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Leverage - 5.11 - The Low, Low Price Job

Alright! It's been a long time but the Leverage team is back is business! (Not that you'd know it to look at IMDb.)

Eliot is not happy that Hardison is trying to compost indoors and I'm inclined to agree because that would smell nasty. Eliot notices the sad looking woman from the very beginning who is being kicked out of her town because they want to put in a generic Big Box Mart.

A redheaded woman is walking thru the town where she's listing off all the shops and when they should close for their "Value!More".

Hardison does not think that this is a case. Sophie thinks it's an American dream and Parker points out that it provides hundreds of jobs and Hardison notes that it helped his Gran meet ends. Then Nate says that he's been looking at them for sometime but they're too big to take down. Eliot says that they should just take down that one store. Nate says this should have been done before the store opens and it opens tomorrow. Let's go crash a party....

As typical Hardison wants the impossible. This time for Sophie to learn what takes most women years to learn ion a few hours. Cut to later as the Southern redhead (why do all the bad girls have to be southern...or perhaps that should be why are all southern girls barring Sookie Stackhouse bad) is speaking Mandarin to her assistant who is dually confused until she points out that she intents to see Value!More stretch across the globe. Then she notices a wonderfully laid back looking Sophie wearing the exact outfit you might expect of an environmental activist and she the woman that she informs in a soft voice, the woman, her assistant, and everyone in the store is slowly being poisoned.

Sophie takes a water sample which troubles her before giving out masks, the type one might use for painting, and telling her that the soil is polluted by Cadmium from silver mining and Sophie drive off in her Prius as the women discuss the ramifications of the simple implication the property could be poisoned.

Much like Carol Johnson on season two of Justified, the woman holds a town meeting to turn the town to her side. But unlike Ms. Johnson who set off small fireworks to turn the crowd to her side, this woman pins Sophie as an eco-terrorist to undermine everything she might say about the land. Sophie is most upset about having to learn all the words.

Eliot is sent under to infiltrate the Value!more team into unionizing because Mrs. Caroline Cowan would rather shut her store down than unionize the whole company. Not even five minutes on the job and Eliot starts handing out cards for a meeting I bet Nate set up to talk unions. Eliot talks with the man about the store he used to run but had to shut down because of Value!more. Isn't thay usually the case? Big Box store comes in and all the moms and pops are stuck working for the ones that put them out of business. The manager comes into the break room and is appropriately douchy. Parker slides in an puts an ad for a "pick up game" on the fridge (union slang for a meeting). She looks got the person who put p the sign, and we see Eliot putting up another flyer in the bulletin board, and they decide they can trace him back.

Cowan follows Eliot to the trailer where he's having an unnecessarily loud conversation with Nate. Cowan scampers like a little rodent before appearing in the trailer when Nate purposely steps out. Hardison asks if when Eliot told the man his father ran a hardware shop if it was part of the alias or the truth. Eliot tells Hardison about it and how he thought he was going to change the world by joining the military service. Eliot also tells him that this town reminds him of his hometown.

That night at the meeting, Nate asks where all the people came from. Two words: Free beer. Eliot is not wrong. Cowan shows up as Nate gives the speech about why they need unions. The woman interjects saying that she's wounded they would take their job concerns to a stranger than to her before reminding them of the tough times we're having, asking them to stick together, and offering a brief employee discount. She even gets them to get in on the customary cheer before she leaves.

Eliot reminds Nate that three stores had closed already; one for environmental concerns, one for unionizing, and the last for a string of little thing that added up so halfway thru the episode, the teams decides to go small to go big.

Let the games begin, Nate declares before starting some scary classical music. (I'm informed by my mom that it's "Night on Bald Mountain."). Hardison's first trick is changing the price on a coupon that allows a $999 TV to be sold for $99. For their second trick, Sophie instigates a flash mob of improve shoppers who go into the store dressed as workers to cause bad customer service and a large group to walk out. Following that is a haunted shopping cart but the chaos turns a little less fun when the shop owner from earlier hurts his back. The douchy boss, Brian, continues ti be douchy and Eliot threatens to take his arm off and tells him the only reason he doesn't throw him thru the vending machine is because the shop owner, Martin, wouldn't want him to.

Caroline finally needs a lie-down on her sofa and while she's there she gets a phone call from the head of the company. He tells her about their record sales due to the TVs. He approves full heartedly and they broke all records for opening week. They took a hit on the TVs but every other department made a killing and Sofie begins to wonder if they can destroy the store. They can't but Caroline can. But why would she want to? She wouldn't; that's why Eliot gets to place all the bugs. Cowan's light bulb fritzes and she notes it was probably one of theirs. Then her smoke detector starts beeping and her lights are still slightly strobing.

In the morning, she looks like hell having gotten not very much sleep and can't take a shower because her water's out, has to use some creative tools to get her hair and make-up ready. Her assistant walks in and declares "Oh god" because her boss's face looks red and blotchy. Parker walks in and quits under her alias of Alice White and mentions her fever which was one of the symptoms as well as a lack of taste. When she takes a sip of her drink, it's just as bland as Cadmium poisoning would cause due to Hardison replacing it with a mixture of "food coloring and dust."

(I love hearing random Richard Castle ads in the middle of Leverage!)

Martin comes up to Eliot at the barbecue and they share an appropriately sweet moment before we cut back to Caroline whose being dodges by the mayor. Just then her boss asks for a tour and as she does so, the Leverage team take bets on how long until she quits. Caroline is offered a job at HQ but only after she stays for a few more months to prove her new business strategy. As she confronts her boss about the poisoned land, Leverage HQ decides to broadcast. Caroline's assistant walks in and yells fir them to stop then the boss goes running for corporate.

Later the boss declares the store a lost cause and the local shops reopen. An anonymous donor (Nate) has bought. The building to turn into a theater and Eliot flirts with the young lady that turned them onto the case before asking her on a date. Awwww!

Outside Oklahoma, Eliot goes to visit his dad who isn't home so Eliot leaves a six pack of beer outside the door.

What I particularly like about this episode:
♥ Hardison and Parker seem even more couple-y than usual
♥ Eliot is still a bad-ass with a heart of gold

What I didn't like:
≠ Why couldn't the southern woman have been the good girl as opposed to the bad?
≠ Am I wrong or did they not declare they were stealing something this episode?

Next week: the ungriftable grift; the white rabbit

For those who are curious as to how long this back half of the season will run, it will end on Christmas Day. And I repeat the message many of the actors wanted to get out before the episode; watch these episodes, much like in voting, every viewer counts.

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