Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S05E01 – The (Very) Big Bird Job

In the first episode of the fifth season of Leverage, PLEASE DON’T END. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Trigger Warning: For gaslighting.

Lord, what a premiere. I love this one a great deal because it sets the stage for a number of pieces that can play out over the season. ALSO: IT’S JUST REALLY GOOD. Let’s discuss!


I hadn’t even considered that the team would need to move from Boston, but I think that this episode does a fine job of explaining why that needed to happen. It lends weight to the actions in “The Last Dam Job” by showing us how the team went all-in to take down Dubenich and Latimer. Of course they’d earn the attention of every state, federal, and international law enforcement group imaginable!

And with the move comes a chance for the team to start over. With their aliases and IDs gone, and McRory’s now watched and most likely bugged to the gills, Hardison has secured a new headquarters for Leverage, Inc. Just in terms of storytelling, it’s already exciting. The space is so totally different from where the team has been before; we’ve already got an incredible subplot in Eliot’s obsession with the brewery/pub that Hardison purchased to allow for the space; and SOPHIE MIGHT BUY A THEATER. It’s a smart move, and it also allows the production team to film in the same place where the show is set.

The Mark

IS CARY ELWES. And while I’ve seen him play an asshole before (hello, season 9 of The X-Files!), this role felt so dissimilar to anything else I’d seen him do. At times, you can understand why Roemer is so charismatic and respected, though the show doesn’t let that stand in the way of what a horrible thing he’s done. When he’s talking about flight, airplanes, and Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose, he comes alive. He’s likable. For a millisecond, of course. Anyone can seem appealing when they’re talking about what they love. But Roemer admires and emulates Howard Hughes not just because of his accomplishments and individualism, but because he got to do what he wanted. Like many men in power, Roemer believes that ultimately, he’s entitled to being above the law. In this case, he uses his own company in order to circumvent any accountability for the death of Anne Sanders’ husband. His attempt to get to the top is not one of innovation and creativity; it’s of laziness. He cuts corners. He exploits cheap labor and materials, aware that in the end, they cost of using them is worth it. That includes the cost being SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE.

Thus, it’s time for the Leverage team to destroy him.

The Con

I love it when a con is so good, so complete and immersive, that it fools me. Initially, I couldn’t quite figure out what Nate’s plan was for Roemer. I thought that the trip through the museum would help Nate get close to Roemer for… what? How would he create a situation to not only ruin Roemer’s name, but stop the eventual merger that might create more loss of life in the name of profits?

This isn’t the first time that the team has had to create an elaborate con meant to trick the mark into believing a version of reality that isn’t true. But this might be the most ridiculous one, I SWEAR. It reminded me of “The Order 23 Job,” except a billion times more difficult and complicated. Not only did they have to fool Roemer into believing that he could buy the Spruce Goose, they then had to manipulate his sense of entitlement so that he’d willingly steal the plane in order to save his life and defend his country. I mean… jesus, y’all, the more I think about it, the more brilliant this con becomes. They appealed to his sense of American patriotism by conducting a fake terror plot; they allowed him to fulfill a lifelong dream in flying the Spruce Goose; they let him believe he’d conquered everything.

And he was arrogant enough to believe it all.

Apparently, I was too because I GENUINELY THOUGHT THAT HE FLEW THE PLANE OUT OF THAT MUSEUM AND I WAS SO WORRIED THAT HE’D JUST RUINED THE ENTIRE CON. But it was all part of the plan, thankfully. This is one of those cons that’s left open-ended, but my imagination was enough to fill in the blanks. All Roemer needed to do was believe he’d crashed the Spruce Goose, and he’d do the rest of the work for the team in dismantling himself and his company. I love it. SO MUCH.

All Good Things

CANNOT COME TO AN END. What is Nate doing??? Why involve Hardison? Is Nate trying to give himself an exit? I wonder, then, if that’s what that bit was in the opening where he told Sophie he had his priorities in order. Does he want to leave? Why else would he tell Hardison that all good things come to an end? WHY ARE YOU ASKING HARDISON TO LIE FOR YOU???

This show is going to ruin me this season.

The video for “The (Very) Big Bird Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
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– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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