And here’s “The Juror #6 Plot” Breakdown.
An underlying motif in this plot is the game of chess, a motif that Leverage references throughout its five-season run. This episode is more blatant than most of the other stories (but not all; Sterling plays their game in “The Queen’s Gambit Job”) because the mark plays chess while she tries to steal the verdict. The plot moves are chess moves, with each side taking a piece from the board until the end Nate shows Earnshaw, the mark, that he’s taken her king, the crystal chess piece from the board in her command center. Lovely use of motif.
Act One: Let’s Save a Widow
Parker, forced into jury duty because she doesn’t pay attention to people, spots that the fix is in because she always pays attention to her surroundings, particularly the tech in her surroundings (in case she wants to steal something from there later). She goes back to the team and asks for help, and after discounting her, Nate get grief from the team and sends Eliot out with her to find out the truth. The truth is that she’s right, an investor named Earnshaw is buying the company and is fixing the trial to protect the company’s CEO, Quint, and the company’s assets; both Earnshaw and Quint know that the pills the company makes are dangerous, and they don’t care. The team goes to work, supporting Parker as their inside woman, which of course is the problem: Parker is going to have to learn how to be a woman instead of a thief.
The Change of Plans: “Let’s Go Steal A Jury”
The team realizes that, as Nate says, they got into this job way too late and the best they can do is con Quint, the company owner, into a settlement. Then Hardison notices that Earnshaw has just run a credit check on Alice White. Parker says, “Who’s Alice White?” and the entire team says, “You are!” Parker says, “Whoa” and pulls back, still having a long way to go on the human thing. Eliot points out that Earnshaw’s going to buy the jury. Nate says, “Not if we steal it first.”
Act Two: “Conversation, Compliments, You’ll Do Fine”
Earnshaw’s bribed the jury foreman, so the team has to take him out. Nate walks into the conference room and says, “Who plays chess?” Eliot says, “I do.” Nate says, “Of course you do,” acknowledging that Eliot is a lot more than dumb muscle; he’s smart muscle who figures out his moves ahead of time. A chess game, as Nate explains it, has three stages. In the beginning, you want to talk control of the board and protect your king which is the weakest piece you have. Earnshaw’s king is Quint, but she’s already attacked the defense (the widow’s lawyer) and bribed a juror, something Nate describes as “a fast, aggressive opening gambit.” So as their defensive move, Nate tells Parker to get the jurors to trust her: “Conversation,compliments, you’ll do fine.” Parker tries, but it’s a disaster, and when Sophie tries to coach her by asking her to talk Eliot out of the apple he’s holding, it gets worse. But when they find out the foreman has been bribed, Nate says, “Make him go away, Parker,” and she’s fantastic, lifting valuables from members of the jury and planting them on him, then squirting mustard on him so that he’s revealed as a thief. Then she takes charge of getting everything back to everyone and gets herself elected as the new jury foreman, a position where she’ll have to connect to make the con work. Parker’s a lot like Sophie who’s a terrible actress unless she’s on the con; Parker can’t connect with people, but she loves the job, so now she’ll learn. And Nate has taken an important piece in Earnshaw’s attack.
The Point of No Return: “Let’s Go Steal A Settlement”
But then Earnshaw takes the widow’s lawyer. Nate says, “We take a pawn, Earnshaw takes a knight. Lucky for us, we have more than one.” The team sends a terrified Hardison in as a replacement to stall the trial until they can finish conning Quint into a settlement, something that Parker’s now helping with behind the scenes as not just the jury foreman, but the woman who helped everybody get their valuables back. Then Peggy, a woman on the jury, tells Parker a secret and Parker says, “Wait. That means we’re friends,” and smiles. She’s getting the hang of it. PROGRESS!
Act Three: “I Can’t Do This”
Hardison delays while Sophie cons Quint into making a settlement. But then Earnshaw takes a big chess piece: she buys the company Sophie has been using to tempt Quint into a settlement, blocking Sophie and symbolically taking the team’s queen. And Parker is panicking; this people stuff is just too hard.
The Crisis: “Let’s Go Steal A Court Case”
Nothing left to do now but win the trial, Nate tells Hardison, with Parker working her new found people skills to sway the verdict in the jury room. Nate congratulates Hardison on a great closing argument, and then points his glass at Parker on the screen, saying, “It’s all on her now.” Meanwhile, Earnshaw begins to notice that somebody is playing chess with her, but then dismisses it; nobody is as smart as she is.
Act Four: “It’s All On Her Now”
Parker connects with the jury; then Hardison works his magic with Earnshaw’s video feed while Parker leads the jury in lunch selection and a guilty verdict.
The Climax: Checkmate
Earnshaw is blindsided by the guilty verdict, and then Nate delivers the coup de gras: he hands her the crystal king from her own chessboard. Check and mate.
The Denouement/Resolution: “Alice Made A Friend”
Parker gets an invitation for coffee from Peggy, her first real friend, although the team has to remind her again that she’s Alice. “You made a friend, Parker,” Sophie tells her and Parker is pleased. HUGE progress for our little whack-job.
Community Status: “We Really Make Each Other Better.”