Recap / Tales From The Crypt S 2 E 12 Fitting Punishment

Following the death of his parents in a car crash, teenager Bobby is sent to live with Ezra Thorntonberry, his uncle and only living relative. Ezra is a despicable old man who runs a funeral home and cuts every corner he can, such as stealing gold teeth from bodies, using water instead of embalming fluid, and ordering cheap caskets from Taiwan that are six inches shorter than those made in the U.S.

Ezra demeans and verbally abuses Bobby while constantly (mis)quoting the Bible, makes him sleep on a body gurney in an unlit closet, and starts to teach him about the funeral business. Bobby's mistake in ordering a casket leads a potential customer to take his business elsewhere, and a furious Ezra retaliates by beating Bobby with a crowbar. The assault leaves Bobby paralyzed from the waist down, and Ezra finds himself saddled with escalating medical bills.

As Bobby hobbles up the basement stairs after cleaning up one night, Ezra throws his prized basketball at him, knocking him back down the stairs and killing him. Not wanting to waste money on a casket, Ezra decides to use the one Bobby ordered - only to find that Bobby is too tall to fit into it. He saws off Bobby's feet to get around the problem.

Ezra's long-suffering assistant Clyde figures out that Bobby's death was no accident and quits. That night, Ezra's nap in his office is disturbed by a series of odd occurrences - a knock at the door, a dripping faucet, a light left on. He blames them on Clyde, but the combination of Bobby's basketball bouncing down the stairs and the suddenly flickering basement lights throws a scare into him. A foot suddenly kicks him from behind, causing him to fall into the basement.

Ezra tries to get up but finds his legs paralyzed. He is shocked to see Bobby's severed feet walking down the stairs on their own, followed by the reanimated corpse with crowbar in hand. Ezra begs for mercy, but Bobby uses his own Bible-quoting habit against him, saying "Blood is thicker than water" before bringing the crowbar down on him.

Tropes:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg / Villains Want Mercy: Ezra's final moments see him begging Bobby to not kill him.
  • Asshole Victim: Ezra to a tee.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Bobby's basketball.
  • Death by Irony: Not only does Ezra wind up being crippled by Bobby's severed feet, but Bobby uses the same crowbar used on him to kill Ezra.
    • Even more ironic is that Ezra was distracted by a basketball when he was shoved down the stairs. The same basketball he used to kill Bobby.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Your nephew costs you a valuable client? Why not cripple him with a crowbar!
  • Due to the Dead: After killing Bobby, Ezra decides to bury him in a cheap coffin ordered by mistake. Bobby is too tall to fit inside, so Ezra saws off his feet.
    • This also applies to the other corpses he had to take care of. Embalming fluid? Nah, water's just as good. Getting a decent casket? Nah, cheaper is better. Keeping the corpse intact? Well, that's all well and good but- is that a gold tooth? MINE.
  • Evil Uncle: Uncle Ezra. To a tee.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ezra is friendly and cheery to all of his customers, but few have seen his shady dealings behind the scenes, and don't know how sinister he really is.
  • Fearsome Foot: An interesting variation since the feet in question were severed prior...
  • Hate Sink: Ezra is a miserly, cheap, bitter, abusive, and cruel Hypocrite. You're really not supposed to like him, and cheer for his death.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Uncle Ezra's piety and Godliness in front of others is demonstrably insincere. Bobby notices how most of his "biblical" quotes don't even come from The Bible.
  • Honor Before Reason: Certain Bobby was murdered, Ezra's assistant quits.
  • Never My Fault: Ezra berates Bobby for being crippled. Bobby himself points out that he'd have never ended up that way if Ezra hadn't beat him in the first place.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We cut to black the second Bobby swings the crowbar.
  • Ironic Echo: "Like it says in the bible, Uncle Ezra..."
  • Race Lift: It has more or less the exact same story as the EC Comics tale of the same name, except everybody's black.
  • Red Herring: The assistant. After he find out Ezra killed Bobby, it's to be assumed he had a role in the climax. Nope.
  • Revenant Zombie: Bobby comes back as this, and the only thing he has on his mind is vengeance towards his cruel and murderous uncle.
  • Staircase Tumble: What kills Bobby and later cripples Ezra, the latter caused by Bobby's severed foot.
  • Villain Protagonist: Ezra.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ezra thanks to his great facade, still manages to run a rather successful funeral home business.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: As the climax begins, Ezra is certain it's just his assistant messing with him. Yeah, he wishes.
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