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Moral Orel
Season 3, Episode 8
#38
Pss4
Air date November 6th, 2008
Written by Dino Stamatopoulos
Directed by Chris McKay
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Orel's father reminisces about his relationships with his own parents, the gun his father gave him, the secret of his mother's past, and a prank pulled by his own volition that would change his life for the worse.

Plot Edit

As Clay hands off Ol' Gunny to Orel before the hunting trip, Clay has a flashback to when he was the same age as Orel, and his father shows off Ol' Gunny to him. Clay is apprehensive, citing the Lost Commandments, but his father encourages him until Clay's mom called the two for dinner.

Clay's mother is evidently fully devoted to loving and protecting her "precious only ever", so much so that it's putting strain on her marriage. As they eat, Clay tells his mom that his dad let him hold the gun. She isn't too fond of the idea and chastises her husband for doing so, much to Clay's delight.

After dinner, Clay looks through the photo albums with his mom, but discovers a horrible truth upon going further back than his birth: he technically isn't an only child. His mother had suffered ten miscarriages, each one gradually ruining the state of her marriage, before fully devoting herself to God and prayer, instead of smoking, drinking, and exercising. Clay, shocked and saddened, runs off. A bang is heard in the next room, and Mr. and Mrs. Puppington run in to see what appears to be Clay having killed himself with Ol' Gunny.

Both start to panic; Mrs. Puppington pleads to God and snaps at her husband, who begins to call for an ambulance. It is then that he notices a bottle of ketchup hidden behind a chair, and realizes it was all a prank by Clay to test his mother's true feelings for him. Clay reveals himself to his parents, but all the pain and excitement proves to be too much for Mrs. Puppington's weak heart; she collapses in her husband's arms, dead.

After Mrs. Puppington's passing, Clay's dad is forced to put up with Clay. He raises his arms to strike Clay after he talks back, but deems him "not worth the effort", which hurts Clay. For an indeterminate period of time, Clay and his father maintain a tense relationship; Mr. Puppington is bitter towards Clay for causing his wife's death with his naivete, and Clay intentionally makes trouble to confirm that his dad still cares for him by striking and punishing him. It is in these formative moments that Clay begins to associate physical punishment with worth and redemption.

Finally, Clay's father brings his son into the study. There, he hands off Ol' Gunny to Clay, but he asserts it's not because of any tradition, but because the gun is "tainted with blood". Clay attempts to bait his father into smacking him one more time, but as he looks up, his father is gone for good. Clay promises Ol' Gunny that he would keep the tradition going. As the scene returns to the present, Clay replaces Ol' Gunny with a different gun for Orel.

As the credits roll, Clay sits in his study, drinking and reflecting.

CharactersEdit

Main charactersEdit

Minor charactersEdit

Notes Edit

  • The song "Love Love Love" by The Mountain Goats plays throughout the episode and the end credits.

Episode Tie-InsEdit

  • Help: The theme of a character's past continues
  • Nesting: Clay has, at one point, an oedipal vision of his mother and chicken eggs