It's a sad week for TV: first Burn Notice ends its season (albeit spectacularly) and now it's time to wrap up Leverage.
The show knows how to make an entrance - with Timothy Hutton making an awesome one in a very sweet sports car to meet the woman known only as "the Italian" in a parking garage. She tells him that Damian Moreau is coming. No, that's not ominous at all.
It's also totally normal to hang out by yourself in a darkened Department of Defense lab in Langley. That's what the new client is doing, at least until Parker and Eliot kidnap her and fake her death. As Nate explains to her after the fact, Moreau wants her dead, because she works for a retired general named Atherton who's been in Moreau's pocket for a decade on a super-secret...battery?! The two bad guys have a snippy conversation over the young lady's death. Moreau doesn't want her absence to derail an impending auction.
After sending their client into protective custody, Team Leverage has a get-together to discuss their plan of attack. "Let's go steal the Department of Defense," Nate says glibly. "We'll give it back."
Moments later, he's charming his way alongside General Atherton, trying to get him away from a Congresswoman expertly played by Sophie, while Eliot and Hardison are skulking around the Governor Hotel (also known as the site of the Leverage convention!). Hardison is shocked when Eliot divulges his real name to the bodyguards there and moreso when it actually works. They're led through a pactical horde of guys in black suits with guns, before Moreau steps out of the sauna and refers to Eliot as "an old friend." The following conversation is awkward, with Eliot trying to convince Moreau that he represents foreign interest in the auction, while Hardison ends up handcuffed to a chair and that chair ends up at the bottom of the hotel pool. It nearly gets him drowned, but it convinces Moreau that they're for real.
While that bombshell's being dropped, Sophie lures the General from his office so Nate and Parker can poke around his office. With the unknowing help of one of the project staffers, they find some classified blueprints, which the team escapes with. When Hardison and Eliot arrive, Nate is not happy that Eliot didn't divulge his past with the bad guy. Eliot claims he was trying to protect everyone else from the horrible things that Moreau and his people have done; their past connection obviously bothers him a great deal, including one thing he begs Parker not to ask about. As if that wasn't enough, Eliot reveals that to get the auction information, Moreau has tasked him with killing Atherton.
Not to mention, the pilfered blueprints are for a very big EMP bomb. We learned last week what EMP's can do, so needless to say, this is a very bad thing. Nate tells the team to stick with the plan, even if it means a cranky Eliot having to kill Atherton.
While Moreau's right-hand man watches, Eliot appears to snap Atherton's neck. Yet at the morgue, we find out that he's been holding his breath in a body bag. Nate and Hardison are there to greet him, while Sophie gives a brilliant performance pretending to be Atherton's grieving widow. Nate tells her to take Atherton's ID and go steal the bomb. She and Hardison set out to do just that, not counting on the general's death being breaking news. Security is easily able to find his ID tag and track down the user, but by then, Parker's stuck it on another staff minion and stolen his instead. When they get to where the bomb should be, however, it's already gone.
They pass this information on to Eliot and Nate, who are busy finding the Italian tied to a chair. She claims that she's been an undercover agent the whole time, at the same time Moreau calls Eliot to gloat. He's sent some friends to finish them off. Realizing they're outnumbered, Eliot sacrifices himself, engaging the bad guys in a gunfight while Nate and the Italian escape. This may be one of the coolest action sequences on Leverage to date, and further cements Christian Kane's status as an action hero. The Matrix, eat your heart out.
Everyone else has tracked the bomb to a train, which means that Parker and Hardison have to go fetch. One of them is way more excited about this than the other. When they find it, they realize that they can't outright steal it, so Hardison sets out trying to disable it. As he tells Parker, this will either work well or it will set off the bomb and they'll be screwed: "We'll go down as the greatest terrorists in American history, but we'll be dead too, so it's not really our problem." They manage to save the day, however, and Sophie is there to meet them.
Nate and the Italian confront Moreau at the airfield. Nate calls the client and tells her to give something to the cops, which she does - then tells Moreau he's framing him for all the things the Italian has done. Moreau demands to know who he is, before he wounds the Italian and takes off on his fancy private plane, much to everyone's annoyance. They decide to track Moreau to the small country of San Lorenzo, because they're just that crazy.
This is the first episode where I haven't hated Elisabetta Canalis' character, probably because she actually gets something to do. The regular cast is excellent as always; the action sequence between Eliot and Moreau's thugs is better than some I've seen in expensive action movies, and Christian Kane uses the reveal of Eliot's past connection to the big bad to add further depth to his character. As a result, it doesn't look like a last-second, unsupported revelation. Tim Hutton continues to lead the cast with an even hand and a subtle magnetism. "The Big Bang Job" would have made for a great season finale on its own, but it's not over yet.
Let's bring on part two!
For more Leverage, check out full show coverage in the Leverage category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.