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S02E15 – Powder Keg

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Disclaimer: My attention wandered in this episode. You have been warned.

Roadtrippin again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Sweet Home Alabama where Our Heroine is kicking back with her pal Ames Caulfield after a hardcore week of partying at a writers conference. Sadly, it all goes a bit pear-shaped en route to Ames’s estate and they break down outside of Hoopville.

While the car gets fixed, JB and Ames adjourn to the hotel which (in an Amazingly Unforeseen and Unpredictable Coincidence) is owned by a former student (and obvious former flame) of Ames’s, Cassie Burns along with her son Matthew-the-musician who is surprisingly adult if you know what I mean, nudge nudge wink wink etcetera.

Following up on the incredibly subtle suggestion that Matthew might be Ames’s son, Ames goes to watch Matthew play (and flirt with a perm called Linda) at the bar on the outskirts of town while the bar owner Frank Kelso shows off his new gun toy before the peace is Completely and Utterly Disturbed by zombies the arrival of Linda’s brother Ed and his  minions Andy and Billy who like booze and bullying. And eating brains, probably.

Fun fact: the middle zombie is Jackie Earle Haley and the one on the left is from CHiPS. You're welcome, people on their way to a trivia night.

Fun fact: the middle zombie is Jackie Earle Haley and the one on the left is from CHiPS. You’re welcome, people on their way to a trivia night.

On a semi-unrelated topic….

Just sayin...e1b

Sometimes I even scare myself…anyway, head zombie Ed decides he doesn’t like Matthew making loverboy-eyes at his sister and tells him accordingly. This amazingly leads to a massive brawl and Ed ordering Matthew to stay away from singing and his sister (in that order). The zombies take off in their zombiemobile car with Matthew in hot pursuit, telling Linda that he’s going to kill Ed even if he is her brother. Ames is left standing in the dust looking perplexed.

I can’t even begin to speculate what is going to happen next.

Back at the hotel JB is up late working (because that’s just how she rolls) when she hears Ames come in. As she looks pointedly at her watch, sirens blare outside. Because Ed the zombie is dead. Not undead, just dead. Dead Ed. OH THE SURPRISE.

The next morning, Ames quickly recruits JB to come to the aid of Matthew, who has been arrested for the murder of Zombie Ed. Down at the sheriff’s office, Ames tries all sorts of name-dropping tricks in an effort to see Matthew but the sheriff and Daniel Day-Lewis are unmoved.

...

That Daniel Day-Lewis is so good he can even play a painting.

IMDB has just informed me that the Sheriff of Hoopville is also Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mind. Blown. The Sheriff tells Our Heroine and Ames about the mountain of (circumstantial) evidence proving Matthew killed the zombie  Ed, but admits that he has doubts about Matthew’s guilt. He also says that despite this, Matthew is a lot safer inside the jail than out on the streets where the local townsfolk are baying for revenge. JB and Ames return to the hotel where the clerk tells Ames that Cassie wants to see him at home immediately. JB stops him to ask if he remembers seeing anything after the fight to prove that Matthew is innocent but Ames can’t remember a thing.

I'll be honest - I think JB solved this case about twenty minutes ago and she's just stringing everyone along.

I’ll be honest – I think JB solved this case about twenty minutes ago and she’s just stringing everyone along.

Outside the sheriff’s office the angry mob is taking time out of its schedule to get good and drunk. Bar owner Frank Kelso drops by with more booze and tells Andy that he’s sorry that Ed was a zombie murdered. Andy is having none of it though. Apparently everyone knew that Frank Kelso’s wife was having a thing with Ed before she went to “visit her mother” which is apparently code for “run off with the hardware salesman”. Frank hulks out but is silenced with a punch to the face.

JB goes to see the Sheriff to get the latest news and meets the Hoopville version of Doc Hazlitt, who is JB’s biggest fan even without having read any of her books. At last, someone with some sense. The doc tells JB that the body was definitely hacked at and moved post-mortem. The sheriff reluctantly lets JB look through Ed’s personal effects and is equally flummoxed by the presence of two cigarette lighters one of which bears the Cameron family crest. (The Murder She Wrote writers want to make that point clear. I feel this may come up later)

Outside, JB is accosted by Dead Ed’s sister who asks her to come and see her father to try to put a stop to this episode the insanity. Dead Ed’s Dad seems disinclined to do anything but chop wood and mutter about the sheriff, but eventually comes clean – Dead Ed moved out without a dime but somehow managed to rent a house, buy an expensive new car and generally carry on like he was a Kardashian. He suspects Dead Ed of being a drug dealer, but hasn’t proof.

Back in town the mob is getting restless with just drinking and making nooses. Sheriff Shredder tells Our Heroine that someone was spotted leaving Dead Ed’s place but they don’t know who. JB has it with people not telling her things and tries to force Cassie to admit that Matthew is Ames’s son. She blusters and storms off but Ames admits it. He also tells her that Billy Willetts (associate zombie to Dead Ed) held a knife to Frank Kelso the night of the brawl. Apparently this is news we can use.

After the sheriff orders JB off the case, on account of the angry mob of zombies massing outside the sheriff’s office. Thankfully, JB ignores him and pays a visit on Frank Kelso, who greets her with his gun.

Ermahgherd this episode just keeps going

Ermagherd this episode just keeps going

Frank wants to know why JB is snooping around. He tells her Billy held the knife on him to stop him from reaching for his ‘peacemaker’.

“Strictly speaking, a Peacemaker is a nickname for a Colt 45, used in frontier days. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a Webley Fosbury semi automatic revolver.” says Jess.

“Wellllll…..you sure do know your weaponry!” Says Frank. “You own one of them?”

“Oh no. No no no.” Jess replies.  “Of course I just ran across it in research. For several days I considered using one to shoot a Bulgarian scientist.”

...

 

Frank has no time to think of an appropriate response. He gets a call from the Sheriffs office. There’s trouble.

When in doubt, zombies.

When in doubt, zombies.

 

Faced with the imminent zombie menace the sheriff prepares to fight the hordes of undead to the end, but is saved when Dead Ed’s father appears and orders the angry zombie mob to disperse. To celebrate, Sheriff Shredder arrests Andy for  being a zombie. And a douchebag.

After emptying his pockets they discover Andy has a keyring with the Cameron crest on it. Hey guys! Remember that time with the lighter! See how it all comes together!?

The Sheriff asks Andy if he’d lost his lighter and Andy’s all “hell yeah, where’d you find it?”

“Off your friend’s dead body.” Says the sheriff.

BAM. (Giving myself points for this  one)

BAM.

Andy flips out. He gave the lighter to Dead Ed after they left Kelso’s the first time, since Dead Ed had left his behind. They went to play pool, got back into town at 12:45 then Dead Ed said he had to go to the bank.

And by bank…

I'll be honest, I didn't see this coming. Mainly because by this point I'd stopped looking.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this coming. Mainly because by this point I’d stopped looking.

Are you ready kids? So it turns out Frank Kelso was being blackmailed by Dead Ed because Dead Ed found out Frank killed his wife after she’d had an affair with Dead Ed. So, Frank killed Dead Ed. And then it was now.

Good lord. I need a nap. And a whiskey.

Until next time, dear reader.

Later, Fletcherfans!

Later, Fletcherfans!

 

 

 

S02E14 – Keep the Home Fries Burning

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I don’t know about you Fletcherfans, but I could use a little ridiculousness after this week. Fortunately, Our Heroine is home in the Cove again, which means you know who.

You headin' my way?

You headin’ my way?

Amos is cheating on his regular diner (owned by Bo Dixon) with a new restaurant called the Joshua Peabody Inn, named after Cabot Cove’s answer to Jebediah Springfield.  In fact, most of the town is, including Doc Hazlitt, who is taking Jess to breakfast.

All is not well inside the Inn, however. The owner, Floyd is frazzled, the chef Alan Dupree is drunk and trying to get fired, and the patrons – including two feuding local politicians and some out-of-towners who have stopped in for a bite to eat – aren’t all that convinced that it’s the best place for them. I can’t imagine why though, with menu items like Eggs Benedict Arnold, or the Benjamin Frankenfurter (with beans), or the One if By Land, Two if By Sea Surf and Turf platter, or Life, Liberty and Prosciutto Happiness with Melon, how could you go wrong?

Amos plonks himself down with Seth and JB and promptly starts arguing with Seth about whether Joshua Peabody was a real person. Cornelia, the waitress, stops by their table with the jam and Seth says “At least you didn’t have to dress up like Betsy Ross at the old place!” to which Jessica says “Doctors who walk around in hip boots hardly qualify as fashion experts.”

(Can we just talk about the expression on JB's face right now?!)

Fletcher burn!

Meanwhile, Bo the spurned diner owner is also having breakfast, trying to see where all his customers (and his waitress) have gone. Amos spots jam on a neighbouring table, occupied by two ladies from out of town named Wilhelmina and Betty and snares it for his toast before Cornelia snaffles it up and places it briefly on the table of the two warring politicians before delivering it to a family table. One can only presume that this game of Musical Jam has some sort of nefarious point.

While Seth and Our Heroine argue over the bill, the father of the family that last had the jam comes rushing back into the restaurant. His son has fallen ill! Well colour me surprised, etc.

Seth goes running and finds the son rolling in agony on the ground. The two politicians come outside and one collapses. Then Amos hollers – Betty from the next table is on the ground, and not moving.

That’s it, I’m calling it now.

It was only a matter of time...

It was only a matter of time. That jam was a loose cannon.

Down at Cabot Cove General Hospital (which is what I assume the hospital is called), Seth is tending to his patients when Margo Perry from State Health (also known as Anne Francis from Forbidden Planet) arrives demanding information and bringing a whole lot of sass.

d2 e1

Margo The Feisty gets to work immediately, going through the Inn and making sure her minions collect a sample. It goes a little something like this:

Margo: Ham.

Minion: Check.

Amos: I had some of that.

Margo: Syrup.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (worried) I had some of that.

Margo: Marmalade.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (really worried) I had some of that too!

Our Heroine: (dryly) You had some of everything, Amos.

Paying scant disregard for Amos’s rising terror, JB discovers a preserves rack with the raspberry jam missing. She asks Floyd who was sitting at that table but he’s too busy trying to keep up with Hurricane Margo.  Jess gets Amos to drive her back to the hospital, where Seth insists on giving them a checkup. Before he can do so, Eric from The Bold and the Beautiful comes in looking for his wife Wilhelmina – the friend of the woman who died.  Seth tells him that his wife is going to be fine, but her friend Betty Fiddler didn’t make it. Eric promptly collapses in shock.

In the corridor, Jess tells Seth her theory – the food was poisoned by someone who removed it before the state health people arrived. They don’t notice Hurricane Margo come up behind them until she tells Seth to stop formulating pointless theories with the local “crisishound”, and start testing samples.

Oh Margo. You're going to regret that one.

Oh Margo. You’re going to regret that one.

Back at the Peabody, Jess resumes the hunt for Jam of Death, but it’s nowhere to be found. As she searches, she asks Floyd if he has any enemies, and he tells her about the Chef Who Can’t Cook, Dupree. Floyd imported him from France, assuming that a) he was French (he isn’t) and that he could cook like his family (he can’t).  The only way Dupree can get out of his contract is if Floyd fires him, which he won’t.

Seth calls and tells Jess he needs to tell her. He has a theory about what the problem is – atropine poisoning. He has an antidote for it, and if it works it will confirm Our Heroine’s theory that it wasn’t food poisoning, it was poisoned food. Theory confirmed, JB goes to see Cornelia the waitress, who was the last person to see the suspect jam. She tells JB that she left it on Bo Dixon’s table when the hubbub began.

Upon hearing this, Amos runs with it. But of course Bo is guilty! Not even JB pointing out that he had no chance to put the poison in the jam and collect the jar afterwards can convince him otherwise. Surely that just means Cornelia the waitress must have helped him! Why, some of that poison might have been meant for Amos! He did (unintentionally) take Bo’s customers to the Joshua Peabody Inn, because you know what they say “Where goes Amos Tupper, so goes Cabot Cove.”

“I must be moving in the wrong circles,” JB mutters to Seth. “I haven’t heard anyone say that.”

Another Fletcher-burn!

Another Fletcher-burn!

JB tells Amos about how Dupree is trying to get out of his contract at the Inn, but is interrupted by Mercer Hawthorne, the local politician who has now recovered from his bout of poisoning. He tells them that his dinner date and fellow politician Eb(enezer) McHenry is the poisoner, since Mercer has proof of Eb’s shady dealings.

That’s enough for Amos, who inexplicably throws both Bo and Eb in the cells, releases them and then picks up Dupree. He tells Amos and JB that he wasn’t the only person who had access to the kitchens. Bo turned up in there, and so did some random dude who wanted to take a look at the diner. Amos scoffs at this, but fortunately said mysterious stranger comes in to complain about the parking ticket he just got while he was in the hospital visiting his wife.

It’s Eric from Bold and the Beautiful again!

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I'm acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00's

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I’m acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00’s. Like Passions! Remember Passions?

Amos demands to know how Harrison Fraser III Eric Forrester could have been in the kitchen at the Joshua Peabody Inn that morning when he said he was in Portland when he heard the news about the food poisoning. JB ponders why he was so devastated about Betty’s death, but barely concerned about his wife’s illness, which leads her to wonder who he was looking at from the kitchen at the Inn that morning, and who he was trying to avoid. Eric flounces out without replying.

Later that night JB is hard at work on her next best-seller when she gets an unexpected visitor. Eric Forrester appears. He confesses to JB that he was having an affair with Betty, and that he followed them to stop Betty from telling his wife about their affair. He swears he didn’t poison anyone.

JB is stumped. She believes Eric, but she’s rapidly running out of suspects. She goes to see Bo Dixon, who is disinclined to provide any information to JB. Fortunately, a throwaway comment about leaving a tip on a credit card from Hurricane Margo, who is sweeping off home, sets Jess off. She knows who went on a poisonous rampage.

You may have guessed, too. It’s kind of obvious. Though at this point, I’d like to highlight how restrained I’ve been so far. Okay?

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, Murder She Wrote writers, for allowing me the opportunity to utter the phrase Willie Of Death.

And on that highbrow note…

Later, gang!

Later, gang!

S02E13 – Trial By Error

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Story time, Fletcherfans! Pay attention because this week is kind of tricky.

Once upon a time, there was a man, a woman and a car accident. Yes, that old chestnut. Anyway, the man feels extremely guilty, since he was driving and only fractured his collarbone, and the woman is in a pretty bad way, but not so bad she can’t be loaded into the ambulance crying “WHY? WHY? WHY?”

Why indeed. Anyway, down at the hospital the husband (let’s call him Mark Lee Reynolds, since that’s his name) is out of his mind when the doctors tell him that his wife has a good chance of surviving, but may never walk again. Cloud goes up, cloud goes down. Receiving this news Mark does what any good husband would do – he heads to the nearest pub, gets blind drunk and goes home with some random brunette.

SHIFTY.

SHIFTY.

An associate of said brunette’s husband spots them leaving the bar and puts a call in. The husband grabs his jacket and hauls out into the night bellowing for vengeance. Because the husband is Batman. 

You got all that?

Months later, there’s a trial on. It turns out, Mr Jacket-wearing vengenance-seeker (or Cliff Anderson, for short) wound up dead, and the winner of husband of the year, Mark Lee Reynolds is on trial for his murder. I only mention this because a certain Boss of all Bosses just so happens to be jury forewoman…

Fiercest forewoman ever.

Fiercest forewoman ever.

That’s right, Fletcherfans! It’s 12 Angry Men, Cabot Cove style! To help set the mood for the jury deliberations I found this helpful website to help set the scene. (True story – that noise is also my message notification on my phone, except sometimes I forget and it goes off and I freak out a little bit/fall off the treadmill).

Alright. In the case of People vs Shady Husband, how do we find the jury?

Unsurprisingly, squabbling. Almost everyone on this star-studded jury thinks that Mark Lee Reynolds killed in self-defence. Only Thornton  thinks he is a)Henry Fonda and b)guilty. JB is undecided, and probably more concerned with how much time must pass before her next whiskey.

Apart from the women, whiskey is what was missing from 12 Angry Men.

Apart from the women, whiskey is what was missing from 12 Angry Men.

They discuss, through the cunning use of flashbacks, Reynolds’s testimony that he left the hospital that night “wanting to die.”

Certain members of the jury understand this concept, (a little too well if you ask me) but JB quickly reminds them of the cross-examination where the D.A wanted to know why Reynolds conveniently picked that bar to drink at, since it wasn’t the closest bar to the hospital or his house.

BECAUSE HE’S A SHADY DUDE, GEEZ.

Not everyone on the jury agrees with me though (schmucks), in fact certain female members of the jury tend to find him  quite dreamy. He’s so honest! Even when he tells them (through the cunning use of flashbacks) how he met that random brunette, and the random chain of events that lead to her almost-but-not-quite ex husband turning up on the doorstep and catching them out. (Cue cunning use of flashbacks within flashbacks and ow my brain). According to him, the ex turned up packing heat, they both reached for the gun, ex is now an ex-ex. They call the police, Reynolds gets carted away and gets his phone call, which he uses to call the hospital only to be told that his wife had passed away.

Sucks to be him, is what he’s trying to say.

While the rest of the jury argue with Thornton a bit more, we cunningly flashback to the testimony of Becky the Brunette, who explains that she was getting a divorce from her husband, despite her husband counter-suing for infidelity. HUH I BET.

The jury continues to argue while in flashback land, the hotel owner takes the stand for some laughs.

*insert amusing Gilligan's Island reference here*

*insert amusing Gilligan’s Island reference here*

Skipper announces to the court that Mark Lee Reynolds is a frequent visitor to his classy establishment, and that Becky the brunette had paid a visit too, way before the night of the shooting.

What does the jury think about this, oh they’re still arguing.

JB has a flashback to when she had whiskey

JB has a flashback to when she had whiskey

As things get heated, a couple of jurors call for calm, and to get back to the matter at hand. “Yeah,” says another. “This is man’s life we’re talking about, and most of us here are of a mind to let him keep it. It’s Mrs Fletcher and her minions who are anxious to see him hang.”

Everyone knows JB's minions are Amos and Seth, you crazy fool!

Everyone knows JB’s minions are Amos and Seth, you crazy fool!

The central point of this trial according to JB is the question of whether Becky the brunette and Mark Reynolds knew each other before the night her ex-husband was killed.  Fenton the hotel owner swears he’d seen them together before, the bartender that served them on the night of the murder wasn’t so sure.

If you believe Fenton, JB postulates, then you have to believe that they were setting themselves up to be seen, and since it was a regular haunt for her ex husband and his pals, you have to believe that they wanted to be seen in order to get the word out that Becky-the-brunette was stepping out on her old man. So to speak.

A few nods in the jury room now. Jess is on a roll. If Cliff-the-ex didn’t take a gun with him, where did he get it? The only prints on the gun were his and Reynolds.

Not everyone is convinced by this. Long term juror holdout Frank Lord dismisses it all out of hand, telling them they have rocks in their heads, and that maybe someone else should be foreman.

Heh heh heh. Made myself laugh that time.

Heh heh heh. Made myself laugh that time.

Back in flashback land, Becky Anderson’s neighbour is on the stand, testifying how he came home to find Cliff-the-ex’s car blocking the driveway, and his views of Cliff’s body being taken out of the house a couple of hours later, and then some more flashbackiness as the DA outlines how he thinks the murder went down – Mark and Becky arranged it so that Cliff would bust in, Mark whacks him over the head with a poker, stages it to look like Cliff had the gun, then gets Becky to call the police.

Seems legit to me, although at this point I can’t tell whether I’m having a flashback. Although, I would point out that the DA just said “I look at these two people (Mark and Becky) and I see pleasant, All-American attractiveness” which I’m assuming is lawyer-speak for trashy sluts, but I’m not too sure.

Back in whatever part of time we’re in, JB has more questions. Like, if Mark Reynolds really did fracture his collarbone in the car accident, how was he fighting Cliff for the gun?

Now, THERE’S A QUESTION.

Dazzled by this amazing feat of logic, the rest of the jurors want to hear more about these “questions” and JB is happy to oblige. Simply put, it’s this: if Mark Reynolds is telling the truth, and the whole thing – from Cliff barging in to Becky calling the police – was over in a moment, why did the neighbour point out that the body was removed a couple of hours later?

MYSTERIOUS. JB announces there can only be one conclusion, and therefore one verdict, which they then deliver to the court. Mark Reynolds is not guilty of the murder of Cliff Anderson.

Say what?

JB has a quiet word in the ear of the DA, who arranges to meet with Becky Anderson and her lawyer after the trial. Why?

Well I never.

Well I never.

So there you have it. It was Becky who whacked her husband over the head with the poker. But don’t worry, Mark Reynolds isn’t blameless in all of this. He helped her stage it so it looked like self defence – after he’d come home from the hospital, where he’d been killing his wife with a pillow.

Told you he was shifty.

Told you he was shifty.

And so ends this weeks episode of Law and Order Murder, She Blogged.  If you’ve made it this far, well done. I’m exhausted.

There’s only one cure for this, I think.

Heh heh heh. Made myself laugh that time.

See you next week, Fletcherfans!

ETA: It’s Murder She Blogged’s first birthday! Happy birthday to MSB, which continues to this day to be one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.