I’m going to just come right out and say it – this episode is misleading. From the title I was expecting JB was going to have seven jaunty sidekicks to help her solve the crime BUT IT DIDN’T HAPPEN WHAT THE HELL WRITERS.
And then there’s the summary on IMDB:
A massive storm results in Jessica snowed in at a ski lodge with an Olympic men’s ski team…
Say what now?
…with a murderer on the loose.
Still, I’m pretty sure JB was devastated to be trapped with the American men’s ski team. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
JB is on a ski holiday awaiting the arrival of Grady Failure (who never turns up, classic Grady) and making friends with the aforementioned US ski team and ski shop owner (and recently retired team member) Mike Lowery and his wife Anne who have a convenient plot point hanging in their store.
Sidenote: the actress who plays Mike’s wife Anne was once in a movie with Billy Bob Thornton called Copper Chicks in Zombieland and I would like to know why I’m only finding out about this now?
I’m getting sidetracked again.
Anyway, it turns out it’s actually the trials for the US Men’s Ski Team and noone’s place is secured, except for renowned lothario and recent meddler in Mike and Anne’s marriage, Gunnar Tilstrom, previously seen as Little John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.
Gunnar is accosted by a woman named Pamela Leeds in the lodge bar who wants know what he was thinking messing around with a gangsters wife in Lake Tahoe, and why is there rumours that he won’t compete in the World Cup. Gunnar is more interested in his beer than answering her questions, even though she’s threatening to tear up the lucrative contract he signed to endorse her company’s product. He’s even less interested in talking to his coach, Karl Andersen who is slightly miffed when he hears via Pamela that Gunnar might not even compete. Gunnar’s response is to shove his coach to the ground and flounce out.
Later that evening Jess arrives to dinner and makes friends with former NYPD cop Ed McMasters and his wife Sylvia. While they eat and Ed talks about retirement the band pause for shoutouts to some of the potential ski team members – Larry McIver, John Dowd (who was in the Irish Riddle Murder She Wrote movie as Irish Pat Cash/fake Bono) and Gunnar, who is sitting with Anne Lowery, much to the disgust of her husband Mike who scowls and leaves the bar. Early the next morning, and despite a snowstorm, Gunnar decides to go for one last run – and is shot to death with a crossbow. How very Walking Dead.
The storm has hit the resort hard and it’s bedlam in the lobby. JB jokingly asks Pamela whether she should take a number and Pamela replies that she thinks it’s women and children first, but this is America so who knows?
Word gets back to Mike that Gunnar has been found dead on the ski slope and is horrified to discover his crossbow is missing. They get in touch with the sheriff via radio but the storm has made it impossible for them to get in. They need someone to work in the meantime to protect the evidence and protect the nervous guests, and there’s only one person for the job.
Jess points out there’s a former NYPD detective staying at the lodge but Anne informs her that they left early and got out before the storm hit. And really, she’d end up doing all the work anyway, lets face it.
JB’s first order of business is to examine the body and recruits the closest doctor she can find to assist. Unfortunately the closest person is a gynecologist and he’s not enjoying himself.
The cop and the gynecologist, recognising the skills, leave the body to Jess, who finds Gunnar’s room key in his pocket and decides to go check out his room. On the way she bumps into Anne who tells her Gunnar received an urgent phone message that morning from someone called Vicki with a Nevada number. Jess tries the number and finds out that the number belongs to a Vicky Tartaglia and whoever is on the other line is not pleased someone is calling.
In Gunnar’s room Jess finds Mike acting shady. It turns out he was looking for Anne’s cigarette lighter that she left in Gunnar’s room the previous evening AWKWARD. He insists that his wife had nothing to with Gunnar’s death, and he knows this because he was spying on her and she didn’t leave Gunnar’s room until well after seven, after the time of death. Oh dear this is awkward.
Downstairs in the bar Gunnar’s teammates are commemorating their friend by getting wildly drunk, much to the disapproval of team member Larry who leaves them to it. Jess has a chat with Pamela, who at first tells her she barely knew Gunnar but then relents and tells Jess of his habit of ladychasing, allegedly including the mobster’s wife in Lake Tahoe. Jess asks if the woman’s surname was Tartaglia but Pamela is not sure. JB suggests that Pamela sounds a little bitter for someone with no personal relationship with Gunnar and Pamela tells her that yes, considering the contract he signed and the fact he was throwing it away due to his philandering, she was bitter and she could have killed him.
Later, the snow is still coming down and Pamela is in the gym having a chat to Larry, who is still unhappy about the wake and is now unhappy that Pamela is sniffing around looking for his signature. Despite her protests that she’s just there working out, he departs to get changed. Pamela is about to do the same when she is accosted by a drunk Viking in the form of Karl, Gunnar’s coach, who accuses her of looking for a way to get out of Gunnar’s contract, and if he finds out she had anything to do with Gunnar’s death, he’ll kill her. Rattled, she goes into the changerooms and finds Larry’s clothes on the floor and Larry hanging from the shower head after being shot by an arrow. Cue Psycho violins.
While Pamela recovers, Ed McMasters provides the update – Larry was whacked on the head in the mens room, then strung up and shot in the ladies. Anne Lowery appears to inform them that the phone lines are down. JB remembers seeing a four-wheel-drive in the carpark with a CB radio and suggests it would be worth trying to get in touch with the sheriff about that. McMasters decides to have a chat with Karl the Viking in the mean time.
Mike and JB have no luck with the sheriff and return to the store. Jess asks Mike if there was any specific reason why he invited his former team mates to the mountain that weekend and Mike shrugs, saying it was good for business. They are interupted by John Dowd falling through a curtain, shot in the shoulder with a crossbow.
To make matters worse, he has a terrible allergic reaction.
Meanwhile, in the hall outside John’s room:
Jess is convinced that the killer is left handed, and that two of the attacks were an attempt to divert suspicion from the main target. But as to who the target was, she can’t say.
Later that night, while the storm continues going about its stormy business, Jess gets a phone call from Ed’s wife Sylvia. Ed got a phone call, grabbed his gun and rushed out, and now Sylvia’s worried, so worried that she’s jangling bells. Jess rugs up and hunts for Ed at the ski shop. She meets him outside and he tells her someone called to say that they had information and to meet outside the ski shop. Jess suspects it’s a trap, confirmed by the arrow that is now sticking out of the sign above her head. They hear an engine rev and see a… sled? One of those motorised ones? I am against cold weather for moral reasons so in this area I am not entirely down with the lingo. Point is, it’s just come crashing out of the shed and Ed shoots off a couple of rounds, stopping the driver with the crossbow in his tracks.
It’s Karl Anderssen. No more drunk viking. Which in my opinion is the best kind of viking so that’s sad.
Ed McMasters feels the case is closed, but JB is not so sure. She enlists the help of the poor gynaecologist to extract the bullets from Karl’s body, as she suspects Karl might have been shot twice. The gyno guy is still not happy.
JB has a quick look in the shed, notices the phone and is about to return to the lodge when she whacks some sleigh bells hanging on the wall. Tis the season, I suppose.
But that triggers something in the old brain palace for our friend JB.
Ah yes. The old “pretend to be a cop and bump off some bloke that had been shagging the boss’s wife” routine.
Until next time.