"The only thing Robert ever did was…well, he taught me how to play Chess. But, It’s my real dad who taught me how to win."
Nate and Sophie are about to have a romantic evening when Sterling shows up, needing a favor. A rogue nation is trying to get some uranium refinery centrifuges up and running, but before Interpol can do anything, they’ll need something to calibrate them. Sterling wants Nate to steal it. Nate asks what’s in it for him, and Sterling says he’ll owe him a favor.What’s needed to calibrate the centrifuges is a weight with a very specific atomic mass so there’s only one of its kind in the world. It’s owned by a man named Livingston who keeps it in his skyscraper in Dubai. Livingston is hosting a Chess tournament there, and so Nate is going to enter it as a contestant.Livingston introduces the tournament, and his step-daughter Olivia, who’s a chess prodigy, and the favorite to win. Nate figures while the tournament’s going on, Livingstone will be focused on her, and not on the weight. There’s a problem though; the terrorist buyers are already there. Eliot and Sterling waylay them while Hardison, posing as a Sheik’s son, asks to speak to Livingston and gets him to show off his security, Hardison recording the entire time.The team discusses the security in the vault and for the weight’s container, which is pressurized to no foreign materials can get in and contaminate it. Hardison has a way around that, now he just needs to figure out how to fool Livingstone’s security. As the tournament begins, the team makes preparations for breaking into the vault. Things start to go awry when Livingstone is informed the delegation has arrived and the buyers get instructions to take the weight immediately.Nate works his way through the contestants, with Sophie running interference, and makes it to the final round against Olivia, while Parker plays Dance Dance Revolution.As Eliot and Sterling go to head off the terrorists, Eliot collapses. Sterling did something to his coffee.As the final round begins, Nate says he can guarantee Parker at least five minutes as she breaks in. Meanwhile, Eliot begins to come to. Parker is almost to the weight when the weight distribution apparatus Hardison made for her breaks, scattering ball bearings all over. In the tournament room, Sterling tips off one of the contestants that Sophie distracted, and he confronts her with security hauling her off. Sterling heads up to the vault while Parker is trying to get the weight and sets off the alarm. Nate tries to delay the terrorists but nearly gets his head blown off, but Eliot arrives in time to save his skin and tell him it was Sterling while Parker escapes through the elevator shaft and makes it to the roof.Nate orders everyone out while he goes after Sterling. Hardison, Eliot Sophie meet up while Nate heads Sterling off. Parker gets trapped on the roof, and is able to escape with the chute Hardison packed for her. The others collect her and go off to meet Nate.Nate confronts Sterling about the lies, which Sterling insists were to protect Olivia, his informant, but that’s not what Nate’s talking about.
- Nate: I knew she was your informant before the first match. Did you really think I wouldn’t figure out she was your daughter?
- Sterling: Because it was my fault that they left, and I knew it.
- Nate: Why’d you come to me?
Sterling: Because you’re the best thief I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t risk anything less.
Tropes stolen in this job:
- A Million Is a Statistic: De-emphasized, but...HOW many people did blowing up an illegal nuclear manufacturing plant kill?
- Could be seen as Hoist by Their Own Petard.
- Artifact Title: In the final, Olivia, playing White, opens with 1. e4 - making it impossible for a Queen's Gambit (which begins 1. d4) to be played.
- Nate does, however, use the Queen's Gambit Accepted in his semi-final.
- Batman Gambit: Sterling accurately predicts not only the team's actions, but Livingstone's as well. When Livingstone directs his security team to stash Olivia and protect the weight, Sterling is waiting for her in the exact room they put her in.
- Big Damn Heroes / The Cavalry: Eliot arrives just as it looks like Nate's going to get plugged by angry terrorists.
- Chess Motifs: The entire episode is about a chess tournament.
- The Chessmaster: Both Nate and Sterling. Fittingly, their game at the beginning ends in a draw.
- Crazy-Prepared: Hardison packs a chute for Parker just in case she has to jump off the building.
- Fridge Logic: The tournament screen shows Nate playing White in the final, although he ends up playing Black.
- Honey Trap: Sophie neutralizes Nate's first opponent in the chess tournament this way.
- Not So Different: Sterling, like Nate, would do anything to save his child.
- Product Placement: Sterling drives a Lincoln Navigator, which at one point is bearing down Nate until the only thing that can be seen is the Lincoln logo.
- Reading Lips: Sterling does this on Livingstone's clients while watching them through binoculars.
- Smart People Play Chess: The episode opens with a chess match between Nate and Spencer that ends in a kings-only draw. Plus, the episode is centred on a chess tournament.
- The Stakeout: Eliot and Sterling watching the buyers for the weight.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: Sterling puts something in Eliot’s coffee to knock him out.
- Training from Hell: Parker's DDR routine with weighted shoes drives her to tears.
- We Used to Be Friends: Nate wonders why Sterling didn’t tell him about Olivia.
- Who Shot JFK?: In a throwaway gag, Eliot and Sterling are heard arguing fiercely over the classic conspiracy theory.Sterling: If there was a second bullet, that means there was a second shooter. Otherwise, he fired a Carcano bolt-action twice in less than two seconds, which simply cannot be done. You do realize that, on a topic where nobody agrees on anything, you picked the one thing, the only thing which is not up for debate! Simply humanly impossible!
Eliot: ...I did it.
- Worthy Opponent: Sterling is the only rival Nate can't defeat... at both their work and at chess (when their game ends in a kings-only draw).
- This runs in the family as Nate is unable to beat Sterling's daughter in the final chess match.