Feeling underappreciated and ready to run his own con, Hardison (Aldis Hodge) convinces Nate (Timothy Hutton) to let him run the show to take down an brother (Todd Stashwick) and sister (Sasha Barrese) team scamming customers by buying their gold at only a fraction of its actual worth.
Based on video game fundamentals, Hardison’s “Double-Pronged Monkey Con” treats all the marks in the con like players on a video game and sends them on a wild goose chase of a treasure hunt in a maze of tunnels below the city of Portland searching out a mythical treasure.
Of course, when Hardison’s over-complicated new millennium con goes wrong Nate and the rest of the team are there to step in with Plan-B. While Elliot (Christian Kane) growls at Hardison’s plan (and laughs at “Mr. Punchy”), everyone works well in their specific roles, but it’s Hardison who takes center stage.
There are some nice touches including Hardison’s pouting early on that gets him in control of the con, the evaluation forms for each member of the team, and Nate and Hardison’s interactions throughout the episode which begin antagonistic but end with a resolution that works well not only for the episode but both characters as well.
Given the fact that Hardison is in command, and the sheer audacity of the con, the episode turns out to be one of the season’s most memorable. Not only is the team successful in taking down the thieves, but Hardison gets his first chance as “the puppet master.” Although his con might not have gone exactly as planned, it still leads to a successful job in which he learns a little more about what Nate does as the team’s mastermind.