Did this week’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bring us the series’ most horrific twist yet?
That’s a heavy charge for a show full of characters whose plots routinely ruin lives or go outside the boundaries of good taste, but Frank’s (Danny Devito) endgame in Thursday’s episode wreaks havoc even on the inflappable Dennis (Glenn Howerton).
The latest episode begins with the revelation that Charlie’s mom (Lynne Marie Stewart) has lung cancer. She’s turned to a healer named Dr. Jinx (played by Sean Combs in a guest role) for healing, but needs to raise a few thousand bucks for the treatment. Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis and Charlie (Charlie Day) pay Dr. Jinx a visit and are horrified to discover he works from a garage and appears to be a fraud.
Meanwhile, Dee mocks Frank for losing his mind in his old age because he keeps losing pairs of shoes. Dee tricks him into paying for her trips to a psychic, and Frank ends up tagging along, seemingly becoming a true believer of the man. The psychic convinces the pair that Frank’s ex-wife (Dee’s mother) is still alive, which leads them to her old mansion to dig up her dog’s grave. They do, and find about $5,000 hidden in it, leading them to speculate the late Mrs. Reynold’s grave must actually empty and must contain her wealth.
Discouraged by Dr. Jinx’s healing powers, Dennis, Mac and Charlie turn to the church, where Charlie’s mom is also seeking healing. Dennis is inspired by the “grift” the church has going on—soliciting donations. They decide to do the same as a fundraiser for Charlie’s mom and head back to the bar.
In true Sunny fashion, it’s a disaster. Charlie’s mom is outfitted with a bald cap and sores to elicit sympathy. But when she tries to get through an illiterate speech written by her son, Charlie’s mom admits that she doesn’t have cancer, and that she was only trying to raise money to replace a church statue she and Mac’s mom (Sandy Martin) had damaged.
But the key scene comes at the end, when the entire gang heads to Mrs. Reynolds' grave to dig up the untold thousands of dollars she has supposedly stashed there. When Charlie cracks the coffin, that’s when it’s revealed that Mrs. Reynolds is in fact, dead, and that Frank had paid the psychic to feed them lines about her being alive.
Yes, Frank made Dennis and Dee dig up the body of their dead mother, all because Dee teased him about going senile. That’s pretty harsh stuff, even by Sunny standards. Dennis, who has struggled with not having emotions during the episode, now has the opposite problem.
“I feel too much,” he screams.
On a side note, the episode continues this season's trend of returning to (or even re-creating) old storylines. Charlie's mom admits she got the idea to fake cancer from her son, who did it in the first season. Earlier in the episode we also get the unexpected return of Mr. Juarez, whose home the gang destroyed in Season 4.
How do you think Frank's plan ranks in the pantheon of horrible things Sunny characters have done to others?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs at 10 p.m. on FX.