Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S02E01 – The Beantown Bailout Job

In the first episode of the second season of Leverage, Nate is drawn back to his associates after he witnesses a car crash that may have been an attempted murder. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

I was so right, and then COMPLETELY WRONG.

I did not expect that there was going to be a six-month gap between last season’s finale and this premiere, and yet, it makes sense that these people would not immediately seek one another out. There’s a lot of information passed along to the audience about what these characters tried to do in their six months off the job, but the main thing I took away from this episode was that they were all miserable. Eliot says it best: after learning what it feels like to be the “good guy,” he found it harder and harder to stay away. Hell, Parker stole the Hope Diamond and then IMMEDIATELY PUT IT BACK BECAUSE SHE WAS BORED. It’s a sign, then, that Parker was able to tap into something in each of these people so that they developed an emotional aspect to their stealing. That emotion?

An appreciation for kindness.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be easy for Nate to suddenly fall back into this life. One of the things I appreciated about this premiere was Nate’s character development. If we accept that his revenge against Blackpoole was the greatest roadblock in his growth, then it makes sense that he’d give up drinking and that he’d resist the pull to bring the Leverage team back together. It served a purpose – and a very good one at that – but the team had a much bigger effect on the four thieves than it did Nate. I think they needed it more than he needed them, at least in terms of his emotional development.

But could he really stay away from this life and this world? There’s that moment early in “The Beantown Bailout Job” where we see him court the return to a life in the insurance world, but that could never work for Nate, especially not after Leverage. And yet, he doesn’t just leap back into things when the team tries to compel him to get involved. He resists every step of the way, no matter how adorable everyone else is being. (Because seriously, they’re all so cute in this episode, and it’s a crime that these characters exist in our world. A CRIME OF CUTENESS.) They all desperately try to pique his interest with the apparent conspiracy that Matt Kerrigan discovered, but he’s reticent to do anything that would bring him back into this world.

Now, I think that the Leverage team is largely responsible for manipulating him into taking the case, but I think that Zoe got to him, too. The show doesn’t let us forget that Nate has a soft spot when it comes to children who have been wronged. Still, I believe that eventually, Nate would have done this. Part of his identity is tied to being a good guy, isn’t it? (Though he does spend a lot of time claiming he’s not a thief in this episode. He’s real sensitive about that, isn’t he?) I think that even more so than the other members of the team, Nate must do good things for other people.

And lord, don’t y’all wish that someone had actually gotten revenge on the shitty bankers who exploited the poor and the needy so that they could further benefit from the government bailouts? Seriously, I love that this show doesn’t invent villains so much as borrow from ACTUAL REALITY. And like “The Bank Shot Job,” the writers also stick the team into a situation where they’ve got to improvise in order to pull off their heist. In this specific case, we see how the team has misjudged the organization of power. I actually think that’s a clever inversion of the tropes surrounding mob stories. We expect O’Hare to be the head of the Irish mob, but NOPE. IT’S LEARY. Leary is in charge, and that messes everything up. The entire con was designed with O’Hare in mind, so how can they manipulate events to force Leary to implicate himself as the mastermind?


Holy shit, y’all, I forgot about the explosives. I FORGOT, AND IT FUCKED ME UP. It’s so astounding to me to see how this team figures shit out on the fly, and I think that’s a sign of just how amazing they are when they work together. They had to come up with a plan that would move suspicion away Nate in a way that would also cause Leary to turn on O’Hare AND go after Matt Kerrigan. IT’S A LOT TO HANDLE. Y’all, this show has hidden a reveal in misdirection and omission every single time, and I never get sick of it. How do people write this? How do you come up with shit that’s so complicated, yet seems written and acted effortlessly? On that basis alone, I think this show is worth watching. IT’S A GODDAMN SPECTACLE.

Thankfully, that’s not the sole reason I like this. The acting is wonderful. The further hints at romance keep me interested, and I like that the show teases a possible relationship between Parker and Hardison without teasing me. The writers make this feel like a natural development, particularly for someone like Parker, who doesn’t seem like someone who has EVER rushed into a relationship. (I actually wouldn’t be surprised if she had never been committed to anyone, either.) Parker has a lot to learn about socialization, and she’s well aware of that. I don’t think she wants to pursue anything with Hardison until she’s ready.

And then there’s the leap forward in Sophie/Nate that is IMMEDIATELY SWATTED AWAY A BILLION FEET BACKWARDS. Whew, lord, that was so exciting, and then DEVASTATING, and then I  really want to meet her boyfriend. My god, I’m already wrong about them. Already!!! But hey, I was right about the new headquarters. Boston! Nate’s apartment! HARDISON BOUGHT THE WHOLE BUILDING AND IS NATE’S LANDLORD. I’m so excited for this season, y’all. So excited!

The video for “The Beantown Bailout Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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