leverage: 3

Before we get to the end of the season (because we’re sooooo clooooose - Kylie, can we watch later?), I want to talk about the Double Blind Job.

So, girl’s sister dies because of medical supplement she’s in the testing group for, girl is trying to get the drug company to take responsibility.  Girl is chased by thugs and literally runs into Hardison and Eliot.  Team helps take down the head of the company.  Parker is jealous that girl and Hardison get along well.

Kylie looked at me very early on in the episode - Parker had just pulled a “do we know anything about her?  She could be a spy!  Or a terrorist!” at Hardison - and said “You know, I hope she does turn out to be a terrorist.”

And the thing is, I completely get why she said it.  It is a pretty common trope to have in any show with a kinda-sorta-not quite there relationship.  The (usually) guy gets friendly with another girl and the (generally) first girl gets all angry and jealous.  Typically, if she’s ever called on it she completely denies it, and nothing changes in the relationship.  The guy in question never notices that there’s a problem, the new friend (and it’s never really anything more than friendship) doesn’t notice anything, and the girl never has to actually admit that “wait!  I like him!  We should totally be dating!” so that the status quo god can just keep getting bad one-note will they won’t they for another few seasons.

So let’s talk about the Double Blind Job!

First of all, it doesn’t play out as obnoxious because it’s Parker.  Parker spent her childhood in and out of foster homes, on the streets, and on the run.  She was picking pockets and stealing cars when she was TWELVE and running a getaway car before that.  Parker is, by word of god, on the Autism Spectrum and probably never got anything to help with all of the understanding people problems that go with it (likely more about that when we get to that episode that shows a flashback to her with a therapist).  Parker doesn’t understand emotions, relationships, or how interpersonal interactions work.  Parker always worked alone before.  Parker never really had friends before the team and Peggy (and Peggy is Alice’s friend, so it’s not the same).

It makes total sense that Parker doesn’t understand how she feels about Hardison.  When Sophie calls her on it at the end and tells her she’s jealous when Hardison spends time with other women, Parker laughs.  And while this is a standard for this trope, with Parker it’s GENUINE.  She seriously doesn’t understand that she’s jealous and that she likes him.  She is really amused until Sophie pushes the idea and makes her realize what she’s actually feeling and what it means.

And then!  Now here’s the REALLY important bit.  She IMMEDIATELY TELLS HARDISON.  Rather than just moving back into the status quo, Parker tells Hardison as soon as she realizes.  Granted, she gets scared halfway through and instead of telling him she has feelings for him, she says she has feelings for pretzels.  But the point is that she said something about the issue and things move forward from there.  The jealousy and the reason for it get acknowledged and she tries to admit it to the other person involved.

And Hardison.  Oh, baby, you’re the best.  You can just see his expression fall into wonder as she starts talking.  And then he’s so disappointed when she says “pretzels.”  He realizes she isn’t ready yet, and he’s so sad.  But he’s still the best because what does he do?  He acknowledges her feelings and keeps in line with what she said.  Pretzels are there whenever she’s ready for them.  He leaves the next step up to her but lets her know that he reciprocates her feelings.  All without being aggressive.

And the relationship builds from there.  There is no status quo to go back to.  There is no Hardison quietly pining for an oblivious Parker after this.  The relationship has CHANGED and changed for good.  Most of the time this trope is played for cheap, stupid laughs.  But Leverage took it and used it for dynamic, important plot progression and I want everyone who ever wants to use this trope again to have to watch and analyze this episode and why it actually WORKS here.

How I came out last night to my Dad at a sushi restaurant before the hockey game
  • Dad: any of your friends have boyfriends?
  • Me: yeah, but most of them are single, like high school is stressful ya know, I'd say about 1/3? of my friends are in a relationship (lists friends relationship status)
  • Dad: speaking of relationships, any of your friends gay?
  • Me: I think society has lived in the black and white for so long, and now more and more people are not conforming to the gay or straight. Like a lot of the people I know are not straight and mabey that's the school I go to or just how it is but,a lot my my friends are queer in some way, like most of my main squad is.
  • Dad: where do you fall on that scale?
  • Me: well I'm not straight, but I'm not a lesbian like mom thinks I am
  • Dad: hmmmm I see, what do you mean?
  • Me: well I'm like a 2 or a 3, probably a 3, like on the Kinsley scale
  • Dad: that's pretty gay
  • Me: yeah I'm pretty gay
  • Dad: ok, do you want dessert?
  • Me: hell yeah

Watch this, she says, watch this;
I can turn myself inside out for you.
I can mend myself with blunt needles
and someone else’s words as thread.

Watch this, she says; I drowned in the river I cried for you.
I set myself on fire to keep you warm.
I handed you my lungs and you watched me choke,
as you breathed into her mouth.

Watch this, she says; it’s magic,
I dreamed I married the boy I fucked in a nightclub.
I can fall in love in a matter of hours
with someone whose name I don’t know.

Watch this, she says. I can disappear,
I want to pretend you’ll miss me,
but the truth is I know you wouldn’t even notice I was gone.

—  Josie, “Watch this, I did it for you.”
8

Love isn’t all that it seems I did you wrong
I’ll stay here with you until this dream is gone