Rutherford Falls Season 1, Episode 4 recap: Terry Thomas

RUTHERFORD FALLS -- "Terry Thomas" Episode 104 -- Pictured: Darious Eteeyan as Young Terry -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock)
RUTHERFORD FALLS -- "Terry Thomas" Episode 104 -- Pictured: Darious Eteeyan as Young Terry -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

Rutherford Falls Episode 4 is a deeply personal exploration of who Terry Thomas is, both as a person and businessman, and how these two things relate. In this episode, Josh returns to interview Terry that he’s caught wind of the big story brewing in this small town, namely the lawsuit being filed by the Minishonka Nation against Nathan Rutherford.

But while suing Nathan is appealing, the tribe’s real goal is to go after Rutherford Inc., the multimillion-dollar corporation that technically owes them for years of unpaid remunerations from the original treaty made between the two parties when the town was founded.

Rutherford Falls Episode 4 begins with a flashback to young Terry running a lemonade stand outside of a bakery. The bakery owner is impressed with Terry’s business strategy, even as a kid. He makes him a deal. He’ll give Terry his day-old brownies to sell, and they’ll split the profits with Terry receiving 20% of the deal.

Eventually, the owner starts shorting Terry. Even as a kid, Terry recognizes this and calls him out on it, but the owner is unrepentant. Terry is just a child who doesn’t have rent to deal with, so he’s lucky to be receiving money at all. Technically, the owner says Terry owes him since he allows him to sell on his property.

After that, young Terry buys his own brownie mix, determined to profit from his own product rather than be under the thumb of someone else. This sequence of events underlies the story being told in this episode as Terry and Josh dissect the meaning of capitalism and its impact on the tribe.

Rutherford Falls Episode 4
RUTHERFORD FALLS EPISODE 4 — “Terry Thomas” — Pictured: Kiawentiio as Maya — (Photo by Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

Rutherford Falls Episode 4 recap: Terry puts Josh in his place

During the interview, Josh presses Terry about how what he’s doing at the casino, which as Reagan herself said, is seen as an unfettered land of capitalism, is for the benefit of his tribe. Is Terry not selling out under the name of Minishonka?

Terry goes off the record to make Josh understand his perspective. Yes, all corporations pretend that if they make more money, their employees will profit. But in most cases, this comes at a steep price for the employees. It’s not a case of them earning fair wages; it’s more like the CEO gets richer and the poor stay that way. It’s why we constantly see so much discourse surrounding billionaires and the way they hoard wealth or the terrible way Amazon employees are treated.

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But Terry distinguishes that for him, and his tribe, they operate under the “seven generations” mentality. Meaning whatever they do is to ensure the perseverance of his tribe and people for seven generations to come. In the old days, if one man hunted a deer, he divided that up equally among his people. Terry argues that he’s doing the same thing now with his casino, only it’s a check they receive instead of deer.

He understands why that might be hard for Josh to understand since the backbone of American society operates under caring for the self, rather than the whole, and our country’s vision of capitalism is all about power rather than fairness, hence the bakery owner eventually using underhanded methods to rob Terry of what he’s owed.

We get to see Terry as a family man in this episode. He has a lovely wife and two kids. His daughter, Maya, is talented at creating intricate beadings, and Terry wants her to put her talent to good use and start selling her creations. Maya is against it and wonders why her dad has to put a dollar value on everything.

Rutherford Falls Episode 4
RUTHERFORD FALLS EPISODE 4 — “Terry Thomas” — Pictured: (l-r) Kimberly Guerrero as Shale, Michael Greyeyes as Terry Thomas — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

Rutherford Falls Episode 4 recap: Terry adds Rutherford Inc. to the lawsuit

So how does this all tie into the lawsuit with Terry and Nathan? Well, the heart of the lawsuit is the fact the Rutherfords agreed to give the Minishonka a fair portion of everything earned after the founding of the town. It’s dictated in the treaty, which Nathan himself dubbed “legally binding” during his Founder’s Day rant. Yet, that has never come to fruition.

To make things right, Nathan and Bobbie bring over a giant stack of popcorn and furs as a way to recompense for the years of missed corn and animal fur trades from the colonial era. But Terry points out that it’s hardly worth anything since by now the value has tripled and then some due to interest, inflation, etc. In fact, the Rutherfords really owe the tribe an estimated $350 million, which is why Terry is keen to get Rutherford Inc. involved in the lawsuit somehow.

Nathan gives him a way to do that since he arrives in Terry’s office while Josh is still there and the recorder is running. Terry then has a recording in his power of Nathan declaring that he’s on the board of the Rutherford Inc. council, and with one call, he can get in touch with them and make a connection to get corporate lawyers involved in the lawsuit. With that, Terry gets the tribe’s permission to add the company to the lawsuit officially.

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The entire first season of Rutherford Falls is now available to stream on Peacock TV.