In the second episode of the fifth season of Leverage, the team is tasked with saving a man from himself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.
I don’t think this is one of the stronger episodes of this show. I’ll admit that I don’t even have a passing interest in hockey, though I’ve seen a live game before and it was pretty entertaining. A great deal of this episode is on the ice, so I know that my attention was waning a bit. But it’s not like the show relies so heavily on this that I was a) super bored, or b) unable to understand what was going on.
Honestly, I think that the framing of “The Blue Line Job” is fascinating because it’s such a strange case. While the team does discover that Pete Rising is exploiting his players, the con doesn’t start off with that knowledge in mind. The mark initially is Craig Marko, whose son is so concerned about the health of his father that he begs the Leverage team to somehow get his dad to stop fighting during games. There’s no monetary gain here, and on top of that, they’ve got to convince someone to stop doing something that they love.
Which is then complicated by the contract that he’s under, of course. And that’s where the exploitation comes in. For Pete Rising, the Oregon Otters are a business. That’s fair, since he owns them, and he’s welcome to do what he sees fit for the team. The problem is that he soon realizes that the violence that often comes with hockey guarantees higher ticket sales. So what does he do? He compels Marko to fight more by sticking a qualification into the contract covering his last year; he makes sure the team’s doctor lies and covers up evidence that his players are severely injured; and then he PAYS OTHER TEAMS TO TRY AND TAKE MARKO OUT OF THE GAME SO THAT HE DOESN’T HAVE TO PAY THE HALF MILLION DOLLAR BONUS HE OWES. Like??? HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE THE WORST.
What I enjoyed most about “The Blue Line Job,” though, was the fact that this con was never an easy thing to pull off. Fooling Rising? A piece of cake. Making sure to manage Craig Marko on top of that all? A billion times harder. Even if the man was aware of the deck stacked against him, he still wanted to play and he still wanted to fight. Why? Why would he do that knowing how much it affected his memory or his physical health? Craig Marko had one motivation in mind: to provide for his son. I imagine that since his wife died, Marko knew that he’d be the only one his son could depend on, and thus, he justified putting his body in harm’s way – literally so – in order to make sure that his son has a future. It’s heartbreaking when you think about it because Rising was orchestrating events so that Marko’s efforts would be in vain. He would have gone an entire season taking blows to the head, all for Rising to back out in the end with the protection of that contact.
Fuck him. What a terrible person. Oh, and he was also STEALING MONEY FROM THE TEAM ANYWAY. Bury him! FINISH HIM. Or just do that really eerie and totally intimidating circle of hockey players in suits things. THAT WORKS AS WELL. I’m also glad that the team got to demonstrate to Craig the importance of his own health, though. HOW CHILLING WAS THAT SCENE WHERE EVERYONE REFUSED TO FIGHT HIM? So great, and a little sad, I think. The irony of Craig’s plan was that he could have died doing it, when all his son wanted was him alive.
There’s another aspect of “The Blue Line Job” worth commenting on. Did anyone else pick up on how the two relationships onscreen are growing? Now that we have on-screen confirmation that Parker and Hardison are actually dating, it was lovely to see them work with one another. I felt like they behaved slightly differently than they usually do. They’re more willing to touch one another and show affection. Parker is also staying over at Hardison’s, isn’t she??? THIS IS A HUGE DEVELOPMENT, I must add it to my Spreadsheet.
I think you can see some added maturity between Nate and Sophie, too. Normally, Nate is quick to jealousy, but he’s significantly not that way here. It actually surprised me! He’s far more interested in Sophie’s theft of the Stanley Cup than her past relationship with Vladimir. And when Vladimir asks Sophie if her new partner makes her happy? She’s giddy. It’s the cutest thing EVER to see her like that because we know how rare it is. I’M JUST EXCITED ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, OKAY.
The video for “The Blue Line Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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