The Trial is the 23rd and final episode of Season 2 of My Name Is Earl, and the 47th episode overall. Earl and Randy move out of the motel and get an apartment. Joy faces a life sentence in prison, and Earl decides to testify as a character witness. Earl starts dating Joy's deaf lawyer when he still has a void in his life that an education and a job couldn't fill.
It's Randy and Earl's last night in the motel because they're finally moving to a real apartment. Realizing that he cheated himself out of being an adult, Earl has put himself on his own list, and moving is the third step, after getting his G.E.D. and a real job.
Despite the new apartment, Earl feels like something's missing in his quest to become an adult. The phone rings: Joy needs Earl to come down to the jail right away. It all started last fall when Joy stole a truck and got arrested, her third strike. She took an unscheduled vacation to Mexico, where she ran into Dog the Bounty Hunter. Now Joy's deaf lawyer Ruby Whitlow needs Earl to find character witnesses so Joy won't have to spend the rest of her life in prison.
Randy and Earl check on Darnell. The kids have gone wild, and the Joy has literally gone out of his life - Darnell can't live without the other half of his heart. Earl realizes that what he's missing is a woman to share his life with. He met Alex Meyers a while back, but karma didn't think he was ready for a relationship, and sent bees to sting their faces. Earl calls Alex, but she's married now. Meanwhile, he's having a hard time coming up with character witnesses for Joy.
Joy's deaf lawyer Ruby thinks Earl will make an excellent character witness, and he thinks he's finally met a woman to share his life with - Ruby's accent really turns him on. They meet with Joy to rehearse, but Earl's more interested in trying to ask Ruby out. Realizing that Earl wants to jump Ruby's bones, Joy lets the cat out of the bag. Earl fears the worst, but Ruby asks him to dinner.
Earl fumbles the date, but Ruby tells him that he can cross "being a lazy lover" off his list. Life is finally perfect, but not for long when Ruby spies herself on Earl's list. A couple of years ago, Earl and Randy robbed the only deaf person living in Camden County, knowing it would be real easy. They even stole her cat. Even though it's been one of the best nights of Earl's life, Ruby storms out, saying it was all a mistake.
Before the trial begins, Ruby's sign language translator Doug eats a lemon square that Darnell has baked for Joy and cuts his tongue on a razor blade. The only translator available speaks Mandarin, so they need a third translator. Ruby is a great lawyer, and has no problem discrediting the evidence against Joy, and Earl's testimony helps. But when the prosecutor plays several 911 tapes from when Earl and Joy were married, the jury turns against her.
Earl feels terrible. All he can think about is Joy's family being torn apart, so he claims that he stole the truck, offering evidence to prove it. Joy doesn't get it, but Earl explains that he doesn't have three strikes, or a family. Joy thanks Earl, and Ruby forgives him. Judge Miller complements Earl for saving Joy, while acknowledging that he's a piece of trash for waiting this long to do it. Earl is sentenced to two years in the state pen.
Earl took the fall for Joy so she wouldn't have to give up her life, but now he's giving up everything: job, apartment, a pretty deaf girlfriend, his list and his freedom. Earl's old buddy Ralph is relieved to see Earl, his new cellmate, and hands him a sock full of batteries. Seems that Ralph spit in a skinhead's eye, and he's coming after them later in the yard with a pipe gun.
- This marks the last appearances of Ruby Whitlow and Doug.
- When Catalina yells at Earl in Spainsh she says: "Thanks for watching our show. We are going to miss you all this summer. Don't you think it's funny that Earl thinks I'm saying how much I hate Joy, but what I'm really saying is how much I love all of you?"
- When the tape with Earl's phone calls is played, during a montage of Earl, Darnell, Joy and the others, all listening to the tape and growing concerned, one of those people is Ruby, but Nescobar and the Chinese woman are not translating anything for her and being deaf, she can't hear a thing.
- The Chinese guy who took over Earl and Randy's motel room is the same as in the season final of the first season. He's also standing at the exact same place (next to the door of the bathroom). As to point that out, when Earl comes back in the room, the guy says: "It happens every year!" The Chinese guy is the same actor, the kids are different - according to the audio commentary the actors wanted too much money, which is why the kids wear scuba masks to hide their faces.
- This episode was nominated for the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series.
- List items re-introduced and crossed off in this episode:
- List items introduced in this episode:
- Unnumbered list item 20 Robbed a deaf woman
- "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger
- "Baba O'Riley" by The Who
- "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals
- "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by The Rolling Stones
- Judge Miller: Mr. Hickey, it showed guts to step up and not let an innocent woman go to jail. But waiting this long to do it, shows that you're a piece of trash.
- Jason Lee as Earl Hickey
- Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey
- Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner
- Nadine Velazquez as Catalina
- Eddie Steeples as Darnell Turner
- Timothy Stack as Tim Stack
- Louis T. Moyle as Dodge
- Trey Carlisle as Earl Jr.
- Abdoulaye N'Gom as Nescobar-A-Lop-Lop
- Giovanni Ribisi as Ralph Mariano
- Marlee Matlin as Ruby Whitlow
- Jonathan Slavin as Doug
- Duane 'Dog' Chapman as Himself
- Chelcie Ross as Mr. Waadt
- Harry Karp as Store Clerk
- Don Perry as Judge Miller