If you've seen the movie Boiler Room, you've got a fair idea of tonight's second Leverage. Minus Vin Diesel. However, there is chocolate, and one heck of a final twist, so it's all good.
The bad guy is Greg Sherman (The Shield star David Rees Snell), who gives bombastic speeches about being "on top of the food chain" because he's that corny. Unfortunately, Hardison's cover gets blown quickly - it's really not a good week to be Alec Hardison! - and he's forced to spin a tale about a faux play with Sophie playing a mark known as "the chocolate whisperer." Now that would be a TV show I'd watch.
Soon we're talking about chocolate cafes in China (yay alliteration) and making our way to Ecuador, where Eliot looks like he took time off from the Indiana Jones franchise. You have to hand it to the Leverage writers: they do come up with some crazily unique setups.
Once the team gets Sherman wound up, he takes off running. David Rees Snell drips arrogance as the bad guy who keeps trying to give himself a nickname. In my opinion, he lays it on a little too thick, almost more of a loudmouthed caricature than an actual villain to be taken seriously.
The bigger bad guy is on the horizon: the mysterious man who bugged Nate's apartment (that's Saving Grace's Leon Rippy), whose name is Jack Latimer. We meet him in the final few minutes of the episode, and find out that he's crossed our heroes many, many times, going all the way back to the pilot. He's the most satisfying part of the whole hour, because he's not a typical "black hat." He's a well-spoken man who's been making a lot of money off the team's exploits, and he's definitely working on something more complex than most enigmatic bad guys.
As it follows the exceptional "Grave Danger Job," it's hard not to feel like "The Boiler Room Job" is a little weaker in comparison. Whereas the former had emotion to rely on, the latter seems to be more set on jokes, like that of Nate and Sophie trying to train a bunch of would-be actors. Leverage has proven that it can weave comedy into the con, but that should never come at the expense of a strong plot, and here it does so to an extent.
That said, it's fantastic to see that the would-be actors are actually people that Sherman conned, and I love that not only are the FBI agents funny, but they're also not portrayed as inept. It's a fun ride, even if it's not much more than that.
One minor pet peeve: this is the second consecutive episode in which Nate gets knocked unconscious from behind, and I think it's at least the third time that's happened this season alone. Our favorite mastermind really ought to look over his shoulder once in awhile!
And as if two hours of Leverage aren't enough, it was announced yesterday that the show has been renewed for a fifth season. Congratulations, fans! There will be a fifth season of masterminding, hitting, grifting, hacking, and thieving in your future.