Another Toothpick

Episode Report Card
Aaron: C+ | Grade It Now!
Requiem For A Gladiator

Burt "It's three am and I need cough-ee" Young arrives at Mustang Sally's house. "Cough-ee?" Oh man, that's bad. Sorry. I'm not deleting it, though. We'll all look back and laugh about that one in a few years. Anyway, Mustang Sally is inside watching Jesse Raphael Sally. Heh. Also, what's up with the writing staff's Wilson Pickett obsession? Burt rings the bell, and Mustang Sally's nicotine-fiend friend, who we'll just call Smoky Smokerson, goes to see who it is. When they let Burt in, he's dismayed to find even more steps to climb inside, and finally makes it up to the living room. Between coughing jags, he manages to suggest that Smoky Smokerson quit while he still can, but Smoky isn't having it. Neither am I. Flick. Ahhhh…Burt and Sally sit in the dining room, and Sally begs him to intercede with Tony. Burt tells him to relax, saying that he "got [him] a pass on this one." Sally is relieved. "Tell Tony it'll never happen again. Or if it does, I'll at least yell 'fore.'" Burt gives him the stank-cough, and Sally replies, "Sorry. I shouldn't joke." After the cough-ee thing, I don't think I should either. Burt asks for water, and Sally hops up to go to the sink. They banter about whether Sally should visit the hospital, while Burt slowly pulls the gun from his pocket and sneaks up behind him. This is the only time in the entire episode that he's not coughing. Not even a little. Nice touch. Just before he pulls the trigger, Smoky comes back out, and Sally turns just enough to cause the shot to miss. Burt does manage to wound Smoky, but then he and Sally end up wrestling. There's much grunting and shots of bloody hands before Burt finally blows a not inconsiderable portion of Sally's brains across the walls and ceiling. Burt stands triumphantly, coughs a few times, and pumps an extra round into Sally, just to be sure. Then he finishes the job on a weeping Smoky Smokerson, and sits down to enjoy one of the dead man's Marlboros. Flick. Ahhhh…

Later, Burt is driving away, smoking another cigarette and bopping along to a seventies song that would have qualified for Hey! It's That Song status, if such a thing existed. Another coughing spasm sends him groping for his inhaler, which ends up on the floor of the car. As he bends over to reach for it, the car careens out of control and smacks into the base of a billboard, which comes crashing down onto the hood. In a classically perfect meta-statement about the show's newfound revenue streams this season, the billboard reads "Your Ad Here." Shoe company CEOs all across America jam the HBO switchboard suggesting marketing tie-ins.

"Of all the fucking luck!" exclaims Junior, presumably upon hearing word of Burt's passing. Bobby Jr. is bawling on the sofa, relating how he had to go to Staten Island to identify his father's body. Junior anxiously asks a number of questions about the official cause of death, trying to determine if it was cancer or the car accident. Bobby asks why he's so curious, and Junior flips out, throwing things and swearing as he stamps around the apartment. Bobby stares in shock, and if you look closely, you can actually see his entire world falling apart. Aww…poor Bobby.

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