How long has it been since we loyal King Of The Hill viewers have been privy to the inner workings to the Arlen Gun Club? Aside from one plot six years ago and countless tossed-off references since, Dale Gribble's second home has remained shrouded in mystery for 12 seasons. Thank God for Minh Souphanousinphone, otherwise we may never have known ye, Moose, Fitzy, and Johnny Knucklehead.
Of course, the Arlen Gun Club is as (terrifyingly) silly and haphazard as you could expect from anything managed by Dale Gribble. But under the manipulative hand of Minh, who joins the club in order to improve her skeet shooting so that she and Kahn will finally have an in at their much-lusted-over Nine Rivers Country Club, the gun club transitions from a bunch of imbeciles brandishing weapons to a bunch of imbeciles brandishing weapons and gawping over Markswoman Minh. Not surprisingly, their adoration (and a macaroni collage) quickly endears the shmucks to Minh. But once Nine Rivers finally comes calling, she finds herself torn between her undying hatred of hillbillies and the oath she swore on a beer can.
Meanwhile, Hank, Bobby, and Peggy were relegated to a meh background story… something about garbage cans and Lucky and I think maybe there was some CSI stuff in there too. While it was nice to have a main plot that didn't center on Bobby learning a lesson and Hank fixing everything, the two storylines felt disjointed and unfulfilled; the gun club plot could have been an excellent B story and the Garbage Can Wars could have been a solid offshoot of a bigger plot, but neither was solid enough as-is. This was amplified by the fact that there pretty much no crossover between the two plots. KOTH is usually pretty adept at linking its storylines without seeming overly contrived (see "Four Wave Intersection" earlier this season), but the fact that both plots were a little weak combined with their isolation from one another made it seem that we were getting leftovers rather than a fully planned meal. Though I have to admit I did enjoy extra doses of both Dale and the Souphanoisinphones, three characters who should be much more annoying than they really are, and consistently pull out some of the show's more ridiculously hilarious lines (Dale, upon seeing Nine Rivers: "Good heavens, it's Atlantis!"; Minh: "Wait, I'm still filled with rage. And I'm still pretty hot. Get me a gun!")
It's looking more and more like KOTH's late-stage renewal last year is resulting in a pretty scattershot season: as many of you have pointed out, Luanne and Lucky's pregnancy progression has been extremely inconsistent, Cotton's death came and went without further remark (though I'm still holding out that it may come up again), and there's been more falling back on comfortable Hank-Bobby stories. There's been some great high points ("Raise The Steaks" "Death Picks Cotton"), but if this does end up being the show's final season, there needs to be some more heft to the episodes than we've seen thus far in order for KOTH to go out on a high note.
-We were introduced to two excellent new alley-sports this week: Land canoeing and Wiffle Beer.
-For a while I thought this episode was going to go in a wildly different direction, with Dale becoming obsessed with Minh. As much as I enjoy Dale in full-on-crazypants mode, I think I'm glad it didn't turn out that way.
-I really hope we see more of the Souphanoisinphones at Nine Rivers; the idea of Kahn being forced to take a remedial club etiquette class cracks me up for some reason.