In case you haven’t realized, I’m a wee bit hooked on Leverage. I unfortunately didn’t catch all of the episode from last season, including the pilot. Why unfortunate? Well, the show itself is awesome. But.
The pilot is especially fantastic.
Let’s ignore the general premise or plot for now. Let’s look at the structural elements of the pilot for a moment. The way characters were introduced. The way that the show is set up.
You know, before I realized how these five random people got hooked up with each other, I just thought that Nate somehow needed them and worked it out himself. How great is it that a random third party set four of them up. Literally. He set them up to steal–even using Nathan’s vulnerability to rope him in as the guy who does nothing wrong…he just watches the criminals. Three random criminals and Nate.
It’s not until they’re screwed (kudos to including an explosion in the first episode without it feeling over the top) that they rope in Sophie, who is a personal contact of Nate’s. I love that they give us a bit of surprise by juxtaposing her terrible acting on stage with the fantastic acting in their ploys.
And of course, you’ve gotta give it up for how they turned the tables on Victor Dubenich. It was bulletproof with a mighty big payout.
But you know, after seeing episode after episode of this show and going back to watch the pilot, you’d think that the con itself would be less than impressive. But still, it was. More so, you felt like these people were trapped. I mean, you don’t know these guys. You don’t know how good they are. What if they really were caught. But it worked out. Nice.
But lets get back to the actual elements of the pilot. One very important thing we needed to know was that Nathan’s son died. Died because his insurance company–the one he worked for–wouldn’t allow payment for his son’s treatment. They introduced this first thing in the episode. His anger at the mention of his son showed his weakness. The fact that he got so angry because Victor “used his son” showed us that it runs really deep. Plus, showing the clip while talking with Eliot, even more clues to how this event establishes Nate as a character.
What’s more? I love that they define why these thieves and questionable people trust Nathan. Well, Nate is honest. He’s an honest man. So why wouldn’t you trust him. For the other “black hats” of the group, he’s the one that you know won’t con you. It shows why he is the glue that holds them all together.
Anyway, it was an effective episode. And the end, when they all are in the suits, explaining their new roles–“We provide leverage”–well, we’ve just connected the show to the title. And given us chills and excitement for the next episode.