Recap: Leverage S 01 E 09 The Stork Job
Tell me you didn't see this coming
"Now, we steal a movie."
A couple, the Mortons, ask the team to retrieve their adopted son, Luka, from a crooked adopted agency in Serbia after they paid them $120,000 including the mortgage of their house and only got to spend time with Luka for a week. The team discuss it and find out that Irina Larenko, a grifter who suggested the idea to the Mortons cheated them using an adoption scam using a real orphan (which Parker noticed on the Morton's video of them and Luka). They decide go to Belgrade where Irina was invited to the party at the American embassy next week.
At the embassy, Eliot decides to go to her (due to the fact that Sophie conned the ambassador before) and get some information. Meanwhile, Hardison also manages to find out the guy who picked Luka up, Nicolas Obrovic, is also at the party and manages to get hooked on Parker. Once they find out more details about Nicolas, Parker is reminded of something from her childhood and stabs Nicolas with a fork. The team is shocked and Parker makes her escape through the window. Nate tells Eliot to tell Irina that he's producing a film and trying to find some cast. Irina takes the bait, giving him her card while Eliot tells her there's a car that will pick her up first thing in the morning. Sophie asks how Nate knows and Nate tells her that a European grifter who wants to be an actress, like another grifter he knows, will fall for it.
After regrouping, they try to find a movie being produced the following day. They manage to clear out the producer (after Hardison makes the film's production cash disappear) and the director (by sending a false message saying there's another movie that wants him as director). Nobody tells that to Parker, worrying that she'll jeopardize the mission and Nate takes the role of the director. Once everything's set, Eliot brings Irina to Nate and they cast her as the mother. Outside, Hardison has a talk with Parker telling her that they need her trust if she's going along with the game plan. Just then Eliot asks if they have a script and realizes that Sophie changed the script from a two page script to a ten page script with stunts and special effects. They also learn that Sophie wants to be in it as 'Sister Magda'. Reluctantly, Nate agrees to let her do it, unable bring himself to tell her the truth about her acting skills.
As the movie plays out, Sophie seems to act well much to Eliot's bafflement. Nate explains that "she can act when it's an act". As they bring Irina in, they pretend to panic as the actor who was suppose to play the boy didn't show up. Once they describe the general appearance of Luka, Irina promises them to bring back a boy who could work without them cutting the scene. As Irina leaves, Nate gives the signal for Parker to follow her. But as Parker arrives there, Hardison (who attached a camera to her) realizes that they're keeping some other orphans there and the orphanage isn't what it looks like. At the harbor, Parker nearly breaks into tears that they can't save all of them, just Luka, worrying that it will end up like her when she was a child while Hardison tries to comfort her, telling her that he already contacted Nate and is trying to find a way. As the team regroups, they learn from what Parker saw that the "orphanage" is an arm dealer's base using the adoption scam for extra cash. Nate tells them that they have to stick to the original plan as they're not ready for Nicolas's men and oddly Parker agrees with Nate, confusing Hardison.
The next day, Irina brings Luka to the set to get ready to start filming. However, once Luka is placed inside the cabinet and Irina "dies" in the film, after a long pause, she realizes that Nate and Eliot are missing and notices that Luka is missing. Somewhere else, the Mortons are waiting for them as they give Luka to them. As the Mortons leave, they notice Parker is not with them. Luckily, Hardison managed to plant a GPS tracker on her shoes after the party and quickly goes to the orphanage. At the orphanage, as Nicolas is getting ready to sell the weapons to the buyer, Parker sneaks into the place and tries to tell the kids to follow them (badly even when using the translation book). However once Parker mention 'Haagen-Daaz' , the orphans cheer and follows her out. Suddenly, Nicolas appears in front of Parker when she opens the door and they fight. Parker wins and quickly leads the children out. Parker tries to sneak her way out with the children but one of them coughs, catching the men's attention. Luckily Sophie is there to lead them out with Eliot dealing with one of the guards. To add confusion to it, the men hear a policeman shouting that they have the place surrounded. Everyone is outside and gets on the bus but not a few miles away, it suddenly stops as Nicolas and his men catch up to them and shoots them point. Oddly, Parker wasn't hurt as it turns out that Nate and Eilot switched the guns with props. On cue, Hardison blows up the orphanage and leaves with the crew. Nicolas is confused and the buyers are not happy about it. As they see the money raining down on them from the explosion, all Nicolas can do is laugh in shame.
Nate tells everyone that they replaced the license plates so they have a clean shot at the border while telling Parker that the kids are going to be turn over to the World Health Organization and are expecting them. As for Irina, Nate tells her they've taken care of her. Hardison somehow transfered the 'missing movie funds' to her account. The real producer finds her pin number and calls the FBI to arrest her. Irina is happy to see the money inside her account but her good fortune is cut short as she is dragged away by the cops. Sophie asks Nate if she recorded it but before Nate can speak, Eliot tells her there is no film inside. Fuming, Sophie tells her that they're going to Paris after this. Hardison scolds Parker for doing something that might have ended up getting her killed. Parker realizes she didn't plan this ahead, and Hardison reminds her that they're a team. Parker tells Nate to stop and get some Haagen-Dazs while the children cheer in joy.
Tropes stolen in this job:
- Arms Dealer: The actual operation.
- Bad Bad Acting: Everyone's expecting this from Sophie, but she surprises them all with an actually decent performance. Nate explains that she can act, when it's an act.
- Blatant Lies: When Nate asks if Sophie uses the techniques she's giving Eliot to manipulate Irina on him, she says, "No," even as she's doing it.
- Literal-Minded: Parker takes instructions on dealing with Obrovich a little too literally.
- Tough Love: Hardison's description of his Nana.
- You Were Trying Too Hard: "Haagen-Dazs?"