#28. Final Justice

28. Final Justice (1984) - Season 10, episode 1008

"It's dangerous for Joe Don to be in the water. Someone's bound to harpoon him."


Plot: Joe Don Baker is fat.
Famous for:  Being the meanest episode Mystery Science Theater ever did.

"His arteries are just lookin' at each other, shakin' their heads."

My favorite riff:  There are two great running gags in this episode.  

The first one is a recurring joke where
Joe Don keeps getting arrested by the Malta police, so every morning he wakes up in the Malta County Jail. Every single morning he wakes up in the exact same bed, he rolls over, and he stands up in the exact same way. And EVERY single time he stands up, Mike makes the exact same little fart noise. It's one of those stupid little jokes that's maybe kinda funny the first time you see it, but when you see it the eighth time it's a lot funnier. Hell, nobody ever said comedy had to be sophisticated.

"Oh Kermie, take a look at my good stuff."

The other great running gag in this episode is the fact that Final Justice was actually rated R when it first came out. So on MST3k they have to bleep out or blur out a lot of the more adult things. Which leads to a great running gag that the bad guy is always calling our hero a "Son of a ____!"

Mike and the Bots have a LOT of fun making fun of that line. Throughout the episode, they're constantly calling characters names, but leaving out the last word. It's hard to really describe it in print, but it's hilarious. You just have to hear how they do it.

"You son of a!"

"No, you're a son of a!"

Comments:  Oh boy. I have SO much to say about this one.  

"Ooh, I wish I was illiterate. So I didn't have to read that."

For starters, the only way you can appreciate Final Justice is by knowing the history of Mystery Science Theater, and Joe Don Baker.

You see, back in season five, MST3k riffed a Joe Don Baker movie called "Mitchell." And in this episode, they absolutely tore him apart. They made every fat guy and fat slob and fat drunk asshole joke in the book. At the time, it was one of the funniest... and by far, meanest... episodes in the history of MST3k.

And of course you're going to see it much higher in my countdown, because Mitchell is one of the all-time greatest episodes.

Mitchell - the first time the show ripped the shit out of Joe Don Baker

Anyway, the story I have heard is that one day Joe Don Baker saw what the MST3k guys did to him with Mitchell, and he was PISSED about it. And he vowed that if he ever ran into them somewhere in real life, he would kick their asses.  

Which, of course, leads to Mystery Science Theater doing their SECOND Joe Don Baker movie.

At the very end of the show, during their last season, they decided to go after Joe Don Baker again. And this time (in Final Justice), they not only matched what they did with Mitchell, they actually went after him even MEANER and HARDER. And I mean, I'm serious. If you want to see the most vicious episode MST3k ever did, just watch Final Justice. Because in this one they aren't messing around. This time around, they're going right for the throat.

"When fat kills fat."

"You'll have to grease me and push me through here."

"The last thing a sausage sees."

This episode is so damn mean. But it's so damn funny at the same time. And because of that, I have always had a hard time knowing where I should rank it.

I mean, on one hand, there are few episodes I have laughed harder at over the years than Final Justice. When the jokes work in this one, they REALLY work.

 "Oh, you don't want Joe Don throwin' a stool at you."

But at the same time, it's also a pretty one-note episode. I mean, the jokes are great, but nothing in this episode is all that especially clever. It's really just one Joe Don Baker is fat joke after another. So if you're talking about episodes that are particularly intelligent or witty or amazing, I don't think you're talking about Final Justice.

Your reaction to an episode like this would depend on how much you enjoy Mike and the Bots ripping Joe Don Baker a new asshole.


Joe Don: The food's good, thank you. Sure is a lot of it, too.
Mike: Fits right in with my plan.

I happen to love Final Justice. But I can see why it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. I just happen to think the backstory of Joe Don saying he would kick the MST3k guys' asses, and then this was MST3k's response... I just happen to think that is really funny. But I'd be lying if I didn't also feel a little bit bad while I am watching this episode. I mean, they go after Joe Don personally, and they go after him HARD. And this really isn't even all that bad a movie.  

The worst you can say about Final Justice as a movie is that the copy they use on the show is faded, and dark, and that sometimes it's hard to see what's happening. Other than that, I can totally see this movie being in a theater in the 80s. It's not that terrible.

Joe Don: Aw, thank you, little lady.
Crow: You're welcome, huge man.

All things considered, I'm glad that Final Justice exists as a MST3k episode. And it easily slips into my top thirty, just because it's so damn funny. But BOY is this a mean-spirited episode. It's hard to compare it to any other episode in the MST3k catalog, and yes I would even include Mitchell. If you want to see how comedy can sometimes be used for evil, I mean, this is your pick.  

Oh, and if Joe Don Baker ever DID track the MST3k guys down and kick their asses... they'd probably deserve it.

"Our hero. A big stinky cheater."

Other personal favorite things about this episode:  Oh yeah, I just remembered that there's a THIRD great running joke in this episode.

Joe Don has a catchphrase in this movie, "Go ahead on." He says it someone right before he's about to shoot someone. And MAN do they have a lot of fun making fun of it throughout the episode.

"You think you can take me? Go ahead on."

My favorite "go ahead on" riff comes towards the end of the movie, when Joe Don is on a boat, and the bad guy blows it up. Joe Don is flung into the water by the explosion, presumably dead.

And that's when Tom Servo breaks out one of my all-time favorite MST3k riffs.

"Don't worry. His heart will go ahead on."

Back to Mario's Top 50 MST3k Episodes