S2 E12 The Gang Part 2

Welcome back friends. This is the conclusion episode “The Gang” Part 2. J.J. recovers from the flesh wound he received after getting shot. James wants to even up the score with Mad Dog.

Michael, Thelma and Willona are home waiting for J.J. to come home from the hospital. They were relieved it was only a flesh wound and Willona remarked that she didn’t even think he had flesh. J.J. came in the door with Florida and James, pretending to be suffering. when he asked Florida to help him bend, she commented that she burped him when he was a year old so he could bend him when he’s 18. James thanked J.J. for saving his life (he took the bullet for him, of course). Michael made J.J. a glass of Kool-Aid while Thelma starting insulting him, that’s when he knew he was home. Florida admitted that she was still shaking over what if J.J.’s condition turned out to be much worse, but was very grateful that J.J. came out of it and was home safe, and the whole ordeal was over. James was not too sure, since he wanted revenge on Mad Dog.

Florida got J.J. a nice new pair of pajamas. He jumped up and cheered at them, uncovering his act at being severely wounded.  James was still insisting he wanted to get even with Mad Dog and give him a good working over. J.J. came out of the bathroom in his pajamas and had Michael and Thelma help him get into bed and when he asked Thelma to get him a strawberry shake and French fries, she said ‘you’re not wounded, you’re pregnant’. Florida was meanwhile trying to calm down James and get him to forgive and forget. She even reminded him of other times when he lost his temper and blew his cool. She gave one example when they got engaged and she asked a good-looking reverend to perform the ceremony, James got jealous and threw him in the pool. He responded by saying ‘Florida, marry him quick, before he kills somebody’. James, in turn, reminded Florida when he asked a woman what he could get Florida for her birthday and she scratched the lady’s eyes out and pulled all her hair out. Although she regretted it for a long time, the lady was bald-headed for about a year. After all this, she still couldn’t convince James to change his mind.

On the day of the hearing, J.J. was dreaming about a fistfight with Mad Dog, calling him chicken and beating him. Florida just helped James get ready for court. She told Thelma she wasn’t against him pressing charges since Mad Dog should be put away and off the street, but she still objected to him taking matters in his own hands. Michael and J.J. hoped he wouldn’t assault him in front of the judge, otherwise he’ll wind up in jail. J.J. said he hoped he would wait until recess. James left about breakfast or coffee, claiming he wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Florida asked him for a kiss good-bye, he said he didn’t feel like that either. Mad Dog was in the courtroom with his probation officer when James walked in. When he questioned why he was there, James replied he was there to see the due process of the law. He took out some pretzels he brought with him and broke them in half, which was what he planned to do to Mad Dog’s fingers.

The judge walked in and asked Mad Dog to rise, along with everyone else. Mad Dog spent the whole time in there making wisecracks to the judge. He called him ‘man’, and the judge asked him to address him as ‘your honor’. Mad Dog claimed he gave him the benefit of the doubt, since he had that dress on. When the judge said to sit, Mad Dog told him to make up his mind. Then the judge asked him to remove the gum he was chewing. The judge asked the bailiff for an aspirin and Mr. Connors, Mad Dog’s probation officer, sent him his file. When the judge asked James if he was his father, he answered with ‘Lord, no’. Mr. Connors stated Mad Dog’s father left when he was a child, the judge answered he made a wise choice. When he found the next case’s file, Mr. Connors stated the file clerk transferred to the sheriff’s office. The next file was his application for transfer. When they finally found his file, his mother arrived to the hearing. The judge noticed that Mad Dog had a lengthy criminal record and now was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Mad Dog pleaded guilty and threw himself to the mercy of the court. The judge dismissed James, stating that witnesses were not allowed in the courtroom when the defendant gets sentenced. On his way out, he told Mad Dog he’d see him outside.

The judge first decided that Mad Dog would spend time at the local reformatory until he was 21 but Mr. Connors informed him that they were overcrowded. He then said Mad dog would go to the county jail, in spite of his young age,  but they were even more overcrowded, causing the judge to wonder if they ran a jail system or a holiday inn. The only choice was to put Mad Dog on probation until he was 21. When he went to tell his mom how great it was that he was cleared, she told him she was disowning him and no longer loved him (she called him by his real name, Cleon). Then she started to wonder what if his father stayed with them, Mad Dog angrily stated he would’ve been a wino in the gutter. This caused his mother to slap him and make him even more bitter about his father leaving. When he asked James if he wanted to hit him, James took pity on him and decided to let him go. Florida told him he did the right thing.

Originally aired November 19. 1974

Written by Eric Monte, Jack Elinson and Norman Paul

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest stars Oscar DeGruy, Lynn Hamilton, James Wheaton, Richard Stahl, Roger Aaron Brown

The conclusion to this episode about gang violence was just as excellent, but contained very little humor. It also fell short on plausibility. James kept maintaining how he wanted to get even with Mad Dog for shooting J.J., but it didn’t seem likely that Mad Dog would stand there an let him. There was every chance he’d fight back and looking at him, he wouldn’t have much trouble defending himself. I couldn’t blame James for that but it would also be possible he’d have to face charges. The scene between Mad Dog and his mother was also quite intense. I can understand how she was ashamed of him but many people believe that parents should always love and support their children no matter what they’ve done. It was also good that James let him go without a beating, although Mad Dog would rather have gotten beat than have James pity him. Next, we have the first Christmas episode from Good Times ‘Sometimes There’s No Bottom in The Bottle’.


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