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