Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer TV Rewind: Leverage 1.09: “The Stork Job”

“You think this is the only crappy orphanage in this place? This is a country full of orphans, okay. We can’t save them all. We put these kids in the system and they’re gonna turn out like me.”
- Parker

This episode is going to be very Parker-centric and I’m excited. We start off with the client (a married couple) in Belgrade, Serbia who are demanding to know where their son is. The husband gets beat up pretty badly and then we jump to Leverage HQ where the wife is explaining that she and her husband gave this woman money to do an adoption since US and some other foreign markets wouldn’t allow them to adopt due to the husband’s record. The kid got to spend a week with the couple and Parker can point to all the signs that show he’s an orphan. It is rare we see any real emotion from Parker and this episode, she’s just full of it. It really is heartbreaking but great for character growth. The team heads to Belgrade where the US Embassy is hosting a bit shindig and the woman, Irina, is going to be there. She’s got a colleague (the man who beat up the husband) and he zeros in on Parker. Eliot gets the task of hooking Irina. Hardison, Nate and Sophie hang back at a warehouse nearby to do surveillance type stuff. Apparently Sophie had a run in with the Ambassador and he thinks she’s a princess or something. Oops.

Eliot manages to attract Irina’s attention while Parker is having flashbacks that kind of put her in the video we saw of the little boy they’re trying to find. The man turns out to be a scumbag who sort of turned legitimate and is working with war torn families. Which explains where Irina gets the children for her adoption scam. Parker ends up freaking out and stabs the guy in the shoulder with a fork before diving off the balcony. In the chaos, Eliot feeds Irina a line about him being there to film a small movie and he hooks her (she used to be an actress). So now the gang has to steal a movie in a foreign country. At least they aim big.

Hardison works his magic and gets the director and producer to leave on an indie film so they can take over. Nate is the director and Eliot is the producer. Parker is grumpy because she’s been relegated to script retrieval and coffee runs. Nate still doesn’t trust her not to blow the operation given how emotionally invested she is in this. Sophie is writing a scene for Irina and the team is surprised at how good Sophie is. Nate explains that she can act when she’s grifting. When she’s actually trying to act she sucks. Nate and Eliot start laying the foundation to get the little boy on set by arguing in front of Irina about the actor for the little boy not showing up. Parker follows her after she leaves set and finds not only armed men but all the orphans. It is a really powerful scene as she walks among them, not saying a word with instrumental music playing over it. Things get more complicated though when she sees that not only are they trafficking in children butt they’re working with someone else to sell guns.

Parker kind of panics over the kids and says they can’t save them all and that if they go in the system they’ll all just end up like her. Hardison tries to talk her down, explaining that the woman he called “Nana” is really his foster mom and while she was scary, she also looked out for him. Clearly Parker didn’t have an experience like that. Back at the set, Nate says they will regroup after the get the boy they’re after and then come back and try to get the other kids. They shouldn’t get involved in the gun running guy at all and they are just not in a place to do anything for the kids since they only have a prop truck. Of course that plan isn’t going to go off without a hitch when Parker is around half-cocked and angry. They manage to get the boy out and back to his adoptive parents and then the team has to race off to the orphanage because that’s where Parker is heading. While the gun sale is going on downstairs, Parker is trying to get the kids to go with her by using really bad Serbian. She resorts to just yelling out ice cream and the kids rally. And in an uncharacteristic move for the show, she gets to take down a bad guy in a pretty bad ass fight. Sophie arrives and ushers the kids off to a bus while Eliot takes out one guard. They all pile in and the Serbian guy shows up guns blazing. But we see that Nate and Eliot used the prop guns from the shoot and replaced the real ones. Oh and Hardison then blows up the warehouse with all the money, screwing the guy over.

Parker is still worried about the kids but Nate assures her that he’s already called ahead to the World Health Organization and let them know they are the way. So the kids will be well taken care of. And Irina is going to jail because Hardison’s tech magic sent all the money to her account. A fitting end for her as well. The hag deserved it for what she was doing to those poor kids. Parker thanks Hardison for going after her even though he’s really upset that she could have gotten killed. I forget how sort of sweet and innocent their flirting was back in the beginning. Not that it got crazy or anything later on but it is just so sweet now.

Overall this is was one of the better episodes of the season. It had an interesting con and some great character growth and development for Parker. And yes there were a few funny bits about the team reacting to Sophie’s acting but for the most part, it was serious and well done. Bravo creative team. Oh and if you’re curious, I’d recommend checking out the episodes with commentary. It is always interesting to listen to and learn where the writers come up with their ideas and any time you have Jonathan Frakes on as director, he’s pretty hilarious to listen to.

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