Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S04E18 – The Last Dam Job

In the eighteenth and final episode of the fourth season of Leverage, the team decides to take down Latimer once and for all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Trigger Warning: For nonconsensual drugging

Good lord, what an EPISODE.

Victor Dubenich

That opening scene in the penitentiary gave me chills, y’all. HOW IS THIS SHOW ALLOWED TO BE THIS GOOD? I thought it was brilliant of the writers to open with Nate’s confrontation of Dubenich because it sets the tone for what comes after it. There’s no build-up to the fight – at least not initially – because we immediately get to see Nate dealing with the man responsible for killing his father. Well, one of them, that is. And jesus christ, Dubenich is so upsetting. It was difficult to watch this man equate what he’d done – something that was absolutely terrible – with what Nate and the Leverage team had done over the years. I mean, I was utterly bored by all his claims that Nate had to face the “consequences” of what he’d done. In this context, Victor viewed himself as the true victim here, the one deprived of his business, his possessions, and his name. That’s a deeper crime than anything that he did to all those innocent people in “The Nigerian Job,” of course! Those don’t count, apparently.

Still, Victor Dubenich had, with Latimer’s helped, pulled off a brutal con from within jail. Certainly, Nate knew that these two had the power and access to do pretty much whatever they wanted. But it was Victor’s unique knowledge of the Leverage team that frightened me the most. I’d actually forgotten that Dubenich had assembled this group all those years ago. It makes sense that he’d been able to determine their targets and pass that info to Latimer. And that means that this episode has a cloud hanging over it: Dubenich knows the teams’ faces. Their techniques. Their cons. He knows everything about them, and he can use that against them.

So Nate uses Victor’s original plan against him.

The Business

We’ve seen Nate’s darker side before in this show and even within this season. (“The Cross My Heart Job.”) But his behavior in this episode is ruthless, more so than anything else we’ve seen before. In rapid succession, he moves through on con after another in order to destroy all of the things he took from Dubenich in “The Nigerian Job,” only he focuses on Latimer instead. Of course, in order to do that, he realizes that there’s only one way to get around Dubenich: assemble a second team of people that Victor doesn’t know and won’t suspect.

IT’S SUCH A BRILLIANT WRITING CHOICE. I mean, not only does it make the cons and grifts that much more exciting, but it allows Leverage to invite a ton of people back to the show and BLOW MY MIND. Chaos! Quinn! Archie! MAGGIE, HOLY SHIT. The dynamic wavers between adoration and respect – Maggie and Archie are more than pleased to take part in this con – to constant aggravation. (Seriously, I could listen to Chaos and Hardison insult one another for hours.) And while the main players distract Dubenich and his team, the secret second team slips into place to pull off the actual con. IT’S SO GREAT TO WATCH. And what do they start with? Ruining Latimer’s business, specifically his ownership of major waterways in the U.S.

The more I think about what they do here, the more I appreciate it. The team devises a method of destroying Latimer’s business that relies on entropy. It’s bad enough that they managed to get quagga mussels into the water of the dam. I initially thought they were just trying to buy time, but nope. It’s so much more devious than that. The dam closes, the investors get cold feet, and the news begins to report of difficulties. Slow at first, but as the other cons roll out, the news gains momentum, doing most of the work for the team.

Brilliant, y’all.

The Possessions

So how does the team get ahold of the possessions that are worth the most to Latimer? This is where Parker and Archie get to use their best techniques. Namely? Getting Dubenich to do their work for them. I didn’t understand Archie’s cake cutting analogy until I watched Dubenich fall for the red herring that is Parker and OPEN THE VAULT FOR HER WHILE SHE WAS RIGHT NEXT TO IT. Why bother trying to break in? Even then, I still didn’t figure everything out. I, like everyone else, assumed that the goal was to destroy the items in Latimer’s vault.

Well, why do that when they can be used to definitely ruin Latimer?

The Name

At this point, the media was already working in the team’s favor, and I imagine that they wouldn’t have to do much to push Latimer over the edge. That’s why I think that, at this point in the episode, Eliot confronts Nate about revenge. Merely stopping Latimer was never in the plan, was it? Nate isn’t practicing with his father’s gun to release some steam or for catharsis. He wants revenge, the cold and dirty kind. I see Nate as the kind of character who is obsessive and stubborn, one who would absolutely consider murdering someone who wronged him as much as Latimer and Dubenich had done.

But first, he ruins Latimer’s name with Maggie’s help. I think there are a few stumbles in the final third of this episode, and one of them is the strangeness of Latimer’s story. I get why they drugged him and shipped him to the Cayman Islands, but… how??? How did they get him on a plane if he was unconscious? I’m pretty sure you can’t stick a high/unconscious person on a plane. How did he get back? I almost thought that the Cayman thing was another con and that he wasn’t really there, but he had to be in order for it to look like he ran from his congressional hearing. So when he showed up at the end of the episode… where did he come from? Did I miss something?

Nate’s confrontation with Latimer and Dubenich is fantastic and thrilling and then gets REALLY WEIRD??? I didn’t think he’d shoot either of them, but I still felt unbearably tense as he shouted at them. It reminded me so much of the Nate we saw in “The Cross My Heart Job,” only… shit. A lot scarier. Way more intense. But the actual ending? Like… do Latimer and Dubenich die? Did both of them seriously fall off that ledge into the water? It felt strangely lazy for a show that has never really had a problem committing to huge, dramatic plot twists. The end just… happens? I don’t know, I wouldn’t say it’s a letdown or anything. (I’ve got one more think to talk about.) It’s just a bit anti-climactic, you know?

Moving Forward

If I felt a bit weird about the resolution of the Latimer/Dubenich plot, I was FREAKING OUT about Nate’s decision to make it clear to Sophie that he wants her, and not just in a casual sense. YES. YES. I SUPPORT THIS WHOLEHEARTEDLY, Y’ALL. It’s a natural development, too; it works surprisingly well as a season closer. After all that’s happened to Nate, he wants to keep certain people as close to him as possible. Number one on that list? Sophie Devereaux.

y e s.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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