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S03E10 – Stage Struck

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Don’t know where JB is this week Fletcherfans, but wherever it is has something called an Applewood Playhouse where two of her friends Julian Lord and Maggie Tarrow are reuniting for a revival of the play that got them famous back in the day, Apparently what got them more famous were the hotel rooms they trashed when they fought it out. The Applewood Playhouse, it turns out, was the place where Jessica met a bloke named Frank Fletcher. Nawww.

JB catches up with Maggie in her dressing room, in that Maggie talks at her for a while, opens her makeup case and completely freaks out. (This tallies with my experience with actors).

The calm before the storm (Fun fact: this is Julie Andrews's rival in The Sound Of Music)

The calm before the storm (Fun fact: this is Julie Andrews’ rival in The Sound Of Music)

She flounces out of the dressing room, yells at her former husband (twice former, I think), yells at her understudy and departs to yell at another actor, Larry Matthews, who was having a marvellous time making out with the stage manager Pru, whom Maggie accuses of being a bedspread. I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it sounds like a burn. Later, while Maggie and Larry are rehearsing Maggie loses her shit again, when a silhouette turns into a man. Not only a man, but a man who had previously been making snide remarks at Maggie and Julian’s press conference. Maggie’s understudy, Barbara Bennington, comes forward to announce that that’s no man that’s a space station it’s her fiance from New York. Except as they leave the stage he thanks her and tells her to make sure Maggie never finds out who he really is.

MYSTERIOUS.

While Maggie regroups, the actor playing the butler (who also happens to be the Chief of Police) comes on to ask what his motivation is in this scene. “You’re a butler, chief. Your motivation is to buttle.” Says the director.

Disclosure: I judge people who don't like the movie Clue. (Image credit)

Disclosure: I judge people who don’t like the movie Clue. (Image credit)

Rehearsals continue, and then Maggie loses it again when a mysterious thing appears in the prop scrapbook she is reading, causing her to faint. They lay her down on the casting couch in her dressing room and she informs Julian that “It was…HIM!”

I’m not gonna lie, I think she’s a zombie now.

While Maggie recovers back at the hotel Jess investigates the scrapbook, which has suddenly reappeared, but it’s completely empty. Later that night, Julian has an argument with producer Nicky Saperstein and show director Alexander Preston but Nicky is convinced: the show must go on, with Barbara Bennington in the lead role. Julian declares that Barbara can perform in the show if Nicky wishes…but not with Julian! *cue door slam* A short time later, JB comes across Barbara leaving Julian’s dressing room saying “Believe me, I support your decision 100%” Isn’t that nice?

JB tells Julian that she’s worried someone is trying to frighten Maggie. Julian tells her that her imagination had been running a little wild lately, but before he can explain Alexander turns up to defend the decision to go on with Barbara, saying that Maggie had bailed on a production before and he was damned if she was going to do that to him again. Julian agrees to go on that night on the condition that Maggie resume her role the following evening.

The curtain goes up and the first act goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately the second act is cancelled when Barbara Bennington drops dead. Seems like a legit excuse, really. Fortunately, the chief of police is already on hand. Unfortunately, he’s decided that he can only solve the case if he pretends to be Poirot.

If you ever wondered what Poirot would sound like with an American accent, watch this episode.

If you ever wondered what Poirot would sound like with an American accent, watch this episode.

Our Heroine’s reaction to this new development is measured and appropriate.

It could be worse, really...

It could be worse, really…

JB follows him into Barbara’s dressing room and finds him having a panic attack. He asks her how his performance went – he doesn’t think he can perform the role of investigating this case as himself, only as Monsieur Poirot.

Fair question.

Fair question.

In light of the Chief’s tenuous grip on reality JB agrees to help him, and suggests they take samples of all the liquids around to see which was poisoned. The next morning, Jess visits Maggie at the hotel to find her even more rattled. She’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her and doesn’t want to return to the theatre but Julian convinces her.

JB runs into Alexander at the theatre and asks him what he meant the previous night about Maggie having run out on him before. He tells her that during the first run of the play thirty years ago Maggie begged out of her contract “to do a movie” and disappeared for about a year. JB points out that Maggie didn’t make her first movie until much later, and Alexander tells her that it was just an excuse to get out of the play.

While Nicky the theatre owner revels in his new-found notoriety, the Chief informs JB and Alexander that cyanide in the decanter of wine on the stage “was responsible for the death of our luckless thespianette.” (Thespianette apparently has about twelve syllables).   He decides that Julian is the guilty one, then changes his mind and decides Maggie is the guilty one, JB, showing infinite patience, tells him that he’s an idiot the clue to solving the case has something to do with the scrapbook that caused Maggie’s fit the previous day. Apparently no one agrees with her as  she is left to investigate the stage on her own, but is immediately distracted with memories of the first time she met Frank, all those years ago.

(For the record, she's listening to the voice of her dead husband explaining how to paint the sets. Basically, Ghost)

(For the record, she’s listening to the voice of her dead husband explaining how to paint the sets. Basically, Ghost)

JB’s walk down memory lane is interrupted by Larry and Pru having a bit of a makeout. Honestly, kids these days *shakes fist*

That night, the show goes off without a hitch…until the end of the first act when Julian smells cyanide in the wine again and knocks the glass out of Maggie’s hand with an outlandish flourish. Pru brings the curtain down and the accusations start flying.

Down at the police station, JB gives the chief a lesson in how to find evidence.

(One is called Amos and the other is Seth. #factsIjustmadeup)

(One is called Amos and the other is Seth. #factsIjustmadeup)

Back at the theatre, JB asks Maggie to come clean about why she thinks someone is trying to kill her. Maggie shows her the note left in her makeup case that reads 30 YEARS CAN’T’ CHANGE WHAT YOU DID TO ME. Subtle.  She refuses to give JB any more information. JB tries to get Julian to talk about the year Maggie disappeared, saying that nine months is close to a year. (Life Lesson #49)

“I’m sorry, but this is a scene in which I have no lines.” Says Julian, and walks off. For the record I will be stealing this line and using it to get out of conversations I don’t want to be a part of. Fair warning.

JB asks Alexander for Larry’s resume. to check his vital statistics but is interrupted by the Chief barreling with an arrest warrant. Apparently it’s clear that Alexander set the whole thing up to kill Maggie as revenge for walking out on the play thirty years ago. While JB explains to the Chief why the whole thing is preposterous Larry spots Barbara’s mysterious fake fiancée rifling through her dressing room and gives chase, bringing him down with an epic tackle.

The Chief decides to multi task and interrogate the man, Terry Holt, while dressing for the show. Terry admits to being an investigative reporter looking to do a story on Maggie and Julian. Barbara was an acquaintance looking to further her career by taking over for Maggie by freaking her out – notes in makeup cases, birth certificates in scrapbooks, that old chestnut. JB thinks that Maggie thought that Terry must have been her son, which is why she said “It was….HIM!” earlier on. She explains it all very clearly to the Chief, who promptly tries to arrest Terry for poisoning Barbara’s red wine in order to steal the birth certificate.

JB's patience is cracking.

JB’s patience is cracking.

Terry tells them that Barbara couldn’t have been poisoned by red wine as she was allergic. This gives Jess an idea.

That night, the show finally goes ahead without any attempted murders. While the cast celebrates, the Chief decides to have one last stab at arresting someone, this time arresting Terry for being the long lost illegitimate son of Maggie and Julian. Also a murderer.

Of course, he’s completely wrong. Fortunately JB is there to set things right.

I'll be honest, my care factor is not high.

I’ll be honest, my care factor is not high.

There you have it. It was all an attempt by Julian to be free of that role-grabbing little so-and-so Barbara. Actors, man. What are you going to do?

Later gang!

Later gang!

Breaking News…

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Fletcherfans, I’m sure you’ve heard the news that NBC is thinking about rebooting Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer playing JB.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet, mainly because I haven’t had coffee, but what I want to know is WHO IS GOING TO PLAY SETH HAZLITT/AMOS TUPPER/HARRY MCGRAW ETC ETC.

What do you think? Personally I think Harrison Ford would make an excellent Amos Tupper…(call me, NBC)

 

S03E09 – Obituary for a Dead Anchor

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Back in the Cove at last Fletcherfans, where Our Heroine is being asked for an interview with Paula Roman, one of the co-hosts of a TV show called Scrutiny.  She is hesitant to do it, what with the shows tendency to railroad people, but Paula swears that it will simply be a down home chat. JB tells her that she will bring it up at the town meeting, and if everyone agrees then she can do the interview.

Naturally, all of Cabot Cove wants to get their face on the TV, but AMAZINGLY there is a problem almost immediately. At a Scrutiny editorial meeting in New York the show’s producer, Doug Helman announces that Paula is no longer on the story, he’s giving it to Kevin Keats, on account of he pissed off some drug kingpin and could probably do with a trip to the seaside.

Meanwhile, the entire town of Cabot Cove is tarting up in preparation for the arrival of the news crew. All except one cantankerous old doctor we all know, who was the sole dissenting vote and as a result had a sudden urge to go and visit his sister in a place far away from any news crew. Wylie, Seth’s friend and fellow doctor, is not convinced that having a feature done on Cabot Cove is the best idea but JB is sure that it will be harmless.

Until she gets home and finds a news crew trampling her roses,

Hell hath no fury like a gardener with trampled roses

Hell hath no fury like a gardener with trampled roses

Jess thinks she’s got problems? On a lonely road outside town Amos just saw a bald man get out of a helicopter and into a limo.

Poor Amos. Remember that time he tried to retire but his replacement turned out to be a serial killer? Poor guy.

Poor Amos. Remember that time he tried to retire but his replacement turned out to be a serial killer? Poor guy.

Jess and Kevin are walking down the street doing the interview, and Jess is being very nostalgic about her home and her life with Frank but NEVER MIND THAT BECAUSE AMOS JUST SAW A HELICOPTER AND A LIMO AND A BALD GUY.

Appropriate response.

Appropriate response.

Keith is unexpectedly concerned to hear the Sheriff’s story. He suspects said bald guy to be the strongman for the drug kingpin he recently did an expose on. He asks Amos for a boat so he can take off quietly once his interview with JB is over. Amos puffs right up and tells him he will take care of it personally. Back at the hotel that night Keith receives a phone call from a mysterious blonde lady who yells at him a bit, then Keith takes it out on his producer, Helman.

On the dock the next morning Keith goes to inspect the boat that Amos has helpfully found for him. Apparently the owner, Aubrey Dawkins, swears that the boat is yar. Life Lesson #48 – Yar means easy to handle. 

(At this point, I wandered off and muttered yarrrr for about 10 minutes while I made a cup of coffee. True story).

Amos tells Keith that so seriously did he take his boat acquisition mission, he even paid the $100 deposit Aubrey wanted for the boat. “Can’t thank you enough, Sheriff!” Says Keith.

Last time Amos does anything nice for anyone ever again.

Last time Amos does anything nice for anyone ever again.

Poor Amos. He turns to trudge away but spots the mystery bald man, who promptly legs it. Ruing the one that got away, Amos turns back to watch Keith’s journey out of the harbour, which is stalled when the boat blows up.

#sorrynotsorry

#sorrynotsorry

A crowd gathers, including a Scrutiny crew led by Paula Roman who has inexplicably turned up rather quickly from Nebraska to cover the death of her colleague. She and Jess return to the hotel to find Paula’s other co-anchor, Nick Brody. Paula admits, after some gentle Fletcher interrogation, that she didn’t fly up to Maine that morning, she flew up the previous night with Doug Helman, to continue her affair with Keith. How scandalous. Apparently his wife thought so, she rang him the night before he died to threaten him.

Cabot Cove is flooded with reporters, and no one likes it one bit. After the mayor blames Jess for everything she decides to take matters into her own hands and asks the hotel clerk for the number in California for Keith’s wife. It turns out she called from a hotel near Cabot Cove. DA DUM. Meanwhile, Amos points out the ugly bald man on old news footage to Brody and Paula, who confirm it is the henchman of Ross, the drug lord.

The now widowed Mrs Keats has very little to say on the subject of her late husband, but plenty to say on the subject of his assets. She swears, however, that she didn’t kill him. Jess gets a phone call from Doc Wylie, who asks her to confirm with Mrs Keats how many toes her husband had. Keith Keats having ten toes excludes him from being the mutilated corpse fished out of the harbour after the explosion.

Doc Wylie, who is possibly second to Our Heroine in the having a clue stakes, puts a call in to Doc Hazlitt to confirm that the mystery corpse is not any one from the cove. Having ruled out a local, they suspect the corpse is someone from out of town. Moreover, as JB points out, if the body isn’t Keith Keats, then where the bloody hell is Keith Keats?

The answer, it turns out, is holed up in a hotel room eating chips and watching the mayor of Cabot Cove get torn a new one by the snarling media pack. But I digress, because when JB goes back to inform Nick Brody and the rest of the crew that Keith Keats is still alive they are all speechless. Except, that is, for Paula Roman who barely bats an eyelid. JB notices this and pounces. Paula admits to her that he called her and JB orders her to tell him to come to her house to speak to the Sheriff to clear his name.

That night, Keith tells the Sheriff and JB the whole story. Keith and Doug contrived to have Keith moved onto the Cabot Cove piece so that he could go and interview a key witness in his drugs story who lived not far away. The plan, apparently, was to make everyone think Keith was out in the harbour fishing when actually he was away doing his journalistic business or whatnot. The arrival of the ugly bald man (why do they keep pointing out how ugly he is?) was a spanner in the works that meant they had to move their plans up by a lot.

And then Sheriff Amos Tupper has a brainwave. The bomb couldn’t have been set by the ugly bald man. Keats and Helman didn’t know what boat they would be taking until 8 o’clock that night, and they were the only two people who knew about the plan, apart from Amos. Therefore, the murderer was someone else…like Kevin Keats!

He asks Our Heroine if she’s got a problem with any of that to which she replies “Actually Amos…..I haven’t.”

Again, appropriate response.

Again, appropriate response.

Paula Roman refuses to believe it, but Amos has a point – either Doug set the bomb to blow himself up, or Keats did it for him.

While Keith Keats cools his heels in a cell, JB goes to see the now not-widowed Mrs Keats, to ask her if Keats had been hiding out with her. Her derisive snorts suggests not. She firmly believes he’s guilty, FYI – apparently there had been some top secret audience market research conducted and she thought Keith was about to be shown the door.

Smelling a lead, JB goes to see the vice president in charge of news, someone-or-other Abbott (ew) who tells her that due to falling ratings there had indeed been a survey conducted, and that he had not discussed it with Doug Helman in front of the three anchors due to potential personnel changes that were about to take place. JB asks him where he was the night the bomb was planted and he tells her he was having dinner with a man from another network, hoping to desert the sinking ship that is Scrutiny. On reflection that’s probably not the best way of putting it. *cough*

While playing chess with Wylie (not code), JB has a brainwave about how someone could have been eavesdropping on Keats and Helman’s plan to fool everyone. A very specific someone, who was about to lose their job if Helman had his way…

Oh yeah, that guy.

Oh yeah, that guy.

And so it was. And so it will be. More to the point, despite the fact that there was a drug lord in this story I haven’t made a single reference. The meth Breaking Bad must be wearing off. Maybe.

Seriously, no Breaking Bad references? The hell is wrong with me?)

Seriously, no Breaking Bad references? The hell is wrong with me?)

S03E08 – Magnum on Ice

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Hey guys! Remember that time Our Heroine flew out to Hawaii to be with her friend who thought someone was trying to kill her but actually no one died because El Moustacho Magnum PI saved the day completely by accident by shooting the hitman in the back?

Turns out we may have been a bit hasty. But not as hasty as Magnum, since it turns out the hitman didn’t have a gun. Awkward.

The Hawaii 5-0 (heh heh heh) arrive and take Magnum into custody. The Chief is particularly delighted and informs Magnum that he’s in it up to his neck, despite Our Heroine’s attempts to explain to him that they all heard two shots fired, even if they only found evidence of one gun and one bullet.

While Magnum cools his heels in the cells, JB returns to the mansion to see Higgins. He is convinced he was the target and that the danger is passed, so is helping Pamela and Amy pack up so that they can move to a hotel down at the beach. JB is less convinced and goes to see Jason the party host for more information/movie re-enacting.

*pew pew*

*pew pew*

Through a stunning use of gun hands JB manages to find another bullet. Jason finally appears and JB asks him if Joan is around. He denies ever sleeping with her, and informs JB he’d never met the hitman Peter Mayfield either. It turns out Jason Bryan was throwing the party on behalf of someone else, and that mysterious someone else was the person who put Mayfield on the guest list.

Shell casing in hand, JB returns to the police station but Captain Browning won’t have a bar of it. Furthermore, JB’s request to see Magnum is denied on account of Browning being a grumpy bastard.

Our Heroine does not take this sitting down.

c2 d2

Magnum is delighted happy perplexed to see JB. She tells him about finding the shell casing and he grudgingly admits that was a stroke of good luck. She asks him if he can think of who might have been host of the party that Jason threw and he tells her Arthur Houston, head of PacLisle Industries seemed to know more than he was letting on but warns her it could be dangerous. He also reminds her about the small matter of getting Higgins to bail him out.

I don’t think Magnum is enjoying prison life very much,

It sucks to be Magnum right now.

It sucks to be Magnum right now.

Back at the hotel JB tells Higgins her discoveries and he informs her that a .45 gun has gone missing from one of Orson Welles’s Robin Masters’s gun cabinets. Pamela arrives to ask them if they’ve seen Amy, as she has a package to return to her. JB investigates it and determines it unlikely to be this ‘supposed’ cookbook for ‘Aunt Grace’ if that is her real name. Higgins unwraps it and reveals that THE BOOKS ARE NOW DIAMONDS.

(Yes I did write that in Old Spice Guy’s voice, thank you for noticing).

Amy wanders in and is rather annoyed that people have been going through her packages. JB goes to talk to her and she comes clean – she’s left her abusive husband and the diamonds are all she has to start over. Jess asks her about her trip to PacLisle and Amy tells her that she was there to deliver an envelope to Arthur Houston for Joan.

Speaking of the devil, Joan finds them to tell them that Amy has a visitor – her husband Victor. Amy bursts into tears and runs away, leaving JB to advise Victor to try again tomorrow, Joan to keep an eye on Amy and Higgins to take her to see Magnum.

In jail, Magnum is chucking a tantrum about the lack of bail money/help from Orson Welles Robin Masters but JB has bigger things on her mind, She’s sure Amy is not involved in the murders, despite Magnum’s suggestions. He thinks the whole thing is a plot out of one of JB’s novels, like the one Higgins sent him to read. He never finished it, but he knows it was the psychiatrist.

“Actually, it was the lawyer.” Says JB.

This guy is just not having a good day.

This guy is just not having a good day.

JB pays a visit to Joan’s room, where she’s busy chatting up the help. She tells her that she is selling the business left to her by her late husband to Arthur Houston. JB goes to see Arthur Houston for more information about the business deal but finds him dead on the floor next to Magnum’s cap. Browning informs JB that as Magnum made bail a couple of hours previously, he’s still on the hook for both murders.

Back at her hotel JB has big plans for a bath and a think, both of which are ruined by Magnum breaking into her room. She tells him about the death of Arthur Houston but he can’t think of anyone who can alibi him for the time of the murder. Later that night, JB notices Amy’s door has been forced and goes to investigate. Amy arrives back but before they can call security Victor climbs in through the window with a crowbar, demanding the jewellery.

Fortunately, Higgins is there to save the day with some Premium Ninja Moves.

WHAT IS HAPPENING???

WHAT IS HAPPENING???

Despite HIggins’s best moves, Victor gets away. While Amy prepares to check out of the hotel (having caused enough excitement for one day), JB asks Higgins how he got hold of Orson Welles Robin Masters to get bail sorted. He tells her that it wasn’t Masters who paid the bail, it was Joan.

Apparently, in more ways than one.

Surprise!

Surprise!

Joan helpfully explains to JB that it was a case of kill or be killed, and that setting up Magnum was just a business move, nothing personal. Fortunately, Magnum is out on the ledge and clearly appreciates the sentiment.

Idea: Moustache Ninjas! A crimefighting team that are invisible apart from their GIANT MOUSTACHES. Come on, I've got to fill the Breaking Bad void somehow, right?

Idea: Moustache Ninjas! A  deadly crime-fighting team, invisible apart from their GIANT MOUSTACHES. Come on, I’ve got to fill the Breaking Bad void somehow, right?

Alls well that ends well. The killer was caught, Amy was cleared of stealing jewellery, her husband was arrested for Being A Dick, JB is restored to being ALWAYS RIGHT and I managed to survive the emotional turmoil of the series finale of Breaking Bad.

Well, almost.

See you next week!

See you next week!