In the sixth episode of the first season ofÂ Leverage, more of Nateâ€™s past is revealed when he takes a job to help his best friend. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Leverage.
Trigger Warning: For nonconsensual drugging
Itâ€™s so fascinating to me that an episode like this â€“ one that openly questions the morality of the Leverage team â€“ takes place so early in the showâ€™s run. Itâ€™s a complicated one, possibly the most so out of these first six episodes, and thatâ€™s part of why itâ€™s so satisfying to watch. We learn that Nate was, in practically every sense of the word, a good guy. He was studying to be a priest before he began to work for an insurance company, and now? Well, the irony is not lost on this show. Heâ€™s leading a band of thieves to do good in the world.
ButÂ isÂ he doing good? That very question is often played for humor, particularly when it comes to Hardison. (I did notice that not even once did Parker ever question her own moral stakes in this episode. My god, sheâ€™s written so CONSISTENTLY. Iâ€™d like a Parker flashback episode, THANK YOU.) Itâ€™s such a delight to see how willing theÂ LeverageÂ writers are to go for comedy. Like Eliotâ€™s little flashbacks? Other shows might make those moments deadly serious, but this show makes them into these brilliant little gags. However, that doesnâ€™t mean that there canâ€™t be introspective aspects to these stories. The humor and the drama are not mutually exclusive.
So what weâ€™ve got here is a con, a heist, and then a con and a heist to undo the very con and heist that the team put into place. THAT IS SUCH A JOY TO WRITE. But the complications here force the audience to examine whether Nate is more obsessed with his own savior complex or if heâ€™s doing whatâ€™s best for Father Paul and his church. Initially, it comes across a lot more clear cut than it ends up being. Andrew Grant is disgusting, predatory, and irritating. Which is something I appreciate! Even amidst a rather complex morality tale, the villains are defined without any doubt. We know what Andrew is doing is wrong. We know it is an injustice that heâ€™s losing his church, and that this neighborhood of Los Angeles is losing an important part of their community. (I feel like when this show is done, Iâ€™ll be able to write a novel solely on this showâ€™s politics of revenge. I donâ€™t know that other people would understand why gentrification and development of neighborhoods is a bad thing, but it seemed painfully obvious to me. Thatâ€™s so intriguing to me because the writers didnâ€™t spend much time at all in â€œThe Miracle Jobâ€ explaining this dynamic; they just expect us to sympathize with Father Paul, as we should!)
Because of this, itâ€™s easy to find comfort in Sophieâ€™s brilliantÂ con of Andrew. She exploits his insecurities and plays off of his greed. (Well, he also has an anxiety attack induced by speed due to Parker. Thatâ€™s something we should acknowledge, too.) The episode is written in a way to make itÂ seem like itâ€™s fairly straightforward, too. But it does that thing that makes it feel like itâ€™s over, and then there are still fifteen minutes left, and SOMETHING IS GOING TO GO SO HORRIBLY WRONG, ISNâ€™T IT? I hadÂ no ideaÂ how wrong this would go, but I appreciated that the writers realized that faking a miracle would have disastrous consequences. And thatâ€™s the point of â€œThe Miracle Jobâ€: our intentions donâ€™t always give us the result that we want.Â Nate believes that a fake miracle will deter Andrew Grant and give Father Paulâ€™s parishioners a reason to rally around the church. Everyone wins, right?
Except that the team misjudged just how greedy Andrew Grant was. They misjudged the public reaction to a miracle. They misjudged just what a huge deal this was going to become. And I love that this then becomes the first time they have to UNDO a con. But they HAVE to because itâ€™s going to make mattersÂ worse than they were before. Itâ€™s important that this show acknowledges this, not just for the story as a whole, but so that we can understand Nate better. Heâ€™s at a point in his life where his morality is still a huge part of who he is; heâ€™s still the Good Guy to everyone around him. But his whole â€œmeans to an endâ€ philosophy seems born out of circumstance. I feel like he wouldnâ€™t have become who he is now if his son hadnâ€™t died, you know? The show invokes his sonâ€™s death and the dissolution of his marriage multiple times, and itâ€™s a reminder of the trauma that this man has been through. It makes sense, then, that heâ€™d get lost in doing good. Itâ€™s part of his identity, at least in how others perceive him. ButÂ wanting to do good is not enough toÂ actually do good, you know?
Iâ€™m just so satisfied by these episodes, yâ€™all. I admit that I was eager to start watchingÂ Leverage again after a week off from writing so I could attend Arisia, probably more so than anything else that Iâ€™m reading and watching. Look, Iâ€™m endlessly thankful that I get the opportunity to write about such serious things all the time. I definitely appreciate it, and itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve always wanted to do. I like being personal and honest with yâ€™all. But thereâ€™s a joy to this show â€“ a sunny disposition â€“ that IÂ particularly enjoy, mostly because thereâ€™s nothing else Iâ€™m reading or watching that comes close to this sort of tone or outlook. Yes, this episode is morally complex, but itâ€™s still about people â€“ mostly thieves! â€“ trying to right the injustices in the world that are so often overlooked by our society. Gentrification, corporate theft, and greed areÂ always the villains. And itâ€™s nice. Goddamn, itâ€™s just so pleasing to watch this and imagine that this is the world weÂ could live in.
The video for â€œThe Miracle Jobâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– Mark Does Stuff is now on Facebook! Feel free to Like the page, which I’m running myself, for updates and SILLINESS.
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features will beÂ The Legend of Korra, seasons 2 – 4, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings.
– The 2015 Mark Does Stuff tour is being announced!!! Check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!