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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
The Inside Job

Nancy, gardening with a vengeance, heads into the garage for fertilizer; instead, she finds bullshit. Celia Hodes has been squatting -- Nancy's words -- in the garage since she got back to America. She lists her hardships while Nancy repeats, over and over: "Get out of my life." But Celia does not. "...Cancer. Loss of station. Loss of tooth. You threw away my tooth. I lose and lose and lose, and you have everything. A baby. ...A Mexican baby, but still."

She begs for "this tiny little pathetic crumb," although it must be said her hair has never looked lovelier. She looks so great. Well, the hair I can see. Does she have her hair back yet? "Albatross," Nancy pronounces, and gives her two days. Leaving with the fertilizer, her eyes go wide and her entire being shudders at Celia's cluelessness: "Can I have my old job back at the maternity store?" As though the world stopped ending when it burned down.

Hot Ginger Teacher Guy, hilariously, is playing his theremin when Isabelle busts in with Shane, who is strapped. "It's Botwin, motherfucker," he shouts, and Isabelle more politely hums, "And Hodes... Jerk." Shane tells Sandusky not to mess with her because she's loco, and she does a fair impression of loco, but Sandusky is not impressed and calls Shane a cockgoblin. "And take Nerd Girl with you, your usual sidekicks are much hotter." Ignacio appears, and takes him out with a slam to the back. Shane offers him a little lesson on narrative perspective, pointing out that while Sandusky believes Shane is a dumb kid, Shane in turn finds Sandusky to be the "titanic loser of a teacher I once had, who jacked the wrong kid." This last with a fair amount of gravitas.

He points the gun in his face, and Isabelle points out that also a part of their narrative, now, is Ignacio, who in turn supplies that Sandusky's chapter will be very short. Forthwith they gank all his stuff (Isabelle: "Your apartment makes me sad"), including his "axe," once he calls it that. As a final act, Ignacio suggests shooting him in the leg, but Shane kills his big white cockatoo instead. It explodes in a cloud of feathers, which freaks Ignacio right out, as well as any viewers who think their pets are children. They bounce.

Urbaniak levels a withering glance at Doug and Silas, but Doug assures him they're as serious as things like "ass cancer" or "Sean Penn movies," as though that's not redundant, and when Silas points out that the cop guy vouched for them, he rolls his eyes: Obviously, CP is functionally retarded, and he only hung out with him when they were kids because his stepmother had Jell-O Pops and CP's little sister let him fingerbang her in the poolhouse. I find the best people to associate with are often part of the drug world. Then Doug tries playing hardball, which for him saying things like, "Fuck you and your bullshit charges. In the butt!" and "Here's a counteroffer: Eat my balls." Predictably, Urbaniak gives up on them with one perfect eyebrow. Somewhat less so: A samurai appears to scare them away with his giant sword.

Celia brings groceries home to a garage fridge entirely full of frost blocks, and in the deep freeze finds Sucio's brass-knuckled corpse. She runs through the house chant-screaming, "DEAD MEXICAN!" All the way up to Nancy's bedroom, who sighs and takes a look down there. She flips her phone open immediately while Celia shivers and stares. "Hey, it's me. Uh, still weighing the whole moving in thing. But guess who I ran into? Our old friend Sucio. Looking a little stiff. So if you could send someone to pick him up? Soon? He's hanging out in the garage." Nancy tells the also-frozen Celia to keep him company, with a tiny smile.

Andy-Judah sits with Margaret-Mags at a fondue restaurant, side-by-side in a booth like only the truly worthless do. She looks insane: Laura Ashley-print dress like you would wear to Mormon Sunday School, voluminous like that, with a big old lace dickie, and her hair teased and curled and crunched and up to here. Andy says that he would have worn his Loverboy headband if he'd known it was a creepy, scary costume date, and she admits she's ridiculous. "But my Guild encouraged me." He doesn't get what she means, so she's like, "Online Gaming World? I'm a mage." He still doesn't get it. Maybe you don't get it. I wish I didn't get it. But I get it.

Believe it or not, she's pretty outgoing and popular there, in the imaginary world. "You're popular in the game. As a mage." She cheers for herself, and she realizes that he "thinks" she's pathetic, whining that she's dressed like Molly Ringwald. "I'm sorry, I have this fierce imagination. I always have..." Andy is sad because he can't remember the last time he really imagined anything. But he will. And that will be even sadder. Imagination's an inside job.

Mags "reminds" Judah that this is where they went on the date that apparently deranged her forevermore, and Judah's like, "I happen to love dipping things into other things!" I miss that crazy Israeli chick. She was the awesomest. Mags pokes a skewer at Judah, reminding him to be Judah, and they talk about how the fun is that you get to cook the meat yourself. "So what made you finally ask me out? You're such a studmuffin."

I'm so glad I don't remember the '80s. You know how you thought all your teachers were twenty years older than they probably were? All I remember about the '80s is being babysat by a succession of Taylor Daynes (big hair, glossy lips) and Nagel/Robert Palmer/Swing Out Sisters (slick bobs, matte lips). Maybe it was just the two, maybe it was hundreds, I have no way of knowing, but I still can't believe anybody ever said "studmuffin" as an actual descriptive noun, it's just too weird. Probably because of linguistics, back then, it was hyphenated: "stud-muffin." No, that just makes it worse. That's so fucked up. Stud is over here, lexically, and muffin is waaaaay over there. But them together and that's like a palace eunuch to me. Not the image that's intended.

Mags supplies the details as needed: He-Judah first saw her in the Food Court, working gainfully at the Hot Dog On a Stick, and he was I guess impressed by her handling of the "batter." She laughs like so: Huhuhuh. He tries harder, talking about how he's just in Ren Mar for the summer, but life is short, and people are phonies, and she's like, "You always quoted JD Salinger!" And he remembers that, that Judah read it every summer, but not much else: "Phonies. Goddamn phonies! But you're not a phony, you're real. And I am real. Me-Judah." She giggles, he gets all intense: "So let's be real together." He leans in to God knows what, but immediately spits a huge mouthful of fondue meat all over her nice dress at what she says next: "I want you to take my virginity."

Nancy's going to town on her oasis, hanging up windchimes: little moons, sparkly jewels. No butterflies. She's actually happy for a second, smelling the herbs. She used to visit these mountains with frequency. She hears over the chimes and smells a very strange outer-space sound, and heads inside, where she finds Shane playing the theremin and Isabelle doing something weird in Ginger's Ray-Bans that I never quite got a look at. Ignacio is in the corner, listening to Ginger's Zune and eating a delicious frozen treat.

(It was at this point that I thought to myself, "Sanjay is right, that dude is hot." Not the first time I've had that thought. But the next one was all new: "And looks a hell of a lot like Judah." Which seemed random and I had to backtrack and look, but it's true: the eyes are sparkly the same way, and the smile always goes northeast, just like Judah. And given that it's taken me five episodes to figure out the Silas/Doug thing, I'm glad this scene put me on that track.)

Isabelle lies that they found the theremin near a dumpster, which runs counter to Shane's entire mission in life right now, so with a bravado entirely fueled by hatred, he grins generously and stares his mother down: "We don't have to lie to her, Isabelle! I've been selling Silas's leftover c

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