Depicting Sincerity pt. 2: Hellcats S01 E15

Jake peers into his new home for the next few months...

...a jail cell with mini fridge, television, and microwave. That bed doesn't look too bad either.

An unsettling trend emerges in another favorite TV show; this week’s Hellcats is unusually sincere, with frequent remarks about moral behavior and religious belief.

Marti’s pet project, the release of wrongfully incarcerated street musician Travis, reaches its inevitable conclusion in this episode. Travis is freed from prison, but Jake, Lancer football captain and true perpetrator of the pharmacy theft, is locked up instead. But, as seen above, Jake’s cell is a tricked-out dorm room with all the essentials of college–excuse me, prison–life. Looks like Jakey’s gonna be doing his hard time in style.

This ending to a particularly genuine episode leaves viewers with a somewhat conflicted message about crime and the importance of doing the right thing. In a rather convoluted plot, Jake announces his involvement in the crime so that only his future will be compromised, rather than the lives of his football teammates and the Hellcats cheerleaders. Jake struggles with the consequences of revealing the real story. He has a conversation with his cheerleader girlfriend, an uncharacteristically scrupulous Alice, in which they discuss the injustice of his expected prison sentence. Jake maintains that it’s unfair he should be the only person to serve time since many other football players and higher-ups were indirectly involved in the robbery.

Eventually a press conference is assembled (yes, football is that big in Tennessee!), and Jake confesses his part in the crime. As he’s hauled off to jail, we learn that now Lancer football fans respect and admire Jake for his honesty, and that he has quite a few fans at the penitentiary. Jake is led to his cell, and the warden explains all the special amenities and privileges he’ll receive as a former football star.

Apparently in Hellcats, it pays to do the right thing. Sure, you’ll have to spend some time in the big house, but the experience will be almost as comfortable as your dishevelled dorm room. And your cell is a single! You might lose some privacy, but things always work out okay for the contrite white boy. In a few months, you’ll be back at Lancer with a grudge against everyone who pressured you into telling the truth, and Hellcats will have a whole season’s worth of plotlines. Will my prediction for next season hold true? Should I be writing for this awesome-terrible show? (YES.) Stay tuned!

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