Nate and Sophie meet with the Leverage team's newest clients, Ezra and Olivia Mercer. The elderly Jewish brother and sister run a reclamation project to find artwork stolen by the Nazis during World War II. A Gustav Klimt piece that belonged to their father has fallen into the hands of a software company owner, North. He bought it on the black market knowing that it was stolen and displays it in his office, and has used his fortune to tie up the Mercers' efforts to recover it.
The team takes the case and goes to North's office. Impersonating the police, Nate and Sophie distract the receptionist while Eliot, Alec, and Parker go to the closet next to North's office. Alec warns that the security in North's office is too tight to break and their best bet is to drill through the wall. They're unaware that another team has already hacked the security systems and bypassed the pressure sensitive floor in North's office. They get through the wall and steal the painting, only to discover that the other team has replaced it with a painting of dogs playing poke. As the Leverage team get out, the other team's leader, Starke, notices Sophie and recognizes her.
While Sophie goes to her apartment, the others go to the bar and try to figure out who stole the painting. When they call Sophie, she tells them that they're in trouble. They go to her apartment and discover that someone sent her a vase of flowers with a bomb inside. The bomb has a motion-sensitive detonator and if she moves, it will go off. Parker uses instant pudding to solidify the water and partially immobilize the sensor. Eliot tells Sophie to carefully drop the vase and get out. None of her teammates want to abandon her but Sophie tells them to get out. Nate goes last, and she drops the bomb. Seconds later, an explosion destroys the apartment.
Later, the team assembles for Sophie's funeral. She's being buried under her current alias of Katherine. Eliot and Parker give eulogies while Nate watches the crowd to see who shows up to make sure that Sophie is dead. Sophie joins him, disguised to attend her own funeral. As she steps away, Starke comes up to Nate and comments about Sophie. Nate chats with him briefly and determines that Starke knew who Sophie really was.
Back at the office, Sophie tells the others that Starke is a grafter and forger who puts together one-time teams of specialists to pull off high-profile jobs. She worked with him on several teams. Eliot notes that Nate appears jealous that Sophie was seeing other con teams. Sophie explains that Starke assembles his team and then has them undertake a small-time job as a warm up for the main event. She figures that Starke saw her and sent her the bomb to eliminate a potential threat, and that he plans to use the theft of the painting to set up the Mona Lisa Variant con.
Starke meets with his hand-picked team: Apollo, a sneak thief; Colin "Chaos" Mason, a computer hacker; and Raquel Dunne, a martial artist. Starke explains that they're going to steal a rare painting and then sell five forgeries on the black market.
Sophie explains that Starke is working out of Boston, will go to auction houses to find potential buyers, will target a high-profile painting, and that he'll target a late 1800s impressionist painting because that's his forging specialty. Alec goes through the records and confirms that Starke is going for a Van Gogh. They can't turn Starke over to the police because he'll almost certainly get away and take the Mercers' painting with him. They need to steal the Van Gogh first and trade it to Starke for the painting he stole.
The team goes to the auction house and a disguised Parker checks out the security systems while waiting tables. Eliot handles Sophie's job of checking out the crowd because she's in the van with Alec and can't show herself. Nate is also in the auction house and tells Parker to steal the manager's badge and ID. Alec monitors communications and realizes that Chaos is nearby monitoring his team's communications. As they start tracking each other, Alec warns his teammates that Starke's people are there.
Parker pickpockets the manager's wallet but Apollo pickpockets it from her. Eliot and Raquel meet and the two of them analyze each other's opening moves. Starke arrives and suggests that Nate back down. On the floor, Parker pickpockets the wallet back from Apollo, who takes her cell phone. Nate and Starke watch, and Starke admits that Nate has an impressive reputation as a thief and conman. Nate suggests that he get out of "his" town but Starke says he's only there for the one job. Sophie secretly warns Nate by radio that they can't tell Starke the truth that they're good guys.
Alec and Chaos realize they're in the same parking lot and step out of their respective vans. They face off and start trying to hack each other's systems as the nearby car alarms go crazy.
While Eliot and Rachel continue estimating each other, Parker and Apollo are forced to back off when the manager realizes his badge is missing and orders a security shut down. Nate and Starke collect their martial artists and leave.
Back at headquarters, Nate brings up the photos on Starke's team and identifies who they are. Sophie secretly worries that Nate is going to take the whole thing personally and come up with a new, riskier plan. Nate proceeds to get carried away and Nate has to remind him that their main goal is helping the Mercers. Nate reluctantly agrees but continues to plan revenge.
Starke meets with his team and identifies their opposite numbers. Meanwhile, Nate says that they have to break into the auction house that night despite the increased security. Starke comes to the same conclusion, and the two teams head out.
That night, the security team turns on the laser beams and the motion-sensitive floors. Alec is in the van and hacks the systems, while Sophie drives toward the auction house and informs the others she's on the way. Nate, pretending to be a drunk, bangs on the front door and distracts the guards while Parker and Eliot sneak into the building's basement. Parker goes into the air vents and heads for the main display room. She's forced to stop when the motion sensors go off. The security guards investigate and discover that there's a bird loose in the building. As they remove it, Parker finds Apollo in the air vents... holding a bird cage.
In the basement, Raquel finds Eliot and the two start fighting.
Chaos and Alec start hacking and counter-hacking each other. Outside the auction house, the guards are trying to deal with Nate when Starke arrives... and identifies himself as Nate Ford, insurance investigator. He's already met with the security guards and established his cover, and offers to get Nate to where he wants to go.
As Apollo and Parker wait to see if Chaos or Alec will get control of the security systems, they discuss the relative merits of birds for setting off motion sensors. Apollo finally makes a crawl for it and Parker is forced to go down a cross shaft as Alec warns her she'll be on the far side of the display room when she comes out.
As Raquel and Eliot fight it out, Starke explains to Nate how he used his own identity as a cover to get in with the auction house and look at the blue prints and security systems.
Apollo gets to the main display room and drops down from the ceiling to steal the Van Gogh. Parker comes in from the opposite site and heads across the room, but Chaos wins, activates the laser beams, and cuts off Alec's power. Alec warns Parker to freeze, and she stops just in time as the laser beams activate, trapping her in the middle of the room.
Raquel lands several solid blows on Eliot, while outside the police pull up and Starke wonders if Nate is out of tricks. Much to his surprise, the supposedly dead Sophie gets out of the (stolen) police car and explains that they're there to save him.
Parker dives through the moving laser beams, gets to Apollo, cuts his rope, and then drops a gun next to him. She quickly changes into a policeman's uniform as the security guards arrive.
Alec uses a hand-cranked generator to power up his systems, reactivates the motion sensors, grabs a duffel bag, and heads out.
Parker tells the security guards that she's there to arrest Apollo.
Eliot grabs Raquel and the two stare deeply into each other's eyes. Turned on, they start to kiss... and Eliot slaps a pair of handcuffs on himself and her. She smiles and he smiles back.
Alec arrives at the auction house, dressed as a police officer. He thanks the security guards while Parker brings out Apollo and says they're taking the Van Gogh as evidence to check for fingerprints. Eliot, also dressed as a police officer, brings out Raquel and claims she was the second thief.
Outside, Sophie and Nate explain that when Starke talked about Nate being a thief and a conman, they realized that he thought Sophie was still crooked, so he had no reason to eliminate her. Starke admits that he was going to recruit her for her team before her "death." Sophie asks if anyone else knew he was going to recruit her and Starke admits he told his team. Alec checked the security footage of Sophie's apartment earlier, matched it against the photos of Starke's team, and discovered that Chaos delivered the explosive flower vase. Over the radio, Chaos admits to Starke that he was planning to double-cross the man, and sent the bomb to eliminate Sophie so she wouldn't find him out. As Chaos flees in his van, Sophie says that they figured Chaos planned to blow Starke up the same way he tried to kill Sophie. Starke doesn't believe it... until his car down the street blows up.
Nate and Sophie settle down to negotiate. They point out that if word gets out that Starke got his entire team captured, he'll never be able to pull a job again. Starke is unimpressed, but they offer to trade the Van Gogh for the original stolen painting and Starke cheerfully agrees. As he goes, Starke admits that Nate still runs the nastiest crew this side of the Atlantic.
Later, both teams meet at the bar. Apollo and Parker compete to see who is best at breaking down electronic gear. Eliot and Raquel compare battle scars and flirt. Starke turns over the Mercers' painting and they thanking him profusely, much to his disgust. Once they leave with the painting, Starke realizes that Nate is now a good guy but points out all the laws he broke to get the painting. He wonders about how Sophie got suckered into being a good guy, and Sophie points out that she "died." Starke figures he's come out ahead and leaves with the Van Gogh. Once he's gone, Sophie checks with Nate and makes sure that they gave Starke one of the fakes. When Apollo stole Parker's phone and took it back to Starke's temporary HQ, the team followed the tracking signal and stole Starke's own forgeries.
The team gave one of the forgeries to Starke. As for the original and the other four copies... Chaos prepares to leave the county by plane but the customs agents discover that he has the Van Gogh and the copies in a crate. They arrest him for theft.
Later, Sophie visits the cemetery and the tombstone with her name on it. Nate visits and Sophie admits that she did "die." The woman she was no longer exists because she got involved with Nate's crusade. Sophie talks about all of her aliases and everything she knows about them, and admits that she knows them better than she knows herself. Nate asks her what her real name is, but Sophie says she wants to bury all of her identities and find the real her. Nate asks her how long she plans to take and they start to kiss, but Sophie turns and walks away.