"Did you just give a guy a nosebleed with the power of your mind?"
Belbridge, Massachusetts: Eddie Maranjian is sentenced to 18 months in prison, taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal Service, and plans are in motion to send him to Fort Walton- much to everyone's displeasure. He conned his victims using a Ponzi scheme, shows no remorse and seems very happy about the verdict. Turns out he got off partly because the money was never recovered and there was no proof.One of the victims, Ronald, is so pissed that he makes to shoot Eddie when Nate stops him. Before Nate leads Ronald out of the court room, Ronald punches Eddie in the face. It turns out that the crew is supposed to find the missing $400,000 that suddenly disappeared before the trial, to pay back every victim that Eddie conned, including Ronald, who seeks revenge for his late sister, who also got conned by Eddie.The team finds out that Eddie is going to live in luxury in "club fed" Fort Walton Beach prison and that his flight leaves in an hour. As the crew tries to figure out how to stop him, Nate notices the bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer that Eddie left behind and figures out a way to stop him with what Eddie fears more than death. Outside, while Parker is sneaking inside the duct-work to plant a liquid into his bottle, Eddie talks to the Marshals Bob and Charlie about his "life lessons" in regards to hedge funds.Parker manages to plant the liquid rohypnol just as Eddie drinks the water. The roofies kick in as Eddie collapses on the floor. Nate, disguised as a doctor, comes to check on him as Eddie wakes up, and claims that the collapse was due to head trauma caused by Ronald's punch. Nate insists that he needs to be transferred to the nearest hospital for an MRI before he's clear to fly.In the hospital, Parker, dressed as a nurse, sprays something on a wheelchair, while Eddie waits for his handcuffs to be removed for the MRI test. Parker takes Eddie to the MRI room, only for Nate, while checking on him, to notice rashes on Eddie's hand and asks Parker to send him to the 8th floor. Meanwhile, Eliot and Hardison are tasked to distract the Marshals as long as possible, posing as officers from Belbridge P.D.Eddie is in a patients' room with a "sick" Sophie. A special report on TV announces something about an "Order 23". Nate's plan is to use neurolinguistic programming on Eddie to "sell" him fear, and push him over the edge. Their plan has to be pushed forward when the Marshals realize that Eddie's missing. Hardison and Eliot manage to stall them by asking them to not call for backup yet as Eddie might be in the building, and they ask them to check the security cameras. On the eighth floor, Sophie fakes her death. As Sophie is pulled away, Eddie panics, demanding to know what's going on.On his way down back to the Marshals, Eliot notices a man and his son, Randall and young Randy Trent, in the ward to treat Randy for a "skateboard accident". Eliot switches off his earbud and confronts Trent, knowing his bruises are not from an accident. Eliot swipes Trent's ID, as the man mocks Eliot, claiming that it's better for a kid to have a father that is strong rather than not having one at all.Meanwhile, Eddie is still frightened, panicking, yelling for answers, and even giving himself a nosebleed out of the blue, amazing Parker and Sophie. Just then they see a guard entering the floor, so Sophie stalls him wearing a Hazmat suit. The guard has been exposed to an antigen, she says, but it is repelled by water. The man furiously scrubs at his skin in the shower.As Eliot heads back to the morgue with Charlie, Hardison checks the Marshals' cars only to find out that Charlie isn't a Marshal but a hitman for the Armenian mob; his car is a rental car and has deadly items in the trunk. Hardison tries to warn Eliot, but his warnings fall on literally deaf ears. Charlie, on the other hand, also realizes that Hardison and Eliot are fakes just before Eliot meets up with him and plans to kill the hitter. Luckily, Hardison hacks into the P.A. and gives a hint to Eliot that danger is near, and Eliot manages to take down Charlie and put him inside a vacant morgue drawer. As Eliot puts his earbud back in, he hears Hardison yelling at him for taking them out, before realizing the real Marshal is heading upstairs.Back in the room, Nate pretends to fall sick in front of Eddie as Eddie freaks out. When Nate is placed on the bed, Parker cuffs him to the bed. Out of fear, Eddie tells her he's not sick and makes a deal with her to release him for $400,000 that he has hidden away. Parker "reluctantly" releases Eddie and they make their escape. As they leave, Nate manages to free himself, and Eddie passes by the guard who's taking a shower. Bob enters the room that Eddie was in, and notices Eddie's tie and calls for help to track Eddie down. Before meeting back with the crew, Eliot finds young Randy. Trent is friends with the police, so the boy can't turn his father in. In the basement, Parker tells Eddie how they'll need to outsmart the security camera. The creep zaps the thief using the showering guard's stolen taser and leaves.Eddie makes his escape and heads back to the courthouse, ducking into a utility room where he hid his cash up in the vent. As he takes out the bag, Parker surprises him with a well-placed sock in the nose. She had been wearing a vest that absorbed the taser. As the Leverage crew confronts Eddie, he laughs that he's going to report the group to the police for the myriad crimes they committed today (if only he knew...). Apparently, he's quite good with faces and quite confident that their sentences will be higher than his. Hearing police sirens, he rushes out of the courtroom.Outside, the police immediately arrest Eddie, despite his protestations. The officers read off his charges: assaulting a security guard (who assumes Eddie, not Sophie, tricked him), tasering a nurse (having been caught on camera), and of course, escaping federal custody. Nate explains to the crew that Eddie wouldn't have been arrested if he was the hostage of a jailbreak, but due to his actions and situation, no one would believe that was what actually happened.Back at the hospital, Marshal Bob, Eliot, and Hardison are retrieving the hitman when Hardison receives a call from the cops about Eddie being taking custody and having a mental breakdown about a plague "or something." Once they find Charlie, he panics and tries to take out Hardison before Eliot knocks him cold. Bob is a bit put out that he got duped by a fake Marshal and let a prisoner escape, but Eliot lets him know that in his report, Bob gets all the credit. Bob thanks him and offers to repay him in any way possible. Eliot gives him Trent's ID card. That night, Bob visits Trent's home and asks Randy not to be afraid to step outside to talk to him. Eliot watches them from afar.
Tropes stolen in this job:
- Berserk Button: Elliot and child abuse. Events in future episodes suggest this is because he did something horrible while working for a warlord he himself finds unforgivable, and he is now hyper-protective of abused children because he wants to clear that red from his ledger.
- Gas Lighting: How they work the mark. Granted most of their cons involve some gaslighting to convince the marks to follow the ait, but in this episode they pump it up to 11. Fortunately the mark is, like almost always in this series, an asshole victim, so how you feel about the excessive gaslighting here probably falls under [[YMMV Your Mileage May Vary]].