Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S05E08 – The Broken Wing Job

In the eighth episode of the fifth season of Leverage, THIS IS PERFECTION. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Fuck it, this was honestly replaying in my head throughout this episode, and I don’t even know where it came from.

This is easily going to be one of my favorite episodes during this show’s run, and I think exactly none of you are surprised about that. I’ve kind of latched on to Parker (and Hardison, too!) while reviewing this show, and her growth as a character has been one of the most rewarding aspects of Leverage. It’s never easy for a show with an ensemble cast to write and produce and execute an episode focused so wholly on one person, but “The Broken Wing Job” does this beautifully. We’re given a chance to see what Parker does when she doesn’t have her friends by her side backing her up; we see how she adapts to a difficult and frustrating situation; and we are witness to her ever-growing store of empathy for other people.

I love this episode so much.

Let me start, then, by praising the choice to not only give this story to Parker, but to Amy. Aarti Mann is fantastic here because she’s a reluctant participant in Parker’s shenanigans, right up until she realizes that there’s goodness within the work that she’s doing. It’s actually rather bold for the show to introduce a character like this who has to have such a huge role in the story, but you know what? She works. Amy has to be in the brew pub in a manner that makes her uninvolved in the crime that’s playing out, but she also has to be hooked into the plan to stop it. How do you do that? How do you convince an ordinary person to plant bugs and clone phone data? To make matters more complicated, it’s Parker doing the convincing. She’s already dealing with her own social issues on top of everything, and that makes this an even bigger challenge. Sure, it may have seemed like she could have just been direct with Amy about what she wanted, but I don’t think this was that easy for Parker. Parker is always reading every situation, uncertain if she’s behaving wrong or if she’s too much or if she’s not doing things “right.” Those are largely arbitrary terms, and every situation seems to shift what’s acceptable and what’s expected. And yet, Parker, with help from her friends, has been trying to relate to and converse with other people for years. Could season one’s version of Parker have pulled off what happens here? Perhaps the physical stuff, but I don’t know that she could have won over Amy in the process.

Even then, there are still so many logistical challenges that both characters face while trying to thwart the thieves in the brew pub. The pacing of those challenges is perfect, y’all, giving us a slow burn mystery over the course of “The Broken Wing Job.” But would this be as satisfying if it wasn’t so personable? I think that like many of the episodes this season, this story is a chance for a character to work without Nate. Parker does every job that the team normally does, all with the help of only one person. Along the way, she also manages to see the big picture, something that’s usually Nate’s job. She knew that they had to stop the heist because the chance of it turning deadly was way too high. She was also able to see each of the smaller mysteries occurring in the brew pub and find a solution to each of them. Those solutions contributed to the final con, too! If she’d not told Nancy about Sid’s cheating, the delay of V would have taken longer. By setting up Romeo and Juliet with two different cops, Parker put a back up plan in place. (WHAT A BRILLIANT SAFETY NET, Y’ALL.) And then, knowing that Chicken Parm was a surgeon or a doctor, she had another variable to help her in case anyone got hurt.

Oh my god. She assembled her own team in a day, y’all. That’s incredible.

For me, though, getting to see Parker care so much about random strangers was the best part of “The Broken Wing Job.” Her work here is so totally altruistic that it’s a clear sign of how much the Leverage team has affected her outlook on life. Sure, it was very clever of her to use the various people in the pub to her advantage, but she didn’t treat them like pawns. She gave them closure. Hope. A new beginning. She knew that if she and Amy did not stop V and K, someone else would get hurt horribly. Of course, the big twist is that AMY HERSELF WAS ACTUALLY THE GOAL OF THE HEIST. (Bravo, Leverage, for tricking me once again.) It was fascinating to me that even after being kidnapped, Amy was still game to take down the thieves. I’d like to think that this was because of Parker’s influence on her over the course of the time they worked together. I mean, y’all. Y’ALL. The two of them are watching Night of the Living Dead and eating popcorn together at the end of this episode. Like friends. PARKER NOT ONLY SOLVED A CASE ON HER OWN, BUT SHE MADE A NEW FRIEND. How is this not one of the biggest developments in her character’s arc? Because it totally is, and I love it. She fostered this friendship with Amy over the course of a frustrating case, and it was beautiful to watch.

Well, it was also really pleasing to see Parker, on crutches and with a torn ACL, utterly kick the shit out of V. Fuck, that was really satisfying.

The video for “The Broken Wing 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.