Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S02E10 – The Runway Job

In the tenth episode of the second season of Leverage, the team adjusts to Tara’s presence while trying to take down a couple who run a sweatshop. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of sweatshops.

I definitely think that this show deals with a lot of real-world injustices in superficial ways, since we’re not getting in-depth studies of certain environments or of a specific phenomenon. They’re set-ups and premises for these stories. I think it’s important to understand that so that the show’s politics aren’t described as being more radical than they actually are.

Still, this episode doesn’t do much to explain the horrors of sweatshops beyond the cold open, but it also outright accepts that the working conditions of these places is horrific and unjust. And that’s fascinating to me because it feels like the show expects certain things of the audience. They expect us to understand why these aspects of society – which are very real in our own world – are wrongs that need to be made right. And not just because it’s a good thing, but because they routinely go unpunished within our own world. So, even if there isn’t a whole lot of detail or education provided about sweatshops, their working conditions, or what we as consumers can do to buy clothing that is ethically produced, this is still a working fantasy about people trying to save the lives of immigrants who are otherwise ignored or vilified by most folks in society. Like, not one of these five characters doubts that this is a case they should take, and they’re sympathetic to what Florene and the other workers have gone through. Nate understands the difficulty of being an immigrant in the United States and how that might make someone like Florence afraid to report her boss for gross violations of her rights.

These things are all outright spoken of in this script. I know that Leverage’s primary goal is to entertain, and I don’t want to distract from that or claim this show is something that transcends that, necessarily. But there’s a part of me that hopes that in its own little way, Leverage can make people aware of the actual injustices in this world, especially since the show borrows so directly from our own society.

Aside from this aspect of “The Runway Job,” this episode is rewarding because of the clever ways in which the writers fit Tara Cole into the narrative. Look, this a group of thieves and cons. They are not ever going to trust someone they’ve just met, even if they’ve got assurances from Sophie that Tara can be trusted. It’s not that easy for them. At the same time, I appreciated that the show didn’t make this easy for Tara, either. She’s not desperate for attention or validation because she knows that she is a fantastic grifter. Why should she have to prove her worth to anyone? That’s the challenge here. The team needs a talented grifter, but is having a hard time trusting the one they’ve got. Tara owes Sophie and wants to do something meaningful for her friend, but she finds Nate’s control and communication issues to be distracting and belittling.

It was fun watching her win the team over, especially Eliot. And really, the experiences she has with them are the only thing that’s going to actually get them to trust her and vice versa. They all have to know that they’ve got each other’s back. We know this because the beginning of this show demonstrated to us how hard it is for people like this to depend on anyone aside from themselves. That’s why the relationship between Sophie and Nate is so frayed at the moment, too. I get that the distance is playing a part in this, but Nate’s behavior doesn’t help. Sophie is trying to deal with a very serious issue, and while it may seem silly that she’s traveling the world while doing so, she did her absolute best to make sure the team still had help in her absence. I think that’s utterly fair, y’all! But oh my god, JUST MAKE OUT, THE TWO OF YOU. Okay, that won’t solve all their problems, but IT’S A START.

This setting – a fashion show – was also a lot of fun. I think the gay stereotypes for Andre V were a little too exaggerated for my tastes (as was that moment where Hardison made fun of Russell’s last name don’t do that), but CAN WE TALK ABOUT PARKER IN THAT DRESS. And her look! My god, she’s incredible. So is Christian Kane in eyeliner, good LORD. Utterly unfair, y’all. UNFAIR.

The video for “The Runway Job” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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