Mark Watches ‘Leverage’: S03E01 – The Jailhouse Job

In the first episode of the third season of Leverage, I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Leverage. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of prisons, racism.

Whew, this got so real for a moment, y’all.

For-Profit Prisons

Once again, the Leverage writing team has taken a reality and given it life here. There is practically nothing here that is not indicative of what’s happened to the American prison system in the last 20 years or so. We really do have a massive and sprawling private prison system that aims to make a profit off the criminalization of those who have little recourse to fight such a system. If I may nitpick just a bit, I’d say that this isn’t necessarily targeted against the middle class specifically, as Eliot explains in “The Jailhouse Job.” That still happens, definitely, but the poor are the vast majority of victims of a system that has no interest in rehabilitating anyone.

That’s the major problem with this industry: they are looking to turn a profit. That is their primary goal. Their shareholders’ interests come before all else. So the whole subplot with the crooked judge isn’t fiction, either. That happens in my country ALL THE TIME. Since this entire system is built to make money, you get a pipeline straight from communities that are almost always made up of poor people of color (particularly black communities) to private prisons like this. I mean, there’s also a lot to be said about the fucked up nature of quota systems when it comes to law enforcement, prisons, and the legal system. The fact that these private prisons need to maintain a specific headcount means that they become desperate to fulfill their contracts and keep them. So you get judges giving sentences that are absurdly long and do not fit the crime committed, if there ever was a crime to begin with. You enable an entire system to believe that they are entitled to making money off of people that are, in their eyes, a commodification. They are a means to an end, and who cares if their lives a ruined? The bulk of the people caught in this system were already ignored or demonized by society anyway.

It’s so fucked up, y’all.


I wasn’t necessarily surprised that Nate refused to break out of prison. Part of the reason for his sacrifice at the end of the last season was because it was an act of penance. He needed to figure out who he was. He needed to take himself out of the game because he’d taken it too far. At the same time, his team appreciated what he’d done for them, but they were done waiting for him. Hell, we don’t even know how long he’d been sentenced to prison for, you know? How long did he expect them to continue without him?

Well, the Leverage team was ready to use any opportunity to break him out, as made clear by that thrilling opening sequence. But Nate wasn’t ready; he felt like he had to earn freedom, which is especially relevant given that Sophie wanted Nate to earn something else. (ARE WE ACTUALLY GOING TO LEARN HER REAL NAME???) Until the final moments of “The Jailhouse Job,” I never thought that Nate was going to make it out of the prison. I admit that I was confused by the ending, though. Did they actually help Billy Epping at all? I suppose we’re meant to believe that Adam Worth’s arrest will culminate in the entire prison being shut down, yes? So everyone gets freed? Something like that? I’m guessing that’s the case, especially since breaking Billy out would mean that he would have become a fugitive.

…like Nate. Nate’s a fugitive now, right? How are they going to work cases? I mean, they went straight back to Nate’s house. Won’t that be the first place the cops will look? I’m guessing that the show will make this a little clearer in the next episode. Anyway, THIS EPISODE WAS JUST SO THRILLING TO WATCH. Watching them con Adam Worth and the other horrible people who work in the prison was a beautiful work of art; watching Hardison and Parker flirt was even better; SEEING ELIOT PLAY THE NICE AND KIND DOCTOR WAS REVELATORY. But holy shit, Y’ALL. THE THING. THE THING!!!


what the fuck!!!! Okay, OKAY WHAT. I assume that Nate has no idea who this woman is, but is he aware of an organization who sent her? Probably not, now that I think of it, but it’s clear that he takes her blackmail attempt seriously. How could he not? Whomever this woman is, she manipulated events so that Nate would end up in Adam Worth’s prison. Was Billy epping even a real prisoner? HOW MUCH OF THAT PLACE WAS FAKED? Okay, I think everything was real, but you have to wonder how good this woman is that she was able to pull that many strings, all so she could test Nate and her team.

SO SHE COULD THEN BLACKMAIL THEM INTO TAKING DOWN ONE OF THE WORST AND MOST DESPICABLE CRIMINALS ALIVE. Why? Why her? WHY MOREAU? Oh my god, what???? I love that this first episode gives us a potential season-long arc right off the bat, and it’s a doozy. It toys with the nature of good and evil; it is clearly preying on the team’s fear of death and imprisonment; and it sounds SUPER MESSED UP.

I’m in.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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