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!

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