In the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Leverage, the team works a con that requires Nate to seduce Sophie. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.
I don’t think this is the strongest episode this season, but it had a lot of cute moments. I think that “The Lonely Hearts Job” has a good premise but some really weird pacing issues in the middle part of it. Still, it’s a solid episode otherwise. LET’S DISCUSS.
Walt Whitman Wellesley IV
Nearly four seasons of this show have gone by, and the writers are still finding ways to play with the format of Leverage. As Nate points out (quite harshly and QUITE BEAUTIFULLY) at the beginning of “The Lonely Hearts Job,” Wellesley has a lot more in common with the marks of their jobs than he does with their clients. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not powerless in this specific situation. Truthfully, he had no other recourse after his wife scammed him, though… well, it’s complicated. At the start of the episode, he’s convinced that Lacey was kidnapped, but we learn that this isn’t at all what happened. I assume that Lacey eventually tells Wellesley the truth about who she is, but that’s left unsaid in the episode itself. What about the $2 million she stole to pay off Meredith? Does he get that back? Usually, I’m not that concerned with how this is all resolved, but I felt like there were a few too many gaps in the story.
As I’ve said before, I really love it when the team is forced to go up against other conmen and grifters and thieves. It makes them work even harder than usual, and I AM ALWAYS ENTERTAINED BY IT. I had a blast watching the team infiltrate a charity auction in order to locate Lacey because the writers clearly had a lot of fun with the idea. From the steak dinner bet between Hardison and Eliot, to the neat callbacks to Parker’s characterization at the beginning of the series, it was a treat to watch! But my favorite aspect of that con was the fact that the team was ALL BEING CONNED SIMULTANEOUSLY. This was a much bigger operation than they had assumed. A network of grifters!!! LITERALLY ALL OF THESE WOMEN WERE TRYING TO SCAM THE RICH MEN WHO ATTENDED THESE AUCTIONS. Of course, it’s much worse than a scam; Meredith was murdering some of her clients out of greed.
So how do you con a greedy grifter? Well, you beat her at her own game. Nate decides to abandon the previous con in order to attempt to partner up with Meredith. It’s actually a brilliant plan when you think about it. It allowed him to utilize Hardison and Eliot openly, since Meredith assumed that they were part of his team. It also meant that as long as Parker stayed out of sight, she was a wildcard.
And then there’s Sophie.
The Sweetheart Scam
I think the best part of “The Lonely Hearts Job” is the way in which the writers use their premise to advance the story of Nate/Sophie and Hardison/Parker. That’s particularly true for Nate, who is given a test of his skill by Meredith: if he can seduce Sophie’s character, Meredith will cut him in to her business. Sophie IMMEDIATELY finds this to be the most amusing twist of all time because HONESTLY. It’s so great! Since Sophie and Nate first hooked up, they’ve both been dodging the issue of commitment, Nate far more so than Sophie. So, can Nate pull off a believable seduction?
That doesn’t refer solely to Meredith, either. Yes, it was important that Meredith believe the con, but Sophie used this as a chance to see if Nate could truly be romantic with her. Even if this was within the context of a grift, she wanted him to mean it. She wanted to believe him. And so, amidst a number of moves meant to convince Meredith of his prowess as a grifter, Nate woos Sophie, and IT’S SO INCREDIBLE TO WATCH. It’s exactly what Sophie wanted, perhaps even more. Within this con, Nate is able to drop his pretenses and speak to her honestly, which is ironic, given that the whole thing surrounding them is a lie.
IT GAVE ME LIFE. The same goes for the wonderful reveal at the end of the episode that out of everyone on the team, Eliot is the most romantic of all. He procured the perfect gifts for Sophie and Parker, did not take credit for them, and then just sauntered off with a smile on his face because he’s an unfair goober and I can’t deal with him. Can we seriously talk about how well he had to know these people in order to get them gifts like this? Oh, Eliot, NEVER CHANGE.
The video for “The Lonely Hearts Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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