Case #1.13: "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses"

At an underground club, a punk band, the Slug Lords, performs a charming little number called "Too Young to Die." The lyrics are largely incomprehensible and the lead singer seems to have a pseudo-British accent. We see some teens spray the anarchy symbol on the side of a car and drive off. The letters KKK are sprayed in red on a realty sign. Junior Klansmen wreaking havoc?

A boy in punk attire graffitis a wall with "Friendly Neighbours." Almost forgot this is one of those shows where the USA is played by Canada...Vancouver in this case, I believe. His friend calls for him to jump in the back of his pickup truck because he spotted the KKK. One of the KKK kids in a hideous orange sedan grabs the arm of the boy who was spray-painting. He gets yanked out of the pickup, lands hard on the street, and rolls to a stop.

The sedan's driver backs up and mutters for the other kid to get up. Unusual considering they're apparently in rival gangs. The other boy slowly stands, his face a bloody mess. He seems to have a broken arm. His friends lay him in the bed of the pickup and drive off again.

Outside police headquarters, the punk boys from the sedan await the return of their friend. He was brought in for questioning about the Neighbour they assaulted. A curly-haired boy comes out and assures his friends he didn't talk. He checks one of their watches and complains that the cops made him miss dinner. He grabs a can of spray paint. The curly-haired punk sprays the anarchy symbol onto the trunk of a police cruiser. He laughs about the irony until the driver tells him to get in the car.

Cap'n Rufus tells Doug and Tom that the KKK put another kid in the hospital. The Friendly Neighbours have been the gang's latest target. The KKK is also responsible for $200,000 in property damage. Captain "Bad News" Ballhouse wants Jump Street to put a stop to the gangs or he's breaking out the riot gear.

Doug says, "Studs and leather, here I come. KKK, awesome band." "KKK?" asks Tom, looking shocked; like me, he's clearly thinking of white sheets and hoods rather than mosh pits.

"Klean Kut Kids," Doug explains. "It's a band, it's a gang, it's a floor wax." So I don't get confused myself, I'll refer to the gang as Klean and its members as Kuts. 

Cap'n Rufus
 says it's unlikely Klean will buy 2 people trying to join at the same time, so Tom will be going in as a hardcore punk. Doug gripes that the captain's trying to break the laws of nature. But the gang is mostly comprised of smart, middle-class kids; it isn't just studs and leather.

Doug asks Tom if he's ever been slam-dancing, stage-diving, or speaker-diving. Unsurprisingly, the answer is no to all of the above. Doug says they won't buy Tom's cover if he isn't all-out punk from the start. He begs Cap'n Rufus to make him the lead man, but Rufus
 sticks with his original plan. 

Tom arrives at the Slug Lords show in full punk rocker regalia, including a shirt with the anarchy symbol on it. A girl with a shaved head tries to make out with him. Onstage, the band is singing "Too Young to Die." Tom ends up in the middle of the mosh pit. He doesn't like it at first, but soon begins to enjoy himself.

Tom fights his way toward the stage. After a few stage dives, he confidently climbs on top of the tallest speaker and jumps. Tom follows the driver of the sedan outside. The other Kuts are smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and barking at passing girls. Yes, barking like dogs. Tom says he moved to town from Oklahoma a few weeks ago and hasn't found his way to school yet.

A police car shows up. Apparently, it's past curfew. The officer tells the kids to stop loitering and dump out the beer. The band's leader singer, Lancer, rounds up the Kuts. Tom tries to join them. Sedan Driver says they can hang out tomorrow if Tom finds his way to school.

In the parking lot, a security guards stops the sedan and asks for the $5 parking fee. The guard laughs as he watches the Kuts fumble around in their pockets looking for money.

Doug, driving Tom's Mustang, picks his partner up. He tells Doug about his experiences, describing the show as a "weird, deviant Aboriginal offshoot." Doug can't believe Tom slam-danced instead of taking notes in a corner. According to Tom, the punk scene is just another subculture. Doug notes, "You could make a freaking documentary." The kids who go to the shows are outsiders everywhere else, so it's a form of instant acceptance. 

Back at the punk venue parking lot, Lancer persuades Sedan Driver to drive his car through the flimsy guard shack. The security guards needs to be taught a lesson about laughing at them. Fortunately, the guard gets out of the booth before impact.

At school, Tom has calculus with Sedan Driver (SD). He hangs back while SD has a conversation with Mr. Wiedland, the teacher. Mr. W is concerned about SD. He's been hanging out with unsavory characters, quit the school newspaper and student council, and didn't try out for soccer. SD assures Mr. W that everything's fine.

Doug meets up with Tom in the cafeteria. His hair has been dyed black and slicked into a ponytail; he's wearing a trenchcoat. Tom joins the Kuts at their table. SD wants to know why Tom is at Hamilton mid-semester; Tom explains that he'd been living in Oklahoma with his mom, but she sent him off to live with his stepdad. For some reason, nobody questions why Tom's mother and stepfather are living in different states.

Darby, the punk with curls, says their friend Tober hasn't been home in a month, mostly sleeping in a Goodwill box. Tom asks what's the deal with the Kuts and the band. SD says he can hear it from the lead singer after school.

Lancer sits at a diner table counseling some disenfranchised youths. He claims parents send their kids to ballet, speech lessons, and the orthodontist as punishment for not fitting their idea of perfect. The more conventional kids don't like themselves so it's not surprising that they bully the punks. Oh, and SD finally has a name: Bryan.

Lancer's lecture is interrupted by a series of "Ows" from Doug, who's being dragged into the diner. Tober has pulled one of Doug's arms behind his back and is holding on to the scruff of his neck. Pretty impressive for a kid who probably weighs around a buck-twenty. 

Darby tells Lance that Doug's concerned with things that aren't his business, namely the gang. Lance tells the Kuts to take Doug outside to beat him up. Doug tries to run for the door, but the Kuts catch him. Tom tells Doug to let him handle it.

A pretty decent monologue follows: "I can see I'm gonna have to put this into terms you can understand. That's my stepbrother Douglas. He's kinda lame, but it's not his fault. You kick his tail, he tells my stepdad, my stepdad kicks my tail. Then I'm gonna have to come back here and kick your tail." This is yet another occasion where it's obvious they dubbed over the word "ass."

Lancer pulls out a switchblade; Tom easily takes it from him. Lancer decides Tom's all right. Hours later, Tom and Doug are still at the same diner (Rocket Dog). Doug wonders when the Neighbours are coming. Tom thought his partner lived for crawling in the underbelly of society. A car horn honks outside.

Doug and Tom join the Kuts in the parking lot. A Neighbour threatens to kill them or at least put them in the hospital. One of the Neighbours has brought along his 10-year-old brother. The kid, who looks a lot like the miniature greaser from The Outsiders, yells more threats at the older kids. The Kuts scare the Neighbours into driving off.

Tom asks Bryan why the Kuts beat up the kid at the beach. Bryan explains Lancer thought it would be cool; his voice sounds a hell of a lot like C. Thomas Howell's circa Red Dawn and The Outsiders. Nobody messes with the Kuts anymore because they're afraid. Doug tells Tom they were supposed to be home hours ago and they're gonna be in serious trouble.

Tober tells Doug he should change his name because names other people give you don't matter. Doug asks the obvious question: why would anyone want to be called Tober? It's simple; October is the kid's favorite month because it's when everything dies.

Doug reacts pretty much the same way I would after hearing something like that: "I'm outta here!" He adds to Tom, "Deal with Dad on your own. I ain't any part of it." He takes off. Tom calls after Doug that maybe he'll come home tonight and maybe he won't.

Bryan and Tom creep up the stairs at Bryan's place. Tom is hesitant about being in a stranger's house at 3:30 A.M. Bryan says his parents don't care who he brings over. Or what time he does, apparently.

In his room, Bryan tells Tom he's staying up to study and tosses him a sleeping bag. Tom remarks that Bryan's in a lot of AP courses. Bryan explains that if he takes enough, he'll be admitted to college as a sophomore, which will save his mom a lot on tuition. Tom asks why Bryan hangs around the Kuts. Bryan cryptically replies, "That'd be a very long conversation...if we ever had it."

At the Chapel the next morning, Tom tries to take a nap at his desk. He's barely closed his eyes when he's summoned into Rufus's office. The captain isn't in a good mood. He warns Tom not to ever let the previous night's events happen again. Nobody knew Tom was sleeping over at Bryan's and besides, you're not supposed to separate from your partner. 

Tom explains about the impromptu slumber party. He doesn't think the Kuts are hardened criminals; Lancer is the real problem. Cap'n Rufus says they'll have to be careful not to make Lancer a martyr and sends Tom home for some sleep.

After school, Tom meets the Kuts at the school field. Bryan wants to play touch football; the others are more interested in meeting up with Lancer. The punks form a team and match up against some preppy kids. Tom goes long and makes a touchdown. Lancer watches from the sidewalk with a disgusted look on his face. Doug and Tober reenact the lift from Dirty Dancing. 

Bryan walks over to Lancer. Lancer is angry that he was kept waiting. For 30 seconds? He mocks Bryan for playing football. He could get the guys to turn on Bryan in a second. Bryan doesn't think so; he's known Darby and Tober since 3rd grade. If Bryan said Lancer wasn't cool, the others wouldn't hang out with him.

Lancer crosses the street and is nearly hit by an oncoming police car. One of the cops gives him a ticket for jaywalking. Lancer crumples the ticket and tosses it on the ground. The second cop says they could charge him for littering, which would be a $60 fine on top of $35 for jaywalking. The Kuts taunt the cops, who threaten to take them in for disorderly conduct.

Lancer lays down in the street, arguing that the cops were eventually planning to tackle him there in the "felony prone" position. He stands up and swings at one of the cops. The Kuts cheer him on. Lancer is arrested and thrown in the back of the car.

That night on a different street, the Kuts are hiding in some trees. Tober wants to teach the police department a lesson for arresting Lancer. He called 911 to report a robbery at a nearby store. Tober's tied a wire across the street about chest-high, which will knock the approaching motorcycle cop off his bike when he turns around to respond to the bogus robbery.

Tom protests that Tober could end up decapitating the cop. "Well, cool!" Tober yells. Doug whispers that they have bust the Kuts before they end up killing a police officer. Tom scraps with the gang members. Doug mutters they better call Cap'n Rufus.

Judy talks to one of the guys on the phone. She tells them that they better get the Kuts off the street; Ballhouse is on his way with tear gas and riot dogs to bust them for violating curfew.

Too late. The gas has been deployed and the Kuts are surrounded. The cops start arresting them. "Too Young to Die" can be vaguely heard over the barking police dogs. Is that the band's only song?

The next morning, Tom and Doug tell Harry that they were among 16 kids arrested for breaking curfew. "Some anarchists, half of 'em posted bail with their credit cards," Tom quips. 

Lancer's real name is Charles King. He's on parole, which he definitely violated by pulling a knife on Tom. Cap'n Rufus says the uniformed officers were too eager and Ballhouse wants to handle the case his way. Tom no longer thinks arresting Lancer is the right move. It'd be better to get Bryan's head on straight so the others will leave the gang. Rufus says Lancer will do absolutely anything to keep the kids around, so they should be careful.

Lancer holds court at Rocket Dog. He wants to skip singing about anarchy at that night's show in order to cause some. Bryan can't believe they're serious, but goes along anyway.

The Kuts head out for a spirited game of mailbox baseball. Bryan drives over a line of trashcans, a STOP sign, and a lawn jockey. The Kuts throw bricks through some windows.

While Tom and Doug are reviving over cups of black coffee, Cap'n Rufus tosses a folder on Tom's desk. The gang did $150,000 of damage last night alone. The case stopped being just about vandalism at 1 AM; the hospitalized Friendly Neighbour died when a blood clot from his broken arm traveled to his brain. 

Even with my EMT license, I'm not entirely sure that's medically possible. A quick Google search tells me the biggest complication of a blood clot in an arm is it traveling to the lungs.

Anyway, the Kuts who were in Bryan's car are now all implicated in manslaughter. Tom still thinks he can turn them around. Cap'n Rufus tells Tom to make it happen.

In Bryan's room, Bryan sits with a beer bottle in hand saying it's gone too far. But he is still unwilling to quit the gang and go back to being a jock. A car horn honks repeatedly outside. Tom tells Bryan that he doesn't have to go. 

Downstairs, Lancer breaks into the gun cabinet. He hands rifles to Tober and Darby, then grabs one for himself.

In the Mustang, Doug gives Tom a tape recorder to wear and a gun to stuff in his leather jacket. 

At a park, the Kuts watch Lancer set a picnic bench on fire with a Molotov cocktail. He suggests tossing a few Molotovs at police cars or better yet, the police station. This is war and they can't wait for the cops to strike first. Oh goody, arson! As if these kids aren't in enough trouble already.

Lancer says there's no other choice and grabs one of the rifles. They aren't to shoot the police officers, just scare them. Tom says it's the stupidest idea he's ever heard. Lancer chambers a round. 

Bryan agrees with Tom. Spending a couple of hours in jail isn't worth going through with a plan that's just short of suicide. Lancer and the Kuts won't matter in 2 years. Lancer trains the gun on Bryan. 

Bryan tries to convince his friends not to do it. Steve acts crazy but isn't stupid. He says something to Tober that sounds an awful lot like, "You got a nut that doesn't work. Leave it alone." Uh...what?

Lancer says they don't need Bryan and tosses the gun to Darby. Darby doesn't want to go along with them and plans on taking the guns back to Bryan's. Lancer, for some reason, doesn't put up a fight and leaves. Bryan gets choked up and thanks Tom. He learns Tom is a cop and asks if Lancer's going to jail. Tom assures him of that. "Good gol-darned riddance," he says. So much for the punk act.

Tom and Bryan walk out of Rocket Dog with little cups of coffee. They sit outside since the owner is locking up for the night. Bryan blames himself for the Neighbour's death because he was driving. Now Tom has to arrest him. Bryan sniffles and stares off into the distance.

End of episode. End of Season 1.

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