Scene 16: Planning the heist
The classic heist structure includes two things: the planning and the heist itself. Now, we’ve seen two previous heists (or as this team calls them, “sneaks”), but they’ve always been abbreviated: the bank heist was all heist, no planning; the Janek heist involved some surveillance, but we skipped almost all the planning to get right to the (thin) action.
This Act 3 heist is the first time we get the classic “plan-rob” form. I would argue that the planning section of heists are almost always positive for the protagonist. Yes, there are obstacles to the successful heist, but the team always has some plan to get around those obstacles. So this is a nice way to get the protagonist on an upswing after the low point of Act 2.
So they need an identity card and a voice print saying a very peculiar phrase. Bingo: let’s get Werner Brandes (Stephen Tobolowsky), a lonely guy with the office right next to Cosmo’s, who is on the cutting edge of computer dating.
(This leads to another one of those group reaction shots: after they go through his garbage, Liz notes that Werner wants someone refined and cultured, not like any of the women they would normally use for this sort of job--and they all look at her.)
So Liz goes off on a terrible date with Werner (without making us suffer through a computer hacking scene because we already know this group has the skills to do that). It’s a fun scene, with Liz trying to maneuver Werner into saying words like “passport” and “verify.”
And while she’s doing that, Mother and Crease explain the second obstacle, which is that Cosmo’s office has sensors that detect heat difference and motion. But they have a solution to that too, which is to raise the temperature of the office to body temperature and instruct Martin to move really slowly. (Why send Martin, one of the oldest members of the team, to do the physical work? Personally, I’d hire a Chinese acrobat for that work, a la Danny Ocean.)
So Act 3 starts with lots of good news for Martin: they’ve found Cosmo at PlayTronics and they’ve got a plan. A plan which will no doubt get screwed up in some way (as is traditional with heists).