Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S05E05 – The Gimme a K Street Job

In the fifth episode of the fifth season of Leverage, the crew helps to stop a for-profit cheerleading company from ruining lives. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

This is a strange little episode. While I’ve frequently spoke about how much I love that the show is willing to play with expectations and story formats, I think that there are aspects of that here that don’t quite work as well as the show wanted them to. LET’S DISCUSS.

The Mark

I don’t think that Wendy Barron strays all that far from the traditional Leverage antagonist. She made a fortune from exploiting the desires and passions of cheerleaders, and that exploitation indirectly led to Marcie’s injury. It’s a matter of cost; like many of the CEOs and business owners spread throughout this show, Wendy realizes that it’s cheaper for her to have terrible safety standards than to fix them. Marcie is nothing more than a potential cost, and a low one at that. Additionally, Wendy organizes her company so that she holds all the power in any situation. Her competitive cheer tournaments have clothing provided by another of her companies. The mandatory insurance that each competitor needs? Sold through another part of the same company. It’s how she covers her ass – legally, of course – while making a killing off the hard work of all these cheerleaders.


Except technically, she is one of FIVE marks in this episode. In order to get the law changed to make cheerleading a sport, the team is tasked with convincing four members of Congress to vote in favor of the bill. They can’t steal a bill because this needs to be on the books officially and permanently. Thus, the rest of the team (minus Parker) must con four Congress members, too!

Grifting Galore

Well, I did want an episode that feature all five characters grifting at once, and HERE IT IS IN ALL IT’S GLORY. While that was exciting, the story here was designed to be so much more frustrating than I was used to for Leverage. Simply put, I’d never seen the team fail so many times before. Understandably, this was a difficult job. Conning one person is hard enough, but five people? And four of them are on Capitol Hill? And one of them IS THE MOST HONEST MAN THE TEAM HAS EVER COME ACROSS?

So I get it. And for that other reason (I’ll get to it in a second), this needed to unfold the way it did. It’s still really weird in terms of pacing because it takes nearly a half hour for anyone to make any progress. The episode just cuts from one character to another being unable to advance the con or gain more information, then they regroup, then it repeats, and there are like three full cycles of this. I know it’s always weird to talk about pacing because it can be such a subjective thing. For a great example of that, just read my review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I thought it was a brilliant slow-burn thriller, and most everyone else thought it was an actual slug.

Still, I think that most of this was intentional. Part of Parker’s grift involves her being a cheerleading coach, which is brilliant in and of itself because I can’t think of anyone who knows how to bend and fall and stretch better than her. That doesn’t mean that being a coach is easy, especially not for Parker. Like many situations that she’s thrust into, she can’t quite recognize that her own lack of fear over this kind of stuff isn’t how other people are. They have different fears and anxieties than she does. It’s neat, then, seeing her understand that over the course of this episode. That’s the case with Madison, who Parker eventually bonds with over the fear of disappointment. The scene where she talks about wanting to support her friends is so fantastic, y’all! It’s a great chance for us to reflect on the fact that Parker has made it to a point where she can actually believe stuff like this. Without the Leverage team as friends, would she have ever done so many new and intimidating things? Probably not.


I wish I didn’t get it, because it makes me sad. While I had theorized that Nate wanted to leave the Leverage team due to the events at the end of the premiere, I didn’t realize that he’d been testing the entire team to work without him. That’s exactly what he’s doing, isn’t it? He wouldn’t provide the answer to Eliot on how to con Congressman LeGrange. He wouldn’t tell Sophie how to run her acting studio. How else has he tested them? Was Parker part of a test? HOW MUCH HAVE I MISSED, Y’ALL?

Oh god, I don’t want this show to end. I REALLY DON’T.

The video for “The Gimme a K Street 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!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Leverage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.