December 12, 2012

Episode Review: LEVERAGE, "The Corkscrew Job"

After last week's trip down the rabbit hole, Leverage returned with a more standard outing in "The Corkscrew Job." While it was a far less ambitious installment, it relied on the show's strengths and was a very capable episode.

A migrant worker named Sam Knox fell ill while picking grapes for a local vineyard and ended up dying of heart failure. The owner of the vineyard attempted to silence his family by buying them off. Nate and the Crew decided to do some digging to find out more about the man running the winery, Frank Madigan. Eliot was the man on the ground, and he befriended a woman named Betty who was clearly spooked when he started asking about the man who died. Meanwhile, Hardison, Parker and Sophie were the insiders posing as the vintner, an intern and a influential pourer respectively. The plan was to use Madigan's wine collection, which he used as collateral for the loan he obtained to buy the vineyard, as leverage. Since it contained a priceless Thomas Jefferson bottle, Nate figured the easiest way to get back at Madigan was to prove that his most prized possession was a fake.

Sophie's job was to charm and get close to Madigan while Eliot and Parker did some snooping. During their investigation, they found a mysterious looking liquid that was being used as fertilizer. Once Hardison tested the substance, it was revealed that it was more than likely responsible for causing Sam's heart failure. Unfortunately, their scam ended up putting Betty in danger because she was also collecting evidence to bust the winery, and Madigan's thug caught wiff of her. Eliot went off to find Betty while the rest tried to convince Madigan that his precious bottle was a fake. He even had it tested, and the Crew threw everything they had at it, but somehow it was verified as authentic. Luckily, they were able to save Betty but it looked like Madigan was going to get away.

The con wasn't quite done yet though. Nate posed as a wine collector who was willing to buy the Jefferson bottle. Since Madigan figured the bottle was fake but he payed off the wine auditor to say that it was real, he had no problem getting it off of his hands. Too bad for Madigan, the sell was a sting and he was arrested for fraud even though the Jefferson bottle was in fact real. So, at the end of the day there was enough evidence to take down Madigan and the money from the bottle was used to buy back the winery.

Like I said earlier, "Corkscrew" was another typical episode of Leverage. It had the mustache twirling bad guy who's only motivation was making as much money as possible and the Crew giving him enough rope to hang himself. Pretty simple stuff. But what elevated the episode for me was the fact that it took a look at an industry and community that doesn't get too much attention. Living in Portland, I knew people involved in agriculture and I recognized the stories of migrant workers, so I was happy to see a show like Leverage shine a light on some of the struggles that come along with this kind of work while also acknowledging its adopted city's infrastructure. At the end of the day, "Corkscrew" felt like one of the most Portland-y episodes this season, and I couldn't help but appreciate the effort.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Eliot's ever-changing hair length's a little distracting.
  • Hardison's going to pay for getting all sassy with Parker.
  • Parker: "He's got a very punchable face."
    Eliot: "Yeah, I noticed that."
  • "This vocabulary's not thief friendly."
So, "The Corkscrew Job" wasn't the groundbreaking sort of episode that I've been wanting from Leverage, but it was proof that this show can still be entertaining if it focuses on what it does well and doesn't take shortcuts.


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