Recap: Leverage S 01 E 04 The Snow Job
"You're still a mess. You know, one of these days, they may not stick around and back you up?"
In a Missouri suburb, homeowner Wayne Scott is being evicted from his house, and is stunned when he finds it has been sold to the contractors he paid to fix it up. He punches the man and is arrested. Nate meets with Scott in jail, who tells him the story. Nate agrees to take the case.The mark is Henry Retzing. He gets contracts to fix homes but does shoddy work and stretches his work out, but then puts a lien on the house and when the customers can’t pay up, he can take ownership of the house. Hardison tells the crew about Retzing’s two sons. One, Randy, just whiles the day away snowboarding and other non-serious things, and the other, Dennis, is actually running the company.Sophie shows up at a ski lodge where Randy is having a phone conversation about the luge. Randy’s interest is piqued and he comes to talk to her. She tells him she and her partners have purchased the resort and are looking to make some renovations and offers him a place. He agrees, as long as he can see the plans and meet the management.Eliot meets with the manager of the resort as a fireplace salesman while Hardison shuts down the lifts. Parker, on one of them, jumps off and hangs over the side. The manager gets the call of a girl in trouble and goes to investigate. Once he leaves, Eliot puts some things up to make it look like it’s his office, and takes the role of Sophie’s partner. They show Randy the “plans” and he agrees, but he needs to go to Miami to get his dad to write the actual check.In Miami they meet with Henry and tell him the plan, and he sounds interested. Dennis sounds dubious but sits down to listen as well. When they’re done Henry tells Dennis to sign the checks. Sophie goes with him and begins sweet talking him. Parker bugs Dennis’ office and listen in as he signs the check and then begins ranting about how the scam was all his idea, and they’ve done this to hundreds of people. Randy suddenly calls and demands to know what’s going on. Dennis gloatingly tells him he has another plan.Nate changes the scheme, and has Sophie tell Dennis they have a bigger opportunity. Nate wants to take the entire company. Hardison realizes the interference they’ve been getting is from police bugs.Nate meets with them and presents his scam to Dennis. They buy the life insurance of dying people for cheap and let them have one final fling then they get the payout when they actually die. He has a list of people who are good potentials. Dennis will agree as long as he can have a doctor check any of the patients at any time. Nate charges him $10,000 to see the list.That night, Nate gets stopped by a police car and talks to Lieutenant Stone from the Racketeering And Corruption Task Force. They are going after Retzing but Nate doesn’t think they have anything to go on, and this is a desperate plea for help.At the hospital, they decide to put Parker in a CAT-scan and a cadaver with a brain tumor in another and switch the signals. Dennis brings his doctor and has her examine the images of “Parker’s brain”. The doctor agrees that she is terminal, but Dennis still has doubts. While Sophie talks to him, Nate takes a call that one of their other patients just died. Dennis is convinced, starts talking about how he needs to move accounts, which sets Nate off. He sounds like he wants Dennis out. Sophie goes to talk him down.Later the team are demanding to know what Nate is up to. They don’t understand what he’s doing and why. He insists they trust him, but he’s been drunk the whole time and that makes them nervous.In the morning Dennis calls and tells Nate he’s in for $5 million. As they start the transfer, Henry and Randy see the transfer and decide to put a stop to it, while Stone manage to hear that and ask them to get ready their forces. Henry and Randy was then seen in the bank where they run into Dennis and Nate (when an officer tells him that someone smashes Retzing's hummer). A confrontation begins between Dennis and Randy and Nate pulls the team out. Later, the Retzings get calls that their checks have all bounced. It turns out that Randy was supposed to signed a deal that he propose to Sophie earlier but since Henry was distracted by his hummer's window broken, Randy have sign a deal that gives 51% of interest in their company to her instead.They've realize that they've been tricked as their actual goal was for Henry to pass the corporate power over to Randy when both of them see what Dennis was transfering. As they try to figure out what to do, Lieutenant Stone barges in with his men, arresting Henry for undeclared transfer of money with the combinations of the previous fraudulent and corrupt activities under the RICO act. Turns out, Nate made a deal with them to get Retzing by asking him to give him two days and once Retzing makes a minor transgression, they'll leave. Soon, as Henry was taken away, Nate calls Dennis reminding him to check the names on the list he shows him as they are actually a list of names that lost their homes to the Retzing family. With all the company assents under their control, including the Retzings' house, Nate proceeds to put all the people they evicted back in their homes, except their client, who they put in Retzing’s house. He then reminds them to leaves the keys under the mat after they pack their stuffs in two to three days.A few days later, Nate gives the house key of the Retzing's to the Wayne family while Hardison nearly breaks into tears. Nate tells Sophie that he has changed but Sophie reminds him that he hasn't and sooner or later they won't help him out if he continues.
Tropes stolen in this job:
- Adult Fear: Everyone worries about contractors; they're one of the bigger expenses and you let them into your home. Turn it up to eleven with a corrupt contractor who deliberately does a bad job so he can steal your home.
- The Cameo: Jonathan Frakes is the guy sitting next to Nate in the hospital.
- Cutaway Gag: As Hardison doctors the photo of Ute, the German luge athlete, with Sophie's head as part of the con, he mutters an apology to Ute, to himself. Cut to Ute finding the doctored photo and very pissed about this.
- Drunk Driver: Nate is pulled over while intoxicated. Fortunately, the officer isn't interested in that.
- Dull Surprise: Played for Laughs, when Parker plays a skier who's dangling off the ski lift, gives a bored-sounding "Help."
- Ironic Echo: As Nate gives the house key of the Retzing's to the Wayne family in the end, you can see Randy in the background futilely pleading with the cops about his eviction just as Wayne tried to do in the beginning.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end, Leverage kicks the Retzings our of their home because they declared it a "corporate asset."
- Idle Rich: Randy. He spends his time going to fancy ski resorts or strip clubs. He has various business schemes that any good business mind would laugh at, like paintball done from hot air balloons.
- Loophole Abuse: The Retzing's bread and butter. Their entire business method is geared to abusing the loopholes in the contract and good business laws.
- Oh Crap!: The Retzings go through these when their checks bounce, the accountant calls them saying there are some problems, and then they realize Randy signed away the majority share of their company. Lastly, the police arrive to arrest Papa Retzing.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Lt. Stone wants to take down the mark for their fraud and is willing to let Nate slide if Nate can get the Retzings to break the law enough for a Rico charge to be applied.
- The Unfavorite: Papa Retzing clearly favors his elder son, a useless playboy, at the expense of his younger son, the one responsible for their current wealth. It's thus a fitting irony that it's because of Randy that the family loses their money and the father ends up in jail.
- Villain Ball: Randy fails at the corner of any business deal: Read what you are about to sign. Because he fails to do this, he signs away 51% of the company.