‘The Company You Keep’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 8 “The Art of the Steel”

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In this week’s episode of The Company You Keep, Emma is forced to realize that Charlie’s cons aren’t all that different from her own, while Leo struggles with losing his memory. Featuring a rare triple con, “The Art of the Steel” brings us closer to the season one endgame while providing a chance for our favorite star-crossed lovers to reconnect. Read on to see what happened!

Dangerous Love

ABC/Christopher Willard

At the Hill house, David arrives home with Jen, the PR hire. They’re clearly romantically involved, which unsettles Joseph since Jen comes from Claire Fox’s camp. Joseph and Grace come clean to David about the affair in an effort to caution him about getting too close to Jen. He’s understandably upset at being kept out of the loop.

The next time he plays tennis with Jen, he starts asking questions about her family and how she met Claire. She’s suspicious, and he partially comes clean, mumbling about conflicts of interest. She boldly tells him she’ll leave the campaign if it means she can be with him, easing David’s concerns.

Integrity Blues

ABC/Christopher Willard

Emma gives a presentation of her case against Daphne to her boss, alleging high level of government corruption. He’s impressed and commends Emma for her work in recruiting her “asset.” Daphne visits Patrick, explaining her plans and putting Connor down. Patrick’s not interested in playing favorites but slips in that if one of them helped him get out of prison, they would get his trust. Daphne has a secret weapon: Charlie.

She invites him to her new digs, flattering him that they make a great team. Emma and Birdie listen in, with Birdie pointing out that it seems that Daphne is romantically interested in Charlie. Emma brushes off Birdie’s hints while Birdie adds that Emma hasn’t exactly been treating Charlie better than Daphne is. Daphne asks Charlie to help get dirt on a judge to bribe him to let Patrick out.

Birdie and Emma take on their surveillance of the judge to get material to blackmail him, with Birdie taking on Charlie’s role as she points out how Emma’s CIA “doublespeak” just obscures the morally gray nature of her work.

Emma hears about Leo’s side con (more on that later) and asks after Charlie as “someone who cares.” He brushes her off, especially when she can’t hide her disappointment at Leo’s actions. She goes to Birdie and offers the chance to move past surveillance and into a con of their own. Emma has a list of all the judge’s transactions, meaning that they can link briberies to specific cases. Birdie tells Emma that while from her perspective, Charlie lied to her, from Birdie’s, he sacrificed himself and the family to save Emma. He’s never been that honest with anyone, especially outside the family. This is a new idea for Emma, whose black-and-white worldview is slowly changing.

Birdie manages to find the judge’s weak spot: he only takes bribes from “respectable” criminals, like corporations. She proposes a con for just her and Emma where the duo will catch the judge in the act of taking a bribe. The case involves a Korean family, meaning that Emma will be getting in on the act. Birdie points out the obvious connections between Emma’s training at Langley and her own knowledge, with Emma denying there’s any similarity at all. The judge falls for the con. Daphne now has the ammunition she needs to get Patrick released.

Take This Job and Shove It

ABC/Christopher Willard

Fran and Leo are drinking to the memory of an old friend (Shelby’s father) when Charlie arrives at the bar. She asks him to make sure Leo gets to his neurologist appointment as Emma and Birdie come in after him. Leo asks Emma and Charlie to go outside to debrief, and Charlie tells her that Leo still holds a grudge against cops for how they treated his family when he was younger. Charlie also points out the hypocrisy in Emma looking down on his family despite her own maneuvering over the years.

When Leo’s neurologist appointment rolls around, Leo lies to Fran and Charlie about his appointment and heads to a golf course in Virginia. He’s out for revenge on Davey Slocum, the man who cost Leo and his friends their pensions after the steel mill shut down. His friend’s death has had an impact on him. Charlie tracks him to the golf course, and Leo asks his son to join him. With or without Charlie, though, Leo is getting what he deserves. Davey falls for their con at first, though there’s tension as Charlie worries that Leo isn’t up to the job.

As the afternoon goes on, Leo’s luck changes as he begins to win. It seems he’ll make a little money off of his wager with Davey, but that’s not enough for Leo. Charlie warns him against continuing the con, invoking his father’s own advice to walk away when genuine emotions are involved. Pride wounded, Leo continues despite Charlie’s warning. Incredibly, he makes the final shot he needs to. Davey writes the check for $200k, giving Leo the exact amount his pension would have been.

After the con, Leo and Charlie have a long overdue fight. Charlie points out how unfair it is for Leo to criticize him for making the deal with the feds to keep them safe, adding that he was raised in this life and never really had a choice. Leo counters that life has never been fair for people like them. The only way to get ahead is to con their way through life.

Glory Days

ABC/Raymond Liu

Back at the bar, Fran also piles on Leo for missing his appointment and running a con without her. He confesses that he went to the appointment last week and that the news wasn’t good. The con was meant to provide some financial security for the family, which is very important to Leo. Fran simply says that they need him, not the money.

Leo goes to Charlie and apologizes, especially for raising him in the con life. Shelby arrives, and the reminder of how the rest of Leo’s friends are faring makes Leo want to shake down Davey for more. Charlie proposes a “charity con,” looping in Leo’s friends and Shelby to assist. While Leo keeps Davey occupied with golf, the rest of the former union members get to work faking a construction site at a local hospital to get Davey to donate to the imaginary project. Leo runs into a snag when Davey wants to see the site before playing golf, but the union members have the power of a righteous grudge on their side and manage to make it work. It all goes well, but Leo makes enough small slip-ups that Davey is suspicious. Even worse, Leo steals Davey’s watch in a flashy display. The police arrive to take Leo in for questioning.

Crossing the Line

ABC/Christopher Willard

Emma tells Birdie that she’d make a great CIA officer before Charlie calls about Leo’s arrest. The family panics, but Emma breaks her own code to bail Leo out. Charlie thanks her while teasing her for committing her second, and less moral, con of the day. It seems the iciness between them has warmed up. Meanwhile, Daphne opens the door to find Connor and Patrick. Patrick wants to know everything about how Daphne’s operation works, clearly wanting to cut her out. She’s not happy about it but complies while staring daggers at Connor.

The Company You Keep airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. You can find our other coverage of the series here!

Jules
Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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