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S09E03 – The Mole

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Guys, I tell you what – I’m loving the next level high tech computer hacking that has been going on in Murder She Wrote recently.

Fun fact I learned from watching QI – nostalgia was once considered a medical disease that was cured by leeches, bullying and all sorts of top level medical skills. I’d be in so much trouble if that was still a thing.

More on Ms Hackity Hack, who has just narrowly avoided capture with her floppy disk file about someone called Max Hagen  later.

JB is out to dinner with her old journalist friend, and when I heard his name I thought I was hearing things.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WHAT WHAT WHAT

Jess’s sidekick in this episode has the same name as me. Putting aside the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen my name attached to a dude, and the spelling looks like it’s been dreamed up by someone at Starbucks, ERMAHGHERD. Guys, this is a big deal. Up until now the only Briony I’ve seen in fiction is the whiny little cow from Atonement, and I effing hated that book (I haven’t seen the movie on account of I REALLY HATED THAT BOOK.)

But there you go guys – if you’ve seen this episode you now know how to pronounce my name, which puts you ahead of most call centre operators, baristas and people I work with. Happy early birthday to me!

Anyway, Jess is chatting to me Brynie about his career as a journalist as inspiration for her new book, while he contends with a managing editor who has issues with his new column and the terrible line it (Brynie points out the line is by F Scott Fitzgerald and the editor looks panicked).

Jess cacks herself laughing as the editor departs and says “I’m sorry Briony Brynie, I know it isn’t funny to you.”

(My response to Angela Lansbury saying my name:

I AM DEAD.
I wonder if I can make this my text message notification or something.

me Brynie rages on about the quality of journalism these days, (oh God, it really is me) and points at the TV as an example – a young reporter is interviewing the coach of the New York Eagles basketball team and is avoiding all the difficult questions like what’s up with his penchant for nose candy and gambling, and just what does he have on his boss, team owner/philanthropist Max Hagen. He rages on a bit more and then says to Jess “Are you sure you want to use me?”

“Briony Brynie, you’re it, and that’s final. Nobody can do what you do, nobody.” Says JB.

I CAN’T GO ON THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.

me Brynie tells JB he won’t be able to meet her now that he has to make these idiot changes as requested by his idiot editor,  but Jess tells him it’s fine – she has a million things to do before she flies to San Francisco so she will just meet him for a late lunch.

On the other side of town, the aforementioned Max Hagen is busy making himself look good by distributing checks and menacing his employees. The coach of the Eagles basketball team pops round just as another of Hagen’s henchmen swears he has a line on “her” and Hagen says he hopes so. Hagen flicks on the TV to watch the interview of the coach, and grins when the reporter declares the world things that Hagen is too nice a guy to fire the coach.

“At least you know that isn’t true” Hagen tells the coach.

Whatever dude, Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do.

The next day Jess is queuing in her hotel lobby awaiting her plane tickets (was that a thing? I barely remember paper tickets, what a time the 90s were) when a very harried desk clerk accidentally puts JB’s ticket in the folder for Liz Foster. Spoiler alert, Liz Foster is Ms Hackity Hack.

JB doesn’t realise the mistake and blissfully goes on her way, while the desk clerk quickly realises her mistake and starts bellowing for Ms Foster. This attracts the attention of a couple of goons, who follow Jess outside, pull a gun on her and muscle her into a car. Despite JB hollering for help, noone does a damn thing – including Liz Foster, who watches it all go down from the other side of the road.

The goons take JB to a deserted warehouse where Max Hagen is just as surprised to see JB as she is to see him.

She’s waiting Max…

Max tries to smooth things over by saying it was a joke on a friend that went terribly wrong, and he’s so sorry. His friends clearly grabbed the wrong woman.

Called it like she saw it.

Max has more explanations where that one came from but JB gets while the getting is good and jumps in the nearest taxi. One of Hagen’s minions offers to bump JB off but Hagen says that might not be the smartest idea, and calls his PR lady instead.

Meanwhile JB goes straight to the NYPD and gets absolutely nowhere thanks to Lieutenant Artie Gelber.

Well it’s no wonder.

JB is furious and threatens to go to his superior Dorothy, but Art tells her he’s eleven days from retirement (WHO SAYS THAT HAVE YOU NEVER WATCHED A TV SHOW BEFORE) and is she sure she wasn’t nabbed by someone who had at least racked up some parking tickets or something?

Art and JB choof on over to Max’s place, where he is delighted to meet JB – for the very first time apparently. He swears he’s never met JB before and is horrified to think someone who looks like him is going around snatching women off the street. It couldn’t possibly have been him, he only just returned from Boston, which air traffic control, his pilot and associated lackeys will of course swear to.

Seems legit, says Art.

Darn right she is. Guys do we need to talk about just how great The Golden Girls is? Nah, I figured we’d all agree on that.

Art drops her back at her apartment with the fervent hope that if JB has any more accusations to fling, she flings them in any direction but his. Jess says he can count on that – and is immediately accosted by some feds.

(Me, everytime I wake up and read the news headlines)

The feds are minions of Louis Paloma, who is investigating Max Hagen. When Jess is brought to his office he is very eager to find out why Hagen’s men abducted Jess and is annoyed when Jess is demanding answers from him. He tells her he knows it was a case of mistaken identity and if she works out why it happened to give him a call.

Back at home JB gets a visit from Max’s publicist Sara Lloyd who has exciting news – as compensation for the trauma of being kidnapped by fake Max Hagen, the 100% real Max Hagen would like to donate money to Jessica’s favourite charity – 25 thousand!

Insufficient zeroes, sunshine.

Jessica tells her nothing doing (obviously) and wonders if Sara knows why Hagen is being investigated. Sara is sure it’s all a mistake and leaves just as I Brynie arrives with good news – he’s wrangled an invitation for them to go to the New York Eagles party Max is hosting that night.

While JB gets ready I Brynie tries to put the Hagen/Paloma puzzle together. It’s only when JB reaches into her handbag and finds her plane ticket with Liz Foster’s on it that she puts it all together. She calls the Grand Palace Hotel, where she picked up her ticket, but there is noone staying there in the name of Liz Foster. Jess and me Brynie agree that this is worth looking into and so head on over to the hotel. When they arrive it’s crawling with Art and his minions and a body being carted away in a body bag.

Art is too busy to talk to JB now but stops when she and me Brynie tell him the Jane Doe body they found in the elevator is actually Liz Foster. He still doesn’t believe there is any connection to JB getting nabbed until they tell him about Louis Paloma’s investigation and suggest they should probably get together for a chat. They leave Art to it and move on to Max’s party. He is horrified to learn of someone’s murder, and says the name Liz Foster rings a very faint bell and asks his assistant to look into it.

JB and me Brynie bail on the party and go to see Louis Palermo who refuses to admit that he is investigating Max, but concedes the dead woman is in fact Liz Foster. me Brynie has a theory that Louis is going after Max in order to drum up support for an election run, but Palermo isn’t buying it, and refuses to agree with Jess’s theory that Liz was working for Louis Palermo. me Brynie offers to sit on the story as long as they get the full exclusive once it’s all over.

Guys for real, this is a really complicated episode. And I don’t think it’s because I cheer loudly every time Angela Lansbury says Brynie.

But it might be.

Louis, me Brynie and JB adjourn to the nearest bar to get up to speed. Turns out Louis has a mole in Max’s organisation, who recruited Liz Foster to get the dirt on Max. Louis was supposed to meet her that morning at the UN but she didn’t show. After Louis heard about JB’s kidnapping he managed to get in touch with Liz again, they met in Central Park and swapped 200 grand for disks containing all the goss on Max. Unfortunately for Louis, the info on the disks was completely irrelevant and Liz ended up dead.

You got all that?

#ImWithHer

Louis departs, but he’s gotten JB thinking. What if Liz wasn’t killed by one of Max’s goons? What if, in fact, she was killed by someone else who knew that she had the disks and the cash and helped themselves?

(Me watching the voting at Eurovision last week)

Over at Casa de Max, the Man himself is assuring Sara that he had nothing to do with any of it, he couldn’t possibly have, does he have the face of someone who could do that etc etc. Mollified, Sara leaves and some other minions come in to assure Max that the police can’t tie him to the murder but that they haven’t found the missing disks. Max goes bananas and wants the disks and the leak found.

Jess goes to see Art Gelber, who has recovered Liz’s suitcase from a dumpster. In it is a wig and a suit jacket but not the matching skirt. Jess appears to think this is important and rushes off. Meanwhile, me Brynie meets Sara the PR lady for a drink to see what she knows, but the answer is not much. She’s starting to freak out about everything and me Brynie assures her he will look out for her – if he gets the exclusive story.

Bahaha go me.

JB heads to the Grand Palace hotel, where she finds the missing skirt in the unclaimed dry cleaning, complete with room number. She goes up to the room, convinced that that is where Liz was killed. Inside, her attention is drawn to a broken curtain runner when the door opens and Art Gelber appears, holding the missing piece in his hands, freshly found by one of his associates. They test it and it’s a match. Housekeeping has already been through, but Art calls the forensic team anyway to see if they can find anything.

Later that afternoon Jess is pacing her apartment like she’s watching Richmond play football. me Brynie tells her to relax, but she’s worried the killer is going to get away. Art finally calls in to tell her they got nothing, but JB is already way ahead – the killer doesn’t know they didn’t find anything. It’s time to flush the mole out.

JB has a quiet word with Louis Palermo that the police have found some forensic evidence that will identify the killer and sits back to wait. Sure enough, the mole returns to try and set fire to the hotel room that could identify him. Which is ironic, because I’d forgotten he existed.

I didn’t even know this character had a name to be honest.

That is Fred Chandler, lackey #1 in Max’s organisation, and also the mole. He took the money and the disks to make his exit from being a mole much easier.

Who cares. Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do, and I’m going to have a nap to celebrate. Nobody naps like I do, I take the best naps. Oh God, I sound like Donald Trump, I take it all back.

Oooh icecream! Now there’s a thought.

S09E02 – Family Secrets

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Reader beware: I’ve been up since 5am watching the Eurovision final. There will be spoilers. Also I am in desperate need of coffee but my grocery delivery hasn’t arrived yet. Read on at your own peril.

JB is hard at work at the Cabot Cove library researching poisons/watching the Eurovision vote on her newfangled contraption people are calling a laptop.

I am happy Portugal won, it’s a lovely song. But Europe, we really need to talk.

Jess decides a lock-in at the library is in order, and so librarian Arnold Lumis leaves her to find which poison will do the trick in her next book. Soon after he leaves, Jessica notices a shadowy figure lurking in the shadows.

It’s JB’s former student, Randall Sloane, taking time out from being a reporter and back in town researching a book. JB is eager to hear more so they arrange to meet for breakfast the next morning. Randall is first to the diner, and takes the opportunity to arrange an afterwork meeting with Sally the waitress but she’s not interested.

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. The actress playing Sally just offered JB some coffee and my doorbell rang and now my groceries are here which means I get coffee oh GOD I’m so tired.

Randall tries again to arrange a meeting with Sally but she shoots him down like Europe did to my hopes of a Montenegran victory in Eurovision. JB is eager to hear more about the book and Randall tells her it’s about Margaret Babbington – the biggest scandal that ever happened in Cabot Cove. And let’s face it guys, there’s been some scandals. Jess tells him that story must have been done to death but Randall has an angle that’s going to tear a hole in Cabot Cove.

Except I was drinking lemon tea on account of destroying my voice trying to yodel rap a-la Romania (who should have gotten more points)

Later on, JB is kicking back in House Fletcher testing poisons out on Seth (not literally) when the Sheriff arrives looking stressed out. Some journalist is harassing him for access to the Margaret Babbington case files.

“Ah, Randall Sloane.” JB smiles.

“Yeah how did you know?” Says Mort.

Amos would be proud Seth.

Seth and JB explain the case to Mort. Back in ye olde times, specifically the 50s, Margaret Babbington, Owen Abbott, Emily Weymouth and George Latimer were out gallivanting around Cabot Cove when the two couples got separated, there was an accident with the gun and Owen ended up dead, while Margaret ended up in a sanitarium and died a short time later. Mort thinks that’s pretty open and shut, and wonders what Randall is getting at.

Across the road from the diner, Neal Latimer is watching Sally through a window, which isn’t creepy at all especially since they aren’t going out any more. Neal’s father George takes time out from business deals to wish that his son would date someone more appropriate like Janet Weymouth, but Neal says he was never a fan of frostbite.

(Meanwhile, Australia is having a meltdown about the streaker. 50% are furious that people keep calling him Australian when he was actually Ukranian, and 50% are furious that a Ukranian stole their idea. What a time to be alive).

Jess and Seth hit the docks for poison inspiration when they bump into Janet Weymouth herself. They ask after her mother and she tells them Emily rarely leaves the house or sees anyone. She was asking after JB though so Jess promises to pop round for a cup of tea. Pushing her luck, Janet reminds Jess about the community centre fundraiser happening that afternoon, and Jess says she’ll be there. Seth wants no bar of it, he’ll spend money and he doesn’t like spending money.

So I was really gunning for Moldova this year. This is how much of a nerd I am, I recognised them from the 2010 contest. And epic sax man deserves all the awards. But Portugal was adorable.

Janet goes to see her mother, who is the architect for the fundraiser, but she won’t be attending. Emily is on the phone trying to find out what Randall is up to but won’t tell her daughter why she cares so much.

Later at the fundraiser, while Seth moans about the cost, Neal corners Sally in the kitchen. He wants her to be patient but she’s done – it’s not about them any more as much as it’s about Neal and his father. Janet barrels along and is pleased to announce that the fundraiser is a success, and George Latimer is pleased to announce that they will name the centre after Emily Weymouth. Randall spots Sally and tries to talk to her but is pounced on by Janet Weymouth who wants to know what his book is about. He tells her Margaret Babbington and the room goes quiet. He excuses himself and goes after Sally but she’s already driving away. George Latimer, who overheard the whole conversation comes up to Randall and wonders what it would take for Randall to not write the book but Randall’s not backing off, not even for a thinly disguised threat.

That afternoon Seth drives JB up to see Emily Weymouth and wants a full report of the inside of the house – not many people get invited in. As Jessica goes up the stairs she sees George Latimer drive away. Inside, Jess and Emily chat over tea. Emily knows Jess was Randall’s teacher, maybe she could have a word to him about not writing the book? Jess says no chance, and maybe sitting down with Randall might do Emily some good?

Over at the library Randall is doing more research but stops when Arnold starts lurking around. Turns out they went to school together, and Arnold has literary aspirations too, but none of them have worked out.

Yes I know Australia isn’t part of Europe, but exactly how European is Israel and besides we are like the 4th biggest Eurovision audience so you know, we’re here now.

Jess pops in to the library to continue to research new ways to kill people and asks Randall how it’s all going. Randall tells her half the town won’t talk to him and the other half is furious that he’s even writing the book and Arnold is sad he can’t co-write the book (literally didn’t say that at all, but whatever). Jess tells him to keep going, but to be careful. Later that night, Randall gets a visit from Neal Latimer, wanting to smooth things over post fight between George and Randall, and also to suggest Randall should leave the book alone. Randall says nothing doing.

The next morning, Arnold arrives to open the library with Sally and finds Randall dead on the floor. That shock is up there with Cyprus and Greece giving each other 12 points.

Mort, Seth and JB arrive in that order (for a change), and JB gets to work. Arnold tells her he was there to open up the library and Sally was there early to meet with Randall as per his request. She assumes it was another pick-up attempt but Jessica thinks the library at that hour is a weird time to make romantic overtures. I don’t think Jess has seen some of the people who frequent the library. Shady. They find a key under Randall’s body but not his briefcase or his book notes.  Mort and Jess go up to the Hill House to test the key but it doesn’t fit Randall’s room. They hear glass break and so Mort kicks the door open to find Neal going through Randall’s things.

That afternoon Sally pops round to House Fletcher looking for help – the Sheriff is convinced Neal Latimer killed Randall but Sally can’t believe it. Jess asks her what Randall wanted to talk to her about, and Sally tells her it was mostly to do with her upbringing in the orphange – looking at old photos and paperwork, that sort of thing. Jess asks Sally to bring it all over so she can have a little look at it.

Released for now, Neal goes to see his father, who has a pretty good idea about why Neal was snooping. He tells his son the true story of Margaret Babbington – there was an argument, but the shotgun didn’t go off by accident. Margaret killed Owen deliberately.

Jess has come to this conclusion on her own, and wonders why Margaret reacted the way she did. Suddenly she has a thought and calls the sanitarium in Portland to ask about her cause of death. They call her back a short time later with confirmation  – Margaret died in childbirth.

Yeah you know where this is going. Just like Seth knows where that apple pie is going.

Oh man I’m hungry

Jess goes to see Margaret’s cousin, Emily Weymouth, who confirms that Margaret had a baby. She covered it up so that the child wouldn’t have to suffer the stigma of the mother’s crime. The night Randall died he came round to talk about it, she tried to buy him off but he wouldn’t accept the payment. She didn’t kill him.

Jess happens to believe her. Because she’s just worked out who the actual killer is.

So I was kind of hazy on why too.

Janet overheard a conversation between her mother and Randy where Randy refused to take a buyoff from Emily. She followed Randy to the library to talk him out of the book, if the true Babbington heir came forward they would be left without a cent. And it turns out that key belonged to her.

I need a nap. Lisbon 2018 you guys.

Later Fletcherfans.

S09E01 – Murder in Milan

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Welcome to season nine, (welcome to a new version of the theme song I think) and welcome to Milan Fletcherfans!

The Milan Film Festival is on, and anyone who is anyone and some people who aren’t are in town to congratulate themselves on a marvellous bit of film-making. One film in particular, All the Murderers, is garnering a bit of attention, as it’s based on a book by a certain mystery author we all know and worship.

Also, Caesar Romero is in town working it with the ladies under the name of Marcello Abruzzi.

“Whoever voted for Nick Nolte as sexiest man alive clearly hasn’t seen Marcello Abruzzi” says the Countess. 

Nick Nolte was hot #ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s. I’ve conducted a thorough analysis of Nick Nolte, for science, and have concluded however that the Countess is in fact correct. Myth confirmed.

Anyway, the director of All The Murderers, Jim Randall, is drifting through the festival with his girlfriend/leading actress Louise Thayer, before excusing himself to go and meet his rival for the top gong, Steve Morrison, who produced competing film Day of Heroes. Steve wants Jim to direct his next picture, but Jim is under contract for two more years to Catherine Wayne productions and from the sound of things she’s not likely to loan him out. Jim says he is on his way to speak to her and Steve tells him to do what he has to – throw her off the roof if necessary.

Hashtag foreshadowing.

Our Heroine rolls up at that moment, much to the delight of the gathered paparazzi. Wouldn’t you know it, Jim’s father lives in Cabot Cove and Jim used to make short films up there during the summer so Jessica was delighted that he ended up directing the film of her book. WHAT WERE THE ODDS.

Tired of the surging pack of reporters and paparazzi, Jessica squints across the foyer of the hotel and says “Is that Mel Gibson?”

The pack disperses.

#ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s

Jim takes Jess to meet Paul Crenshaw, a man who wanted to produce All The Murderers but was beaten out by Catherine Wayne. Paul has just got off the phone with some bad news and so they leave him to it. I think. To be honest at this point I was watching the background extras – specifically a group of photographers taking photos of what I thought was each other, while a Sikh family looked on.

Both times I have watched this episode and I can’t not watch these guys.

Jess flees to the safety of her non-smoking suite, while Jim goes to see Catherine Wayne. She’s heard the rumours about Arc of Steel, the film Steve Morrison is putting together, and there’s no way she’s letting Jim out of her contract with him. They argue and Jim storms out.

Turns out Catherine has a bit on just at the moment – she’s just found out that All The Murderers is a million dollars over budget, and there are payments to accounts she doesn’t recognise. She tells her accountant, Tom Hillier, and he promises to look into it.

At lunch, Jim introduces Jess to Steve Morrison, and JB is delighted to see her old friend Andrew Thayer, who it turns out is Louise’s father. They sit down to lunch and Tom Hillier passes by. He stops to say hello but gets a phone call on his fancy cellular phone from Katherine and has to rush off. Word has got out about the dodgy accounting but Tom tells them he is going to get to the bottom of it. After he leaves Jim tells JB that Tom was and probably is still in love with Katherine.

That night is the black tie gala screening of All the Murderers and it’s a resounding success, naturally. Jess congratulates Katherine on the film and then hides behind a program while Katherine and Paul Crenshaw get into an argument.

THIS IS THE FACE OF INFORMATION ACQUISITION

After the screening everyone heads to the Countess’s palazzo for the party. Steve confronts Katherine but she says noone steals from Katherine Wayne. The Countess demands only smiles at her party.

Meanwhile…

Cesar is tearing up Milan.

Jess takes a break from Marcello’s wily charms and has a chat to Andrew Thayer, who is delighted to see Louise and Jim so happy. He tells Jess Jim has been a great support to them both, especially since Andrew hasn’t really worked in a while, and has offered Andrew to collaborate on the script for Arc of Steel. Across the room Tom tells Jim about the dodgy accounting and asks him to stop by his office in the morning to talk about it.

The next morning, Louise runs into Katherine at the cafe in the hotel. Katherine has a business proposition for Louise – a starring role in Katherine’s next picture and a screenwriting job for Andrew if Louise convinces Jim to abandon Arc of Steel. Louise tells Katherine to go to hell. YOU GO GIRL.

Jess pops by Katherine’s office later on. Katherine is in the middle of something but tells JB that Jim is in with Tom Hillier and would like a word. She sticks her head in and Jim asks her to lunch with himself and Louise. Tom waves but is busy on the phone and waving for Jim to bring him the giant marble ashtray sitting on the desk.

In her office, Katherine explains about the stand-off between herself and Jim but Jessica isn’t getting involved. Katherine also has a list of undecided prize jurors who she thinks Jess might be able to glad-handle into giving the top gong to All the Murderers but Jess says that’s not her style. If All The Murderers is the best film it will win, if not some other fine film will. Katherine hands over Jess’s itinerary for while she’s in Milan.

If you throw that much shade at JB you’d better accept the consequences. Which is presumably being murdered.

Down by the pool later that afternoon Jim and Louise announce their engagement. While the champagne flows and the toasts are declared, a phone on the table rings – it’s Katherine. She wants to meet Jim in her suite in an hour. When Jim arrives there he’s steeled for a fight but Katherine wants to talk about the dodgy accounting. Before she can explain there’s a call from Tom Hillier looking for Jim. When Jim gets off the phone he tells Katherine he has to make a personal call and goes into the next room.

Later, JB leaves a press conference and heads back to her room, while Louise goes in search of Jim at Katherine’s suite. As JB arrives on the floor, there’s screams from a maid. JB rushes in and finds Louise standing in Katherine’s room while Jim hovers over Katherine’s dead body. He’d been in the next room, he tells JB, and when he came out she was dead on the floor, an ashtray next to her head.

(Now if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you know who the killer is at this point. But let’s all play along because the writers had 15 more minutes so let’s pretend we have no idea who could have possibly killed Katherine Wayne).

Inspector Lombardo is called to the scene, and quickly succumbs to JB’s charms. He allows her to stick around and watch him work. He asks Jim about the phone call with Tom Hillier and he says that Tom told him to call back from the phone in the bedroom on Tom’s private line so Katherine couldn’t hear their conversation, but that when he tried the line there was no answer. He tried two or three times, but couldn’t get through so went back into the main room and found Katherine’s body. Louise tells Lombardo she’d come to give Jim his notebook that he’d left on the terrace, he never went anywhere without it. Lombardo tells Jim to go down to the precinct for more questions. They are interrupted by paparazzo and long-time JB fan Giorgio on the balcony taking photos. The police escort him out and JB goes to take a look outside, inadvertently locking herself out in the process. Lombardo comes to her aid, and delightedly tells her that she’s just proven that the only way into the room is through the hallway.

Jess sees Steve Morrison down by the pool, already working hard to get the ball rolling on Arc of Steel. He tells Jess he was in a screening at the time of the murder, so he’s off the hook. JB’s next visit is to Tom Hillier, who says that he sat waiting for Jim to call back but that the phone never rang. Inspector Lombardo calls up to tell JB that they found Jim’s fingerprints all over the murder weapon – the ashtray.

Jessica goes to see Jim in the cells and he tells her he never touched the ashtray. Jess is suspicious of this business with the dodgy accounting, and Jim tells her that’s what Katherine wanted to see him about – there were account numbers she didn’t recognise but that she never got to tell him more than that.

Hot on the trail, JB sneaks into Katherine’s office to get some more info.

Pretty sure this is what Julian Assange looked like creating Wikileaks.

Jess tracks the accounts to company names and then calls her lawyer Jonathan in London to get him to find out more information. After, as she’s leaving the hotel, she notices a conveniently disguised ladder leading up to the balcony of Katherine’s room.

That night, Jessica is about to go to dinner with Marcello Abruzzi when a) he lights up and b) a lightbulb goes off.

Alright, enough of these shenanigans, you know what the deal is.

THE SHOCK!

IT’S ALWAYS THE ACCOUNTANT.

But for real though – tracking phone accounts, getting cellular phone records, calling them cellular phones, being thankful for Mel Gibson – this ticked all the 90s boxes. All that was missing was a Rachel haircut.

Later gang!

S08E22 – Murder on Madison Avenue

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It’s Season 8 finale time Fletcherfans! We find JB back in the Big Apple, off to yet another fancy business meeting because that’s just how she rolls. As she rides the elevator up, a gloved hand slips a piece of paper into her handbag. Shenanigans are afoot. (Or to be accurate, a gloved hand but whatever).

Jess arrives just in time to see a press conference wrapping up with the company’s vice-president Meredith Delaney, who is explaining to the assembled press that she has decided to pit two competing ad agencies in a Hunger Games style fight to the death to see who will get the Marathon Toys account.

Some of that might not be true.

Meredith also announces that Marathon Toys is currently in negotiations with a top crime novelist about developing a murder-solving board game called Murder Will Out (*coughs*).  Now wouldn’t you just know it, but one of the creative directors, Brian Singer (The Boss Lady’s nephew in real life), just happens to know Jessica, so when he spots  her loitering in the reception area at the end of the press conference, he delightedly puts two and two together. He introduces JB to his boss, Miles Packard, who is interrupted by the arrival of his competitor Boris Steloff who wants to wish Miles good luck. Miles informs him he is well aware Boris has taken the competition into the bedroom.

This seems to happen quite a lot to Our Heroine. (Also, murders. But whatevs)

Miles and Boris depart, soon followed by Brian who tells JB to meet him for lunch at 12:30 for a catchup. Meredith’s assistant calls JB into the office. Meredith introduces her to her husband Devery McFarlane,  who will be overseeing the games development, and then gets called to the phone. Devery tells JB  that company president Edgar Greenstreet is particularly excited about the game, and has a lot of ideas. JB is delighted, Greenstreet is a legend in the toymaking world.

Meredith gets off the phone and replaces her clip-on earring (annoying character trait or annoying plot point? We may never know), and informs JB that she is responsible for the business, Greenstreet is an eccentric and best not thought about. Righto.

Over lunch, Brian and his partner Amanda North chat about advertising with JB. JB finds a piece of paper in her handbag with Room B100 and a time, and wonders if there’s a B100 at Marathon. Amanda asks about another campaign she and Brian worked on, a makeup campaign, and Brian tells her he didn’t give the client her copy, her views about how to sell the makeup were irrelevant, honey. Amanda suddenly realises she has a meeting to get to and rushes off. Brian follows.

You sir, are not Don Draper.

JB returns to the Marathon offices, where she finds the mysterious B100 and enters the security code so helpfully given to her by the gloved hand. Inside, it’s like Wonka Land for toys, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

I would rather go cage diving for great white sharks than see that.

Jessica soon meets the man behind the curtain and it’s all you would expect.

If Jessica wanted to hangout with a man-child, she would call Grady.

Oh it’s Higgins from Magnum PI no wonder he sounded familiar.

Greenstreet, mad scientist that he is, seems to be on Jessica’s wavelength about the game, but when she tells him about Meredith’s suggestion that he isn’t really involved in the company he tells her not to worry about what that female Caligula said, and to not tell anyone she has access to B100. JB gets held up by the robot again, and when she turns back to Greenstreet, he’s gone. The robot tells her to talk to Brian about a game he helped market called Waffles, it had a very similar concept to hers.

This episode is 90% about Jessica reacting to being held up by a robot

Later that night, in the offices of Boris Steloff (and associates) Boris is worrying about the contract. Greenstreet has a soft spot for Brian and Amanda, and he has the final say about who gets the contract, so he thinks he’s in with no chance. Meredith tells him the relationship between Brian and Amanda is a bit rocky at the moment, so maybe he’d like to consider taking Amanda on as a partner – but if he tries to get in Amanda’s pants, it’s all over. Decision made, they hear a noise out in the main office  and see a shadowy figure running away.

Not one to waste time, Boris starts cruising the streets of New York happens across Amanda waiting for a taxi and gives her a ride home (as witnessed by a car lurking across the street). He convinces her Brian is holding her back and arranges to meet her at his office the next night to talk turkey.

The next morning Meredith resumes her role ruining lives, and eviscerates a dump truck designed by Frank Christy for being an accurate representation of a dump truck, not caring that Greenstreet overruled her requests for cost cutting measures. Jessica meets Frank leaving the office, apparently having been called in by Meredith. Meredith tells JB she’s heard some worrying news that Jess has been hanging out with Greenstreet and reminds her that Greenstreet isn’t all there and basically she needs to stay away. Jess is not on board with this and walks out. Meredith’s assistant, Moffatt, stops JB and tells her that Meredith just has a lot on her mind these days.

Meredith tells Devery that Frank needs to be fired immediately if not sooner, and Devery wonders when it will be his turn, on account of her sleeping with Boris and everything. She looks shocked but then tells him she wants him gone by the end of his contract. Hashtag capitalism is great.

That night Amanda goes to see Boris and hear his plans for her future, which include a vice-presidency, the likelihood of being made full partner, and all the makeup campaigns she can poke a stick at. They seal the deal with champagne, and Boris chucks in a kiss for good measure (pervert). Unfortunately for him Meredith is lurking in the darkened hallway and has seen everything. Sucker.

The next morning, JB meets Brian to discuss Waffles, which isn’t called Waffles apparently, it’s called Pancake Man. He’s not really focused though, he’s just found out that Amanda is leaving to join Boris. Meanwhile, Boris has just walked into Meredith’s office crowing about his success when she slaps him. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE DID LAST SUMMER LAST NIGHT. Boris storms out just as Devery arrives looking rather cheerful.

That night, Greenstreet and a couple of his robot sidekicks host a soiree to celebrate 20 years of Marathon-ness. Meredith, Moffatt (whose first name is Sylvia it turns out), and two men. The men receive cufflinks, the women get earrings. Jess stands front and centre, watching the proceedings and necking champagne when Devery wanders past to tell her not to worry about him not overseeing her project any more. Frank also wanders past, looking very jolly for someone who just got fired. Brian offers a dance with JB but Greenstreet steps in first, leaving Brian looking forlorn. Even Amanda isn’t giving him anything, she barrels past him and goes straight to Boris, who quietly informs her that that great employment opportunity he had for her is looking a bit sketchy. Greenstreet smirks away and asks Jess to meet him in his lair for a continued talk about her board game.

Brian sees Greenstreet leave the party early and decides to follow him. Later, when Jess tries to find him to tell him about her meeting with Greenstreet she can’t find him anywhere. She does find Meredith, who gets a phone call (and off comes the earring) and rushes off, saying she has no idea where Brian is.

Jessica heads down to the basement, lets herself in to room B100 and turns the lights on. Greenstreet’s train-sled comes whirring out of the back room, as the man himself walks into the lab behind JB. He grabs the remote for the train and turns it off. Meredith Delaney is lying in the train-sled, significantly more dead than before.

One of the NYPD’s finest, Lieutenant Hornbeck arrives and immediately declares it a robbery gone wrong when he finds an earring on the floor and a security cabinet broken into. Moffatt pops up to tell them that Devery is upstairs and they all troop up to talk to him. He has nothing for them, his wife had made plenty of enemies who might want the contents of the security cabinet. Moffatt chimes in that Meredith, Devery, Greenstreet and the designers are the only people with the security code. (*coughs* And JB *coughs*)

In the cab going home, Devery tells JB he’d long fallen out of love with Meredith, and now that she’s dead he inherits everything. He wonders what the police will make of that.

And you thought I couldn’t drop a Cruel Sea lyric on this blog.

Devery tries to deflect suspicion by telling JB if Greenstreet looks ten years younger tomorrow to check the annual report that is being released. It might shed some light.

The next morning, JB calls Amanda to tell her the news but she’s already heard. JB asks her if she’s heard from Brian, who’d been AWOL since the previous night, but Amanda tells her she hasn’t. At the Marathon office, Hornbeck tells her they’ve almost solved it, and that all the designers had alibis.

“Even Frank Christy?” Asks JB.

Hornbeck had the same theory but he had an airtight alibi, but also a 20K cheque dropped in his bank account that had just been removed as travellers cheques. He gets a phone call from the lab that confirms the owner of the fingerprints found on the murder weapon and the door to B100 is Brian Singer. JB scoffs but Hornbeck has his man.

Brian turns himself in to JB and says that he’d followed Greenstreet downstairs but lost him so he wandered around the workshops until he found B100. H tells JB that the door was open so he figured Greenstreet was in there and went in. He saw the busted security cabinet, tripped over the crowbar that had been used to kill Meredith, and hightailed it out of there. He never saw another person.

Jess agrees to help him on the condition that he turns himself in to police. Greenstreet calls JB to ask if they could continue their discussion re: the game, and JB asks to make it later in the day, she has errands to run.

Errands, apparently, involve going around to Frank Christy’s apartment. His landlord tells her Frank decamped for far away lands earlier that morning. Jess tells him she lent Frank her coffee pot and the girls are coming around for poker night, might she…

The landlord grins and tells her the door is open – Frank’s sister just came by looking for her breadmaker.

THE NERVE

That person, it turns out, is Amanda North looking for Brian. She’s worried he’s done something stupid. Jess tells her that’s what she thought too when she’d heard Frank had been bribed 20K for the access code to B100 but that she doesn’t think Brian is responsible. She decides to go see him in jail, and takes her earring off to use the phone.

Alright stop. I was around in the 90s. WHEN WAS THIS EVER A THING WHY WERE WOMEN WEARING EARRINGS SO CHUNKY THAT THEY COULDN’T USE A TELEPHONE I MEAN COME ON.

Anyway, this triggers a memory in JB’s brain and she goes to ask Moffatt about the annual report. It turns out Meredith had been quietly acquiring stock options and was close to having enough power to oust Greenstreet as CEO.

Down in B100 JB confronts Greenstreet, which may or may not have been a gambit to lure out the real killer, to be honest I’ve been googling giant 90s earrings and telephones and somewhat missing the point.

I mean how big even are those earrings

Anyway, Moffat loved Greenstreet and hated Meredith and there was an earring swap and well there you go. Season 8 is done and dusted. You guys there’s only 4 seasons left!

I BET JB CAN ANSWER A PHONE IN THOSE EARRINGS

S08E21 – Badge of Honour

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Welcome back to the Cove, Fletcherfans, where JB is busy minding her own business and baking cupcakes when Seth barrels into her house. Seth’s just discovered that his old army buddy Ben Oliver, who Seth thought was missing/dead in World War II, is very much alive and coming to Cabot Cove.

Erhmahgherd!

It isn’t possible for Seth to be more excited about this news, as evidenced by the way he greets Ben when he arrives in off the bus.

You know Seth is overcome with emotion when he goes the double hand shake

Alas for Seth, the excitement is short-lived. Ben interrupts Seth spruiking the features of his house and guest bedroom to inform him he won’t be staying with Seth.

After three days they start to stink (presumably also dead bodies)

Seth agrees and offers to drive him to a hotel but Ben just wants to have a seat first and clear his lungs after the long bus ride. He tells Seth he’s found a lovely town and Seth agrees, saying he’s been practicing medicine there for 37 years. Seth asks Ben what happened to him that day in the war (December 16 1944) and he says he woke up in a German field hospital then spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. After the war he was still in hospital for 2 years then spent the rest of his life wandering.

Seth asks Ben why he never got in touch.

“I wasn’t quite right. For a long long time. And after that it seemed like it was too late.” Says Ben. This episode has the feels already.

Jess has Ben, Seth and Mort over for dinner, and I think we should all just take a moment to bask in the glory of Mort’s manly man-ness.

Hey girl indeed.

Ben tells Mort he’s lived everywhere and done everything, and tells Jess he was married twice to the same woman but that it didn’t work out either time. Jess thinks Cabot Cove could use a man of many talents and Seth declares he can find Ben a job in 24 hours. Ben offers a toast – here’s to a lot of good men who died, and the best one of all who didn’t.

Seth hasn’t called Jessica WOMAN yet, he is not coping with all this.

Plot twist you guys! Ben isn’t the only newcomer to Cabot Cove. A bloke called Lawrence Jarvis is checking in to Ben’s hotel but tells the hotel owner not to tell his friend Ben he has arrived, he wants it to be a surprise.

That is an ominous grin you guys.

If there was any doubt as to his shiftiness, Jarvis then proceeds to break into Ben’s hotel room, (info he conveniently got from the front desk guy) and finds a gun under Ben’s mattress.

The next day is a beautiful morning in the Cove, and Seth’s wandered down to the country club to have a chat to Mason Porter about a) having his annual medical checkup and b) maybe getting Ben a job at his boat yard. Mason tells Seth it must be his lucky day, his mechanic just quit and he needs a guy. Everything’s working out great! Well, except for the fact that Mrs Porter and Mrs Dishman are glaring at each other a lot but never mind that because Mr Dishman is where it’s at yo.

FOR REAL THOUGH WHY DID NILES AND CC END UP TOGETHER I JUST DON’T KNOW

Time passes. And probably some more time, we’ll never know. Seth, Mort and JB are sitting down to presumably lunch and JB asks how Ben is going down at the boatyard. Seth says it’s all working out swimmingly and then tells them the story of how Ben saved his life during the war. Deputy Andy pops in to tell the Sheriff that the guy with the Detroit plates they’d seen lurking around is now down at the docks and he doesn’t know what it is but something seems off.

Mort heads down the docks and finds Jarvis sitting in his car watching someone. At first Jarvis tells Mort he’s just trying to work out the best road north but Mort doesn’t buy it and orders him out of the car. Jarvis tells Mort he has ID in his pocket and slowly pulls it out – turns out Jarvis is a private investigator tailing a criminal from Detroit.

“What criminal?” Mort asks.

“That one.” Says Jarvis and points – at Ben Oliver.

Mort’s day just got a whole lot more complicated

Later that evening…

(Not pictured – the bottle of wine and the roaring fire)

JB’s reading is interrupted by a knock at the door – it’s a devastated Seth with the news that Jarvis tailed Ben to Cabot Cove because Ben was a suspect in a jewellery story robbery. Ben worked for Jarvis’s company and was working security the day of the robbery, and despite being cleared by Detroit police, Jarvis is convinced Ben is guilty. Seth is shattered, he doesn’t know what to do – tell Ben and he might leave town forever, don’t tell Ben and betray the man who saved his life.

The next day Ben is hard at work on a boat when Niles Neal Dishman pops round the boatyard to buy a boat from Mason Porter. Neal has one condition though – it must be a cash transaction. Mason isn’t wild on the idea but he wants the sale more and so agrees to magic up some paperwork and have the boat ready by Saturday. They both see Ben on the boat listening and quickly end the conversation. Neal leaves, and Mason asks Ben to meet him in the office for a chat.

In the office, Mason has nothing but praise for Ben but think’s he’s overqualified for the job. Ben thinks this is the nicest firing he’s ever had, but Mason says Ben isn’t fired, he’s promoted to sales rep. Ben is delighted and can’t thank Mason enough. Mason calls his nephew Dave in to the office to tell him to find a new mechanic and once they have to start training Ben on sales. Dave would like a word with Mason on that topic so Ben excuses himself and goes back to work.

Dave tells Mason there’s no way he’s training Ben, unless Mason fumigates him and teaches him how to count to ten. UGH SHUT UP DAVE. Mason tells Dave that Ben has more brains in his kneecaps than Dave has in his whole body (accurate) and that if Dave ever questions his authority again, Mason will forget that Dave is his sister’s son (the word is nephew buddy) and will hack Dave’s little umbilical with a meat-axe.

I mean points for threatening but minus points for making sense.

Jess, troubled by Seth’s news, decides to to some preemptive sleuthing and heads down to the microfiche machine in the Cabot Cove library to read up on the jewellery store robbery. (MICROFICHE! Honestly, you young kids with your Wikipedias and your broadband internets, you have no idea how we struggled through the 90s). Jarvis pops out of a dark corner, and tells JB he’s concerned that Seth is too close to a wanted felon. Jess says she’s been reading up on the case and a) Ben is neither wanted or a felon and b) she’s just read about how Jarvis’s clients all dropped off after the robbery and that he had to file for bankruptcy. “Knowing human nature as I do,” says JB, “I wonder whether you’re blaming the wrong person for your failures”.

Jarvis suggests she add Ben’s medical records to her reading list, Jarvis will steal anything that isn’t nailed down and can’t hold a job. Jess suggests he doesn’t poison the waters in Cabot Cove, Cabot Covians ain’t got time for that.

Seth decides to tell Ben about Jarvis’s presence in Cabot Cove and Ben is furious – Jarvis hasn’t left him alone for a minute since the robbery. Seth tells him that the Detroit police have only said that the case is still open and that they haven’t got evidence either way of Ben’s involvement, but Ben is too steamed to do much.

That night, Mason is kicking back in his office with Mrs Dishman when he sees a shadowy figure lurking outside the window. When he rushes out to investigate he sees Ben walking down to the boat and demands to know what Ben’s doing there. Ben says he thought he left his jacket but it wasn’t there. Mason asks why he was looking in the window and Ben says he wasn’t – someone else was lurking around but took off when Ben showed up.

The next day, Dave Sanders rolls into the boatyard office and finds his uncle lying dead on the floor. Mort, Seth and JB are soon on the case. The cash Neale Dishman paid for the boat is missing from the safe, as is Mason’s wallet. JB finds it odd that someone bought a boat in cash but Dave says his uncle didn’t care about ethics, only about selling boats. And anyway it was obvious that Ben was the guilty party, he was in the office when Mason was counting the money – Mason was about to fire him so it stands to reason he’d take the money. JB spots an empty champagne glass and files it away for later.

Seth says BALONEY, Mason had just promoted Ben, but Dave tells Seth he’s dreaming and for the record Ben was nearly two hours late to work that morning. Dave swipes his security pass to let them into the boatyard, and goes back to work, as does Seth who doesn’t want to be any part of what’s about to happen.  Ben tells Mort and JB that he was at his hotel all night, except when he came to look for his jacket, he saw both Mason and the mysterious figure, and he didn’t kill anyone but it’s clear to him that they think he did.

Mason’s funeral comes and goes, the highlight of which is Mrs Dishman and Mrs Porter having a hissed conversation in the bushes – Mrs Porter can’t believe the nerve of Mrs Dishman that she’s even at the funeral but Mrs Dishman points out that they have one thing in common. Mrs Porter wonders just how soon she should tell Neil Dishman about what they have in common and Mrs Dishman storms off.

Neil asks his wife what the conversation was about and she tells him Mrs Porter asked her how soon she could date again.

“You don’t look good babe, how about a ride home?” Asks Neil. I AM SO NOT OKAY WITH NILES USING THE WORD BABE DEAR GOD I AM COPING WITH THIS EPISODE AS WELL AS SETH IS IE NOT REALLY.

Robin Dishman reminds her husband they took separate cars to the funeral and she would not be leaving her car there. She peels out of the car park past Mort, Seth and JB who are discussing Ben’s state of mind. Mort is looking forward to taking Robin’s license off her one day, but before they can go any further Deputy Andy pops up to report that they found Mason’s wallet and that nothing was missing but there were no helpful fingerprints either.

Seth finds Ben down at the docks saying goodbye to the water – Dave came back from Mason’s funeral and fired him. Seth says they’ll find him a new job but Ben says there’s no point, the town has made up it’s mind, and that he hadn’t heard Seth shouting his innocence in the town square. He asks Seth if Jarvis told him about his medical history and Seth says yes, but he’s only asking Ben about this now as a friend.

Says Ben:

OK then, I’ll give it to you in one quick swallow. You see, Corporal, when a mortar round hits close enough it not only explodes, it implodes at the very same time. This causes a vacuum, a force that sucks part of your being out through the top of your skull. For lack of a better word, let’s call it your soul. But what most people don’t know is souls are a hell of a lot more fragile than human flesh. Sometimes they just never seem to heal.

Meanwhile, in Jarvis’s hotel room:

#JerryOrbachForever

To be fair, this is not that dissimilar to how I binged The OA on my week off last week. But I was totes more elegant.

This is the scene when Ben barges in to accuse Jarvis of a) ruining Ben’s life and b) killing Mason and framing Ben. Jarvis says he might have done it for the money but he wouldn’t do it to frame Ben, Ben’s a ticking time bomb.

No kidding.

You can always tell when I’m starting to get hungry writing these, can’t you?

Mort arrives in the nick of time to break it up. A deputy walks in a short time later with some news – they’ve found a gun and wad of cash in Ben’s room.

JB is hanging out with Deputy Andy at the sheriff’s office examining Mason’s wallet when Robin Dishman storms in. She’s got a speeding ticket for doing 70 in a 25 zone and she’s pissed. She demands the officer who booked her be suspended immediately, she was leaving a funeral she was too upset to know how fast she was going. Andy shrugs and she furiously coughs up the 80 dollar fine, informing him that her husband will be furious about this. She barges out of the office just as Mort arrives with Ben.

Mort tells Andy to test the gun and counts the money found – it’s ten thousand dollars. Ben swears the money was planted, and the gun is his old army gun that hasn’t been fired in years. Jess asks Mort what they were even doing at the hotel and Mort tells them that they got a hot tip, Andy adding it was a man’s voice not a woman’s. Jess then asks Ben whether Jarvis followed him to the boat yard but Ben can’t be sure. Jess asks him if there’s anything else about that night he hasn’t told them, and he tells them about seeing Mason drinking champagne with his wife, the woman who just went barging out of the station. Jess thinks this is now much clearer.

Mort and JB head down to the boatyard. Jess has worked out why the wallet was missing – someone needed the security card to escape through the boatyard. They find a fisherman, Mr Wiggins, and Jess asks him if he saw anyone come by the night of the murder. He says he certainly did, but he couldn’t say who. He did hear glass breaking right after, and he’s convinced it was a man.

JB thinks this seals the deal and thanks him for his help leaving Mort more confused than ever.

10/10 beard work.

Ben arrives back at the hotel to discover Jarvis’s room is on fire. He breaks in and find Jarvis unconscious on the bed, so he hoists him down and drags him out of the room. Later, when Jarvis is recovering in hospital he tries to claim that he must have dropped a match in the bin but Jessica says no. He was knocked unconscious by the same man who killed Mason Cox.

And whaddya know here he comes now.

I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS

Apparently Niles objected to Mason banging his wife, and concocted this whole scheme to exact his revenge. And wouldn’t you know it, Jarvis saw the whole thing go down and decided to blackmail Niles about it, and frame Ben for it.

But luckily for Ben, JB was on the case. And lucky for Seth, as they watch Ben take the bus back to Detroit, he has some top-notch Fletcher cooking in his future.

OK I need to eat. Season 8 finale next week – only four seasons left!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S08E20 – Angel of Death

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It’s Ghost time!

My singing brings all the boys to the yard

The good news is, there is an actual ghost loose in this episode and it’s haunting an old friend of JB’s by the name of Martin Tremaine, and is also a ghostly beekeeper probably.

BEES?

Faced with the ghostly beekeeper, Martin calls JB in New York and asks her to come down to California to save him from the bees read his newest play. JB is neck deep in proofs for her next novel but Martin tells her to come anyway.

Martin is not short on opinions about his newest play. His friend and long-time director Barney Gunderson thinks it’s just a teeny bit too depressing to succeed, and actress Carol Kendall really thinks her character shouldn’t die in the second act.

Completely unbiased opinion, naturally.

Martin tells them this is the last play he will ever write, and so he doesn’t want it fixed just to sell more tickets. Barney tells him audiences need happy or they need hope. He goes over to a painting of Martin’s dead wife Vivian and says if she were here she’d say the same thing.

GHOST BEES!

Martin rushes out of the room and bumps into his step-daughter Courtney, who demands to know why he hadn’t told her Jessica Fletcher was coming to stay, her uncle Alex is also coming and it’s a bit hard managing a house without all the facts (also bees). Martin tells her not to change her plans with Alex, he’s feeling tired and he’s just going to go to bed.

In his room, he discovers his late wife’s music box playing away in the darkness. He slams it shut and heads to the bathroom.

WHEN BEES WORK TOGETHER THEY ARE AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE

Jessica arrives at Carmel the next day, just in time for lunch and Martin’s favourite story about the time Richard Burton went to a dive bar dressed as a centurion because he’d run out of booze in his dressing room.

To be fair, I don’t think there’s a story about Richard Burton that isn’t true.

Lunch over, everyone adjourns into the next room for port. JB has a chat to Alex (that guy in that screencap), and tells him she’s sorry she couldn’t make it to Vivian’s funeral. He thanks her and says they were close, the only children. Jess says it’s nice he can be around for Courtney, and asks if he’s staying long but he tells her he has to get back to San Francisco the next day. Martin shuffles over and hands her his play to read.

Later that afternoon, JB has finished the script and has some very definite opinions about it. She is soon joined by Lisa Ryder (the chick who was ghosting way back at the start of this episode) and her friend (and local cop, sure this won’t come up at all) Joe Connors. He quickly excuses himself to get back to work, but Lisa sits down for a chat with JB, who is frankly impressed at how well Lisa copes with being blind. Lisa says she struggled for a long time after the car accident that cost her her sight, but Martin was kind enough to let her stay on the property and she spends most of her time sculpting now and tells Jess to stop by the cottage any time to see her work.

Jess sits down with Martin to discuss the play – Jess is worried about Martin, even more so since she can quite clearly tell that the character of Mallory in the play is clearly based on him. Martin tells her he has struggled to cope since Vivian died, but that he knows that that it’s the last play he will ever write – he is going insane. Jess tells him people who are insane are usually the last to know about it, but he says it’s true. Vivian has come back to haunt him, because he killed her. Jess tells him Vivian committed suicide but Martin won’t be moved. He is responsible for her death and now he’s paying the price.

Uncle Alex bids Courtney and JB farewell, he’s heading back up to San Francisco. As he drives away, Jess tells Courtney she’s worried about Martin but Courtney says he’s been normal – older, since her mother died but it’s understandable. JB says Vivian’s death must have been hard on her too and Courtney says more than you could imagine. Jess nods then excuses herself – she has proofs to read.

JB’s quest to find the perfect proof-reading spot is interrupted by the arrival of a Big Dog.

(This is also my reaction when I see someone on my Facebook posting support for Pauline Hanson)

The dog’s owner, General Shark, appears to inform JB that she is trespassing on his property, Martin’s property ends at the tree and to tell Martin not to bother sending infiltrating troops, his property is well defended.

Hashtag crackpot.

That night, Courtney is in her room with her husband Philip, who is telling her to be nicer to her step-father, he’s leaving them everything in his will. Courtney tells him she’s seen the will and his name isn’t in it. Undeterred, Philip offers to help her relax (ew) and Courtney tells him she has things to do downstairs, and leaves. Meanwhile, JB and Martin are kicking back with a cup of tea and a brandy, and JB tells Martin she really thinks he should see a doctor. Martin tells her he’ll think about it and she bids him good night.

Martin finishes his brandy and adjourns to his room, only to discover the music box playing again. He smashes it against the wall, but then notices the bathroom door handle turning. The door opens and a figure emerges.

THE WORST KIND OF BEES

The figure crosses the room, points at Martin and then departs, closing the door behind her. That’s one polite beekeeping ghost.

Jess hears Martin yelling and rushes to his aid. Martin starts babbling about seeing Vivian again but Jess tells him she saw noone on the stairs. Courtney comes in and asks if he’s having another bad dream and he tells her yes, it must have been. Jess asks her if she saw anyone on the stairs but she says no. Courtney gives Martin a sleeping pill and says they all just need a good nights sleep.

Of course that was never going to happen. JB hasn’t even gotten her pjs on when there’s more screaming, this time outside. She races downstairs and bumps into Barney before opening the front door to find Lisa standing there, beside herself. She’s too traumatised to give them much so Barney and JB go to investigate her cottage and find Philip, Courtney’s husband, dead on the floor with a knife wound in his back.

Carmel’s finest roll in to start investigating, but Lisa doesn’t have much to tell them. She woke to hear a noise in her cottage, then heard a thud and a gasp, before she managed to get out of the cottage (not before tripping over something on the way). She also thinks her clay cutting knife is missing, but JB didn’t see it when she came in later and Joe Connor was unable to find it either. Joe’s boss, Sheriff McAlister wants to know why Philip was in the cottage to begin with but Lisa has no idea – he had come a couple of times during the day to say hi but that was it. Courtney also has no idea what her husband was doing there – she only realised when she woke up when the screaming started that he hadn’t come to bed. Martin staggers into the room bellowing that Vivian is trying to kill Lisa and collapses into a chair.

Later, JB pops in to the Sheriff’s office to get the latest and to find out more about Vivian’s suicide. The Sheriff tells her they don’t really know why she did it, but they did know Martin had a wandering eye, and the suicide itself was nasty – Vivian slit her own throat with a razor blade in Martin’s bathroom. JB mentions that Martin had been taking sleeping pills and asks the Sheriff if he could analyse them and he says sure thing. Joe Connors drives her back to the house and tells her he thinks Courtney did it – from what he’d seen Philip had his eyes on Lisa, but Lisa told Joe she wasn’t interested in dating anyone. Joe thinks she’s still getting over losing her sight.

As Joe drops Jess back at the house Uncle Alex rolls up. He asks if it’s true and Jess says she’s afraid so. Alex asks her if they know who killed Martin and she asks him just what he’s been told. He tells her that he had a message that there was a murder, but that’s it. Jess tells him Philip was murdered, not Martin and Alex rushes into the house. JB follows him in to ask some more questions. It turns out Alex isn’t Martin’s biggest fan on account of Vivian caught him in bed with Lisa on the day she committed suicide. Oh d-d-d-dear.

That night was both dark and stormy…

What happens if a bee gets struck by lightening? OMG TURBO ELECTRIC BEES

…so Jess goes to check on Lisa at the cottage to check out her sculpture/interrogate her. Jess’s theory is confirmed when Lisa tells her that Martin was driving the car in the crash that cost her her sight. They had been having an affair but it ended when Vivian committed suicide. In a suspicious move, JB moves the kettle to a different burner to see if Lisa notices and she does – she tells JB it’s because she could feel the heat. Awkward.  The rain starts bucketing down and JB decides to close the window, noticing a footprint and traces of terracotta on the window sill. She asks Lisa if her sculpture was damaged and she says it was cracked but is easily repaired. She keeps it wet to stop it from drying out.

The lights go out and then Jessica notices someone trying to get in the front door. They smash the panes of glass and JB activates her battle plan.

Guys I don’t think this is bees.

Jess and Lisa are saved by the arrival of Joe Connors, who came to check on Lisa when the power went out and saw someone running away as he pulled up. Good old Joe.

The next day Jess pops in for a chat with Sheriff McAlister and learns that a) Joe was on night shift the night of Philips murder, b) the pills that Courtney said were to help Martin sleep were in fact a powerful anti-depressant and c) Courtney is in line to score it all if Martin dies. JB thinks they should search Martin’s property to see what’s up. JB has a theory that Philip wasn’t the intended victim, and that the killer came back to the cottage the previous night to retrieve something he had left behind. At the cottage they find nothing until JB asks Lisa if her sculpture is hollow – it is, Lisa says, to allow the terracotta to dry evenly.

Back at the main house they’ve made a discovery in Courtney’s wardrobe – a ghostly beekeeping outfit. Courtney says it’s just a keepsake, but when they also mention they found her sedatives in Martin’s medicine container she comes clean. She wanted Martin to suffer for what he did to her mother, but when they accuse her of killing Philip by mistake she just shakes her head and says she won’t speak without legal advice from Uncle Alex.

Unfortunately for Courtney, Uncle Alex is just a little busy at the moment.

Busy going to jail, that is.

They bust him trying to extract the knife from the sculpture, but they’d beaten him to it.

The important thing is, the bees were innocent. And I for one welcome our bee overlords, may they be eternally benevolent and not the kind that shoot electricity at people after being hit by lightening which is totally a thing.

Happy Easter Fletcherfans!

 

S08E19 – Day of the Dead

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Hola Fletcherfans! Bienvenidos a Ciudad de México, where a mysterious masked figure is breaking into a museum and pinching a gold mask, and JB is in town to “do research” for her next book.

Me, after arriving in Mexico City.

JB’s next book is about an archaeologist, so lucky for her she is good friends with one – Cyrus Ramsey, who also happens to be the curator of the museum that got broken into just the night before, I mean what were the odds. Cyrus is happy to have JB follow him around to see how an archaeologist goes about his business, but his assistant Scott Bakter pops up to announce that the police have questions and paperwork for Cyrus to sign, so Cyrus pledges to meet Jess later.

Cyrus is being played by James Coburn. I mention this only because as soon as he appeared I said “That’s James Coburn” but I couldn’t tell you a single James Coburn movie. (I can now, I googled).

Before JB heads out looking for tequila to explore the zoccalo, Cyrus introduces Jess to Police Chief Quezada, who explains that all they know is that the thief abseiled in through the roof, which leads them to think that it was professionals. Cyrus warns Quezada that Jessica will have it solved before she leaves the building.

Back at her hotel, Jess is thanking Juan the hotel manager, who always looks after her when she’s in Mexico. He tells her he has already reserved her favourite table and she thanks him again before heading out tequila hunting. Juan has no time to rest though, a colleague wanders past to tell him that Enrico Montejano would like a word.

Enrico Montejano, it turns out, has a mutual interest with Juan – Juan’s daughter Rosa. Apart from being the owner of the hotel, Montejano is on the board of the ballet where Rosa dances, and has taken quite a shine to her. Juan says that anyone who disrespects his daughter will have their heart cut out, which doesn’t please Montejano who asks if Juan is threatening him but Juan says it’s fine. Montejano is only interested as a a patron of the arts, obviously he’s not going to threaten him. Montejano tells him to get out, just in time for Rosa to walk in from the next room.

Downstairs Jess and Cyrus discuss her plans for the next book, and Cyrus promises to take her to all his favourite places when Montejano pops up to invite Cyrus and Jess to his hacienda that evening for a small shindig. Jess can see Cyrus isn’t keen so promises Montejano that she will get back to him.

Persuasive Jess is Persuasive.

Cyrus later concedes he is not Montejano’s biggest fan, but the man does have an excellent art collection – including a hidden stolen art collection – and more to the point it will be excellent research for JB’s book.

Cyrus takes Jess to the town of San Ignacio, where the dig site is located. Preparations for Day of the Dead are well underway, and Cyrus explains the festival to JB – people write songs or poems, called calaveras, that mock the dead. In San Ignacion the townspeople put on a play mocking the rich and powerful (because everyone is same-same when it comes to Death), and Cyrus introduces JB to the person behind the calaveras, Ramon – former circus clown and current heartthrob.

Mexican Ryan Gosling there I said it.

Despite his own troubles – his wife is in hospital and as a result they are behind on the rent, a fact that that has not escaped Montejano’s notice – Ramon tells Jess that Cyrus is playing the lead in the production, a fact Cyrus neglected to mention. Ramon asks if JB will come and she says she’d be delighted.

No one likes a hold-out, Cyrus.

That night, Montejano’s party is in full swing, but Montejano can’t help but notice his beloved wife Consuela is yet to make an appearance. He goes up to check on her and she says they’ll just have to wait, maybe his new mistress can entertain the guests instead. Montejano tells her they can just get divorced, but Consuela says no, she made a promise – til death. She also tells him that she will celebrate Day of the Dead like never before, once he has shuffled off into the afterlife.

To sum up: everyone wants Montejano dead.

Jess and Cyrus roll in to the party and Jess tells Montejano how admiring she is of his art collection. Montejano commiserates about the lapse in security that caused the loss of the Montezuma death mask that was stolen from the museum. Cyrus excuses himself, leaving Jess with his assistant Scott, and Montejano. Consuela appears and tells JB how much she enjoys her books and mumbles something about broken vows before moving on to work the room.

(Me at most parties)

The next day, Juan confronts Rosa about her relationship with Montejano, but she says they didn’t do anything. Juan is furious, and asks her what Jason would think. Rosa orders him to never talk to her about Jason again. Juan forbids her from seeing Montejano but she just apologises and leaves. Drama-rama. Meanwhile Cyrus and Scott have taken JB to the dig site, giving Cyrus a chance to show off his local knowledge and his muscles, stepping in to help some people lift a stone tablet out of the pit. Scott tells JB he has trouble keeping up with Cyrus sometimes.

Back at the hotel, Juan has the bright idea to go into Montejano’s office with a gun, but he can’t go through with shooting him and Rosa begs him to leave. Montejano says for Rosa’s sake Juan will leave with his life, but he is fired from the hotel. Jess bumps into him in the hotel lobby, and asks if there is something wrong. He tells her he is leaving, he won’t be managing the hotel any more, and walks away. Jess follows him into his office to demand an explanation, and he tells her he tried to kill Montejano but that he couldn’t go through with it. Jess asks if it is to do with Rosa and he says yes – she was engaged to an American named Jason, but that he had died, and now she’s taken up with Montejano and he is evil but Rosa won’t listen. Jess asks him if there’s anything she can do and he says no, he knows what he must do. He packs up his suitcase, and leaves. Upstairs, Montejano gets a phone call from a mysterious voice telling him that if he wants his merchandise, meet him in the stables during the calaveras and to come alone. Montejano hangs up, as does Rosa in the next room.

That night, the Day of the Dead festival begins in San Ignacio and JB’s outfit is amazing, as usual.

There is no occasion JB can’t nail, wardrobe-wise. (And if you’re not already, you should definitely follow Murder, She Wore on Instagram for more Fletcher Fashion Domination.

Cyrus gets all suited up to play Death, and the calavesas is ready to begin. JB notices Montejano in the audience and Ramon tells her he comes every year, and every year doesn’t realise that the play is about him.

The play kicks off and JB is loving it.

I accidentally found myself in Mexico City during Easter, and there is a place you can go where they reenact the crucifiction. I went, it was crazy, I had no idea what was going on but I enjoyed myself immensely. No beer though.

As the show continues, JB sees Montejano leave his sidekick at the table and go outside. She returns her attention to the stage, where Death has just appeared to take down the fake Montejano.

Guys, for real, if that’s James Coburn in that suit I am the reincarnation of Mae West.

As the play comes to a close, a woman comes in yelling. The audience follow her out to the stables where they find Montejano dead on the floor, wearing the missing Montezuma death mask. Quezada and his men arrive on the scene and quickly take charge. JB tells him Montejano leave the show alone, despite his bodyguards protests, and Quezada thinks that the whole thing has gone down as a business deal gone wrong. Jess excuses herself, saying she doesn’t want to interfere with his investigation (LOL) but Quezada says on the contrary and gives her his business card in case she has any more insights.

Jess pays a visit on Consuela, who tells her she can only assume her husband was killed by a business rival. She tells Jessica that she didn’t know much about Montejano’s business dealings, her husband preferred it that way. She hadn’t gone with him to the fiesta as she’d made other plans – her husband often went without her for business, and for other things.

Consuela is next-level intense.

As JB leaves, she has a quiet word with Montejano’s bodyguard, Oso. He tells her he owes everything to Montejano and that he should have been there. He also tells her that Consuela was horrible to her husband and that Ramon was trying to take advantage of Montejano’s good nature. JB does not pass comment on this, but gets into the car. Montejano’s chauffeur drives her away, under the watchful eye of a guy wearing binoculars and a Hawaiian shirt.

Back at the hotel, JB is delighted to see Juan back at work, thanks to Consuela. Rosa is also delighted but suspicious – her father did not come home until late, but he tells her if she won’t tell him what she’s up to, he won’t tell her. Over at the museum, Scott is setting the alarm on the newly returned Mask of Montezuma. JB still can’t believe how the thief got out, but Scott tells her all it would have taken is some specialised climbing equipment. He started climbing at the recommendation of his friend Jason, the one who died the year before. Jess asks if it was a climbing accident and he says no, it was a car crash. He couldn’t believe it, Jason wasn’t into drugs…Cyrus appears and tells Jason to go meet his friends, he’s taking Jessica to Teotihuacan to see the pyramids.

That night, Jessica returns to her hotel room to find Hawaiian shirt guy in her hotel room. It turns out he’s DEA Agent Ramirez, and has come to politely request order JB to stay out of his investigation. He still has an informant inside Montejano’s operation and that despite Montejano’s death, the investigation can go ahead. Jess asks him about Jason Powell, the dead boyfriend of Rosa, and he tells her that Jason got mixed up with Montejano and ended up doing a drug run into the states. The DEA caught on, Jason panicked and crashed his car. Fun fact, he went to the same university as Scott the assistant, and Cyrus’s grandson, seen only in a photograph up until now.

Jess finds Rosa at the hotel and casually mentions she knows how Jason died. Rosa admits to being the informant, but says that she didn’t kill Montejano. When she’d heard Montejano’s phone call about the meeting she called Ramirez to set up a sting because she thought it was a drug bust and that they finally had him.

Jess and  Quezada go to visit Ramon’s shop, where they meet Ramon’s wife, newly out of hospital and relieved to announce they have come up with a solution to the rent problem. Jess wants to look at the costumes, and she explains that she always used to make them for Ramon when he was in the circus and does them now for the day of the dead. Jess pulls out two identical Death costumes and Ramon’s wife tells her she only made one. Quezada notices stains on the second costume that look like blood. At that moment Ramon appears and realises what’s happened. “Ah, so you know.” He says.

Know indeed.

Confused? I was.

I was ADAM-ANT that Scott was the killer, but I was in fact, wrong. This is a story all about how a grandfather wanted revenge for the death of his grandson, and so asked his good friend Ramon to stand in for him as Death while he went round the back and busted a cap in Montejano’s head.

Seriously though, go and look at that screen cap of Death. It’s not James Coburn abut it’s not Ramon either. TRUST ME IT LOOKS LIKE SCOTT, WHAT IS HAPPENING I NEED A LIE DOWN AND ALSO PROBABLY A TEQUILA.

Later Fletcherfans!

 

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