Rutherford Falls (2021) s01e03 Episode Script

Aunt Ida's 90th Birthday

[light music]

What is the story of America?
Is it a chronicle of
innovation and achievement
or of oppression and greed?
Is it about freedom or power?
Who gets to write history?
And once written, can it be changed?
I want to do a story about--
Guys, can you please stop texting
for, like, five seconds?
I'm almost done.
[cell phone bloops]
This is a story about stories.
Our narrative's about who
we are and how we got here.
It's about a town,
but it's also about everything.
- Wow, everything.
- Sounds big.
Rutherford Falls is the
birthplace of Rutherford Inc.,
a huge conglomerate
that makes everything
from missile-guidance systems
to wet wipes.
There's something happening
in that town,
and it feels like
a powder keg.
You think everything's
a powder keg, Josh
or a ticking time bomb or--
What'd you call the mall
that hired female Santas--
A tinderbox?
[light laughter]
Right. But it wasn't.
And this isn't some Confederate statue
being pulled down by protesters.
At best, it's a local traffic issue.
- Move on.
- Okay, can I--can I just--
Please don't make me look up
from for my phone again.
[upbeat music]

Okay, climate control is set.
I called the sheriff, let him
know I'll be out of town.
- Thank you, Bobbie.
- Sure.
Um, what am I forgetting?
Get out of here.
Have a great weekend.
This place is gonna be exactly
the same as you left it,
maybe better.
Uh, same is better,
so maybe go with that.
- Hard agree.
- Doesn't make sense, but sure.
Oh, I am so glad Aunt Ida's
birthday is this weekend.
I'm so stressed out
about this Big Larry stuff.
I just need to be around family.
You know, feed off that bond.
- [both] Yes.
- Oh, my God.
- How could I forget?
- Oh.
Ceremonial transfer of authority.
Okay. We're gonna do
the whole scroll thing?
"I, Nathan Rutherford,
being of sound mind and body,
"do hereby surrender
the Rutherford Falls
"Heritage Museum to the care
of--" state your name.
- Reagan.
- Yeah, uh, full name.
Reagan Blanchard Wells, as you know.
Right, okay. "The weight
of 1,000 Rutherfords
"rests squarely on your shoulders.
- "Stand tall, stand proud."
- Are we done?
I know it sounds over the top,
but I love this museum.
I obviously love and trust you,
but now you're legally bound
to love this museum as well,
and I can relax.
And that's all that's important.
Get on the road, man.
[indistinct chatter]
Large almond-milk caramel latte,
eight sugars, and four Splendas.
Yeah, the Splenda, like,
kills most of the sugar.
It's science.
You don't care.
- Reegs!
- [gasps]
Ray. Oh, and Ray's pregnant
wife--I mean Shannon.
- Hey, girl.
- Hi.
This is fun.
[awkward laughter]
- Congrats on the baby.
- Oh.
We owe it all to you
for breaking this one's heart
so I can mend it.
Oh, I don't know
if I did all that.
You did! I took your advice.
Got off the couch,
and got my life together.
- Aw!
- Okay, well
Are you here with someone or--
Nope, all alone on the sidewalk
and in life.
I just know in my bones
you're gonna meet someone.
- Totally.
- Eh, there's, like,
five age-appropriate guys in this town,
and I pretty much know them all.
One of 'em's Jeff.
Yeah, we don't have that vibe.
[inhales deeply]
He's not wrong.
Well, just stay positive.
You know, everything happens
for a reason.
[cell phone buzzes]
Okay. Oh, phone.
Ha, bummer. All right,
great to see you both.
- Yeah!
- Okeydoke.
- Bobbie, what's up?
- There's a reporter here.
He looks like one of those Vice guys
that's too hot to take seriously.
He's asking about Nathan and Big Larry,
and I can't not tell him--he's too hot.
A reporter? No.
Publicity is the last thing
Nathan needs right now.
Okay, uh, I'll be right there.
Say nothing.
I mean, I'll try,
but he has those arm things.
I already gave him
my Social Security number.
What is wrong with me?
- Thank you.
- Mm-hmm.
[light music]

[indistinct chatter]

- Hello, Rutherfords!
- [all] Hi!
Oh! Charlie, Kevin.
- Hi.
- Hey, guys.
- Hey! Maddy, Molly.
- Hi, Nathan.
Cousin Karen, spinning a yarn.
Put a pin in it for one second.
Got to hand out some T-shirts.
Hey-ho! T-shirts!
- Cousin Linda, boom.
- Ooh.
- Mark, look alive.
- Oh.
- Little bro.
- Hey!
- Get over here.
- How are you?
Ooh, big hug.
Yeah, I'm just, um--
I'm so happy to see you.
Yeah, hey, what's going on over here?
This writing desk used to be a bookcase.
The plaster used to be eggshell.
Now it's clearly ivory.
Well, we, uh, you know--
we freshened things up a bit.
Okay, did I miss a email thread or--
About cosmetic work
on my own house? No.
Anyway, look,
there is some family stuff
that I need to talk to about,
okay, at some point.
Yeah, of course.
Let me just get a couple
quick announcements out of the way.
Hello! Everybody.
Quick announcement--
you all got my email
about the interviews
for Great Aunt Ida's birthday video.
FYI, those times are sharp.
Also, I just need to shoot the
elephant in the room right now.
I know you're all aware
of the Big Larry brouhaha.
Huge bummer, tons of drams,
but I don't want it
to affect the weekend.
Just stay present,
and let's all have fun!
[excited chatter]
- All right, put this on!
- I will.
- Put it on!
- I'll do it.
Right now. I'll go do it right now.
[upbeat music]

Hi. He's looking.
[chuckles awkwardly]
It's cool.
Totally chill. Totally cool.
Human spa music.
[car door opens]
Hi, there.
- I'm Reagan--
- Oh!
Oh, my God. Are you okay?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm fine.
I'm Reagan.
This is, um, unfortunately,
a very accurate first impression, so
But nice to meet you.
- Hey. Josh.
- Okay, yeah.
Nathan's just not reachable.
I don't know when he's coming back.
Actually, don't even know
where he went.
Maybe there.
Oh, wow!
Good digging. You are a reporter.
Really impressive.
Do you do cardio,
or is it mostly Pilates?
Um, what were you hoping to ask him?
Oh, well, I saw a video online
of Nathan from Founder's Day.
He seems really passionate
about his family lineage
and this statue?
Big Larry?
I think I know
what you're talking about.
Well, it seemed like
the story might resonate
with the rest of the country.
The United States?
- Yeah, that one.
- National news.
Very exciting.
Um, well, I am in charge
of the museum today,
and I would love to show you around.
Why don't we check out
the East Gallery?

[whispering] What do you
think you're doing?
[whispering] Nathan couldn't
handle some dumb podcast.
How is he gonna do with a smart,
crafty, annoyingly hot reporter?
By the way, could have used
a little heads-up on that.
- I told you he was hot.
- Not centaur hot.
Whatever, we just need
to keep it cool and show him
that there is no story
in this boring, boring town.
Old L.T. Rutherford
built this house in 1821,
and it's been passed down
in our family ever since.
Now, rumor has it, this house was used
to pass secret messages
among Freemasons.
Of course, if you want
to pass a secret message,
you better have
a secret compartment, right?
Whoa! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
[excited chatter]
Yep, every summer, your Uncle Duz and I
would explore this house
looking for surprises.
Sometimes that surprise
was a horse skull
hidden by superstitious Irish builders.
And sometimes that surprise was
actual secret treasure.
[all] Whoa!
You could thank old
Eloise Rutherford for those.
So, uh, when did you want
to have that chat?
- It's kind of important.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- Let's do it at Triple B.
- During what?
Triple B. BBB.
Come on. It's that thing that we do.
I have no idea what that is, Nathan.
Brandy, brothers, and
- Nathan.
- Backgammon.
- Oh.
- Come on. We do it every year.
- Oh, we did at last year.
- Yeah.
But wasn't that the first time?
Well, yeah, but I was like,
"We should do this every year."
- And you were like, "Okay."
- Okay, then.
I guess we'll talk at Triple B.
- Triple B!
- Triple B!
Okay. Oh, Ava.
[child coughs]
That's an ant trap, not candy.
[child gagging]
Come on, let's go find your mom.
So I bet you're thinking
Lawrence was elected mayor
and changed the tree ordinance, right?
- Um, I guess I don't--
- Wrong.
He lost by a landslide,
and to understand why,
we have to go back to
the Great Fence Fire of 1847.
It was the longest fire
in American history,
not by time, but by length.
I think I might be all set on context.
- Are you sure?
- Yep.
Maybe I should just go see Big Larry.
We can hit some hot spots on the way,
including the Masquat Preserve,
site of four debunked
Bigfoot sightings.
- Okay.
- I'll drive.
Hold that fork, Ida.
Ladies and gentlemen,
it is time to find out
what the Rutherfords have been doing.
- Is that a thing or--
- Yeah.
It's sort of a musical newsletter.
- Don't worry. It's quick.
- Oh, no.
No, no. It's great.
My family doesn't even
speak to each other.
All right.
Uncle Roger, drop a beat.
Ah, one of these years, Rog.
All right, here we go.
Well, a banner year,
it turned out to be ♪
For them mighty Rutherford clan ♪
A swim team championship for Carly ♪
And a haircut for Dan ♪
Emma saved a stranger's life ♪
A Heimlich to the chest ♪
Uncle Jake went to Nepal ♪
On a spiritual quest ♪
Cousin Beth got married ♪
To a Delawarean named Steve ♪
Who got a big promotion ♪
- VP at Allstate, I believe ♪
- Hey.
How the heck did he know that?
- Oh, he does his research.
- Oh.
Mental note, take a car or boat ♪
To visit Ken and Randi ♪
I heard from your son
that you've begun ♪
To make your own pear brandy? ♪
We have. It is gross!
Yeah! Oh, he mentioned that.
Well, old Joe is off the market ♪
It's strange to say those words ♪
I must have it twisted,
he's always insisted ♪
- That love is ♪
- [all] For the birds ♪
It is for the birds!
All right.
I love being part of this family.
Oh, okay.
Oh, we're glad to have you, Steve.
Aw, man. I love this.
I love this tradition you guys have.
I love this house. Ah.
I can't believe
you're selling it, Larry.
[strumming stops]
To the Rutherfords.
I'm sorry? Uh, what did he say?
It's dry.
You know, a milkshake from
Kelly's is a story unto itself.
She gets the milk directly
from Bob Missiti's farm.
Oh, my gosh, you should interview him.
He just installed solar panels.
Cool. Yeah.
Uh, so what about you?
For moving the statue, or against?
You know, the thing
about the statue is,
I don't care.
- [chuckles] Okay.
- [chuckles]
Uh, well, what about
the rest of the town?
It's just not really a thing.
I mean, nothing here really is.
You coming is the biggest news
since Denise Richards
got her tire patched at a Chevron.
- That is big news.
- It was.
Yeah, well, not exactly
what I was hoping you'd say,
but I appreciate your candor.
- No problem.
- Two shakes?
Ooh, the main event.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
- Enjoy.
- You know what?
I'm actually lactose intolerant,
so you get to try both.
Multiple sources
for your investigation.
- [chuckles awkwardly]
- [chuckles]
Nathan, can we be adults, please?
Look, this is just too much
house for a family of four.
Okay? So we're gonna sell it.
It supposed to go to your first heir.
Shouldn't Molly have a say?
Well, Molly wants to be
some kind of surfing influencer
in Costa Rica
and not live in an ancient
money pit in New Jersey.
Look, this place just isn't
for us anymore, Nathan.
Who are you gonna sell it to?
Who's the lucky Rutherford?
Greg and Teresa,
I could wrap my head around.
Jared--don't you dare, okay?
He would fill this place up
with Star Wars figurines.
You're not even gonna
keep it in the family?
You're just gonna sell it to whomever?
Yeah, Nathan.
It's a crazy system called
the housing market,
where, you know, whoever offers
the most money gets the house.
Look, this isn't even what
I wanted to talk to you--
You know, I came
to you earlier, Nathan,
but you said wanted to wait till BRB.
Triple B! Okay?
Now there's a fourth B,
- for betrayal.
- [scoffs]
How long before it hits "the market"?
I'm not sure why that's in quotes,
but, you know, in a few days.
All right, I'm gonna change your mind.
Just promise me you won't sell
it in the next 24 hours.
I mean, yeah.
The listing won't go up until Monday.
You got yourself a deal. Come here.
- Bring it in.
- All right.
You give me 24 hours.
I'm gonna get inside
that hard head of yours.
- [chuckles]
- Okay, everybody.
A slight change o' plans.
This video is now
about your wonderful memories
of this amazing house
and why it should not be sold.
It is not about Aunt Ida,
so don't talk about her.
She is irrelevant.
Who's first?
I loved those summers up here
with you, Duz, and the cousins.
You know, we'd frog hunt, mud slide,
- play tag in the tall grass.
- Yes!
Which, in retrospect, was dumb.
It's a feeding ground for ticks.
Lyme disease has not been fun.
Well, but it wasn't that bad.
Well, half my face was
paralyzed for about a year.
- Hmm.
- Plus, I had this rash.
Okay, but now, you're feeling like--
Now, it's just overall
fatigue and muscle pain.
- Still?
- Mm-hmm.
- Wow.
- Yeah.
I want to help, but, technically,
this is my first time in the house.
Well, you're here now,
so talk about that.
Well, we had lunch. That was nice.
- Oh.
- I ate chili
- Hmm.
- With shredded cheese.
There was corn bread on the side--
Stop talking about food.
Um, less about what you ate
and more about how it made you feel.
Seriously, Mark?
You got nothing?
I mean, you got married here, man.
It was beautiful.
We all threw rice on you
in the driveway.
But, uh, Sarah and I
aren't together anymore.
That colors things.
Yeah, we all saw that coming.
But it's not like you hate each other.
Like, you're still in touch, right?
Well, really just 'cause
we're co-parenting a dog.
So pretty much just
a straightforward statue.
Is there anything of note?
The National Register
for Historic Places
did call us
and ask us to stop applying.
That was big.
[recorder beeps]
Well, uh, thanks.
But I think you're right.
There's nothing here.
Sorry. It's a bummer. I thought--
Oh, did you go to Northwestern?
- Yeah, graduated in '08.
- Grad school, 2010.
- We were there at the
- [both] Same time.
And then we said at
[both] The same time
at the same time.
[both laugh]
Ah, crazy world.
[clears throat]
Uh, well, I should probably
go catch the next train.
I think there's one in
four hours.
- Okay, I did not plan this well.
- Oof.
Thanks for the
- Thanks.
- Yeah.
[both chuckle]
Um, the train station is
more of a bathroom
for homeless drifters.
want to get a drink?
- [groans]
- Well
sending this little guy home.
Isn't that ironic?
Well, I'm not sure I agree
that the center bar
is that piece's home.
- But you get why it's ironic?
- Nathan--
Because you're selling
our family home?
If you love this house
so much, why don't you buy it?
Because I'd have
to leave Rutherford Falls,
where I'm the last remaining
member of our entire family.
All the better.
I mean, come on, man.
This town, the whole family thing--
don't you ever want to get
some space from it all?
- Uh, no.
- Why?
And, I mean, what is so great
about being a Rutherford?
I'm one, and I can't
for the life of me--
We founded a town.
We're the namesake of a huge
multinational corporation.
We blazed thousands of trails
through uncharted--
Right, but our family also
did some other shit that sucks.
Okay? But you never mention that.
What are you even talking about?
Okay. I mean
You want to know what the
"Rutherfords" are really doing?
Well, Ken's at home making brandy
so he doesn't get his fifth DUI-ee.
Jake's in Nepal because they
don't allow extradition at all.
Greg's leaving Teresa
for the babysitter
and Kate's "wellness business"
is a Ponzi scheme.
I didn't have rhymes for those,
but you get it.
Yeah, I'm not saying
we're perfect, Duz,
but we're pretty close.
I just--I want you to move on
from all this bullshit.
Our history is not bullshit.
I want more for you, Nathan.
I mean, you could do such
great things with your life.
Well, I just demolished you
in backgammon,
so that's a pretty cool thing
I did with my life.
And this Triple B is officially over.
This was not a good one.
[solemn music]

- Maggie's.
- Ew!
Maggie's. Oh, my gosh.
I completely blocked that
shitty bar out of my memory.
The women's bathroom there was
a straight-up human-rights violation.
Yeah, I know because I had to clean it
when I worked there as a barback.
No! Ugh, you're gross now.
- I now find you gross.
- Agreed, yeah.
Hey, if we were there at the same time,
we might've, like, seen each other.
- Mm.
- Or just been like, "Hey."
Is that how you talked back then?
Oh, no, I was doing you.
- Ah, nice.
- That was you.
Because if you were drinking
at Maggie's,
you know, chances are you're
probably pretty angsty.
No. I mean, I did smoke cloves.
And I had this
Neutral Milk Hotel T-shirt
that had a huge hole under the arm--
You know what? Fair shot.
I was maybe angsty.
You would not have liked me--
an idealist studying journalism,
capital J.
I had this vision of how
my career was gonna go,
which, uh, has very much
not panned out.
I got a master's in museum studies,
and you'd think I would be
working at a museum,
not a casino.
You run a cultural center.
Isn't that, like,
pretty close to a museum?
You don't know
what a cultural center is.
- No idea.
- [laughs]
Why don't you show me?
- The cultural center?
- Yeah!
Take me there, right now.
It's an amazing idea.
And I still have
nine minutes.
Ah, that's the last train.
Wow, you are, like,
obsessed with this train.
My mode of transportation home,
yeah, I--yes.
[mockingly] I want to ride
the choo-choo.
Wow, okay, so you're
just openly bullying me now?
- [laughs]
- Well, it's working.
Tell you what--
I will skip the train
if you take me to the cultural center.
All aboard.
- I don't have a train thing.
- Uh-huh.
- I don't.
- I believe you.
[solemn music]


- Uh, this is a wedding basket.
- Okay.
When a couple gets married,
each family fills it up with gifts.
It used to be squash and tobacco.
Now it's, like, iPads
and Chipotle gift cards.
The couple swaps
and delivers them
to the other's family.
You're, like, way better
at this than the other museum.
[both laugh]
I think I would want
a Nintendo Switch in mine.
- Ooh, nerd alert.
- Yeah--whoops.
I meant something more grown-up
like a Roth Ira.
Is it IRA or Ira?
- It's not Ira.
- It's not?
I had this really beautiful
abalone necklace in mine.
Oh. You were married?
Oh, no I--it fell apart.
I chose a different route
specifically I-90 West.
This is actually the basket
that I was supposed
to deliver to the groom's family.
You were a runaway bride,
like that movie Runaway Bride.
- Wow.
- Long time ago.
I'm very over it.
So let's, uh, move on.
You know, maybe there's
a-a story in this place.
- The cultural center?
- Yeah, sure.
I mean, think about it.
Wedged in the middle of a casino,
the site of the most base
human instincts
Reagan Wells carves out a space
to honor her culture.
It's incredibly inspiring.
[soft music]

Sort of like a
cultural powder keg.
Okay, maybe less talking
and more of the other thing.

This is a pretty amazing dining room.
They don't make them
like this anymore, right?
Yeah. That's good wood.
Uh, listen, Nathan, I'm--
I'm really sorry about yesterday.
I just--I want you
to have your own life.
I know, Duz. I get it.
I just think I have my own life.
It's not like I've never
thought about life
outside of Rutherford Falls
and what that might look like.
Look, I promise that I will consider
the very remote possibility
of selling my museum
and buying this house,
if you promise
to watch the very persuasive
video that I just emailed you.
Well, that's a deal.
Come here, brother.
[dramatic music]

Hey, Big B. It's Little B.
You know, I think the reason
I love this house so much
is just because you and I have
so many incredible memories here.
With that in mind, I want to send you
on one last treasure hunt.
Step one, go to the spot
where we found that mouse's
feet and tail and no body.
Now walk down the stairs
where I fell and broke my nose
and you calmed me down by telling me
you'd collect all the blood
and put it back in my body.
- [chuckles]
- Liar.
And now take three steps forward
and turn to the right.
I just want you to know
that I want what's best
for you, too, Duz.
And if you think selling this
house the right thing to do--
even though it's been in our
family for hundreds of years--
then I support you,
because you're my brother
and I love you,
even if you're a fart face.

[switch clicks,
model train chugging]
- Nathan Rutherford?
- Yeah.
Hey, um, sorry, we're not open yet.
You've been served.
[folk music]

Two hot coffees. What's going on there?
Oh, nothing.

Here you go. Mm.
Mm, it's not bad.
- It's no Coffee Lab, but--
- Oh, God, nothing is.
[chuckles] Uh, sorry, not sorry
you came all this way
and didn't get your story.
Yeah, me too. Sorry, not sorry.
You know, the ride's
not that long to the city.
Just sort of putting that out there,
kind of like
a public-service announcement.
That's good information to know
- in case one would want to--
- Reagan.
- Have you seen this?
- Oh, hey.
I'm being sued
by the Minishonka Nation!
[scoffs] They're using
the Big Larry contract
as evidence against me.
- How does that even--
- Okay, let's just hold on.
How do you--Wow!
Oh, shots have been fired.
Yeah, I'm ready for war here. This is--
I mean, if you--Hi, I'm sorry.
I'm Nathan Rutherford.
Uh, Josh. I'm actually a reporter.
Well, Josh the reporter,
hope you like big stories
'cause you just landed on a frickin'
Powder keg?
Yes. A powder keg!
I like this guy.
Why are you wearing
my Great Aunt Ida's birthday shirt?
[person speaking
native language]
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