Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S02E11 – The Bottle Job

In the eleventh episode of the second season of Leverage, the team discovers a case in the bar they use to meet clients. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of alcoholism



A bottle episode that is also a heist. ALL IN ONE. This show is somehow granting my every wish for fiction. REPEATEDLY. Oh my god, I love this so much!!!

The Bottle

Look, I know that there’s a production reason for bottle episodes existing. They’re meant to save a show money, often mid-season, so a script is produced that utilizes a set that’s already built and easily accessible. But holy shit, this process has given me so many fantastic episodes of television, y’all! “Balance of Terror” on Star Trek, “Spin the Bottle” on Angel, “Fly” on Breaking Bad, “17 People” on The West Wing, my favorite Tennant era Doctor Who episode “Midnight,” and that giant homage to The Thing, “Ice,” located in the first season of The X-Files.These are all different takes on the same concept, and “The Bottle Job” presents us with another idea: Could the Leverage team pull off a con within the building they work in, but do so in 90 minutes?


The Cons

There are two cons and a heist set into this episode. Mark Doyle, the despicable loan shark who preyed on the marginalized and downtrodden of Boston, tries to claim a debt at the wake of the man who owed him. If that weren’t bad enough, his work in the city is also disgusting. THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME HATE HIM MORE. So it ends up being a lot of fun just to watch the team manipulate him on this basis alone. (Again, I can’t escape the notion that this show is one giant power fantasy for someone like me. Do you know how badly I wish I had the Leverage team to get revenge on my first boyfriend? The terrible district manager who framed me for stealing and got me fired, causing me to drop out of college? THE MYRAID OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE WRONGED ME AND NEVER BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY’VE DONE?

No, I don’t want this to be real because I have the hots for Hardison. No. Nope, not at all. It has nothing to do with him being shirtless in this episode.

n o p e

On the Job

Can we talk about the serialization of Leverage once more? Too bad, gonna do it. There is one massive punch in the stomach in the middle of “The Bottle Job,” and without Nate’s journey in season one, it wouldn’t mean anything. But the moment when Mark eggs Nate on to drink with him (so that he’s not betting against a sober man) is HEARTBREAKING. Nate is on a job, and his cover absolutely matters if he’s going to pull off the con against Mark Doyle. I’m sure the rest of the team knew this, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t disappointed. My gods, y’all, seeing the disappointment spread across their faces was NOT EVEN REMOTELY OKAY. I’m sure all of them were worried that this would be the start of another bout of drinking, and unfortunately, Nate did drink a lot in this episode. I can hope that he doesn’t drink any more, but what if that isn’t the case?

I admit that this is where my familiarity with alcoholism disappears. I didn’t try to stop multiple times before going sober. I drank until I had a traumatic experience, and then I went cold turkey out of fear. I’ve never even craved alcohol since I stopped. So I don’t know what this experience is like for Nate. I want to believe that he’s got enough willpower to refrain from relying on alcohol again, but he might also be hurting because Sophie isn’t around. (Which isn’t to say that him drinking again is her fault, of course.)


Little Things

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were a lot of little moments within this episode that made me so happy. First of all, Eliot’s ability to throw a bullseye on darts without looking??? WHAT??? Or how about Parker’s perfectly timed kick to the face in the Doyle headquarters? Or Hardison’s spin as a weatherman? OR TARA’S EVERY SECOND? Holy shit, I didn’t think we’d meet a grifter as good as Sophie, but Y’ALL, TARA IS SO GOOD. Baby Nate Ford!!!! Oh my god, so precious.

Utterly fantastic episode, friends. I’m just so impressed with the consistency of this show. It’s not easy to maintain this kind of energy and excitement time after time, but this show does it. It’s a blast to watch, and it’s got me rethinking television itself. I’m so used to watching sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre shows that I’m pleased I’ve gotten to watch another show that’s based entirely on our world. Sure, it’s a fantastical premise at times, but it feels so real to me.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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