"The Diamond Castle" is the fourth episode of Season 2 and the fourteenth episode of China, IL.
Following one of his students' report, Frank becomes eager to search for the mythical "Diamond Castle", fabled by Thomas Jefferson. Meanwhile, the rest of the history department discuss the upcoming department inspection. Revealed is the reason they pass their evaluations is because Frank is friends with the inspector and is able to somehow get from the accreditation the history department needs. Unfortunately for the others, however, Frank is too busy researching the Diamond Castle in an attempt to get a TV special. He reads that a clue to finding the castle is hidden in a two-dollar bill, but that a decoding stencil is needed to unlock its hidden message. The stencil is hidden in a presidential sanctuary in Monticello, Virginia, and only a President, past or current, can enter.
Steve is asked to cater to the campus inspector in Frank's place. When picking up the inspector, Polly, from the China, IL Airport, Steve offers to take her to the hotel, and when she "agrees" in a passive-aggressive tone, Steve conforms to her will by taking her to a pet shop, letting her look at kittens. Meanwhile, Frank, with Baby Cakes' help, bails Ronald Reagan out of prison, the first step needed to the Diamond Castle. A skeptical Reagan asks why he should go with him, and Frank states that he wants a TV special, a solid enough reason by Reagan's standards. The next day, during the department inspection, Polly takes notice of a technical difficulty and is apparently irritated. As she exits, Pony demands to know from Steve the whereabouts of Frank, noticing Polly's attitude, but he does not know and admits he had to fill in for Frank. When asks if he did what she wanted, he fears he angered her and brings up her passive-aggression. Feeling the need to cheer her back up, Steve catches up with Polly and submits to her will, thinking that Frank did this in previous years.
Frank, Reagan and Baby Cakes travel to Monticello, Virginia to pick up the decoding stencil. Downtown, meanwhile, Steve and Polly arrive at a cat-themed nightclub as part of Polly's desire. Feeling pressured by Polly's passive-aggressiveness, Steve finds himself dressing up and acting like a cat, and meanwhile, Reagan reveals he knows about Frank's plan to find the Diamond Castle, demanding to accompany Frank and Baby Cakes the rest of the way. Using the stencil and a two-dollar bill, Reagan sees the unblocked letters and infers that the next clue is a map in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The next day at UCI, Steve explains to Pony his unpleasant experience the previous night, only for her to laugh in disbelief and instruct him to continue this, assuming that Frank did everything he is doing now and that Polly's mood will indicate their accreditation. As Polly greets Steve and tells of her following plans, Pony asks to join them, and she consents. Meanwhile at New Orleans, the trio encounter a statue of Jefferson, and Reagan reads that New Orleans was built as Jefferson saw fit following the Louisiana Purchase. Reagan theorizes that the map is of New Orleans itself, and while taking an overview look, he sees that there are thirty-nine "tongues" made by the city's landscape. Thinking it connects with Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth President, Reagan meets with Carter, demanding that he surrender the medal he is wearing, thinking the next clue is on it. Refusing to comply, Carter starts a fight, but Reagan emerges victorious.
Believing the next clue to be an egg-shaped artifact, Frank enters a museum, breaking the case the artifact is in. When dropped, the egg ignites and becomes ashes, but the paper in which the egg is held is a map. According to it, the Diamond Castle is underneath Mt. Vernon in Alabama, but to get to it and avoid being trapped, the egg is required. As Frank despairs, Reagan assures him he will find a way to reach the Diamond Castle. Meanwhile, entering the site Polly mentioned and accompanying Steve, Pony discovers that what he said about his previous experiences is true. Polly enters Steve into a literal cat-fight: a fight between him and another man, also in a cat disguise. When Steve tries to back out, he surrenders and enters anyway when Polly speaks passive-aggressively, reminding him of the inspection, and Pony reminds him that Frank evidently did this.
Frank, Baby Cakes and Reagan crawl through tunnels of the Mt. Vernon National Park and find the Diamond Castle. Exploring it, Reagan discovers the Fountain of Eternal Presidency, but the castle begins to collapse as Frank realizes they need to put the egg-shaped artifact inside a nearby chamber to stop the collapsing. Reagan shoves Baby Cakes' head inside the chamber, and the castle stops rumbling. Frank tries to find something else to fill the chamber, but Reagan points out that he altered the size and shape of Baby Cakes' head for that purpose. Meanwhile, Pony witnesses Steve get beaten up in the cat-fight and tries to stop it. In doing so, she breaks the rules and causes herself and Steve to be guided out. As Reagan and Frank run outside, Baby Cakes warns that he is about to pass out. Frank tries to save his friend, but Reagan holds up a gun, threatening to shoot Frank if his actions prohibit him from becoming President for life. After a fight, the gun ends up with Frank, who saves Baby Cakes and causes the Castle to rumble again. Baby Cakes and Frank exit, leaving Reagan stuck in the collapsing structure.
Continuing the evaluation, Steve asks Polly about the results of the inspection, claiming that the cat-fight was the only thing that went wrong, and Polly promises the results in a few days. Then, Steve is surprised to see that they passed the inspection, remembering the cat-fight fiasco. Scoffing, Frank claims that the only thing he needed to do during his time with Polly was to play with cats alongside her, meaning that her apparent passive-aggressiveness was not true, and that she will let anything pass because of the only purpose of her job being to get away from her husband. On the news, Reagan, having escaped the Diamond Castle offscreen, announces that he is President again, and he claims he will be getting a TV special to Frank's dismay.
- Frank mentions wanting a History Channel TV special, previously stating this as well in "Baby Boom".
- Running Gag: Polly speaking passive-aggressively, but apparently never meaning it if Frank's words about her hold true.
- Frank says "vagina," which is bleeped but not censored in the closed captioning.
- The van Frank drives reads "A-Haul," a parody of U-Haul.
- In the crowd watching the cat-fight, Anne Hong and an unnamed character from "Dean's List" can be seen.
- Barack Obama and other presidents can be seen as Reagan regains his presidency.
- Steve's girlfriend is never named.
- When Reagan uses the stencil on the two-dollar bill, the unblocked letters include two Es. Pointing out an anagram, Reagan points to the same E twice while never pointing to the other E.
- The Fountain of Eternal Presidency is a reference to the Fountain of Youth.
- The Dean substitutes for Frank as he searches for the Diamond Castle. The Dean is shown to be aggressive even when teaching, and his style causes several deaths.
- The exterior shot of the Screw You Motel is exactly the same as it was in "Is College Worth It?"
- As of this episode, Crystal's transition from the Spanish department to the history department is complete, the shift having started in "The Dean's List".
- Contrary to Reagan's claim, there were only thirty-three tongues, not thirty-nine, formed by the landscape of New Orleans.
- Frank: [To Flip Flop about his report] Put it in the trash where it belongs. I said put it in there; I wanna see you do it!
- [Steve and his girlfriend are wearing facial masks.]
- Girl: No man has ever had me over for facial masks. Well, I mean——
- Steve: Don't finish that thought.
- Baby Cakes: It's a reverse Shawshank. It's a "Shankshaw."
- Sammy: Who did not fuck that bitch?
- Baby Cakes: [Seeing Reagan on a wanted poster] Wait a second. Are you famous?
- Baby Cakes: It's a 3D two-dollar bill.
- Ronald Reagan: B.C., you're a regular Lindbergh.
- Ronald Reagan: Thirty-nine tongues, thirty-ninth President. Take me to the Peanut Farmer.
- Jimmy Carter: Carpetbagger!
- Baby Cakes: Dracu-egg.
- Baby Cakes: [Seeing an exhibit labeled "Jefferson Orgy"] Gross! What an old horny!
- Reagan: Don't give up your dream for an idiot!
- Frank: He is not an idiot! He's my friend!
- Baby Cakes: [Pointing to Reagan on a TV] Look! It's Shawshank!
Characters Appearing Edit
- Anne Hong
- Baby Cakes
- Barack Obama
- Chinese Precious
- Flip Flop
- Jimmy Carter
- Stacy Megan
- The Dean
- Thomas Jefferson
- Trouble Bubble
|"Do You Know Who You Look Like?"||"Kenny Winker Rules"|
|Pilots||"China, IL: The Funeral" • Unaired Pilot|
|Season 1||"Rewind, Pause, Pay!" • "Dean vs. Mayor" • "Baby Boom" • "Coming Out of the Casket" • "Secret Society" • "Prom Face/Off" • "Frankensteve" • "Chinese New Year" • "Dream Reamer" • "Dean's List"|
|Season 2||"The Perfect Lecture" • "Is College Worth It?" • "Do You Know Who You Look Like?" • "The Diamond Castle" • "Kenny Winker Rules" • "China-Man Begins" • "Total Validation" • "Surfer God" • "Prank Week" • "Wild Hogs"|
|Season 3||"A Gentleman's Bet" • "Best Face Forward" • "Charlize" • "Crow College" • "Bi-Topping-Ality" • "Parent's Day" • "Displays of Manhood" • "Life Coaches" • "Gummie World" • "Magical Pet"|