Leverage – S04E18 – “The Last Dam Job”
Spoilers of Previous Episodes
In S04E17, “The Radio Job”, the audience was left with a shocking cliffhanger, a promise of payout for what had been a ho-hum back half of the season. A death that literally came out of nowhere along with a call back to the pilot episode which no one saw coming left me tingling in anticipation. What’s more, the Leverage crew would be teaming up with their bad guy counterparts and rivals in order to take down the snake, CEO Jack Latimer.
While the interactions between our protagonists and their temporary pals was just one shade short of awesome, the last act of the episode felt pushed, forced and off tone. If they could have had at least another half hour (full hour would have been good) then it would have been the best episode of Leverage of all time. As it stands, “The Last Dam Job” is simply a fun segway into a hopefully more energetic fifth season.
Score: 4 out of 5 Stars
When we left off, Nate’s father Jimmy (Tom Skerritt) was killed in a warehouse bombing which was set up by Jack Latimer (Leon Rippy) and Victor Dubenich. Dubenich being the first bad guy the Leverage team put behind bars back in the pilot episode and played by the wonderful Saul Rubinek. It was an unexpected call back to the pilot and promised so much for the finale.
Turns out, Dubenich, who originally put the team together, knows the team better than they know themselves… which doesn’t make as much sense as it should since they have all grown as characters over the last four years. But the facial reorganization stuff is an acceptable foil. So because of this, Nate decides to bring in people Dubenich would least expect, those who they don’t trust, aren’t in the game, etc. This leads to the middle chunk of the episode which is pure gold.
Elliot picks Quinn (Clayne Crawford) as his alter-ego, the same guy who gave him a run for his money in the first season finale. The two actors are actually friends so the way they play off each other is nothing short of perfect.
Parker recruits father figure Archie Leach (love that name because it’s Cary Grant’s birth name), played by Richard Chamberlain who brings a certain amount of charm and class to the episode. It’s also good to see Parker smiling so much, not to mention the exchanges between her, Archie, and Hardison regarding the couple’s burgeoning relationship is underplayed and sweet.
Speaking of Hardison, he has the displeasure of asking Wil Wheaton’s ‘Chaos’ for help. Wheaton has gained a new career out of being the person who we love to hate and in this episode he gets a bit of redemption. In the end, the two hackers still hate each other’s guts but there is a new found begrudging respect formed between them. Some of the best lines come from these two’s interactions. They really need to do a Haridson and Chaos episode… maybe the Leverage team gets caught up in something and Hardison has to save them and needs Chaos’ help… it would be glorious.
Sophie gets someone not in the game to take her spot and that ends up as Nate’s ex-wife Maggie (Kari Matchett) who has little more than a cameo. It’s an important moment though, showing that Maggie is okay with Nate’s relationship with Sophie. The two are even friends… that could be dangerous for Nate.
As for the rest of the episode, what we get is a pretty pushed story of how Nate plans to take everything from Latimer and Dubenich, slowly wrecking everything, his business, his possessions, and his name. The thing is, Rubinek isn’t given much to work with on Dubenich’s character other than he’s gone a little crazy in prison, I guess, and the character often runs around with a bit too much anxiety and bolster.
The whole story line of Nate thinking about killing Latimer and Dubenich as revenge for his father’s death is also forced, leading to an almost cartoonish ending. I know, it’s suppose to show Nate as the better man and that the two characters did this to themselves… but it falls so flat in more ways than one. The great thing about Leverage is that the bad guys are always left to stand in the mess they made. Anyone can kill a bad guy, but there is a distinct pleasure in knocking the bad guy down to the very bottom rung where they were so happily throwing people during their reign. This… this was high school drama schlock and we know the show is so much better than this.
If they only had more time to stretch out and rework that ending… but it was at least enjoyable right until that point. Here is looking to season five with a fresh slate.