Moral Orel: Nature Part One
This is an early review.
Clay Puppington: Hunting dogs are just nature's rabbits.
With every episode, more and more layers have been peeled back from the dynamic between Orel and his father. At first, Orel seemed blissfully ignorant of his father's distance and abuse, but over the course of this season, Orel, like all kids do eventually, is realizing his father is only human, and not a very sane one, either.
But, Clay is still his father, Orel loves him, and it's that struggle within Orel that adds to the show's emotional core, and makes the jokes hit with even more impact. This episode would not have worked until now, with Orel and the audience making this journey together.
Orel's father is not the first drunk father on TV, and not the first father on a TV series to try and make his son a man by getting him to kill an animal, but all television characters are archetypes of some kind, and therein lies the emotional connection: the strain almost all fathers and sons feel when it's realized that sharing DNA doesn't mean being cut from the same cloth. With Clay however, that's just one layer of many: he also has to contend with the fact that he's an alcoholic in a loveless marriage and millions of other forces (real and imagined) plotting to make his life miserable.
All of this sounds like the ingredients for a melodrama, but the truth is, this was a really funny (and touching) episode. The final scene when Orel's eyes fill with tears as his father drunkenly rants while flailing a half-eaten dog leg pretty much summed up the whole episode: his father is a sad and broken man, and Orel, finally, is forced to accept this fact. Is that why he pulled the trigger? Was it a subconscious thing? How does Orel reconcile what he's seen on this father/son outing with his seemingly unshakable faith not only in God, but in humanity?
I don't know, but it'll be fun finding out when the conclusion premieres next week.
Orel: I'm never gonna do that, with those, in there, for that long, ever again.
The never-before-seen shot of Clay's study, showing his vast gun collection