Leverage's Summer Finale: Too Much Awesome for Just One Episode

Leverage S05E09 and S05E10: "The Rundown Job" and "The Frame Up Job"

See you November 27, Leverage! It's been a good summer, and I'll be sad to see you go.

For Leverage's big summer finale, TNT aired two episodes back-to-back. The first featured Hardison, Parker, and Eliot; the second focused on Nate and Sophie. Splitting up the characters worked really well. Team HPE was able to concentrate on the exciting elements of the show, while Team NS was able to focus on the humorous aspects. On one hand, this actually underlined the show's biggest weakness: It tries to do so much, and it has five VERY strong characters, but it has trouble squeezing all of its awesome into an hour-long episode every week. Maybe that doesn't sound like a problem, but it is because it means we sometimes go a few weeks without an Eliot smackdown, or Parker breaking into somewhere impossible, or a scene that makes us laugh at an immature volume. It's a balance issue, really. I'd love to see Leverage figure out how to fit all of its awesome into one episode... and then do that every week.

The first episode, the "Rundown Job," was about a terrorist attack. At first I was nervous because that's SO not typical Leverage material. The chances of it being a terrible episode were pretty high. But then we cut to Hardison, Parker and Eliot finishing up a con in Washington, D.C., and within the first five minutes I got to see Hardison do a cool tech thing, Parker gymnastic through some lasers, and Eliot beat someone up. Worry ELIMINATED! Plus the pacing was much faster than most Leverage episodes can handle, which made for an extremely exciting installment where the stakes were really high.

As they finished the job, Eliot received a phone call from someone he knew in the past who wanted to hire him to kill someone. He turned it down, but that meant the job was still getting done, so the crew scrambled to find and save the target from a sniper. After saving her (using a combination of aerosol cans and golf clubs) she told them she was in charge of 911 emergency services for D.C. To Eliot, that screamed that this attempted hit was part of a terrorist attack. Weaken the infrastructure so the city will be more vulnerable, right? So he talked to his old friend Colonel Lance. There had been other attacks that morning, all on similar types of people. The Colonel would be restrained by pesky laws and regulations, but the Leverage crew doesn't have to worry about that kind of stuff, so they began making moves. Lance helped them steal a fancy van to work out of. Poor Lucille, she stays at home only to have Hardison running around with a bigger, better van!

After some research, they found a forgotten lab that had been walled off in a basement. Awesome. I want to find an abandoned lab! Only I'll take mine without the Spanish Flu, thanks. Because that's what they found down there. After more digging they found that the people killed earlier in the day had all attended a conference where Dr. Everett Udall talked about bio-terrorism. Recently, Udall had been going more and more crazy. They found the pig farm where he had been breeding the Spanish Flu, which included a hella creepy shot of a ginormous pig pen full of dead pigs. Then they found Udall's house and Parker had to do acrobatics over Hardison to disarm a claymore bomb. Then Hardison rigged a car to use Morse Code to warn Lance and his team away from a decoy van before it exploded. It was all so thrilling!

Eventually Hardison was able to trace Udall's phone, which led them to a subway station. Parker climbed on top of the train, then as it sped along she got inside and worked her way toward Scalzi. Hardison and Eliot stole a car, raced to the next subway stop, and out-foxed the police chasing them for car theft.

DUN DUN DUN.

Hardison figured out that Udall must have vaccinated himself, since there were lots of eggs in his fridge, and that's apparently how that works? Parker squeezed people's arms until someone winced. Eliot smacked Udall, but the bomb was already armed so Parker took it outside and used her mini-blow torch to ignite it.

Whew!

Nate and Sophie's adventures in "The Frame Up Job" weren't quite as thrilling, but they were absolutely hilarious. With the others gone, Nate and Sophie were free to relax. Sophie got Nate a ticket to a film festival, then went off on "personal business." Knowing Sophie's personal business generally involves theft and expensive pieces of art, Nate followed her to an art auction. Good thing he was still able to match his tie to her dress.

An old man, Jonas Gault, had just died and his daughter was selling off all of his paintings. He had a massive collection of paintings by an artist named Mettier. One of them, Ma Mystere, had only ever been viewed by the artist and Gault. However, when Ma Mystere's vault was opened, it was missing. Since Sophie was the only known art thief (or ex-art thief, as she kept insisting) around, things didn't look good for her. And when Sterling showed up (YES!!), he assumed it must have been her. Which left Nate and Sophie to prove she didn't do it.

Such a good set-up, and they did such amazing things with it. Nate and Sophie were so good in this, I just loved their witty banter so much.

So Nate and Sophie searched the house and found that Gault's pills didn't add up. Which meant... murder! Again, YES! Stepping up from a robbery to a murder is almost always a recipe for amusement. They interviewed possible suspects: Gault's curator, daughter, ex-wife, lawyer, and semi-estranged son. They all had good motives, except (SEEMINGLY) for the son, who had been cut out of the will. Gault was considering putting him back on, but after he died that was no longer a possibility.

While searching, they accidentally found what looked like a Mettier painting in the manservant's room. Sterling was satisfied, but Sophie insisted that it couldn't be Ma Mystere. To prove it wasn't, they stole the presumed Ma Mystere, and also another Mettier painting that had just been sold. To distract Sterling, Nate pretended to have noticed something wrong with Sterling's case against the manservant, but wouldn't say what. It was so much fun to watch those two play hot and cold with where the missing (and non-existent) clue was.

Nate tested the paint on both paintings and discovered they were indeed mixed the same way. Nate proposed both were fakes. They told Sterling, who jokingly put it in front of the assembled guests. The curator, not knowing a joke when she heard one, ran away. They chased her, but found her dead in the pool. Now, the episode still had about fifteen minutes left on the clock, so I figured there had to be more to it than that. Sure enough, Nate went back to the safe... and Gault's son pulled a gun on him. WHAT?! The one person without a motive! So clever! He had been forging the paintings, then getting the curator to help him swap them out. When the old man realized what was happening, he had to be taken out of the picture (hur hur hur!).

Sophie helped Nate get away, but not without first doing some couple-y arguing. After Sterling took everyone away, they went back down to the vault and found Ma Mystere hidden in the wall. Sophie had known the first painting wasn't Ma Mystere because she had been the model for it. Aww. So the two decided to keep the priceless painting for themselves. THE END.


Questions:

– What do you think of Eliot's new hair?

– Which episode did you like better?

– Does anyone out there actually enjoy taking mid-season breaks from shows?

– Who's your favorite Leverage supporting character?

Comments (35)
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I just watched the summer finale of Leverage s.5. I'm quite curious: is Gina Bellman pregnant again?



I'm a Parker/Hardison fan, so I much preferred episode 9 to 10. The mid-season finale wasn't all that suspenseful; I don't know whether the writers want to push this to further towards the end of the season but I would have liked to know what it is that Nate and Hardison are so secretive about.



Eliot's hair? I'm glad he cut it! I HATE the usual shoulder-length... except when he's wearing a bandana :)



As for mid-season breaks, I don't mind them very much, just as long as they don't take eternity to return. Take Breaking Bad s.5; it may as well just be Season 6 with the duration it's going to take for it to resume.
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I much preferred the Parkelison (?) episode than the Nathie one. The plot line was a bit out there, but I tend to have more fun watching Parker, Eliot, and Hardison than Sophie or Nate.



Both episodes were pretty fun though. The one with Nate and Sophie didn't really feel like a season finale, but then again, it's probably just because mid-season breaks are stupid and sucky.
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I need Hardison to have an angry out of control episode that the team has to pull him back from. Something involving his Nana.

Eliot's hair is awesome, he still gets to flip it, a move I always love!

I loved both equally...best of the half season.

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*heh* Did anyone notice that during the flashback scene where Shecter and Woodman are talking, Nate is walking on water?
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Eliot's hair = FANTASTIC... anyone remember the poofie Mary Tyler Moore hair from the three strikes job? this is a thousand times better.



I can't stand mid season breaks. they drive me NUTS but then I'm selfish and gobble up episodes like candy.



Favourite supporting character.. hmmm.. you mean recurring right? well.. let's see.. STERLING is the BOMB (probably poor choice of words in discussing a terrorist episode but he IS)



I'm liking Alec Baldwin wish there was more of him (le sigh) and dig the foreshadowesque intro of his character from the season opening to this one. A fine reminder that you need to pay attention cause the writers will constantly try one over on us.. hehe





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LOVED Hardison/Eliot/Parker episode, especially with Adam Baldwin - hope he made more guest appearances! Other than the ending, I thought it was movie quality, but the ending fit their personalities, so not complaining. Hardison hacking Baldwin's car to warn him about the exploding trailer was great!



The only reason I partly enjoyed Nate/Sophie episode is because of Sophie - Nate's been getting on my nerves almost every show this last season for some reason.



Eliot's hair looks much better - I thought it's been looking a bit scruffy lately. I thought I noticed some subtle highlights, which looked nice too.
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I LOVE the new hair. When I saw it, it just made my day.



I definitely liked the first episode more. I love those three, and the way they interact. And I'm not that big of a fan of Nate or Sophie. And I loved how it showed how well Elliot can lead the team.



I hate mid-season breaks!



Tara would absolutely have to be my favorite supporting character. I actually her character to Sophie's, and honestly, she is a better actress.
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Anybody think the Eliot-to-Hardison "I need your brain" moment was too forced? I was expecting Hardison to reply, "Can I offer you a Tic-Tac, man, 'cause daaaaaamn!"
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No, I loved it, because I thought it fit the moment: Hardison freaking because of the severity of the threat, so Eliot had to reveal his true feelings to Hardison to get him past his fear. Can you imagine how difficult that must have been for Eliot, with all their smack-talk history?
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It was a bit full circle to me too. It reminded me of in...ummm...That rehab episode, I'm blanking on the name, when Hardison was sitting on the bomb and Eliot had to disarm it. He had to keep Hardison calm, but he had to trust Hardison's instructions, and he was a bit petrified himself with the shaky hand and all. It was just another one of their moments. I love it when they have them. Far and few between but still, great moments between two best friends.
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I really was surprised by the HPE episode, it worked very well, it looked great most of the way (only Parker on the subway didn't hold up for viz FX), and it was quite suspenseful. Characters were smart, afraid, clever, selfish, concerned, loyal and eventually selfless - it wasn't quite my favorite episode of Leverage since there wasn't a heist per se, but if more episodes were like it, I'd definitely enjoy them quite a bit - if there was more conning and Nate & Sophie, that would be the type of thing I'd like to see Nate be building, using bad guy tricks to take on more serious criminals, to help people on a bigger scale, to open up Leverage to a larger need than just 1 at a time. So thumbs up on this one for me.



As for Nate & Sophie's episode, it was "cute" all the way through but really didn't have much punch, if it weren't for Sterling it wouldn't even feel like a season finale (and thank goodness Sterling wasn't as stupid and jerky as usual, getting tired of him getting burned because he can't see the benefit of seeing what Nate & the team are trying to show him). The hook and the crime were both terribly obvious very early on, so it was about seeing how Nate and Sophie and even Sterling worked through the obstacles to get to the conclusion, and I enjoyed for the most part watching them bounce around, but it definitely wasn't tight enough to keep my attention the way the previous episode had.
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Does anyone caught the Doctor Who reference?
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It was clear it was the son who must have stolen the picture as he insisted he had a feeling of knowing Sophie from somewhere and her behavior indicated she had been Mettier's muse and therefore probably the theme of his first unknown painting.



Still I like the banter and seeing Sterling again. And I loved the pace and interactionin the HPE episode a lot as well. But the hair cut doesn't suit Elliot's character its too prep school.
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I like his hair long or short. He looks good no matter what ;)



They were both great episodes but I liked the first one better. First, of couse, because it had Eliot in it ;) but also because I like the action and the suspense.



I don't like mid-season breaks. But better to wait til November than till next year!



There's not only one favorite supporting character. I love them all: Sterling, Chaos, Quinn, Maggie and Tara ;)
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Eliot's hair is more practical. In fact, I've often thought it makes no sense for a thief like Parker to have long flowing hair wafting about to trigger laser beams, but w/e.



I love HPE, but I think the NS ep was better crafted. Adam Baldwin was too cartoony for his role, or the role itself was. It felt like he was spoofing A-Team.



Midseason breaks aren't enjoyable, but they're better when they're calculated into the overall story arc, and they do keep us from going 3 seasons without a show (today's audience is likely to lose interest with that wide a gap).



I guess Sterling is my favorite supporting character, although Tara Cole was cool too.
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Eliot's new hair is a good look for him. Thumbs up!!!



I liked the first one better, but loved them both. I was very entertained for two hours!!!



Mid-season breaks are fine to me, as long as they don't take too long.



As much as I loathe the guy, I'd say Sterling. He makes for a good, despicable bastard lol!!
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I love Eliot's hair, long or short, he wears both well.



I liked both episodes the same, both very well done and very different from each other. Enough different to make them enjoyable and interesting.



I'm not sure I understand the mid season break, I miss the days when series were longer.

I suppose it makes more sense to do it this way. I can live with it as long as they're coming back!



All of them, loved Sterling and Col. Vance in these.

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Um, I wasn't sure at first, but it kind of grew on me. (Pun intended?) But, c'mon, Christian/Elliot would look go no matter what hair/makeup/wardrobe did.



I DEFINITELY liked the first episode better. Nate and Sofie are okay, but they're not as awesome as Team Hardison/Elliot/Parker. The first episode was almost over before I realized N/S hadn't been in it. However, I spent nearly the entire second episode missing H/E/P.



Mid season breaks are dumb. What's dumber is when "second half" of a season airs a week or two before "first half" of the next season starts and then we have months and months without any episodes. Just go back to the way the tv gods intended for us to watch things. One season, aired all the way through, and then a (short-ish) break before the next season airs all the way through. Enough of this mid/half/partial seasons nonsense.



Hmmm, probably a tie between Sterling or Lance. Although that dopey federal agent who thinks Parker's in the FBI is good for a laugh, and episodes with Maggie always seem to make Nate more-interesting (something he needs).
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Well-timed mid-season breaks are great. The first run of Season 2 of Once Upon a Time episodes (and other Sunday night stuff) will be winding down just as the second half of Leverage starts up. Otherwise we'd have nothing to watch in late November/December.
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Love Eliot's new hair, he is much more attractive to me now. Liked both of them almost equally, but enjoyed the first one a tetch more. Both were good in different ways. No, mid-season breaks suck. And, though I do love Adam Baldwin, Sterling is more interesting.
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Loved both episodes last night.
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Two wonderful episodes. Can't wait for the return in November. In addition, TNT needs to renew Leverage for more seasons. Each season is better than the previous.
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eliot looked good, i thought.

i enjoyed the dc terror plot better, eliot got shot :P

nobody enjoys mid season breaks except the heartless bastards who enjoy depriving us of television for longer than they need to (that means you, tv execs!)
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I loved Eliot's hair, I liked the first one better, but also loved the second one. No I do not like taking mid-season breaks, and My favorite supporting character has to be Eliot, Parker, Hardison, Nate, Sophie...Heck all of them even Sterling
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I just want to point out the OBVIOUS DOCTOR WHO REFERENCE. When Sophie introduces herself and Sterling as "Agent Tennant and Agent Smith." Because Shepherd played Canton in the two part series six premier. It was so fantastic I had to pause the show and dance around the room.



And about Eliot's hair, at first I wanted to cry, but I think it really suits him.
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1) Doesn't matter how long or short Elliot cuts his hair. As long as he kicks some ass its alright with me.



2) Both were good but The Rundown Job was the best one. Although I like the whole murder mystery feel to The Frame Up Job.



3) Mid season breaks doesn't bother me much anymore.



4) Sterling of course. Because you know every time he shows up its going to be a good episode.
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-I like it a littler longer, but it is definitely more practical. It's Eliot..as far as I'm concerned that man can be badass wearing a pink tutu and still have my heart.



-Definitely the first one. That first hour was AMAZING! It was action packed and intense enough and reminded me of previous Leverage penultimate season finales..Specifically "The Big Bang Job". I love all the Leverage characters but my faves in no set order are Parker,Hardison, and Eliot so I was in heaven. There is just something always fun, exciting, and heartwarming about having the "kids" all together at once. I mean they really proved it. While the parents are away boy will the kiddies play. I just love the begrudging older brother role that Eliot plays with both Hardison and Parker, and they are the loyal younger sibs that will do anything for their big bro because his opinion and validation matters. And I LOVE seeing some Pardison action! The best scenes were between Hardison and Parker with their sweet and at times comical moments shared, from her acrobatic routine with the boys to their concern for one another. Also, Hardison and Eliot. I love it when they have bro moments that are heart warming, they're equally as entertaining as their bickering. Adam Baldwin in the mix and Eliot kicking all sorts of ass, and Hardison geeking out with the techno screen stuff they were doing. It was my kind of episode. Easily my favorite of the season and one of my favorites of the series.



-Not particularly.



- Sterling. He's the epitome of a frenemy. I want to dislike him, but I can't quite and he can fit right into the bunch and fling out some witty retorts and stir things up.
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I forgot the first question was about hair when I read that Blue likes it a little longer. Pronouns and a lack of context are hilarious.
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LOL! Is there a time when your mind isn't cruising in the gutter? Darn, now I've read over it with that in mind and it's disturbing.
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I'm sure all you guys out there got the Doctor who references in the episode with Sterling and was an obvious nod to Mark Shepherds role as Canton in the last series
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AHHHH. Last night was an amazing night for Leverage. Forget all of the naysayers, if there ever was any doubt about why some people love this show, last night had it wrapped up in a beautiful 2-hr marathon.



1. I like it. At first, I was like, NOOOOOO. And then as the show progressed, I realized that he was still just as hot, so I let it go.



2. I preferred the kids playing without the parents supervision. It just showed their AMAZING dynamic between the three, and it also allowed each of them to do what they do best... And even better than that, we got super amazing emotional baggage to go all wibble about. I loved it!!



3. I do not... but when I think of the alternative (going something like 6 months before the show returns), I figure it's a small price to pay.



4. Of the main five... I can never get enough Parker!! She's hilarious. But if you mean who do I squee every time they pop up randomly? ... I really liked Tara... But I somehow figure she's kinda lost in the tv stratosphere now, never to return... So, I'll go with Parker's secret admirer, the FBI agent. I really like him, and I always grin when he pops up!
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The character's name was Vance, not Lance. Big name tag and everything during the senate hearings. They also had a location named Casey in one of the subtitles. *heh*
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i love this show but because i had too much other oblig i didnt see it this summer...esp after reading this i will be looking forward to cathcing up...
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I kind of wish they kind of explained why Eliot cut his hair because it was such a trademark to his character, but I still like it. :p

2. Its a toss up because the HPE ep had all the intense actiony things (props to the leverage people and "hardision vision" looking a lot like a certain billionaire genius superhero who makes nifty gadgety suits. But the SN had fun madcap murder mystery vibe plus Sterling. yay sterling. Also, they had a very sly doctor who refrence in it and i so love their sly doctor who references.

3. Sometimes I perfer taking a break then begin subjegated to repeats.

4. Sterling :) or are you asking from the main 5? ummm so far eliot. He has this super crazy back story that lets him figure out "distinctive" elements.

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"Hardison figured out that Udall must have vaccinated himself, since there were lots of eggs in his fridge, and that's apparently how that works?"

Yes it is, they make vaccines for influenza, which is a bird virus, in (fertilised) chicken eggs. Because they're cheap and you can get a lot of them in a fairly short time. They basically just grow the virus in the eggs and then kill it, making it impossible to infect you but your immune system still recognises it and creates antibodies against it.
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