Ruthie winds up her email and tells Morgan that she'll ask her dad to pray for him and the other soldiers. She asks RevCam to say a prayer for him right then and there. He agrees. They all bow their heads, and Eric prays for the soldiers to all return safely, and for comfort for the families of those who have lost their lives in the war and during the attacks on September 11. He tears up a bit, which would move me more if I didn't normally find this man so very repulsive. After he's done, Ruthie asks him if he thinks Sgt. Morgan could get hurt while delivering supplies. Eric wonders why she'd ask something like that. Ruthie explains that everybody in her class got an email from their pen pal today except for her. Maybe he has a Hotmail account? Everybody looks concerned, and tinkly music plays because we all already know that Sgt. Morgan has been killed and there's really no point in trying to create dramatic suspense.
Commercials. I just want to say that I don't like Scooby Doo, I never liked Scooby Doo, and I have no plans to see the movie, which looks even worse than the old cartoon.
It's evening as we return from commercials, and Eric is on the phone with the Colonel, asking if the Colonel can use his connections to find out if Sgt. Morgan is okay. The Colonel asks if Eric is prepared to give the bad news if necessary, but RevCam's a big ol' milquetoast. Colonel awkwardly blurts out some exposition about the five thousand American troops in Afghanistan and how the casualty lists are "miraculously low." American casualties, I'm sure he means, and isn't that all that matters? RevCam further exposits that Morgan is with the Marine Aircraft Group 16, part of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing. It turns out that his squadron is known as the Flying Tigers, and the Colonel clumsily exposits that this particular squadron has been around for more than fifty years and played roles in a number of American military actions.
We cut back to Ruthie, giving Mary and Lucy Sgt. Morgan's life story. They can't even get the exposition right. Ruthie explains that Morgan just "came back" last September, but doesn't say from where. Apparently he was supposed to stay stateside for a while, but everything changed after the September 11 attacks. He was sent to Afghanistan in November, the day before his wife's birthday. Mary asks about the boom box and the video camera. The kids are all making films to be digitally sent to the troops. Do they have DSL connections in Afghanistan? I'm picturing these troops crowded around a computer waiting half an hour for Ruthie's little dance number to download on a 56k connection. Well, it's the military. I'm sure they've got their ways. Lucy mistakenly refers to Morgan and his Marine companions as "soldiers," but Ruthie corrects her, because soldiers are in the Army and members of the Marines are called…Marines. That makes the title of this episode all the dumber, but I guess calling it "The Randomly Selected Marine," while more accurate, lacks a certain something. Ruthie treats us to more details of Morgan's life: His favorite movie is Top Gun, and his favorite television shows are The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Now I feel better critiquing this episode, because nobody who loves those shows can watch this and not mock the way it's written. We also get a list of his food likes and dislikes. He loves the enchiladas his wife, Theresa, makes.