Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S05E07 – The Real Fake Car Job

In the seventh episode of the fifth season of Leverage, the team tries to con a conman into buying a real fake car. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

This episode was so goddamn fun, and I know that’s largely because of Matthew Lillard and Ion Overman. This show has always made me laugh, but there’s a silliness to “The Real Fake Car Job” that made this such a lovely experience. LET US DISCUSS.

The Mark

I really think that the role of Jim Cole/Gabe Erickson must have been written for Matthew Lillard because I cannot imagine anyone else playing him. HE’S SO PERFECT HERE. He can be appropriately slimy when he needs to be, which is necessary to show us why he is the mark. He’s selfish and greedy, so much so that even while under witness protection, he still can’t resist stealing from people. At the same time, while he’s a successful conman, he’s a man consumed by his desires, which lead him to bouts of poor judgment. He’s more or less the worst conman and the best conman at the exact same time, depending on the circumstances.

This is played against Marshall Ellie Rose’s intensity and seriousness, and it’s brilliant. I know the “straight” character and the “wacky” one is a very common trope, but Leverage found a way to invoke it and then twist it even further in an unexpected direction. For most of this episode, we’re entertained by Ellie’s exasperated suspicion, particularly when she’s just trying to do her job. It’s clear that this really was the biggest case of her life, and yet? Erickson made it brutally hard for her to do that job. Even before the big reveal at the end of the episode, I actually understood why she was so hostile all the time. Wouldn’t you react the same way??? This privileged asshole was getting a chance at immunity, to get away with their crimes, and they were still ungrateful for the opportunity. He’s a despicable person! I’m surprised it took her until the final act to punch him in the face, y’all.

The Con

Can we just acknowledge how cool it is that the team created a classic car competition at the last minute for this con, and then just let it happen without monitoring it? That means that the city of Portland got a new annual car festival for free, and that whole community now has something to look forward to. THAT IS SO AWESOME, Y’ALL. It was certainly not the intention of the team, since they needed a cover to con Erickson into revealing his secret stash of money, but it’s still fantastic regardless.

Some of my favorite grifting in this season is here. I mean, Parker! In a big floppy hat! AND BEING REALLY FUCKING GOOD AT GRIFTING. I know that this was a subtle thing, but I picked up on how little coaching she needed here versus some of her grifts early on in the show. As Nate kept trying to push Parker further, Sophie actually told Nate to back off. I read that as Sophie realizing that Parker had gotten better, that she’d been able to develop her own instinct for the grift. This is so deeply, deeply important to me because it gives us character development in a way that’s not entirely obvious. There’s no giant spotlight shined on Parker, but the growth is there. Through practice and support, she’s gotten better. Hell, even Hardison’s grift here – as the pretentious artist – is the perfect amount of absurdity and muted disinterest. He had to anger Erickson to a point where Erickson would bid higher than him, but then – like Parker – had to know when to pull away and let things play out.

And then we’ve got Sophie and Eliot as ASSASSIN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Holy shit, it’s just so incredible. ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER. They’re both so perfect because they’re barely grifting, first of all. And I love that I so completely believed them that I thought they’d actually oversold the con to the point that Ellie thought they were killing her. What’s neat about that is that it concealed Ellie’s true motivations from me. The truth is that she was prone to feeling guilty or suspected because SHE WAS SELLING OUT HER ORGANIZATION TO HELP ERICKSON LEAVE THE COUNTRY. For $5 million!!! I honestly didn’t see that one coming.

A Normal Life

But the best thing in “The Real Fake Car Job” was the subplot about living a normal life. I know that this is most likely a hint towards the end of Leverage, which makes me sad. (I’m not going to be okay during the series finale. No one is surprised about this.) Is this meant as foreshadowing? Are all five of these people going to part ways and never work a job again after all this is over? I think that Parker and Hardison really couldn’t do that, and this episode confirms that. Both of them have so much fun doing what they do, and I’d even argue that this is part of their identity. Parker is a thief. Hardison is a hacker. How could they give those things up? That doesn’t mean they can’t build a life together, and as far as I can tell, they still want to. It’ll just be a continuation of the Leverage team in some form. As for Eliot, I truly could see him living a “normal” life, probably more than anyone else here. Right??? He’d open a restaurant (and run Hardison’s, obviously), he’d get into gardening, he’d have a ton of hobbies… I can already see it, y’all. Eliot is destined for domestic life.

With Nate and Sophie, that’s a bit more complicated. We already know that Nate wants out in some capacity, but we also know from this episode that he wants Sophie by his side. Can Sophie give up this life? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I think she could with Nate, but like Parker and Hardison, her grifting is part of her identity. Maybe that’s why she tells Nate that he needs to leave the past behind; perhaps she was talking about herself, too.

The video for “The Real Fake Car 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.