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S07E16 – From the Horse’s Mouth

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Fletcherfans, I think we all learned a valuable lesson last week about multi-tasking. I shouldn’t try and write while Richmond are playing, and Richmond shouldn’t throw away 35 point leads in the last quarter.

Let’s not dwell on that.

JB is in Kentucky putting bets on for our old friend Harry McGraw when she bumps into her friend, veterinarian Dr Christy Morgan and her fiancee Todd Sterling. It seems they are destined to remain engaged for awhile, until their fathers can stop feuding. That old chestnut. BOOM HORSE PUN.

But now I’d like to discuss possibly my favourite one-time character in this whole series:

Next Derby Day I'm wearing that outfit.

Next Derby Day I’m wearing that outfit.

Emmaline Bristow can talk to horses, so naturally she’s at the stables wishing all the horses good luck in their race and getting the latest equine gossip. One horse, Big Palooka, tells her he has a terrible headache, which is bad news for Harry since he got JB to put 200 down on him. Emmeline bumps into Christie’s father, Lamar, who wonders if any of the horses mentioned who would win the race.

“Oh Lamar. Horses can’t predict the future.” Says Emmaline. GEEZ LAMAR GET WITH IT.

A token blonde wanders past, excited to meet Lamar Morgan, but more excited to serve him papers. Todd’s father, Randolph Sterling, is suing.

Trackside, Randolph is taking a constitutional with his lady-friend Althea Mayberry (played by someone credited as Woman in Titanic). Althea is trying to talk Randolph into a cruise but Randolph has big things to worry about, like getting his stallion King Paragon laid. They are soon joined by Randolph’s daughter Diana with news on that score – some Japanese businessmen have expressed an interest in King Paragon and so Diana orders Althea to make sure sake is on tap when they come by the farm. Althea is delighted to be promoted to caterer. And by delighted I mean not happy.

Althea spots Christy, Todd and JB walking towards them and remarks how good Christy and Todd look together – Todd’s so handsome and Christy’s so full of life and virginal purity.

“What would you know about virginal purity?” Says Diana.

SICK BURN

SICK BURN

JB is reintroduced to everyone, and she tells Diana the last time she saw her she was home from university in England. Turns out Diana was at Cambridge, until she got thrown out but then she married Lord Snowcroft, until she got tired of him and threw him out.

JB's a little impressed.

JB’s a little impressed.

Lamar interrupts this trip down memory lane brandishing the court notice and demanding an explanation. It turns out King Paragon went a-wanderin’ some enchanted evening and knocked up two of Lamar’s mares and Randolph wants compensation for – well something. Lamar says he doesn’t owe Randoph a cent, he had nothing to do with King Paragon getting loose and knocking up his mares, but Randolph doesn’t care. He’ll see Lamar in court. And with that he walks off, Althea and Diana on each arm.

The next day, JB visits Christy at the farm, to hear more about the nocturnal wanderings of King Paragon.

ARGH SO CUTE I CAN'T EVEN

ARGH SO CUTE I CAN’T EVEN

Christy says there are no witnesses and if they lose the court case they would lose the farm. The police haven’t been any help, so JB suggests a private detective she knows…

It's Harry's second last MSB episode! Things are WINDING DOWN.

It’s Harry’s second last MSB episode! Things are WINDING DOWN.

Harry tells JB he’s not taking any new cases just at the moment, but is forced to reassess the situation when the radio informs him his horse lost again.

Now we need to talk about this guy.

THIS GUY.

This is Melvin Belli.

Here are some things I’ve just learned about Melvin Belli. He defended Jack Ruby for killing Lee Harvey Oswald, he got a letter from the Zodiac Killer (it really annoys me they never caught that guy), he defended people like Errol Flynn, The Rolling Stones and Mae West, he once played a character on the original Star Trek, and whenever he won a court case he would raise the Jolly Roger flag on his office and fire a cannon off the roof.

For real. I never knew how much I wanted to fire a cannon off a roof until just now.

For now though, he is Judge Charlie Harley, and Randolph is on the phone to him trying to demand that his suit against Lamar Morgan is tried immediately if not sooner. Things don’t get better for Charlie when he asks for scotch and gets a soda water from his secretary instead.

Back at the Morgan’s farm, Christy and JB are relieved and surprised respectively when Harry turns up.

g2

heh heh heh

THEY CALLED EACH OTHER RHETT AND SCARLETT 

Harry reveals the owner of the sharp threads doesn’t actually know Harry borrowed them so if they could move this along so Harry can return the suit by Friday that would be grand.

JB and Harry head over to the Sterling house where a shindig is in full swing to drum up interest in King Paragon and his lovelife. While Randolph puts the squeeze on Charlie re: the court case, Harry investigates the bar situation and gets hit on by Althea. Althea’s moves are squashed by a drive-by from Diana reminding Althea that champagne ages the skin (nonsense, I drink it by the bucketload and I look fabulous) and that her hair could do with a colour job.

“Thank you Lady Chatterly.” Althea mutters. Zing!

Harry finds JB in conversation with Todd and Randolph and she introduces him to the group. “Randolph Sterling? The guy who owned Randolphs’ Rebel?”

“The same.” Says Randolph.

“Whatever happened to that nag?” Asks Harry.

Spoke like someone who watched Richmond play last week wait what nevermind

Spoke like someone who watched Richmond play last week wait what nevermind

Jess tells Randolph Harry is considering investing in a racehorse. “I hear you got the best around. Can I get a peek at King Paragon eh Randy?” Harry adds.

They all go out to the stables to see the stud’s finest in action. And I’m not talking about the horse.

LOOK AT HIS FACE SUCH SMOULDER BAHAHAHA

LOOK AT HIS FACE SUCH SMOULDER BAHAHAHA

Randolph announces that the minimum return for buying in on King Paragon’s…services…is 100 grand in the first year.

Harry is flabbergasted.

m2

n2

*Actual quote

Emmaline, also in attendance, is more concerned about King Paragon’s state of mind. Apparently he’s thoroughly depressed. “Wouldn’t you be?” She says to Harry. “Your body being used in that dreadful fashion?”

Steady on Harry.

Steady on Harry.

The King Paragon party is soon crashed by Lamar Morgan, drunk as a lord and informing Randolph he’d kill him before he paid him a cent. Todd escorts him outside to get some fresh air, while Diana mumbles something about family loyalties.

Back at the Morgan farm Christy is worried when Todd is still at the track and her father has disappeared, but Harry is on the case and calls in to let them know that Lamar is propping up a bar in town. As soon as she gets off the phone from Harry there is call from Todd – there’s been an accident at the track, one of the horses needs medical attention. They drive down to the track to find Randolph dead on the floor of his office.

The police arrive and quickly take charge. Sheriff Tyrone McKenna tells JB not to touch anything and she informs him she wasn’t touching she was reading – a note from Althea Mayberry saying how hurt she was by Randolph and that he’d be hearing from her attorney. Diana Sterling arrives, devastated but quick to remind them that Lamar had threatened to kill Randolph earlier that day. Lamar had called Diana, wanting to talk to Randolph and Diana was the one who told him her father was at the track. She breaks down and Todd takes her back to the house. Christy remembers that she was called about an injured horse and rushes out to the stables.

JB decides to walk Sheriff McKenna through the crime scene and points out the odd stain on Randolph’s jacket, hanging up on a hook. McKenna tells her that poking around crime scenes might be alright in the city, but he’s got a water moccassin by the tail and something something tread lightly.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Jess decides to go find Christy/poke around in the stables, and finds Rex Manning attending to King Paragon, who had spooked, broke down his stable door and hightailed it across the paddock before Rex could catch him. (For those interested in fact based reporting, his character’s name is Derek Padley). Rex suspects the noise of the argument in the office might have spooked him, but when pressed he couldn’t say he recognised the voices. Christy reappears after attending to another injured horse and offers to x-ray King Paragon’s leg but Rex Manning tells her he knows best. Because he’s Rex Manning.

Back at the farm, Harry is pulling into the drive way with a well sloshed Lamar Morgan when the police pull him over. Harry is his belligerent self until Sheriff McKenna mentions murder.

Down at the police station, Lamar confesses he was at the track that night. He’d had an offer for one of his foals, and was hoping Randolph would agree to the sale provided the money was held in trust until after the court case but that clearly didn’t go well. Jess asks him if the fight was so loud that they didn’t hear King Paragon destroying his stall but he swears that noise would have stopped them cold.

Sheriff McKenna appears to tell JB that the stains on Randolph’s hands weren’t blood but hair dye. The stains on the jacket were blood, but not Randolph’s. Shout-out to Kentucky CSI for upping their game on that one. He bids them goodbye and departs. Harry has a speck of an idea floating in his brain about hair dye, and goes to see Althea Mayberry, who promptly busts a move on him but aborts when Harry casually wonders whether she was dying her hair when Randolph came to see her. She throws Harry out, Harry offers to take a raincheck on the tour of her bedroom.

The next day Harry asks JB about Lady Chatterley, and Jess explains that Lady Chatterley fell in love with her husband’s gamekeeper. Harry thinks it’s screwy, Diana isn’t married and there’s no gamekeeper in sight.  Not so screwy, says JB. Diana was married to Lord Snowcroft, and he had a large estate in England.

“Hunting game?” Says Harry.

“Racing horses.” JB says.

But he's trying and that's good.

But he’s trying and that’s good.

JB pops around to see Todd but instead finds Edie the housekeeper. She tells JB she heard a fight between Diana and Randolph earlier that week – Randolph was pissed at his daughter, saying she never did have good taste in men, while she told her father that Todd hated them.

Down at the police station Lamar is pestering Harry for more info about his investigation into King Paragon’s adventures with the mares, but Harry is more concerned about why Lamar is still being held, since Randolph wasn’t killed by a punch. Lamar tells him the blood on the jacket is his, a consequence of a busted up nose, but that his prints are also on the walking stick murder weapon, after he threw the stick away during the fight.

Later that night Harry, JB, Todd and Christy have a war meeting at the Morgan farm to decide what to do next. Jessica is sure that Lamar is innocent, but they need to prove someone else was at the stable that night – either by invitation or by knowing the security code. Todd and Christy head down to the track and Jess asks Harry if he knows anyone in the British racing industry – turns out Harry is friends with the Prince of Wales’s bookmaker (pfft) and he puts a call in to get more information on…

…cut to Judge Charlie Harley having a meeting in chambers where Christy, Todd and the defence attorney all requesting that the trial be held at King Paragon’s stables. Because that’s normal. Diana and her attorney bust in shouting I OBJECT (not true, whatever) and the judge decides a trip to the stable is in order. Apparently JB has located a surprise witness. King Paragon himself.

Emmaline steps up to conduct the interro-neigh-tion (nailed it)

Just amazing.

Just amazing.

After Emmaline asks a bunch of questions about King Paragon’s nightly wanderings, JB breaks in to request that she ask whether King Paragon’s name even is King Paragon, or if in fact it is Night Sword. Because apparently Night Sword was struck by lightening and killed. But what if it was King Paragon that was killed? And what if someone decided to dye the white sock on Night Sword’s leg brown to cover it up? And what if that someone got busted in the act of touching up the dye job by Randolph Sterling and so killed him to cover it up?

Say no more, mon amor.

Say no more, mon amor.

YASSSSS THIS MAKES ME HAPPY AND I DON’T KNOW WHY 

I feel like I’ve made insufficient horse puns in this episode, so if you think of some let me know. I think I’m still miserable from Richmond’s “effort” last week.

Until next week, then.

THESE TWO.

THESE TWO.

S07E15 – The Taxman Cometh

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Disclaimer: I am writing this post while watching my football team (Richmond FC) play another football team on TV. I feel that this is not going to end well for anyone.

Strap yourselves in Fletcherfans! Nothing says comedy like taxes. Except maybe death and taxes.

Sigh.

JB is in Missouri on a book tour and pops in on her friend Edna Hayes, who is stressed out. The taxman is out for her blood, GO JAAAAAAAAAAAACK OH GODDAMNIT IT IT HIT THE POST to the tune of 2 million dollars. For whatever reason we need to go back and have an indepth analysis of how this 2 million dollar problem happened GO DUSTY and I will spare you the details mostly because I stopped paying attention and started googling what other movies the guy who plays Richard Wellstood  was in (he was in Scandal. And other things, but mainly that one).

MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT DAMN IT.

Long story short, the taxman is after Edna and her company Aunt Edna’s Baked Goods, and they’re willing to go after her ex-husband, Nolan Hayes to get to her. YO RICHMOND YOUR GOALS ARE THE OTHER END IN CASE YOU FORGOT.

I should also point out at this point that Alf’s Dad is the tax man. Whatever happened to Alf?

YESSS WE GOT A GOAL LETS END THE GAME NOW BEFORE WE GET THRASHED.

OH DAMN THEY GOT ONE AGAIN.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, so Nolan, Edna’s ex husband, calls her up to tell her the taxman is after him for taxes on his income as a “consultant” for the business MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT THANK YOU, but the “income” they think he’s getting is way more than he is actually getting and some auditor named THAT WAS A FREE KICK Spencer Prince SOMEONE KICK THE GODDAMN BALL but that Nolan is still unable to get hold of him. Edna promises she’ll take care of it, but a week later she has a meeting with Alf’s Dad the tax auditor, ARGH WE MISSED THAT ONE ARGH who puts in the hard word and tells her YESSS GOOD TACKLE that if she doesn’t pay she will lose the business. And then it was now.

I said the same thing this morning after my nephew power-vommed over the couch, my brother and half of Launceston. Because I am #topaunty

I said the same thing this morning after my nephew power-vommed over the couch, my brother and half of Launceston. Because I am #topaunty

50 METRES! YASSSSSS….WHY THE HELL DID YOU KICK IT TO THE OPPOSITION FOR CRYING OUT LOUD RICHMOND.

While Jessica and Edna look at Edna’s pictures of her friend the senator, company vice-president Richard Wellstood appears to let Edna know that he and the other VP JK Davern had a meeting with the auditor Spencer Prince, which was very successful THREE GEELONG PLAYERS ON THEIR OWN COME ON RICHMOND.

O GOOD IT’S QUARTER TIME.

What was I saying? Right. So Richard leaves just as Nolan arrives to beg Edna to cooperate with the IRS, and if there’s anything he can do day or night, she should call him. He makes sure she has his car phone number (naww car phones) but she says her secretary already has it.

Jess goes on a tour of the factory with sales director George Harris YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT THAT WAS A HIGH TACKLE and they bump into Richard again who is looking for Spencer Prince. He spies him walking off in the distance and races to catch up. Meanwhile, the head of accounting Gail Manning is looking for Edna, after finding a message left for Edna on Gail’s desk. It’s from Nolan.

Edna decides she is too stressed out and busy to accompany JB to the concert they had planned to attend that evening, but JK agrees to escort JB instead so crisis averted ALEX RANCE FOR PM. He tells her that a couple of the bakers at the factory are in the woodwind section, and can even read music.

My thoughts exactly.

My thoughts exactly.

YASSSS ANOTHER GOAL TY VICKERY I’M SORRY I SAID I’D TRADE YOU FOR A SACK OF MAGIC BEANS AND A CAN OF SPAM.

AND ANOTHER GOAL WHAT THE HELL I DON’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.

JIMMY BARTEL’S BEARD JUST GAVE AWAY A FREE KICK.

Oops, got distracted. ARGH ANOTHER GOAL WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE WINNING IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?

Alright. Focus. Later that night, police find Nolan’s body next to his car. Oh dear. The police haven’t id’d him yet, but find the car is WE ARE WINNING BY 25 POINTS STOP THE GAME NOW DEAR GOD RICHMOND WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS NOW THAT WE CAN’T POSSIBLY MAKE THE FINALS THIS IS THE MOST RICHMOND THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE registered to Edna, so they go to her house to ask her to come down to the police station HAHA SUCK IT JOEL SELWOOD.

BAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL AS IF THAT WASN’T HOLDING THE BALL.

Edna is devastated to learn her ex-husband’s death, and asks what happened. According to the 5-0, (aka Fred Willard) Nolan broke down in a sketchy area and MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT DAMN IT thugs clocked him over the head with his tyre jack when he tried to change the car tyre himself. YASSSSS TACKLE!

JB thinks the police theory is suspicious – according to Edna Nolan couldn’t open a can, so why would he be trying to change a car tyre in a sketchy neighbourhood when we have helpfully established he has a car phone? I LOVE YOU TRENT COTCHIN EVEN IF YOUR HAIR FREAKS ME OUT.

The next day Fred Willard Lieutenant Phillips is getting word that the tyre was slashed and not punctured when IRS Director Yelverton (Alf’s Dad) arrives in the office to tell him he’s out for Edna’s money, and that Nolan was a key witness in the tax evasion or something. SOUND THE SIREN WE ARE ABOUT TO FALL APART OH THANK GOD HALF TIME.

Yelverton demands to be the first call when any new developments occur, at which point Lieutenant Phillips tells Yelverton that the IRS has no jurisdiction in a murder investigation. Yelverton casually mentions the lieutenant’s car repayment problems and Phillips promises to be in touch.

Later that afternoon, Jess is hanging out at the factory when Phillips appears to sample some goods and find out about Edna’s side of the tax case. JB points out that it’s only an IRS claim, and that nothing is proven yet, to which Philips says “Clearly you’ve never owned a car.”

This episode is well weird. And I'm not just saying that because I'm football commentating all the way through it.

This episode is well weird. And I’m not just saying that because I’m football commentating all the way through it.

Philips reveals that Nolan was killed elsewhere and then moved to the train tracks, so the police were now checking where everyone who knew Nolan was. JB was at the concert with JK (nice abbreviating guys), while Gail, George and Richard were all at home. Edna reveals that she was home from 7:30 waiting for Nolan, who had left word that he was coming by to talk to her, but he obviously didn’t make it.

Philips is not entirely pleased with this lack of alibi so JB asks Edna if there is anyone who could possibly verify it. Edna remembers a delivery guy who came to her house by mistake because of blah blah address, to deliver a pizza, but she didn’t know the company or the name of the delivery guy. Philips is even less pleased but Jessica Fletcher doesn’t bow down from a challenge, and now that the third quarter is about to start I hope Richmond don’t either.

Jess tracks down the correct pizza orderer and confirms the pizza restaurant she got it from. She then rings the pizza place but finds out that Benny got fired that morning for getting lost. YASSSS COME ON RICHMOND.

The doorbell rings – it’s Lieutenant Phillips with bad news. The ballistic report has come in, Nolan was shot by a .38 – cooincidentally the same COME ON LLOYDY YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS HOLY CRAP I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING gun that is registered in the name of Edna Hayes. Edna tells him Hayes is a common name and he should check his records again at which point JB takes her aside for a quiet word. Edna tells Jess that she cooperated with the IRS and look where that got her OUR BACKLINE HAVEN’T PLAYED THIS WELL ALL YEAR but Jess tells her to come clean and she tells Lieutenant Philips that she bought a gun for protection after the divorce. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE AWAY 50 NOW FOR GOD’S SAKE RICHMOND I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS.

MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT MISS IT DAMN IT.

Philips informs them that the gun had clearly been fired recently, and that Edna is going to have to be arrested. COME ON JACK WE LOVE YOU JACK…..YESSSS JACKKKKKKKKKKKKK HOLY CRAP WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Down at the police station Yelverton pops in to gloat about how getting his hands on Edna’s money will be a lot easier if Edna is behind bars. SUCK IT DANGERFIELD YOU AIN’T WON NO BROWNLOW YET. As he is leaving, he sees Jessica filling out the paperwork for a visit with Edna and tells JB if his opinion accounts, JB has quite a talent.

“Oh?” Says JB. “Which one of my books have you read?”

“Books? I’m talking about your tax returns.” Says Yelverton.

HOLY CRAP WE JUST GOT ANOTHER GOAL WHAT IS LIFE

HOLY CRAP WE JUST GOT ANOTHER GOAL WHAT IS LIFE

GO BACHAR!

OH HOLY CRAP HOW DID WE GET AWAY WITH THAT?

After Jess’s visit she pops in to Philips’s office for a chat and when she finds Philips unwilling to see sense re: Edna’s innocence, she decides to take the bull by the horns (and some quality dubbing) and calls every pizza place in Jonesboro to track down this mysterious pizza delivery guy. YES THAT WAS FIFTY METRES THANKS FOR PAYING ATTENTION UMPIRES.

Naturally Jess finds him, and confirms Enda’s alibi. COME ON JACK YOU BEA-OH DAMN HE MISSED.

With Edna released from prison JB decides to  get this case sorted once and for all so she can get back to her book tour. She asks Gail about the source of the mysterious phone message that Nolan left but Gail tells her she didn’t speak to Nolan, she found the message on her desk. Edna’s secretary was on lunch so her guess it was the auditor, Spencer Prince, who took the call. JK and George appear and agree that it must have been Spencer. JK adds that Spencer had just left the building, otherwise JB could have asked him himself.

ALRIGHT RICHMOND YOU ONLY HAVE A QUARTER TO GET THROUGH DO NOT PULL A RICHMOND.

Jess is starting to get suspicious of this elusive Spencer Prince character, who NO NO NO NO NO NO NO DAMMIT who has always just left when she arrives. JK points out the window and says “There he is!” just as he drives away. COME ON RICHMOND DON’T DO THIS TO ME.

Jess has a bright idea about who might be able to shed a little light Spencer Prince and goes to see Yelverton AS IF THAT WAS A FREE KICK GO BACK TO SPECSAVERS.

Jess has the same opinion of tax people that I do.

WHY DO I EVEN WATCH FOOTBALL I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS CRAP

WHY DO I EVEN WATCH FOOTBALL I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS CRAP

Jess asks Yelverton to look up Prince in the system, and MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS MISS DAMN IT Yelverton is delighted to be of service. He tells JB that he met Prince once, he wore glasses and a hat and a bowtie AND ARGH GOD RICHMOND JUST KICK ONE DAMN GOAL ALREADY. Yelverton is horrified to think that Prince was the architect of this fraud and jumps on the computer to find out more about him. JESUS CHRIST RICHMOND WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT I CAN’T GO ON.

Um, wait what was I on about? Right, so Yelverton is aghast to discover that Spencer Prince has only been paying tax for the last six or so years and so now Yelverton is on the case and ANOTHER GOAL? RICHMOND ARE YOU EVEN PAYING ATTENTION I SAID DON’T DO A RICHMOND FOR ONCE IN THIS MISERABLE GODDAMN SEASON DON’T SNATCH DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY.

While Edna shares JB’s theory about the ficticious Spencer Prince with JK, Jessica is with Lieutenant Philips in St Louis I CAN’T WATCH THIS ANY MORE at the apartment of Spencer Prince. They find the housekeeper who, it turns out, hasn’t actually met Spencer Prince either HOW MANY FREE KICKS DO YOU WANT TO NOT GIVE. Lieutenant Philips finds Nolan’s wallet and is convinced that Spencer Prince is the guilty party, and puts out an APB.

Later that night JB and Edna are poring over the books trying to find the missing money when the lights go out and a shadowy figure appears with a gun. It’s the man everyone’s been looking for, Spencer Prince. He orders them to hand over the books and forces them into the closet while he legs it. Jessica quickly calls the police before they hear a shot. OH GOOD YOU REMEMBER WHAT THE GOALS LOOK LIKE IT’S A BIT BLOODY LATE NOW ISN’T IT.

AND THERE GOES THE SIREN RICHMOND YOU ARE THE GRADY FLETCHER OF FOOTBALL TEAMS I SWEAR TO GOD I AM DONE WITH YOU.

JB and Edna rush outside and find Richard standing over Spencer’s body. He says he was there to help go over the books, but Spencer came towards him with a gun and something something. JB looks at the body and notices the weird hairline is actually a wig – it’s JK Davern. Richard says it kind of makes sense when you think about it, at which point JB tells Edna to pull the gun on him. Because the gun Richard has isn’t the gun JK pulled on them.

Not to be confused with Richmond of Death. Because supporting Richmond will be the death of me.

Not to be confused with Richmond of Death. Because supporting Richmond will be the death of me.

Because Richard and JK were in cahoots and took it in turns to be Spencer Prince while they extorted all the monies and then Nolan saw them impersonating and so they shot him and oh who cares my football team are hopeless is it acceptable to eat a block of salted caramel kitkats for dinner?

I HATE YOU SO MUCH RICHMOND I AM GOING TO RAGE EAT

I HATE YOU SO MUCH RICHMOND I AM GOING TO RAGE EAT

S07E14 – Who Killed JB Fletcher?

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Shenanigans! Outrage! Fancy dogs! Someone is running around Texas pretending to be JB Fletcher!

Obviously.

Obviously.

This obvious doppelganger is on the Case of the Dog What Always Wins The Dog Show, and is breaking into the kennels to prove it. Unfortunately for Jessica Faux-tcher (nailed it), she didn’t take into consideration a little thing called a silent alarm and gets arrested. She’s bailed out the next morning by her friend Kit and her true identity is revealed – Marge Allen, mother of a state senator and so clearly can’t be seen getting arrested breaking into dog kennels. Marge gets Kit to drive her to her car, via the home of kennel owners the McAuleys. Marge returns a short time later to confront Lisa McAuley about the Blatant Outrage of Dog Related Corruption, but begins to scream when a bloodied hand opens a door. Or something.

Meanwhile, in New York City a news report comes on the television – JB Fletcher has been arrested for breaking and entering.

Sorry not sorry

Sorry not sorry

Reassured that she hasn’t been smoking peyote for 6 straight days,  JB gets on the phone to sort this out but local sheriff JT Tanner refuses to believe her, and says a split personality defence is between her and her lawyer.

Aren't we all.

Aren’t we all.

Exasperated, JB gets on the first train, plane and automobile to Bremerton, Texas.  Her first stop is the sheriff’s office, but the Sheriff is unmoved by her ID card, Cabot Cove library card and other odds and ends, saying Jessica Faux-tcher had the same ID card. Jessica sighs and asks for directions to the nearest bookshop.

KNEEL BEFORE ME, MORTAL

KNEEL BEFORE ME, MORTAL

The sheriff capitulates in the face of inescapable logic, and tells JB he’ll change the arrest record to ‘Jane Doe’. JB wants to know what happens next but the sheriff tells her he’ll take care of it. He does begrudgingly tell her name of the person who bailed out Jessica Faux-tcher, and Jess heads there next. She knocks on Kit’s front door and gets a response she probably wasn’t expecting…

I had this exact reaction when I saw the ads for Zumbo's Just Desserts

I had this exact reaction when I saw the ads for Zumbo’s Just Desserts

That’s nothing compared to what’s inside – the weekly meeting of the JB Fletcher Literary Appreciation Society (JBFLAS)

j2

j1

Stephen King has a lot to answer for

Stephen King has a lot to answer for

The literary society – Bertie, Kit, Florence, Jane and Caroline – want to know what JB is doing in town and she tells them about the arrest of Jessica Faux-tcher. Kit looks uncomfortable and tells the others that Marge was the one who got arrested, and had used her JB Fletcher ID so that her son wouldn’t find out.  JB is very interested in these Fletcher-IDs and demands they all give theirs up immediately (fair).

Kit tells JB about the Case of The Dog What Wins All The Time, and that Marge had cracked the case that morning. Jess goes to see Marge at home, but finds the house empty and a fresh newspaper on the path.

k1

That escalated quickly.

That escalated quickly. (That report clearly written by Richard Wilkins)

Back at the headquarters of the society (or as it shall be ever known, JBFLASH), the news of Marge’s death is handled in varying ways.

Factual.

Factual.

According to the newspaper, Marge was killed when she lost control of her car. The rest of the JBFLAS call shenanigans – Marge drove that road regularly, there was no way she would have lost control. Jess wonders what Marge discovered at the MacAuley’s house and after a brief competition, Kit volunteers to drive her over.

They arrive at the MacAuley house to discover a wake in progress for Simon MacAuley, recently deceased after he was shot in the back by his dog, the sort of thing that could happen to anyone at any time obviously. The sheriff is surprised to see JB there and hopes that she’s not there to harass MacAuley’s widow Lisa. Kit introduces JB to local insurance salesman Mitchell Lawrence who is also surprised to see JB there on account of she’s dead. He asks them if they knew Simon well and Kit says they never met him. Mitchell says he’d known Simon for a long time, but they weren’t particularly close – Simon preferred dogs. (Understandable).

Mitchell excuses himself and JB tells  Kit she’s going to try and have a chat with Lisa McAuley. Kit declares she’s going to scope the room for anything unusual.

JB WORKS ALONE.

JB WORKS ALONE.

Jess wants to reassure Lisa that she wasn’t responsible for the break-in at the kennel, but Lisa doesn’t seem particularly bothered. Jess wonders what Marge could have been looking for and Lisa says there was only paperwork in there, nothing valuable. Jess goes on to say it must have been very upsetting to have Marge turn up at their house that morning looking for her husband, but Lisa says Marge was never there, and her reasons for breaking into the kennel will never be known – Lisa assumes that Marge must have been a crazy grey-haired loon, nothing more, though she is sorry to hear she died.

Jess takes her leave and finds Kit who reports that the sheriff was in an argument with Jethro from Beverly Hillbillies, and that she didn’t think the sheriff liked him all that much. JB thinks Lisa doesn’t like him either, but that they needed to leave before they out-lasted their welcome. Outside they run into Jethro again – turns out he is a state trooper who was hoping to start a canine unit with Simon’s help, but it never got anywhere.

Back at JBFLASH, Jess tells the ladies that Lisa lied about not seeing Marge, and that Jess might stick around for a couple of days, just to satisfy her curiosity. The ladies are delighted and immediately offer their assistance in solving the case.

JB is not on board with this plan.

JB is not on board with this plan.

Jess thanks the ladies, but thinks that she should take her suspicions to the proper authorities. Unfortunately for JB, the proper authorities think it’s all a load of codswallop and the sheriff informs JB that if there’s any investigating to be done, he will do it.

That night JB is dismayed to learn that her credit cards have been cancelled on account of she’s dead according to that one guy in the paper, which is totally legit and the sort of thing that happens all the time. Kit guesses that the local article was picked up by the wires and the news of JB’s untimely demise has gone across the country.

That Penny just dropped.

That Penny just dropped.

Kit takes JB back to her place for the night, where she calls Seth and Grady (ugh) to confirm that she’s not dead yet. A good nights sleep is in order, and in the morning she is borrowing a dog.

The next morning, Jess acquires a basset hound and a Texan accent and drops the dog off at the MacAuley kennels where the groomer, Rick, hasn’t got much to say on the subject of Simon’s untimely demise. Their next stop is to meet JBFLAS member Florence, incognito at a local restaurant, to find out what she’s learned from her husband at the coroner’s office. She shows them the autopsy report – Marge almost definitely wasn’t driving when she was killed, her glasses were in the glovebox. Florence, pleased with herself goes to have lunch with her husband, and JB notices another clue before Jethro wanders past. He asks about the contents of the envelope and Jess tells him its research for her new book.

“Oh,” says Jethro. “Are you a writer?”

shots fired

shots fired

Jess asks Jethro what he meant the previous day when he told Lisa MacAuley he offered his sympathies even under these circumstances. Jethro says he meant stupidity – no self-respecting hunter would leave a loaded rifle leaned up against a tree for a dog to knock over. JB goes to report her theory that Simon McAuley was shot by a person but the Sheriff orders her away from the case. Jess and Kit return to the kennels to pick up the dog, and discover Lisa and Rick have a little something something going on the side nudge nudge wink wink. Back at Kit’s house, they get a visit from the Sheriff – he checked JB’s theory with the coroner and he agreed with JB’s assessment that Simon McAuley didn’t die where the body was found. They go out to the crime scene and get a soil sample to test the theory further.

The next day Jess discovers her phone card has been cancelled on account of that article in the paper what said she was dead and stuff. A passing Mitchell the insurance guy gallantly offers the use of the phone in his office and JB calls Seth to wire her some money. Before she goes, Mitchell asks about the rumour that Simon McAuley’s death was a murder and she confirms that the Sheriff is off getting some evidence tested in Dallas as they spoke.

Back at JBFLASH the society is trawling through old newspapers looking for clues when Bertie bursts in brandishing the password for the insurance company files. They discover that Simon MacAuley’s insurance policy had recently been raised to 2 million dollars. Boom! Motive!

Jess is going to break the sound barrier getting out of town when this is over.

Jess is going to break the sound barrier getting out of town when this is over.

They report their findings to the Sheriff, along with their discovery of Rick and Lisa at the kennel and the Sheriff leaps into action. He heads over to the McAuley house just as Rick hightails it out of there on his motorbike. He puts the word out for Rick to get picked up and requests backup. Inside, he finds Lisa dead.

JB appears to assist the examination of the crime scene and points out blood spatter on the lightbulb in the basement, proving (according to her) her theory that Simon was killed there. Later, when Rick gets picked up he swears he didn’t strangle Lisa, he loved her. He found her dead then ran. The Sheriff is suspicious but Rick’s alibi checks out and he is forced to let Rick go.

Jess calls an emergency meeting at JBFLASH to reassess their position in the case, as their original WIFE OF DEATH theory has kind of fallen apart, and they still don’t know how Marge got inolved. Jess half-remembers seeing something important on the insurance report and checks it again.She remembers Jane’s earlier lament that Simon was the only B- blood donor in the area, which is odd because on the insurance report  his blood is listed as A+.

A quick snoop through some medical files later, and JB has solved it.

Not quite as catchy as Death of a Salesman but meh.

Not quite as catchy as Death of a Salesman but meh.

Mitchell and Lisa had done a deal to split Simon’s insurance money, and so killed him. Marge turned up at precisely the wrong time and so she died. And Lisa was cracking under the pressue and so Mitchell killed him.

This meeting of the JB Fletcher Literary Appreciation Society is now closed. Let’s celebrate with a drink.

s2

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S07E13 – Moving Violation

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It’s a beautiful day in Cabot Cove Fletcherfans and Mayor Sam Booth is in election mode, making sure people are registering to vote.

“Why vote?” says townsperson Janet. “It only encourages them.”

Silly Janet. Everyone knows the reason to vote is to go to the sausage sizzle and cake stall afterwards #democracysausages #freedombrownies #myelectionswagwasgoodthisyear

Silly Janet. Everyone knows the reason to vote is to go to the sausage sizzle and cake stall afterwards #democracysausages #freedombrownies #myelectionswagwasgoodthisyear

Meanwhile, Sherriff Mort Metzger is out on patrol chatting on the two-way with Floyd and contemplating hitting the golf range when a fancy sports car goes hooning by. He leaps into action and pulls the car over a little way down the road. The car is being driven by Brad Hellman, who in real life is the Boss’s nephew or in other words

Nephew of Boss-lady. Just so we're clear.

Nephew of Boss-lady. Just so we’re clear.

Anyway, Brad the N.O.B has no time for Mort – he claims he forgot his license and when Mort spots a bottle of whisky and a wad of cash in the backseat Brad decides to offer Mort some ID in the form of some sweet cash dollars. Mort arrests him. Back at the Sheriff’s office JB is perusing some old case files for research for her new book when Mort arrives with the N.OB, who is spouting off about false arrest and yada yada yada and do you know who my father is?

The N.O.B’s father, it turns out, is Ambassador Chandler Hellman, and when JB calls up her old friend Haskell Drake (previously seen here and never seen again, bit odd really) he gives her the dirt – Hellman senior is a power hungry bloke whose wife is the newest model off the assembly line and the pair of them are trying to buy their way in, while the son narrowly avoided jail time a few years earlier when the N.O.B totalled his father’s car drink driving and killed a cop and his family, and severely injured a woman. Jess thinks she knows now why Mort is being particularly savage about this one.

Back in the Cove, the N.O.B’s lawyer, Jason Farrell, has arrived and is threatening Mort with All The Things. The N.O.B claims Mort didn’t advise him of his right to refuse a breathalyser test or at least that’s what they’ll say in court and to conclude they are going to destroy Mort.

Mort gives 0 bothers.

Mort gives 0 bothers.

Jess is summoned to Mayor Booth’s office. Sam is in a dilly of a pickle – he has been getting phone calls all over the place about the N.O.B and is about to fly off the handle. Jess hopes he will be standing by the Sheriff but they are soon interrupted by the N.O.B’s father and step-mother, Chandler and Meredith Hellman, who are horrified at the way their son has been treated.

Jess also gives 0 bothers

Jess also gives 0 bothers

Sam introduces JB to the Hellman’s and Mrs Hellman is quite excited to meet the famous JB Fletcher. Sam asks what he can do to help, and Chandler demands the removal of the corrupt sheriff. Jessica won’t stand for this but Mrs Hellman defuses the situation by pointing out they should go and talk to the Sheriff and Brad first.

Side note, Mrs Hellman’s outfit is impressive but I forgot/didn’t bother to get a proper screenshot.

You may recognise Mrs Hellman as the mum from Webster. Thanks IMDB!

You may recognise Mrs Hellman as the mum from Webster. Thanks IMDB!

At the sheriff’s office Chandler Hellman privately berates his son, who tells him it won’t look good in the Washington Post if the Ambassador’s son is in prison, while in the office Meredith Hellman tries to charm everyone by saying she hopes a youthful indiscretion won’t mean the end of N.O.B’s life.

“What about Frank Casey’s life?” Growls Mort.

Meredith pleads ignorance, and then Chandler reappears crying police brutality. They rush into the cells to find a (little bit) bloodied N.O.B. JB asks who did this to him and he points at Mort (after an excellent panning shot that you will have to trust me on because I still can’t work out how to make gifs from VLC)

Sam returns to his office and immediately falls apart.

Poor Sam. He's still cut about Janet's bitchy remark at the beginning of the episode.

Poor Sam. He’s still cut about Janet’s bitchy remark at the beginning of the episode.

Unlike Sam, JB isn’t going to take this lying down. Floyd told her that he saw Brad and there wasn’t a mark on him, and she suspects Chandler of being the punchy culprit. She goes off hunting information.

Back at the Sheriff’s office a bloke named Len has just arrived with N.O.B’s lunch and offers to take it in to the prisoner since Mort is so busy. N.O.B is less than delighted with the meatloaf and vegies, and less with the audience – he asks Len if he plans to stand there and watch him eat. Len departs without a word. Weird.

That night, JB is chilling out at House Fletcher when she gets a visit from Mrs Hellman, who is hoping to persuade Jessica to use her influence in the town to persuade the Sheriff to drop all charges. Because guys, her husband is a powerful man, have I mentioned this?

h2

JB has had enough of your crap Meredith.

JB has had enough of your crap Meredith.

Man I shouldn’t write this when I’m hungry.

That night, JB goes for a wander and finds Mort down by the water, tossing stones and looking glum. Jess tells him that she’s feeling depressed about how rich people get away with things (preach it sister) and Mort tells her he’s giving up, he’s going to resign in the morning. She asks him about Fred Casey and he tells her they worked together back in the day. He wasn’t there the night Casey and his family died but he saw how it got covered up. Jess begs Mort not to give up but he tells her N.O.B made bail an hour ago.

The next morning…

*starts making bass line noises*

Da dun dun dun, da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun, SO DARLIN DARLIN STAND

The aforementioned body, unsurprisingly, is N.O.B. Mort feels the pressure immediately, getting calls from Sam to sort it out, but before he can call Hellman’s Chandler and his attorney appear in the office, after getting a phone call from the coroner’s office. Chandler Hellman is now on a mission to see Mort done for the murder of his son.

Mort gets called into Sam’s office, where he gets more bad news. Lieutenant Avery Powell has been sent down from the capital to investigate charges of misconduct against Mort, as well as the potential murder charge. Mort is suspended until further notice, but Mort tells them to go to hell and quits. YOU GO MORT.

Mort goes to see JB for a little sympathy and finds her doing dishes and wearing that cardigan that I want.

For real though. I want that cardigan.

For real though. I want that cardigan.

JB doesn’t have time for Mort’s misery, they need to solve the mystery. One – why was N.O.B in Cabot Cove? Mort was under the impression N.O.B was just passing through but Mrs Hellman told JB she picked up some fresh clothes for Brad at the hotel so he can’t have been. Two – who owns the car, since it isn’t Brad’s? Mort has a name, Morgan Phillips, but will get his friends in New York to run it down. Meanwhile Jess tries to get more info out of Haskell, but the only thing he can think of is that a 911 call was made by a hysterical woman demanding an ambulance, but he doesn’t know more than that. Jess suspects that the woman might be Morgan, the owner of the car, but can’t be sure.

Jess next goes to see Avery Powell at the sheriff’s office but he doesn’t want a bar of her help. She does manage to see the gun and 3 spent cartridges they found near where the body was, and memorises the serial number. She tells Mort, who asks his friend in New York and sure enough the gun belongs to the same Morgan Phillips that owns the car. THE PLOT IS THICK WITH PLOT.

Jess heads to the Navarro Hotel, where she finds the Hellmans sitting down to lunch with a young woman – Morgan Phillips, N.O.B’s fiancee. Mrs Hellman is just heartbroken to think of Mort shooting N.O.B three times…JB is much more interested in Morgan though, and asks if she’s been in Cabot Cove long, but Meredith informs her that Morgan arrived that morning on the family jet. Jess wonders if she could have a word with Morgan but Chandler and Meredith declare they are late for a meeting and shoot off, Morgan giving JB a worried look as they go. DUN DUN.

Hot on the scent, Jess stops by reception to ask the desk manager how long Morgan had been staying in town and manages to wangle out of him that Morgan was with N.O.B before he was arrested. JB heads straight to the lieutenant to tell Lieutenant Avery and faced with the fact that JB is better at his job than he is, they summon Morgan to the sheriff’s office. Long story short, they came to Cabot Cove because the girl who was involved in N.O.B’s accident was blackmailing him and N.O.B had had enough, so he came to Cabot Cove to kill her. Morgan freaked out and hid her gun in N.O.B’s suitcase where he apparently didn’t find it.

Jess suspects that N.O.B wasn’t the only person who knew the identity of the blackmailer and so plants a note from the blackmailer in the Hellman family lawyer’s pigeonhole at the hotel. JB and Mort follow him to the home of Len Costner, aka he who delivered lunch way back. Mort says it fits, Len and his wife moved to Cabot Cove with their daughter Janet about four years ago. OH SNAP. I’ve watched this twice and I didn’t put it together that Janet at the start of this episode and Janet now are the same person good grief I’m hungry.

JB finds Janet in the park, and gets her theory confirmed. Janet only met N.O.B that night, he gave her a lift home but crashed the car, killing the Casey family. She got to a pay phone to call an ambulance and then her family who later decided to get money out of the Hellman’s when Janet’s injuries were greater than they first thought. At home, Mr and Mrs Costner (heh heh) admit to blackmail but tell Jess that they never even knew N.O.B was in town until he got arrested.

When Jess takes the information to Avery, he is unmoved. Jess manages to read the medical examiner’s report upside down and discovers that while there were 3 shots fired, only 2 hit N.O.B.

That solves it for JB and she lays a trap for the killer to wander into.

She loves that hat though.

She loves that hat though.

Fed up with her step-son’s antics, Meredith put an end to it, and him. And now I’m going to put an end to these hunger pains.

EAT ALL THE THINGS!

EAT ALL THE THINGS!

 

 

S07E12 – Suspicion of Murder

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So this happened.

I can't help but feel responsible for this.

I can’t help but feel responsible for this.

JB is taking time out from her meth lab gardening to tell us a story about everyone’s favourite reformed cat burglar, who is out at a divorce party for his friend, former pro tennis player and Warwick Capper impersonator Ryan Donavan. Dennis is distracted when he sees his friend Christina Hellinger, flying solo without her husband Ben, and they begin to dance.

At the end of the night, Dennis drives Christina home like the chivalrous gentleman that he is, and Christina confesses that she has split up with her husband. She tells Dennis he couldn’t understand how it felt to try and make a marriage work and he informs her that he made his work for 24 years – until the cancer claimed his wife.

Dennis thinks it’s time he should be hitting the road but Christina has other plans for him. Nudge nudge wink wink.

The next day, Rhoda arrives back from her lunch break to find Dennis surprisingly hard at work. He announces he has to go interview an antique dealer but makes a quick call to Christina before he goes. There’s no answer at her house so he goes over there and convinces the doorman to check on her. The apartment is empty but Dennis spots a blinking light on the answering machine – a message from Ben’s son telling him that he fobbed them off but the tax people are coming back tomorrow.

Dennis calls into the office

Basically a shoe phone

Basically a shoe phone

…and Rhoda informs him that Christina has been looking for him. He finds her at a hotel outside town, looking the worse for wear. Christina says after their little something something the night before she went to tell Ben it was over and he mistook her for a punching bag.

Dennis offers to escort her to the police station, but as they leave the hotel he spots a car following a short distance behind.  Dennis gets on his batphone to call the closest police station, but the car behind comes up and runs them off the road, wrecking the Dennis-mobile.

MAD DENNIS IS MAD

MAD DENNIS IS MAD

Dennis and Christina go to see Dennis’s old pal Lieutenant Catalano who promises Christina he will look into it – then berates Dennis for mistaking him for a social worker once Christina leaves his office. Ever the gentleman, Dennis gets Christina settled in a hotel under an assumed name, and gives her strict instructions not to call anyone or leave the room for anything. That done, he heads home for a chat with his late wife’s photo before switching off the light and sitting in the dark, gun in hand.

The next morning Dennis gets a phone call from Catalano, who ended up being awake all night worrying that he’d be done for dereliction of duty should Dennis happen to be bumped off. He tells Dennis no trace of Ben was found at his home or at work. Dennis decided to take a gander for himself and heads out to the house where Ben has been staying. He finds the car responsible for smashing up the Dennismobile in the garage. With a little help from the umbrella of justice, Dennis picks the lock on the door and goes inside to take a look around. Apart from an abandoned glass of whisky, and the discovery that Ben has some sort of steamroom set up in his bathroom, Dennis comes away empty handed. He calls Christina to see how she’s getting on, and tells her his next move is to check Ben’s office.

Dennis finds Ben’s sons Joe and Danny in the office in a heated argument over Joe’s life failures. When they realise Dennis was the man who reported their father missing, Joe gets uppity but Danny throws him out of the office before informing Dennis that he saw his father the previous Sunday, he wasn’t missing and that he should basically just jog on.

Dennis’s next visit is to his friend Ryan, the host of the party that set off this whole business. He tells Dennis that Ben was a bit rough around the edges and was never really welcomed into the San Francisco social scene, which upset Christina who was desperate for the love. He and Christina had a fling the previous year but he ended it when she got too serious.

Listening to Ride of the Valkyries on the way home, a police car pulls Dennis over to inform him he is wanted for questioning for the murder of Ben Dellinger.

Really Dennis, how did you not see this coming?

Really Dennis, how did you not see this coming?

Naturally Catalano has no opinion about this at all.

Clearly no response to this development

No. Opinion.

While they await the San Rafael police who are taking Dennis in to be processed, Catalano outlines his triumphant victory – that a phone tip said Dennis had been seen hanging around Ben Dellinger’s house, and that when police went to investigate Ben’s body was found in the shower at 4pm that afternoon with an icepick through the heart and a whole lot of unidentified fingerprints around the house. Dennis agrees that the fingerprints are his, but swears he wouldn’t commit such a stupid and obvious murder.

Catalano disagrees.

Nor, Dennis adds, is he brave enough to stab someone front on with an icepick.

Catalano couldn’t make sense of that either, but he’ll live with it.

The San Rafael police arrive to escort Dennis back to their jurisdiction, but Dennis is already 10 steps ahead – he busts out of the handcuffs and escapes. He goes to see Christina, but AMAZINGLY she’s checked out of the hotel. The desk clerk informs him that she checked out earlier that evening, and why yes she did make a phone cal to San Rafael. Dennis tests out a theory and confirms the number Christina dialed was the San Rafael Police Department. Meanwhile, Christina is back at home and telling Catalano just how terrified she is now that her husband is dead and Dennis is on the run.

Dennis decides to pay an afterhours visit to Ben’s lawyers to see just what tax trouble he might be into, and is nearly busted by a silent alarm and two cops.

The next day Rhoda is in the office reading all about her boss’s escapades in the paper while listening to Robert lose his mind when Dennis calls in asking for a favour – he needs Rhoda to track down the other call that Christina must have made from the hotel. Dennis’s next call is to Catalano, who demands he turn himself in at once. Dennis suggests that instead Catalano find out whether the freezer in the garage was padlocked, and whether Ben’s organs showed signs of frozen tissue.

Rhoda picks Dennis up later that afternoon and delivers the news that Christina did make another phone call – to Joey Dellinger. Dennis decides it’s time to fill Catalano in and goes to the police station. Catalano concedes that it does appear that Ben Dellinger was kept in the freezer and then moved to the steam to thaw out and that he no longer considers Dennis a suspect.

He's so delighted!

He’s so delighted!

Dennis has it all figured out. Joey Dellinger got cut out of the will and so offered to help Christina in exchange for a chunk of inheritance, and Christina did it because she wanted to get back with Ryan – and was a bit put out when she discovered Ryan wasn’t so wild about the idea.

So, to conclude:

What a surprise. Wait, that's not the right word.

What a surprise. Wait, that’s not the right word.

But I think we really need to focus on the really important part of this episode:

 

Later gang

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S07E11 – Family Doctor

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Spoiler alert: my thoughts on this episode can be summed up by this picture:

g2

Fairly warned be thee says I.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Boston, a mafioso by the name of Carmine Abruzzi is having the hard word put on him by a couple of Feds. If he tells them all about his friends, they’ll put him in witness protection so his “friends” can’t find him but Carmine won’t talk to no foot soldiers. He’ll talk to the boss or no deal, so they take him down to the parking garage to transport him to the FBI office. Before they get to the car, a couple of goons jump them, knock the FBI guys unconcious and hustle Carmine into a waiting limo that speeds away.

Life Lesson #61 – Nothing good ever happens in a parking garage. Except perhaps gaining valuable information about exposing a dirty President, or proving the existence of aliens. But mostly nothing good.

But never mind all that because an old friend wants lobster.

Hooray!

Hooray!

Seth demands dinner at his favourite restaurant, the Clam and Claw, a restaurant that hasn’t changed in 75 years – much like Seth. He manages to wrangle a reservation by dropping the word “Doctor” into the conversation but on their arrival at the restaurant later that night Seth is devastated to discover that the restaurant is under new management, his maître’d friend no longer works there and in short, the place has gone trendy.

Poor Seth.

Poor Seth.

While they are shown to their table, a young man and his pregnant wife arrive. The new maître’d instantly welcomes them as Mr and Mrs Abruzzi and escorts them to the private dining room. A short time later, he returns to the dining room and waits for a knock on the door. A Mr Gant checks to see if everyone has arrived and then asks the maître’d to start serving in five minutes. Inside the dining room is Michael Abruzzi and his pregnant wife Denise, his mother Rosa, his brother Salvatore and his girlfriend Maid Marion Connie.

Dat hair. Such envy.

Dat hair. Such envy.

They are soon joined by (surprise surprise) Carmine Abruzzi, who tells them to stop talking and start eating.

In the main restaurant, Seth takes time out from feeding his face to lecture Jess about how her new book shouldn’t take priority over feeding a friend, to which she sighs and offers him the rest of her lobster dinner, saying she’s too full. There’s a scene at the front door – Andrew Gant’s daughter Phyllis arrives demanding entrance to the private dining room and orders the maître’d to inform her father that she’s arrived. She also demands a bottle of champagne and threatens to pour it down the dress of the waitress if she makes that face again.

What a treasure.

Back in the dining room, Carmine announces that he and Rosa are fleeing the country for Italy via Canada, and that he’s leaving control of the empire to Michael. Michael’s wife Denise shouts “No!” and runs from the room while Salvatore says Michael can’t run the family he can’t even control his wife. Carmine orders him to shut up, but now Andrew Gant chimes in, saying that Michael wants to make expensive changes that the other families won’t like. Carmine tells him to talk it over with Michael.

The maître’d arrives to inform Mr Gant about the arrival of his daughter, who in the intervening time has gotten herself well soused. As Jess and Seth debate the possibility of dessert, Andrew asks his driver to take Phyllis home,  and tells her that Sal has better things to do tonight than come to her.

Carmine and a tearful Rosa decide it’s time to go. Michael and Salvatore go with them out to the car, and as Carmine dishes out some last minute advice, a shadowy figure with a gun crawls along a rooftop. Carmine opens the car door and collapses, but he’s not dead. Salvatore and Michael carry him inside.

Sidenote: If I was playing racial stereotype bingo on this episode I think I would have won about ten minutes ago.

Jess settles on berries for dessert and Seth goes for the pie, but before he can take a mouthful the maître’d arrives at their table – there’s an urgent phone call for Seth. He sighs and follows the maître’d out of the room – and doesn’t return.  Forty minutes later Jess pays and asks the maître’d where Seth went but he doesn’t know. Jess takes her coat and goes straight to the police station but the sergeant on duty is not feeling particularly helpful. A passing detective hears the name “Clams and Claws” and his ears prick up. He offers to take JB back to the restaurant to find out what happened to Seth.

On the way the detective, Lieutenant Marino, asks JB whether Seth considered the restaurant a hangout, or if he was “connected”, or if he made frequent trips to New York. Jess wants to know what this is about, but Marino tells her hopefully nothing.

At the restaurant, the maître’d takes them to his office and shows them where Seth “took the call”, but begins to look uncomfortable when Marino points out that Seth’s car is still outside. Marino suggests they go and look around, and leave the office. After the door closes the maître’d puts a call in to Sal but hangs up when Marino reappears, requesting a tour guide. Jess is already five steps ahead, and notices a bleached spot on the carpet in the hallway, along with some red spots where they missed. Marino cuts out a sample and tells maître’d, whose name is Freddie, that if it turns out those red spots are blood then he’ll be ruining a lot more than the carpet.

Across town, a patrol car spots a figure walking down a deserted street. He flags them down – and of course it’s Seth. Back at the police station Seth fills them in – after being taken to see Carmine, Seth and the whole Abruzzi clan went to a country mansion where Seth was ordered to save Carmine’s life, which he naturally did because he’s Seth.

Marino fills in the blanks and explains who the shot guy was – Seth is glad he didn’t know it at the time or his hand might have slipped. Jess and Seth prepare to leave, but Marino tells them they can’t go back to the Cove yet. Two feds are on their way up from New York and they want to talk to Jess and Seth. The worst case scenario – they have to go into witness protection in Provo Utah.

Although I would watch the hell out of that show.

Although I would watch the hell out of that show.

The next day, Michael Abruzzi’s wife Denise apologises for running out but says that she can’t be married to a mobster. Michael tells her his father was shot, a doctor treated him and he got better, but then Carmine took a turn for the worse and died an hour ago. Salvatore is convinced that the doctor who treated Carmine is responsible.

At the hotel Jess and Seth are on the footpath waiting for the FBI agents to pick them up when Seth realises he left his medical bag in the coffee shop and goes to retrieve it. A car pulls up and Jess starts to get in before Seth calls out “Jess! That’s the wrong car!”

One of the people in the car pulls out a gun and orders the pair of them inside.

At the country mansion, Michael is slowly taking charge. Andrew informs him that he’s made all the arrangements for burial and the funeral home will come to collect the body in the morning to prepare Carmine to be buried back in Italy. Denise is concerned that her husband is being sucked into the business but he swears that he’s out to make the family legit. He asks Connie to find a guest bedroom for himself and Denise before going to answer the door. It’s one of Carmine’s goons with Seth and JB, and JB is OUTRAGED at the fact she’s been kidnapped. The goon tells Michael he took Seth on Salvatore’s orders, but he didn’t know JB would be there. Which is fair, because let’s be honest JB has had precisely no involvement in any of it so far.

Seth asks about Carmine and Michael informs him that Carmine died – an apparent heart attack after his heart started racing. Seth doesn’t understand, the drugs he gave Carmine would have slowed his heart rate down. A scream rings out from upstairs and Michael is called away to investigate.  Connie has just walked in on her boyfriend in bed with Phyllis Gant, the drunken cow from the restaurant and is losing her mind.

Back at the police station, the feds are demanding Marino sort himself out. They listen to the tape again and take note of Seth’s observation that they passed over a covered bridge right before arriving at the mansion. Surely there can’t be that many of Carmine’s associates that this applies to.

After putting pants back on, Salvatore begins interrogating Seth, which soon turns into a shouting match with his brother. Salvatore wants Seth and JB dead even though JB is not involved and Salvatore accuses Michael of  wanting to get them a guest spot on Donahue which is a sentence I’d never thought I’d hear again.

I really think JB is unimpressed that she's not being included more.

I really think JB is unimpressed that she’s not being included more.

After a passionate speech from JB about Seth’s role as a doctor that I wasn’t entirely listening to because Pokemon Go happened, they are joined by Rosa Abruzzo who has just been informed that Connie and Salvatore’s wedding is off. “I JUST HAD MY LAST FITTING FOR THE DRESS YESTERDAY!” she says loudly, in a way that in no way denotes important plot point.

Salvatore goes off after his mother and Connie, leaving Michael with JB and Seth. Seth offers to look at the body to establish cause of death, and although Michael is resistant he agrees. Back in town, Marino and the Feds discover the body of the man who shot Carmine in the first place.

Seth discovers that Carmine was definitely murdered by a clumsy injection. Michael is called away when Andrew Gant arrives back, leaving Seth to tell Jess the bad news – Carmine was killed by an injection of digitoxin, which had been stolen out of Seth’s medical bag along with one of his syringes.

In the next room Andrew Gant tells them that the other mafia families had nothing to do with the hitman, but he doesn’t believe them. He and Salvatore think it’s time for a show of strength.

Seth spots a picture of Phyllis Gent on the table and they realise they are at the home of Andrew Gant. Jess suddenly realises they had it all wrong after all. Seth distracts the guard with a visit to the bathroom while JB phones it in. Unfortunately for JB Salvatore appears at that moment and pulls his gun on her. Michael comes in hot on his heels and orders Salvatore to put the gun down. Then they hear sirens.

Marino and his men appear and arrest Salvatore and Andrew for kidnapping. Marino tells JB about finding the hitman but says he still doesn’t know who hired him.

JB can help him out with that one.

I feel like I've written wife of death at least once before.

I feel like I’ve written wife of death at least once before.

JB picked up on the fact that Rosa kept a dress fitting appointment even though she knew she would be leaving the country. Rosa, devastated at the thought of losing her family to go on the run with Carmine, hired the hitman but the hitman botched it so she took matters into her own hands.

And now confession: this episode was dreadful, and so the minute I saw Amy Yasbeck my brain wandered and ended up here:

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S07E10 – Murder in F Sharp

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That awkward moment when your nephew puts the wrong LP in the wrong cover.

That's right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

That’s right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

So I just googled the album that Ben accidentally played and it’s called Head On Collision, which is a New Found Glory song so can we just take a minute to ponder the fact that New Found Glory have apparently discovered how to time travel? Yeah, I know right!

While Ben is delighted to think that his nephew is now listening to Mozart courtesy of his Vaacclav Maryska album, he’s sad his nephew won’t get to hear the maestro play live. “You did hear what happened?” He asks JB.

Hear! JB got a blow by blow account. Apparently a certain friend of hers was tied up in the whole thing and just couldn’t wait to tell her about it.

I'm not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justic a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

I’m not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justice a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

Cut to San Francisco, where Vaacclav Maryska is preparing for a concert.

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Vaacclav gets a visit backstage from his star pupil Nicole Geary, in from New York to see her teacher play. He’s delighted to see her, and less delighted when his wife Milena turns up. Nicole excuses herself and Milena asks Vaacclav why he didn’t mention Nicole was in town. Vaacclav shrugs, he thought he had. He tells Milena to take her seat, but she tells him she’s going home – this is one concert she’d rather miss.

Ouch.

The concert begins, but it’s clear that something is wrong. Vaacclav slams his hands down on the piano and declares he can’t play a piano that’s out of tune, before storming off the stage. After detouring through every bar in San Francisco he arrives home well sloshed. Milena tells him she heard about the show and she’s sorry. Vaacclav tells her at least it was short, and excuses himself to go into the study to continue his pity party.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

Milena takes herself back to bed, but is woken later that night when the fire alarm goes off. She hears Vaacclav yelling. After some hand-wringing and some door knocking by the building’s security, they managed to break down the study door to find Vraacclav in a pretty bad shape.

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I'd forgotten about that?

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I’d forgotten about that? 

Now it just so happens that Vaaclav has insured his hands and of course there’s only one man with the mad skillz required to investigate this insurance claim.

Classic Dennis.

Classic Dennis.

Dennis heads straight to the hospital to let Vaacclav and Milena know that the insurance claim will be processed expeditiously. Milena thanks him, but says they aren’t worried about the fire damage, Vaacclav’s recuperation is more important. Dennis apologises for not being clear, he was referring to the policy on Vaacclav’s hands. It’s obvious Milena knew nothing about this, but Vaacclav declares that he won’t be claiming, his hands will recover. There’s a knock on the door – it’s Milena’s son (and Vaacclav’s stepson) Alex. Milena ignores her son, and bids farewell to Dennis before leaving the room.

Dennis goes home with Milena to see the damage. Milena asks him how long Vaacclav has had the policy on his hands, and Dennis says at least 10 years. She tells Dennis Vaacclav was very drunk the night of the accident, and gets so emotional she has to leave the room. Dennis tells her he’ll only be a minute. He does a quick search and finds a challenge but resists the urge.

THE PRECIOUS

MY PRECIOUS!

Back at the hospital, Milena tells Vaacclav about Dennis’s investigation and begs him to tell her if he set the fire on purpose to damage his hands. Vaacclav tells her to leave so he can rest. DUN DUN.

Dennis adjourns to his office to study the footage of Vaacclav’s last show, while his boss Robert demands to know how Dennis can justify a $120 lunch expense. Dennis says he was getting information out of a forensic specialist.

“Oh yeah what was her name?” Says Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis, eyes on the prize, stops the recording. He can hear it, Vaacclav  is way out. Robert says doi, the piano wasn’t tuned correctly. Dennis goes to the concert hall and tries the piano out for himself – it’s in tune.

Meanwhile, Nicole goes to see Vaacclav in hospital, who is in fine spirits despite the condition of his hands. He tells Nicole he will start teaching, and has a pupil in mind…they could go to Majorca where Chopin wrote some of his finest…

Nicole laughs and says if she thought he was serious… “But I am!” Insists Vaacclav.

Milena appears to tell Vaacclav  the good news, he’s being discharged. Nicole excuses herself and leaves. Vaacclav  sees Milena’s face and tells her it’s not what she thinks.

Back at home, the doorman announces the arrival of Milena’s son Alex. Milena takes herself off to the bedroom while Vaaclav chats to Alex. Vaaclav tells Alex about a letter he’d like to reply to but you know, hands, so Alex offers to write it for him and gets the stationary out of the desk. Vaacclav  changes his mind and says he’ll go and get Milena – it’s high time their rift was solved. It’s obvious Alex has turned his life around, Milena needs to accept this. He goes into the bedroom and tells her he’s going out for awhile, and that Alex is ready to forgive her. Milena is disgusted. Her! Forgiven!

Vaacclav, after checking the time with the doorman (3:05pm) goes to meet Nicole for coffee, while a neighbour of Milena and Vaacclav hears a fight between Milena and Alex and sees Alex leave. Nicole arrives at 4:15, apologising for being late. Vaacclav  isn’t bothered, he wants to talk more about his Majorca plans. Nicole feels terrible, she thought he was joking – she can’t go to Majorca, she has classes and concerts in New York. Pish tosh, says Vaacclav. Cancel the concerts, he’s a better teacher than anyone etc etc.

After coffee they head back to Vaacclav’s apartment, where he discovers he forgot his key. The doorman lets them in – to discover Milena’s body on the floor. Everyone’s favourite San Francisco detective Lieutenant Catalano is called in, much to Dennis’s delight when he arrives a short time later. Catalano demands to know what Dennis is doing there, and he says he’s there to see an old friend. He gives his condolences to Vaacclav who tells Catalano (and Dennis) what happened. Dennis is interested to hear more about Nicole Geary but Catalano throws him out.

At the office, Dennis gets Rhoda to dig out everything she can find on Vaacclav Maryska. On top of all the houses he owns, and the overheads he has accrued, Rhoda also discovers a life insurance policy on Milena – but before Dennis can get excited she tells him Milena’s son Alex was the beneficiary, not Vaacclav. Dennis goes to see Alex who had no idea about the insurance policy. Dennis tells him he should speak to a lawyer quickly, before Catalano turns up. Later than night Vaacclav  goes to see Alex at his office at the rehab clinic and tells him there’s nothing to worry about. He asks Alex to retrieve his reading glasses from the car, and after Alex goes to get them, stares at the typewriter thoughtfully.

Dennis goes to see Catalano at the police station. Catalano is on the phone, barking orders at someone to search the apartment and the office until they find the gun. Dennis has heard about this mysterious letter, supposedly from Alex to Milena, that has only just conveniently turned up. Catalano doesn’t care, the paper has Alex’s fingerprints on it and the typewriting matches the typewriter in Alex’s office, he’s clearly guilty.

Unconvinced, Dennis goes back to his office to see what else Rhoda has managed to dig up on Vaacclav. She tells him that apart from some trips to New York, Vaaclav’s only other recent trip was to Rochester Minnesota – home of the Mayo Clinic. This only adds to Dennis’s theory that Vaaclav is behind the whole thing, and further demonstrates this by setting fire to some plum brandy.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

Dennis decides there is only one possible course of action, especially since Vaacclav is out to dinner that night.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Unfortunately for Dennis, he is soon interrupted by a visit from the doorman and the aforementioned neighbour who swears she heard noises in the apartment.

Once a cat burglar...

Once a cat burglar…

Back at the office the next day…

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

Dennis is trying to prove that Vaacclav was able to write the extortion note. It turns out thatduring his nocturnal sojourn in Vaaclaav Maryska’s apartment Dennis managed to find two tickets to Majorca, booked months earlier departing in a couple of days, in the names of Vaacclav Maryska and Nicole Geary.  Considering Vaacclav was meant to be in Tokyo on his world tour, this would indicate that he knew he wasn’t going to make it. SUSPICIOUS. Rhoda also confirms that Vaacclav went to the Mayo Clinic but couldn’t get any info on his diagnosis – a situation remedied by a call from Doctor Dennis Stanton who discovers Vaacclav was suffering from degenerative arthritis and wouldn’t have been able to play within a year. Dennis is convinced Vaacclav is behind the whole thing but cannot see how to prove it.

That night, Nicole is at Vaacclav’s house where he  bestows the Majorca tickets on her. She tells him she just can’t up and leave to Majorca tomorrow but Vaaclaav won’t have a bar of it. The phone rings – it’s the doorman. Dennis is there with a cheque for Vaaclav. Nicole tells Vaaclaav she’ll call him from New York, and the truth comes out – she’s getting married. To a composer. A talented young composer.

Pun partially intended.

Pun partially intended.

As Nicole departs Dennis arrives with a 10 million dollar cheque and a theory. A correct one, naturally.

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

It happened exactly how you imagine it did. Vaacclav did it all for the girl, not stopping to check whether the girl wanted it done for her. You know, the usual.

Case closed. And only two more Dennis the menace episodes left in the series! Does that mean the bookends are coming to an end?

Stay tuned!

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

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