|Wings of the Dope|
|Season 3, Episode 23|
|Air date||May 4, 1999|
|Written by||Johnny Hardwick|
|Directed by||Cyndi Tang-Loveland|
Death and Texas
Take Me Out of the Ball Game
Luanne pays her beauty academy teacher, Ms. Kremzer, three hundred dollars for enrollment in the upcoming semester. Kremzer reminds Luanne that she must first pass a complicated hair dyeing exam before she can even begin thinking about the final semester. Meanwhile, Hank and his friends peer over a fence in the common alley, taking note of a trampoline in Kahn’s backyard. Kahn had purchased the trampoline from Buckley’s estate, and has since let it slowly fade into a sad state of disrepair. The men attempt to use reverse psychology on Kahn, hoping he will allow them to restore it. Ultimately, Kahn gives his consent, provided the men also mow his lawn for two months. Meanwhile, one of Luanne’s exams gets underway. She and her classmates dye horse tails by dunking them into buckets. Luanne’s efforts prove disastrous, and the hair on her horse’s tail falls out.
When Luanne returns home, she notices the men working on the trampoline. She walks over to the trampoline, runs her finger across a place where Buckley carved their initials in a heart in one of its legs, and runs into the house crying. That night, Luanne pores over a textbook on a desk in front of a window facing the trampoline. She hears springs creaking and looks out the window to see a figure bouncing on the trampoline. She goes outside to see who it is and discovers Buckley, dressed in his Mega Lo Mart smock, standing on the trampoline with a pair of tiny wings on his back. She realizes that Buckley is now an angel. Buckley and Luanne enjoy themselves by jumping up and down on the trampoline. The next morning, Luanne announces over breakfast that she was visited by Buckley’s angel. In private, Peggy suspects Luanne was hallucinating because of exposure to the hair dying chemicals and is somewhat unnerved. But Hank is overjoyed, as Luanne has finally stopped crying. He even tells his friends about Luanne’s “guardian angel.” As Hank turns his attention to repairing the trampoline, he comes across a note stuck in one of the springs. On the paper is a message from Bill, who asks Buckley’s angel to bring him a woman. Hank grows annoyed and tells his friends there is no such thing as a “Buckley’s angel.” But it soon becomes apparent that Boomhauer and Dale also believe it. Hank storms off in disgust. He makes his way to Luanne’s room, where he tells Luanne that once she passes the test Buckley’s good deed will be done and he will return to heaven for good, and if she sees Buckley's angel again afterwards it will actually be an "evil angel of death."
That night, Luanne uses the trampoline as a makeshift desk to study but gets distracted, listening to "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" and crying. She feels a tap on her shoulder and looks up excitedly, believing Buckley has finally arrived, but sees it is Peggy. Luanne defeatedly asks, "Where is he?" and recounts the fact Buckley used to stand her up when he was alive, specifying an incident in which they were supposed to attend a Color Me Badd concert and Buckley was a no-show. She hopes aloud that he is not "guardianin' some other girl" and tells Peggy that perhaps she should drop out of beauty school after all. Peggy tells Luanne that if she gives up on beauty school she will be giving up a dream she has had since she was a child and that she needs to stop depending on help from other people so much. Luanne spends the night practicing for the exam by dying Peggy’s hair. The next morning, as she drives to school, Buckley’s angel appears next to her in her car. He tells her that she will fail the test. An argument ensues, and Luanne loses control of the car, nearly colliding with a Weinermobile. Luanne’s car skids into a ditch. Three girls come running to her rescue. The girls erroneously assume that Luanne is a student at the nearby Arlen Community College. Luanne collects her wits and drives to the beauty school. Meanwhile, Hank finds another note on the trampoline. He reads it aloud. The message, supposedly written by Buckley’s angel, addresses Bill, Boomhauer and Dale’s wishes. Hank concludes that Buckley’s angel is no more. Bill takes a closer look at the note and realizes it isn’t in Buckley’s handwriting. With that, Hank sprays his friends with the hose. When Luanne returns home, she proudly announces that she a received a tuition refund from the beauty school and has enrolled in Arlen Community College. Later, Luanne says her final goodbyes to Buckley; as he walks toward the horizon, he pulls a halo out of his pocket and dons it before the credits roll, presumably having earned it for helping Luanne move on.
- "Life in a Northern Town" by The Dream Academy
- "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" by Willie Nelson
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- Kahn Souphanousinphone
- Minh Souphanousinphone
- Connie Souphanousinphone
- Miss Kremzer
- Sharona Johnson (cameo)
- Buckley (cameo)
- This episode premiered shortly after the Columbine High School shooting. Shortly after it aired, Mike Judge received a letter from a young woman who had been hiding in the school when it was going on and planned to tell a friend she was in love with how she felt if they both made it out, but he turned out to be one of the perpetrators. She credited "Wings of the Dope," especially Peggy's motivational speech to Luanne about doing things on her own, with enabling her to deal with the grief she had been pressured to swallow, and even quoted Luanne in the letter - wondering if the boy was "guardianing some other girl" because he never knew how she felt.
- The original title of this episode was "Luanne's Angel".
- The title is an allusion to Wings of the Dove, a novel and later movie by Henry James.
- The last thing Luanne says to Buckley's Angel is "Chicken thigh." This was also the last thing Buckley was shown telling Luanne before he died in Propane Boom.
- The song that plays during the scenes with Buckley on the trampoline is "Life in a Northern Town" by The Dream Academy
- When Hank states that Buckley couldn't find a hammer in the Mega Lo Mart, he's referring to a scene from the Pilot episode in which Hank gets in a heated exchange with Buckley who was clueless as to where the hammers were.
- This is not the first time Buckley's angel has been mentioned (in this case he's seen and the episode is centered around him) in an episode. In the episode Pretty, Pretty Dresses, Luanne reveals that she and Buckley's angel had a discussion regarding closure.
- On Global in Canada (the network that aired "King of the Hill"), the evening after Brittany Murphy's sad death this episode was aired as a special tribute to the late Ms. Murphy.
- In this episode we learn that, despite often being portrayed as not being very intelligent, Peggy is actually a wise philosopher when she quotes herself: "Education is the sleeping pill that makes dreams happen."
- Buckley's Angel: Hey.