Tuesday, December 04, 2012

LEVERAGE #512 "The White Rabbit Job" Question Post

This is going up early, as I have a very busy day ahead.  This one is ... trippy.  I look forward to the feedback.


Kathleen said...

I didn't want to be late to this post, since I finally have a question. I found the technical side of this episode intriguing and am now hoping that a bts production video was captured. It would make a great addition to the Season 5 DVD. Also, I bet this concept could have filled a full 2 hours, was it difficult to decide what to include in the script, how much was shot and cut for time? Can't thank you enough for this conduit. KungFu Monkey love.

Jessica Snyder said...

I was wondering, who is going to be on the Season 5 DVD commentaries this year? We missed Christian last year, hope he will be on them this year. Also, keep the gag reel's, bloopers, and extended scenes coming they are awesome

Art_Connery said...

@Jessica Agreed!Would like to hear Gina or Tim especially on The Frame-Up Job, Christian On Rundown or Low, low Price job would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

Anne-Cara said...

So...granted, it's only five minutes in, but how much of this is influenced by Inception?

Gina said...

"Trippy" is the word! That was fun, though a terribly risky venture -- they could have genuinely driven him around the bend, and with that at stake, I can't believe Sophie didn't come clean right away. I know ethics isn't exactly the team's strong suit, but this was probably their least ethical venture yet.

However, it's nice that the idea was to redeem someone who was going bad. (A redeemable villain! Nice contrast with last week's Snidely Whiplash. ;-) )

I loved the use of the name "Dodgson" with a "White Rabbit" con. :-) And I loved that it all came down to Parker -- Beth was magnificent. And I loved "Make something."

I don't know how no one guessed that the locked room was all about guilt, though -- it seemed pretty obvious from the get-go.

Amelia said...

Whoo Leverage-ception!!! I was very excited by the preview last week and it didn't disappoint. :)

1) Loved the Alice in Wonderland refs. Charles Dodgson, obv, but Alex Liddell was a nice touch.

2) Hmm, an inventor whose motto is "Keep Moving Forward"? Was Dodgson's grandpa Wilbur Robinson? :D

3) Nate just looks better and better. And next week the return of the hat!

jamesfirecat said...

Wow, that was a good episode. Great job taking the team in a different direction with this job and giving us something new and exciting.

But that said, I have to ask.. so how much Silent Hill have you guys been playing around the office lately? Because honestly that faceless office worker with the red jacket turned into a straight jacket, I could totally see that as an enemy in a Silent Hill Game starring a CEO who has purposely driven his company into bankruptcy. That, maybe some kind of gigantic horrible mechanical contraption that's a combination paper shredder/printer/who knows what else machine that spewing razor sharp slips of pink paper or if can grab someone will horribly mangle their body turning it into a slushy before giving a whole new meaning to the term "canned"... okay maybe I'm the one who is over thinking this. But hell, Konami seems to be throwing darts at a board to figure out who will make the next Silent Hill Game, it could be you guys if you don't get renewed for season six!

Anyway keep up the good work and forgive me for taking the horrible metaphorical possibilities you started up and running with it straight to crazy town.

Countess of Monte Cristo said...

Charles Dodgson was, of course, Lewis Carrol's Real name. And Parker, aka Alice White, was central to the con. (Loved that from her by the way, a huge sign of her development as a character. Season 1 Parker would probably have pushed him.)If this were any other show I would accuse it of jumping the shark, but Leverage makes the trippiness believable. My question: was Sophie telling the truth about not having successfully pulled the White Rabbit before? It just seemed suspicious at the end.

Gina said...

@Amelia -- oh yes, the hat! Can't wait! :-)

Leo said...

How much influence did Inception have when writing this episode?

Also, love the development of Parker, I can't see Parker of the early seasons getting Charles off that ledge. "People thought I was crazy, but I wasn't."

lilacwood said...

This show is the great love of my life. Does that sound weird?

For my actual question...

Do y'all know yet about next season? Is there going to be one?

premierepartygirl101 said...

I loved the episode but most important i loved the acting between Beth and Chris. Christian and Beth have proven that they work really well together, Kane and Riesgraf have managed to prove to everyone that they have this beautiful and sweet chemistry/friendship that no one can destroy, you can tell on the show and off the show that they r the best of friends. One question when will Chris sing again we love his songs. And when will they show more of Eliot/Parker? they r great together

antisocialbutterflie said...

This was definitely a satisfying installment to the Leverage universe. I think it perfectly showcased the maturity of the team and how they've grown as characters. You definitely couldn't have done this in an earlier season. Many kudos to the writing staff and crew. I'm sure this had to be a bear to shoot.

I especially like that it took the anti-grifter to complete the White Rabbit. It seems right that the reason the con always fails is because the grifter can't extricate themselves enough from the mark's mind to safely navigate through the endgame.

So questions...

(1)What was the origin of the numbered employees? At first I thought this was a prison work program. As the episode progressed I guessed that it was a hold-over from the father's reign as the head of the company and his dehumanizing, money-motivated business style. The thing that didn't make sense (and please someone correct me if I'm wrong) was that there was a few years of "good" Charles before the breakdown so why did he leave it in place?

(2) Whose decision was it to use the Star Trek hypospray sound every time the patches were applied? I kept waiting for Dr. Crusher to pop up in the background.

(3) Whose decision was it to have Charles wearing the Steve Jobs getup at the end? Was it intended as satire or an homage?

Again, excellent episode. I just wish that the commercial breaks didn't keep interrupting the dramatic tension. This episode more than any other was in desperate need of "limited commercial interruptions." I guess that's the point of releasing the DVDs.

Madhatter360 said...

A lot of people have mentioned noticing the Lewis Carroll references (which I loved) but I also loved when Sophie called herself Sally Sparrow. Thanks for the Doctor Who reference.
Now for my completely unrelated question.
Is there a reason we got two episodes in a row about helping to save a small town, one by closing a big company, one by saving it?

thebacardiqueen said...

Ok, so pretty neat con...no questions, just a suggestion...any chance you could pull a White Rabbit Job con on the TNT execs that handle programming and get them to pull their finger out and renew you for a season 6...just an idea :)

shay said...

Loved this episode and all the Wonderland references. I have a quick question though. I noticed in the partners presentation where Dodgson is falling asleep, that all four of the companies in the powerpoint are from previous cons, is this just a reference to past episodes to tie everything in or is there something coming up involving these four companies?

Pixie said...

Alice White, Charles Dodgson, Liddell... you guys pulled out the stops on this one.

Now if only the folks at TNT would stop taking plays out of Gary Bettman's book. That season I hold no hope for. Leverage... for Leverage I will cling to whatever faint hope exists.

[small voice]: please?

SueN. said...

Trippy, yes, but cool episode. And it's a nce change of pace to see the team working to save the "villain" (though he wasn't really).

Also, kudos to Andrew Bowen for his portrayal of Dodgson. He really made me want the team to help him for his sake, and not just because I like it when the team wins.

I didn't get all the Alice in Wonderland references, but I snickered at "dreamnasium." ;)

Also, it was very nice to see Parker saving the day. I loved the call-back to "The Future Job" and the loss of her brother, and it was a lovely sign of just how much she's grown that a) she was able to relate to Dodgson through that loss and b) realize and articulate what the team has meant to and for her. Her "you're not alone" was truly touching.

And I would be horribly remiss if I didn't throw out some love for Eliot in the "Hamlet" bit. Because Eliot+armor+sword = my happy place. Just sayin'.

My only question so far: Just how close was Beth to the car? (And how much do you blame Kane for that?)

IMForeman said...

So, at the end, when Sophie said they'd successfully pulled the White Rabbit Con, and Nate responded "Parker, huh?"... does that mean that Sophie feels the successful White Rabbit wasn't in finding Dodgson, but in how the team has gotten into Parker's head and revealed what was underneath?

Izzie said...

Mr. Carroll! Charles Dodgson! Alex Liddell!

Eliot's special sedatives? Flashback! I missed those!

"Propose the oath, my lord!" Eliot quoting Hamlet? LOL! That was really awkward-sounding. Actor choice?

Ooh, was that blue pill/red pill? The Matrix?

Eliot with the older guard with the gun? Hilarious!

Parker, oh, Parker. She has developed so much as a person.

Izzie said...

I apologize for the overload of exclamation points in my previous post. That's what I get for commenting while viewing.

Anyway, loved the episode, especially how the climax was actually dramatic and personal.

Anonymous said...

I have a question unrelated to the episode. In the San Lorenzo Job and the Last Dam Job, Eliot is shown wearing a harness/holster type getup. Since he doesn't use guns, what's it for? It's been bugging me.

P.S. Anyone else find the "Prove your not a robot" words illegible?

Izzie said...

@ the anonymous right after me:
I asked that question before with basically the same "but he doesn't use guns" observation in connection to both episodes having to do with making a choice to kill or not to kill, and people were kind enough to tell me that what he was wearing was a holster for throwing knives.

Ooh! I got an easy robot thingy!

oppyu said...

1) Is kidnapping a man, driving him insane and brainwashing him into the desired state of mind by invading his dreams the logical escalation of Nate's 'sicko love of controlling people'?
2) Did anybody in the writing room question the morality of kidnapping a man and brainwashing him?
3) After the job, will anyone from the Leverage Crew question the morality of literally (and repeatedly) kidnapping and brainwashing the mark?

In case you didn't guess, I have a very strong issue with the morality of brainwashing someone. Yeah, not a fan of this one.

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Anonymous said...

As I sat there watching the "White Rabbit Job", I couldn't help but reflect on last season #509 and #510 episodes.

I think you have two different good shows masquerading as one.
1. #509 - Eliot, Parker and Hardison
These three would make a very successful TNT show (action/comedy/technology).
I would recommend TNT begin bidding on this.

2. #510 - Sophie and Nate could find success as a crusading con team, using their criminal knowledge to catch thieves.

I know my suggestion won't be popular amongst the die-in-the-wool leverage fan, but Leverage is quickly losing it's magic but the upside is #509 and #510.

Anonymous said...

Very surreal episode. Kudos to the FX team for great graphics. Absolutely loved Eliot's fight sequence. Very entertaining. I miss them.

Jugglernaut said...

Love this ep! Such a HUGE contrast to last week's! This one did not give me whiplash from extreme choppiness; it seemed more like the best scenes from a movie I'd like to see. And this week Nate actually had his head in the game—or his game in the head, as the case may be.

I love that Parker may not have gotten to steal anything shiny, but she totally stole the con. The best part was that she did it as Believable Season 5 Parker, not After-School Special Parker ("Gimme a K," I'm looking at you).

This psychocon opens up huge new territory that it will take at least one more season to explore. Right?

Unknown said...

Absolutely loved this episode. My only question is regarding the ending. Was he intended to look like Steve Jobs and, if so, who made that sartorial decision?

Sarah said...

Hah--an answer to my comment about the Low, Low Price Job--yes, a villain will become nice!

A little creepy, the pushed drugs and all, and would have liked to know more about HOW Hardison was doing it all.

Parker was outstanding, and loved the villain, well cast.

Thanks for another fascinating episode!

Sarah said...

@Anon at 8:51

Agree, the fight sequence with the guards was great, just because Eliot was so reluctant to do damage, kind of incredulous that the middle-aged, out-of-shape, guards were going to keep messing with him. And the old guy with the gun was hilarious, the way he just walked away once Eliot took his gun.

Patti said...

I've loved every episode of Leverage for 5 seasons (and still hoping for a 6th) but aside from outstanding acting and amazing FX, I am unhappy to have to say this is the first episode I actually did not like. I'm with commenter oppyu above, and feel a moral line was crossed by the Leverage team. Kidnapping, drugging and brainwashing... what could possibly be bad enough in a Big Bad to justify that? IMHO this mark's faults didn't even come close.

Yes, I know this stuff happens in the real world by "good" people doing bad things. But Leverage isn't the real world--it's the fantasy I get to live in for an hour where "heroes" actually do the right thing. Although to be fair, it seems like Nate was the only one who actually believed what they were doing was right. Won't the team ever learn to say no to his hubris? And I thought he was past all that ego trip where he thinks he can do whatever he wants?

Questions above are mostly rhetorical, so no need to answer. Thank you for the space to vent. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love this show so much. I really hope the ending of the show isn't the team blowing up because they got too big for their britches. ;-)

Sophie Ford said...

Is it just me or did Nate already pull off the 'white rabbit con' - on the team. He has gotten into their heads and changed them all completely, just look at how they react during this episode compared to say how they would have in season 1. Just a thought.

I really love this series...please please please can we have a season 6

Nekussa said...

This put me in mind of some of the classic "Mission Impossible" where they would kidnap the bad guy and put him in some elaborate set to convince him of whatever they wanted him to believe.

I'm also with those who say this was very ethically questionable. Nate is capable of justifying pretty much anything to himself at this point. I am hoping you'll come back around to this and deal with it again. Where would Nate draw the line at this point?

Gina said...

@Nekussa -- yeah. I love Nate and have always spoken up for him whenever people have run him down. I've always thought he was genuinely good at heart. But this . . . this definitely crossed a line.

Carol said...

I loved so much the mark's name was Charles Dodgson. And then you threw in Sally Sparrow, which just added to the wonderful.

So...silly question...have you ever made up a crossover idea with Leverage/Doctor Who, just for funzies, and how well do you think it would work. And which Doctor would you most like to see the team with?

Beth P. said...

I have to agree with the posters above me, I really didn't like the ethical line that got crossed. I mean fuck, they drove the guy to almost commit suicide. I think Hardison had it right in the beginning of the episode, if the guy wants to be a dick that's his prerogative. You can't mind rape someone into changing just because you don't like who they are. It just seems really violating.

Not to mention given Sophie's ability to figure people out I think they could have found a way to help the guy figure out his issues without all kidnapping, questionable drugging and brainwashing. It all just left a bad taste in my mouth.

I also really wasn't a fan of the first part of the episodes with Hardison's holodeck like warehouse. It was just too unbelievable and far-fetched for me and in the end turned out to be irrelevant because they stopped using it anyway. I hoping you have a link to some already existing technology that can do all that I can read to prove me wrong though because that sort of stuff would be cool. I just think it would have been better for them to find away to break into the offices to begin with.

The scene where Eliot has the guy over his shoulder and puts him back to bed, was that a dummy? He tossed him down pretty hard!

Also, I want a spin off with that old, gun totting security guard! Maybe he and Eliot could form a security team or private detective agency.

Even though I didn't like this particular episode much, I do love you and love this show. I'd be very sad if there wasn't a season 6.

Natalie Clements said...

Another good episode - keep them coming! (That goes for a season 6 too...)

@Izzie - nice call on the blue pill/red pill! Although I think they got the patches the wrong way round - it should have been the red patch that sent him to la-la land to "see how far the rabbit hole went", and the blue patch leaving him waking in his bed believing whatever he wanted. (Er, that makes me look like I can quote The Matrix off the top of my head, doesn't it? Oh dear.)

I also loved Eliot's fight scene. I know you've said Eliot doesn't enjoy fighting, but I find that hard to believe (must be Kane's enjoyment coming through). I reckon even Eliot enjoyed that one though.

I agree it's murky ground on the whole kidnap/brainwash issue. Instead of looking at it from the 'no one's bad enough to deserve that' POV, how about the 'do whatever it takes to save someone' POV? Think of it as extreme accelerated therapy? He's being going to therapy for however many years and the team fix him in less than 10 days? That's my fun train, and I'm staying on it :)

TomR said...

Based on this ep and "Low, Low Price," it looks like Hardison's in a very contrarian mood these days. (Yes, I know two episodes make for an awfully small sample size.) What's going on there? Greater assertiveness (he's thinking of himself as more of Nate's equal)? Annoyance with Nate over the Secret Plan of Secretness? Something else?

As for the episode: I thought it was well-done, and Beth Riesgraf was terrific, but I have to agree with those who feel that Nate went too far. I hope he gets some sort of comeuppance...as long as it's non-fatal...and doesn't bring down the rest of the team...yeah.

Anonymous said...

Loved this one, discovering all the subtle references was fun. I just watched the episode again and caught a few more. My favorite scene was Eliot and tho older guard. Stop... Gimme the gun.... I can't stop laughing. Thanks for another enjoyable episode. Andrew Bowen responded to every tweet fans sent him last night,that was classy and appreciated by the fans.

PurpleOps said...

I was too busy Tuesday night watching the extended version of "The Measure of a Man" (plus commentary!) from the ST:TNG Season 2 Blu-ray set to watch Leverage until tonight on the DVR; my apologies. As for this episode, to quote John Lennon, "Strange days, indeed! Most peculiar, mama."

Questions and comments:

1. It seemed to take the team a surprisingly long time to ask what might have changed Dodgson. Isn't it important to determine the mark's motivations in order to have a successful con?
2. That Hamlet scene seemed more like a John Rogers - D&D sequence than Thorne. Any ghost writing there?
3. Several have mentioned Sally Sparrow, but no one mentioned Steed. Strange bedfellows...
4. And someone mentioned Wilbur Robinson, but wasn't "Keep moving forward" Walt Disney's motto? After Lucasfilm, did the Mouse buy you guys, too? :)
5. How long do companies keep their security cam footage? All of that data from three-plus years ago? Seems excessive.
6. That locked door Hardison banged on seemed a bit flimsy; I thought I could see it sag and some light shine through it.
7. Parker as a brunette - mrowr!
8. I'm so glad you redeemed the villain. While watching, I kept thinking he really should wind up being a good guy, and for once, he was!
9. Talk about perception: I really was thinking that the show had increased the number of act breaks. I went back and counted; there are only six. But while watching, it just seemed like it was constantly cutting to commercial. Strange.

While this certainly won't be my favorite episode of the season, it's good to see the show experimenting in this way. Counting down...

Anonymous said...

That scene with Parker and Dodgson on the roof - Beth Riesgraf was amazing, I watched it three times! What IS it about Beth Reisgraf and roof scenes?

Sprite said...

"Every grift is an exchange. The trick is to give them enough to hold them up, but not enough to pull them over."
Taking the truth and bringing it out, without breaking the mark.
So... Parker was the mark, right?

Okay that fight scene was hysterical. I hope then next show you write is a comedy so you can hire Mr. Kane!

I think this whole season is the long con to teach Hardison, Parker and Eliot that they can do this on their own.

Sprite said...

I'm not sure Eliot wanted Sophie to tell that he had "sedatives". And how did she find out? And what did she use the first time she pulled a white rabbit?

Curiouser and Curiouser.

And what the heck is Triexedor 329 listed on the wall behind the drugs? Is this something we should/should not know about which should or should not be in the news?

Your writers make us think, Mr. Downey. What an amazing thing you do!

Anonymous said...

LOL at Parker coming out of NOWHERE to contrive some sob story making this episode all about her. Thought for sure we'd get a nice Sophie moment this episode.

Can you talk for a moment about how you structure an episodes so I understand how b story, c story, etc work?

kinesys said...

Is it my imagination or were the companies listed as partners in the company buy-in all corporations that have been busted by the leverage team. It seemed as if some of the names were familiar.

SueN. said...

@Anonymous (10:43 p.m.) – How was Parker's story "contrived"? She didn't say anything about herself that we haven't heard in previous episodes.

seriouslymike said...

1. Was it just the prop department sleeping on the job, or did that guard's pistol was supposed to be fake? It looked like a dollar store toy.
2. You went waaaay overboard with this one. A con that requires this sort of technical prep, not to mention digging info on the mark, and Hardison misses an elephant-sized clue? Makes no sense. Yes, Willing Suspension Of Disbelief included.
3. Also, Inception. Using drugs and high-tech devices to get into a guy's head and plant an idea? It felt like a Syfy "Original".

Amanda Barncord said...

I really liked this episode for a variety of reasons that would probably bore most people. I do agree that the team was going over the ethics line, but a lot of what they do is technically unethical if you're going to split hairs.

It appeared to me that Nate really wanted the challenge of doing this job. Even though he said Sophie was to be the lead, several times he overrode her objections after the con started. And he wasn't at all flustered by the fact when she admitted that she hadn't really pulled off a White Rabbit con successfully before.

As for whether or not they actually pulled that particular con off, I would have to say that technically they didn't, but the fact that they were able to salvage it so it ended well probably makes it the most successful attempt at a White Rabbit con.

Having worked in the mental health field, I couldn't help but think that they would have been more successful if they had someone with better knowledge of mental illness, grief, and treatment. But a licensed professional could never do such a job without losing their license. And I think that's why I like this episode as much as I do, because it showed WHY ethical professionals would not choose such a technique. And yet the team still ended up succeeding because Parker did something that research has shown makes one of the biggest impact on people - she was honest and real. She showed real concern for Dodgson's life, she was just open enough with her own experience to make him realize that they had a connection, and she suggested a solution that played to his strengths, while leaving him to determine how to do it.

Of course, Parker would not make a good therapist in general, but at that moment of crisis, she managed to do the right thing, except that she walked away before making sure he was physically some where safe. Granted, he may have needed that, but if she had been a mental health professional, she would have been obligated by law to make sure he got somewhere safe.

For me the real strength of the episode was how it showed the potential pitfalls of such an approach to intervention - the chance of frying the mark's brain with drugs, the fact that easy to obtain supplements can mess with drug interaction, the unpredictability of someone else's inner demons, and the fact you can make some things worse, while trying to make it better.

A lot of people fantasize about "straightening" others out against their will. There is a multitude of reasons why many of these fantasies don't work and I liked the fact that some of them were shown here.

Amanda Barncord said...

Okay. This is what happens when I post comments at 3am in the morning. I just realized that I didn't actually ask my question, while responding to some of the themes I saw in other comments. I touched upon it, but didn't asked it straight out.

My question is - did Nate let his thirst for a challenge override his caution? Was he driven to take this job by his ambition and curiosity, just so he would have the opportunity to try his hand at the White Rabbit con?

jamesfirecat said...

@anonymous Parker's story was in no way contrived. It is established back in season two (The Future Job) that she had a brother who she taught to ride a bike, and then he got hit by a car while he was riding that bike. If you can not see how this situation could leave her feeling just as vulnerable and guilty over the death of her brother as the mark does over the death of his cousin then.... well then the two of us will just have to agree to disagree,

ellabell said...

I LOVED this episode!

@Sophie Ford 11:44
I LOVE that idea, that Nate pulled off the White Rabbit on his team. Headcanon!

Did Parker not have her earbud in when she was on the roof? Why did it seem like no one knew what was going on up there / she didn't tell them was what going on / she wasn't asking for advice?

Also, the "Parker" comment right at the end made sense when I was watching it, but I would LOVE more context into it. Did Sophie ever think before hand that Parker was the one that would pull it off? Or did she push Parker to do it the whole time because she knew that she COULD do it?

I think this is only our second villain that ended up redeeming himself / actually being a nice guy, with the other one being from The Carnival Job. I think that they were even approached somewhat similarily. Was this brought up at all in the writers' room during the character development?

Thanks! Seriously, that was a GREAT episode. I loved it, and can't wait until next week!

Gina said...

@TomR -- good observation. I like contrarian Hardison. The role suits him. :-)

Anna said...

I think I'm in agreement that it was slightly... skeevy?

I love the idea and the execution of the Inception style dream layers in the real world was clever. I can also see that it's hard to make drugging someone and playing with their mind seem like the 'right' thing to do.

But the team essentially exploited that guy's existing mental health issues (his panic attacks and guilt issues) by drugging him and then messed with his head until he was driven to trying to kill himself. What if Parker hadn't gotten to the roof door in time?

I think most of my discomfort comes from the fact that the only real problem any of the team had with it is 'oh, the con won't work if we break the mark so let's try not to do that!'

I was trying to figure out why this made me more uncomfortable than last week's episode where the team messed with the woman's hotel room to drive her crazy. But I think there is a difference - the hotel stuff just stressed her out and made her tired so that she would snap more easily. There weren't any lasting effects to that one whereas this one could have had major consequences that no-one seemed to think of/care about.

I don't know, I usually love the show and have no complaints with how issues/characters/storylines are handled and while I really enjoyed parts of this episode, it also just made me really uncomfortable.

Stefan Jones said...

RE dream / reality manipulation:

This idea was around long before Inception.

I remember a sequence in "Stars my Destination" where a professional mind-games group tries to immerse the hero into a fantasy world where he is rich and successful, in hopes of tricking him into giving up the location of a powerful device.

Polaris said...

I know it's a small thing, but I have to ask: is 'keep moving forward' a Meet the Robinsons reference?

allyone said...

I'm not sure I see the issues with the morality. I mean, yeah, it was immoral, but we're still a bunch of thieves and crooks on the Leverage team. In the past, the team and/or members have:

1) Parker gave a guy with anxiety issues speed to further ramp up their ability to manipulate him;

2) They made a guy believe that he had either killed his date or his date had died in his bed;

3) Nate hypnotized Hardison without his knowledge so he could tap into his innermost violin skills;

4) Nate (with Parker's approval) had Hardison administer mild electric shocks to a mark;

5) They made two different marks believe that they had contracted some sort of terrible disease/illness;

6) They made a mayor believe he was about to be tortured to death;

They've humiliated countless people and isolated their human weaknesses for the purpose of manipulating them to achieve a desired end.

Was this really that significantly different from a number of other things they've done in the past?

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out I agree with Allyone. Did not see the morality issue in this episode -- oh but wait. All of the things they've done in the past weren't done to younger, attractive, white-male marks, were they? My bad. CLEARLY that's where the morality line needs to be drawn. *eyeroll*

Loved the episode!! Can't wait for next week.

Eitan said...

@ellabell, three converts - 12 step/Boy's Night Out jobs (though he was never really a bad guy). There's a fourth - Ho Ho Ho job...

I think that the difference between other episodes and this one is how it was directed/written. Almost all the examples cited by @allyone were played for laughs, except maybe the Order ## job in season 1? Also, very few manipulations last for as many acts as this one did.

Scott Flowers said...

John, do you subscribe with me the conviction that "Keep Moving Forward" is nothing other than a direct homage to The Merry Prankster's bus?

Anonymous said...


"Did not see the morality issue in this episode -- oh but wait. All of the things they've done in the past weren't done to younger, attractive, white-male marks"

That's total BS--most of the Leverage marks are white and young to middle-aged. The line the team crossed was driving someone to madness and suicide with drugs. And this is someone who only fired people from his own company, not a criminal.

The First Contact Job was similar, but they used the (young, white) mark's own arrogance and selfishness to make him fall for the bait. In The Low, Low Price Job they put something in the (young, white) mark's makeup to irritate her, but they didn't almost kill her.

It's kind of like the difference between interrogating and water-boarding--there's no guarantee that you can keep that person alive and/or sane at the end of that kind of torture.

I've had several friends tell me that they had to turn off this episode because of the line crossed--it was not acceptable to them. It made me squirm. There comes a time when the end does NOT justify the means.

I love this show, but maybe this episode is what causes the "heartbreak" at the end--Sophie rightly had concerns, I found it hard to believe that Eliot was okay with doing to others what was done to him, if the team truly are the "good guys" now, they should have stopped it and found another way to find out how to make the mark get over his guilt. Maybe they need to rethink their priorities. And TNT-willing, come back better and stronger next season.

Lori said...

Enough about morality issues, I want to know the important stuff, haha!

Sometimes little Kaneisms are slipped in, having to do with his music. So, was the "Knight" written as such, or since it was potentially a flexible thing, did it evolve during filming?

martianunlimited said...

I just caught this on the when i paused the replay... I noticed Wakefield (Potato Job), Beckworx (10 little grifters) in the list of potential bidders for the company (as well as braddock aeronautics (first contact) not their adversary though, but they helped their client find a job there)... just curious.. aren't those 2 company near bankruptcy and in the wrong industry?

also.. i saw a company i don't recognize (annandale communications) a potential opponent for the team later?

Sarah said...

I think any show that makes us consider morality and character and relationships is art--it makes us think.

No matter what side of the line you're on--Leverage makes us care. I especially care about a Season 6 :)

Katie said...

So Parker can now grift. Really grift. Let the cross-training continue. Do we get Eliot hacking? or Hardison hitting? They've each already taken point on a job, so that's covered. You've ony got 3 more eps this season, so I imagine we'll see more of that. At this point, I guess all we're sure of about the finale is that they won't all die in a huge explosion or plane crash.

I'm beginning to think it's time to get all Providence (as in "I have friends in Providence" you're probably familiar with the concept, John, the rest of you - fill in the name of the reputed local home of the more violent branch of the Mob) on TNT's asses. This is getting ridiculous. They have to renew you, they've got shit to put in if they cancel.

Anonymous said...

Loved this episode, it's just like what the Kremlin would do.

A small business man decided for whatever reason to sell off his company and move on, but a worker decided that he shouldn't be allowed to see his own company, so he brings in brain-washers to correct his defective thinking.
These brain-washers drug and delude him and drive him to the point of insanity where he thinks he can jump from a building and not be hurt, the brain-wash team then stops him from jumping and declare victory.
Perhaps there are residual effects of all that drugging and later he will try to jump off another roof top, this time without the brain-washers there.

Finally the brain-washers have corrected his defective mind and he now is mentally forced to keep his factory/company open.

I just think he was ungrateful for not thanking the Leverage team for rearranging his brain.


DaveMB said...

Amanda Barncord -- just to say I appreciated your 3 a.m. rant. This wasn't my favorite episode, though the Parker/roof scene was very good. It struck me as a take on _A Christmas Carol_, as well as one on _Mission: Impossible_ where they did this stuff all the time. Your post helps me realize that _Leverage_ is actually thinking about the ethical issues various other people are raising here, in a way that MI never did. (Though they did have a mastermind, a female grifter, a white strongman, and a black technical expert...)

Anonymous said...


Bingo-give the man a cigar re: A Christmas Carol.

I wasn't understanding a scene and Geoff referenced Scrooge and I was right there.


Anonymous said...


In Mission Impossible, the enemies were operatives and Terrorists not a lowly small business owner who was trying to express free human will, which was snatched away from him because he didn't know how to our satisfaction, properly handle freedom.

MI dealt with terrorists and bad governments
Hustle Dealt with greed unscrupulous characters
Leverage dealt with a business guy who didn't deserve freedom of self determination.
I see nothing wrong with that.
Believe me I enjoyed seeing his brains turn to mush, because he deserved it, I'm a fan after all.


ceares said...

I adore the show and love the blogs since I enjoy my media more when it's sprinkled with a little analysis.

Two questions(and forgive me if the general one has been asked before, I'm working my way through these backwards)

A. If the Mark had died, would it have broken the team for good?

B. The team has always seemed a little metahuman in their abilities, particularly in the Nigerian job though it has been toned down some. Was that intentional or a consequence of needing them to be able to accomplish certain things?

Carol said...

I think maybe some people are taking this a bit too seriously; especially the Kremlin guy (is there a Godwin rule for bringing in Soviet Russia?)

But at any rate, the script was liberally sprinkled with the team questioning whether or not they were doing the right thing, I do not think the writers were trying to say that the White Rabbit was a good thing, hence the roof top scene. They got lucky and they know it.

And the 'workers' weren't trying to 'force' the owner to do anything. He was ruining a perfectly good business that was basically the employer for an entire town. If he didn't want it any more, he could have just sold it, but he was deliberately ruining it and then selling it, because of reasons that I'm not going to state because it's in the bloody script.

They didn't want to ruin HIM, they wanted to help him, and this was the way Nate thought he could do it. Why? We don't know. Nate is complicated. We know this because we watch the show.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure on this one. Love Leverage especially eliot loved his fight scene was really funny. The rest I felt was so far removed from what they usually do

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but your thinking about this is defective, I think we need to help you think in a different way.
We can accomplish this in 4 days of h4eavy drugging and delusions, at the end we will have HELPED you to think more like our collective thinking.

Also, you comments are ruining perfectly good blog postings, so it's our/my duty to "change your mind" to keep you from ruining yourself, it's now incumbent on me to fix your thinking

By the way: in the script the business owner did say he was trimming the company to sell it, and he had buyers lined up.
the problem was he wasn't fulfilling the will of the collective.

I am not attacking Leverage I do like and watch Leverage but I do retain my moral principles at all times, and this episode was not what the Leverage team would do, in fact it is what the bad guys would do and Leverage team would try to stop.

Sorry we disagree.


geoff thorne said...

so much to say on this but this is John's blog so I'll sit on my hands and let him field everything.

it's fascinating, though, what some are getting out of the episode.

William Gallagher said...

That was fascinating. It took me a time to get into it but really only because you were fighting my prejudices: I have never before seen a drama using any kind of virtual reality that worked for me and trippy tales just never seem to come off in a one-hour drama. Yet I was actually moved by The White Rabbit Job.

Plus you do repeatedly give great roles to the guest star but I think this is the first time that the guest was a good guy. Good guys are boring: how did you pull that off so well?

You did do computer stuff that can't work so I was happier when you moved into having Charlie in the real factory. But I would've liked to have seen more investigation into the events of five years before – sorry, was it five? whenever Charlie failed to take that call. I think that it turned, for him, on a missed phone call was very smart because it's the kind of tiny moment that we can all completely believe in, that we can imagine feeling, that we can so very easily identify with the possibility. And wonderfully for a crime show, of course, it's about the teeniest of clues you can have.

I did just feel that if something or someone has changed over a certain period, you automatically look at the time that started. Naturally you couldn't have the team find the missed call in act 1 so you'd have needed some way to quickly establish that there appeared to be nothing to find. Just as you can't prove a negative, you also can't make it interesting: so you'd have had to find something else, some other step there and of course I've no idea what that could've been.

I'm not happy saying that because I think it would've been very join-the-dots kind of writing and filling in things we didn't need – except that I think for me it would've rescued a moment later on that we did. When Nate had Hardison call up the security footage, that was instantaneous retrieval of precisely the right moment from several years ago. If they'd already looked, if they'd already retrieved because they were investigating that day, this moment would've worked for me.

Perhaps that would also have avoided the issue with Hardison not finding Patience: again, you'd have had to have him find something else that led away from her, but the Elliot/Hardison argument felt like a band aid over a little story burr. Smartly done, smartly played, but a band aid.

I truly loved the moral issues being raised right at the top. Very effective. Very brave, actually, as I don't think other con shows even allude to it. It's unusual to see a meaty issue debated right at the front of any episode and that you did it so quickly was quite amazing. All issues raised, all done in the guise of a debate where everyone had valid points, yet it wasn't a lecture and it was done both fast and satisfyingly.

You didn't need that moment and as I say most other shows wouldn't have done it, but I loved that you did. Oddly, I wouldn't have wanted you to do more even if you had the time:: it was a just-perfect little spot. I think there was time, too: the very last scene felt like more of an explanation than you usually do. I was just thinking that they had actually pulled off the White Rabbit after all when Sophie began telling us and persuading us that they had.

Oh! And that it turned on Parker being honest: a gorgeous moment.

Forgive my analysing away here: I'm new to your blog but have relished the show for years. And I'm in the UK: I got so hooked I managed to get a US iTunes account in part so I could buy the episodes months or a year before they air here. The downside of which is that while I know very many people who love the show, I don't know any who buy it from the States so I don't get to talk to them about the detail.

Thanks for a treat of a series.

William Gallagher

Jacroe said...

I realize that Nate is trying to get the team to work and function without him (Broken Wing, Gimme a K). However it seems like with this episode, Nate stayed completely out of it, stepping in only when they really needed it, even though he is arguably the one who should have been trying to get into the mark's head. Why didn't he? He is still on the team right now.

jamoche said...

Most people are of the opinion that making anonymous personal attacks against other posters is the sort of thing that "ruin[s] perfectly good blog postings"

Anonymous said...

I am reading that Leverage has been canceled. Is this true?? This is the best show on tv.

Monilyn89 said...

I loved the Fight scene this ep. Poor Eliot just seemed so hurt that the little old guard kept pointing the gun at him. :)

Kris said...

So much great stuff for Sophie and Parker in this episode. I think every time I've gotten sniffly and/or weepy watching Leverage it's been Beth Riesgraf's fault.

Also, there's something about hearing someone in panic say to an unflappable Gina Bellman, "You're the Doctor" that reeeally makes me want to see her in THAT role.

Art_Connery said...

@martianunlimited I saw that too. Maybe just previously cleared company names the writers felt could be used again.
@Anonymous at 11:00 am Leverage has not been cancelled yet. nor has it been renewed. It is in limbo and no one has explained WHY TNT has not made a decision either way. I suspect It did not hold up well on sundaty this year compared to falling skied and was the TNT execs felt it might fight better w/ Rizzoli and Isles and steal/borrow some viewers from white collar on tuesday. So they are looking to the results from the next few weeks to determine how it's going is my guess.

seriouslymike said...

"Also, there's something about hearing someone in panic say to an unflappable Gina Bellman, "You're the Doctor" that reeeally makes me want to see her in THAT role."
You mean THE Doctor?! Ohhh, come on!

Also, I noticed that the writing team didn't take on a widely publicized sort of con yet, namely a fake martial arts school. You know, one of those run by money-hungry delusional egomaniac douches. Bullshido.org has some material on the subject, and I'd love to see Eliot at work in this one. "The Kung Fool Job".

Anonymous said...


Still undecided on a season 6... but it sounds like the last 3 episodes are going to be "the end of the season as we always planned it".

Anonymous said...

The immorality question of changing someone against their will, or correcting behavior just because you think they should do something else, does not apply here. This man's behavior had changed drastically from the character he was known to have, and he had known drastic psychological problems, manifested in panic attacks. Sophie correctly warned him that he could not find the source of the problem and be freed from its effects, unless he really wanted it. He said he did want it, and gave her permission to treat him, trusting her analysis enough to give her ten days to try and accomplish what all previous therapy had failed to do for him.
---anonymous named Jeff

Unknown said...

I often describe LEVERAGE to non-grifters as, "Mission: Impossible meets the A-Team." (M:I, the TV series, not the wonderfully over-blown movie franchise with Tom Cruise.)
This may very well be the closest episode to M:I you've ever done. The LEVERAGE team were all at least a bit uncomfortable with the drugging and rewiring of the marks head, but Mr. Phelps and team, they did it numerous times. A nice step in the evolution of the team. Well done, sir.

@SurfsideJack on Twitter

Sarah said...


I'd pay to see the "Kung Fool job"

Maybe if Leverage gets cancelled that can be the first in the movie franchise. If there ever was a series ripe for the cinema, it's Leverage. If Mission Impossible and the A-Team ended up on the big screen, this should too.

It would be awesome to see Parker and Hardison hanging from the side of a building on a screen thats 20 feet high :)

Bethan said...

I was looking through some of the old blogs, and found 'The Rashamon Job' one. In one of the answers, you said we would find out if Eliot ever got his hands on the sapphire monkey in season 5. Is this still a thing that will happen?

Izzie said...


Wasn't that the sapphire monkey Sophie was holding in the Japan scenes of the Broken Wing Job?

I would SO watch "The Kung Fool Job"!!

Bethan said...

@Izzie: It was indeed. I've been a bit behind on episodes, so hadn't watched that one yet.

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Chris said...

I don't know if John's ever going to come back to this, but one thing I did want to say after recently re-watching the episode on the DVD... basically, my one big problem with the episode is that I have trouble buying that Hardison can make the virtual room look to the mark -- even if drugged -- like it does to the viewers. At one point, he even tells Sophie that the only things she can interact with are the doors, implying that somehow there are 3D projections she can see while completely sober. I could see if Hardison was doing some sort of augmented reality thing with headsets or special glasses, but it's just a bit of a stretch to suggest he's basically making a holodeck.

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