As Leverage nears the end of season four, we're treated to a solid stand-alone episode that changes Nate's life and guarantees there will be sparks in the season finale.

Twelve hours before a situation at the United States Patent Office in Virginia, Nate is confronting Jack Latimer (Leon Rippy) at his office. It seems the guy Latimer got to do his dirty work after Nate turned him down was none other than Nate's con-man father Jimmy (Tom Skerritt). Now, unsurprisingly, Jimmy is in trouble, and so Nate gets involved, with his team inviting themselves along for the bumpy ride.

The situation surrounds a 20-year-old patent application, but before anyone can find it, a horde of law enforcement officers led by Special Agent Dennis Powell (Michael Pare) rolls up. Nate pretends the whole thing is a hostage situation, which buys them time - time for him to get into an argument with his father in which Jimmy says he only took the job to protect Nate from Latimer. "You're my son," Jimmy says. "This is what I have to do."

While the team keeps the authorities at bay by any means necessary, including staging gunfire with exploding Christmas lights and faking a pregnancy, they also have to figure out who's really pulling the strings and why. As they get clear of the building, they walk into a flash mob and realize that Jimmy has double-crossed them. With patent in hand, he's slipped off in the crowd, and goes to meet his buyer. It should come as no surprise that he's promptly knocked unconscious. "We have a situation," says the enigmatic man. "He didn't show."

When Jimmy comes to, he realizes there's a brick of C-4 in front of him. In order to keep Nate from rushing in and being killed along with him, he tells him that he's "a lousy son," which makes Nate hesitate just enough to stay alive. The warehouse he's in front of explodes and his father dies in the blast. Who's the guy we need to be looking at for all of this? Well, it's Victor Dubenich (Saul Rubinek), also known as the very first bad guy in the history of Leverage. What continuity!

"The Radio Job" is an episode with an interesting idea. Watching Hardison and Parker build equipment out of rejected prototypes is reminiscent of the party scene in Home Alone with a con-man twist. It's quirky and fun. We get plenty of the usual laughs, like Eliot's growled "Dammit, Hardison!"

On the dramatic side, I can't argue with the decision to kill Jimmy Ford. He was getting to the point where there wasn't much more to do with his character, and his death served a purpose in terms of story. On his way out, though, we got some great scenes between the actors Skerritt and Hutton, and there was some redemption for Jimmy in the end.

I'm curious to see what happens with the season finale. When we first met him four seasons ago, I never would have imagined seeing Dubenich again, let alone finding out that he could plot something huge like what we've been seeing throughout season four. How did it all come together? What's his endgame? I'm looking forward to the answers.

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.