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S02E08 – Dead Heat

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On the road and with a hankerin’ to gamble, Our Heroine stops over in a mysterious part of California to watch her jockey niece Tracey try and claim her first victory on the track. (Is anyone else ridiculously happy that JB’s niece is a jockey? Grady is seriously letting the team down with his general crapness). JB’s taxi driver tells her that Tracey’s ride is a nag (and we should always take advice from taxi drivers, especially ones that try and sell you drugs on the way home not that that happened to me), but after the regular jockey for stable favourite Anchors Ahoy falls ill, Tracey is promoted.

The trainerof Anchors Ahoy, Jack Bowen, offers his private box for Jess to watch the big race. American horse races don’t seem to be like Australian horse races – there’s no one fascinator in sight, there’s only 40,000 people there, not 110,000, everyone looks sober, and noone is smuggling casks of wine through the gate disguised as casks of water not that I’ve done that. In the box she meets Cliff and Christine Carpenter, who have a system for gambling so scientific it’s like Nate Silver devised them himself – greys never win on weekdays (Life Lesson #37) and winners come in threes, gate 6 has already produced two winners, so clearly the horse in gate 6 will win today!

Personally I'm going to stick to my tried and tested method of Betting on Bart.

That’s some good science right there.

That other woman is Vicky, the wife of Carlos the jockey who had to be taken to hospital. She decides to back Frost Boy, but about thirty seconds after she goes to back it the horse is scratched. I think we’ve all been there. There’s a lot of interest in Anchor’s Ahoy at 20-1, especially from the local Mafia representative Vince Shackman, who tries to suss out why there is so much money on an outsider. Even the horse’s vet Mike Gann has dropped a  lazy twenty g’s on the race.

After all the bets are in, the race is run and won – by Tracey, naturally. Our Heroine loses her shit and starts ordering champagne by the boatload but before she can pop her cork one of the stablehands runs past in a tizz. Jack Bowen has just turned up in the stall with a tranquillizer dart sticking out of him. The 5-0 arrive led by Lt Misko who promptly dismisses JB’s theories and sends her on her way. Our Heroine has no time to dwell on this however – Tracey is being escorted to the stewards office under suspicion of race fixing. She ends up being suspended, despite all the post-race tests showing that Anchor’s Ahoy wasn’t drugged (unlike the Essendon Football Club. BOOM).

Despite all this, Tracey still thinks something weird is going on. Before the race Jack Bowen gave her contradictory instructions about how to ride the race, and was staggered when these instructions actually worked. JB has a quiet word with Cookie the stablehand, who tells her that Vince Shackman had an interest in the race, and had been to see Mike Bowen before the race began. She then quizzes Carlos and Vicky about what they think happened. Carlos tells her that it was impossible for the horses to be switched, their lip tattoos matched. Mind you, they also think Tracey had something to with it, so obviously they can’t be trusted.

Trying to see for herself, and using a carrot as an investigative tool, JB tries to establish whether the horses could have been switched, but the lip tattoo is a match.

VEGETABLE! FEEL MY WRATH

VEGETABLE! FEEL MY WRATH

After the Great Carrot Failure, Jess tests another theory – that Carlos wasn’t really sick, and that he had time to run across the paddock and kill Bowen before anyone knew he was out of bed. That falls flat when the infirmary nurse informs Our Heroine that Carlos was full of drugs and not able to get out of bed, let alone across the paddoclk. About to give up and go back to the hotel she gets into her taxi, followed by two hired goons who tell her they’re off to an early lunch with Vince Shackman. Shackman is eager to learn how Tracey fixed the race – he has some people in Vegas who are more than a little unhappy about losing so much money on a race that was so obviously fixed. JB tells him that she can’t help him, but then Shackman gets a call – Tracey has been brought in for questioning over the murder of Jack Bowen.

Fed up with Misko’s failure at life (and telling him so to his face), JB goes out to Jack Bowen’s stables to hunt for more clues. She spots Anchor’s Ahoy…the real Anchor’s Ahoy, not the fake one at the track who won the race. Mike Gann turns up with a shotgun and a bad temper – he was in on the racefixing scam along with Jack Bowen and Carlos the jockey, but he didn’t kill Bowen and he’s not going to jail for the scam either. Instead of shooting JB he decides to let loose the psychopath horse to trample her to death (every stable has a horse who hates people, this is scientific fact), but fortunately Misko and his Merry Men arrive in the nick of time.

On the way back to town, JB has a convenient brainwave. She knows who the killer is (which is handy, since there’s only five minutes left).

I first became suspicious of her when she pronounced paddock with the emphasis on DOCK. Mispronouncing words=guilty.

I first became suspicious of her when she pronounced paddock with the emphasis on DOCK. Mispronouncing words=guilty.

 

Vicky killed Jack Bowen because reasons. I’ll be honest, I’ve been sitting here for the last twenty minutes saying “CARROT YOU HAVE DISPLEASED ME” and laughing to myself.

And on that horrifyingly true story:

Later gang!

Later gang!

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S02E07 – A Lady in the Lake

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When Our Heroine expresses an interest in writing a book called Murder at the Inn, Harry Pierce (who’ll you’ll remember from such episodes as this one, also he’s John Astin) takes her to a charming country inn on Stone Lake. It would appear that Jess is not overly excited about this.

Staying at the Bates Motel wasn't part of the plan/

Staying at the Bates Motel wasn’t part of the plan/

The inn is run by a lady named Grace, who is completely missing a sense of humour and also played Catwoman in the original Batman movie. Which might explain the sense of humour thing. She’s also having problems with the boatman teaching the female guests how to sing “I’m A Little Tea Pot”

The great teapot seduction technique.

The great teapot seduction.

After settling in, Jess goes down to the lobby to meet her potential victims fellow holidaymakers, including Burton Hollis, who I finally realised was Father Mulcahy in MASH after a bitter argument with my brain who kept trying to tell me it was Radar. My brain is an idiot.

As well as Burton, there’s Carolyn and Howard Crane, who have clearly moved on from their honeymoon phase, Kyle Jordan (whose wife Betty can be seen playing I’m A Little Teapot with Jack-o-boatman), and Joanna the hippy who likes to run naked through the woods. Is it me or has nudity gone up like 500% in this season?

It’s clear after about 30 seconds that Burton wouldn’t mind playing I’m A Little Teapot with Our Heroine, and he invites her to go birdwatching with him tomorrow at dawn. JB swiftly upgrades this to 9am.

Damn crazy fool.

Damn crazy fool.

Stupidly early the next morning, Burton and JB go in search of the Norwegian Blue Parrotm birds but so far the closest they’ve come is spotting the hippy on her early morning nude run. Burton decides they need to split up, and sends JB down on the lake path to see if she spot some birds.

Instead, she spots Howard Crane and his wife fighting in a boat. Carolyn goes into the water. JB yells for Burton. There’s been a murder! And when there’s been a murder, there’s only one man to call.

Sheriff Tupper arrives with his posse and his hat and sets to trawling the lake looking for the late Mrs Crane, with no success. Amos is living the high life – there’s been a murder sure, but the eyewitness is unimpeachable, so he can take the rest of the week off and go fishing. Harry Pierce turns up, full of excitement – there’s nothing like a good murder to bring the tourist dollars in. JB is puzzled why Joanna the hippy is so distraught over the death of a woman she didn’t even know. Jordan and Burton both agree that they heard the Cranes fighting in their room the night before, and hearing Carolyn ask Howard for a divorce.

Seems pretty open and shut to Amos, but JB isn’t convinced. There’s something fishy going on at this lake and she’s going to reel it in. (Alas that’s all the bad fish puns I can think of right now). She suggests they go and see if Howard is up to answering a few questions. Amos is delighted – it’s like JB can read his mind.

Howard is in the care of Doc Hazzlit, who informs Amos that if he wants to interrogate the suspect he’s gonna have to do it quick before the sedatives kick in. Howard tells them he didn’t kill his wife – she went nuts and tried to jump overboard, and he tried to stop her but he couldn’t swim but he jumped in anyway and he held on to the boat with one hand and he doesn’t understand it and she’s such a good swimmer and…the sedative kicks in.

Amos doesn’t care. Fastest case closure in Cabot Cove history! Unfortunately for him, Jessica is on team Howard. She’s convinced he didn’t kill his wife, there’s something else going on. She goes to search the boat for clues and finds Jack-o-boatman and Betty Jordan playing “I’m A Little Teapot” in the boathouse. Betty tells her that her husband doesn’t care, Jack tells her that doesn’t mean she needs to tell Jordan, and JB says “Oh I have no intention of telling anyone anything.”

Would this face lie to you?

Would this face lie to you?

JB finds a hook and a piece of string attached to the bottom of the boat, but no fishing equipment. Jack-o-Boatman has no idea what it’s for. I’ll be honest, I don’t think he knows more that the words to I’m A Little Teapot, to be honest.

Amos and Jess argue over the case a bit more, and Jess has a brainwave. What if Carolyn was trying to fake her own death in order to get a divorce from Howard? The gears grind in Amos’s head as he tries to find fault with the theory but is interrupted by a message on the radio from his deputy. Ain’t no fakin – Carolyn is dead.

Doc Hazlitt takes the body back to the Cove for an autopsy, leaving Jess and Amos to fight it out a bit more. Amos is convinced he’s right, but when JB asks him how the body got to the north shore of the lake with no breeze or current he pouts and tells Our Heroine she’s a sore loser. DAMN HER APPLYING LOGIC TO THIS.

After having a chat to Grace, the manager of the hotel, JB checks out the reservations book and discovers two completely separate guests have the same contact number for their bookings – Howard Crane and Joanne the hippy. What are the odds that Joanne was Howard’s secretary who’d come on the holiday to try to resume their affair?

Quite good, it turns out. Jess pays Joanne a visit and not only does this conversation about nude running happen:

h2a

h2b

“Offended? Oh heavens no, I used to spend many summers skinny dipping in the lake at the back of our house”. USED TO? USED TO?

…but Joanne admits that yes, she was Howard’s secretary, they had an affair, he broke it off, she came up to the lake to see if she could get him back but it didn’t work. She also says the lake holiday was Carolyn’s idea.

Out and about later in the day JB runs into Burton again, taking pigeons of doves (and Jack-o-Boatman waiting for another round of “I’m A Little Teapot” with Betty) but before she can do anything with this news Amos carts Howard Crane off to the clink. “He won’t like that,” Burton proclaims. “He can’t stand to be cooped up.”

This is certainly the case on the ride back to Cabot Cove. After he finds out Our Heroine knows about his claustrophobia he goes to town. JB takes his mind off it by asking him who inherits his many millions and he tells her noone: the only relative he had was a cousin and as far as Howard knew he was dead. Amos tells her off for talking to his suspect, so she changes the subject and asks Amos to search the records for the Jack-o-Boatman.

Doc Hazlitt has more bad news for Amos – Carolyn Crane had mud in her lungs, a knock on the head and was wearing a bathing suit under her clothes. Amos completely loses his mind, but somewhere in all the ranting and rambling Jess has an epiphany. She was right all along. There’s no time to gloat though – one of Amos’s minions has just delivered the results of the search on Jack-the-Boatman and it turns out he’s been a very busy boy blackmailing women he’s slept with.

Not so busy, it turns out. While he admits to the blackmail, (after Jordan tries to shoot him) and Grace the manager admits he’s her brother, Jack-o-Boatman claims not to have killed Carolyn Crane. And lucky for him Jess agrees. Carolyn Crane was a lady with a plan. She had scuba gear under the boat to aid her in her escape from Howard and into the waiting arms of her new boyfriend.

On a COMPLETELY COINCIDENTAL NOTE, it turns out Howard Crane’s cousin isn’t dead, he’s just dead boring…

ergwretg

Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw scuba gear at you…..THERE. I GOT A HOLY GRAIL REFERENCE INTO THIS POST. I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE.

I could explain motives and things at this point, but really I think you and I both know there’s nowhere to go after that, so here’s this week’s out of context freeze frame.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S02E06 – Reflections of the Mind

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, there was a lady name Francesca Lodge.

Francesca in her glory days, along with Someone Very Familiar, a random dude that I don't really care about and the name WINGS HAUSER. WINGS. HAUSER.

Francesca in her glory days, along with Someone Very Familiar, a random dude that I don’t really care about and the name WINGS HAUSER. WINGS. HAUSER.

IMDB just told me WINGS HAUSER was in the Young and the Restless. I am an ignoramus.

Anywho, Francesca had a husband. He bought her a Jewellery Box Of Doom. He died (unrelated, presumably). Francesca nailed up her bedroom and moved into the one next door. Then Francesca got married again.

And that is the entire history of Francesca Lodge up until she comes screaming out of the closet (literally, not sexually) and attacks her husband Scott with a knife. Awkward. Naturally, there’s only one person you can call when your wife is having a Homicidal Moment. Well, two if you count 911.

JB arrives to sort this mess out, and is most concerned to find her friend on the psychiatric ward. Because really, she only NEARLY stabbed her husband with some scissors, it’s not like she actually did it. Francesca tells JB that she’s just feeling a bit tired, but Cheryl points out that she was so tired she called the sheriff and nearly stabbed her husband. I know it’s early to be calling this, but it’s clearly the work of a Demonic Music Box enslaving its owner to its will. OBVIOUS.

All conversation ends when Francesca’s shrink arrives. The role of Dr March will be played by the Devil.

Believe me when I tell you this is an improvement

Believe me when I tell you this is an improvement

The Devil Dr March smites everyone within a five mile radius promises to get Francesca home. JB is bemused by his bedside manner (see above pic) but it turns out he’s one of the best, and even treated Cheryl when she ran away with a rock group to get as much sex drugs and rock’n’roll into her as possible.

Back at home, JB and Francesca are catching up over a pot of beer cider tea, and Francesca asks after her friend. She worries about JB being alone in the big empty house. Jess is more worried about the tea.

Nothing but complete focus on the matter at hand...

Nothing but complete focus on the matter at hand…

JB notices the Jewellery Box of Doom – it turns out she helped Francesca’s ex husband Ross pick it out. (Life Lesson #36 – no one is perfect). Francesca quickly puts it away, lest any Doom escape from the music box and cause her to go on another homicidal rampage.

Margaret, the housekeeper, arrives to see Jess to her room and tells JB that Francesca hasn’t been playing with a full deck of cards for some time. Meanwhile downstairs, Scott and his secretary are signing documents. AND BY SIGNING DOCUMENTS I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. They aren’t being very discreet about it, there’s a WINGS at the window.

Wings's playing someone called Carl. I think. But let's face it, who cares? WINGS IS AT WORK.

WINGS is playing someone called Carl. I think. But let’s face it, who cares? WINGS IS AT WORK.

Cheryl is in the lounge room with the dog, being chatted up by The Devil Dr March, when they are soon joined by the whole gang. Scott decides to have a martini for the road, before he gets on his plane to Chicago. Jessica declines (SOMETHING IS WRONG), but the others all accept. Cheryl (clearly rattled by her run-in with the Devil) spills hers all over the floor but goes back for another.

Suitably liquored up for his flight, Scott departs, leaving JB and Francesca to gossip while Cheryl goes about her Cheryl business. Unfortunately everything goes to hell when Francesca receives a phone call from her dead first husband telling Francesca he’d see her tonight. I hate it when that happens. JB scolds the caller, while Francesca faints and  Scott drives off a cliff.

Sheriff Bodine comes to deliver the bad news about Scott’s accident but JB ain’t nobody’s fool – she can tell it’s murder. She tells the sheriff that only that morning Scott had told her that his brake lines had been cut a couple of weeks ago, and he suspected Francesca. (WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY SUSPECT THE DEMONIC JEWELLERY BOX OF DOOM?) The sheriff duly takes note.

Upstairs, Francesca is woken up by the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom, notices that her canary has died and runs out of the room screaming. JB and Cheryl escort her to JB’s room to calm her down, which works for about a minute until Margaret returns with the bird-cage. The bird is fine! It’s not an ex-parrot canary! Judging by Francesca’s overreaction to the current status of her canary, JB wisely decides to tell her about Scott’s untimely demise.

Later that evening the sheriff drops in to inform them that it definitely was no accident – Scott was full of tranquillizers, which historically makes driving a tad difficult. Francesca admits to taking tranquillizers, and The Devil  Dr March loudly proclaims they are prescribed by him. Unfortunately when they examine the bottle it’s empty. Francesca has another meltdown and the sheriff leaves, promising he’ll be back after he’s analysed the drugs. And by analysed, I mean taken. (Not true).

Our Heroine puts Francesca to bed, and sits with her to make sure she doesn’t have one of those Homicidal Rampages. All being quiet on the Francesca front, JB heads for bed but is soon woken again when Francesca has another mini fit, this time because the reanimated corpse of her dead husband has just arrived in her bedroom.

I KNEW THERE WOULD BE REAL ZOMBIES IN THIS SHOW EVENTUALLY. NAILED IT!

I KNEW THERE WOULD BE REAL ZOMBIES IN THIS SHOW EVENTUALLY. 

JB patiently explains to Francesca that it’s not the zombie apocalypse (I’M NOT SO SURE). The next morning, JB is out sleuthing in the garden when she runs into WINGS, who is planting some mysterious plant-like things in the ground. Also, petunias. WINGS has no time to chat with Our Heroine and gives her the cold shoulder, but not before lending her his ladder so she can have a look at Francesca’s old bedroom from the outside. It’s just as nailed outside too. As JB descends from her lofty perch, Cheryl’s dog digs up a clue – a dead canary.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER.

JB is in the lounge closely examining the bottle of gin Scott had used to make the martinis when Scott’s secretary arrives. She has barely enough time to retrieve her love letters from Scott’s desk before the Sheriff turns up too. Francesca has another run in with the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom, but is rescued by JB.

The Sheriff demands to know if Francesca knew about Scott’s affair with his secretary. Francesca says NO WAY MAN, but the sheriff isn’t so sure. Francesca collapses, saying she could have done it, she just doesn’t remember. The Devil Doctor March orders Francesca back to the hospital. Jessica pleads with the sheriff to keep an open mind, and he tells her he’s open to all theories, should she have one.

As it so happens, she does. And it involves WINGS breaking down the sealed bedroom door. Unfortunately, the great big box that says CLUES on it isn’t there, and Jess is stumped. Cheryl goes to see her mother in the hospital and leaves JB alone for some sleuthing. She quickly discovers a secret door that leads from the bathroom…

NARNIA!

*cue dramatic music*

…into Francesca’s old bedroom, where she also finds a convenient hiding place full of nifty clues, like the tape that was used to frighten Francesca, a birdcage, and a random vinyl album of a man called Carson Todd. Hmm *strokes metaphorical beard*

The night grows conveniently dark and stormy, and Cheryl arrives home. The phone lines are down/cut and Francesca is having a fit about it. Cheryl’s dog appears with Scott’s hat in his mouth, and they find his pipe on the floor of Francesca’s room. IT’S THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

Downstairs, The Devil Doctor March arrives but is dragged away by a gloved hand (that is presumably attached to someone, but as it’s the zombie apocalypse who knows). Upstairs Cheryl is beside herself. Scott must have worked out what she was doing and faked his death!

“What were you doing Cheryl?” asks Our Heroine.

“TRYING TO KILL SCOTT!” Screams Cheryl.

“SHUT UP!” her accomplice bursts out of the wardrobe.

I guess WINGS was just gonna *puts on sunglasses* live and let die. YEAHHHHH.

I guess WINGS was just gonna *puts on sunglasses* live and let die. YEAHHHHH. (I’m so sorry)

WINGS (assisted by Cheryl but who cares) wanted his filthy paws on Francesca’s money, since Cheryl’s was held in trust until she turned 35, and so tried to get Francesca committed for being all crazy-like. “That’s fine,” JB says. “But why did you leave Scott’s pipe and the hat?”

“Lady, I don’t know what you’re on about.” WINGS mutters.

“IT’S THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!” Cheryl probably would have screamed, if she’d thought of it. JB turns the light off and a figure appears at the window. WINGS and Cheryl lose their collective shit, but as the figure comes crashing through the window the truth is revealed. It’s Sheriff Bodine. It was all part of JB’s CUNNING PLAN.

 

I was wrong to doubt Our Heroine. It wasn’t the zombie apocalypse and it wasn’t the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom. Or was it?

No, it wasn’t.

The Devil  Doctor March demands an explanation. He was only there because Francesca was having kittens in the hospital, and was a bit startled to be dragged away from the house. Turns out the gloved hand belonged to a deputy. NEATLY TIED UP, MSW WRITERS.

Until next time, dear reader.

Until next time, dear reader.