Disclaimer: This wasn’t the best episode. I worked out who the killer was in 9 minutes. You have been warned.
On the road in West Virginia this week gang, where a mining company is celebrating another quarter of productivity by throwing its employees a dance. That might be the most boring sentence I’ve ever written. In any case, despite the big boss guy Tyler Morgan celebrating, not everyone is feeling it. His son Reese is fuming because his daddy is spending his inheritance on a company dance and not on computers to make people redundant (I’m guessing he’s part of the once percent) and he takes his anger out on his mother, who asks him to show his father some respect and is told in response “Like he respected you by cheating on you all these years?”
And then there’s the small matter of the gatecrasher Molly Connors who has returned back to the town to prove that Tyler Morgan was responsible for the death of her father in the mine years earlier.
She introduces herself to Tyler Morgan who declares that she’s turned into a right fine filly since she’s been away, am I right boys? Cue catcalling, URGH YOU GUYS ARE THE WORST. Tyler is less happy to hear that she wants to throw him in jail for the death of her father and orders the sheriff (who once wrote Joy to the World by 3 Dog Night) to arrest Molly for trespassing. At the jail her grandfather Eben turns up set to shoot his way in but Molly calms him down, saying she knows someone who will help bail her out. Her old English teacher, in fact.
Whoever could it be?
JB’s first order of business is to bail a grateful Molly out, but Molly has no time to explain – she informs the Sheriff she’s off to Yancyville to get a subpoena for Tyler Morgan’s business records from 1978, the year her father died. Outside the sheriff’s office they run into Carlton Reid, the mining union rep, who had been coming to check on Molly. He tells her he’s relieved she’s out, he’d been going to pass the hat around at the union meeting in Yancyville that night but that he’ll just tell everyone the good news instead.
Tyler appears out of his car and is less than pleased that Molly is already out of jail and has dragged “a stranger” into the whole business. Jessica tells him they’re hardly strangers, and that she’s looking forward to spending some time with her formal protege. Tyler points out that there’s no room at Molly and Eben’s place but a helpful passerby, Bridie Harmon, offers her boarding house to Jess for 10 bucks a night. For the record I don’t think Bridie’s son Travis likes Tyler Morgan all that much, as his father died in the same explosion as Molly’s father
Later that night JB has dinner with Eben and Molly at which Molly explains how the only possession of her father’s that she took to Cabot Cove was his book of Shakespeare, while Eben oils his gun and acts all crochetty. Guys I think the book is going to be important later on. Meanwhile Tyler gets a phone call and goes out.
Molly drops JB at the guesthouse and says she’d better get home before the storm hits. As JB waves goodbye she notices Bridie Harmon scurrying off into the night. Later, Tyler is shot in his cabin. UGH. This episode must have been written by Grady.
The next morning Jess is walking to Molly and Eben’s house when Reese Morgan appears from behind a bush and points a gun at her. Well that’s rude. He directs her at gunpoint to his father’s cabin where Sheriff Tate is conducting his investigation. He quizzes JB for an alibi but when she says she can’t prove she was in bed asleep at the time of the murder he tells her not to worry, that he doesn’t think she’d have cause to kill someone she’d just met and in any case, “unless I miss my guess you’re about as handy with a gun as I am with knitting needles.”
JB wants to know why he is asking for her alibi when he doesn’t think she’s involved, and the Sheriff says he was hoping she could provide an alibi for someone who needs one.
Cut to Tate breaking the news to Molly and Eben. Neither of them have an alibi, Eben was home alone and Molly had a flat tyre and so didn’t get home until 11:30am. The Sheriff tells them that the gun used to kill Tyler is still missing and Molly tells him to go ahead and search, they have nothing to hide.
In town, JB and Molly run into Carlton who offers to drive them home to avoid the whispers running riot through town. They spot Reese and his mother leaving the funeral home and Molly goes to offer her condolences, saying she wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Carlton offers the suggestion that considering how often Reese fought with his father maybe he was the one who killed him. A brawl is on the cards but Jess diffuses the situation, pointing out that there won’t be evidence to prove Molly killed Tyler. Except the Sheriff appears with the news he’s just found Tyler’s missing gun under the front seat of her truck.
Despite JB pointing out that it seems ridiculous that a lawyer would leave the murder weapon in their car and not hide it in the woods the Sheriff is unmoved. Not even Eben turning up threatening to return with a posse is enough to get him to release Molly on bail. Back at the boarding house Carlton tells JB he will get the miners Legal Aid service on the case. They overhear Bridie arguing with her son – apparently he was out til three in the morning the night before. He yells that he’s not a baby anymore and that if he wants to go out nights he will…after all Bridie does. He storms off. Carlton goes after him and suggests he was a bit mean to his mother and he wouldn’t be getting away with it if his father was alive. Travis says his father is dead, and so’s the man who killed him.
Inside, JB manages to weasel out of Bridie that she was going to see Tyler on the night he died. They’d been having an affair for quite some time but now that Travis is getting older Bridie didn’t want to do it any more. When she went to the cabin to break it off he was already dead. She didn’t go to the cops because she didn’t want anyone to know about her and Tyler. Tyler’s wife had found out once, back in the old days, which had resulted in her and Tyler not seeing each other for a while. Hell, if Mona found out Bridie and Tyler were back together Mona’d probably kill Tyler…
Jess goes to see Mona to try and get her to calm her son down. Inside, she notices a wall full of shooting ribbons and Mona admits they’re hers. When JB admires them Mona says “hell, most people can shoot the petals off a daisy by the time they’re 10 years old…”
On the way back to town JB runs into Carlton who is worried. The Sheriff reckons he’s got a solid case against Molly. JB is outraged, saying that anyone could have planted the gun in Molly’s car, and Carlton agrees saying anyone could have grabbed the gun from the unlocked cabinet by the door, but that Tate has more. A ledger sheet is missing from the business records from 1978, Eben and a posse of pals are on their way to bust Molly out of jail and Reese could be not far behind.
Meanwhile, outside the Sheriff’s office…
The sheriff tells everyone to go home and take a chill pill and the angry (musical) mob disperses. Inside the sheriff’s station JB asks him why Molly would tell him she’s going to subpoena the records if she’s already stolen one? It’s more likely that someone else has stolen it to prevent some incriminating information getting out. The sheriff doesn’t care, he’s lost the key to his gun rack and he needs to get someone to come break into it for him.
That gives JB an idea and she hightails it out of there to make a call and to ask Bridie just what happened the day her husband and Molly’s dad died in the mine. Bridie tells her that Molly’s father claimed to have found proof that dodgy shenanigans were going down at the mine and that he was going to present proof at the union meeting the next night, but the explosion happened that day.
Meanwhile, down on the farm Ebden is kicking back sharpening his axe when he gets a whack on the head. Jess arrives soon after to find the house empty, and takes the opportunity to hunt down Molly’s father’s copy of the collected works of Shakespeare. Inside the cover, hidden in the dustflap, she finds the proof she needs to confirm the suspicions I had nine minutes into this episode.
Carlton’s reaction to being discovered as the crooked murdering miner is to try and kidnap Jess, but is thwarted by dem meddling kids.
Now, case closed and I have a confession to make. If it seems like I was vaguely disinterested in this episode it was because a)I refer you to Carlton’s speech about the gun rack and b) whenever I see Megan Mulally in anything these days the following thing happens in my brain:
Brain: Huh, Megan Mullally is in this.
Brain: She’s married to Nick Offerman.
Brain: Nick Offerman is Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec.