Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S05E04 – The French Connection Job

In the fourth episode of the fifth season of Leverage, the man responsible for Eliot’s love of cooking asks for help. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Goddamn, this episode was fantastic. I suppose I never thought about how similar Parker and Eliot were, but this episode draws an interesting parallel to them. I know I’ve asked for a lot of backstory on these characters, but I’ve also enjoyed watching the show without much of it, too. I have a basis for understanding the motivations of these characters, and that’s generally been enough. I’m just the kind of person who wants to know literally everything about a character when I’m reading or watching something.

That’s one of the reasons that episode that are based in character flashbacks are so rewarding for me. (And one of the major reasons I love LOST as much as I do.) There have been a few glimpses into Eliot’s life prior to this, enough that we understand that he spent time in the military and then moved on to being a mercenary/assassin for hire. He takes his job and his life seriously – immensely so – and he’s fiercely loyal. He’s also alone most of the time; we never see him with a girlfriend, at least not since we met his ex in season one. He’s always been independent, and I imagine that’s because he’s had to be.

So the introduction of Toby Heath is significant for his character because it’s the closest we’ve ever seen to… shit. I don’t know. A loved one? A father figure? There’s not many people in the world who Eliot would speak of as highly as he did about Toby. So that aspect alone was surprising. I guess I’d never considered that there was a reason that Eliot had such an affinity for cooking, but this adds so much more to his characterization, y’all! Not only that, but we also get growth for Parker in the process. Toby taught Eliot something that made him feel again. While Eliot’s experience was more with numbness, he can certainly relate to Parker’s fear that she’s not interested in anything. He ends up walking her through his thought process when he makes a dish and when he eats one. Yes, it’s part of the con, but that’s because it helps Parker develop that sense of empathy. She’s able to understand Eliot through the food that he cooks.

Now, on the surface, that might seem like an absurd thing to say, but I totally got it. It was about understanding passion. The dishes that Eliot makes are good because he works so hard on them and because he’s so passionate about that. Recognizing that is something that Parker’s never done before! To her, food is merely something she has to eat because that’s how the human body works. Why care about it? (Well, aside from chocolate, of course. CHOCOLATE ALWAYS MATTERS TO PARKER. I’m curious why Eliot didn’t reference her chocolate binging from last season here.) Well, Eliot teaches her how to recognize the sensations that food causes her to experience. He teaches her that there is joy in creation, and that it’s okay to feel things because of it. What’s great about this is that the show doesn’t suddenly make Parker a foodie. No, at the end of “The French Connection Job,” she is able to recognize that her “thing” is being a thief. There’s a joy in it that’s true, and it’s hers.

I definitely found that parallel to be the strongest part of the episode, but this was also solid story regardless. David Lampard was particularly slimy. (And now I realize that not only did I recognize him from one of the worst Supernatural episodes ever, but his VOICE was familiar. He’s the voice of Alistair from Dragon Age!) I just love it when this show features antagonists who are taken down by their own arrogance. It’s so pleasing to watch the team turn his faults against him! In this case, his greed leads him to attempt to smuggle a bunch of truffles out of the country because he’s an utter fool. GOOD FOR HIM. Toby gets the restaurant! Everyone wins! We also win because we get HARDISON obsessed with LASERS and SOPHIE pretending to be A WEIRD UK HIPPIE. She had terrible white people dreads!!! It was SO PORTLAND!!!!

All in all, I had a great time watching this episode. Those three fights in the kitchen were so fucking funny, y’all. No one even bothered to ask why Eliot was knocking people out during all of it! And that’s part of the sense of humor that this show has about itself. That’s not meant to be realistic, and I dig it. It’s part of the humor attached to a character like Eliot, you know?

The video for “The French Connection 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.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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