It's Randy and Earl's last night in the motel because they're finally moving to a real apartment. Realizing that he cheated himself out of being an adult, Earl has put himself on his own list, and moving is the third step, after getting his G.E.D. and a real job.
Despite the new apartment, Earl feels like something's missing in his quest to become an adult. The phone rings: Joy needs Earl to come down to the jail right away. It all started last fall when Joy stole a truck and got arrested, her third strike. She took an unscheduled vacation to Mexico, where she ran into Dog the Bounty Hunter. Now Joy's deaf lawyer Ruby needs Earl to find character witnesses so Joy won't have to spend the rest of her life in prison.
Randy and Earl check on Darnell. The kids have gone wild, and the Joy has literally gone out of his life - Darnell can't live without the other half of his heart. Earl realizes that what he's missing is a woman to share his life with. He met Alex a while back, but karma didn't think he was ready for a relationship, and sent bees to sting their faces. Earl calls Alex, but she's married now. Meanwhile, he's having a hard time coming up with character witnesses for Joy.
Joy's deaf lawyer Ruby thinks Earl will make an excellent character witness, and he thinks he's finally met a woman to share his life with - Ruby's accent really turns him on. They meet with Joy to rehearse, but Earl's more interested in trying to ask Ruby out. Realizing that Earl wants to jump Ruby's bones, Joy lets the cat out of the bag. Earl fears the worst, but Ruby asks him to dinner.
Earl fumbles the date, but Ruby tells him that he can cross "being a lazy lover" off his list. Life is finally perfect, but not for long when Ruby spies herself on Earl's list. A couple of years ago, Earl and Randy robbed the only deaf person living in Camden, knowing it would be real easy. They even stole her cat. Even though it's been one of the best nights of Earl's life, Ruby storms out, saying it was all a mistake.
Before the trial begins, Ruby's sign language translator Doug eats a lemon square that Darnell has baked for Joy and cuts his tongue on a razor blade. The only translator available speaks Mandarin, so they need a third translator. Ruby is a great lawyer, and has no problem discrediting the evidence against Joy, and Earl's testimony helps. But when the prosecutor plays several 911 tapes from when Earl and Joy were married, the jury turns against her
Earl feels terrible. All he can think about is Joy's family being torn apart, so he claims that he stole the truck, offering evidence to prove it. Joy doesn't get it, but Earl explains that he doesn't have three strikes, or a family. Joy thanks Earl, and Ruby forgives him. Judge Miller complements Earl for saving Joy, while acknowledging that he's a piece of trash for waiting this long to do it. Earl is sentenced to two years in the state pen.
Earl took the fall for Joy so she wouldn't have to give up her life, but now he's giving up everything: job, apartment, and a pretty deaf girlfriend, not to mention his freedom. Earl's old buddy Ralph is relieved to see Earl, his new cellmate, and hands him a sock full of batteries. Seems that Ralph spit in a skinhead's eye, and he's coming after them later in the yard with a pipe gun.