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S01E07 – Hit, Run and Homicide

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Back in the Cove at last, and not a minute too soon! This week JB is gadding about Cabot Cove on her Fletchmobile (read: bike), and having a dilemma. She has to give a speech at the Founders Day picnic about the Founding Fathers of Cabot Cove, including one who was a pirate rogue who fought for the English. She doesn’t think the town is ready for the truth, and frankly, neither do I. Look how things went for Lisa Simpson.

Jess is saved from having to reveal the results of her research by a man being chased across the baseball field by a driverless car. It’s just like that movie Duel, except it’s not a truck, and as far as I know Stephen Spielberg isn’t involved. Or is he?

Wait, I’ve lost my train of thought. Right, Sedan of Doom. After the car throws the man up against the metal fence, it legs it out of there before Sheriff Amos arrives to restore normality/have a bowl of clam chowder. Despite the protestations of Jess’s pal Ethan, who swears that the car didn’t have a driver, Amos is unconvinced. He checks in on the victim of the hit and run, an out-of-towner friend of a local man, who came to the cove with his business partner to visit their former co-worker. He tells Amos the same thing. Amos is not pleased by this news.

Meanwhile, Our Heroine goes to pay a visit on her friend Daniel, who has a visitor. Several, in fact.

Life lesson #20: When going to stickybeak on neighbours, distract them with pie.

While Katie goes to deal with the pie, Jess bumps into Daniel’s nephew and his soon to be missus, Leslie, then goes to see Daniel in his TARDIS garage, where he’s working on a Doomsday Device bike. Jess tells him that his friend Charles Woodley has been attacked by the Sedan of Doom, and Daniel loses it – the man is no friend of his!

Down on the docks, the partner of Charles Woodley arrives via boat, looking for the hospital. After some helpful direction from Ethan, he sets off in the direction of the hospital. On the way he has a run-in with the Sedan of Death, and comes off second best, i.e dead.

Yet to be informed of the latest shenanigans going down in Cabot today, JB is hard at work on her next novel. Ethan arrives to tell her the news and to ask her assistance – he thinks the Sheriff is in over his head. He knows this, he explains, because he keeps clearing his throat.

Unable to counter that logic, Jess jumps on the Fletchmobile and sees what she can do. She runs into Amos, and after some subtle nudging, gets invited to assist the Sheriff on the case – as research for her next book, of course. She’s smooth, that JB. Together they visit Charles Woodley again in the hospital. He reveals that Daniel used to work on remote control operated gadgets when he worked for Woodley. Amos’s ears prick up at that, but Jess dismisses it out of hand. The car is the key! Amos vows to turn the whole county upside down to find it. Jess, on the other hand, decides a barbecue with Daniel and his gaggle of guests is a much better idea. Daniel is still insisting that he never called the two businessmen to Cabot Cove, which leaves Jessica to do a little sneaky detective work of her own. Despite his claim otherwise, the calls went from his house to Woodley’s private line. I CALL SHENANIGANS.

Armed with this information, Jess finds Katie the houseguest (who wishes she was more permanent), and asks her why Daniel was fired from his job. Katie begins to explain, but is interrupted by Daniel with his latest invention – an electronic device to keep aphids off his roses. He proudly demonstrates it for Jess and Katie:

Teach dogs to kill aphids and prune rosebushes? Brilliant!

That night Jess has Ethan, Tony and Leslie around for dinner, mostly so she can hear about what that Amos Tupper has been up to. Alas, turning the county upside down hasn’t found the Car of Doom, and Ethan’s a bit fed up. Jess has her own idea about where they should look, and goes to visit the Sheriff the next morning.

Needless to say, Sheriff Tupper is delighted to have JB tell him how to do his job…

Amos Tupper does not like it when Mrs Fletcher gets all up in his business.

Fortunately Jess accepts Sheriff Tupper blowing off steam with good grace.

JB Fletcher imagines stapling things to Sheriff Tupper’s head…

Jess goes out hunting Sedans of Doom, and naturally finds her prey carefully concealed in a bush. Unfortunately for Jess, she’s so caught up in proving Sheriff Tupper wrong that she forgets rule 101 of hunting Sedans of Doom – be careful to avoid the 4WD of Destruction. When she gets into the Sedan of Doom to hunt for clues, a Mysterious Gloved Hand sets the remote control off, and soon Jess is CAREENING THROUGH THE STREETS OF CABOT COVE LIKE A PLAYER IN GRAND THEFT AUTO. Fortunately Ethan spots her driving about the town like a madwoman and helpfully gives chase. Observe the following helpful diagram:

Bonus level from GTA: The Streets of Cabot Cove…

Things come to the point (literally) when Jess crashes through a gate and ends up speeding towards a cliff. Jess throws her hands up in the air – she doesn’t want to bow out like Thelma and Louise – and thankfully she doesn’t. The 4WD of Destruction turns off the remote control, drops a u-bomb, and disappears into the sunset.

At this point it’s very difficult to tell who is more shaken up – Ethan or JB – so Ethan takes his friend for a restorative cuppa at the police station, which Amos makes with the policework. He discovers some of Daniel’s files in the back of the car, and he is convinced that Daniel is the one controlling the Sedan of Doom. They troop off to Daniel’s TARDIS garage to see if they can find proof of his innocence, but alas, everything they find convinces Sheriff Tupper than Daniel is guilty. Tupper carts him off to the big house, and leaves Jess and Katie to ponder what was really going on. Jess goes to visit him in jail the next day, and on her way home gets a flat tyre. Fortunately Daniel’s nephew drives past and offers her a lift. They argue about whether or not Daniel is crazy – Jess is sure he isn’t, but Tony (and his fiance) are worried.

The next morning Jess is buying groceries when she stumbles across Ethan playing Mortal Kombat an arcade game. After a little trash talk from Our Heroine, Ethan demands that she have a turn. Half way through the level, she has an epiphany.

Life Lesson #21 – when stumped for your next move, take time out and play an early 80s arcade game.

Jess calls the gang together back where it all began, at the park. They’re going to recreate the first case of the Sedan of Doom, to see if anyone remembers anything new. While they’re talking, the 4WD of Destruction appears, and before too long, the Sedan of Doom is rampaging across the baseball field, chasing Amos and Charles Woodley, who throws away his cane in horror.

Everyone is in a panic, except Jess. She’s baited her trap, and all she needs now is for her prey to fall into it…

Surprised? So was I…

Turns out Daniel’s nephew’s fiance was in cahoots with Charles Woodley all along, and they would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for them meddling kids Our Heroine.

So ends another episode of Murder, She Blogged. Stay tuned, dear reader. Next week I have a surprise for you…

S01E06 – Lovers and Other Killers

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Crime must be taking a vacation in the Cove this week, because Our Heroine is in Seattle giving lectures to uni students and hanging out with Peter Graves Dr Edmund Gerard. Somewhat strangely she rocks up at Seattle airport with a Chinese baby that she hands over to some nuns first, which I”m sure had an amazing MacGyver-like back story, but I guess we’ll never know.  Job done, Jess and Edmund pay a quick visit to Edmund’s office to arrange for his secretary/adorer to find Jess a secretary while she’s in Seattle.  JB works hard for the money.

Later than night, Jess gets a knock on her door. Someone has come to apply for the secretarial position…

This guy has suss written all over him…

Captain Susspants, or David Tolliver as he is apparently known, offers to show JB his ‘skills’ which amazingly isn’t code, although he does tell Jess that he is fast and accurate…

JB Fletcher: secret master of the double entendre.

Jess is convinced by his dazzling array of skills and tells him to come at 10am. (Also not code, at least I hope. Despite his shorthand technique, HE’S A CREEPY WEIRDO, I JUST KNOW IT).

The next day, Jess gives the first of her university lectures, which naturally go off with a bang.

Life Lesson #19: When asked to give a university lecture, always bring humorous props.

Flushed with her own success, Jess goes home to find Captain Susspants curled up on the couch reading a book. He decides that it’s a special occasion, and that they should go out for dinner. JB politely declines, saying that she couldn’t handle pizza and beer, or whatever students eat (to which I say, bullshit. I have a feeling JB could out drink EVERYONE IN THE WORLD). Captain Susspants says he’d rather eat at some ritzy French restaurant. “Can you afford that?” Asks our heroine.

“No, but you can.” Says Captain Susspants.

CHEEKY MONKEY. For reasons I can’t quite fathom, Jess finds this freeloading sleazebucket charming, and so they go off to Chateau Foux de Fafa, or whatever French restaurants were called in 1984. Captain Susspants puts the moves on our gal, but she’s far too classy a dame to get fooled by his grubby ways. (At least, I hope so. I refer you to the second photo in this post).

Back at the hotel, any shenanigans the Captain might have been planning are FORTUITOUSLY THWARTED by the arrival of one of Seattle’s finest, who wants Susspants to go down to the precinct for questioning over the recent death of a lady named Alison Brevard. Afterwards, he tells Jess that there’s nothing to worry about, she was just some old duck he knew. Jess accepts this, but also notices that the police do a really crap tail of them all the way home.

The next day Jess decides to get some answers, and pays the detective a visit. He warns her off Tolliver/Susspants, saying that he was Alison Brevard’s toy boy and that he was bad news.

I KNEW IT! Jess is still convinced he’s innocent though, until she goes back to her hotel AND FINDS HIM RIGHT AT HOME IN HER ROOM. Despite his protestations that his intentions are entirely honourable (cough BULLSHIT cough), Jess tells him that there isn’t any work today, and probably not tomorrow. Captain Susspants flounces from the room, and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

Not for long though. Jess goes to visit her pal Edmund, and they are accosted by Captain Susspants, who begs them to give him a second chance. Edmund doesn’t want a bar of it, but Jess relents and tells him that there will be plenty of typing for him to do tomorrow.

…and by typing, I think you know what I mean…

Later than night, Jess gets a mysterious phone call from a blonde in a cafe, who can prove that Captain Susspants didn’t kill the old duck. Jess insists that she’s not going to meet her, but let’s face it, she’s not turning down a chance to hang out in an abandoned warehouse down by the docks is she?

Wearing her special clandestine meeting trench coat, Jess heads down to the docks to meet this mystery blonde, but alas someone beats her to it. The blonde has been stabbed in the back. Seattle 50 arrive, and they are convinced that David Susspants Toliver is guilty, despite surveillance showing he hadn’t left his apartment. They get him down to the precinct, where he once again proclaims his innocence, saying that the Lila-the-blonde and he were seeing each other off and on, despite the fact that her  husband was crazy jealous. Jess decides to pay Mr Crazy Jealous a visit, and finds him on the set of the rejected music video of Physical by Olivia Newton John.

Methinks JB hasn’t quite got her mind on the job this week…

Jess interrogates him old skool, and he accuses Our Heroine of asking lots of questions, to which she replies “I’m nosey.” THAT’S OUR GIRL. He informs Jess that his recently deceased wife had a whole lot of lovin going on with people who weren’t him, but weren’t Susspants Tolliver either.He then points out Jess is late for her lecture, and legs it back to campus.

Today’s lecture, Jess decides, is how to stage the murder of a blonde girl and make it look like someone else did it. Far from getting her students to solve the crime for her, she’s got her eye on the English professor down the front, who had a bit of a thing going with Lady MacBlonde. In the end, his alibi seems to checkout and she goes home to relax after a hard day’s sleuthing.

Or not. Captain Von Susspants has been and left her a note to say that Professor Lowry wants to meet her at his office, so she goes back to the campus to meet him. All seems well enough as she goes up the stairs to his office, until she is engaged in a VICIOUS SHADOW PUPPET FIGHT TO THE DEATH:

Don’t you hate it when you get attacked by ninja shadow puppets? I know I do…

Our girl comes tumbling down the stairs (her mace came tumbling after). Just as she blacks out, she realises David Susspants Tolliver is standing over her. He apologises to her, and says that he’d heard about her efforts in the lecture and got worried, so he came to see if she was okay. Maybe I was wrong about Susspants? Nah…

In the hospital, Jess’s pal Ed arrives with the detective, and accuses Susspants of being the culprit. Lila-the-blonde, Ed reveals, was not with Susspants the night of Alison Brevard’s death, she was with Ed! SCANDAL!

Over breakfast the next day, Ed tells Jess that David had bribed Lila to cover for him the night of Alison Brevard’s death. SUSSPANTS BY NAME, SUSSPANTS BY NATURE. Meanwhile, Ed and Lila had been making whoopie at a little inn out-of-town, and the night Alison Brevard died, that’s where they were headed. Ed remembers a car trying to run them off the road, but Lila just figured it was a drunk driver. With this new information, Jess pays Professor Lowry another visit, but realises it wasn’t his car running people off the road. On the way out she runs into the detective, who has some news – Susspants Tolliver is off the hook for the murder of Alison Brevard. Turns out, a burglar did it. Jess is too distracted to take this news in though – she’s still trying to solve the murder of Lila-the-blonde.

Jess goes back to her hotel to mull things over, and is infuriated to discover that Susspants Tolliver is in residence in her room again. She accuses him of being the lying cheating scumbag that he is (FINALLY!), which he of course denies. He swears he didn’t push her down the stairs at the campus – a person rang to say that Lowry wanted to meet JB.

And with that little snippet of information, JB solves the case and goes to pay the killer a visit.

It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!

Case closed. After all that, it would seem Captain Susspants was perfectly innocent. He intercepts Jess at the airport and makes one final play – he’s smitten with our JB, he doesn’t want anybody else. Jess gives him a polite but firm brush-off. She just hasn’t made up her mind about him.

Freeze-frame on Captain Susspants’s face:

Can you hear the ominous music?

Will we see more of Captain Susspants Tolliver in the future? I sincerely hope so. Stay tuned.

S01E05 – It’s A Dog’s Life

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I don’t know where we are this week gang, but it ain’t Cabot Cove. For the sake of this post, let’s call it the Part of America Where Rich People Have Horses and Hunt Things and Have Chamber Orchestras In Their Lounge Room. Comment below if you know where that is.

Now THAT’s an outfit

Anyway, Jess is in said part of the world to visit her cousin Abby, who is a horse trainer for Denton, a rich lecherous millionaire (aren’t they all), who has decided to have a hunt for his 80th birthday – so presumably the chamber orchestra isn’t a permanent fixture in his lounge room.

Like all rich lecherous millionaires, his children are all screw-ups: his son makes Grady look like presidential material, one daughter is an alcoholic slut, the other a New Age lunatic and her daughter is, frankly, just a bitch.

Spencer, Morgana, Echo and Trish – I’ll leave it to you to guess who is who..

The hunt begins, and they set off on a lovely scenic montage that is only ruined by Denton’s horse going apeshit and legging it over a fence. The horse disappears off into the sunset while Denton I’m afraid carks it, despite the best efforts of his dog Teddy to give him mouth to mouth. You’ll be pleased to know that his final act was screaming “Tally-ho!” while his horse leaped over a hedge in slow motion. If you’ve gotta go, at least do it right.

The five-0 arrive and everybody tutts about such a dreadful accident. Everyone except Jess, who is positive the horse had been drugged and suggests that a test be done to prove she’s right.

They conduct the test. She’s not right. WHAT IS THIS I DON’T UNDERSTAND? She’s all set to pack her bags and go home to the Cove, but her cousin begs her to stay. She doesn’t want to face the Children of the Corn on her own (and can you blame her? Look at that photo again).

Meanwhile, up in the big house, the Children of the Corn are boozing up in preparation for the will being read, and quietly wondering if Denton has done the dirty on them. Before long, Boswell the lawyer arrives, brandishing “the latest in will technology.”

Let’s all just take a moment to pause and remember our dear friend, the VCR.

Before revealing who gets the booty, Denton first burns each Child of the Corn, for being useless no-good ingrates. What a champ! He leaves a shotgun for his friend and neighbour Tom, and gifts for all the staff. The paintings? They’re off to a museum in Washington. Say goodbye to three million dollars kids!

The Children of the Corn are starting to panic. Then Denton reveals who has inherited the whole shebang.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Chaos erupts. Denton’s granddaughter helpfully points out that Teddy is a dog. The Children of the Corn demand vengeance! Spencer informs Boswell they are going to smash the will to pieces, at which point Boswell informs them that if they challenge the will, they get cut out, and if Teddy dies of anything other than natural causes, then all the money goes to the SPCA. Denton for the win!

In a move that could only be described as smart, Jess has stayed away from the Children of the Corn in their darkest hour, however Abby begs her to stay on a bit longer. And fair enough too – Trish the alcoholic slut is out for blood, and she wants Abby gone. Unfortunately for Trish, Abby’s boss is now a dog, and he’s not firing anybody. He does however, try to attack Spencer’s gonads, which while showing excellent judgement, does nothing to appease the situation. To make matters worse, a neighbour arrives with the police and yells that Teddy bit him, and he should be put down. It’s a canine conspiracy in action people!

Teddy is taken in to the sheriff’s office (presumably for questioning by Cesar Milan) but is later released. Justice at last – but Jess and Abby are still convinced that Denton was murdered, despite the whole lack of proof thing. They pay a visit to Boswell, who informs them of the Children of the Corn’s new plan to prove Teddy mentally incompetent. This could turn into the best episode of Law and Order ever! It turns out Spencer is up to his eyeballs in debt, as is Boswell for listening to Spencer in the first place.

Later than night, Teddy is hanging out in the security hut with the guard when Trish pulls up at the gate absolutely plastered. The guard opens the gate to let her in and, seeing her pass out in the driveway, goes to lend a hand. He leaves Teddy alone in the security hut. When he gets to the driveway he realises the gates are closing…on Trish’s head…

I guess she won’t be attending that hat convention in July. (Mental note, must watch Hudson Hawk again).

While the police do their business dusting for prints, Morgana reveals that she saw the ghost of her sister rise up and leave. The sheriff takes this on board, by which I mean he ignores her, and reveals that his minions have found a print on the button that closes the gate. Not a fingerprint – a paw print. The Children of the Corn are delighted – they can finally get rid of Teddy and make off with the millions!

Abby points out that accusing Teddy is ridiculous – he’s a dog! He couldn’t just murder someone, he’d have to be trained!

All eyes turn in her direction.

Abby states the bleeding obvious

Meanwhile, Jess is outside having a poke about. She’s got a bad feeling about all this…She goes to see the sheriff but is forced to share her theory with the Children of the Corn. Jess thinks that the ghost Morgana saw was actually the killer, and that Freddy was trained to press the button when he heard a whistle. The Sheriff helpfully produces a whistle he found outside – but it’s Abby’s.

Abby and Teddy are both sent to the cells, and while Jess and Boswell go and protest their innocence, the Sheriff doesn’t want to know about it. He knows what’s up. As she turns to go, the Sheriff thanks Jess for her help in solving the case.

Life Lesson #17: It is possible to swear loudly at someone without opening your mouth.

Determined to show the Sheriff what a blithering moron he is, Jess goes back to the ranch to look for clues, and it’s not long before she finds one. She knows HOW the killer did it, all she needs to find out now is WHO… She goes and pays a visit on Mr Potts – he who was allegedly bitten by Teddy – and confirms her suspicions that he was a lying sack of horse manure. Unfortunately for Jess, she’s sprung by Potts’s accomplice – Spencer – and some fast talking on Jess’s part gets her away from the trigger-happy Potts. She knows who the killer is now…

Small-time country lawyer MY ASS.

So to conclude: Trish killed her father because SOMEONE TOLD HER HOW MUCH MONEY SHE WOULD GET, but then when she didn’t get it she threatened to blackmail Lawyer of Death, so he bumped her off.

There you have it folks – case closed, our Jess heads home to Cabot Cove, Abby goes home to England, and Teddy goes to get his just rewards…

Life Lesson #18 – All Dogs Go To Heaven

See you next week, dear reader.

S01E04 – Hooray for Homicide

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I’m not kidding. It really is called Hooray for Homicide. And spoiler alert – there isn’t a single musical number in this episode. A golden opportunity missed!

It was probably a bit much to expect a musical episode four episodes in to the first season, I guess.

Moving on.

Our girl is at home this week, trialling different methods of murder – all in the name of fiction, natch. That’s the best thing about being a writer! You can spend three days making poisons or eating cheese, and call it research. Booyah! While Jess is busy strangling a mannequin, the phone rings – it’s one of Jess’s cronies with some exciting news. The director of a movie based on Jess’s book is on TV, talking about (among other things) the scene where the psychotic killer uses a flamethrower on a group of breakdancers.

Jess is horrified! That’s not in her book! (Briony is horrified. How can that not be a real movie?) She gets on the phone to her publisher immediately (her new one, presumably, since the old one was the Publisher of Death in S01E01), and says she’ll put a stop to this nonsense even if she has to fly all the way to Hollywood herself.

Cut to Jess sitting in her lawyer’s office in LA. Surprise!  Her lawyer tells her the movie is going to be huge – a combination of Halloween, Porky’s and Flashdance.

Just consider that combination for a moment.

I bet Richard Castle doesn’t have this problem.

The lawyer, unable to grasp the idea that someone wouldn’t want their book turned into a combination of Halloween, Porky’s and Flashdance, tells Jess he will assign a junior member of staff to help Jess work out her legal rights, then shuffles her out the door.

Demanding satisfaction, Jess goes to the studio but is blocked from entering by an overzealous guard. Fortunately, our heroine is saved by someone named Marta Quintessa who happens to be the costume designer on the movie. She introduces Jess to the producer Jack Nicholson Wannabe Jerry Lydecker, whose other credits included sleeping with the leading lady, and screwing the writer of the screenplay out of his share of the money. Jess manages to get him to agree to see her after lunch, and sneaks on to the set to watch her book become Porkys: The Musical. The director is hard at work, explaining to the leading lady why she needs to shag her boyfriend in the cemetery.

John Astin, wondering where he made a wrong turn…

Before she can register her objections/get John Astin’s autograph, Jess is hurried from the set.

After lunch, we find Jess in Lydecker’s office, demanding satisfaction. Lydecker tells Jess that he only bought the book for the title – Porky’s: The Musical The Corpse Danced At Midnight, and despite Jess’s demands for satisfaction, he can do whatever he likes to her picture.

This means war! Jess announces that “Just because the Almighty gave mankind a taste for lobsters, doesn’t mean he gave lobsters a taste for being boiled alive.” (Life lesson #14), which is the Cabot Cove version of “THIS IS SPARTAAAAAA”. She vows to do whatever is necessary to protect her book.

Worn out after all this Hollywood in-fighting, Jess goes back to her hotel, but her rest is soon disturbed by her lawyer’s promised help:

NORMAN LESTER: ATTORNEY-AT-LAW

I’ll be honest. At this point I was going to devote the rest of the blog post to Faces Norman Lester Pulls, but I have fought and overcome this urge.

Almost.

Okay, I’m done.

Norman shows Jess her contract, and she is horrified to discover that Lydecker was right – she has no legal right to interfere in Porky’s: The Musical. Chastened, there’s only one thing a grand dame from Cabot Cove can do – apologise. She goes to his office, but his assistant says a) he’s out and b) call tomorrow. Jess says this is impossible – what she needs to do cannot be done by telephone. See where this is going yet?

Jess goes to Stage 3, where the late lamented Lydecker has met his maker amongst the fake gravestones. Jess goes to alert the authorities (but not before taking note of a gold button left next to the body) and crashes into Paul Blart Mall Cop a security guard who, in lieu of anything better to do, tries to arrest JB.

The cops finally arrive – the lead detective is in fact the President of the JB Fletcher Fan Club, and does a little writing of his own.  Jess tells him about the gold button, but it has mysteriously disappeared.

They are interrupted by the arrival of the other people involved in Porkys: The Musical – John Astin Ross Hayley demands an explanation and Marta Quintessa swoons in shock (but is revived by Jessica slapping her wrists. Life Lesson #15 right there).

Someone mentions the leading lady. She needs to be told, right? After all, she was well acquainted with Lydecker’s casting couch, if you know what I mean. Ross-the-boss can’t do it, Marta Quintessa can’t do it … who ya gonna call?

Jess goes to see Eve Crystal who has taken up residence in Lydecker’s beach house – more specifically, Lydecker’s liquor cabinet. She offers Jess scotch, pills, and a skinny dip in the ocean, but Jess pours cold water on all of those ideas, literally. Sober enough now, Jess informs Crazy Actress Lady  that Lydecker has shuffled off his mortal coil and Eve bursts into tears. If this was an episode of Law and Order, there’d be a doink doink noise about now.

Job done, JB is back at her hotel being harangued by both the local media and the local constabulary. Lieutenant Hernandez has a suspect, and she looks an awful lot like JB Fletcher.He begs forgiveness – he doesn’t truly believe she did it, but his captain doesn’t share his keen insight.  JB had the motive (she wasn’t fond of Porkys: The Musical), the opportunity, and the supreme misfortune to be caught at the scene of the crime.

JB Fletcher: writer, substitute teacher, killer?

Determined to clear her name, Jess pays another visit to the set of Porky’s: The Musical and get up to speed on the gossip. Today they’re filming the blatant-ripoff-of-MJ scene:

No mere mortal can resist the evil of a neon-lit graveyard…

Jessica learns that Ross Hayley is broke, the old writer is back on the project and Marta whatserface used to live in the beach house before Eve did. Not bad for a mornings work huh? Before Jess can get too pleased with herself, her buddy Hernandez rocks up with Lydecker’s assistant and demands that she point to the person who threatened Lydecker.

Who could it be now?

JB Fletcher takes back everything she said about Sheriff Amos.

Jess is escorted to the police station, and Hernandez stops arguing with his agent long enough to tell her that she isn’t really under arrest, it was a ploy to get his captain off her case, and to scare the real killer.

Hernandez: You want a cup of coffee?

Fletcher: No I don’t want a cup of coffee, I want justice!

WORD. Hernandez, in a spectacular handball that would have been a bullseye on Lou’s Handball Challenge, tells Jess that she’s the prime suspect unless she can clear herself. That’s what she gets for not helping him out when he wanted her to.

She really is surrounded by idiots this week guys. Tasked with this new mission, she enlists the help of Stormin Norman, who informs her that she’s banned from the lot for being a disruptive influence. THAT’S OUR GIRL. She gets around this little roadblock with the use of a cunning disguise straw hat, and sets off to clear her name. She’s a lady with a theory…

While Stormin’ Norman is off doing her bidding, Jess discovers that little Miss Eve and her co-star were pulling a Brangelina on-set. She goes to visit the costume shop to try to solve the case of the missing button, but is knocked down by Ross Hayley, who is hiding in a trailer and promptly legs it. Fortunately the Norman-ator arrives just in time, tackles him to the ground and hands him over to the police. They search him. and find the Mysteriously Disappearing Button in his pocket. Now, what were the odds of that?

With Ross Hayley behind bars, Jess decides to throw a farewell party for herself and invites the whole gang: the ex-mistress, the writer, the new young thang, and her co-star. Champagne for everybody! Well, almost everybody… Jess knows who the killer is, and has laid a trap. She informs her new pals that Ross Hayley is innocent, and just like that, the party is over. One by one the guests leave, until Jess is left with the killer.

Can you guess?

Life Lesson #16: Always suspect the drunken skinny dipper.

Aaaaand cut. That’s a wrap gang. Chalk another one up to Team Fletcher.

See you next week!

S01E03 – Birds of a Feather

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Alas, this weeks episode is not in Cabot Cove. My, that JB gets around. Instead, it’s San Francisco, where Martin Landau has changed his name to Al Drake, and is getting menaced by people who want their money.

Fact: Martin Landau once appeared in a movie titled "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligans Island". You're welcome.

I’ll come back to him in a minute.

JB is in town for the wedding of her niece, who frankly is just as lame as Grady, and her fiance ain’t much better. There’s trouble in paradise: Howard is working way too often, but not selling life insurance where he says he works, and Vicky has busted him with lipstick on his handkerchief. The outrage! To be honest though, I think Vicky’s hair is more concerning:

What do you even call that style?

Vicky thinks the clue that solves the Case of the Mysterious Lipstick will be at a nightclub, and so drags Jess along. In an amazing coincidence, the club is owned by Al Drake, but alas the doorkeeper refuses to let them in. Fortunately, Vicky spots the owner and drops the “Don’t You Know Who My Aunt Is?” bomb on him. Grady wouldn’t have thought to do that.

They settle in to watch the show – first up is the World’s Worst Comedian (WWC) who supplies his own drum fill and appears to be caught in some sort of 1973 time vortex. After his act, Jess concludes that there is something strange about this place, and she’s not kidding. The next act on the bill is the world’s ugliest drag queen, but before he can get to the chorus of “Close to You”, there’s a scream – there’s a killer on the loose, and (s)he’s wearing the ugliest dress ever conceived by man.

A couple of patrons spear tackle him to the ground, and his wig falls off. Egad! It’s Vicky’s fiance Howard!

Life lesson #11: Selling life insurance is code for being a drag queen.

Does he look familiar to you? I’ll reveal all in a sec. God I love IMDB.

JB Fletcher displaying the only appropriate reaction to finding out your future nephew-in-law is a drag queen with terrible taste in clothing.

Howard is arrested, and Vicky (who really has much more of a spine than Grady) bullies the policeman into letting her see her fiance.

Vicky getting a hickey from Kenickie

Kenickie Howard assures his finance that he didn’t do it, and Vicky is so relieved that her future husband is a transvestite and not an adulterer that she believes him. Before the moment can get too soppy, the local constabulary arrive and wonder which one to arrest. Jessica offers her not inconsiderable talents to the detective, but he’s not having a bar of it. It’s only when JB threatens to burn him on local TV that he agrees to listen.

We all work with one.

The detective is convinced Howard is guilty, but Jess isn’t giving up on the chance to have a vaguely interesting person in the family. She gives Howard the opportunity to explain himself: he found the gun, and Drake already dead, but ran when Drake’s assistant walked in and screamed  “CATCH A KILLER!”, which sounds more like a Herald Sun headline than a plea for help. Jess is relieved – the only killer in her family was from 1777, “and the redcoats shot first.” No mention if he was a cabaret transvestite or not though.

Jess hits up the club to do her own bit of sleuthing. Mrs Drake is pashing on with one of the staff and firing Drake’s assistant for being a bit too friendly with Drake. OW MY IRONY BONE. Jess cleverly arranges to give Barbara and her box of goodies a lift home, and does not in any way use the opportunity to pump her for information.

JB: Oh I wouldn't dream of asking you anything... however... I did hear something.
B: I wouldn't tell a soul
JB: Well...Mr Drake was already dead when Howard came into the room
B: No kidding!...So who shot him?
JB: Oh, I wouldn't know, I only got here yesterday.

Just that face alone is enough to unleash a flood of possible suspects from Barbara. It was his wife! It was her lover! It was the WWC! It was his agent! It was the dog! (Okay, I made that last one up, shush). Even as JB is pondering the possibilities, his wife and her lover are having a clandestine meeting, trying to work out if the other did it! What a tangled web, etc etc.

Back at the club, JB and the detective are duking it out over whether or not the WWC’s drum playing could have masked the sound of a bullet. After a reenactment CSI would have been proud of, the aforementioned WWC appears, but is thankfully knocked out by a falling light stack before he can unleash any more of his “jokes”.

The next morning, JB and the detective are at it again, this time at the detective’s apartment. Get your mind out of the gutter. The detective is still convinced Howard did it, despite the lack of  – what’s it called – evidence, and has come to the conclusion that the falling light tower was not a critique of the work of the WWC, but was meant for Jess.

Jess takes this news rather well:

Life Lesson #12: Even JB Fletcher can miss the bleeding obvious

With Howard now out on bail, Jess is even more determined than ever to “CATCH A KILLER!!”, and goes to visit each of the suspects in turn. Mrs Drake tells her it was either the WWC or the agent, they tell her to sod off.

Perplexed, our heroine goes home to take a nap, and has a brain wave. She knows who the killer is, and a little more reenacting confirms it.

Yep. You guessed it.

Sample joke: "If you'll excuse me I have to fly to Vegas...hope my arms don't get tired!"

Life lesson 13: Always suspect anyone who thinks “If you’ll excuse me I have to fly to Vegas…hope my arms don’t get tired!” is funny.

So there you have it folks! The WWC is carted away to prison, where he belongs, and Howard and Vicky are free to get married. For those playing along at home, Howard left the dress-wearing to Vicky, which frankly disappointed me, although I am pleased to report that this episode ended with a freeze-frame laugh, which is how everything should end.

Until next week, dear reader.