The Leverage team dives into the world of a high fantasy collectible card game with a devoted following to take down a pharmaceutical bad boy who is price-gouging drugs to fund his own house of cards.
Tropes stolen in this job:
- All Part of the Show: Eliot is more or less forced to participate in the jousting tournament as "Glenn the Savage". Cordozar takes advantage of this to send his Mooks after Eliot; Eliot wipes the floor with them as usual, but for once he does so in front of a cheering, enthusiastic audience who thinks it's part of the festivities.
- Elemental RockPaperScissors: Lampshaded by Eliot when he points out that the core water-fire-earth game mechanic of Spirit's Ruse is basically just rock-paper-scissors.
- Geeky Turn-On: Breanna and the corporate AI coder have some real chemistry when discussing algorithms and collectible card games.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: Cordozar wears Purely Aesthetic Glasses with a comm link and camera to cheat at the Spirit's Ruse card game tournament.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Corporate executive might not be the right term for him, but Deric Springer owns a successful gaming company. He's a reclusive poet who developed Spirit's Ruse himself, cares deeply about the feelings and positive experiences of the fans, values his word, and prefers to do deals on a handshake. He does go back on his promise to sell his company to Cordozar, but only after it's made abundantly clear that it's the right thing to do.
- Motive Rant: During his climactic Spirit's Ruse game with Breanna, Cordozar expounds on his sociopathic worldview. Breanna responds with a combination of Armor-Piercing Question and Shut Up, Hannibal!.Cordozar: That's why you're gonna lose this tournament. You're so worried about being "nice". You want to be a winner in this world? You take, and take, and take, and you don't look back. You don't worry about who gets hurt or who likes you. You have to be willing to be a killer.
Breanna: Like killing kids who can't afford your drugs?
- Renaissance Fair: With its medieval setting, the Spirit's Ruse con is one in all but name, as lampshaded by curmudgeonly Eliot.Eliot: Look at this nerd fest! It's like a million Hardisons walking around.
- Rousing Speech: When Springer is about to reluctantly sell his company to Cordozar, who has fulfilled the letter (if not the spirit) of their agreement, Breanna talks him out of it by telling him how much Spirit's Ruse means to its fans, and how it has helped them create a community where they finally fit in.Springer: I'm afraid it really is just a business now. It, uh, it has been for quite some time.
Breanna: Not to us! Not to all the people here who came from across the world to be at your faire. To share in the community that you created. People who grew up feeling like they don't belong. Like they're strange for the way they think. The way they dream. Or the way they love. It's people like me. And your game made us feel like we weren't alone in the world. Like we could belong. Like we do belong. We belong in myth.
- The Sociopath: Jim Cordozar is a textbook example. Carries himself with an unbearably smug aura? Check. Desperate hunger to be the best at anything he's a part of but an utter disinterest in putting in any work on his part? Check. Blatant inability to give a damn about anyone, whether they're his own employees or children at risk of death because they can't afford the medicine he owns? Check.
- Spanner in the Works: Springer suddenly coming out of his years of hermit-like self-exile to show up at the event was something the team never thought would happen.
- Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Eliot throws it at a Mook, but as a distraction rather than an attack. It breaks the guy's guard long enough for him to get some good hits in.
- Withholding the Cure: Cordozar's Pendis Pharmaceuticals company has the cure to a potentially lethal medical condition. He suppresses it so that he can force the victims and their families to spend their whole lives paying for treatment that they need to come back for again and again while he keeps on collecting grant money from the government to finance the battle against that disease.
- Interestingly, they also lampshade exactly why this doesn't work in real life. They give the cure's recipe to every one of his competitors and it's not patented. Further, since he was defrauding the government by collecting research grants for a cure he already had, the CEO and the company itself is facing serious legal issues.