Feb. 20, 1999
AT THE DUKE OF EARL'S CLUB IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSE, Jarod is treating himself to some Chili. The barkeeper can't believe that he's putting hot sauce on it as well, but Jarod simply replies that he likes it hot. When he hears voices and laughter behind him, Jarod turns around and sees that some slimy guy has apparently just won a game of pool. "I don't like being hustled" the loser says, but then pays off the bet anyway. Through the back door of the club, a girl comes in and spots the pool player as well (the one who's just one the game). "Earl", she says to the barkeeper, "who let that murderer in here?". "Sometimes, it's better to see the devil than to guess where he is" Earl replies. Before the pool player leaves, he smiles at the girl, Billie, but she just walks away. Jarod has been watching the scene and now observes how Billie takes out a gun from a box under the counter and leaves through the back door. "This is for you Marvin" Billie says as she aims at the pool player and releases the safety catch. Just in time to stop her, Jarod steps into the alley behind the club and takes the gun away from her.
Back inside the club, we find out that "Marvin" was Earl's brother and a father figure to Billie. The pool player's name is Eddy Fontenot. When Billie goes upstairs, Earl thanks Jarod for helping out and presents himself as Earl Dupree. Looking at the bottle of hot pepper sauce, Jarod quickly takes on the name of Jarod Pepper. When Jarod asks what happened to Marvin, Earl shows him a newspaper article that says "Local Man Found Shot to Death - Police say robbery motive in Dupree killing". It shows us the image of Marvin Dupree, an Afro-American, like his brother. Billie [who happens to be white] was the one who found his body in the alley behind the club only two weeks ago.
We learn that Marvin was a great pool player, but he hustled the wrong man: Eddy Fontenot. The police, however, could never prove that he was Marvin's killer. He had invited Marvin to his house for a pool game of a thousand dollars a rack. Marvin, who was hoping to get enough money in order to send Billie to a drama school, took on the bet and had already won 50'000 $ when Earl left there to close up the club. Shortly after that, Marvin turned up dead. Earl was sure that Fontenot had killed him because he lost the game, but he was afraid to do something about it, because apparently Eddy is a powerful man in town. One phone call from him and the club, Earl's only possession, could turn to ashes. When Jarod says it's time that somebody stopped Fontenot, Earl replies that there's only one way to get him. "Are you a pool player Mr. Pepper?", he asks. "I am now", Jarod replies.
AT THE CENTRE Miss Parker comes into her father's office and asks him where he's been all week. She's not very pleased when she hears he was on a "romantic holiday" with Brigitte. In the following conversation, Miss Parker expresses her concerns about Brigitte wanting to get pregnant, but Mr. Parker alleviates her fears by telling her that Brigitte is unable to have children. Then he tells her that he would like to have a little "family-get-together" at her place. "Uh, bring that gentleman-friend of yours", he adds, "what's his name?". "Thomas" she reminds him. Mr. Parker says it's about time he met him.
AT THE CLUB Earl has offered Jarod to stay in a room above the bar for the time he's there. As they go upstairs, he explains to Jarod that people were giving Marvin and Billie a hard time, but they never cared and Marvin loved her very much. We hear Billie singing upstairs, she has a beautiful voice.
When Jarod enters the room, Billie wonders what he's still doing here (she's still mad because he stopped her from shooting Fontenot). In their conversation, we find out that Billie's father died in a car crash when she was a baby and her mother passed away a few years later. There was no other family and Marvin was her mother's best friend, so he adopted Billie. He always wanted Billie to become a singer, like her mother, but that dream died with him out in the alley, Billie says. "A dream can only die, if the dreamer allows it to" Jarod replies. Then he tells her that he's here to help her find the truth behind Marvin's killing. Therefore, he needs her to teach him how to play pool (Billie learned all the tricks from Marvin). That way, Jarod hopes to "hustle" his way into Fontenot's world.
Within a very short amount of time (maybe a couple of hours, hard to tell) Jarod turns into a fabulous pool player, so good even Billie is truly impressed.
The next night at the club, Jarod is playing pool when he's asked over to Fontenot's table. He shows off his 5000$ queue and asks him for a game, but then they both notice Billie at the other end of the room. Fontenot remarks that the "poor girl" was raised by a "bad element" who got himself killed, for which she blames him. He asks Jarod to join him for a drink, but he refuses.
IN HIS ROOM UPSTAIRS Jarod is watching a DSA: Young Jarod is looking at a recording of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream"-speech and simultaneously scenes of police men beating and arresting black people during a demonstration or riot. "Why do people hate each other because of the color of their skin?" young Jarod wants to know. "I don't know Jarod. It's called racism." Sydney simply replies. "Why do I have to look at this?" Jarod asks. "It's important that you learn what's wrong in the world" Sydney says "as well as what's right". "Are they taught to do this?" Jarod wonders. "In some ways, yes. Jarod, there is no simple solution to racism" Sydney replies. Jarod disagrees "But there is: Stop hating!". "I wish it were that easy", Sydney says, "it takes time, and compassion. Do you understand this, Jarod?". "I understand it..." Jarod replies "but I can't accept it...I'll never accept it".
AT THE CENTRE Broots, Miss Parker and Sydney are standing in some hallway, when Sam joins them and tells Miss Parker that he has "gained access" to Brigitte's house like she had asked him to. He hands her an envelope with the information she's been looking for: Brigitte's medical records. Of course, Broots is once again the poor guy who has to check them for their accuracy.
IN HIS ROOM Jarod logs into the Memphis city hall archives to search for Billie Vaughn's record. He finds out that her last name was originally "Dupree", it had been changed into "Vaughn" due to a request made by her father: Marvin Dupree.
Downstairs in the club (now empty), Jarod asks Earl why he hasn't told Billie that Marvin was her biological and not just her adoptive father. Earl explains that Billie's mother, Janice, used to sing at the club. But she was white. She was engaged to a local boy when she met Marvin and fell in love with him; they took off a few days before the wedding. When Janice's family realized that she had had the baby of a black man, they rejected her and the child. Only a short time after that, Janice got sick and made Marvin promise never to tell Billie (or anybody) that he's her real father. She thought it would make the world less cold to Billie, since she grew up in a society full of prejudice and racism.
AT MISS PARKER'S HOUSE Miss Parker is getting really nervous while preparing the family dinner. The bell rings. "Ok?" Miss Parker asks Thomas as she glances at the mirror. "Incredible" he replies and she kisses him passionately before she opens the door. Brigitte and Mr. Parker are standing outside giggling like teenagers. Miss P. invites them in and presents them to Thomas [which doesn't go all that well, thanks to Brigitte's comment about construction workers]. When Lyle arrives, the "family" is complete [and Miss Parker's "highway to hell" ready to begin, emphasized by Thomas' innocent question about Lyle's missing thumb].
AT THE CLUB Fontenot comes in and again asks Jarod for a game of pool. When he offers 500$ a rack, Jarod accepts. "Nine in the corner pocket and your 500 in mine" Jarod says as he finishes off the game. Fontenot isn't pleased, he asks for a rematch at his house for a 1000$ a game. He offers Jarod to have his driver pick him up, but Jarod refuses, saying he'd rather walk. "Oh, you don't wanna walk alone in this kind of neighborhood", Fontenot replies, "you wouldn't wanna end up dead next to a dumpster like Marvin Dupree". Then he leaves.
BACK AT MISS PARKER'S HOUSE Mr. Parker announces some "great" news: He and Brigitte have set a wedding date. Miss Parker empties half a glass of champagne when she hears the words, but then recovers herself and asks, trying to smile "Daddy...why are you...rushing into this?". "Well, it's because we are in love", Brigitte answers instead. "To the happy couple", Lyle adds and lifts his glass, while Miss Parker swallows the last drop of champagne in hers. The "joyful" moment is interrupted by a phone call from Broots. He's got more bad news for Miss P.: The doctor who diagnosed Brigitte's infertility doesn't seem to exist.
Somewhat later, to Miss Parker's relief, the guests are gone. "Uh, I thought the dinner party from hell would never end" she says to Thomas, who replies that he thinks the dinner went "alright". "Nobody died" Miss Parker remarks. Thomas says if it makes her so miserable to see them, maybe she should stop spending time with them. "They're my family" Miss Parker simply replies. "Maybe you should think about starting a new one" Thomas says as he kisses her good-night.
IN THE ALLEY BEHIND THE CLUB Jarod takes another look at the newspaper article on the Dupree killing, when two guys come up from behind him and knock him down. He tries to defend himself, but stands no chance. They slam him against the metal fence and beat him repeatedly until he sinks to the ground and loses consciousness. When they leave, we hear one of them say "Let's see him sink a nine ball now".
AT EDDY FONTENOT'S HOUSE Jarod wakes up. "I did warn you about that neighborhood" Eddy says "good thing my driver happened by when he did. You might have been killed". The pool game starts, but it seems Jarod's arm was injured during the beating. That's why he loses the game.
When Jarod brings up Marvin Dupree again, Fontenot says that Marvin "didn't know his place", so he paid the price. "And what exactly was his place?" Jarod wants to know. "Well, in the back of the bus of course" Fontenot replies smiling.
Jarod pays off the bet and they settle for another game at Earl's the next afternoon, "When both of my arms are working", as Jarod says.
Before he leaves, Jarod asks for the bathroom, but in reality goes to the kitchen to look for an easy way into the house. He blocks the kitchen window's alarm system with a magnet from the refrigerator and then slightly opens it. Outside the house, he waits until he sees Fontenot leave and then sneaks back in.
In the library, where the pool table is located, he finds a picture of young Eddy and a couple of other men with guns. He also notices some holes in the wall, about as big as a bullet, covered with filling, as well as a brand new carpet on the floor. He takes out a picture from a photo album and leaves.
BACK AT THE CLUB Earl shows Jarod his collection: Every scrap of information he could find on Fontenot. Apparently, Fontenot's father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. But Earl had left out one important detail: Jarod has found out that Eddy was Janice's fiancé, before she took off with Marvin. However, Billie overhears their conversation and thus finds out that Marvin is her real father. She's very upset and leaves.
IN DELAWARE, AT THE WEDDING CEREMONY Miss Parker arrives and is greeted by her very nervous father. She tries to tell him about Brigitte's medical condition, but he interrupts her and tells her how happy he is. Then Lyle arrives and Miss P. has missed the last chance to possibly stop her father.
AT THE CLUB The last pool game between Jarod and Eddy is on. They have both won five games so far, this is the final. Jarod says he thinks 50'000 $ is not enough, he suggests betting on something far more costly: honor. "That is, after all, what you lost in Marvin Dupree, isn't it?" he asks, while looking at Fontenot and simultaneously sinking ball #1 into the corner pocket (blind!). Fontenot plays dumb. Jarod tells him that he found out that Fontenot didn't kill Marvin because he hustled him for a few thousand dollars. "No, you killed him because of the color of his skin" Jarod says as he puts the queue behind his back and sinks ball #5 in a very cool shot. "You just couldn't keep that hatred locked down anymore, could you?" he continues, "Powerful hatred. Even for a bigot like yourself. Knowing that your woman ran off with a black man". Jarod sinks ball #9 with a curved shot and then shows Eddy the newspaper article of his and Janice's engagement announcement as well as a picture of Janice and Marvin. "When you lost your misguided honor right there in your Daddy's house, that must have been more than you could stand" he says. "That boy deserved what he got" Fontenot replies. "He was a man. What he got, was your fiancée" Jarod says, trying to provoke Eddy into confessing the murder, "I think, they make a fine looking couple, don't you?". Fontenot wants to leave, but Billie enters the room, with a gun aimed at him. "Well, don't you?", she asks, "I'm waiting for answer Fontenot" she adds when he won't reply and shoots into the ceiling. "Yes, a handsome couple" Eddy says. Jarod tries to talk to Billie, but she tells him to stay out of this. She demands a confession from Fontenot, shoots in his direction and hits the table next to him. It takes one more shot, even closer, to finally get him to talk. Hiding behind a chair, Fontenot confesses the murder of Marvin, but then adds in anger "And I'd kill the little animal again if I could". Billie wants to shoot him, but Jarod steps in the way. "Would your father want you to do this? End the hate here, Billie" he says and she gives him the gun.
AT THE WEDDING Brigitte and Mr. Parker speak the dreaded words: I do. when the reverend asks the famous "objection"-question, Miss Parker's eyes fill with tears, but she doesn't speak up. "I hereby pronounce you husband and wife" the reverend thus continues. Miss Parker is still staring at the couple, but then looks away when they kiss. Champaign, wedding cake and pictures follow, as in every "normal" wedding, and Mr. Raines congratulates the new Misses Parker.
When Miss Parker comes up to her "step-mother", Brigitte asks, laughing "Do you need a little motherly advice?". "Now that you mention it" Miss P. replies "let's talk birth control. As in the kind Dr. Noah Lindquist provided for you? You do remember him, don't you? Well, then again, maybe you don't considering he doesn't exist". "Someone's been a busy little beaver" Brigitte says "misinformed, but busy". "You get yourself pregnant and that makes it real difficult to trim you off the family tree" Miss Parker replies and then wants to know what kind of beast would use the miracle of birth to cement her position in life. Brigitte tells her that a child with her father would be a child of love and a true miracle as well.
AT THE CLUB We see a newspaper article that says "Fontenot Charged in Dupree Murder".
Earl is standing on the stage and announces the next performer, Miss Billie Dupree, who gets on stage cheered by everybody, especially Jarod. She dedicates her song to her father, Marvin Dupree, and to Jarod, who helped her find him. She sings:
There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that he
Turns out to be
Someone who'll watch over me
Where is that someone
To watch over me?
As the song is ending, we see Jarod outside the club, pulling his jacket closer around him and walking away into night.