Finally, an easy one!
Granted, Leverage has so many episodes that I love, but my favourite one is “The Rashomon Job”. Not only does it use one of my favourite story telling devices, but it’s super fun, a flashback, and highlights a lot of what is great about the show.
The premise of the episode is pretty simple. It’s a flashback episode about the time Sophie, Eliot, Parker, and Hardison tried to steal a fancy historical dagger. The twist? They all do it the same night. The plot twist? They actually didn’t manage to steal the dagger and actually prevented each other from stealing it. The plot twist to the plot twist? Nate had been there that same night and the real thief was… Well, you’ll have to see the episode.
What makes the episode great and why the Rashomon filming style fits so perfectly to it, is that none of them knew each other that night five years ago. The differing perspectives show not only how they viewed themselves then but how they first encountered each other without noticing it later on when they started to work as team. Part of it is done in the first perspective: Sophie’s, by the use of having different actors play her teams part. It also allows some comedy on how they each viewed the situation at hand. Each of them making themselves the “heroes” of each perspective, and sometimes hilariously undercutting and remembering the others as they learn who they were that night. A great running gag is Sophie’s accent that everyone remembers different, in various states of ridiculousness. Gina Bellman is an underrated star for doing all the accents she does on the show, but more so for all the terrible accents she does in this episode.
Another clever thing in the filming style of the episode is how they deal with the narration as almost everything is a flashback. Each flashback starts in the present and as we move to the flashback, Nate joins them for some scenes in which the person in the flashback, Hardison for example, explains to Nate, our flashback ghost, what’s going on.
The episode also showcases how good these people were when they were working solo. Each had a solid and good plan for stealing that dagger. The only reason none of the plans work is because they all inadvertently sabotage each other. It also highlights how much better they are as a team too, because each time we cut back to the future as each person is retelling their version of that night the camaraderie is always presented. They get frustrated with each other for messing up their plan, but underneath it all there’s a level of amusement and intrigue of the entire situation. It also shows how much they’ve grown from who they were, from solo con artists and thieves, to a family of well con artists and thieves.
Watching these character act against each other, but still weirdly like a team is amazing to watch. Truly a great 42 mins of tv in terms of storytelling and entertainment.