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S08E14 – The Monte Carlo Murders

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So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that The Boss is going to be in the new Mary Poppins movie with Lin-Manuel Miranda and you probably anticipated my thoughts on this but here they are anyway.

Seriously though. And Dick Van Dyke is going to be in it, I mean good god how I am I supposed to wait until next Christmas I already have to wait for Stranger Things and Westworld and Game of Thrones.

THE WAITING GAME SUCKS GUYS.

Speaking of things, we’re in Monte Carlo this week Fletcher fans! The episode kicks off with a cat-burglar (alas, not our favourite cat burglar) abseiling down the side of a building and breaking into a room where a woman is fast asleep. It’s not as entirely weird as it sounds, she is expecting him, but he’s not best pleased with her. Apparently she’s been flirting with someone called Earl Harper and he’s not having it. She tells him that she’s doing it for him – Earl Harper’s wife has a big fat diamond that someone with a certain set of skills (cue Liam Neeson impression) might want to snatch up. The cat burglar isn’t sold on the concept, saying he’s done time in a French jail before, but she promises it will be easy. He tells her he’ll do it, but if she sleeps with Earl Harper he will kill them both.

Our Heroine is herself in Monte Carlo, catching up with her old school chum Annie Floret, the owner of The Claudine Hotel. JB is eager for a tour and Annie is happy to oblige – she has a whole lot of fun planned for JB, including a reception that evening for the Prince of Monaco’s birthday, but first a tour of the Claudine. Annie introduces JB to the hotel’s piano player who has another job, you may be able to guess it from my subtle captioning.

Also previously seen in this episode.

Also previously seen in this episode.

The piano/burglar tells JB he takes requests and will be happy to play her favourites. She tells him she’ll get back to him.

Next on the tour is a visit to the kitchen, home of the head chef Chef Robertwho distrusts all Americans as potential spies for McDonalds. Not even JB nearly passing out from delight at a taste of his wares will change his mind.

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was the world’s famous chef. I’m pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was a nightmare, I’d ring home and he’d answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn’t actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling, he thought it was hilarious. He had another alter ego called Tanaka who was a sumo wrestler, don’t ask.)

JB has no time for this though, there is something in the sauce and she can’t tell what it is.

Screw a murder, JB's got ingredients to sniff out.

Screw a murder, JB’s got ingredients to sniff out.

They take a break for tea, and newest staff member Armand cops an earful from Annie for taking too long. JB asks if anything is wrong, and Annie tells her she’s fine, it’s just hard to get good help these days and it’s a lot harder since her husband Andre died. Annie also tells JB that she’ll be in the suite opposite Earl Fisher (quelle surprise) – JB recognises the name, he’s under investigation for insider trading.

Annie excuses herself to go do hotel things, and Jess decides to head out and do some antique shopping. A thoroughly unscrupulous salesman tries to con her but she is saved by the local policeman, Inspector Morel.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau.  Today is a good day.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau. Today is a good day.

Inspector Morel, a dear friend of Annie’s, offers to escort JB back to the hotel. As they walk, she asks him why Annie appears to be under so much pressure. Morel tells her that five years earlier, Annie and Andre borrowed money to keep the hotel going, and the man they borrowed the money from demanded a huge balloon payment – a payment due in three days. Guys will it surprise you to learn that the man who loaned the money – the man who is taking over the hotel next Monday – is Earl Harper?

I KNOW RIGHT?

Inside the hotel, we see Armande putting a bug on a telephone. As he leaves the hotel room, JB is entering hers across the hall. Conclusion – Armande is bugging Earl Harper’s phone. GUYS I AM NAILING THIS DETECTIVE BUSINESS.

As they get ready for the Prince’s birthday bash, Richie (Annie’s son) begs her to just let Earl Harper take the hotel so she can go on with her life. As they talk, there’s a knock on the door – it’s the man himself, here for his meeting with Annie. Richie leaves in disgust and Annie begs Earl  for more time but he’s not interested. As he goes to leave, he sees Peter Templeton’s girlfriend from the beginning of the episode stroll past in a red dress and tells Annie it’s a shame she’s not a younger woman, they might have worked something out.

Can't help but feel like I know where this is going...

Can’t help but feel like I know where this is going…

That night, JB and Inspector Morel dance up a storm at the reception. When JB decides it’s time for a break they head for the nearest table but bump into a man named Albert Devere, a creepy looking dude who wants to dance with JB. Apparently he’s her biggest fan. Fortunately Morel is there to help guide JB back to the table where Richie Floret is chilling out – Annie decided it was too late but Richie thinks it’s because of Earl Harper, currently dancing up a storm with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend while his wife is hanging out at the bar with his bodyguard Henry and flashing her big fat diamond necklace around.

Richie excuses himself to go take photos of the Prince’s arrival and Morel returns just in time to see Earl Harper have a deep conversation with Scott Larkins. Morel explains that Larkins owns a fleet of ships that Harper would dearly love to get his hands on.

Guys, sometimes I'm just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

Guys, sometimes I’m just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

The next day JB is caught in the lobby by Albert Devere again, but luckily Inspector Morel arrive just in time to extricate her and take her out galavanting around Monaco for the day. Meanwhile Richie and Earl Harper nearly come to blows, by which I mean Richie nearly stabs him with some scissors, but Earl decides to pocket the scissors and be on his merry way. Annie, who sees the whole thing, looks horrified.

Later that afternoon there is a fancy garden party for reasons I have apparently missed. Richie takes his camera and snaps pics of Earl’s bodyguard handing something sneakily to Scott Larkin and Mrs Harper looking angry at the sight of Earl making out with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend Barbara. Pepter himself isn’t pleased with the sight and goes after Barbara to tell her that she and the job are over. She says she’s fine with them being over, but she’ll do the job herself if she has to.

Larkin and Harper go into a room to have a little chat. Larkin asks him how he thinks he can just go around ruining lives and Harper tells him it’s a game, sport. UGH JUST KILL HIM ALREADY WHAT A DOUCHECANOE. Harper accuses Larkin of having a spy in his company and swears he will find him and string him up by his toes. They punch on and Harper leaves Larkin bloodied on the ground.

Meanwhile, JB is hot on the case.

Toughest case of her career I should think.

i2

Scolded by Robert, JB goes to see what Richie is up to and finds him developing photos from the party (fun fact, it was Scott Larkin’s party there you go). Apart from the photo of Larkin paying off Earl’s bodyguard, JB also spots a photo of Armande the waiter carrying an armload of audio equipment. She’s got no time to worry about that now though, she’s there to make sure Richie isn’t planning on doing anything stupid. He swears he won’t, he doesn’t want to stress his mother out more.

That night while more fireworks explode over Monte Carlo, Albert Devere tries to break into JB’s room but finds the door locked. Hearing someone coming, he departs. Mrs Harper and Henry the bodyguard wander down the hall, all over each other. Mrs Harper sends him back to his room, goes into her room and starts screaming. Shockingly,  Earl Harper is dead. Hearing the noise JB and Annie come rushing in. Annie tells JB to take Mrs Harper into the bedroom and tells the staff to get back to work. She asks Armande what he’s doing on the 3rd floor anyway and he tells her someone ordered alcohol. She asks him to find Richie but he tells her Richie left at around nine that evening and hasn’t returned.

Morel takes up the investigation and asks Mrs Harper what she’d been up to that evening. She’d been disco dancing with a certain bodyguard to “protect” her but it was unnecessary since she wasn’t wearing the Alexandra stone that night…she rushes to check the safe but the necklace is gone.

JB runs into Inspector Morel the next morning, but he’s confident he’ll have the case wrapped up by lunchtime. He knew all about Barbara and Peter Templeton. Barbara was seen leaving Earls room and since she has a reputation for luring married men into compromising situations, it seems pretty likely she and or Peter are involved.

Jess isn’t sure though and goes to see Annie. She tells Annie she knows what she did – opening a window and the safe while JB took Mrs Harper into the bedroom. Annie confesses to that, saying she was worried that Richie had done it and so made it look like a robbery to throw everyone off the scent.

Outside the hotel Jess runs into Barbara, who begs her to help get Peter off the hook. She swears he didn’t kill Earl and neither did she. She did meet Earl in his room, but it was to tell him to leave her alone. He accused her of spying for Larkin, as she’d been present when he’d made some business calls earlier that day and information had gotten out, so she left his room. She also tells JB the reason why Peter wasn’t seen at his piano the previous night was because he’d received a faked note from her asking to meet him. JB tells her she’ll do what she can to help, but she did see a photo of Barbara and Peter looking decidedly out of love from Scott Larkin’s party so there’s that.

Jess sneaks into Harper’s hotel room on a hunch and finds the bug that Armande had planted there. Remembering the photo of Armande with his hands full of audio gear she goes to see him and finds him lying on the floor, dying. She asks him who did this and he tells her something in French.

Morel has a new theory in light of recent events, including the discovery of the diamond necklace (sans diamond) in Armande’s room. It turns out Armande was a private detective, hired by Scott Larkin to spy on his business competitor. Morel thinks Armande got greedy, grabbed the stone and so Larkin killed him. He asks JB about Armande’s dying words and she repeats them to him. He tells her it means “in the fish”, and that Armande was probably delirious.

JB runs into Scott Larkin who tells her Richie’s been cleared, and Scott has loaned Annie the money to make the final payment on the hotel, so they are inside celebrating now that it’s over. JB says it’s not over yet and heads inside, where she runs into Superfan again, this time holding the book ready for Jess to sign. JB notices the title in French is Le Poison Dans Mon Coeur, and asks Albert the Superfan what the difference is between fish and poison. (It’s poisson vs poison, for those playing along at home).

It’s in the poison? JB has an idea and much to Chef Robert’s annoyance goes hunting around his kitchen for the rat poison. Inside, she finds a cassette tape that records the death of Earl Harper. The killer has had the same idea, but gets there just too late…

Noooooooooooooooooo

Noooooooooooooooooo

Oh Fletchefans. The things we do when we’re in love with a widowed hotel owner about to lose her beloved hotel to a raging douchecanoe. And by things I mean double murders.

JB of course worked it out ages ago, because she thought he was a better cop than how he was investigating the case. I think that’s how. To be honest I’ve been googling episode summaries of The Pretender this whole time so if this doesn’t make sense a) sorry and b) has any of this ever made sense ever?

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

You said it Jean Claude.

And on that note, I’m going to retire to my couch for a long congested nap. Guys, summer colds are the worst. Don’t get them. Let us leave this week feeling as happy as JB with a jar of Chef Robert’s mystery sauce.

Later Fletcherfans

Later Fletcherfans

 

S08E13 – Incident in Lot 7

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We’re in Hollyweird this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just rolled up to Universal City Studios meet the people who want to turn her most recent book into a movie.

Side note, I love it when an actor name is also a subtitle.

AMAZING NAME

AMAZING NAME

Turns out that woman opening the car door to greet Our Heroine is the aforementioned parked Lincoln, today playing Carolyn Price, the secretary of the producer Daryl Heyward. She’s been sent to escort JB through the lot to a meeting.

b2

*violins intensify*

*violins intensify*

At the meeting, JB meets Daryl, his agent Willy Montego, and the writer hired to adapt the screenplay, John Cavershaw.

e2

*intense violin intensifies*

*intense violin intensifies*

JB tells Daryl her publisher was impressed with his persistence, and asks him whether he thinks there will be any creative problems adapting the book. He says that’s John’s purview and John tells her he’s got a few fixes to do…

g2

…fixes meaning, making things more visual for the screen.

Daryl’s watch beeps, he has to be somewhere in 20 minutes. He’s set up a lunch meeting between JB and John to discuss the script, which gives JB just enough time to check into the hotel. Willie tells her she hopes she will enjoy herself – on the lot they are just one big happy family.

Cut to a bottle being thrown at Daryl’s head by the movie’s star, Leonora Holt.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Seems fair.

Seems fair.

The reason for the bottle smashing is a report in the paper that says that Leonora’s creepy nemesis Kevin Maxwell is going to be in the movie, but Daryl swears it isn’t true, and that the actor probably planted the story himself to try and get on the cast. Leonora cautiously believes him, and promises to come to the set later that day to meet JB.

Across town, on the set of Baywatch…

No seriously, don't. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the upside down now...)

No seriously, don’t. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the Upside Down now…)

…Daryl is on the phone to his secretary to tell Kevin Maxwell’s agent that if his client opens his mouth again there will be trouble, he was only offered the role on the proviso he kept it quiet. Daryl also says he won’t be back in the office for a bit, he has an errand to run.

Over at the lot, JB and John Caversham are having lunch and discussing his plans for the movie, which is based on a true story. Caversham thinks they don’t need to do much, just add a couple of car chases, 2 or 3 more murders and they’ll have to change the ending, audiences won’t pay five dollars to go and see it if they’ve already read the book and know who the killer is.

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

FIVE DOLLARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It costs 25 dollars to go see a movie! Damn I miss 90s prices.

l2

Tonight, on Plots, They Murdered...

Tonight, on Plots They Murdered…

Daryl, meanwhile, is about to do his errand.

Blergh,

Blergh,

Back at the lot though, a little old man is sneaking into a shrubbery in a truck.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Jess has given up on explaining to John what a nonce he is, so he has delivered her to the head of production, Ben Miller for a tour of the lot. As they walk, Ben asks JB if she thinks evil is a real thing. For example, say you spend a lot of money to convince the world that something is evil – does it then become evil?

JB thinks it depends on what it is.

“That,” says Ben, and points.

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

That, as I’m sure you know, is the Psycho house. Home of the originator of on-screen mummy issues, Norman Bates. Naturally JB wants to get in there and have a poke about, but alas it’s locked up tight. Ben promises to get the key tomorrow so they can go in and take a look around. As they leave JB sees a shadowy figure cross the window, but decides she’s imagining it.

Daryl has finished doing his errand (ERGH), and decides it’s the end of the line. She’s married to one of his biggest investors, she’s got kids, it’s all too complicated. He launches into a speech about Darwin’s theory of evolution and she points out he didn’t think it was complicated when she was convincing her husband to invest in Daryl’s company when it was about to go broke. Daryl tells her he’s grateful, they’ll do lunch.

Back at the lot, Carolyn introduces JB to Leonora Holt, who is thrilled when she discovers that the book is based on a true story and she will be playing JB (how she didn’t work this out until now is in fact a mystery). She can’t wait to spend all her time with JB picking her brain, finding out about her life and her work, how she investigates murders, how she dresses, she wants to make the role as true to life as she can. She’ll have to learn all those words like moxy and hood and how to put someone on ice. She wonders if she will have to learn to type…

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Faced with the overwhelming omnishambles that this production is turning into, JB goes to Daryl and says she would rather withdraw her book from the deal rather than see it eviscerated. Daryl tells her sure, no problem, they’ll get rid of John Cavershaw, he never wanted him anyway (which is news to Leonora, she always thought Daryl liked him.) Daryl has a brainwave – JB should write the script and he’ll set up a brains trust of people to help her through the learning curve and then that way Leonora can spend more time learning about her character.

“Oh no, I really wouldn’t want to impose.” JB says through gritted teeth.

That night, as Carolyn and Daryl are leaving, Daryl’s errand rolls up. Turns out her name is Monica. She’s not thrilled with the way things ended, and when Daryl tells her right now isn’t the best time or place to be discussing it she suggests they go to his place, to see what his wife thinks about it all. Daryl sees no reason for her to know, but Monica thinks there’s plenty – so she can hurt him the way he hurt her. Daryl says it will happen over his dead body and Monica tells him that suits her down to the ground.

After a clearly bad nights sleep Daryl arrives at work and tells Ben Miller he’s being let go for cost cutting reasons. Ben swears he won’t leave and Daryl tells him he can either leave with dignity and a month’s pay or leave with security. Ben tells him this ain’t over. At lunch Jess runs into Daryl and Willie at the commissary and says she’s looking for Ben so they can finish the tour of the Bates House. Daryl says Ben’s not available just now, but he’d be delighted to finish the tour with her and arranges to meet her at the Bates Hotel at 3 o’clock. As Jess leaves, Roger the Shrubber peers up over a menu.

That afternoon Daryl lets himself into the Bates House. JB arrives a little while later and sees a figure move in front of one of the windows. She goes inside and finds Daryl dead on the floor.

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

The police rock up and…excuse me I have something in my eye…

He's so young in this!

He’s so young in this!

Lieutenant Hanrahan listens as JB points out a few details in the crime scene, like a weird blood smear, but they are soon interrupted by Carolyn who would like a private word with the lieutenant. JB politely leaves them too it and joins the rest of the staff in the office. Ben comes in with a shaken Willy, who collapses on the couch.

The shoes are a thing, I'll get back to them.

The shoes are a thing, I’ll get back to them.

Lieutenant Hanrahan arrives just in time to hear Ben Miller say he’s not sorry Daryl’s dead, and asks him to go into much greater detail. Afterwards, he goes to see Daryl’s errand Monica to find out more about this fight she and Daryl had that Carolyn overheard,  and Monica says she didn’t kill Daryl and Carolyn was probably making the whole thing up.

Back at the office, Jess is worried that Daryl was killed because of the movie, but Willy says he doesn’t know anything about anything. Leonora thinks this is the perfect time to practice her 1940s noir detective words she’s learnt and starts demanding information.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting, probably.

Leonora takes her self off to practice more gangster words, and JB asks if Willy knew anyone else who would try and hurt Daryl. Willie says he gave the list of names to Lieutenant Hanrahan who told him to keep it confidential. JB understands, and says at least he got to see Daryl right before. He tells her they were in the commissary finishing the paperwork on his new agent contract, Willy was going to rep Daryl for another 2 years. Meanwhile, Carolyn is fielding calls and barely notices when Roger the Shrubber comes in to ask when Leonora will be in again. She tells him she won’t be back til the afternoon but the phone rings again and Roger says that’s okay, he can wait, and goes into the office.

Jess gets back to her hotel room, a bit tuckered out if I’m honest, and suddenly realises the news is on. She catches the tail end of the report and then starts channel surfing and wouldn’t you know, Psycho is playing on another channel. She watches on with interest as Detective Arbogast (played by Martin Balsam who was in these episodes of Murder She Wrote) gets stabbed by Mrs Bates and go tumbling down the stairs, before a knock at the door brings her back to reality. It’s John Cavershaw, who decided JB was right and has written up some new treatments for the movie. JB asks him if Daryl had said anything to him about the script and John says no. He also reveals that Daryl never wanted Leonora in the role, and so had hired Kevin Maxwell to be in the movie in the hope she would quit.

Back at the studio Leonora denies the rumour that she wasn’t first choice, or that she had any issue with Kevin Maxwell, but then JB is called away to the phone. While Leonora waits, she gets a visitor from Roger the Shrubber, who turns out to be her number 1 fan.

Poor Roger isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Obvious shrubber.

After some deft work from JB Roger is contained and taken to the police station. The gun turns out to be a prop from Leonora’s first movie that he wanted to give her, possibly in exchange for dinner. But he knew nothing about Daryl’s death – he left his Bates House hideout to go and get food and when he came back there was a body on the floor and the house was talking to him.

Poor Roger

Poor Roger

(For the record Roger’s real name is Oliver, but whatever he’s Roger the Shrubber).

JB has one last question – did Roger notice any papers on the body when he went back? Roger tells her yes, a whole heap of blue pages. Hanrahan says they weren’t there when the police arrived and Jess no. She knows what’s going on now.

Later that Ben Miller goes to see Willie to beg him to tell JB not to go back to the Bates House that night. Willy asks him why she’s going and Ben says she told him she was going to make the house talk to her.

JB arrives at the dark deserted house and heads inside. A quick test of the pipes in the kitchen and the bathroom upstairs reveal all JB needed to know, just as the killer walks in.

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there's been a willie of death it turns out.)

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there’s been a willie of death it turns out.)

Turns out Ben Miller wasn’t the only person who got the boot that day. Willie was being let go too, so he bumped off Daryl, slipped in some blood, went all over the Bates House looking for water to clean his shoes and THAT’S WHY HIS SHOES ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLOURS LIKE THAT TIME UP THERE WHEN I SAID I’D GET BACK TO THE SHOES JOB DONE.

Case closed kids. Time for me to have a coffee.

*cue the violins*

*cue the violins*

 

S08E12 – Witches Curse

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You guys, it’s been a while (and yes I did just sing that), but we’re back in the Cove at last. It’s a dark and stormy night, and a certain doctor is casting roles for the town’s newest theatrical production – a retelling of a classic tale where a woman called Rachel Abbott was burned to death for being a witch.

Seth is loving it.

Seth is loving it.

After commenting on one potential witch’s scream as “melting lead”, and gently telling Penelope that while Rachel’s role is bigger, he needs her to play the witch’s mother, Eve Simpson steps up to audition for the role of Rachel. (Fun fact, Eve and Penelope look about the same age, so Seth is clearly up to something).

Eve gives a command performance, but would prefer to update the script a little, make it more hers. “I can do a Blanche Dubois that will curl your hair.”

“Of that I have every confidence.” Says Seth.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

Just then, there’s a loud clap of thunder, the doors burst open and Stevie Nicks wanders in.

(It's not Stevie. But let's pretend it is because I love her a lot)

(It’s not Stevie. But let’s pretend it is because I love her a lot)

The woman apologises for her dramatic entrance and introduces herself as Mariah Osborne, aka the chick that apparently shot JR that time. She tells them she’s new in town, she’s just rented the old Walker place (much to the shock of others, no-one has lived there for 20 years) and she’s wondering whether there are any roles still open she might audition for?

Seth can’t believe his luck. It’s like Rachel Abbott herself walked in. Stoked.

While she still has to audition, some of the cast view her audition as a foregone conclusion. Judge Willard Clinton will be conveniently play the role of the judge in the play (method acting), and the role of the prosecutor will be played by Nate Parsons, local insurance rep.

Mariah’s audition is a stunning success…

Could not puff up any more.

Could not puff up any more.

…so much so that when she shouts a line about the bells tolling to proclaim her innocence, the bells in the church go off. Everyone in the room shivers.

The next morning, Seth retells the story of the casting of Rachel Abbott but is less than enthused with the response from his audience.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Mort’s response is to ask Seth if he’s been hearing voices again, which Seth decides is sour grapes because he wouldn’t cast Mort in the play as the constable. Mort tells Seth if he hears the voices telling him to go off and save France he shouldn’t do it, Mort saw how that movie ended.

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Seth tells JB the story of how Mariah floated in to town and rented the old Walker place, which JB finds puzzling – it must be full of dust, just like the court archives which is where she’s supposed to be right now. Seth drops her off and she settles in for some investigating, but overhears someone reading something familiar. She goes on the snoop and finds Mariah reading from the original transcripts. JB introduces herself and Mariah tells her she’s studying up for her role. Jess says the whole town is abuzz with her performance the previous night, and Mariah says it wasn’t her, it was Rachel Abbott. What’s more, she thinks Cabot Cove has a habit of ganging up on innocent people. She excuses herself, saying it was nice to meet JB.

JB doesn’t care right now.

#lifegoals

#lifegoals

Mariah’s next stop is to the Winthrop house, to return a shawl she borrowed from Lydia Winthrop the previous evening. She finds Lydia’s husband Charles at home, in a wheelchair thanks to a renovating accident, and offers to massage his leg when it gets cramped up.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Lydia Winthrop walks in at that moment, and notices her husband is having another of his muscle spasms. She and Lydia step out to give him some peace, and Mariah returns the shawl. Lydia tells her that her audition was quite extraordinary, and Mariah says she has always had a soft spot for the unjustly accused. Don’t we all, Lydia says but the phone rings. Mariah says she can find her own way out, but has a peek at Charles Winthrop before she leaves.

This'll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about...

This’ll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about….

She watches him put some papers in his safe, and then leaves.

Later that night Lydia hears the sound of breaking glass, and goes downstairs to investigate. She finds the safe wide open, and rose petals flung about everywhere – but as they report later to Mort, nothing appears to be missing. When Mort asks if they’d had any visitors, Lydia reminds her husband about the visit they got from Mariah Osborne the previous day.

But she absolutely isn’t trying to cause trouble though. No way.

That face!

That face! It turns out she was Mr Big’s mother in Sex and the City for like one episode. 

Mort thinks it’s odd that a thief would stop to scatter rose petals but not bother to steal anything, and Lydia is reminded of the speech Mariah has to give in the play about rose petals scattered in memory of blood spilled.

But seriously guys she’s not trying to cause trouble.

Mort takes Deputy Andy to go see Mariah at her new ramshackle home – Andy has it on good authority that Mariah is basically a witch but Mort tells him to calm down. Things do not improve when Mariah invites them inside and they spot a black cat and cauldron bubbling away with dry ice steam billowing out of it. Back at the sheriff’s office they fill in JB on the latest and despite JB telling Andy she saw Mariah buying cleaning products at the hardware store Andy is convinced she’s a witch. Mariah might claim she was home all night cleaning, but Penelope told Lisa Tuttle who told Sharon Goldsmith who told Andy’s wife that she saw Mariah out walking by herself dressed in black every midnight.  Clearly, a witch.

TEA-QUILA

TEA-QUILA

Undeterred by all the rumour-mongering in town, Mariah’s next stop is to see Nate the insurance agent (remember him) to ask about getting some fire insurance. It is an old house after all. Nate would be delighted to stop by and assess the property, and maybe afterwards they could get di-

“And a history of the place would be great.” Mariah continues. “Any old fire would have affected the structure of the property.”

Nate would love to help out there, but the company doesn’t like giving that information out, plus no one has lived there for 20 years so any files on the property would probably be in the shed behind his house but like he said, company policy. Mariah thanks him anyway and goes to leave – but finds Lydia Winthrop at the door. She was hoping to have a word with Nate about increasing her insurance after the break-in the other night.

Later, Jess bumps into Seth chivalrously  helping Mariah load paint into the back of her car. Seth can’t have his leading lady doing her back a week before opening night, and Jess says she’ll remember that the next time she’s shovelling snow. She asks Mariah what she’s up to, and Mariah says she wants to do it all up like the old photos. Jess asks which photos and Mariah says you know, photos of old Victorian houses.

Flagrant cover-up aside, JB cautions Mariah to store them somewhere safe, they are highly flammable.

Now what do you think we’re going to cut to?

Well I'll be damned.

Well I’ll be damned.

The fire in question is taking hold of – wait for it – Nate Parson’s shed. The next day the fire chief tells Mort that some sort of chemical was involved, and when Mort asks what was in the shed  Nate’s wife interrupts to say it doesn’t matter, it was definitely deliberate, she saw a pentagram on the door.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Penelope pops up again to remind everyone that Rebecca Abbott said she would return in storm and fire and death, and that Mariah Osborne arrived in town during a storm, and now there’s been a fire, so unless she’s very much mistaken, Mort’s problems are just the beginning.

That night, dress rehearsals are underway. Seth’s worried Mariah’s forgotten her script but she tells him not to worry, she’s memorised it. So well in fact, that when they rehearse the courtroom scene where Lydia’s character accuses Mariah’s character of bewitching her husband, she manages to insert a big speech about how Goody Butler is a small-minded bitter woman whose soul is as barren as-.

Lydia is outraged. Seth is outraged. That’s not in the script! Mariah tells them she read a transcript of another account of the trial and thought it would add to the character. Lydia storms out, and Seth declares a break. Willard Clinton (remember him?) wanders over for a chat, and they get a bit of a flirt on, much to the disgust of Penelope and Lydia. After rehearsal, Willard finds a note on his car from “Rachel” asking to meet the “magistrate” at 10pm. He returns at the appointed time, and starts looking for Mariah/Rachel. Rose petals fall down from the bell tower so he starts to climb. At the top, he sees a familiar looking shadow, right before it pushes him out the window to his death.

I wondered when we were getting to the murder part of this show.

JB wanders down to see whether Mort had it under control and finds him slightly panicked. He’s starting to worry that the town might have been right about Mariah. He shows JB the letter. Jess reminds him that Rachel Abbott and Mariah Osborne are two completely different people. Mort tells her she knows that, and he knows that but he wonders if Mariah knows that. They visit her at home and she tells them she swears she didn’t kill Willard. She gladly offers a handwriting sample and gets JB to retrieve a notebook for the task. JB starts poking around and finds a scrapbook with a newspaper article about the trial of Monica Walker, and a photo of Monica standing next to a boat.

JB is on the case you guys. She goes to the courthouse to find the court documents but is told all the files are missing. Curious, says JB. She’s also been to the Gazette office and all their records for 1967 are missing – could the trial have happened then. The court clerk tells her it did.

With all the usual sources gone, JB has one card left. After feeding Seth full of homecooked goodness, she pesters him for information about Monica Walker. He tells a sad tale – she was working as a secretary for Charles and Lydia Winthrop but then was convicted of stealing a diamond necklace. She went to prison for five years and then upon release sold the house and left town never to return.

JB decides a call on the Winthrop’s is in order. She finds Charles hard at work on a model boat, sad he can’t go sailing on his own boat until his leg heals. Lydia tells him she did warn him about the builders re-varnishing the stairs. They heard all about what happened to Willard from Nate Parsons, and there’s no doubt in their minds Mariah did it. They won’t feel safe until she’s been arrested and until then they are bumping up security and getting a new safe for Lydia’s jewellery. JB takes the opportunity to ask about the trouble Lydia had a few years earlier, and Lydia says Moncia Walker stole the necklace, she never did get it back why does JB ask?

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

JB leaves, but returns just in time to find Charles standing up at the fireplace. Passing no comment on his rapid recovery, JB instead asks if he remembers who the prosecutor was on the Monica Walker case. Charles nonchalantly tells Jess it was in fact Willard Clinton, right before he was appointed a judge. Jess thanks him and leaves.

Next, Jess heads over to investigate the crime scene, and is startled to find Nate Parsons doing the same thing. He tells her Willard Clinton was a client of his so he has to investigate the death. JB quickly concludes that there was no way that this was anything other than murder, and spots some long dark hairs caught in a nail. She grabs them to take to Mort, and as she leaves asks Nate if his company did the policy for the Winthrops. He confirms yes, for over 20 years.

JB drops the hairs off with Mort and is interrupted by Deputy Andy arriving to announce that the fingerprints on the Winthrop’s safe belong to Mary Lynn Walker. Everyone is taken aback, but JB obviously is unfazed. She knows why Mary Lynn has returned to Cabot Cove.

At Mariah/Mary Lynn’s house, Mariah comes clean about why she came back to town and admits to breaking into the safe to try and prove her mother was innocent. She didn’t kill Willard Clinton even if she had good reason – back in the day he offered to drop the case if Monica did certain favours for him. Mort doesn’t care and arrests her anyway.

Jess isn’t giving up though. A quick chat with the fire chief reveals that the source of the fire at Nate Parson’s house was a liquid commonly used in floor varnishing and paint removal. JB then stops by Nate Parson’s house to ask for records relating to the theft of Lydia Winthrop’s necklace, and to ask whether he had gone ahead with his planned renovations. He tells her they didn’t but they did get the floors done.

THIS EPISODE JUST KEEPS GOING.

Jess manages to find out via Seth that the hairs she found in the bell tower were from a wig, not from actual hair. This seals it for Jess but Mort is unconvinced. Only when JB manages to get the killer to confess that Mort believes it.

Let's be honest, this isn't a surprise.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t a surprise.

Guys this is what happens when you find out your husband is sneaking around with another woman, and you stage a theft to get her out of the picture, but the prosecutor who helps you stage it gets cold feet when he sees the woman’s daughter years later and so you have to kill him to shut him up really it’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

Ugh. It’s a hot and stormy afternoon in Melbourne and I need a nap.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

S08E11 – Danse Diabolique

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It’s ballet time Fletcherfans! The most excellent of times!

JB is off to the theatre in San Francisco, where a production of Danse Diabolique is about to be mounted. It’s only the third time in history, on account of the lead ballerina dying in the two previous attempts -the first, in Russia over a century earlier, and the second in Paris in the 1920s. The gathered press and JB watch the footage of the Paris performance – the story of two lovers bumped off by death but reunited in the afterlife –  and JB correctly spots cause of death as a heart attack and everyone is rightly impressed.

Solving crimes via television, because that's just how she rolls.

Solving crimes via television, because that’s just how she rolls.

Considering the body count this ballet has produced, one of the gathered journalists asks where they will find someone to dance the role. Producer Geoffrey Presser is delighted to introduce the prima ballerina who will perform the role, mostly because it’s his wife, Claudia Cameron. Another ballerina in the crowd openly laughs while everyone applauds.

The role of Claudia’s love interest will be played by a mullet on legs.

That is one fine mullet.

That is one fine mullet.

The person standing on the end of that photo, basking in the reflected majesty of Damien Bolo’s mullet, is Edward Hale who will dance Death. (He is also Duncan Macleod from Highlander, the tv series that I still can’t believe was ever a think and you should totally watch it on Youtube because the early 90s were a goldmine for ridiculous television and it’s good to remember how far we’ve come).

Introductions over, Geoffrey invites the gathered crowd to stay and watch the first rehearsal. JB plonks herself in the front row, while Claudia asks the laughing ballerina, Lily, what’s so funny – she tells her it’s hilarious to think of Claudia as a maiden.  Calling it early, Lily is a bitch. Meanwhile, Edward is commanding stage manager Barry Carroll (aka the guy with the eyepatch from Days of Our Lives for those playing along at home) to move a flat, but Barry says the pulley system isn’t working. Geoffrey tells him to figure it out and goes to sit down with Jess, who helpfully brushes dust off his jacket because she takes care of the little people. About 30 seconds into the rehearsal Geoffrey notices a flat about to fall from the ceiling and yells “WATCH OUT” just before it comes crashing down. Helpfully, noone was hurt.

Later, back at the ballet company HQ, Barry approaches Lily looking for a dinner date to clearly rekindle something they had previously going on but Lily gives him the cold shoulder. He tells her when he thinks of her with Edward he can’t breathe but Lily just waits for him to release her hand and she sashays away. Over at JB’s hotel room it is revealed that JB is an old friend of Claudia’s, but there was a specific reason she was at the ballet launch – they want her to stick around and be a good luck charm to protect the production from the curse. Not that they believe in it of course, but theatre people are superstitious.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

JB is technically in town for a book tour, but figures sure why not. She’ll be the resident cursebuster, no worries.

The next day Claudia confronts Lily about her behaviour and Lily promises not to act that way in front of the patrons again, but since there are no patrons there right now she thinks Claudia should retire gracefully and leave the roles to people young enough to do them justice. UGH LILY YOU ARE THE WORST.

Jess arrives at the theatre on her first day as official curse-buster and runs into Edward who offers his assistance. JB says he must be excited after being away for awhile and Edward thinks she’s being diplomatic – he’s been in rehab for a pill addiction but now he has a second chance so whatever he can do to help Jess she only has to say the word.

Barry Carroll shows Jess how the pulley system works, and what he thinks went wrong the day before – he’s surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, everything is old and falling apart. He tells Jess he used to be a dancer until a tumble off stage while dancing ended his career. Jess tells him the company is lucky to have him backstage and he is right chuffed.

Back in the dressing rooms Lily and Edward are going at it with their tongues. Lily is trying to convince Edward to talk to Geoffrey about replacing Claudia with another ballerina, say for example Lily, for the good of the company. Edward doesn’t think he can do it, but Lily tells him if he doesn’t, he knows what could happen. Edward nods and Lily beams. Oh piss off Lily you attention seeking cow.

That afternoon in rehearsals Claudia is struggling with the choreography and Edward is losing his mind. Damien is fine with changing the choreography but Edward calls and end to the rehearsal and asks Geoffrey for a word. Lily is delighted by everything. Later, when Claudia is leaving she hears familiar music and finds Lily rehearsing Claudia’s role. Except it isn’t Claudia’s role anymore, as Lily happily points out. This is confirmed by a sad Geoffrey and a solemn looking Edward. Claudia’s out, Lily is in. Claudia tells Lily she hopes there is a curse and that it comes true and Lily dies.

Fair call really.

The next day, Geoffrey finds Jessica backstage and tells her rehearsal is about to start. Jess tells him they need to talk. They adjourn to his office and Jess tells him she worked it out – it was impossible to reach the pulley that controlled the flat that fell without getting chalk dust on your clothes from the blackboard. And she remembers brushing chalk dust off his jacket the day of the accident.  Geoffrey comes clean immediately – he knew it wouldn’t hurt anyone and it would generate some publicity. He hopes Jess can forgive him and that she will still come to preview night on Friday. Jess says she’ll think about it.

Which is worse, obviously.

Which is worse, obviously.

Mullet update:

YOU CAN'T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

YOU CAN’T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

Honestly this episode is ticking so many of my boxes.

Rehearsal with Lily is not going well, as the mullet Damien is pointing out above. Lily is just not as good as Claudia, and a terrible partner. Lily tells him if he’s not up to it they will find someone who is, and Damien says she sounds like she’s taken over the whole company. Lily flounces back to her dressing room saying she’ll be back when they decide to act like professionals. Edward calls a break and screams at them to be better when they come back. Damien asks Geoffrey how he could replace Claudia and he says he had to do it for the sake of the company, and that preview night is almost here, they just need to pull together. Damien says fine, but one more stunt like that and all bets are off.

Claudia goes to visit Jess at her hotel to beg forgiveness on behalf of Geoffrey – they are all under enormous pressure and doing things they don’t mean (like yelling at everyone a-la Edward). Jess tells her it must have been hard to be replaced like that and Claudia says it happens – ballet loves young people, she just doesn’t know what to do now that she’s too old for it. JB reminds her that she wasn’t exactly a teenager when she started writing, and that age and experience are advantages not disabilities (Life Lesson #64).

Thursday afternoon dress rehearsal rolls around and Lily is nowhere to be found. Edward sends Barry to find her, and finds her sans clothes in her dressing room with Geoffrey Presser DAMNIT GEOFFREY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. After a bit of a scene Geoffrey delivers his message and returns to the stage, not noticing Edward standing in the corridor.

Preview night arrives at long last, and the scene backstage is chaos. Roses arrive for Damien, while Barry confronts Lily about Edward and Geoffrey and she tells him she’s sorry he can’t dance any more but that’s nothing to do with her and leaves. At the last minute a rose is swapped on the prop table, then curtain goes up. Claudia rushes to her seat just after the performance begins.

Basically the whole ballet can be summed up as follows:

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!... but you keep it all inside.

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!… but you keep it all inside.

Of course as Death disappears off the stage, it it revealed that he was a little too good at his job and Lily is lying dead on the stage. The curtain comes down and JB and Claudia rush backstage, but it’s confirmed. Lily is dead.

The police are called…

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don't even start me on Deadpool 2. )

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don’t even start me on Deadpool 2)

…and the accusations start flying. JB heard Barry arguing with Lily, which Geoffrey says isn’t a surprise it was Lily that Barry was dancing with when he had his accident at which point Barry says “when did she tell you that Geoffrey? When you were fooling around in her dressing room?”

Geoffrey says she called him to discuss her costume, and she was like that when she got there, dressing rooms are like that etc etc. Claudia looks horrified. Jess suggests they move to a rehearsal space so that Lieutenant Martin Kinicki can continue his questioning. He starts with Claudia and Geoffrey – Geoffrey admits to tampering with the flat that time, but says he had no reason to kill Lily, certainly not for publicity. JB asks Claudia why she was late to her seat when her car was out front, and Claudia says she went to get asprin, she had a terrible headache.

Mullet update:

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

Damien tells JB he didn’t notice the rose was real, what with being all psyched for the show and all. Jess notices a bouquet of roses in his dressing room and remarks how lovely they are, except it looks like one is missing. People usually order 12. Damien says he was lucky to get them at all – 11,12 what’s the difference?

He doesn't need to math, he has MULLET.

He doesn’t need to math, he has MULLET POWERS.

Jess leaves the mullet to meditate, but hears crying coming from a darkened room. It’s Edward, crying over what might have been – he was in love with Lily, he wanted to marry her. Jess consoles him as best she can.

The next day though, it’s back to work – undercover at a florists trying to work out who sent Damien the roses. Using a quality Southern accent and some bombardment she learns that Damien ordered the flowers himself. DUN DUN.

Down at the police station Damien confesses to swapping the roses, as a payback for Lily being a bitch, but that he didn’t poison them. This is confirmed by a passing detective who delivers the results of the autopsy – Lily was poisoned but no trace of the poison was found on the clothes, the rose, the skull, nada.

HOW ASTONISHING, says JB.

Jess and Kinicki head back to the theatre to examine the costumes. Kinicki wonders what they are looking for, but JB will know it when she sees it. Or in this case smells it – machine oil. Next it’s back to the police station to watch the tape of the 1920s performance in Paris. Between 6 cups of coffee and men prancing in long underwear Kinicki is close to breaking point but JB says there’s something she can’t quite put her finger on…

This isn't as funny as I think it is.

This isn’t as funny as I think it is.

Whatever Jess is pointing at on the television has solved the puzzle, in her mind at least. She tells Kinicki it’s time to go back to the theatre. “Aren’t you sick of that place?” Asks Kinicki.

“There are three things you can never get enough of Lieutenant,” says JB. “Chocolate, friends, and the theatre.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMEN.

AMEN. (Life Lesson #65)

At the theatre they take an electric lift ride up into the ceiling, until JB says “Say hello to our murderer.”

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

The next day, Geoffrey announces they will go on with the show, but a different show – Cinderella. The company aren’t pleased but Edward says the public love it. He’ll post assignments and they will begin rehearsal at 9:00am. Geoffrey says to make it 2pm – a maintenance crew are coming to fix the pulley system.

Trap set, Kinicki, and JB kick back and wait for the killer to come and retrieve the murderous skull. And he doesn’t disappoint.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Edward, permanently worried that Lily would reveal he was back on drugs, and seeing her with Geoffrey in the dressing rooms, correctly assumed that she would dump him the way she dumped Barry and took matters into his own hands.

So there you have it Fletcherfans! The show will go on and Claudia has decided to teach dance instead of perform dance. Case closed, I’m off to the beach.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S08E10 – The List of Yuri Lementov

4 Comments

Happy New Year Fletcherfans! I hope you had a lovely time over the festive season and ate/drank/slept a lot, as was appropriate.

Wouldn’t you know it – we’re in Washington DC this week! (#timing.) Soviet trade delegate/spy Yuri Lementov is retiring and heading back to Russia, and feeling a bit bummed out out about it, but has been invited to a trade reception that evening as a last hurrah. Jess is in town to catch up with a friend, Congressman Arthur Prouty, who wants to show her a book he’s written about fly fishing (not quite Dreams From My Father, really) in exchange for an advance copy of her new book. He’s forgotten to bring it though, and instead tells Jess to come to a certain trade reception that’s being held in her hotel that evening. Their discussion is cut short by the sudden arrival of Constantin Kesmek, furious at an article in the paper announcing something that means that his missile shipment can’t leave New York harbour. Arthur’s chief-of-staff, Harry Neville, arrives to tell Constantin he has an urgent phone call from Charles Standish, who is freaking out about the missile deal going south but Constantin tells him that if he starts taking risks now, Charles will lose the deposit on his horse farm, and his woman in Georgetown.

Constantin’s next call is to the aforementioned Yuri Lementov, to advise him he has the “materials” he requested and that he will meet him tonight. Yuri tells him that there might be a problem, but Constantin just says they will be inconsequential in comparison to the problems he will have if he violates the arrangement. Yuri hangs up, and retrieves a piece of paper written in code, looking worried.

Such spy shenanigans can only mean one thing.

Which is coincidentally how I sing the James Bond theme music.

Which is coincidentally how I sing the James Bond theme music.

Michael isn’t best pleased with Yuri’s retirement plan, but Yuri tells him his apartment in Kiev is tiny, and his pension even tinier. He has no money from his years of spying and so is doing this one last thing before he gets out of the game for good. Yuri is offering his merchandise to Michael, on account of their long history as Cold War foes, and that time Michael saved his life. (Merchandise is clearly code for something but I don’t know what). Michael tells him that he’s having trouble getting those twits at Whitehall (tee-hee) to play along, and he needs 24 hours, but Yuri says he’s closing the deal that night and getting on a plane at 8 o’clock the next morning. Michael threatens to shoot him, and says if the merchandise is damaged in any way, he’ll kill him and Yuri simply tells him death is probably better than his apartment in Kiev.

The reception kicks off that evening, with Arthur giving Jess a copy of his book and with Constantin having a run-in with Charles, who isn’t terribly pleased with the news that Constantin had a bust-up with Arthur that morning. He tells Constantin if he goes through with the Yuri Lementov deal, he can find himself a new lawyer. Meanwhile, Harry is hitting on a woman called Bonnie, who is giving him nothing so he accuses her of having an old man fetish.

“And thank God she does,” says her date, Sir Michael Preston.

c2

**Actual quote. Hegarty burn!

**Actual quote. Hegarty burn!

And then…

d1  d2

You can't prove Michael Hegarty's inner voice ISN'T Scooby Doo.

You can’t prove Michael Hegarty’s inner voice ISN’T Scooby Doo.

Just as Michael spots JB, Constantin spots Yuri and signals that he wants a word. At the last second, Yuri slips his coded message into Arthur’s fly-fishing book and quickly excuses himself. Michael bounds over, Bonnie in tow, and quickly introduces himself to JB as Sir Michael Preston before she can out him.

Poor Jess, she was just here to get a book (and drink the bar tab, presumably)

Poor Jess, she was just here to get a book (and drink the bar tab, presumably)

Michael promises he will explain later, but Jess says this isn’t going to be like San Francisco or Athens. Michael scurries off to block Constantin from reaching Yuri, leaving Jess standing alone.

Some things are too perfect to draw on.

Some things are too perfect to draw on. 

Arthur wonders what it was all about, and Jess says “You have no idea how much I don’t want to know.”

After the reception, Arthur walks JB back to her room and promises to pick her up at 7:30am for breakfast. He’s still struggling to remember where he’s seen Michael before, but Jess tells him on the few times she’s met Michael he’s been rather secretive on the subject of what he does for a living. Hashtag not a lie.

Jess goes into her hotel room to find Michael relaxing on the couch, assuming that Jess is hanging out with Arthur to cure a bout of insomnia. Jess tells him there is nothing romantic about her relationship with Arthur, which doesn’t mean he’s not very attractive, literate, charming, principled…”

“And boring” Declares Hegarty.

To be fair though, literate? That's a low bar. I hope she means "can spend a whole weekend on the couch reading and not talking" because that sounds amazing.

To be fair though, literate? That’s a low bar. I hope she means “can spend a whole weekend on the couch reading and not talking” because that sounds amazing.

i2

Phallic statue is phallic.

Phallic statue is phallic.

Michael assures her there’s nothing going on between him and Bonnie, she was just his ticket into the reception but JB doesn’t care. She wants answers. NOW.

Michael answers with a question – “Where’s the book?”

The book, is of course still downstairs, where a helpful waiter has just returned it to Arthur, under the watchful eye of Charles and Constantin.  Arthur in turn takes it up to Jessica, but when he sees Michael leaving her hotel room he hides in a potplant until he departs. After Michael goes down in the lift, Arthur knocks on her door and hands her the book, saying that her relationship with “Michael Preston” was none of his business, but he wanted to make sure she was alright.

“Fine thanks bye!” Says Jess, snatching the book and slamming the door. She pulls the coded paper out and looks at it.

In the early hours of the morning, Yuri breaks into her hotel room, looking for the book. He spots a bunch of copies of JB’s new book, but then gets clocked on the head by a masked man who snatches a copy of JB’s book and legs it out of the room. JB awakens at the kerfuffle and comes rushing in to find Yuri lying dead on the floor. The police arrive with the sun, and Lieutenant Blaisdell, slightly crazed member of Washington DC Police,  who wants to take everyone in for questioning but realises noone will talk to him. Jessica is about to tell him about the piece of paper when Hegarty shows up, trying to ask her where the book is. Blaisdell is about to lose his mind and when Hegarty won’t answer his questions Blaisdell demands he be arrested. In response, Hegarty punches him in the stomach and jumps out the window.

Man this episode is DELIVERING on JB reactions and I love it.

Man this episode is DELIVERING on JB reactions and I love it.

Blaisdell loses his mind and orders JB to the police station, where she still refuses to name Hegarty, even when lab results show her and his fingerprints were on the phallic statue murder weapon. It’s only when Sergei Onyegin from the embassy arrives to demand justice for his countryman, murdered by a British agent, that Jessica reveals Hegarty’s name. She also points out Yuri was KGB, to which Sergei says “Yuri Lementov was no longer KGB, not that he was saying he ever was.”

Blaisdell evidently gives up on JB and lets her and Arthur leave. Harry Neville picks them up from the police station and takes Jess back to her hotel, where he compliments her on her new book. They spot Bonnie getting into a car and driving away. Arthur offers Jess his spare room but she’s happy to stay at the hotel, and rest up.

Alas JB isn’t quite done yet – inside the hotel she is accosted by Charles Standish (Benjamin Horne from Twin Peaks and OMG YOU GUYS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW EXCITED I AM FOR NEW TWIN PEAKS FOR REAL I CAN’T EVEN) who offers to buy Yuri’s list from her. She asks him if he killed Yuri and he says no, to which she asks him how he knows the killer didn’t take the list. He tells her the marketplace suggests no one has come forward with an offer yet.

“And how much are you willing to pay for this list?” Asks JB.

Charles tells her she’s clearly equally as good at business as she is at writing but JB don’t care.

All I want is for someone to steal a painting in one episode so I shout BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONET #lifegoals

All I want is for someone to steal a painting in one episode so I shout BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONET #lifegoals

JB tells him she’ll think about it, and departs. Charles spots Constantin across the lobby, hiding in a potplant.

Upstairs, Michael is waiting. Her room has clearly been searched and he is worried about the list but JB assures him it’s safe. Michael also wants to tell her that she needs to beware of Arthur – “on the surface he’s all tea party etiquette, but dull enough to put a shark to sleep, and underneath he’s oilier than Saddam Hussein’s hair”.

Crying. What were the odds of this happening today of all days. Thank you universe.

Crying. What were the odds of this happening today of all days. Thank you universe.

Michael asks her for the list again, but JB puts her foot down. She swore she wasn’t going to get dragged into his shenanigans again, but this time it would be different. She wanted the truth.  He comes clean – the list is 5 MI6 operatives who are in deep cover in Libya that they can’t get to to warn. Yuri came across the list and saw it as a retirement plan. According to Yuri there was only one copy of the list but there was no way to be certain. There was a mission underway to get the operatives out of Libya but they need to protect the list until that could happen.

Blaisdell bursts in to arrest Hegarty for All The Things. He considers arresting JB for harbouring a fugitive but she tells him he has the wrong guy, the  killer was the one who searched the rooms and not for nothing but Bonnie and Charles Standish were both in the hotel right before she came upstairs. Hegarty is taken away in handcuffs, but Blaisdell relents and orders a fingerprint team to come check her room. Back at the precinct it is revealed Bonnie’s fingerprints were all over the room, but Blaisdell chalks it up to Bonnie being Hegarty’s date at the reception. Jess tells him she can prove who the real killer is, but he just tells her to have a nice day.

Undeterred, Jess sets her trap in action. She calls Arthur to confirm a couple of details, arranges for a delivery to go to his office at the end of the day, and then waits for the killer to knock on her door.

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

After Jess verified that Harry couldn’t have read Arthur’s copy of her new book, she knew Harry had taken an advance copy of her book from her room. Turns out Harry had been taping Arthur’s conversations and selling the information to the highest bidder.

Before I go, here’s a message not from the Queen, but from a Princess. Today of all days, I think it’s worth remembering. I don’t know who made it, but it’s perfect.

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(This was JB's reaction to Hegarty finding out Bonnie was a US spy. This episode was what the doctor ordered).

(This was JB’s reaction to Hegarty finding out Bonnie was a US spy. This episode was what the doctor ordered).

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

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Merry Christmas Fletcherfans. I hope you eat lots, drink lots and wear weather appropriate clothing (we’re melting down here, it’s wonderful)

The blog will be back at the end of January. Until then, be good!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to livetweet Mum’s Carols by Candlelight, proudly presented by Brown Brothers Prosecco.

 

See you in 2017!

S08E09 – The Committee

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Back in the Big Apple this week Fletcherfans, where JB is signing ALL THE BOOKS for her adoring fans. That comes to an end however, when Jess’s old friend Winston Devermore appears to take her to dinner.

And I think we should just all pause and reflect on her outfit for a minute.

I MEAN COME ON.

I MEAN COME ON.

Winston has an ulterior motive for inviting JB to dinner though. He wants her to come speak at the Avernus Club, a men-only club for rich white dudes, in the hopes that it might persuade members to finally allow women into the club. Would she be interested?

THIS IS WHAT SHE'S BEEN TRAINING FOR HER WHOLE LIFE

THIS IS WHAT SHE’S BEEN TRAINING FOR HER WHOLE LIFE

Meanwhile, somewhere else in New York, fellow Club member Lawrence Cayle is pissing off people left and right, including but not limited to Gerald Innsmouth, who he has screwed out of a business deal. When he complains to Lawrence, he says hashtag get over it, it’s just business etc etc, but his assistant/brother Theo quietly tells Gerald that he’s not the only Avernus Club member mad at Lawrence.

JB’s reading is naturally a success, thanks largely in part to her outfit:

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, HER FASHION GAME THIS EPISODE IS JUST MAGNIFICENT.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, HER FASHION GAME THIS EPISODE IS JUST MAGNIFICENT.

Winston brings some of his friends to come and greet the Queen herself, including Avernus Club president Philip Arkham, and new member Edward Dunsany (vineyard owner) who says that a guest speaker from the distaff gender was well overdue.

Distaff, while sounding like a nasty infection requiring antibiotics, is actually a noun that means "of or relating to women". It also means the stool used to sit on when spinning wool, or women's work. Blergh.

Distaff, while sounding like a nasty infection requiring antibiotics, is actually a noun that means “of or relating to women”. It also means the stool used to sit on when spinning wool, or women’s work. Blergh.

Philip tells her she made more sense than Hemmingway and departs, as does Dunsany when he sees Lawrence Cayle making a move on his wife. He busts up the little flirt fest and tells his wife to get her coat and Cayle to stay away from her. Cayle tells him to tell that to his wife, she’s a good year and he can’t keep her locked in his wine cellar forever. YES YOU COMPARED HIS WIFE TO A BOTTLE OF WINE CONGRATULATIONS.

As Jess and Winston are getting ready to leave, a young man delivers an envelope to Winston. Inside is a key and a note that says midnight. Later, when Winston returns to the house he finds the rest of the gang – Arkham, Dunsany, Harcourt, Gerald Innsmouth – all there. Arkham says they were wondering where he was and Winston tells him he got held up, but that he wants no part of this. This, it turns out, is the matter of what to do with Lawrence Cayle. Gerald rants about how much it’s cost him now that Gerald has squeezed him out of his business deal, but Arkham tells him to calm down. He’s not the only one Cayle has pissed off, they need to decide what the consequences will be. Another club member, Harcourt Fenton, asks why they need to sanction him at all, why can’t they just kick him out, but Arkham says they never know when they might need him, although Edward’s report about Cayle and his wife is at best inappropriate (which Edward thinks is lowballing it a bit).

Let's get to drinking!

Let’s get to drinking!

Arkham orders that a vote be cast to decide if Cayle should be sanctioned and summons Philip’s assistant Lisa Sutton in to collect the votes – a black marble means sanction, a white marble means no sanction. The votes are in – Cayle is being voted off the island. Harcourt says he’s had enough of this and leaves.

Arkham isn’t done though – a new vote must happen, to decide who enforces the will of the committee. Whomever catches the snitch selects the gold marble will be in charge of doling out punishment. Lisa trots around the table with a bag, and each member grabs a marble out of the bag. “The selection has been made.” Intones Akham. “Now let’s never speak of this again.”

The next night, Jess is out to dinner with Winston when the Cayle’s pop in. While Winston and Lawrence have a heated discussion in the corner, Lawrence’s brother Theo tries to distract JB, who is having none of it but is unable to find out what the deal is. The following day, at a shooting party, Lawrence confronts Arkham about the secret meeting but Arkham tells him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That night at a party, Jess meets a bedraggled Lisa Sutton, caught out in the rain, while Lawrence Cayle gets an envelope with a key and a note that says midnight. Jess and Winston are on the way out when Winston asks the valet where Theo Cayle is – he’s not sure but he thinks he just left as his car is gone.

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That awkward moment when you realise the shadowy figure isn't there to hug you.

That awkward moment when you realise the shadowy figure isn’t there to hug you.

Jess comes in the next morning as soon as she hears but Winston doesn’t know much. He introduces JB to the investigating officer, Lieutenant Tartarus, who tells her she won’t get much of a story – Cayle was shot with a shotgun, they’ll just test the club members for gun shot residue and see who the guilty party is. Jess points out there was a trap shooting competition there yesterday so everyone will test positive. Tatartus is not pleased. He departs, and Jess asks Winston why he wanted her there so urgently, and a minion appears to let them know the rest of the committee is in the drawing room.

“Let me get this straight,” Jess says. “You all voted to sanction Lawrence Cayle 4-1, someone was chosen to be the enforcer and now he’s dead?

This is exactly the sort of shenanigans that will happen when you let rich old white men form clubs.

This is exactly the sort of shenanigans that will happen when you let rich old white men form clubs.

Arkham asks her to try and solve who killed Cayle so that they’re off the hook, or if it was one of them, that they can get out in front of it before the police find out. JB agrees, thinking it’s a little odd that she’s being hired by the group that almost certainly has a killer as a member. Dunsany doesn’t see the funny side and leaves. Harcourt says to Jess she’s got her work cut out for her.

This is not an unfamiliar state of being for JB.

This is not an unfamiliar state of being for JB.

JB wastes no time and so she and Winston head over to House Cayle, arriving just as Harcourt Fenton is departing. Jess tells Winson she thinks she should talk to Theo Cayle alone, and so he leaves her there. Before he drives off, he calls Harcourt asking to meet him that afternoon at 4pm.

Inside, Theo tells Jess he has no idea who killed his brother – they were always a great team. Jess doesn’t want to take up too much of his time, but Theo offers to drive her back to town. As he adjusts the car seat, she asks him why Harcourt had been to see him but he says he was just offering condolences.

Across town, Lieutenant Tatartus informs Arkham that he has found out about the vote, and that the Club is set to inherit a whole wad of money from Cayle’s will. Arkham’s response is to hand the phone over – the commissioner is on the phone.

Later, Winson and Harcourt are in Harcourt’s car when Harcourt realises he has no brakes – and the car goes off into a ravine. Winston survives, but Harcourt doesn’t make it. JB goes to see him in the hospital and he tells her they were on their way to see Philip to tell him they needed to come clean to the police. Winston is pretty out of it and starts saying he didn’t even want to sanction Lawrence, he was the only one who voted not to. 1 white marble, 4 black…

The doctor says the sedatives are kicking in and asks them all to go outside. A nurse pops up to tell him that someone has broken into Winston’s locker and stolen his clothes, and that another locker that had contained Harcourt’s things had been broken into but nothing taken, as Harcourt’s belongings had already been sent to the morgue. JB thinks they’d better have a look at them so they head on down to the coroners office. Amongst his things they find a black marble. Tartarus doesn’t see the significance but Our Heroine does and they have a taxi company to find.

Later that day, midnight notes are sent to the Committee and they assemble in the boardroom. Lisa Sutton and Theo Cayle are also in attendance. Jess explains her discovery – two people voted white, Winston and Harcourt. The only solution is that someone pre-rigged the vote, and that someone was Lisa.

But, Fletcherfans, she’s not the killer! It turns out someone paid her ten thousand dollars to rig the vote, and there’s no way Lisa’s going down without taking them down with her…

Spoiler alert: My friend's cat makes this face almost constantly.

Spoiler alert: My friend’s cat makes this face almost constantly.

Ah yes. Everyone was sick of Lawrence’s behaviour, but someone had to put up with it a little longer than everyone else.

Case closed! And with Winston out of hospital he wants to thank Jess the only way he knows how.

With dinner.

In Scotland.

Tonight.

See you soon Fletcherfans!

See you soon Fletcherfans!

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