n-pompoms cheerleading.



Eliot needs to be more than just a hitter, so I don't think hitting anybody would have helped. That said, Pep could have had evil security guys to punch towards the end.



Parker is dangerous and reckless, and while she's learning to be better she's still unsafe as a coach.

More+
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PEP, not "Prep." :)
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