Recap / Leverage S 02 E 11 The Bottle Job

The owner of the bar below Nate's loft has passed away, and a good Irishman gets a good Irish wake. Only it turns out that before he died, he took out a loan from a nasty loanshark named Doyle, who's come to collect from the daughter. At the wake! (Have some respect, man.) And if she can't pay, he's going to take the bar. Nate convinces the crew that they can pull off The Wire, a con which normally takes three weeks, in a single evening. And pull it off they do! They saved the bar, Cora gets to keep her livelihood, and Doyle is going back to Ireland. Then Nate decides to knock things up a notch...

  • Beyond the Impossible: Pulling off a three-week con in two hours ("hour and a half").
  • Bottle Episode: It's even in the title. With the exception of Parker and Eliot's brief excursion to Doyle's warehouse headquarters, the entire episode takes place within McRory's pub and Nate's condo upstairs from the pub.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Old Nate painting finally fires because it is where Hardison keeps some hidden cash for rainy days.
    • When Cora pays Doyle some money, Liam's brother is seen marking the bills. Doyle later sees the mark and realizes Nate stole his money.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The poker players Cora speaks with at the start become instrumental to taking down Doyle in the final act.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Jimmy Ford gets a few mentions in this episode.
  • Delayed Wire: Hardison sets the basketball game on the bar's TV on a delay, letting Nate cheat Doyle out of a lot of money.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The poker players leave one chair empty for the late John McRory.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Nate gets Doyle to confess to at least one felony to a table with three police officers.
    Police Captain: So you're telling me this Doyle kid's going to march right in here, confess to a crime, and give us all his money?
    Nathan: If all goes to plan.
    Det. Sergeant Mickey: I don't know what kind of schmuck would do that, but I'd sure as heck pay to see it.
  • Exact Words: Doyle asks Mickey, one of the poker players, if he was involved with the O'Hare business back in August. Mickey chuckles and affirms it. He is involved because he was investigating the crime.
  • Hidden Supplies: Parker, Hardison, and Eliot each have an emergency fund (totaling over nine grand) stashed around Nate's apartment. Eliot has his in the underside of a chair, Hardison has his in the back of the Old Nate painting, and Parker keeps hers in the cereal.
  • I Am Not My Father: Averted. Nate insists on this when his father Jimmy is mentioned. However, evidence in the episode shows Nate to have some traits shared with his father: both are smart players and protective of those close to them, and Nate also breaks Doyle's finger just like he remembers his father doing to a man. One officer even tells Nate he is just like Jimmy.
  • I Was Never Here: The cops at the end invoke this. They weren't at the wake playing poker, hearing the confession of an Irish mobster and discovering his illicit funds which they would have to take into evidence and keep from his victims. No, two were at a basketball game, and the third was at the movies.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Eliot, buddying up to Doyle's goons, demonstrates a very deft hand with darts. He makes a bullseye without looking, then hits that dart with a second dart.
  • Off the Wagon: Nate.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Doyle demands that Nate actually take a drink or he'll walk away, the entire universe holds its breath. When Nate downs the whiskey, no one is happy.
    • Hardison, when he has to improvise a weather broadcast in about two minutes.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: After Eliot smacks her on the rear to keep up the charade, Parker nicks just about everything Doyle's goons are carrying by going along with it and slapping them on the rear. Later she does it again, presumably to put all the stuff back.
  • Running Gag: "Liam and Liam's brother." Nobody ever bothers to ask what Doyle's other thug is named, simply referring to him as "Liam's brother" or (once) "Liam Two."
  • Spoiled by the Format: Nate wins the marker on the bar from Doyle halfway through the episode, so you know there's more that's going to go on.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The police officers are quick to decide on good when Tara observes that Doyle's cash, if properly taken into evidence, will take a very long time to get back to the people he extorted it from. By pretending they were never there and know nothing about the money or Doyle's confession, they allow Nate and his team to return the cash to those it belongs to.
  • Whole Plot Reference: There are a lot of influences from The Sting, although the episode mixes it up. The Wire is the classic scam run by Redford and Newman's crew in that movie; in the film, they convince their Irish Mob opponent to get involved in it by playing Poker with him first. Here, it's running the wire scam that leads the Irish Mobster to get involved in the Poker game. The Sting features conmen pretending to be law enforcement; here, the conman convinces law enforcement to pretend to be mobsters... in order to play a con.