After 40-something episodes, you have a lot of fragments of shattered ideas and blown outlines kicking around. Before he left for Nikita -- a great spy show, by the way, very underrated -- Albert Kim was pitching a weapons dealer episode set at a think tank. There were a lot of great elements to the pitch, the best being the idea of Hardison going undercover as a genius researcher. Hardison, after all, is a genius and creates a lot of the cutting edge technology the team uses. The idea was to show there was a legitimate path he could have taken, but for a variety of circumstances just never did.
The pitch ultimately didn't work, although some of its story shrapnel wound up embedded in finale of that year.
So when Veach came to us to pitch a college research idea, that very attractive character beat resurfaced. College is an even better showcase for what we wanted to explore with Hardison. He is, after all, is a self-segregating geek. We're now in the Age of the Geek, where people like Felicia Day have successful web series, Wil Wheaton has close to 2 million Twitter followers, where the biggest movies of the summer are comic book movies, a video game can sell 25 million copies ... a world where, for example, successful television showrunners will have lunch and trade favorite sci-fi authors and favorite Doctor Who episodes. We don't belong, but the glorious thing is that in the 21st Century there's so many of us that we can all not belong together.
But there's still a tension there. No matter how successful the geek, there's a core of memory, something isolating (not always in a bad way) that drove you into that world of imagination in the first place. Societal norms are strong. My generation of geeks in particular were the ones who grew up outside the mainstream; even though we now are the mainstream, some primitive lizard brain survival instinct makes us twitch just a bit when we approach that invisible line. At the same time some part of me revels in the fact that I can talk about playing Dungeons & Dragons, some inner voice is whispering "What are you doing? THEY'LL KNOW!"
This episode is a parallel to "The 15 Minutes Job." In the same way we explored how fame's siren call is irresistible, we look at how "being cool" is equally irresistible if you grew up as an outsider. Of course the timeline is radically compressed -- it originally took place over a series of weeks, during Hardison's vetting and initiation, paralleled by Eliot's incarceration -- but that just wound up being way to goddam costly.
The original pitch had Parker also being affected more by the temptation of blending in. In the long run we realized that she would be immune. She had no frame of reference and so was, in her own way, innoculated against such a specific example of conformity. I don't think Parker wants to be normal. She just wants to be normal enough. We also played around with a lovely beat -- how she sees art -- that may surface later. All the parts of the buffalo, kids.
Eliot's story was originally set up as a nice counterpoint to what we developed as a Hardison episode. But TV shows are organic things; what read in the outline as "cool & interesting" became in the script "holy shit." Eliot's in a unique place this year. He's arrived at a new status, and this year is when we explore how he feels about that. Eliot's arc is always a little ahead of everyone else's, as he made his first major moral decision -- to transform from killer to retrieval specialist -- off-screen and pre-Season One. He's a guidepost this year, representative of someplace the penitent may arrive at. I'd put Eliot's speeches (and Kane's choices in them) against any big classic drama this year.
Marc Roskin shot the hell out of Reed College, and you can hear much more about the set design and set choices on the podcast. The first podcast is unique in that it's actually an excerpt of the DVD commentary. The following one is our more traditional "10 Questions" podcast.
Right, anything else I'd like to say is probably handled in the questions, so off we go ...
@Kim Henry: Hey, when is the gang going to steal a dog show? I would LOVE to see Eliot having to run a poodle :)
Only network shows can afford dogs. And I am not joking. They're $3k a day. Kids are cheaper. Infants are cheaper.
@KaraCaputo1: The Prisoner's Dilemma. And Zilgram like Milgram??
@Doc: Wait a minute. Did you get the name Zilgram by combining Zimbardo and Milgram?
Precisely. To summarize what Veach has drawn on here --
The Prisoner's Dilemma: Classic game theory
Milgram: Designed the "zap a stranger" Obedience to Authority experiment. And kind of invented Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, btw.
Zimbardo: The Stanford Prison Experiment, where college students were assigned the roles of guards and prisoners in a lab built in the University basement (ahem). The situation descended into sadism and chaos within three days. Zimbardo's done a lot of constructive, positive work in his 50 year career, and this experiment is sometimes used to malign him. His book The Lucifer Effect is quite good, IMHO.
@Nooch said: Loved the ep! The responses Eliot gave when being "interrogated" (wanna know what food was on their breath?), were these "true" Eliot responses drawn from his past experiences or "scripted" for the con? I know what I think...just want to see if I'm right.
Oh, that's Eliot opening the door and letting us see into the room Where You Do Not Go.
@Lizzy said: Will what the interrogator said to Eliot ever come back to haunt him? I feel like all the characters have able have multiple showings of emotional imbalance and I REALLY want to see a vulnerable Eliot.
Eliot's been through his own long journey. That guy was not in any way going to shake him. Eliot's vulnerability is his connection with his new, odd family. You will never see weepy Eliot. You will never see Eliot running in his poncy nightshirt through the woods because his bone claws just came in. Eliot's job is to protect everyone, no matter what. Imagine how that feels. That's vulnerable enough.
@Hugin: 1.) I'm sure it will be revealed, but why didn't the team take down the CIA guy? My guess was that he's too well-protected, but to not even try to find the recordings seems a bit out of character for Nate. 2.) I would also like to say thanks for the policewoman.
1.) A man's got to know his swing. In this case, it was better to use the CIA's leverage against the bad guy than to pick that particular fight. The Leverage crew is a player in CrimeWorld, but they're not willing to go head to head with that bunch. Think Stainless Steel Rat -- move between the empty spaces in the infrastructure. 2.) Thank Veach, and actress Val Lundrum.
@Ally said... That was awesome. Bloody brilliant is all I'm going to say. The split perspective of Hardison and Eliot was really nice--it really added to the entire character dynamic. Again, Nate is astonishingly clever.
1. Are we going to see ramifications of "I spent x days in hell, while you played computer games and hung out with your preppy buds" in the future? We did see a little in the ep, but will there be more?
2. Just how many people has Eliot killed?
3. a. What agency was Sophie's character from? b. Who was the other lady? I'm sure I was supposed to recognize her. c. How did they get her to go along with their con?
4. What does Hardison's CIA file say?
5. Does the rest of the team have scary CIA files? And if yes, what do they say?
6. Like I said before, Nate is scary how smart he is. Was the prisoner's dilemma mind-trick thingy the plan all along? I assume it is, because that's just how smart these guys are.
7. Is Conrad a new big bad?
1.) No. Leverage is designed to be primarily stand alone. And Eliot cuts Hardison a fair bit of slack.
2.) You will never know that.
3.a.) She put herself out as an investigative reporter, then switched over to "unnamed agency" to convince b.) New character Detective Grayson to go along with the con, because c.) Detective Grayson very very much wanted that spoiled, rich sociopathic little shit to take the fall for what he'd done. Assume she convinced Detective Grayson during their coffee date.
4.) In RL, it's chuffah text, not meant to be read. In the Leverage-verse it's quite fascinating reading. It includes their attempts at recruiting him years ago, and his qualification for the now disgraced Zero Protocols. Which is a curious conicidence considering Eliot actually has ...never mind.
5.) Not so scary. And that would be telling.
@MichaelRay: Excellent episode. Only 1 question, what are the 7 different 'whups'(sp)?
We will endeavor to list all of them before the end of the series.
@Allie: Speaking of, I have a question about Parker, I know at times she has trouble feeling empathy, clearly in the case of the psych study and the electric shocks, though she does in fact have it, if only seen on rare occasions (see 1x06). But what would she be classified as? A functioning sociopath, somewhat akin to Sherlock Holmes? Or is not so much sociopathic behavior but rather a symptom of her (according to many dvd commentaries) Aspergers?
I think Parker's a perfect blend of nature and nurture. Emo Parker could not have become "Parker", and Parker integrated into society at an early age would not be a great thief. A great something else, perhaps, but not a thief.
@Sprite said: What a wonderful episode! A shirtless Hardison is always nice, do we get a shirtless Eliot this season too?d I do like how everyone is very much working as a team and the juxtiposition of Hardison's situation with Eliot's was very well done. I like the set up for the long con, I'm hoping to see the investment guy somehow involved in the take down. Now, were those real CIA files? or planted somehow?
CIA files were real. It was a way of showing that although ordinarily their cover stories would hold up, the Marks' connections made him a real, viable threat.
@workworkwork: 1.) You've mentioned in past postings that Eliot has 'agreements' with some 'men in suits'. Will any of those agreements kick in (or get cancelled) as part of the blowback for this job? 2.) Also, Parker is getting really good at the undercover work!
1.) Nope. They're a different department, and frankly don't mind seeing the CIA take one in the shins. 2.) If you're cool with interchanging "seductive" and "terrifying" at random, then yes, she's awesome.
@Unknown said: Not a specifically episode related question, but some of the Parker/Hardison moments in this did remind me of the niggling question: What exactly is the state of Hardison and Parker at this time? Are they actually dating?As much as anyone in their situation could be, anyway. Sometimes I think they are, but other things just confuse me.
They're not seeing anybody else, but are kind of feeling around the edges of "dating." As you've seen, Parker's understanding of "dates" is pretty odd. There's a bit of frustration going on here, which you'll see discusse din "The Boys Night Out Job".
@PurpleOps: NICE episode. (Alright, nice is probably the wrong word, as there was a lot of ugliness abounding, but you know what I mean.) Loved the nickname HP for Hardison; quite apropos. (Never mind that it's also Hardison-Parker...) Nice callback to Sophie's wine-tasting experiences. 1.) Was Eliot Hall in honor of our favorite ex-military man? 2.) My two complaints about this episode were both in the scene where Hardison is abducted. Would the villain really leave the CIA file on the floor? And it seemed the only reason for Hardison to have removed his earbud at that particular juncture is to provide Eliot with a sequence (which was admittedly interesting) to turn the tables on his torturer. Both bits seemed a bit too convenient. Other than that, superb writing!
1.) No, coincidence. That's a real building. 2.) The file was dropped during the struggle, which was cut. And Hardison removing his earbud was quite specifically so he could have that conversation with Parker -- we've managed to fuzz the earbud GPS in other episodes, we didn't need to have him take it out just for the plot point. To tell the truth, I find the Parker rescue much more satisfying then the Eliot scene. That may well be because the confessional Eliot scene is such a hard act to follow. But everyone salts to taste, you know?
@Zee-Zee: So, now that my suspicions of Sophie and Eliot have for the most part been confirmed that they were both pretty darn close to being super spys; who is the higher ranking officer? I know different countries have different rank systems (sorta) but I was just wondering, Is Eliot higher up in the ranks or is it Sophie because she knew about the stars and bars trick from Three days of the hunter but Eliot is the go to Military man. Love the show and can't wait for more!
Eliot served his country in an official status. Sophie only ever ran across spies in her grifting career, and may have done some back-scratching favors back in Europe. Assume that's how Sophie and Tara met. Although do remember that Tara was the one who owed Sophie the favor ...
@Nekussa said: 1.) "Here we go." I'm looking forward to finding out where this long term plan of theirs is going! That was a nice beat at the end with Nate and Eliot drinking as peers. 2.) How did they get that lady cop to go along with the scam? Or is that to be revealed later? Does she talk to Bonnano? 3.)Did the homeless veterans' shelter receive a large monetary donation from mysterious sources after all this was over and done with? ;)
1.) That was an improv on Tim's part. Assume it's meant to indicate a night of bonding between the men. 2.) Sure, I like that. She talked to Bonanno. Oh, and hot coffee date. 3.) They got a whole new building.
@Craig: Something I want to know. If Parker and Eliot were on a mission together and had a moment where they had to kiss for the purpose of the mission. Would they actually do it or would it be too weird?
They would absolutely do it. The mission's the mission. They'd have less of a problem than some of the other combos.
@monilyn89 said: I loved the Episode. I really enjoyed Eliot taking the upper hand in the interrogation. I'm wonderign if we will see Eliot displaying side effects of this 'study'. Either through him trying to regain his internal sleep cycles or Nate confronting him about some tidbit of information he learned? Thanks for creating a show with such well developed characters that we truly care what happens to them.
As noted before -- consistency, not continuity. We're a standalone show. And thanks for being such passionate fans. I think about 50% of the emotional guts of the show is manufactured from the heat of your fevered brains.
@meanderling: How much of the psych experiments in this ep were based on real life? I know that they do sleep dep experiments (I saw a poster for one on my campus, actually...now that kind of creeps me out...), but would a psych department really keep a small prison in its basement for that purpose? I understand CIA funding does make a lot of things go away, but that seems to stretch the line a bit. Also, are electric shocks still approved for psych tests?
If you go back and rewatch, listen to the conversation on the bridge, when they dump the body. They specifically mention moving the experiments out to "the farm" the building the fraternity owns off-campus. That said, I am as always genuinely touched by you people's belief in authority.
Why there's no way money or influence would cover up unethical experiments run by powerful students at the behest of a national intelligence organization. That's as ludicrous as the idea of covering up a decades long pedophile ring for something as ridiculous as, say, football.
@Susannah: Questions: 1) Did the team expect them to find Eliot’s file and catch on to Hardison’s deception? That’s sort of what I assumed when it happened, but by the end I wasn’t so sure. Shouldn’t Hardison have been able to prevent that if he’d wanted to, or was this a level of CIA file that he simply doesn’t have access to? 2) Why did the team let the big bad CIA guy go? I mean, the kid was rotten, but taking down a 22-year-old college student, even if he’s a well-connected college student, isn’t exactly their greatest triumph. And taking the kid down while letting the guy with the real power who was actually pulling the strings get off seems a bit … well … toothless. Are they setting up the CIA guy to take him down later? I didn’t really understand the implication of Nate’s call with him the end. I’m worrying now that I’ve forgotten important arc stuff from the first half of the season and my confusion is the fault of the hiatus.
1.) Hard copies are a bitch. Our guys are good, not omniscient. That's why Eliot is on the team. 2.) Taking down the kid meant taking down his friends and, probably, the entire chummy recruiting fraternity. That was enough of a punch for the CIA to feel it. But not enough to get them out of their chair, as my grandfather would say.
@Oona: One complaint - I have to say that Parker seemed a bit OOc delivering her you're a geek badass speech to pump Hardison up. Maybe it was her look (which was beautiful but very unParker) or the delivery of all those "thingies" in the speech, but I literally lost the character of Parker there for a bit and it was like I was watching BR play someone else. Don't ever do that again people!
Nope, that's in character. You can tell because it's right there in the script. (with apologies to Steven Bochco) That was Parker's attempt at being supportive.
@JoellaBlue: Welcome back! It's been a longish wait but very much well worth it. As my dad is a VietNam vet, this episode struck closer to home than any of the others. I'm glad the plight of vets past and present was brought into the forefront-thank you ... I wasn't clear on how they were able to get the CIA guy to play along as well as the cop. She was in the 15 Minutes Job where the mark confessed to the hit and run yes? Once again welcome back; I am thankful for Leverage.
The CIA knows when to cut its losses.
@firelizardkimi: Okay, question. After watching all of the DVD commentaries (is it even really watching?), I am aware that all of the episodes are based in fact. How much of this episode is based in fact?
See above. And you can find some very interesting stories about CIA recruiting out of upscale Ivy League fraternities without much effort.
@antisocialbutterflies: One question, I am unsure of the legal precedent but it seems like the lady detective participating in the fake interrogation might provide cause to drop some charges. From a character perspective it seems rational given her earlier sentiments so it isn't a question of her participating but it seems like something a lawyer might bring up in court proceedings. I realize that the CIA bigwig probably made it all go away to cover his tail but I thought I'd ask anyways.
The main point of the con was to get the CIA guy to realize that Zilgram was more trouble than he was worth, and would flip when pressured. Once that protection was lifted, all the suppressed previous evidence would come into play. Not to mention, yes, the CIA coverup. It's really not hard to put people in jail, particularly when their crazy story is base don being arrested by fake homeless cops.
@Kate said: This was tremendous. I was frustrated when Eliot's prints returned a file that included Hardison as a known associate, because that seemed much too sloppy for our intrepid band. But based on Nate's "here we go," is it safe to assume that the entire file was a plant? (One that probably didn't include other known associates like, say, Sophie and Parker and Tara, whose pictures I don't believe we saw?) Also, at what point in the con did the team shift from an end goal of Mr. Connor withdrawing his protection to an end goal of taking out Mr. Connor altogether? Or am I misreading the play at the end?
Hmm, I think you guys are reading a bit too much into empty space. Our CIA friend may return, but this was just a case of the team running into the outer limits of information cover-up.
@Karina: In the show The Equalizer (which I find Leverage similar too in concept), the title character advertised in the classifieds to spread word of his services. How do people find about The Team?
Ah, new viewer! We've discussed this in the past. Let me go pull that questions AND the answer:
@Tom Galloway: One minor hitch in the fun train; I got the impression that the miner came to the team, not them finding out about the problem and contacting him. So now random folk from small, usually socially isolated, backwoods towns 500 or so miles away known about the Leverage crew and how to contact 'em? These guys are almost as easy to find as the A-Team! : -)
This is funny, because I had lunch with the fabulously talented and amusing Matt Nix the other day, and as we genially gave each other shit about our shows, the clients finding the Leverage team was one of his bugaboos. However, he admired it: "'How did you find the team?' Who gives a shit? We're Leverage! 'Why do you trust these people?' WHO GIVES A SHIT?! WE'RE LEVERAGE!" At the same time, if I had to write what he had to write every week, I'd put a gun in my mouth. "Michael, my Yoga instructor's second cousin's niece got involved with meth dealers. You have to help her."
We actually did, way back when, write an explanation of how Leverage found the clients. It was in "Homecoming", where Hardison explained how his new tech setup scoured legal aid websites, headlines, etc, for potential clients, then contacted them through proxies. Not sure if it ever made it on the air.
To tell you the truth, Matt's right -- who gives a shit? Our job as pulp writers is to deliver you the most interesting moments from the case of the week. We dug in early that we'd never reveal the client process, for both that reason -- it's boring -- and for a larger philosophical reason. We always wanted the audience members to feel like, at any time, the Leverage team could swoop in and help them. Details in this case would accomplish nothing but disillusionment.
Back. One of the things I dig about Person of Interest is how they totally short-circuited that problem by creating "the machine" which spits out "the number." Ordinarily I despise the J.J. Abrams Mystery Box stuff, but having wrestled with that bear for going on five years I can't help but admire the elegance of their solution. As I've said on Twitter, Person of Interest is like Leverage's very serious younger brother, while Revenge is our punky younger sister. Both worth your time. (And Psych is our brother from another mother.)
@SueN.: My question, 1.) did Eliot leave his fingerprints on that taser on purpose? It seemed a bit careless, especially in contrast to his care in not touching the glass. And he did obviously give in and let the guy tase him. If so, then was Zilgram supposed to get the team's files? 2.) And were those files real, or fabricated by Hardison? I really loved the final scene with Nate and Eliot, two professionals, two equals, and two scary men.
1.) Nope. Not omniscient. 2.) Real files.
@Murphy: This episode wasn't the typical "find a mark, do a con, get the bad guy" episode, but I think it was really great. Even though it wasn't quite the typical setup we've gotten used to after three and a half seasons, I really liked the way you portrayed Eliot and Hardison here. There were moments where Eliot seriously sent chills down my spine (good chills, of course) and Hardison managed his geektastic-cool great. Parker's mini pseudo pep-talk had me chortling. She's a doll. Anyway, no questions this time around, but fantastic job on the episode. Kudos to all!
I have to admit, one of the reasons we're breaking format is that we really, really don't want there to be too many "typical" Leverage episodes. A movie a week, even if sometimes the movie is weird.
@Raksha: I know this probably says something unpleasant about me, but I find Miserable Bastard Nate delightful! When he was practically taunting Zilgram (that was the kid's name, yes?) with his impending prison sentence during the "game" in class, I was clapping my hands with glee. I have a feeling it's going to bite poor ol' Nate in the ass, but I'm going to enjoy his bastardry while it lasts.
I'm partial to bastard Nate. I believe those are Tim's favorite beats, too. Really, you can never do the Chandler quote enough times. Just assume it's stapled to the inside of my eyelids.
@IMForeman I also immediately thought of Dr. P Venkman's Study of Negative Reinforcement on Psychic Ability. So, I have a question - was this a Ghostbusters reference (or nod, I guess), or are you both just doing your take on the Milgram study?
Milgram, but I wish I'd thought of the Ghostbusters reference.
@Calla: I would like to see Eliot in a situation where he does actually get tortured - not because I'm sadistic, but because I don't think we've see Eliot come anywhere near close to his real limits and, without having a flashback episode (which you've said you don't like) having something in the present that would showcase his training, what he's had to endure, what his tricks are for not breaking... I don't know - I think it would be interesting. Interesting like the episode of Firefly where Mal and Wash we taken prisoner and Zoe had to negotiate their release. I just think it would be interesting to see him really pushed to that point.
I'm not familiar with Firefly.
Kidding. That was such an odd little character episode, though, even for that show. I don't think we'll ever have something along those lines. And to tell the truth, I'm just not sure you'll ever beat "There are FOUR LIGHTS!"
@Anonymous: Could there please be more Nate/Sophie interaction because 5-second-long scenes are nothing, they don't contribute to any character or relationship development. They barely share any scenes at all. If I didn't know any BTS information I'd think you're phasing Sophie and Nate out of the show because it seems like everything has been about Parker, Hardison and Eliot lately, and by 'lately' I mean since you made Sophie leave in the middle of season 2. They don't seem crucial to the show anymore because you give a lot more air time and significant scenes to other characters and dynamics. I don't feel like it's the show I fell in love with anymore. The writing for Sophie and Nate has been very weak lately. What's the deal?
... you know what? This is kind of fascinating. I'll do a separate blog post on it.
@allison: 1.) I really expected Eliot and his army of homeless guys to be going after Hardison. Was it really in the plan for Parker to go in by herself, or did she just take off? Oddly, I was expecting Eliot as long as Hardison was holding his own, but once he was on the floor getting his ass kicked, in that last split second I knew it was going to be Parker. And of course it was awesome. 2.) Also, exactly how nice did Sophie have to be to that cop? :) 3.) Surely by the end the cop didn't believe Sophie was a novelist anymore, did she? Who does she think Sophie is?
1.) The day Parker can't handle a half-dozen soft frat boys is a sad day indeed. Nate called an audible, and Eliot went into con mode. 2.) As nice as you need her to have been to continue watching the show. 3.) She believes that Sophie works for ... somebody. Frankly, she didn't ask too many questions. Rich guy's neck to punch!
@Faltenin: I really loved the parallel deep dives into two worlds that couldn't be further apart, from the scandalous treatment of so many of those that went to fight for our liberties, to the secret societies of the rich and powerful... And of course the KISS! a great smooch that could only come when Parker is playing a role! Had to suspend belief for a few mns though at the end, where somehow all these sleep-deprived homeless guys happen to find uniforms and participate in a con in the midst of lots over powerful secret service guys, with no prep, but also that a real cop would play along, putting her career on the line for a wild bet on timing (that the kid would state he'll give up the CIA dude just the minute he's watching, etc
The con was being set up from Day One, so consider it more of a payoff than a flier. And again, you people's faith in authority is touching.
@msd said: So Eliot has a limit when it comes to tequila shots? I guess it is the price to pay for making sure a professor is "under the weather". I thought the hangover treatment scene with Eliot and Sophie (giving him aspirin) was great!
Tequila's not a drink, its a drug. The only thing I can't drink, although Kane did an admirable job of schooling me when we were shooting the pilot.
@Nekussa: I know Christian choreographs his own fights, but does he also help with fight scenes he isn't in?
Depends on his availability for shooting. But yes, often.
@Karl: Really liked the episode overall, but the incident with the blankets felt off. It seems like by bringing in the blankets/jackets, the vets were set up for abuse they wouldn't have otherwise gotten for the sake of getting tape of the frat guys rushing and beating them to determine the source. Was additional explanation cut for time?
No, the blankets were rigged hoping to get more evidence. Nate didn't anticipate the bonanza of assholery he got.
@Mai: Would love to see more of Val Landrum aka Lady Cop aka Detective Grayson. Nice touch on the lesbian bit!
You've already seen her in "The Girls Night Out Job." She'll be back.
@Jessa: Did Eliot really eat the raw eggs when he was supposedly hungover?
Kane ate them, yes.
@Kate: One other loose end for me: the first indication we had of the guys beating up vets was in the video at the end. It felt like that was supposed to be a doctored video based on the way they beat up Hardison - meaning he had a button cam on, recorded it, then spliced it into shots from the prisoner button cam POV. But I can't find any support for that in the episode, other than my gut. Am I imagining things, or did something get cut for time that would have explained that?
Nope, abusive video from the thugs in the basement. Yeah, that could have been clearer in the edit, now that you mention it. Our bad.
@Lina: 1.) What made Parker wave the white flag? 2.) What was Nate looking at? 3.) Weren't the boxers unusually large? I somehow think they are usually smaller. 4.) Why did everyone get a coat except Eliot? 5.) Not episode related, but do you think you'll ever do the #315 & #316 Post games?
1.) She knew that even though Hardison handled that badly, she didn't exactly cover herself in glory, either. They were both going to apologize. 2.) Don't understand the question, sorry. 3.) They need to be ... large. For standards and practices. Let's leave it at that. 4.) Eliot is warmed by his rage. 5.) Yes, eventually. At some point you'll have an almsot complete record of making a TV show over 5 years.
1. Was the exterior of the college Reed College? Did you actually get to shoot inside, or was that a separate location?
2. Was Psychology purposely mispelled?
3. Parker is only shown picking up and looking at the CIA file - whatever happened to Hardison's earbud?
4. Did Parker lift anything (and maybe put it back for fun) while she and Hardison were at the party? Temptation was everywhere...
5. What was the rock music they were blasting during the experiment? Was it Alice in Chains?
6. If Parker hadn't brought the coats yet, what was Eliot huddling under when his teeth were chattering?
1.) Yes and Yes. The basements were built sets, though.
2.) Um, sure? 3.) Knocked aside in the scuffle.
4.) I'll say yes, because it delights me.
5.) I think a Joe LoDuca special.
6.) The coat he wore when he came in.
@Anonymous: Very entertaining liberties with student research. I enjoyed the echoes of Tuskegee, Milgram and the like, but honestly, you stretch the ledger element pretty hard in this one -- ever heard of human subjects review boards and faculty advisors? Doc students wouldn't have the liberties our little villain did, much less an undergraduate. That said, it was a dandy episode and he was a great villain. The Eliot and Hardison elements were a treat (who chose the stripey boxers?) Now, to the question: I assume all the HP stuff was largely product placement, you having sold out to Microsoft fter having maintained loyalty to the far superior Apple the first seasons. But is there also any in-joke associated with Steve Jobs having attended Reed College, where you filmed?
Oh, you kids and your faith in authority. HP was for "Harry Potter", btw. And no I didn't even know Jobs went to Reed until he passed away.
@Hugin: How did Elliot manage to have enough battery life for a week without a recharge?
He carries spares. No, you got me.
@zeyneb: 1.) Why didn’t Parker bring Eliot a jacket? I was disappointed that we did not get that scene, would have loved Parker being nice to Eliot. 2.)Was there a speech of evil in this episode that I missed? We never got to hear why this guy was doing this – unless he was a psychopath? He was thinking that he was coming up with better methods for getting information out of people right? In that case this brings me to my next question… 3.) Why was the CIA hiding the guy and protecting him? I am sure the CIA has better people with better degrees to figure out how to get information out of people, and more secret locations to torture them? Not that I am for secret societies and stuff but wasn’t there a decent human being among them to rat out what was happening to someone? I mean at first I just thought that it was music and the cold but then we saw the university students beating up the test subjects – not everyone in this world is evil? And if these so called “dust men” do grow up to be high position people in the world secret organizations, isn’t some of them – I don’t know good? Believe in good? Don’t we still believe in 007? Thank you again for a great episode!!
1.) Again, limited time, and Eliot is warmed by his rage. 2.) I am ... genuinely kind of at a loss of how to explain to you why bad people do bad things. Everybody who does bad things thinks they're doing it for good reasons -- well most of them. He's selfish, and privileged, and just doesn't care about people who aren't like him. Why do some insurance companies pull your policy as soon as you need it? Why do execs at food industries put spoiled products on the market? How can a guy who works for a bank that took hundreds of millions in government bailout money walk past a mom who works two jobs to pay her mortgage and shout "Get a job!" in her face? Why would people not just commit fraud to foreclose on mortgages, but also throw a costume party mocking those homeowners? Sometimes people are just shitty. And when they're also powerful, bad stuff happens. 3.) Organizations sometimes don't make good choices. There's a long list of dubious ideas that the CIA, among others, have pursued in the name of national security. And people in those organizations, in ANY organization, tend to obey the norms of their peers.
Don't I believe in 007? I guess not. I believe in Robin Hood. I'm not sure I can reconcile the two.
@Jessa: Did Eliot kill the guy who was interrogating him? Or was he just very beat up?
Beat up. Eliot doesn't kill any more if he doesn't have to.
@Rider3: I'd like to know who the guy was that they kept reflecting on near the end. He was in the food line, he was with the CIA agent at the police station, and he was also in another spot. I didn't get why that guy was important. Thanks!
It was just our way of showing that Eliot had recruited his fellow homeless inmates into the final con.
@allyone: 1) Did Nate pick up something for his tool chest listening in on Eliot and the interrogator? 2) Was everyone listening in on Eliot, cause we only saw Nate and then Hardison briefly when he was in Nate's apartment?
1.) No, those are Eliot's tools. Don't borrow them. They'll cut your hands. 2.) No, just those two.
@Seph: 1) I'm so very curious, when Eliot snarled back that there's seven "whoompa whoompa" that he knows, was he pulling Hardison's leg with a random number, or does he really know seven helicopter/motor blade sounds? 2) When they tried matching Eliot's fingerprint and came back with a file, was that something Hardison planted in the past for cases just like this, or was that really Eliot Spencer's file? If it was a fake file, how could they link him to Hardison? If it was the real deal... Shouldn't they have taken better precautions?
1.) He knows more than 7. Those are just the "whumpa" sub-category. 2.) Mentioned above.
@Miette: Shouldn't The Girls Night Out Job be the 4x11? You stated before in the post game 4x3 post. Any reason why changing?
Shooting order shifted from script order due to actor availabilities. No big deal.
@David Hunt: No question, but I would say your explanation of Parker and Hardison is pretty well thought out. You're right on this: "....I remember Rogers saying that the answers to questions about the sexuality and activities of the characters was always…whatever answer that makes you watch the show more. I expect that the answer to the question regarding just how “nice” Sophie was to that cop would follow those lines as well."
@Rachael: My questions about that are, 1) Will we be seeing anymore of Eliot’s darkness in upcoming episodes? (vague question, yes, but I’m fishing for a spoiler). 2) Who’s decision was it to not show the rest of the team reacting when Eliot gave his epic answer about all the people he’s killed? It was established that the others could hear him the whole time (unless I missed something), but there were no camera cuts in that scene. (Which I loved, and wouldn’t change for anything, but was there a specific mentality behind it?) 3) Eliot totally killed that guy, right? (And, unless “No” is somehow relevant to future episodes, please say yes). 4.)You’ve established (either in this blog, in the commentaries, or both – I can’t quite remember) that Nate and Eliot knew each other before the crew became a crew. And not just in a ‘Nate used to chase him because it was his job’ kind of way, but that they’ve worked together. Are we ever going to see flashbacks of that nature? Or even just have them talking about it?
1.) Yes, although in a more considered way. 2.) Marc Roskin, and I like that choice. 3.) I've got to dig in and say no. 4.) You might, in S5.
@Ryuu: Can I dare to hope we'll see more of Detective Greyson? It's kind of nice seeing queer characters in my genre shows/outside of specifically queer media.
She's already recurred, and I hope to use her more often.
@julie: Are you going to put the outtakes on the DVD that Beth has been tweeting about ? Not just from this episode but the ones she apologized to Christian about for having to do so many takes. And would it be possible to put some at the end of the episode during the credits ? They're great when they act weird in the show, but it's awesome when they mess up the takes. :) Thank You
We put a chunk on the DVD. Not all, but many. With our credits squeezed we decided not to do the post-credits flubs.
@Devinoch: Has a "theme" been picked for the fifth season yet? Here's your opportunity to say something horrifically cruel and cryptic - which I know you love. :)
@briddie: I want to know how the writers came up with Eliot's speech. Most of it was pretty much what I would've expected, but "wanna know what food was on their breath?" was just brilliant. Creepy, but brilliant.
I imagine Veach did what most writers do: stare at the blank page until drops of blood appear on our foreheads.
@Anonymous: I wasn't cheering when Eliot beat up the interrogator. I was feeling grossed out and thinking, well, this is an unusually morally ambiguous Leverage episode... because it looked like we were out to stop the torturers, but then we become the monster we're trying to stop....
Yes, there is a difference of degree between torturing innocent folks and torturing creepy experimental interrogators, but to me, Eliot's violence was his trauma emerging, not a moment of triumph. In a paradoxical sense, for that moment, the bad guys won.
Because this is the Leverage team. These people have Sherlock Holmes levels of insight, as proven many times throughout this very episode. So don't tell me that Sophie or Nate couldn't speedily intuit/logic where this bunch of frat boys had taken Hardison. Don't tell me that Parker, who was very close by, couldn't notice her friend being smuggled, hooded, out of a college dorm at gunpoint... or that, at least, she couldn't track/trace signs of that kidnapping... again, in a very public building on a public campus. Eliot had other, morally sounder options for finding Hardison. He just didn't take them.
I'll admit, we went back and forth on that beat a lot in the writers room. I was very personally uncomfortable with it, as any professional will tell you torture doesn't work. We had to for a while pretend otherwise in this country so that we could politely ignore the fact that we were doing things we executed Japanese soldiers for doing in World War II. If we didn't ignore it, then we had to face the uncomfortable idea that we'd let a few crazy people into the top tier.
(NOTE: Do not take this as an invitation to send me "we got crucial information" quotes from the War on Terror. Because then I'll have to send you the "We could have got it other ways, a lot of it was a waste of time, and we ruined our rep internationally" quotes, and then we've both wasted an afternoon)
In the end, we went with the idea that Eliot is a man who deals in very precise amounts of violence, and this is the way he'd get the quickest answer. Its not the choice Nate would have made, or Sophie, but it's the choice Eliot made. And to a great degree the fact that's in his toolbox is one of the things he tries to live down every day.
@Anonymous: When Parker was going into the lab how did she see the graph with the numbers to the combination? Hardison-specialized glasses?
Nope, she can tell what numbers you're pushing by reading your elbow movement from behind. You can actually do this. Cool trick once you learn how.
@Geek Girl: Just one question from an editing geek girl... Was "The Experimental Job" edited in Final Cut Pro X??? There were some pretty distinct "X-ish" looking effects.
There's still no good workflow for Red for Final Cut X. We're sticking with Final CUt Pro for now. That problem may be solved by the start fo S5.
@Denny S. Bryce: ... Love Parker and Hardison. Just promise me you won't break my heart with these two, or Eliot, or Sophie or Nate. After some brutal days with Buffy, I appreciate watching a show that has tested my heart strings beautifully, but no grinding it into dust...promise (but then again you writers live to torture your characters:) Sorry this is so long...took me three days to get up the courage to post.
Why would need to get your courage up? We type like everybody else, one leg after the other. Wait, no.
I'm not Joss Whedon (for better or worse) as we've discussed in previous posts. On the other hand, I do so love Blake's 7 ...
@Anonymous: My question: Parker seemed more grown up in the last eps but acts now more "childish" like she did it in the beginng. Why?
Hmm, just a one-off for dealing with her emotions in a way she wasn't prepared for. It's always half writing, half Beth making a choice, for Parker.
@Dr. Matt: @jamoche: The best outcome for the pair is for both to stay mute. The way the situation is usually presented, the best outcome for an individual is if they squeal while the other stays mute. Nate-as-professor is right about what the game-theory math says: if you assume that the other person has made their choice, then regardless of what it is you're better off talking than not talking.
Hardison's response about "superrationality" comes from Douglas Hofstadter's columns about the Prisoner's Dilemma from Scientific American in the early 80s (and hence the name-check of "Hofstadter's Theorem"): if we assume that rational people in the same situation should come to the same decision, then the real choice is between "(we both) talk" and "(we both) stay silent", and the latter is a better outcome.
Wow, you got the Hofstader reference. Damn.
@Liza: Question 1: What are the teams view on Nate and Sophies relationship? (We never got a very clear answer on the show)Question 2: Does Eliot have a thing for Tara?
1.) Mostly "about damn time" amused. It's a train wreck, but it's their train wreck, if you get my meaning. 2.) Everybody has a little thing for Tara.
@Riley7: Not trying to diss the plot or anything, but how come Parker and Eliot are never in a situation where they have to pretend to be a couple? I mean I guess it does make sense because there is the whole Parker and Hardison thing, but it just seemed a little unrealistic that it would never happen.
There are many, many jobs happening off-screen you do not see, and you may well see that pairing someday. But as we've discussed before, Eliot's job is to keep the exits clear, and that usually means a solo/periphery role for him.
@Stick: I'm aware "a dwarf, an elf and a thing with a tail" is primarily a reference to dwarves, elves and however you spell the knockoff Tieflings in WoW, but... The Fell's Five connection still made me smile. (Also, the one telling Hardison this was the innocent sociopath thief who's been know to accidentally stab people.) I'd love to see you talk a bit about the D&D comic here, but I suspect your workload is near-lethal as it is.
I may do so in a blog post soon. Thanks for the plug, though.
@USRaider: A brilliant resumption of the season with "The Experimental Job." My PhD wife, who knows something about collegiate experiments, brought up the factor that such a project would have to go through an IRB, but bought that the CIA would somehow be able to circumvent that protocol. She also was a bit stunned when I pointed out previous American government experiments (the A bomb, Agent Orange, etc.) that a supposed "free society" has done on its people in the past.
1) What would happen if there was one member of our squad that was not available for duty? For example, if Parker wasn't available for some reason, who would do the thief work? While they have been able to adapt, to have an entirely new person step into an area that they lack expertise might be dangerous.
2) Why involve the female detective at all at the end? Nate and the crew could have just as well set the situation up for the kid to turn on Conrad, so it seemed it was unnecessary.
3) We now have two figures that have their crosshairs on the team. As this season is about consequences (and it looks as though there are some severe ones on the horizon), how will the team recover?
4) Might be a silly question, but was it intentional to set up the secret society party and the homeless shelter in such stark difference?
5) A Sophie driven con would be good for Christmas!
1.) You get to see variations on this theme in "Girls Night Out" and "Boys Night Out Job".
2.) We needed to show that he'd be sucked back into the process/investigation already established, so we didn't have to set up a new one at the end. Also, cool lesbian detective. So, why not?
3.) They're resilient. They could even bounce back from, say, a shocking death ...
4.) That's some mighty fine directing by Marc Roskin.
5.) You actually get one, precisely on Christmas!
@CGI Yoda: Unrelated question: Does the bartender at McRory's know what Nate and the gang do (like Eddie in Hustle)?
Yes. The entire local CrimeWorld is aware.
@Staffan: Speaking of the elf/dwarf/draenei comment... isn't Hardison Horde? Or was that just the guy he pretended to be when infiltrating an office back in the day?
No, he's Horde. I think she may have been referring to League of Legends.
@ZettaComposer: Great episode! Is Parker rescuing Hardison going to be a recurring thing? First a grave, now a fraternity/secret organization.
Not a recurring thing, more a byproduct of my near-ironclad rule that we don't put our female characters in damsel-in-distress situations. Makes my skin crawl.
@Anna: 1.) I can't remember her name, but do you plan on bringing back the cop? She's kind of my new hero. 2.) It was a great episode, but I've gotta admit the simplification of the Prisoner's Dilemma bugged me. If you cut down the second half of the dilemma because you thought it was too complicated for the audience, I've seen the whole concept explained on a single page in a magazine for 8 year olds, so trust me, they can take it. If you cut it out because the scam would be ruined if Zilgram heard more than the "ratting makes the most sense" part, then I'd argue that a senior at what is presumably an Ivy League school would probably have at least heard of the Prisoner's Dilemma.
Meh. Maybe I'm just old and crotchety because Numb3rs did the same kind of thing when they covered the Prisoner's Dilemma, and you are the two shows that I know put effort into research. Such flagrancy in the face of game theory!
1.) She'll be around. 2.) You and I and Veach are the only ones who care. The explanation is also tainted because Nate is setting up the flip at the end.
@CL: 1.) Is the female detective a replacement for Bonnano? Where is Bonnano then? (in the TV show, not real life) 2.) If it's known associates then you mean it's Leverage right? Because they combine Eliot and Hardison together. Why doesn't the file have Nate and Sophie's picture as well? (because if it has I guess the last con on "interrogation room" won't work, isn't it?)
1.) Nope, parallel character. You'll see Bonanno this weekend. 2.) Assume they went through the file and only really recognized Hardison. Cut for time.
@ evening_shadow: So I was re-watching the ep, with my cc's on, of course, and I noticed something odd. In the scene when Parker rescues Hardison from the library, she knocks the guys out and then she's bending down to get Hardison, saying 'Okay.' He's on his stomach, reaching over like he just grabbed something from the student's pocket or from around his neck, and he says, 'Got it.' This is the last we see of the two during this ep. Was this moment in relation to something that cut, is it foreshadowing related to Nate's 'Now it begins,' or was there some change in the dialogue?
Change in the dialogue, I think. Rewatching, I'm not sure myself. I'll have to check the script.
Whew. All right, a day or two down, and then I'll gird my loins for The Office Job Comments. Which should be ... interesting.