Joan's at work reading or studying when Mrs. LandingGod appears and startles her a bit. Why does Kathryn Joosten look so lumpy? I remember her being pretty trim on that other tedious show I used to recap. (Er, which one, now? They're all tedious -- at best -- after a while.) She asks Joan if she's preparing for the case. Joan says she can't believe opposing counsel is going for self-defense. Well, I'm not a lawyer, and probably all the recappers who are lawyers are too busy to play Dial-a-Lawyer with me, but what else have they got? Not guilty by reason of insanity? Joan: "He so killed that guy." Mrs. LandingGod: "Well, everyone has their rationale for why things happen." Joan counters with, "Sometimes things are either wrong or right. You said so yourself." Mrs. LandingGod: "Yes. But figuring it out can be a real trial." Oh, man. I really think the Lord of all the Worlds should have better material. Joan: "Cute." Mrs. LandingGod chuckles: "Thanks. You see, a trial is just an outward representation of what goes on inside people all the time. The moral debate: am I good or bad? How do I behave in this or that situation? It's a state of examination where, hopefully, you find the truth." Joan: "Have I done something I don't know about?" Mrs. LandingGod decides Joan is busy and she shouldn't bother her anymore. Joan: "No, see, if you answer the question, then you're not bothering me." Mrs. LandingGod: "Knock 'em dead, Matlock." Joan: "Matlock? What are you, like, a million?" Her response is to wiggle the fingers of both her hands in the air in a sort of Godwave.
Helen slides open the little…slidey door-thing in a confessional and says, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned…" She laughs nervously and adds, "That sounds so old-school." Hey, at least you don't have to say it in Latin. A familiar voice asks, "How long has it been since your last confession?" Helen looks through the lattice: "Father Ken, is that you?" Frink: "Man, how weird must that be?" He starts asking me a bunch of questions about confession, and about whether people can see the priest or whether they know the priest and how that all works. Because in this house, I am the go-to person for questions about Christianity, even though I was brought up Protestant (Baptist) and am no expert on Catholicism, which is probably the Christian religion he is most curious/confused about. Still, I know more than he does about it (plus, I have kind of an obsession with saints and anchorites, and more than a passing interest in nuns and medieval Christianity) so I end up fielding a lot of questions. I also end up sending him to Google a lot of the time, as I simply am not in a position to explain (let alone justify) a lot of Catholic doctrine. For him there is just not a lot of difference between Catholicism and Protestantism -- it's all one big Jesus-y glob to him -- so when he first met my parents, he was a little concerned that their house would be full of crucifixes and rosaries and stuff. Which still makes me laugh my ass off, almost a decade later, not least because…even if my family were Catholic, they're about as religious as Fred Flintstone. But he honestly had no idea what to expect, and I had my own worries about his parents' religious tendencies, so I guess I shouldn't laugh. (Except I mostly turned out to be right.)
Anyway. Father Ken asks, "Helen? Is that you? Is everything okay?" Helen says she's back in catechism class and they're covering Confession: "So I thought I'd do a field trip." I'll bet the Church loves spiritual tourists. Father Ken thinks it's wonderful, and then gets back to business: "So, how long's it been?" Helen muses: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but Ford had just pardoned Nixon, so I felt inspired." Going to confession isn't the impulse that that event inspired in me, but then, I wasn't Catholic, either. Let's just say I was feeling a little more Travis Bickle and a little less Thomas Merton. And yeah, I was nine…you want to make something of it? Even then I knew it was bullshit. Father Ken chuckles and welcomes her back: "Let's skip the Reagan and the Clinton years and we'll start with something more recent." Could we skip the Bush years, too? All of them? Please? Helen confesses that she sometimes naps through planning period at school. Heavens, she'll be doing Hail Marys until the cows come home. Father Ken is sure God understands: "What else?" Helen: "And…sometimes I give students As when they only deserve Bs." Helen, you are Evil Incarnate. I can't believe Lucyfer thought she could take you on. Oh, and I can't wait to see Adam's next grade. And Bonnie's. Bye-bye, art school. She says breezily, "That's about it…thanks!" Father Ken says, "Helen…" Helen wants special treatment: "Okay, but…can we do this somewhere else? I feel like I'm in The Exorcist." Nice.