Leverage 5×11: The Low Low Price Job: Recap and Review
“The Leverage crew targets a big box super store that’s threatening to destroy a small town.”
Leverage 5×11 opens in a small town, in front of a family owned grocery store. Inside the store an inspector argues with the owner over charges of violations. The owner says that the previous violations turned out to be nothing. Now he is writing her up for loose tiles as he kicks one loose from the floor. “Safety violations. The city’s gonna shut you down if you don’t comply.” He tells her.
In the Pub, Eliot argues with Hardison over going green. He says he installed the water saver, the solar panels; but the compost heap stinks the place up. Hardison mentions installing a cardboard crusher and explains sustainability as a young woman enters.
Eliot listens as the young woman describes her plight. Her father built the grocery store and they ran it together until he passed away. Now the Value More superstore is moving in and will run all of the small places out of business. Three others have opened within spitting distance and the small business owners closed up shop.
She claims that the town is against small businesses, imposing fines; while the Value More got the property rezoned without a town meeting. She believes the city took some bribes but has no proof.
In Apple Springs, Caroline Cohen, the regional team leader, and her assistant Anna discuss the small town. Miss Cohen says the pharmacy won’t last two months; the bakery will close in three weeks, tops. The Grocery store will last a little longer. She says this is her final business trip; she’s been on the road opening stores for fifteen years. She’s ready for a corner office and that depends on her success in Apple Springs. In two weeks, this town won’t know what hit it.
At the Leverage Headquarters behind the Pub, Eliot explains why he wants to save this small town. He meets with opposition because he considers the girl a client, but Hardison does not. Hardison says that Value More supplies a lot of jobs and the low prices helped people like his Nana to feed the kids they care for. Eliot contends that the family friendly act lies to shoppers.
Nate admits that he has had his eye on Value More but they’re too big for the Leverage team to take down. When Eliot says that they took down a small country, Nate responds with the GDP of Value More being higher than a first world country; there is no way to take down the entire company. Eliot asks if they could take down one store; this store.
Nate thinks that if they nip it in the bud, catch the store before it opens, they could do it. He asks when the store is opening. “Tomorrow.” Eliot mumbles. “We better move fast.” Nate replies.
Eliot is part of the opening; as a hot dog vendor; Caroline yells that there should be ketchup, mustard and relish. Hardison decides to keep tabs on Caroline; she is the one to look out for. Nate says that of the three stores that closed, the first one was over a land dispute. Hardison sets Sophie up as “Ellie Sattler, an Ex-Pat environmental activist.” Sophie looks at the cards and says she can’t learn all the jargon in twenty minutes.
Back at the opening day of Value More, Caroline and Anna are talking in the parking lot. Anna spots Sophie at the curb taking soil samples. Caroline asks who she is and what she’s doing. Sophie says she was about to come and see her. “You and I and everyone in that store are slowly being poisoned to death.” Sophie says. She tests the soil and then hands out dust masks to Caroline and Anna. She describes symptoms of “Cadmium Blues” which is a nickname for the poisoning; Fever, rash, loss of taste buds. Sophie says that the building is sitting on top of an old mine. Caroline says that they did soil samples; Sophie contends that was before they dug everything up to build the store and the parking lot. She tells them of her plans to tell the town council.
Caroline tells Anna to call corporate about this. That night, at the meeting, Sophie is introduced as Dr. Eleanor Sattler, but before she speaks the council recognizes Caroline and lets her speak first. She thanks the town for welcoming Value More and then starts to talk about a bio-terrorist in their midst. As Caroline talks, Hardison and Parker see that Sophie’s Alias is being flagged repeatedly. Value More published a bunch of fictitious blogs making outrageous claims against Dr. Sattler. Sophie needs to get out of there so Hardison activates the fire alarm.
The team discusses the reason the second store closed; a Union scare. The next morning Caroline leads the new Value More staff in a company cheer, then cuts the ribbon to open the store to the public. Eliot works in stocking the shelves with a man named Martin. He says that he had his own hardware store, but closed because he wouldn’t be able to compete with the super store. Eliot admits that his father had a hardware store too. Martin is sick, he has diabetes and isn’t as strong as he used to be. Eliot helps with the load he is trying to carry. Martin says this is a young man’s game. Eliot says that he knows someone who can help, and invites Martin to a meeting.
In the break room, Martin offers Eliot some of his wife’s cooking. He has to eat because his blood sugar is low. Brian, the floor manager, enters and tells Martin that the fabric softener is flying off the shelves; he wants the man to work through his break. Eliot says that he will take Martin’s place and Brian warns him to keep it off the clock.
Caroline enters the break room and finds the poster advertising the Union meeting and takes it down. She activates the cameras and looks to see who posted the notice. Caroline and Anna see Eliot posting a notice. Anna asks if she should call corporate, but Caroline says they can handle it themselves.
She follows Eliot when he goes to an RV in the parking lot and knocks on the door. Eliot tells Nate what they want Caroline to hear; knowing she’s listening outside. Eliot says he was surprised at the response but says if he gets caught he’ll get fired. Nate says that would be illegal, but that they would find another reason.
When Eliot leaves, Caroline enters and tries to get him to leave. He explains the law and the Union rights of her workers if thirty percent sign up. She tries to get him to remove his RV, but Nate shows his receipt; Value More encourages customers to park their RVs in the parking lot.
Hardison takes a moment to ask Eliot if his father really owned a hardware store or if that was part of his alias. Eliot admits his dad’s store was a hole in the wall, but he knew where verything was; he’d wanted Eliot to take it over but he couldn’t wait to get away. He went in the service at eighteen; had a fight with his dad the night before he left. Eliot hasn’t been home since.
At the Union Meeting Nate asks Eliot how he got so many employees to show up. “Two words; free beer” Eliot replies. The people are disturbed when Anna and Caroline Cohen show up. Nate lets them know that they can’t be punished for attending.
Nate goes into a speech, explaining how hard it is to keep a job in this economy; the employees are afraid to complain about working through lunch or off the clock, because they don’t want to get fired. Nate says that they are like David and Value More is Goliath; the union is the slingshot to bring down the corporate giant.
Caroline asks if she can speak. Nate allows it because anyone can speak at a recruitment meeting. Caroline says that she’s wounded the employees would go to a stranger with their problems. She says they’re all family and should stick together; claims that Unions divide people and take money from their paychecks. Caroline offers a 30% discount for the first month and says she’ll throw a barbecue for the whole town.
“Who is Value More?” ‘We Are!’ “What is Value More?” ‘The Best!’
The store employees leave and Caroline turns to gloat. Nate doesn’t take the bait, he just tells her the bar is closed. Sophie comments after Caroline leaves that she used basic brain washing techniques. She says Nate likes the woman; Nate says that he likes the player, but not the woman.
Eliot asks about the three store closings; what was the third? Nate says it was a string of bad luck; unrelated incidents that lost the store money. “We can’t do that… Can we?”
In the morning, Nate sets the needle on a vinyl record and announces “Let the games begin.” He watches the store cameras to see how well the plan goes. Caroline welcomes the early shoppers but they are violent as they pass with their shopping carts. They race to the checkout line with big screen TVs. Parker is the cashier; the TV rings up $999.99 but the customer says she has a coupon. It’s $99.99, she got it in her e-mail. A flashback shows Hardison sending out the coupons. Caroline attempts to stop the purchase; Anna says that it’s the same barcode as the ones that she sent out so they have to be honored.
Next Sophie shows up with her acting class. Their instructions are to say “No” and block. She tells Nate the flash mob is ready. Inside the store, her actors remove their jackets and are al dressed as Value More employees.
Customers try to get answers out of the fake workers; one complains to Caroline that this is the worst customer service he’s ever seen. Many customers leave disgusted. Hardison has radio controlled shopping carts that move on their own, scaring customers away.
The floor manager tells Martin that if he doesn’t pick up speed he’ll have to work through lunch, then leaves for the break room. Moments later Martin breaks down and Eliot responds, telling someone to call 9-1-1.
Once Martins is attended to, Eliot confronts Brian: “You made Martin work through his break again, didn’t you?” Brian responds with “The old guy?”
Eliot says that Brian is a bully; “Do you know how bad I want to rip your arm off and feed it to you? That would make me a bully too.” He twists the man’s arm upside down and forces his face into the soda machine. He says the only reason he didn’t put him through the machine is because Martin wouldn’t like it. “Understand, Martin is a good neighbor; you’re not.” When Eliot releases Brian, the man tells him he’s fired. Eliot just smiles.
Unbelievably, as the team watches, Caroline gets the news that the store is having the biggest opening ever. She takes credit for the discounted TVs and Mr. Hallard, the CEO plans to come into town the next day.
Sophie looks at Nate and says “I’m beginning to believe we can’t destroy this store.” Nate replies, “You’re right, but Caroline can.”
The team goes into action; they enter Caroline’s hotel room and mess with the shower so there won’t be any water; her make-up so that it will cause a rash; her thermostat so the temperature can’t be controlled and Hardison sets a device that chirps intermittently throughout the night. Eliot disables the phone so she can’t call anyone. The next morning Caroline has no water for her shower; has no hair brush and has to brush her hair with a tooth brush; she struggles with her make-up because her applicators are missing.
In the office at Value More Anna complains that Caroline didn’t call her so they could ride in together. Parker enters, coughing and sneezing. She claims that she has to quit because she’s allergic to something in the store. She says she is Alice White; and she says Caroline doesn’t look good either. She asks if Caroline has a fever too.
When Parker leaves, Anna notices Caroline’s face and shows her. Caroline reaches for her bottled drink and gags as it’s terrible. The scene goes to a flashback of Hardison and Eliot bottling “Caroline’s favorite drink. It’ll taste like dust.” Hardison says. “What’s in it?” Eliot asks. “Food coloring and dust.”
Caroline sends Anna to the airport to pick up the CEO and then applies more of the tainted face powder trying to cover her rash. At the Barbecue Eliot sees Martin who thanks him for what he said to Brian. Martin says that if he still had his store he would hire Eliot. In the meantime, Caroline is on the phone leaving a message for the Mayor. She says that Value More contributed to his campaign and he sold them poisoned land.
The CEO meets Caroline and says she looks flushed; she claims she got too much sun. He keeps asking her if she’s okay as she gives him the tour of the store. The Leverage team watches as she talks to her boss and they take bets on how long she’ll last before telling him about the poison. Soon Hallard asks Caroline to join him at the corporate headquarters, a reward for all her hard work. Caroline is excited until Hallard says she’ll have to stay in Apple Springs for six months. She goes crazy and tells him the land is poisoned. Parker collects her winnings as Nate and Hardison go live with Caroline’s tirade.
Anna comes in and shouts for Caroline to stop, but it’s far too late. Caroline chases after Hallard as he tells Anna to get corporate on the phone. She stops when she sees the Leverage crew standing side by side. Two weeks later the store is closed.
Eliot asks the grocery store owner how Martin is working out as an employee; then he asks her on a date, for Saturday. He says he’s going out of town for a couple of days. The next scene is Eliot’s pick-up truck pulling into a driveway. He gets out and goes to the door with a six pack in his hand. He knocks and calls out: “Dad?” but there is no answer. He sets the six pack on the porch and turns to leave; he appears to have a lump in his throat and a tear in his eye as he looks out from the porch.
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