LEVERAGE “The Scheherazade Job” Review

LEVERAGE Season 3 Cast

In “The Scheherazade Job,” the second of two stellar LEVERAGE episodes Sunday night, the team goes up against Alexander Moto (Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito), an aspiring African dictator living in Boston. They need to steal smuggled diamonds Molto has hidden in the basement vault of a concert hall, an unhackable (“even for Hardison,” according to Parker) vault that can be breached only when the motion sensors are turned off for a concert. Hardison poses as a young countryman of Molto’s whose dream is to be a concert violinist, and Molto arranges for him to perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s gorgeous and insanely difficult Scheherazade at a special concert. Nate times the heist to the music, conducting the team like a maestro until everyone is understandably distracted by Hardison’s spectacular solo. Despite being caught, Nate talks his way out of the vault and ensures Molto will never be elected to any office while simultaneously doing a favor for his mysterious blackmailer, “The Italian.”

Hardison has always chafed at being the one stuck in the van, so it’s fun to see him front and center in the con, especially as his “I’m Skrull and have the cumulative powers of the Fantastic 4” confidence disappear as the concert nears. Having Nate hypnotically regress Hardison back to when he could play the violin was a fun twist and I think shooting a dialogue-free heist as a ballet set to the stunningly lovely (and, as Sophie notes, perfectly fit for Leverage) Scheherazade was a stroke of genius. My favorite non-Hardison/heist moments are Eliot playing journalist Guy Hamilton in front of the green screen and Sophie’s gently cutting end remark about Nate being alone again and that, if she didn’t know better, she’d think he liked it that way.

The one sour point of the episode is Elisabetta Canalis as “The Italian.” I like the idea of her character: a (presumably) season-long adversary for the team who pops in to give Nate crazy assignments and daydreams, but I find Canalis to be distracting. Her inflections, if there are any, are wrong, and she seems to be a beautiful but empty shell, not worthy of the team’s time. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the perfection that is Mark Sheppard’s Sterling. Now there’s an adversary.

With each Leverage episode, we see more of how each team member feels about his or her role. I can picture them writing a Saturday detention note about how each one of them is a grafter, a thief, a hacker, a hitter, and a mastermind because while they do each have an important and specified role, they also all like to switch it up. Hardison and Eliot have been the most vocal in their displeasure at being pigeon-holed, but I think Hardison now has more appreciation for both his and Nate’s function, so I look forward to an Eliot-centric episode to see how he fares. Hopefully that will be as creative and fun an episode as “The Scheherazade Job.”