In the eleventh episode of the third season of Leverage, p e r f e c t i o n. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.
I’m so happy that this show is willing to do an episode. I’m happy that Leverage has a wonderful sense of humor about itself. I’m happy that the people writing this show are willing to give us stories that are complex and FULL OF EMOTIONS. Because seriously, as downright fun as “The Rashomon Job” is, it’s also a sign of how close these people have grown to one another.
CIRCLE OF FRIENDSHIP, ACTIVATE!
Oh god, FIVE CONS IN ONE EPISODE. Not just five cons, but each member of the team tried to steal the same item. So, just off the bat, there’s a lot of fun in “The Rashomon Job” that comes from watching each of these people use their own skills. But that’s actually a vital part of the power of this episode. It’s funny, sure, to see how each person doesn’t account for some other variable that ultimately caused them to lose the Dagger of Aqu’abi. But why is that? Because when each of the four “criminals” was still concerned with their crime, they couldn’t see the other angles. Sophie wasn’t thinking about who might be able to swap out her shipment. Eliot wasn’t thinking about who might be able to hack the museum’s scanner. Hardison hadn’t considered that someone else might be hiding in the vault. And Parker… oh, Parker, you’re just too amazing.
And then there’s Nate, which I’ll get to.
If you’re going to try and do a respectable Rashomon homage, then it must contain one important concept: perspective. It’s not quite enough to tell the story from each point of view. The beauty of that film is that the perception of each event changes, and that each character is convinced that their version of events is correct. And that’s something that’s very real, that all of us experience in our lives!
So how does that show up here? Well, initially, Sophie’s version of the con is very flattering to her, since she believes she pulled off a dual identity con on the same person. Of course, once we see Nate’s view, we get insight into how that’s even possible: Coswell was deeply infatuated with Sophie’s Dr. Ipcress identity, which clouded his judgment. Still, we don’t know that at the time, and it isn’t until each story is told that the show slowly fills in the blanks. That may actually be my favorite aspect of “The Rashomon Job,” y’all. I loved that as each person gave their account, the show would add details and the main cast to each other’s memory. It’s a brilliant move because I imagine that these stories caused these people to remember this theft a lot more accurately. Minister Bioko’s appearances changes to Hardison once people are aware that that was his identity during the theft. Sophie’s accent changes because none of these people can tell her accent apart from other British accents. (Which… oh god, I know SO MANY PEOPLE who think the accent is all the same. IT’S REALLY NOT.)
It’s done so well. So well. John Rogers script is so absurdly beautiful, and I can’t deal with it. WHAT A FEAT.
As I mentioned before, part of the fun is watching each character be their role. Sophie grifts, Eliot uses brute force. Hardison hacks his way into and out of the museum, and Parker escapes pretty much everyone’s suspicion while she drifts from room to room. But they’ve got weak spots; they’re single minded. On top of that, Rogers’ script brilliantly sets this five years prior to the present time. It’s a snapshot of who these characters used to me, back when they used to have a lot more in common with their characterization in the pilot episode. They’re each in their own world, one where profit and greed matters a lot more than anything else.
That’s what Nate’s story provides. It’s not just context for the whole con. It was nice to see Coswell’s true personality. (Which made a lot more sense to me; that has to be why Sophie perceived him as being kind of hostile. She was probably grossed out by him hitting on her, so her mind turned him into an asshole.) It was also great to see what ultimately happened to the Dagger, which was never truly stolen in the first place. In the end, Nate’s story brings everything together in a way that highlights the beauty of what the Leverage does now. Before, they stole things because they could and because they wanted to. It was a singular motivation.
But now? Well, Nate’s story revealed that Edgar Gladstone was committing fraud against his insurance company, as well as looping Eliot into the theft in the first place. Nate’s big picture changes the context of the Dagger for everyone. Now, it’s good that no one stole it. It doesn’t represent quite the frustrating tale as it started out as. And as unabashedly cheesy as the oil baron is in the final scene of “The Rashomon Job,” it is a manifestation of the team’s companionship with each other. They have bonded over helping those who are hurt by the rich and the powerful. That is their motivation, and they work together so much better than they ever worked on their own.
The video for “The Rashomon Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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