Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer TV Rewind: Leverage 1.07: “The Two-Horse Job”

“We’re all trying to prove something being here with you.”
- Sophie

This week’s adventure starts in Kentucky when a young woman finds her father coming out of a horse stable that’s on fire. They’ve lost all but one of their race horses and the father, Willie, has gone to Nate and Eliot for help. Willy just wants ownership of the remaining horse even though it’s injured by the fire. Apparently, he didn’t own any of them, a man named Alan Foss, owns the horses and he’s getting a $2 million payout on the insurance. Things are a little tense when Willie’s daughter Aimee shows up because she’s an old flame of Eliot’s. Well that explains why our hitter is so invested in this case. While Hardison is explaining background on Foss, we learn that Parker has a fear of horses from her childhood when she saw a man dressed as a horse kill a clown. Very weird. The con is going to be simple. At the racetrack, Sophie runs into Foss as a southern belle who tests the purity of horses to make sure they’re purebred and what not. Foss falls for her pretty fast and she convinces him to come in on their poker game. Parker lifted his credit card so they set the buy in at the max on his card. Nate insists that they only play for cash or horses when Foss tries to use his watch as the rest of his buy in. So he gets Sophie to witness that he’s giving up his remaining horse. With a little con magic, Nate wins the game. They think they’re all set and the con is done but as Nate is walking in the parking lot, his old partner, Jim Sterling, rolls up. Sterling is investigating the fire for the insurance company (Nate’s old boss) and now he’s going after Willie. So the con needs to change, and fast.

Parker is freaking out over Sterling’s prowess while Eliot is just pissed off that it sounds like Willie could lose the horse and Foss could stay in business which is exactly what they were hoping to avoid. Nate tries to calm everyone down and set up a new con. Parker and Hardison keep tabs on Sterling and try to jam him up but he’s good and he makes them take off after calling the cops to report a suspicious black van. Meanwhile, Eliot obtains some stables and Aimee unhappily agrees to help. Nate ups the price to buy back the horse to $2 million and Foss calls him crazy. Unfortunately, Foss explains to Eliot that he’s got some hedge fund buddies together and they’re going to start doing portfolios based on horses. So not only is he not getting out of the business, he’s getting deeper into it. This only serves to piss Aimee off and we get a little back story on Eliot. He left the last time because she got married and he didn’t write or call because he was working (probably off somewhere beating people up or getting beat up himself). And of course they have some angry make-up sex for the hell of it.

Not long after, they come up with their new scam; the lost heir. I’m pretty sure this one comes up again in a later season just not with horses. If they can trick Foss into thinking he’s buying the lost heir of some kickass noble bloodlines, then they’ve got it made. So they’re going to use the horse that won the race the other day and fake the bloodlines. Foss seems pretty interested in it and offers $12 million to some Chinese tourists whom he think own the horse. Not surprising, Sterling got the tourists to use his camera so he now knows that Sophie and Nate are working together. Sterling pays Nate a visit that night to share the insight he’s gained into Nate’s criminal enterprises. So now we have to wonder what Nate and Sterling really had back in the day. I always thought they were partners and friends but they seem more like enemies these days.

Foss and Sophie wander around the stables for a bit until they come upon the fake horse’s stall. The whole point was to get Foss turned around so they can con him later on. Eliot, parker, Hardison and Aimee are trying to find the horse (it went missing off to a stud farm) and Parker gets to overcome her fear of horses. They are almost back to the stables when there’s an accident up ahead of them and the cops show up. Racing against the clock, Eliot just gets on the horse and rides off all impressive. He really is a man of many talents. Fighting, cooking, horse riding. No wonder he’s my favorite character on the show.

Eliot gets to the stable just in time to save the con. Foss wires over the money to Sophie and signs what he thinks is a contract of sale. He then goes off to meet Sterling and his investors to show him the horse. As they are walking up to the stall, Sterling drops the bomb that he bought Kentucky Thunder (the horse that won the few days before). In fact, Sterling brought along the horse’s trainer to ID him. The horse they find in the stall is actually the horse that Foss lost in the poker game to Nate. And the paperwork he signed was a new insurance claim for $12 million. Since he insured the horse for only $200,000, he’s going down for insurance fraud and now owes his investors $10 million. Oops. So the team gives the horse back to Willie along with the $12 million to start his own stable where he can own all the horses outright. Eliot and Aimee get a tender moment to say goodbye and I thought it was a great choice to use one of Christian’s own songs “More Than I Deserve” playing over the scene. I had the song but lost it when one of my computers died. I really should find a way to get it back. But it is still a happy-ish parting between them.

Back at HQ, Nate finds Sterling waiting for him. They exchange some barbs about what they did that was clever or messed the other one up. But in the end, Nate didn’t get to screw over the insurance company because the fraud meant they didn’t have the write a check. Sterling warns Nate that he won’t be so nice the next time they meet. Nate doesn’t seem to mind that much since he won’t be nice either. I can’t wait to see Sterling come back to mess with our team. Mark Shepard is just an amazing actor and brings a lot more depth to the Leverage world.

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