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Recap / Leverage: Redemption S 1 E 9 "The Bucket Job"

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It's Christmas, and the team tries to give an elderly librarian with terminal cancer the kind of adventure he's only read about. Things go awry when their made-up spy thriller storyline gets tangled up with actual spies and assassins!

Tropes stolen in this job:

  • Actor Allusion: The writers have way too much fun with LeVar Burton being this week's guest star. He plays a librarian who loves recommending books to kids. Later, Eliot has a throwaway line about how an adventure on a starship wouldn't be a good fit for him.
    • Celebrity Paradox: Later still, Parker (in character as a quirky hacker) says to Eliot and the librarian that she'd like to hang out and watch TNG with them sometime! His response? "What's TNG?"
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    • Eliot comments that librarians have a lot on their plate. He'd know.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: What was supposed to be a lighthearted Christmas romp turns into this when real spy drama comes into the picture.
  • Bench Breaker: Turns out tying Eliot Spencer to a chair is not a particularly effective way of keeping him restrained!
  • Call-Back: When in her "hacker" persona, Parker offers Eliot and Blanche hot pockets and has a bottle of orange soda visible on her desk, both being noted favorites of Hardison's dating back to the original series.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Parker: Wow, Eliot's stunt guys are really going for it!
    Breanna: Wait, aren't they supposed to be wearing masks?
    Beat, then both of them scramble as they realize
  • Chekhov's Gun: One particular book, Shogun, is a recurring entry in Blanche's checkout history. It turns out that he's been checking it out once a year to keep it in circulation because he hid the floppy disk with the ledger on it inside the dust jacket.
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  • Downer Ending: The main story ends just fine, but we head into the credits with Eliot once again unable to reconnect with his father.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    Eliot: The cancer, man. Why aren't you seeking treatment?
    Blanche: That's not how I wanna go out.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: While Eliot and Breanna scope Blanche out in the library, he can be seen reading a book by Patrick Bonnano, a recurring ally of the team in the original series.
    • Bonus bonus: The late actor who played Bonnano was also named Robert Blanche.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Eliot uses this to escape being pinned by a Mook in a bar.
  • Hidden Depths: The team has no idea that the kindly, humble, retirement-age small-town librarian knows how to hot-wire cars and hold his own in hand-to-hand combat. It turns out he's a genuine spy!
  • Off the Rails: They think they're hooking a simple, boring librarian into an adventure they scripted... right up until he takes the initiative and steals a car to help "the injured spy" (Eliot) get away.
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  • State The Simple Solution: Breanna will need some time to remotely disable a security camera. Sophie opts to block its view instead by parking the food truck about a foot away.
  • Taking the Bullet: Blanche dives in front of a shot meant for Eliot. Turns out it was all staged by the Leverage team.
  • You Have Failed Me: Subverted. When one of the Mooks shoots Blanche and retrieves an unreadable floppy disk, his boss chews him out and says she has no more use for him. He starts to whimper, thinking he's about to take a bullet, and she says she's obviously not going to do that; this is a business. So he's fired, and he'd better not forget about the NDA he signed, because they have dirt on him that he'd prefer remains out of the public view...