TNT Leverage 5X04 Review & Recap “The French Connection Job”
Original Air Date 8/12/2012 8:00 PM EST on TNT
Written by Paul Guyot
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
The show opens in the kitchen of a restaurant, Jean Luc and David Lampard (surrounded by thugs) are arguing about money when a Chef in Blue jacket enters and starts yelling at David Lampard for banning his students from the school. Lampard responds by telling him the school will no longer be for troubled youth, and that he’s fired. Jean Luc insists on carrying out his deal and when the chef gets in the way, he gets badly beaten.
As it turns out Toby, the chef, has a very powerful friend in Eliot Spencer. He comes to the LEVERAGE team for help, telling his story. “My body’ll heal, but the students come from foster homes and can’t even qualify for trade school much less culinary school.” Once he indicates that drugs may be involved Nate Ford takes Eliot aside and says this is one for the police. Eliot confesses that at a low period in his life, this was the man who taught him to cook. He intends to help.
Hardison works his magic and finds out everything about David Lampard, including his travel for the past several months. From all the data collected he says that Lampard buys up failing cooking academies and then starts charging the students $30,000. for his classes, and his student loans are at 30%. His frequent trips to France could be explained if he went to any of the food suppliers, but GPS finds him in the middle of nowhere; It does appear he’s making drug deals.The plan is to steal Lampard’s stash.
Nate calls Sophie via ear bud and lets her know they need her, we see she’s teaching an acting class. She tells her students to “take five” and shows up at the restaurant to charm the present Chef who’s teaching there to go with her, selling him on a reality cooking show “with strippers”.
Hardison poses as a student and Eliot as the new instructor, his name : “Chef”. As the job takes it’s course we see that Parker is different, claiming “Everything is fine” but you know when a woman says that it’s not fine. She is concerned because everyone has “A thing” but her. Just as other jobs in the past have helped to shape and develop characters, this episode reveals hidden sides of Parker, Hardison and Eliot.
When Eliot realizes that they aren’t dealing with drugs, they’re dealing with French butter truffles, the con has to change. Sophie turns organic farmer, Nate turns black-marketeer : “Gnar Slabdash, the N is mostly silent”. Parker turns grifter again; this time as a food critic and Hardison is left with the job of safe cracker. Even Sophie’s students get in on the con, under the ruse of an acting exercise.
Sophie, her class and Parker handle the distractions so that Hardison can crack the safe and get the illicit money; all the while trying to avoid Lampard’s muscle: Rampone.
Once Lampard is sold on the con, his ex-supplier decides to go after his prize chef. Eliot dispatches each thug without breaking stride cooking, organizing the kitchen, and trying to find something that will please Parker, the food critic. In the meantime Sophie must coach Parker via ear bud, while Parker coaches Hardison the same way, all under Lampard’s nose.
The climax of the episode is the showdown between Rampone and Eliot Spencer. They’ve met before, although Rampone didn’t recognize Eliot. When Rampone enters the kitchen and recognizes him Eliot quickly clears the kitchen to protect his students.
Eliot: “You hurt my friend, Rampone”
The knife fight is awesome as Eliot Spencer’s fights always are, especially when facing a former enemy. This fight is personal and not just about staying alive, it’s much more important to him than that.
This episode was filled with plot twists and turns keeping the crew on their toes at every turn. I have seen every episode of LEVERAGE more than once. This episode delivers new insight into each character, from Eliot’s past to Hardison’s joy at “geekin” in the kitchen, to Parker’s difficulty making connections and a future where she might learn. We also see their ability to adapt under pressure, the way that they work as a team, and how much they care about each other.
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