No Straight Linus in the Ocean’s

In the film Ocean’s Eleven, Linus is caught completely off guard when Danny Ocean appears in the elevator shaft during the power outage at the Bellagio.  This initial shock quickly subsides, replaced by dismay.  Mr. Caldwell was looking to prove himself.  He was led to believe Danny was no longer part of the plan; all part of the plan.   

And who doesn’t love it when a plan comes together?  What isn’t always appreciated is the actual complexity.  The forest for the trees; trunks and leaves.  The bigger picture and the “petty” particulars.  

The Ocean’s film series offers some great examples of perspective planning.  Beginning with 2001s Ocean Eleven the movies document the dealings of a crew of thieves.  Each one has a unique skill set which makes them ideal for elaborate heists.  The de facto leader of this group is Danny Ocean, played by actor George Clooney.   

Danny Ocean

It seems the very minute he is released from prison Danny begins progressing his latest plan; ready for recidivism.  He admits as much to Bernie Mac’s Frank, the first recruit, who helps him locate another old friend who will help.  Planning early.    

This would prove wise since it the heist complex from the onset – attempting to rob not one but three casinos at the same time.  Look, one is unheard of but three.  However, Danny is a planner.  

In the words of one of a future accomplice, YOUR EYES ARE BIGGER THAN YOUR STOMACH.

This just means you have to share what’s in the pot.  Who else is hungry?

You may think Danny goes to Rueben simply for reconnaissance information.  But maybe it’s because he can recruit the former casino owner who is also not a fan of Benedict?  

But Rueben’s money, or any for that matter, can only buy so much.  His presence only offers some stability, a spine to Ocean’s brain or Frank’s eyes.  There are many pieces and productions to put into play.  And so Danny adds other members – all somewhat unique.  Some can gain confidence, while two others can crack things open – each in their own way.  No one could claim the plan can proceed without the participation of the others.  And each stands to claim a portion of a very generous pot.  Grumble, grumble.  

Everybody wants to play the quarterback – from a princess to some guy on a couch.  But by definition a team consists of at least two individuals, offering ample opportunity for everyone to excel.  Defenses have definitely won a few games – ask Dallas.  

However, to look at the team it’s no stretch to suggest the least of them is Matt Damon’s character Linus.  His inclusion is a favor.  Reluctant, it takes Rueben to get him into the room to hear what Danny is selling.  As a pickpocket, his experience and skills aren’t on the level of his “peers” and his initial role in the heist reflects this.  Trailing and documenting Terry’s days doesn’t seem too thrilling for him – save for one detail.  

Once he informs Rusty of this information Linus comes to realize Tess’ presence changes the plan.  And possibly who can participate.  

Whose Line is it Anyway

If you read 1 Corinthians chapter 12, then you know that eyes, ears and even hands all must declare they are available, total participation, or the whole body suffers.  

At a crucial moment In Ocean’s Thirteen, Willie Banks’ security team flags the entire team.  If this information reaches Banks’ office then the mission, the plan fails and everyone goes to jail. 

To make matters worse Ocean’s usual suspect, Livingston, was already in the back of a squad car.  However, that was of his own design. 

It’s at this moment that Basher calls an audible, after all that’s what you do when a play falls apart.   It is rather similar to a QB keeping the ball – the only other candidate to portray Rose was unavailable, Nuff Said.  Instead, Basher creates some fireworks in Willie Banks office without all his usual pyrotechnics – impersonating Fender Rose in Banks office. This conman trait was never displayed before, but clearly it was there all the time.  Planned ahead, ready when needed.     

This may be because Linus’ report creates a similar situation in Ocean’s Eleven.  Continuing to contact Tess causes Danny to be “red-flagged” by the Bellagio Hotel security.  This brings the potential of putting everyone else on the casino’s radar as well.  

Fold.  Fail.  F’ No

“You’re out, Danny”

“This isn’t your call”

“You made it my call…”

“This is my job”  

“Not anymore”

Deciding to deviate, rather than delay and be denied, Rusty takes over as the leader of Ocean’s crew.  A move that in turn elevates Linus status as well.  

“Kid you up for it?”

Sometimes sticking to the plan is simply going through the motions.  But when you ad lib, you allow for unexpected, even unwanted outcomes.   

However, in this case nothing else changes.  At least it seems that way.  After all, Danny doesn’t need to be there to blow the doors open, both freeing Yen and gaining access to the vault. At most removing him means they each get a larger share. Danny or no Danny, at this point, the heist has a high probability of success.  

There isn’t much reason for Danny to be there.  

Or is there?  

What is Danny Ocean’s plan?  He discusses some details with Frank and Rusty, then Reuben and the rest.  On the surface it seems his intention is to rob Terry Benedict.  

He does.  


Did anybody but Danny know about the other treasure Ocean was interested in retrieving that evening?  Doubt it was knowledge to the Malloy’s, Saul or Yen.  Certainly Linus didn’t otherwise Ocean’s interest in Tess would have gone unannounced.

What about Rusty?  Was he able to see past what Ocean was reflecting?  Rusty could have just been working the table to beat the house.  He does this again in Ocean’s Twelve.  Together they are able to deceive Isabel and Toulour until the end.  Both individuals have their own plans for Ocean’s crew, but someone else has another plan.   And someone just wants the best for her son.  

So many plans.  Can you taste the ink yet?  

Avoid Missing LeMarc

It can be difficult staying in the lines.  Deciphering someone else’s plans can be problematic, both Rusty and Linus were tasked with doing this in Ocean’s Thirteen.  But what about Gaspar’s offer in Ocean’s Twelve?  If LeMarc is like Danny then he too knows the house always wins; LeMarc is the house. So what’s the plan? 

It’s even hard to follow your own plan

Linus saw an opportunity present itself during the heist of the pinch.  A novice no more.  His eagerness unfortunately results in Yen being injured.  He saw another chance during Danny’s discussion of the mess up.  Linus admits to the group that Danny has been following Tess.  

So, at that moment in the elevator Linus could choose to perceive Danny as a problem or a part of the plan?  

Luckily, Linus quickly realizes the reality of the responsibility he has been offered.  The plan never changed, only his level of participation.  

Somewhere in the midst of following Rusty’s request, Linus was able to establish his value to the team.  Danny’s team.  

Frank’s first question to Danny is does “he” have a plan.  Plans aren’t public knowledge.  In fact they can be quite personal, often referred to as dreams and visions.  Though in Danny Ocean’s case his aspirations were less grand and more personal.  

I am…

…going to rob Terry Benedict. 

…split the money evenly 

…do a favor.  

While hacking the Greco occupies the majority of the team’s focus at the end of Ocean’s Thirteen, Linus is left to deal with one crucial detail.  The four diamond necklaces celebrating Banks’ Five Diamond Award wins serve as a trap from Terry; all too tempting.  

It was Linus who brought Terry into this caper in the first place.  So it should have always been his responsibility for this additional burden Benedict bought.  

But upon realizing the severity of the task Ocean’s crew is unconvinced Linus can shoulder this responsibility.  During the course of Ocean’s Thirteen there are a few mentions of  Linus’ father, each time seemingly casting doubt on the young man’s capabilities.  From the moment he meets Danny in Ocean’s Eleven, Bobby Caldwell’s respect is something Linus seeks.  

“I Can Do It”

And he finally gets it.  His plan succeeds in fooling Sponder, securing the real diamonds while also deceiving Benedict and Toulour and earning his father’s respect.  The movie ends with Linus heading to team up with Bobby on a job.  

This is a shift since Linus’ dad didn’t want him standing on the name of Bobby Caldwell.  Danny Ocean offers an opportunity for Mr. Caldwell’s child to establish himself.  Everything isn’t straightforward as Linus deals with quite a bit of misdirection; something he usually causes as a pickpocket.  Asked to trust when his profession and very nature is based on dishonesty.   

The plans I have for you. 

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