Here Comes The Boom – And It Fell On Arnie

Esteban Powell and Guest Star Robert Lasardo in The Cleaner

© A&E Network Credit: Bill Inoshita

Submitted by KiKi Vanderhousen

It wasn’t a coincidence that A&E aired an In-Depth Intervention on Monday (Intervention In-Depth: Meth) and then aired the newest installment of The Cleaner with a meth-induced plot the following night.

To watch Eric Roberts hitting the pipe like an old pro, you’d think he was a meth addict all his life. Can you imagine having to do your homework getting ready for that acting job – watching hours and hours of real dope addicts smoking meth, watching the twitchy little tweekers trying to catch that first hit, time after time after time, hour after hour?

Let me give you a little background – in the Tue., Aug. 19 episode, Ray, Jr. (the son) asks Ray (the father played by Eric Roberts) “What’s it feel like getting high on meth, Dad?” After some avoidance, he says … “It’s killing me 45 seconds at a time … and I still can’t help thinking all day long what it’s going to be like next time I smoke and that feeling is the most consuming thing in my world right now.”

That’s what’s known as “chasing the dragon.” Crack smokers chase it, meth smokers chase it. Back in the 19th century, opium smokers chased it. It’s the very first hit they’ve ever taken … the one that’s permanently imprinted on their brain. It’s the one they always try to duplicate and they never will … ever. No matter how much they smoke, no matter how much time has lapsed in between … no matter how good the stuff is. They will never match the power of that first hit. And they know it but it doesn’t stop them from trying.

Frankly, it’s pathetic. But it should give you some idea why it’s so difficult to cure those addicts in particular. But meth doesn’t have to be smoked. It can be snorted or injected. It’s a fairly easy drug to get and a very easy drug to make.

It’s such an easy drug to make that it caused countless drug companies to change the formula of OTC cold medications and drug stores all over America to put other OTC cold medications behind the counter under lock and key.

Why, because cold medicine (Psuedo) is one of the main ingredients in meth along with some other things that I certainly wouldn’t want to ingest: Heet, Muriatic Acid, Red Devil’s Lye, book matches (try to get the ones with brown/red striker pads) says the very specific instructions in the recipe I’m referring to posted on the Internet by MethodMan.

In this episode of The Cleaner, the Inland Kings motorcycle gang (that Ray, Jr. has a job with cleaning their clubhouse and Ray, Sr. use to ride with), smuggles meth in retrofitted gas tanks.

The leader of the Kings is a phenomenal character actor that I’ve seen a hundred times – Robert LaSardo. His tats are real and he’s been in everything from China Beach to Law & Order and will soon be seen in the upcoming movie Death Race.

William and Arnie roll into the Inland Kings club house as neutral riders, leaving Akani and Darnell behind. Left to her own devices, Akani does some research on the situation that William is walking into – as observers, we think blindly.

When the episode begins Ray, Jr. comes to see William to tell him that his mother has died and that his father has just come out of prison. He’s not there to ask for William’s help.

When William tells his crew about their next “client” he confesses that Ray’s mom was his first client and that he could have done better by her. William also admits that he put Ray Sr. in prison with some good, but misguided intentions.

William’s home front isn’t any better. Ben wants to quit football, and to prove his point, he “passes” some of them into school windows after hours and then relaxes on the front lawn until the police arrive to haul his butt to jail. The total for this little stunt: $3,000.

At this point, I’d be planting my foot in Ben’s butt, or I’d be sending him to a work camp to pay me back. Enough is enough. You’ve got LuLu on one hand and Ben the Brat on the other. But like I mentioned earlier, if you read the 12 Steps of the 12 Step Program, you’d understand where William is getting his patience from. Obviously Ben has read it and is more than taking advantage of it.

Back at the Inland King’s clubhouse, Arnie agrees to make 8 retrofitted gas tanks (illegally), Ray Sr. is feeling the bite of being out of prison, working a minimum wage job, having a kid in foster care wanting to be a family again, living straight when temptation is all around you and being offered $30k to make “just one drug run” with his motorcycle buddies.

Ray Sr. falls hard, agrees to take the run and Arnie goes back into the clubhouse to keep his eye on him which gets him into serious trouble. At that point, Arnie gets accused of being a cop, gets pistol whipped and is forced into hitting the meth pipe.

When William arrives he confesses to Ray Sr. who he is, gets slammed a couple of times for his trouble and the situation accelerates when Ray Jr. arrives pointing a gun. When Jr. threatens to kill himself, William snatches the gun away, Ray Sr. realizes what’s important and ends the drama.

Unfortunately that’s not the end for Arnie, who ends up with a messed up looking head wound and a stumble and fall back into his addiction.

That’s not the end for William either, who goes home and finds out that he was expected to pick up Ben from school and never did and Ben never made it home either. “Where is our son, William?” asks Melissa (Amy Price-Francis). Who walks out of the house toward the very end of the episode and does this really fake sob/cry.

At the very last minute, LuLu comes outside and tells William she got a text from Ben and she can’t say anything other than she knows he’s OK.