Leverage

Season 5 Episode 3

The First Contact Job

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Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Aug 05, 2012 on TNT

Episode Recap

After being fired, researcher Oren Metz goes back to Kanack Worldwide where he worked. He tries to get into the conference room where his former boss, James Kanack, is talking to several representatives from Braddock Aeronautics about his new hybrid jet engine. Oren pounds on the window and claims that Kanack stole his research. As the guards take him away, Kanack's head of legal, Kip Bryden, explains that they fired Oren because he was mentally disturbed. Braddock's main buyer, Forrest, says that they'll pay Kanack's price for the hybrid engine and Kanack tells him that they'll be ready to sign in two weeks.

Oren contacts the team and meets with Nate and Sophie at the restaurant. He explains that he went to Kanack for money to fund his research, but Kanack stole it and then took advantage of the fact that Oren mixed his medication while taking anti-depressants. The CEO spread the word that Oren was suicidal and got him blacklisted in the industry. Bryden convinced the judge that Kanack didn't have to release the stolen files in court because they're a trade secret. However, Oren explains that he left an electronic watermark on his files. If he can get them into court then he'll be able to prove the research belongs to him. Nate tells him that they'll take the case and get his money back, and then walks away as Sophie and Oren look after him.

Eliot meets Nate and Sophie, and Nate informs them that he's send Parker and Hardison to Kanack Worldwide already. He's confident that it's an easy job once they get the files, and they confirm that Kanack inherited his money and then brought in researchers. Braddock hasn't paid for the hybrid engine yet so Nate figures that they have plenty of time. He then calls Hardison and Parker, who have already broken into the company. They race to see who can get to the server room first, with Hardison using a remote device, "Marvin." Hardison uses his device to draw off the security guards but discovers that there's a real key lock on the door. Parker has made it to the server room first and lets him in. Nate and the others are watching via the security cameras and warn their teammates that the guards are closing in. Parker hauls Hardison into the vents and they cuddle for a bit until Parker mentions the dust mites.

That night the team goes over the stolen files and Hardison admits that Kanack had the files wiped so that Oren's watermark is gone. He downloaded a number of huge audio files that only seem to have static on them. Eliot recognizes it as static from military satellite intercepts and Nate reviews the footage of Kanack's server room. He realizes that Kanack is tapped into radio telescopes and listening for alien signals from outer space. Nate says that they can get the money for Oren by giving him half of an alien message... and selling him the other half.

Hardison takes Eliot out to a field so that they can bounce a fake alien signal off the moon that only Kanack can pick up. While Hardison makes Eliot walk around the field unnecessarily until his teammate catches on, Sophie makes a veiled reference to how Nate is finally listening when he didn't listen to Oren earlier. They watch on the signals and confirm that Kanack has picked up Hardison's fake alien signal and tells Bryden. Kanack sends a signal back but then realizes that someone else is nearby picking up the same signal. He tells Bryden to send all the employees home except security and then take a team to pick up the other person. Bryden and his men take off, unaware that Parker has planted a tracker on their SUV. Eliot and Hardison follow along, using Hardison's device to make sure that the SUV hits the red lights. Bryden's men go to the trailer where the other observer is, put a hood on the man, and haul him back to Kanack Worldwide with his equipment. Kanack apologizes to the man: Eliot, who starts ranting about alien sightings and abductions. As Nate and Sophie watch, Sophie admires Eliot's performance and explains that she's looking to direct with her new Portland theater. Meanwhile, Kanack proposes that he and Eliot work together, confirm the signal, and make their announcement together to the public.

Parker and Alec, in black suits, come in posing as government agents and demand to see Kanack. They want to search his company and make sure that he's not tapping into government satellites. Kanack and Bryden tell them that they need a warrant and Hardison and Parker leave for the moment. When Bryden wonders why Kanack is going to such lengths, his boss explains that he wants to make sure that it's his name that people think of when they remember the first alien contact in the years to come.

Once he's alone in Kanack's monitor room, Eliot uploads the file that Hardison created. When Kanack arrives, Eliot tells him that he has intercepted and cleaned up the signal but they need a cryptoanalyst to decipher it. He gives Kanack Sophie's fake name as a college professor and the CEO brings her in. Sophie decodes Hardison's figure and tells Kanack that the person sending the message wants him to fill in the missing numbers in the sequence and send them back. After Kanack claims that it's a game, pays her, and sends her on his way, he tells Eliot to send the new numbers. However, Eliot says that they need a geostationary satellite to send the signal back. Bryden warns that it will be too expensive but Kanack insists that cost is no object and calls the only satellite rental company in Seattle, Annandale Communications. The team intercepts the call and Parker, posing as a receptionist, tells Kanack that he can't meet with their owner until the next day. Hardison confirms that the owner, Roger Bosley, will be out of the office.

The next day, Kanack and Bryden go to Annandale and Nate meets with them, posing as Bosley. He wants $32 million for a satellite and warns Kanack that it will take them two years to get it up into orbit. However, Nate offers him a piggyback deal on an existing satellite in return for a $1 million payoff deposited into an offshore account in the Caribbean. Kanack agrees and has Bryden send him the funds, and Kanack goes back to the company and gives Eliot the numbers to transmit via the satellite.

Nate and Sophie call Oren in to the restaurant and give him the check for $1 million. However, Oren gives it back, explaining that it was never about the money to him. Disappointed, he thanks them and walks away. Back in the briefing room, Nate realizes that it was never about the money and that Sophie knew it all along. Since they have to restore Oren's reputation, Nate comes up with a new plan and says that they'll have to drive Kanack insane. He tells Hardison to work up a new signal to send to Kanack and the hacker goes to work.

While they wait for a response, Eliot tells Kanack that his friend was abducted. He warns the CEO that the aliens may come after Kanack if they realize that he has found them by responding to their message. Parker and Hardison return and Bryden has to call Kanack away to deal with them. Before he goes, Kanack calls Sophie and invites her back. When Kanack meets with Parker and Hardison, they give him a (fake) warrant and he reluctantly lets them in.

Kanack brings in Sophie when she arrives and introduces her to Eliot. He has the two of them start working on the signal, and ignores Bryden when he warns that they have to focus on the Braddock deal. After some work, Sophie informs Kanack that they've decoded the message from the aliens, which reads, "He who comprehends these words is worthy of our presence." Kanack pays her double and sends her out, but then tells his security men to confine her so that she can't leak word of the discovery before Kanack holds a press conference.

Nate is waiting outside and takes out the security man going after Sophie. He then calls Eliot and warns him that more guards are on their way. However, Eliot has to subdue them without destroying anything in the monitor room or it will clue Kanack in on the con. Eliot manages to take the two security guards out without messing anything up, and Parker comes in to help him haul the men away. However, Eliot notices their boots and gets an idea.

When Kanack returns, he discovers that all of his men have disappeared. The only thing left of them are their boots. As Kanack searches the monitor room, Eliot staggers out, dying, and tells Kanack that the aliens abducted and dissected him. With his dying breath, Eliot says that they were looking for "the one" and that Eliot gave Kanack up. Alien noises start echoing through the lab and a glowing light appears, and a frightened Kanack runs off.

Nate and Hardison track Kanack via the security monitors and the hacker activates the various sound and light devices that he and Parker planted earlier. Sophie comes in and pounds on the window, but is then "sucked away" into a glowing vortex of light. Outside, she removes her theatrical flying harness and meets the rest of the team. Hardison tells them that he's programmed the light and sound show to play intermittently through the night so that Kanack won't leave the lab.

The next morning, Bryden comes in and finds Kanack cowering in his office. The lawyer tries to delay the press conference but Kanack insists on telling everyone what he's discovered. At the conference, Bryden tries to announce the deal with Braddock but Kanack leaps in and tells the reporters that he's confirmed the existence of intelligence aliens. As he plays the message he's recorded, Eliot and Sophie come in even though they're supposed to be "dead." Kanack hears the alien noises but no one else does because the team planted a miniature speaker on the back of his jacket. As the CEO panics, begging the aliens not to probe him, Nate brings Oren in and introduces him to Forrest. Oren has the files and confirms that he created the hybrid engine. Meanwhile, Kanack plays the CD he made of the recording, unaware that Eliot replaced it with some of Hardison's electronic music. Nate leaves with the others and Oren stares at him in shock, recognizing him from the satellite company.

Later, the team meets Oren at the restaurant and he thanks them for his help. He explains that he worked out a deal with Forrest and that he's been granted a research grant. Nate thanks him for showing him how to listen. Once Oren leaves, Sophie points out that Nate was the one who anonymously created the research grant. Nate agrees but says that it's the work that is important, not the recognition. He thanks Sophie for teaching him to listen, but worries that it may not be enough.

Parker comes in to see Hardison with a picnic basket, as they've been trying to set up a date throughout the job. It's raining out and she's disappointed that they won't be able to have a picnic. However, Hardison assures her that nothing is ruined and transforms the briefing room with the aid of a sky projection, giving them a quiet picnic beneath the stars.

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