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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Later that evening…
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!