|“||I’m only going to say this once, boys. Give me the... teddy bear.||”|
Season five premiere. After setting up shop in Portland, Oregon, the team must trick a corrupt airline CEO into stealing the Spruce Goose.
Anne Sanders, the widow of an airline pilot who died because of shoddy maintenance on the plane he was flying. Unusually for a Leverage client, what Mrs Sanders wanted was money to pay for the education of her daughter, Jenny.
Scott Roemer, CEO of a global air shipping company. Roemer authorized cutting of corners in airplane maintenance, resulting in a fatal crash.
Location photography took place at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon on March 8 and 9, 2012. The Museum is home to the Spruce Goose, which figures prominently in the episode.
The Spruce Goose
The Hughes H-4 Hercules, tail number NX37602, is the prototype for a flying boat designed as a transport plane that could carry passengers and large cargo payloads across the Atlantic during World War II. Built of composite molded birch because of a war time shortage of aluminum, it is euphemistically known as "The Spruce Goose" despite the absence of any spruce in its structure. It is the largest flying boat and has the largest wingspan of any plane ever built.
Commissioned in response to heavy cargo losses to Nazi submarine wolf-packs in North Atlantic at the height of the war, the Spruce Goose was built by Hughes Aviation in Playa Vista, California. The plane was developed by aircraft designer Howard Hughes and ship builder Henry J. Kaiser in 1942. It was intended to be the first of three Hercules built, but work proceeded slowly, leading Kaiser to withdraw from the project, and only one plane was completed by the war's end. Hughes and his designer Glenn Odenkirk continued work on the project. The finished plane, still in pieces, was transported to Long Beach Harbor, California, where it was assembled, and a hanger with a launch ramp was built around it. After a series of tests in the harbor, the plane flew once, on November 2, 1947. From then until Hughes' death in 1976, ground crew secretly maintained the plane in its hanger.
The Spruce Goose was acquired by the California Aero Club, which displayed it alongside the Queen Mary in Long Beach until 1988, when new owners of the property requested it be moved. After a long search, a new home at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum was secured. The plane was shipped in pieces and reassembled at the museum after a four-month journey by barge along the Pacific coast. Coincidentally, the hanger at Playa Vista where Hughes built the airplane is now a soundstage in what was to be a Dreamworks studio complex.
The Team must get evidence of Roemer's bribery which is hidden inside a teddy bear carried by Sanders' daughter-evidence which Roemer's henchmen are trying to get. Roemer's henchmen get the toy; however the team uses Roemer's fanatic interest in Howard Hughes Spruce Goose airplane to accomplish two objectives
1} Keep Roemer away from a very important company merger meeting and 2} get the evidence from Roemer's henchmen. The Team does get the evidence-while Roemer is fooled into thinking that he is actually flying the Spruce Goose and that he crashes the plane in Canada. Roemer is picked up by the authorities where his story of flying the Spruce Goose is not believed-in fact he is "framed" in a more "believable" story of trying to flee the authorities jurisdiction [when evidence of his bribery comes to light]. Mrs. Sanders gets the money for her daughter's education.
- Cary Elwes (Scott Roemer): Owner of Global Air Transport
- (Busey): Roemer's henchman
- Adam Baldwin (Michael Vance) Eliot's old friend
- This episode is the first shot and set in Oregon since the series relocated the team there, but not the first to be set there. Previous to this season, two episodes from season four, The Van Gogh Job and The Gold Job were set in Oregon.
- Scott Roemer's desire to purchase the Spruce Goose grows out
- Due to the period, the dress, and the Leverage team's insistence that they give Roemer a "mystery," it's possible his name is a reference to Sax Rohmer, a novelist best known for his stories featuring the villainous Fu Manchu.
- As noted by writer/director John Rogers in the episode's production blog, Leverage was the first production allowed to film inside the Spruce Goose. The Aviator, a 2004 film version of the life of Howard Hughes starring Leonardo diCaprio used a set to reproduce the cockpit and interior of the plane.
- It's shown that Nate and Sophie are dating.
- It's revealed that Nate has also gotten his hair cut.
- As a result of their original location in Boston being compromised due to the fact that various federal agencies are now keeping an eye on the area, the team are forced to set up their HQ in a brewery in Portland.
- It's revealed that as a result of the last mission the team carried out, all their original aliases and identities have been compromised, meaning that Hardison will have to create new identities for them.
- It's revealed that Parker and Hardison are dating.
- It's also revealed that Nate and Hardison are seen working on a task involving that the rest of the team doesn't know about.
- Elliot takes over the pub menu design.
- Sophie first sees the theater she wants to buy.
- Parker has grown as a person--she doesn't mind being in Portland because her friends are there with her.
- The episode describes the date the Spruce Goose's engines were fired up as the 65th anniversary of its only flight. This would place the episode in November, 2012, indicating the crew had been off the radar for nearly a year.
- Goof: in the episode, Roemer taxis the plane out of its hanger and takes off. Two problems: a) its location does not have a runway long enough for the plane to taxi and take off successfully and b) the plane has no suitable landing gear, as it is a boat plane, which took off and landed on water; its only flight was from its hanger on Long Beach Harbor, which meant it only had to move a short distance down a ramp into the water.
- Multiple people in the episode refer to the Spruce Goose as the world's largest airplane, which was correct at the time the episode was filmed in terms of height and wingspan, but the world's largest plane in terms of length and maximum takeoff weight is the Antonov An-225 Mriya. In 2019, the Spruce Goose lost the title of longest wingspan to the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch.
Photographs tweeted by cast and crew during production