Inside Probe (Part 2) is the 26th episode of Season 4 of My Name Is Earl, the 95th episode overall and the second of the Inside Probe two parter. After Earl and Randy are proven innocent, "Inside Probe" explores other theories of former Crab Shack owner Ernie Belcher's disappearance, among others: alien abduction. But the truth revealed is even more bizarre...
Everyone gathers at the Crab Shack to watch the second installment of Geraldo Rivera's Inside Probe, investigating the mysterious disappearance of Crab Shack owner, Ernie Belcher. Although the town's notorious simpleton Randy confessed to murdering Ernie, Ernie's old buddy, two-time Daytona 500 winner Mike Waltrip, provided an ironclad alibi. Stymied, the police gave up their case against the Hickey boys, and released them. Inside Probe decided to dig a little deeper into the earth to find the treasure chest of truth to this abiding mystery.
In the commercial, Earl bets that the cheese grater killer got Ernie. Remember the time they found a big pile of beef in the parking lot with a sock in it? Randy hopes that wasn't Ernie because he ate the beef and is wearing the sock. Darnell points out that they don't know Ernie's dead. The government could have forced him to leave town, change his identity and marry a hot blonde. The show returns to focus on Randy's theory on Ernie's disappearance: alien abduction.
Joy claims she saw a UFO the night Ernie disappeared, and Inside Probe's merry band of actors reenacts the scene. Joy stumbled out into the Crab Shack parking lot to sell Wilfrid some muscle relaxers (really left-over birth control pills) when they were both awestruck by a blinding light from above. Police officially discounted the alien theory, but Stuart has a different point of view. While undercover as a gaysexual, infiltrating a party in the park, he too saw the blinding light. The other dancers said it was like being at a Cher concert, but all Stuart could think was UFO.
Construction worker Josh Martin saw the lights too, just after installing an exhaust fan and new concrete floor in the Crab Shack ladies' room. After some investigation, Geraldo concludes that most of Camden's residents saw the UFO, all except for Darnell. He has a theory about what caused Ernie's disappearance, but Geraldo thought this would be a good dramatic break in the program. When Inside Probe goes to commercial, Joy demands to know what Darnell said, but he holds up his finger, having just taken a huge bite out of a sandwich.
After finishing his mouthful, Darnell admits that he doesn't remember what he said to Geraldo -- it was eight years ago! When the show returns, Darnell relates some Camden County history. During the civil war, Earl's ancestor, Jefferson Washington Hickey had Camden declare itself neutral territory, to create their own tiny country called The Central. Ernie was profoundly dedicated to The Central and always flew his flag from the roof of the Crab Shack. Since the whole notion of The Central was highly controversial, it only lasted for about 15 minutes. Joy sticks her head in the shot to declare that when Civil War 2 comes, The Central will rise again.
Geraldo digs deeper. If it wasn't a rift of historic proportions that killed Ernie, could it have been involvement in the underground world of freaky Internet sex? Joy bets on the sex. Apparently Ernie had an Internet business selling fetish videos. Joy participated in a few of the videos to earn extra cash, but it got too weird. Earl admits that he participated in some videos, once eating mac and cheese out of a red stiletto. Randy claims he didn't appear in any videos, but Geraldo reveals evidence to the contrary. When Geraldo asks Joy if anyone involved in the fetish business wanted Ernie gone, she figures that anyone who found out about his hidden cameras in the Crab Shack ladies' room would be the more likely culprit.
Joy admits that she didn't say anything about the hidden cameras because Ernie paid her not to tell anyone; that's why she always pees in the alley. She offers to show Geraldo the hidden cameras in exchange for a beer. Geraldo moves the tampon machine to the side, revealing a hidden video that might contain answers. The tape holds several seemingly innocent scenes: Randy robbing the tampon machine; Catalina hiding her shame of secret eating; Earl drinking a bottle of purloined booze; and Geraldo putting on his game face.
Still, nothing makes sense to Geraldo, until he revisits his interview with Darnell. In an animated dramatization, Darnell explains that every night after closing, he climbs up on the roof to take down The Central flag, for fear that it may be stolen. On the night that Ernie disappeared, Darnell spied a malcontent trying to rip off the flag, and attacked him with lethal precision. The fight caused the flagpole to fall into a power line, which in turn exploded the transformer. This was the huge flash of light everyone in town mistook for a UFO.
So what does this have to do with the disappearance of Ernie? Ernie's own surveillance tape footage shows him creeping along planks set across the newly laid and still wet concrete floor, ostensibly to change out his videotape. When the battle on the roof got explosive, Ernie lost his footing and fell into the concrete. Semi-conscious, Ernie sunk into the concrete, leaving only his nose exposed. Shocked, everyone in the bar stops watching TV and runs into the bathroom to check out Ernie's nose, which Catalina thought was a nose-shaped doorstop.
Earl figures that now everyone can finally give Ernie a proper goodbye, since the mystery of his disappearance has been solved. Earl wipes a little booger off Ernie's nose, and everyone else pays their respects until only Randy is left in the bathroom. Just in case there's some chance that Ernie's still breathing, Randy wants him to know that he forgives him for taking away the free toothpicks, but the sin of not serving his favorite fish wings every night, that he can never forgive. As his final gesture, Randy pinches Ernie's nostrils shut, just to be sure.
- This episode marks the final apperances of Patty Weezmer, Stuart Daniels, Nescobar-A-Lop-Lop and Wilfred Dierkes.
- TV's Tim Stack mentions that he was told he was on a show called "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" for three years. He indeed was on the show and played Parker's Dad Martin Lewis.
- No list items is attempted in this episode.
- Earl: I bet it was the cheese grater killer that got Ernie. Remember that time in the parking lot we found that big pile of ground beef with a sock in it?
- Randy: I hope that wasn't Ernie because I ate that, and I'm wearing that sock!
- Stuart: Earlier the captain was giving out assignments and one of us had to investigate some sort of underground gay homosexual party at the park, and I drew the long straw so I was forced to do it.
- Geraldo Rivera: Isn't it usually the short straw that loses?
- Stuart: No it's the long straw, the long straw loses.
- The skin on Ernie's nose would have rotted away after eight years.
- Also, displacement of the wet cement around Ernie likely would have caused air bubbles and cracks as the concrete dried, exposing his body much sooner.
- Jason Lee as Earl Hickey
- Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey
- Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner
- Nadine Velazquez as Catalina
- Eddie Steeples as Darnell Turner
- Mike Cochrane as Crab Shack Regular
- Dale Dickey as Patty
- Heidi Shepherd as Inside Probe's Joy
- Michael Waltrip as Himself
- Geraldo Rivera as Himself
|< Season 3||My Name is Earl Season 4|
|#01||The Magic Hour||#08||Little Bad Voodoo Brother||#15||Darnell Outed (Part 1)||#22||Pinky|
|#02||Monkeys Take a Bath||#09||Sold a Guy a Lemon Car||#16||Darnell Outed (Part 2)||#23||Bullies|
|#03||Joy in a Bubble||#10||Earl and Joy's Anniversary||#17||Randy's List Item||#24||Gospel|
|#04||Stole an RV||#11||Nature's Game Show||#18||Friends With Benefits||#25||Inside Probe (Part 1)|
|#05||Sweet Johnny||#12||Reading is a Fundamental Case||#19||My Name is Alias||#26||Inside Probe (Part 2)|
|#06||We've Got Spirit||#13||Orphan Earl||#20||Chaz Dalton's Space Academy||#27||Dodge's Dad|
|#07||Quit Your Snitchin'||#14||Got the Babysitter Pregnant||#21||Witch Lady|