'Leverage' - 'The Three Strikes Job' Recap
by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 11th 2010 11:05AM
(S02E14) "This is how we're going to take down the mayor...We're going to steal his ball park, and then the team. Not necessarily in that order." - Nathan to his team
Of course, that's what the show wants you to think. It has sprinkled that little tidbit on promos and commercials and even as a billboard opener in last night's episode. It turned out to be a great trick, a bit of slight of hand magic with a major cable network.
At one point, you think it's going to be a political mystery, a promising start since the story can literally go anywhere and make coherent sense. The plot could turn to S&M midgets selling pony meat on the black market and it would make a great twist as long it points back to the corrupt politician caught holding the riding crop.
But then it switches gears over and over into whole new mysteries and directions until your head becomes a revolving restaurant leaving you both confused but strangely satisfied.
It starts rather ominously with a cop getting plugged in some of kind of "meet me under the bridge" meeting between two heavy metal armed strongmen. The cop turns out to be Nathan's police connection and he has a young son, which triggers a very disturbing image of a clean cup Nate running into a hospital room screaming as he hugs the lifeless body of his son.
This seems to be his sole motivation for taking down a corruption and wormy mayor, played by Richard
Kind also makes perfect casting for a corrupt politician. He goes soft under pressure but knows how to twist arms with this thin visceral line of tediousness and annoyance as he pursues Nathan's real estate cover for a new waterfront ball park in his town.
Things eventually kick into drive from a long period of neutral rather late in the episode and jarringly goes from a political mystery to an action standoff, but the pay off of the escape is exciting, clever and even funny as Alec has to sacrifice his beloved van "Lucille" to distract the federal fuzz while they make a break for it.
The truly clever part of all this is it is so down to the wire that the plot has you wondered if it won't end in time and lead to a two-parter. Then it suddenly wraps and still manages to make a good cliffhanger for the show's season finale episode by bringing back one of the show's more interesting characters, Sterling, who is now an Interpol agent.
Every great action drama uses their season finale to push the lead or leads to their limits and test their alliances, their drives and even their lives to the very edge. Sterling should make for a nice bulldozer in next week's finale.
- If any of you out there have FBI training or federal intelligence backgrounds, can you confirm for me if agents use goofy code words like "Jabberwocky" with their wired informants? "Splendiferous" and "Abracadabra" seem more subtle and useful in general conversation in comparison.
- What kind of man names his van? An Aston Martin DB9? Sure. A Ford Mustang? Absolutely. But a van? I drove a van in college and the names I had for it cannot be repeated here without me suffering some sort of suspension.