Leverage Review: Flying The Coop

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Some of my favorite Leverage episodes are flashbacks where team members portray the people in the story we watch. There was the "The Rashomon Job," where we got to see the same event from each of the team’s point of view, along with last season’s "The Van Gogh Job," where Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf portrayed Charlie and Dorothy - and were amazing. 

It's these episodes that keep us on our toes. They tend to break the mold a bit and in some cases have a very strong emotional connection for us and the team. This week the trend continued in "The D.B. Cooper Job," as Nate and the team agreed to help Agent McSweeten clear the black mark on his dying father’s service record with the FBI. 

Nate Goes Back to the Past

It's safe to say that Agent Todd McSweeten has changed since we first met him in season one. He started out a bit bumbling, goofy and naive. Five years later he has grown out of the bumbling goofiness (mostly), but he is still seemed a bit naive about the identity of Parker and the rest of the Leverage Inc. unit.

Then again, maybe what I’m calling as naivete is really just the gift his father passed on to him that allows him to see the good in people and he is choosing not to look too deep into Nate and the gang because they've only every helped him.  

Either way, I have a new respect for Todd McSweeten after meeting his dad Peter. Both men take pride in seeing the good in a person and in the case of the latter, he helped a man turn his life around and do more good in his life than one big wrong.  

What a great twist on the D.B. Cooper legend that the he was really Steve Reynolds and went to work for the FBI, spending his career doing important things while keeping Peter from discovering who he really was. 

That brings us to my final question: What is the measure of a man? Does one bad act taint all the good he did afterwards? Given that Todd now knows the truth about Reynolds and let him go, would he understand about Nate, the team and the work they do?

Maybe we will see Agent McSweeten again and find the answer to that second part, but the first one I think is up to each of us. For me, the measure of a person is what he does for someone who can do nothing for him or herself. 

If you hold the door open for someone, help someone reach something on the top shelf of a grocery store, or stop and help someone in trouble, I would like to believe there is good in there – even if events in life have caused a detour on your path. 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


It had some fun parts, but the plot was ridiculous. Nick "figuring out" that the composite sketch came from the in flight magazine was just plain stupid. I know the plots of Leverage are completely implausible, but is Nick supposed to now be clairvoyant? That really put a damper on this episode.


Entertaining but predictable and contrived at times.


I really liked this episode although it was different than usual. It gave an insight into Nate's character and again made you wonder what he's up to. Also it had a lot of emotion and I have to admit I got a bit teary-eyed at the end. I agree with Jim Garner that we may see Agent McSweeten again and think that he would understand what Nate and the team do. I can't wait for next week's episode to see how things will futher develop!


What about the heat between Parker and Elliot. I know this was a flashback but they showed way more chemistry than Addison and Parker have done for 5years combined. Loved Parkers' stewardess look. Yikes.


I really liked this episode, yes it was out of their norm, but some of the best character acting shows up from out of the norm ideas..I loved the twists and turns of this episode...Let's get a season 6


I loved this Leverage episode. It was fun to see the crew "go back in time". While Rashamon and Van Gogh jobs were different they were supposed to be! This particular episode pays homage to the great cops and robbers shows of the 70's. Without the popularity of those shows we wouldn't have the shows we have today. I say well done Chris Downey for writing the episode and well don Marc Roskin on directing! Well done Leverage for giving the fans a little more insight into Nate's character and possibly what his plans are. Each episode is geared to entertain the public while giving die hard fans clues that they can solve right along with the team. Leverage also lets us get to know our favorite characters slowly, one layer at a time, much like you get to know your friends. No one gives you a bio when you meet! We are on a path of discovery, and as fans we discover together.


I didn't like this episode. I think your comparison to the Rashomn and Van Gogh jobs show how an episode like this should be handled. The Rashomon job was about the team, and they all took part to solve a the mystery of what really happned with the knife. The Van Gogh job used the retro thing to esptablish direct parallels between the acting characters (and reveals alot about how Parker sees the world, I could write an essay on why this episode is so good), and also gave the real team an actuall job to do. This episode in comparisson gave the real team next to nothing to do, untill Nate just magics the solution (which was obvious) out of nothing (the magazine, really? Where did he pull that from?). If I didn't know better I would have thought this was just some unaired pilot for Cold Case (sorry to the Cold Case fans out there).

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Leverage Season 5 Episode 6 Quotes

Nate: Peter, any regrets about the case?
Peter: Just one. My boy Todd had a hard time growing up in the shadows of DB Cooper.

Nate: I don't have time for this.
Parker: Nate, he's about to lose his father. Please just go talk to him for me.