Honk if you know someone on death row.
Earl has only six months and 10 days left on his prison sentence after helping the warden out of several jams. But the warden finds himself in another mess after a press conference embarrassment, and now the warden has to institute an inmate reconciliation program to replace the previous “two men enter, one man leaves” reconciliation program. So again the warden enlists Earl’s help and offers Earl six months off his sentence if he can get an inmate to reconcile with the victims of his crime.
Earl finds a good candidate in John (Shawn Hatosy), an artist who’s in jail for burning his parents’ house down while he was cooking meth in their basement. (John’s art consists entirely of painting people’s faces on animals.)
John’s parents, who are now very into fire protection, come to the prison to meet with John. But John flips out when he’s told that he has to apologize to his parents, not the other way around. Seems that John’s parents were real monsters: They wouldn’t let him have a color TV in his room, they wouldn’t buy him cargo pants and they wouldn’t let him go to his high-school prom because he was too stoned to drive. So John refuses to make up with his parents, unless Earl does something for him: give him the prom he never had.
With his freedom at stake, Earl decides to pay the bill for an extravagant prison prom. They have female inmates shipped in as prom dates, and the event is a huge success. They even have a white chocolate fountain for the skinheads. Earl is crowned prom king, and in a touching gesture, he gives up his throne to John.
John’s parents come back to the prison for another attempt at reconciliation, but John flips out again. John still blames his parents for all the bad things he did. Then Earl goes ballistic and sets all of John’s artwork on fire (is gasoline readily available to prison inmates?). Sorting through the ashes of his paintings, John realizes he has to take responsibility for his actions. Turns out that when he was stoned in his parents’ basement, he memorized every family photo on the walls, photos that were destroyed in the fire he caused. So John paints re-creations of every family photo and has them sent to his mom and dad, who proudly display them. John the Artist finally makes up with his parents.
Earl gets the six months off his sentence, and the warden wonders what he’s going to do without Earl — a thought that becomes too terrifying for the warden. The warden shreds Earl’s early release certificates, setting up next week’s prison break episode.
A bad episode, overall, and possibly one of the worst in the series. Outside of a few small appearances, the supporting characters were almost completely absent. And just as we think they’re going to bring the tired prison storyline to an end, we learn Earl’s freedom isn’t quite assured. This episode pretty much exists to set up next week’s escape attempt, which I hope won’t disappoint.
What (Little) We Learned:
No one makes meth with anything but the best intentions.
Earl has $24,612.17 left from his lottery winnings, minus $400 one of his kids spent on candy for a school fundraiser.
Wisdom From Randy: Aircraft carriers are big. (Sorry, Randy was hardly in this episode.)
Crab Man Chronicles: It seems Mr. Turtle once knocked over a candle and started a fire. Darnell’s not sure if it was an accident or the result of pent-up turtle hostilities of some kind. Tough to say if this actually happened or if this is something Crab Man made up to prove a point to John’s parents.
Memo: Suck it, gas company.