Recap / Leverage S 03 E 16 The San Lorenzo Job

"Let’s go steal a country."

A guy in a suit throws Nate against a wall, followed by Moreau punching him.

Moreau: Ford, you honestly think you stood a chance?
Nate: Honestly, no. We didn’t stand a chance in hell.

A week earlier the team was discussing how most of Moreau’s assets have been seized, but he himself is in San Lorenzo where no one can touch him and he’ll just start over again. The team agrees they need to finish him before that can happen.

They need to be smart about this, because if they come at him with something he’ll see through, the con will be over, and most likely their lives with it. Eliot, however, has a contact, General Flores. Flores calls over a secure link and explains how Moreau was able to secure the current president, Edwin Ribera, and keep him in power. Flores is running against him, which means he needs to stay in hiding until the election. That plan is shot as a bunch of guys run in and grab him as the team watches. Then Moreau appears onscreen and mockingly thanks them for allowing him to find Flores. Flores won’t be killed…yet. He’ll be kept locked up until the election’s over and then have a car accident.Nate calls the Italian to arrange a way into the country. She provides new identities and work visas for them, though she doubts it will work. At the parliament building, Nate walks into the campaign room for Flores and introduces himself as James Draper, election consultant, and is met by Michael Vittori. Nate says he’s perfect.

First thing they do is hold a press conference giving Vittoria bunch of feel-good, typical politician talk and throwing him in front of the cameras. The press conference is a stall while Eliot tries to find Flores, but he’s in an underground prison where they can’t get to him without a whole lot of trouble. Meanwhile, Vittori finishes his speech, and runs over to Nate and Sophie as the reporters start asking questions. They calm him down, Sophie putting her hand on his face, which is caught on camera, and he returns to give answers.

Now, of course, the only thing they want to know is who is that woman? Before they can start rampant speculation, Sophie goes up and introduces herself as Rebecca Ibanez, Vittori’s fiancée. Meanwhile, Parker and Eliot have gotten a phone to Flores, through the toilet, telling him they’re coming for him, but Flores doesn’t want to leave. All his people are down there as well, and he can’t leave them behind, in case they are killed. So, that leaves Vittori as the candidate.

As he and Sophie are talking to the press, Moreau finds Nate and asks why he’s doing this. He wants Nate to go with him, but Nate says he had Hardison hack all the cameras in the building, so if anything were to happen to them, it would go straight to the police and Interpol. Moreau decides not to press his luck.

Moreau: Make it interesting, Ford.
Nate: Well, I’ll try.
Hardison: ...You know I didn’t hack any cameras in the parliament building?
Nate: Yep.
Hardison: I should get on that then.
Nate: Do.

Sophie is turning the tide, boosting Vittori’s ratings ten points, but it’s not enough. Nate has Parker and Eliot start looking at the other plans they have, while he goes to talk to Vittori. Vittori is unsure of this, but he believes Ribera needs to go so he decides to go along with it. Now Nate just needs to get the remaining 20,000 voters he needs to change their minds in less than a week.

Sophie: If stealing a country was easy, everyone would do it.

The team goes to work, putting Vittori’s image everywhere, sending out ads about Ribera being for child labor, and gleefully sabotaging the president’s campaign, culminating with Eliot going on TV with allegations of dogfighting in the presidential palace. None of it’s true, of course.

Vittori: I think I hate you.
Nate: You know, I’m ok with that.

Ribera is rattled, and wants to cancel the presidential debate, but Moreau convinces him to go through with it, since he owns the news networks.The debate goes forward, Ribera getting softball questions, while Vittoris gets obscure, trivial questions. Ribera starts looking really nervous and drinking a lot of water, since they put nicotine cream on the back of his wristwatch, which makes it look like he’s been drinking.The debate goes in Vittori’s favor, and Moreau is not pleased. On the eve of the election, it’s pretty much a tossup.

On election day, Nate has his hands full, keeping the campaign going, and finding a way to keep Moreau from killing them as soon as the polls close. Meanwhile, Moreau and Ribera are blaming each other for the situation.They come up with an idea to get a hitman close to Vittori through the candidate’s body guards.

News comes in of a victory for Vittori, and Nate says, “Here we go.” Parker, Hardison and Eliot move to secure Flores, who uses the phone they sent him to call a reporter and say he’s been released. Ribera sends the guards to check on him, giving the team the opening they need. Meanwhile, Nate is taken by Ribera’s security as another set goes to “escort” Vittori. Ribera and Moreau discuss how to keep control of the situation, when Nate is brought in, nonchalantly commenting “Good, we can talk.” At this point we came in, and now get to see how it plays out.

Sophie intercepts Vittori and knocks out the guards, then drags him into the crowd, where they run into a reporter. She says a few words, then sees someone about to shoot Vittori, and she moves in from of him, taking the shots herself. Vittori catches her as she falls, all of it live on the news. Ribera now has the world set against him, and really wants to kill Nate. Nate wants a drink. He then pulls out a warrant for Moreau’s arrest and tells Ribera that he’s going to sign it, as word comes in on the crowd celebrating Vittori’s victory. Hardison sent a mass email from the government with the news. Adding insult to injury, Flores is still alive and commenting on TV.

Nate: We stole your security too.

Nate had Parker break Flores and his people out while Hardison and Eliot took care of the guards, and then Eliot arranged the shooting in front of the cameras.

A blood stain on his shirt, Vittori gets up and addresses the crowd.

Vittori: We came here to announce that we have won the election. I am president of San Lorenzo! The first moments of my regime are stained with blood by those who wanted to steal our freedom. So I ask you, do you want to go down in history with those assassins, or do you want to be heroes?

As he asks, he extends his hand to the security guard who came up and the two shake. The crowd cheers wildly as Sophie can’t keep herself from a small smile. Great publicity.

In the president’s office, Nate explains that Ribera could prove that he did win, but people will always think it was fixed, and running a hostile country would become more trouble than it’s worth. Or he could allow Vittori to have it, and he could retire someplace nice…like Moreau’s estate because of a law he passed which allows the Government to seize property of criminals. Ribera signs the warrant and the guards drag Moreau away, kicking and screaming. Moments later, Vittori and Flores come in and Ribera lets them have the office. Moreau is dragged down to the cells where Flores was kept and the Italian locks him in. Then she and Nate turn and walk away, leaving him there. And he will stay there because San Lorenzo has no extradition treaties.

Moreau: Wait! Wait! WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?

As Nate looks over the memorial set up for “Rebecca”, Sophie comes up, commenting how they’re going to put her on San Lorenzo’s currency. She and Nate so to celebrate. In the morning the team packs up, Eliot goes to wake up Nate. After he leaves, Sophie comes out from under the covers next to him.

Sophie: Uh-oh.

Tropes stolen in this job:

  • A Father to His Men: Flores would rather stay with his people than be broken out of jail.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Flores asks if Eliot could leave any of his team behind, he's met with silence.
  • Batman Gambit: Nate's plan was to put Ribera in a position that would make him sell out Moreau for his own interests.
  • Bedmate Reveal: When Sophie is shown with Nate the morning after the election.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Ribera apparently isn't the first president Moreau has bought. He's not even the most expensive.
  • Cliché Storm: What the team puts into Vittori's first press conference speech.
  • Closest Thing We Got: All of the other potential candidates against Ribera are either imprisoned or complete scumbags, so they go with Vittori, who seems honest enough but is thirty points behind in the polls and not even regarded as a threat.
    Hardison: Seriously. Look, these are the other candidates. Drug dealer, drug dealer, drug addict, embezzler, embezzler drug dealer and drug addict, and my personal favorite, [pulls up a sex tape of the last candidate on the screen].
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Corrupt Politician: Everyone knows Ribera is a corrupt President, so Vittori wonders what they could say to make him look worse. Answer: Animal abuse.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: His engagement isn't a lie, it's a campaign promise, he makes it, and then doesn't do it.
    Vitori: How is a campaign promise different from a lie?
    Nate: Eh, it's complicated.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Nate says Michael’s perfect, flash back to the team saying pretty much, “Anyone but him.”
    Nate: No, no, no, this guy's awful.
    Sophie: I have to agree with Nate. You know how much I hate doing that.
  • Hard-Work Montage: The team and Vittori are shown working on getting his ratings up, and getting him comfortable with being in the limelight.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: By the end of the episode, pretty much every reason that Moreau was invincible in San Lorenzo is turned against him to ensure that he'll be imprisoned for life there.
  • How We Got Here: What led up to Nate being thrown against a wall and beaten up?
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Faced with a corrupt president and a criminal mogul, both of whom want him dead, Nate decides to get a drink.
  • I Owe You My Life: Apparently, Eliot saved Flores' life on two occasions. Eliot only considers it one-and-a-half, since the second time, he was the one sent to kill him.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Moreau intends for Flores to have a car accident after the election.
  • Man Behind the Man: Moreau finances President Ribera's political machine to keep the country a safe haven for himself.
  • Meaningful Echo: Two that pay off in the end. "San Lorenzo has no extradition treaties" and "Damien Moreau will never leave San Lorenzo." The first time they're both used, they're warnings of how invincible Moreau is. When the Italian says them again after Moreau is imprisoned, it's an assurance that he won't be able to weasel his way out.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Moreau was only able to find Flores when the team contacted him.
  • Outright Lie: Much of what Nate does as Vittori's campaign consultant.
  • Propaganda Machine: Nate turns the team into one.
  • Rousing Speech: Double subverted. Nate gives one to pump up Vittori, but deflates it at the last second. Vittori still goes with it.
    Nate: You are the man of the people and a leader of men. The people of San Lorenzo need you because you can bring this country into the shining future it deserves. The people of San Lorenzo - they need you! [beat] And I'm under contract. So let's get going.
  • Taking the Bullet: Sophie does this for Vittori, or seems to, except it was a setup to put the final nail in Ribera's coffin.