The popular singing competition show The Masked Singer aired the third episode of its second season this past Wednesday. In each episode, four celebrities in glamorous mascot costumes sing to a panel of four celebrities in civilian clothes, who try to guess the identity of their famous peers hiding beneath the animal heads. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching the show, barely daring to blink, to catch the inevitable reveal of Tommy Lee Jones.
In last night’s episode, the final group of new celebrities was unveiled, consisting of Eagle, Flower, Penguin, and Fox. Eagle was ultimately revealed to be celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky, who is decidedly not Tommy Lee Jones. That means Mr. Jones is still hiding somewhere in the pool of contestants, waiting to poke his head out like the groundhog of folklore to tell us we’ll have six more weeks of bad guesses from Robin Thicke.
Eagle’s elimination still leaves us with Flower, Penguin, and Fox, any one of whom could be Tommy Lee Jones. Let’s break down the evidence for each one.
First off is Flower. Flower’s strengths were listed as “super fresh,” and their weakness as “pruning shears.” Obviously, this could be interpreted as an oblique reference to Tommy Lee Jones’ role as Agent K in the Men In Black series. Jones’ co-star, Will Smith, played the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Agent K is the superior officer of Smith’s Agent J. Hence, “super fresh.” Pruning shears are two knives bolted together, and everyone’s weakness is knives, Mr. Lee Jones included.
Celebrity judge Jenny McCarthy points out that the flower is walking slowly, like an older person might. Tommy Lee Jones is, in fact, an old man, but while his gait is slow, it is also powerful, like a blind Minotaur.
Flower then offered some clues to their identity, saying, “Some say I blossom in every field I’m planted in.” This could be another reference to Mr. Lee Jones’ costar Will Smith, as the Fresh Prince once guest-starred as himself on an episode of Blossom. It could also be a clever nod to the 1990 action film Fire Birds, in which Jones played an Apache helicopter pilot alongside Nicolas Cage as the two battled a South American drug cartel in their technologically advanced war machines. Jones helps Cage’s fresh-faced character “blossom” into a lethal helicopter warrior. Also, the film was directed by David Green, and green is the symbolic color of new growth, or blossoms.
The Flower went on to elaborate that they’ve “dipped my petals in just about everything,” which reflects Tommy Lee Jones’ long acting career, in which he’s played everything from a military Major to a military Corporal to a military Colonel, and cowboys spanning virtually every time period of American history. He also played a military action figure.
Flower teases us further with the hint, “My whole life I’ve done everything to the nines. I don’t even go to the grocery store without lipstick and pumps on.” Being an A-list actor, Tommy Lee Jones is no stranger to makeup, and his collection of Reebok Pumps is one of those Hollywood rumors that has been whispered throughout the hills and boulevards so often that it has transcended into the realm of the mythic. Flower than sang “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, against a backdrop of trash and backup dancers dressed as sanitation workers. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this is clearly a reference to Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which Tommy Lee Jones appeared as Lorretta Lynn’s husband and manager Doolittle Lynn. Lynn famously won the CMA for Best Duo of the Year with Conway Twitty in 1972, over Dolly Parton’s duet with Porter Wagoner. Jones’ selection of Parton’s “9 to 5” is a tomahawk dunk reminding Parton not to quit her day job and that her duet belongs in the trash.
After the performance, host Nick Cannon asks the masked celebrity “What makes you the Flower?” The Flower responds, “Because I’m beautiful and I smell so good.” Obviously, Mr. Lee Jones’ beauty is universally known, and has inspired countless poems and songs, including John Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland.” And his musk is legendary.
Flower – 98% Probab Lee Jones.
The next possibility is the Penguin, whose strength “Black tie ready” could be a subtle nod to Tommy Lee Jones’ regular appearances at major awards shows. The weakness “global warming” is a double clue – Jones famously roomed with climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore in college, and global warming, like knives, is a threat to every Jones on Earth, including Tommy Lee.
The Penguin goes on to say, “My whole life I’ve been told I’m not pretty enough, not funny enough, not smart enough.” Virtually everyone with a career in entertainment has heard these words before, so it’s entirely possible that some great, galloping fool uttered them to Tommy Lee Jones. But then history slapped that hypothetical dummy across the face with Jones’ Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
The Penguin also hints that their career was considered “over” at one point. Indeed, Tommy Lee Jones faced a rough patch in his acting after the release of Men in Black II, appearing in a string of commercial disappointments like The Hunted, in which Jones hunts a missing Benicio Del Toro, and The Missing, in which Jones hunts a missing Evan Rachel Wood. Also, the selection of the Penguin outfit may itself be a clue, considering The Penguin is one of Batman’s fiercest enemies, and Tommy Lee Jones played the Caped Crusader’s coin-tossing nemesis Two-Face in Batman Forever. He also played Douglas MacArthur in the 2013 film Emperor, which is a type of penguin. Furthermore, according to Hollywood insiders, Jones has been known to stand for hours on end with an egg balanced atop his feet, much like a penguin.
Penguin – 95% Probab Lee Jones.
The final masked celebrity from last night’s episode was The Fox, a clockwork fox in a top hat who performed a show-stopping rendition of Maroon 5’s “This Love,” which is no small feat considering the song is generally considered to be so milquetoast that you could sing it shirtless at the Super Bowl and nobody would even get out of their seats. The raw talent hiding behind that gigantic fox head was unmistakable, and if raw talent has ever had an avatar, that avatar is Tommy Lee Jones.
The Fox offered several hints, including “I’ve definitely done my best work at night.” Tommy Lee Jones has also done some great work at night, including that scene in The Fugitive wherein he tells his fellow U.S. Marshals to search every henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse for Dr. Richard Kimble, and that scene in Space Cowboys where he decides to stay behind on the moon, where it is always nighttime. Also, he plays a harmonica and gets into a knife fight with Steven Seagal in Under Siege, and that whole movie takes place at night.
The selection of a clockwork theme and steampunk setting for the Fox’s performance of “This Love” could be yet another sly wink to Jones’ Men In Black costar Will Smith. Smith starred in Wild Wild West, and in that movie’s climax he does battle with the villainous Arliss Loveless in an enormous steampunk spider. Or maybe Tommy Lee Jones is just really into steampunk.
The Fox also says that “under this mask, my two identities can finally become one.” And if that isn’t a Two-Face reference, then I’ve wildly misinterpreted every moment of this show and I don’t understand it at all.
Fox – 93% Probab Lee Jones.
Hats off to the writers and producers of The Masked Singer. They’ve managed to layer references to Tommy Lee Jones’ career in virtually every aspect of the show, from the clues given by the disguised celebrities right down to the production design of each performance. It’s truly too close to call, which is definitely going to keep this viewer watching! Check back next week as I continue to break down which one of the remaining performers is probably 73-year-old screen legend Tommy Lee Jones in a sensory-depriving animal costume.