Recap / Leverage S 03 E 02 The Reunion Job

You, you hacked me? You got inside my head?!!
Larry Duberman

Cyrus Madahvi was days away to cracking Manticore, an electronic surveillance system that the Iranian government uses to track protesters over cell phones, social networks and e-mail, but his files were deleted after a couple of men barged in his place and knock him out cold. Madahvi seeks help from the team to help him take down Manticore, as people in Iran including his family are going to protest during the upcoming election, and Manticore will let the Iranian government track every single person who protests. Nate hesitates, but Hardison points out Madahvi risks his life to take down the bad guys instead of working for Google or Microsoft. Eliot, who happens to hear them, tells them Madahvi was probably hit by Vezerat, the Iranian secret police.

The group goes to the safe house (hidden as an Iranian restaurant). While Eliot and Hardison distract them as Boston Health Department doing a spot inspection (with Sophie suddenly having a live cockroach in her food), Parker enters their office but doesn't find Cyrus' data. She does find out payment records to Larry Duberman. Regrouping at their HQ, the team learns that he's the founder and C.E.O. of Dubertech, who also wrote a book on digital security system in the 90's. They suspect he uses Manticore as a way to expand his market share as technology is advancing very fast and he can't keep up otherwise. The good news is that Hardison found a way to shut off Manticore, but the bad news is they need to go to his office to shut if off manually as oddly he can't hack it. Before they head out, Parker's curious on why Eliot pours Sophie tea. Sophie tells her that by using neurolinguistic programming, she makes Eliot do what she wants as he owes her for the roach back at the Iranian restaurant.

At Dubertech, Hardison and Parker manage to infiltrate his office and are amazed at how retro it is - as if it was back in high school in the 1980s. Hardison finds that the server is literally too low-tech to hack remotely, and decides to hack it manually but the security system triggers an alarm. Parker and Hardison get all but one of the passwords escape using a pair of display outfits.

The group realizes that Duberman is obsessed with his high school as all of his passwords are related to his high school years. He can't let it go, as he was once a Nerd and was bullied and dateless in the past. Nate deduces he uses a memory technique known as the "Roman Room" and decides to break into the high school that Duberman studied at 25 years ago, since they can't hack his mind. Sophie cons the reunion committee into rescheduling from eight months away to a few days away. Meanwhile, Duberman raises his prices on the Iranians and threatens to pass information to the government on their activities. Getting the call from Sophie about the reunion, Duberman blows off a meeting with the Iranians on that day in order to gloat about his success to his old classmates.

Duberman: I've spoken at Davos, I've met presidents and prime ministers. I've got a yacht with a squash court. But what's the meaning of any of that if I can't rub it in their faces?

A few hours before the reunion starts, Hardison is stationed inside his van while Eliot goes to Dubertech to destroy Manticore once they get the password. Eliot manages to infiltrate Duberman's office by knocking out Sloane and using his ID card. As the reunion starts, Duberman is greeted by everyone about his success and meets Sophie as "Pizza Face" Grace Peltz. Duberman doesn't recognize her but Sophie shows her a doctored yearbook courtesy of Hardison. They notice Nate dressed up as a hippie, playing Duberman's nemesis, Drake McIntyre. The real Drake was given two tickets to watch the Pats play in Miami. Duberman doesn't seem to recognize him either but once Nate calls him "Doucherman", he changes his mind, convinced it's him. Hardison feeds Nate information on Drake's classmates to sell the cover.

Sophie leads Duberman to his Roman room, the hallway of the high school. Taking him on a trip down memory lane, Sophie feeds the passwords to Eliot. Nate shows up to try to rile up Duberman, who gloats that "he won" because he's successful and "Drake" cleans pools. Another party shows up, an attractive woman named Nikki, who was a cheerleader. Nate tries to lose her, but Nikki drags him away, making out with him before locking him in a closet as he tries to turn her down gently. Back at Duberman's office, Eliot finds the Iranians trying to break into Duberman's office - while he's in there. Nikki returns to Sophie and Duberman and spills her drink on Sophie to get rid of her. Hardison finds out shortly afterwards that 'Nikki' is a freelance assassin, working for the Iranians.

With no other options, the crew has to save Duberman. The Iranians manage to break in and their leader is surprised to see Eliot, who was the health inspector. Eliot is fighting the Iranians while Nikki drags Duberman into the girl's locker room, before pulling a gun on him. Rather than just shooting him, Nikki talks with him long enough for Sophie to catch up and fight her. Nikki catches up to Duberman, but Nate gets in the way. Instead of just shooting Nate, Nikki talks to him long enough for Parker to show up and tase her. Duberman thanks Nate, until Nate slips up and thinks ‘Pat’rica Brander is a guy. Duberman grabs Nikki's dropped gun and holds Nate at gunpoint. Knowing their cover is blown, Nate and Sophie come clean. Duberman threatens to call the police, but the cops are already on the way. Duberman uses his cell phone to change his password instead.

Back at the office, Eliot finishes off the Iranians and uses a password “Badger85” to delete Manticore. Duberman receives the message that Manticore is offline on his phone and tries to access using his new password to no avail. Nate tells him his new password is “Badger85” much to Duberman's shock. The group used neurolinguistic programming on him, hinting during the entire reunion about “Badger85”, pushing him to come up with the password they want. Realizing what they did, Duberman runs away, bursting back into the reunion still brandishing a gun as the FBI arrives on an anonymous tip. They drag him away while Duberman has a meltdown.

Hardison passes the good news to Madavhi, who is in tears at seeing his family again. Nate and Sophie are about to ‘graduate’ and leave the place before Mandy and Drake’s best friend Schmitty crown Nate and Sophie the king and queen of the reunion. Nate assumes it was Hardison’s doing, but he didn't rig it, while Parker didn't even know it was happening. Nate tells Hardison to set off the fire alarm, but Hardison tells them to enjoy the dance. The two slow-dance while Hardison and Parker slow-dance up in the rafters. Eliot is furious that they forgot about him and knocks down Sloane again on his way out of the building.
  • Brick Joke: Eliot knocks out Duberman's aide Sloane to steal his ID card, and then slugs him again on his way out of the building.
  • The Cheerleader: During their fight, this is how Sophie describes Nikki.
  • Class Reunion: The episode involves the team stealing one, managing to reschedule it to eight months ahead of when it was planned.
  • Combat Stilettos: Subverted - both Nikki and Sophie kick off their pumps before they start fighting.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creator Cameo: Producer Paul F. Bernard plays meathead Shmitty.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Eliot hits an Iranian with another Iranian.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Nikki has one.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Duberman cottons on to Nate not really being Drake McIntyre.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: There's a couple of display outfits in Duberman's office. Hardison and Parker use them to escape when they set off an alarm.
  • Offhand Backhand: How Eliot ends the fight with the Iranians.
  • Reunion Revenge: A non-lethal version - Duberman is there explicitly because he's extremely caught up over how he was in high school, even basing his passwords off his experiences at the time. He asks an aide what the point of all his success is if he can't rub it in their faces.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Duberman's extremely low-tech computer (circa 1980s!) means Hardison's gear can't hack into it remotely because it's simply not advanced enough.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Sophie's cover was known as "Pizza-Face Grace."
  • Something Only They Would Say: Duberman doesn't quite believe that Nate is Drake until Nate calls him "Doucherman," reasoning that with a last name like Duberman, he probably got called that all through school.
  • Wrote the Book: Duberman on digital security systems. Literally.