Finally, after all of the hints throughout the series and the buildup of the last few episodes, the full story of Darnell's (Eddie Steeples) mysterious past has been revealed. And becoming reacquainted with that past was the one thing standing between him and the life he wants to lead.
The Hickey brothers are still trying to cope with the loss of their friends, with Randy (Ethan Suplee) even resorting to hanging out with a life-size "Scarecrow Crabman." At the trailer by himself one day, Earl (Jason Lee) opens the door to find a mysterious stranger named Thomas (Danny Glover) asking him if he knows where Darnell is. After poorly pretending he doesn't know Darnell, the man starts to threaten Earl, telling him that his neighbors will be picking pieces of him out of their azaleas, after which Earl worriedly asks what azaleas are. After Randy shows up and they both continue to not reveal Darnell's whereabouts, Thomas handcuffs them together around a post, leaves a time-bomb a few feet away, and gives them a cell phone they can call if they change their minds before it's too late. When all of Randy's bright ideas don't work out and they've dropped the cell phone, the two brothers try to break the post by slamming each other into it. This might work in an action movie, but not here in Camden — Earl and Randy say their goodbyes and brace for their fate.
Thankfully, the bomb's a fake. Thomas returns, reveals that he's Darnell's father, and gives them a sob story about how he just wants to make things right with his son — an incredulous Earl even tastes the man's teardrop to make sure it's the real thing. The brothers agree to travel to Darnell and show him a picture to get confirmation that Thomas is truly his father.
Meanwhile, Darnell's living a life he obviously doesn't want to. His days are filled with insurance sales, his nights with frozen dinners and the sounds of his sons' bratty friends playing an Xbox 360. Joy (Jaime Pressly) has recently had no time for him now that she's constantly trying to keep up their image (even hilariously donning disguises to play the part of their gardener and other hired help). When the Hickeys show up, Crabman reveals that Thomas really is his father and finally delves into his past. His father is an operative for a government agency more secretive than the FBI and CIA. Upon noticing his son's early talents (he's found as an infant with a solved Rubik's Cube), he begins training him to join the agency. We see flashbacks of young Darnell training in karate and other essential skills and then completing missions. However, when ordered to kill the nine-year-old leader of a socialist government, Crabman renounces his duty, testifies in front of a Senate subcommittee, and goes into the Witness Protection Program.
When Earl hands over the card Thomas had sent with them, Darnell immediately knows they've been tracked. When his father enters, he immediately tranquilizes everyone present; they say hello to each other before Darnell says "Let's do this" and the fight is on. During this hilarious contest, it's also revealed that Darnell has, or had, a brother that he was unaware of. A truce is eventually called, and Glover even gets to touch on one of his classic lines from Lethal Weapon ("I'm getting' too old for this crap"). When they calm down, he explains that he is here to offer Darnell a deal from the government — complete one last mission and the slate is wiped clean. Considering all he wants out of life is to live happily with his family in Camden, Darnell jumps at the chance.
When Earl awakes, he's in the back of a helicopter being flown by the two Turners. Earl is forced to accompany them on the mission, but can have no knowledge of what is actually happening, so he is kept sedated the entire time. This is definitely the best part of the episode in my opinion. As Earl drifts in and out of consciousness, he catches small glimpses of what's happening before being dosed again. In one moment, Crabman is stealing a gold artifact; in another, they hand it off to someone in the Mideast. At another point, all three of them are being buried alive — Darnell says, "Don't worry, we'll get out of this," before giving Earl another needle in the neck. The next scene has them on the ground looking for Thomas' contact lens. And after something about anthrax and Earl learning that he's wearing a diaper, the three need to parachute out of the helicopter, but with only two chutes. Darnell straps one on Earl and sends him off. When Thomas insists that Darnell take the last one, the two share a tender moment as they say they love each other. But when Crabman goes in for a hug, he jumps out with his father and saves both of them.
As Randy and Joy anxiously wait in the trailer, an SUV pulls up and drops off Earl and Darnell. Aside from a twitchy side effect from all the drugs Earl's been given, it seems everything is back to normal in Camden and the Turners are back to stay. At one point I had been convinced that Darnell's secret identity would always be playfully hinted at, but never explained. I'm glad I was wrong. This small storyline culminating in this episode was a high point of the season for me. And before I forget, what a great job by Danny Glover. He has this ability to be understated and intense at the same time and that subtle awesomeness along with his dead-on comedy were a real treat.
It looks like I've almost exhausted my notes — I'll leave the other funny moments and lines that I remember below. Let me know which ones I'm missing and which ones were your favorites. 'Til next time.
- When they're sure they'll be blown up, Randy says to Earl, "Hug me. Our bits will be mixed up and God will have to send us to Heaven together."
- A faux-dramatic shot leading up to the countdown on the bomb features Tim Stack drinking shots and falling over at the Crab Shack.
- "Tell me where Walgreens is!"
- "Stop blocking, I'm your father."
- Darnell hopes that by "Uncle Sam," his father means the government and not "your freaky brother who used to pay me $100 to rub his feet."
- "Darnell speaks 7 languages and knows three types of martial arts ending in "-do." I'm sure he'll be fine." "Earl has a nice smile and can play "Wipeout" on his stomach. I'm sure he'll be fine."
Finally, after all of the hints throughout the series and the buildup of the last few episodes, the full story of Darnell's (Eddie Steeples
) mysterious past has been revealed. And becoming reacquainted with that past was the one thing standing between him and the life he wants to lead.