Previously on Leverage: Nathan Ford and his intrepid gang of talent help those who lack resources and can’t go to the police with however they’ve been wronged. Strap in for the two part season finale!
A taxi cab pulls up and an inebriated Nathan stumbles out. He saunters past a sign with Kevin Tighe’s face on it and the words “The Ian Blackpool Wing. Founder’s Night Reception”. He walks past the girl taking invitations and headbutts the poor security guy who tries to stop him. Blackpool himself is now walking towards Nathan but stops when Nate pulls a gun on him. “Are you here to kill me, Nate?”, he asks with casual familiarity. “Not tonight.” “Well in that case, come in. There’s shrimp.” Nathan shrugs and confesses that he does love Shrimp.
It’s quite the gala outside of the museum. People in formal wear and lovely lit fountains and caterers adorn the scene. Blackpool tells Nate that his museum opens this week and that this is the celebration for the fundraisers. Nate states that blood money buys the best art. Well there’s something personal between these two. He pours himself a drink and stares Blackpool down. Blackpool had heard rumors about Nate’s current state, but probably not what he’s been up to, I’m guessing. Nathan says he’s here to sell Blackpool something. Blackpool doesn’t need anything, but when Nathan whispers something in his ear, his eyes go wide. Whatever Nate said has got his attention. He accuses him of lying but lying to Blackpool wouldn’t be worth Nate’s time. Blackpool calls “Porsche” over and Sophie slinks over in a dark asymmetrical dress as the show’s boppy spy music ques up. Blackpool introduces the coworkers to one another, he believes that Sophie is really Porsche Del Ducio of the Vatican Museum.
Jump to the Leverage HQ video room and the words “Two Weeks Earlier”. The gang nervously stands around the meeting table as Nathan comes in looking for everybody. He asks what’s going on and Parker beings with “Ian Blackpool, CEO of IYS insurance.” Hardison continues; “Millionaire, famous art collector.” Sophie says “Who two years ago refused the claim for your son’s treatment leading to his–“, Nathan cuts her off with a sharp “Enough!” He’s drunk and doesn’t want to hear all of this. They each read from cards about how he’s getting worse and they’re not going to put up with it anymore. He’s amused by the intervention but Sophie says he doesn’t need rehab. “You need revenge.” Eliot finishes. They all look to Blackpool’s smarmy face up on the video screens.
Back at the gala Blackpool explains to Nate how Porsche is there to negotiate a loan for some of the Vatican collection. She flatters that he has the best Renaissance collection she’s seen outside of Rome. Nate says it’ll be bigger if he writes him a little check. Blackpool asks her where her art expert is and she points out Professor Sinclair in the crowd. Swing to Eliot in a tux, glasses, and with his hair pulled back as he talks to a blond woman. Blackpool invites Sophie and Nathan down to his restoration vault because Nate claims he’s found the second David.
Back to the video room, two weeks ago. Sophie lectures on the history and technique of Michelangelo’s David. Nate interrupts her, saying he knows all of this but Hardison genuinely says “While you are well versed in dead guy art, I am not. My entire criminal career is based on technology built after 1981. So I am riveted, quite so, please do go on.” Hah! Like Nate I also know all of this, and contrary to popular belief I know that Michelangelo’s David is boring and weirdly proportioned. Check out Bernini’s David. It’s badass. But for the public knowledge and the symbolism of little Davids going after the big bad Goliaths, I’ll be quiet about it. Sophie goes on that Michelangelo famously made two identical clay-fired and bronzed models of the larger David. They’ve been sold and lost and rediscovered dozens of times. Hardison asks who has them now and Sophie says that the second was stolen from the Vatican ten years ago and that the first, well, guess who owns that?
Back to the gala where Blackpool leads Nate and Sophie into the thumbprint-locked-restoration room. There’s laser-grid sensors on the floor, four inch steel walls, infrared detection, and vibration detection protecting the vault. He shows off the first David to the foxes in the chicken coop. Nate snags a photo of it on his phone.
Swing to the creepy black van of surveillance. Hardison and Parker watch from the security camera feed. He’s glad he doesn’t have to break in there while Parker thinks it’d be fun. Give her three days, no problem. She picks up a ringer for Blackpool’s David, talking to it and showing it the new home. Hardison asks that she not play with the little naked man. Jealously.
Back to the video room, two weeks ago. Sophie proposes the plan of selling Blackpool a fake second David. He’ll insure it with IYS and put it on display in the museum. When it’s discovered that it’s fake, the company will accuse him of fraud and he’ll lose it. No company, no money, no reputation. Nathan knows Blackpool won’t buy the fake David until it’s been verified real by an expert. One of them will be said expert. Nathan asks how they’ll guarantee that.
Back to the vault room. The three look at photos of the London Examiner of eight days ago displaying a “genuine” second David. Nathan asks for eight million. Blackpool doesn’t have that much liquid so Nate tells him to sell something. The second David will only be in the country tomorrow and Nate’s got a Canadian oil man who is interested. Blackpool can’t stand the thought of someone else with this holy grail of artwork. Sophie protests that the David must be returned to the Vatican but Nate says the Sheik who owns it doesn’t care about the Pope. Blackpool tells her he’ll buy it and after he dies he’ll donate it it to the Vatican. They’ve got a deal if Professor Sinclair does the verification. Blackpool agrees.
The three go back outside to the gala. Nate comms to Eliot to meet up with them, but Eliot says he’s hitting it off with the blond chick. “Bring her along, it’ll help sell the character.”. Blackpool comes behind Nate, asking why he came to him, he hates him. Nate says he knew he’d pay the best price, and that he doesn’t have a choice. He’s drunk, broke, living out of his car, and doesn’t care where the paycheck comes from. A woman’s voice asks “Nate?”. He turns to the pretty blond thing on Eliot’s arm and says “Maggie?”. Eliot asks if they know each other and Blackpool confirms that this is Nate’s ex-wife.
Oh, it’s awkward between Nathan and Eliot. And of course, funny. From the van Parker asks what she’s doing there and Hardison reminds them to stay in character. Nate introduces himself to Eliot and explains how Maggie is his ex-wife. “Caught that.” Eliot stammers. Sophie steps in to introduce herself to Maggie who lets us know that she doesn’t use Ford anymore, but her maiden name, Collins. Sophie tugs Eliot from Nate’s vicelike grip and apologizes, saying that they and Blackpool need to talk. Parker asks which conversation they should listen to it, but Hardison is on it with the stereo system, recording both. Nathan asks Maggie why she’s working for Blackpool and she says that she’s under contract with the museum and helping with the exhibit. She overheard about Nate being drunk and broke; he starts to correct her but Hardison reminds him to stay in character again and he confirms his rough state. She says that she’d have helped him out.
Over with Blackpool Sophie shrugs and says Maggie’s pretty. Also jealously. Blackpool says that Maggie is an art expert who helps track down fraud. Her and Nate were a great pair for a while. Fake art expert Eliot points out a certain Michelangelo technique and that these pictures look genuine.
Back to Nate and Maggie where Nate tells her he doesn’t need money. “Nate!”, Hardison comms. “I need money. I just need this deal.” He confesses. “Well then lets go get it.” Nate does not want her involved though. She goes to Blackpool, Eliot, and Sophie and asks why Nate is there. Blackpool says for a sale and Maggie says she’ll verify the art. Sophie isn’t happy and said that they agreed to no outside people. Blackpool says he’s been hesitant since he doesn’t know Professor Sinclair that well. He knows Maggie though, and if she doesn’t examines the sculpture then he walks. Nobody on the team is happy. Hardison asks if Maggie is a good art inspector and Nate confirms that she’s the best. Parker cradles the little fake David in fear of him being found out. As they walk to the bar Sophie says that they have to steal the first David right now so that they can show it to Maggie tomorrow as the second David. Nate orders Parker in. Hardison freaks on the lack of preparation but Parker is excited to get in with whatever she can scrounge up at the buffet table. She goes to get a dress Sophie may have left in the van. Hardison has a white shirt he can pose as waitstaff with. Parker starts to strip and Hardison averts his eyes and turns little fake David away too.
Parker strides through the party in a killer blue dress. She gets a glass of ice at the bar and comms that she needs a roll of aluminum foil. Hardison snags some from a passing waiter saying he’s wrapping up some leftovers for himself. She also needs dark eyeshadow and Sophie excuses herself to powder her nose. They all meet by the storage room door. Parker says it’s got a silent alarm so Sophie should hide and her and Hardison should make out. She pulls him towards her and presses the door open. Eliot and Nathan grin like idiots at the makeout noises over the comms. Hah! Two guards come upon them and cough loudly. They point out how they set off the alarm and intelligently walk off without seeing if the two leave or not. Parker snags Sophie’s makeup and her and Hardison go to the vault while Sophie goes back outside. She dusts eyeshadow onto the thumb scanner. Hardison wants to talk about what just happened. “Weird huh? Nate’s ex-wife coming out of nowhere?”, Parker asks. That’s not what Hardison was talking about. Parker has pulled the print up from the scanner with cloth, rescanned it, and gotten the door open. She tells him to chew some gum and he freaks that his breath was bad.
Back outside Eliot asks Sophie which one of them Parker kissed. He sounds about thirteen and Sophie scoffs.
Back in the vault Hardison points out the infrared that will pick up their body heat in a few seconds. She hands him a foil-made cup of ice and tells him to stick it to the scanner with his gum. Nice. Before he can blink she’s cartwheeled her way in between the lasers. She folds some foil into two back to back L’s and reflects the beams back so she can walk a path to the David. Hardison is impressed with her ingenuity. “Some people do crosswords.”, she states.
Nate and Maggie walk around outside where she says she wishes they could talk about how hard it is between them. Hardison comms that they’re almost done and Nate snaps “I hear you already!”. Maggie apologizes, stricken. Nate then stumbles around his words and she tells him that she still cares about him. She’s never stopped. Sophie blurts “Great!”, sarcastically and walks it off in front of Blackpool with her excitement for this rare opportunity. Eliot comms that they all get this over with.
Parker switches the Davids just as Hardison hacks into the remote system to set off all of the cars in the parking lot. The vibration goes off in the restoration room but security sees the cars going off and chalks it up to little earthquakes.
Parker tosses Hardison the David from her spot and he fusses at her.
Nathan breaks off from Maggie who asks if he’s got a place to stay and that her office has a couch. Ouch. He starts to meet up with Eliot but Maggie calls Professor Sinclair back to give him her number. Double ouch.
Leverage HQ: Eliot apologizes to Nate about Maggie giving him her number. Nate doesn’t want to talk about it. Hardison giggles and Parker squeals “We just stole an eight million dollar statue on like our day off!”, setting little David in between the two. Nathan reminds her that they’re giving it back and Hardison reminds Nate that they’re actually selling it back. Sophie excitedly goes in to how there might be a better way to go about this whole thing. What if both of Blackpool’s Davids were fake? The one he’s had on display has been insured and verified by IYS. Hardison catches on and points out that every sale Blackpool has made would have to be audited. Not only would he lose the company but the board of directors would sue him. The rest of the team is on board but Nate gets up and asks for a word with Sophie alone. Eliot gives a low “you’re in trouble” whistle. Nate closes the door and says “I know that voice, that’s the voice you use on a mark.” She immidiately snaps back that they should take this opportunity falling in their laps. Nate firmly tells her that she doesn’t con the rest of the team. Sophie accuses him of getting cold feet of Maggie’s potential for blowing the deal. Maggie who is working for the man who let their son die. Nate snaps that Maggie doesn’t know about all of that. The tone immidiately changes from fighting to quiet. He explains that she doesn’t know because Nate never told her. He’s okay with Maggie pitying him if she doesn’t know what he does now. Sophie says he’s lying to her. He’s still an honest man, it’s the rest of the world that’s gone crooked. She asks if he wants to walk away. He says, “How many other kids died just like Sam because this guy put his profits above their treatment? It’s not just me or Sam. That’s what I keep telling myself.” She leaves him with a touch on the shoulder and tells him that thinking too much is his fatal flaw. “There’s that voice again.”, he mumbles to himself.
The sound of an airplane takes us to a small hanger. Eliot and Nathan are in an office where Nate comms to Hardison that they’ll be there in three minutes. Hardison comes out of the hanger in a nice suit and clipboard to approach two pilots coming off a small jet. He demands to know where they think they’re going. With some regulation FAA inspection notices he fanagles his way on board to be taxied around the building. Maggie and Blackpool pull up to the hanger. Nate and Eliot greet them at the door. Parker pops from behind the desk calling for Nathan Ford. She informs him that the flight from Dubai is just pulling in and wants to know if the party is all there. The four of them meet the jet just pulling back around and Hardison gets off wearing a turban? Scarf? Batik? I don’t know, Lawrence of Arabia hat, there we go. He hands Nate a thick briefcase and shakes hands with Blackpool. “I’m only cleared for refueling. We must resolve this before customs realizes I’ve gotten off the plane.”, Hardison explains with a not-too-thick accent. Blackpool asks why he’s selling the David and Hardison gives him a story about card playing debts. The David is from his father’s collection and won’t be missed. Maggie and Eliot inspect the David and Blackpool asks for Maggie’s confirmation. She says it’s a dead ringer for his first David (because it is and all). Our three boys are a little nervous but she confirms that it’s real. Blackpool is so giddy he claps his hands together.
Nathan and Maggie walk through the hanger’s office again. She asks where the girl went but Nathan starts to ask about what she did back there. “Was so much fun!”, she finishes. She enjoyed the familiarity of working together again. “Call me.”, she says and walks off before he can say anything. “No.”, he says to himself. Eliot comes up behind him and they share yet another funny and awkward moment. Sophie meets Blackpool outside to tell him that the Vatican was so pleased with his offer to donate the David after his death that they agreed to let everything he requested for his exhibition. He assures her that she won’t regret this. He’ll have the finest collection in all of the land. Sophie says she can’t wait. Blackpool kisses her hand and turns to Nathan walking up who promptly hits him. Blackpool just asks if he feels better and Nate does. He takes off and Sophie asks if that was necessary. Nathan says he wouldn’t have believed a handshake. Plus it felt good. He comm-asks where Hardison is. He’s halfway home with the money and his favorite song on repeat.
Suddenly we see Nathan and Sophie through the lens of a camera. They’re being photographed by a man in a suit around the corner. They leave together, fully documented now, but Eliot stalks up behind the suit. He says “I’m going to count to three.” but doesn’t get the chance before the dude swings around and punches him so hard his ear comm flies out. He can’t tell Nate that the operation is blown (hee, I’m thirteen too) and the suit starts wailing on him. They fight in the hanger, Eliot getting the worst of it for now.
The scene changes pick up here between our thief, hacker, and mercenary. I’ll just be calling it like it is since it works so well visually.
Over to Hardison who takes the suitcase full of money into the HQ. Outside about six other suits follow him in led by Alex Carter, (who I recognize as Bly from Burn Notice).
Now to Parker who jumps from a bridge down to the armored transport carrying Blackpool’s David. Hardison lets himself into the office. Parker swings herself down to the back doors of the truck. The many suits cut the alarm wire outside of the office again.
Back to Eliot still getting himself beat up. Parker on the truck again, picking the lock but a car accelerates quickly behind her. Hardison starts to settle in with a bowl of popcorn and a ginger ale when the suits jump out and take him down. Eliot slides into a low shot of the hanger. He takes several more hits before getting a lock on the guy and finally getting a few swings in himself. Parker gets inside the truck where Jim Sterling, Nate’s old coworker is waiting for her. “You know I don’t think we’ve ever been properly introduced. Hello Parker.” he says calmly.
Eliot and the suit lean on their knees, both breathing hard. “Why won’t you go down?”, the suit yells. Eliot laughs with blood dripping out of his mouth. The suit charges and Eliot takes him out. He retrieves his comm and finally informs Nate that they’re blown. Nate screeches the car to a stop and asks what’s going on. Sterling’s voice greets him. We see him outside now with Parker surrounded by suits. “Lets see how many birds we have in hand. You know this is Parker’s. Alec Hardison?” Alex Carter at the HQ confirms that Hardison and the eight million are accounted for and we see our boy tied up and holding a cloth to a head wound. “Mr. Spencer?”, Sterling asks. Eliot speaks for himself; “Hey Sterling, I got some dental work with your name on it. What do you say you and me hook up so I can give it to you?”. Hah! Sterling laments that Mr. Quinn was not as effective as promised. Oh please, a guy named Quinn take out a guy named Spencer? Yeah right. Sterling isn’t too bothered though. Nate tells Eliot to stay low and asks Sterling what he wants. He wants to meet where Nate used to go for a drink.
LYS Offices, Los Angeles: Sterling enjoyes the landscape from the rooftop as Nathan and Sophie join him. Sterling starts to reminisce about when they were friends and used to have a drink up there. Nate confirms that they were never friends and asks what he wants. He wants to trade the second David for the kids. Nate tries to pull off that it was on the truck and Parker couldn’t get to it but Sterling knows that that was the first David all along. He was the investigator when the second went missing ten years ago. Nathan doesn’t have it but Sterling knows he does. “Who came up with the plan to break Ian Blackpool?”, he asks. Nathan turns to a suddenly guilty looking Sophie. Oh snap. Sterling knew Nate would go after Blackpool somehow. The way in would be through the first David and Sophie wouldn’t be able to resist since she’s a thief. Sterling knows how Nathan thinks. He calls “Jenny” out to make it official, explaining that it was the name she used back then. Nathan stares at her until she confesses that she stole the second David ten years ago and still has it. Sterling wants it there on the roof by the end of the day. Nate will go to the offices to meet with Sterling’s men and Sophie will bring the David to Sterling to trade for Parker.
Now at a storage room, Nathan asks Sophie how much is in there. She says as much as she needs and punches in the code. Things are tense between them. She explains that when Nathan found her in Chicago she’d told him she’d become an honest citizen. She was just that, but had a very good retirement plan in her roomfull of artifacts. They pop the crate on David Number Dos and Nate asks why she didn’t say anything the night of the gala. She believes that Nathan was in no condition with his ex-wife there. He snaps that this whole scam to get Ian was just so that Sophie could get the first David. She slaps him and says “Don’t you dare pretend that this was a selfless crusade on your part. It wasn’t a coincidence that you set up our offices in the same city as Blackpool. You knew one day you’d go after him and you’d use us.” Nathan points out how he was right about her voice on a mark. She says she wanted to hurt Blackpool too, but she’s a thief and just couldn’t resist. They’re all addicts, she points out. They’re addicted to what they do and to their messed up pasts. She also points out that Nathan is still the straight man in all of this and there will always be a part of him that thinks he’s better than the criminals of the team. He doesn’t correct her. She asks where they go from there. He says they do this. She says that Sterling knows how they think. “So we think like somebody else.”, Nathan says.
Up on the offices, Sophie waits in a black trench coat as Sterling and the suits approach with Parker. She shows off the second David perched precariously on the edge of the roof and calls to Sterling, “Parker comes to the middle of the roof. We circle her. You get to the David when I get to the door. Parker comes to me, and we’re gone.” Sterling says he’s not doing anything until he knows Nate’s turned himself in at the HQ.
Nate does just that in their office where he finds Hardison sitting at the desk still tied up. The suit puts him on the phone with Sterling who he tells to cut Hardison loose and let Sophie and Parker go. Sterling complies to Nate but tells his main suit to keep them both there. Nate takes a seat.
Sterling and Sophie start their deal. Sophie circles and Parker comes to the center and tells her that there’s guys at the bottom of the stairs. She’s not surprised. The suits retrieve the David.
Back at HQ, Eliot walks right on in to the AV room. “Four guys?”, he asks. Two more step behind him. “Six guys?”, he asks in the same unimpressed tone. The main suit knows that Eliot is good but not that good.
On the roof Parker asks Sophie how she plans on getting them out of there. “I had no idea how to get us off this roof. And then I asked myself, ‘What would Parker do?'”.
HQ: “You know with a couple of broken ribs and a concussion, I don’t think Eliot can take out six guys.”, Nate confesses. “But then I thought, ‘What would Hardison do?'”. I’m bouncing in my seat with the parallelism here.
On the roof Sophie strips off the trench coat to reveal a whole harness getup. She spreads her arms wide and Parker grins.
HQ: Eliot pulls out his phone and with the push of a button accesses the headset frequency of all of the suits in the room. The things go crazy in their ears and and our guys hop up to take them down.
Parker sprints in slow motion towards Sophie waiting at the edge. Sterling and his suits don’t make it to them before the girls throw their arms around each other and fly over into the blue with an epic squeeee! We see the anchor on the side of the building that Sophie’s rope and harness are attached to.
The guys finish taking out the suits at HQ and wordlessly point their props to one another.
Sterling tries to contact his main man but Nathan is on the other line. “Sterling. I thought you were an honorable man.” Sterling claims there’s nothing more honorable than catching thieves. Nate hangs up on him. Eliot comes in saying that they’re done here and the boys head out. Not before Hardison gets Eliot to help him lug out the creepy and hilarious portrait of their Nathan lookalike founder. “It’s just weird.”, Eliot grumbles. “I painted this!”, Hardison points out. Oh, boys.
Sterling and his suits enter the office to find the rest of their team tied up and laid out on the table. “This isn’t a total loss. Four of the best thieves in the world have left me a paper trail a mile long. Get a team up here and pull every file.” He starts to demand the whole place be dusted for fingerprints but Hardison pops up on the big screens. “Hey Sterling. Get out of my house.” A thirty second countdown replaces Hardison’s face. Sterling and the suits haul ass out of there. They get to the street where nothing has happened. Right when a bluff gets called the entire top floor explodes. I shed a tear. Bye bye, HQ!
Suit asks what they do now and Sterling tells him that they don’t do anything. He gives Blackpool the second David and shortly moves into a startling large office. “What about Ford?”, the suit asks. “What about him?”, Sterling says. The camera goes to Nathan and starts to pan in a circle to the rest of the group as Sterling voice overs. “His cover’s blown. The faces of his people have been sent to every law enforcement in the state. We’ve taken their money, their face of operations, and now Nate Ford will never ever get his revenge. They will do the only smart thing to do. They’ll scatter.” An above ground view shows us the team turn and split their five different ways. “They’re professionals. They know when the game’s up.”
And we’re left with those three terrible words of televised entertainment; To Be Continued.
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