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S06E02 – The Seal of the Confessional

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Not for nothing, but this actor’s name is Hunt Block.

I bring you facts!

I bring you facts!

Today he is Donald Barnes, and he has just made friends with JB after helping local boy Eddie Frayne audition for Leo DiCaprio’s role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape crash a kite into JB’s head. Delighted to meet a fellow English teacher, especially one as awesome as Jessica Fletcher, he invites her to breakfast the morning.

Later that same evening, a time travelling extra from the set of Eyes Wide Shut rushes into the church to ask the priest to hear her confession. Luckily, the priest is in da house, but it’s not Father Malloy – he’s off visiting his family for a few weeks.

A mild mannered English teacher by day, a mild mannered priest fighting crime by night

A mild mannered English teacher by day, a mild mannered priest fighting crime by night. Side note, and this is not strictly relevant, but I’ve watched the Batman vs Superman trailer a lot this week and can someone please explain to me why Batman has suddenly become Iron Bat? WHY ARE HIS EYES GLOWING I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

 

Noticing the blood on her hands (literally), Father Barnes goes into the confessional to hear her story – it’s been 4 weeks since her last confession and she’s just killed a man.

Somewhere Amos Tupper is laughing for no reason.

Somewhere Amos Tupper is laughing for no reason.

Father Barnes tries to reassure her and urges her to go to the police, but she says that while she didn’t mean to kill him, she’s not sorry she did and runs off again into the night.

The next morning Mort is in buying himself some breakfast when he runs into JB reading a book in the corner. She tells him she’s rereading Walter Scott and asks him if he’s read The Lady of the Lake. He tells her no, but he saw the movie.

I don't know why this face is happening but it's hilarious

I don’t know why this face is happening but it’s hilarious

Jessica is saved by the arrival of Donald Barnes, although she is surprised to hear Mort call him Father Barnes. She asks him why the secrecy and he tells her that people act weirdly when they find out when they’re talking to a priest, and half the time he thinks they want to kiss his ring.

I’m letting that one go.

Father Barnes asks JB if she is familiar with the seal of the confessional and tells her the vague story of a parishioner coming to him the previous evening with a troubling tale. Jessica manages to deduce that a murder has been committed but gets no further. Father Barnes tells her she has a reputation for being an amateur detective…

No Emmys? THE SYSTEM STINKS

No Emmys? THE SYSTEM STINKS

…but Jessica says without clues, or a body, there’s nothing to go on. Possibly it’s just a case of an overactive imagination.

Some imagination though.

Cut to two teenagers finding a dead body on the beach and Seth Hazlitt doing his thing. The body turns out to belong to local businessman Evan West. Jess asks Seth how he died, and Seth says he thinks it has something to do with the massive stab wound in his chest. UNDER STATEMENT. They’re joined by Mort who has a bee in his bonnet.

“I don’t know how you do it ma’am…I get a call on my radio and within five minutes I’m down here. Doc gets a call and ten minutes later he’s here checking out the corpse. What I don’t get Mrs F, is who calls you?”

 

This might be the factiest fact I'v ever facted.

This might be the factiest fact I’v ever facted.

Mort thinks it’s an open and shut case – the dead man was clearly cheating on his wife, confined to a wheelchair, and so dead happened.

Plot twist: Father Barnes’s buddy Eddie Trayne has just been found with Evan’s knife. Mort gets a phone call at the home of Evan’s newly widowed wife Doris to inform him and he takes off – but not before telling Doris and her daughter Kelly that they have someone in custody. This is astounding news for Kelly – since she’s the one who went to Father Barnes to confess in the first place.

ERMAHGHERD PLOT TWISTS.

While Kelly consoles her mother about the death of her stepfather, and Mort goes about his Mort business, Jessica rushes to the church to inform Father Barnes of Eddie’s arrest. Father Barnes is stunned, so Jess asks him if Eddie had been in for confession recently. Father Barnes says no, so Jess goes to see Eddie in the cells to see what he has to say. Eddie tells her he found the knife, it was yucky so he cleaned it off, and that it was Evan’s fault that Kelly went away and that he was a bad man, and he’s glad he’s dead and can he go home now. Jess goes to find Mort and tell him what a mistake he’s making, but Mort is having none of it. He asks what proof JB has of Eddie’s innocence but she tells him she can’t say.

Jess’s next stop is to Doris West’s house to pay her respects. She’s greeted by her carer, Marilyn North, who is cleaning off a wheelchair. She tells JB Doris has been doing well but took the death hard. Doris’s daughter Kelly appears, and while she’s surprised Marilyn is cleaning a chair not often used by her mother, she understands when Marilyn says it helps to keep busy. Jess asks Kelly if Doris is up for more visitors – having seen the car of former colleague Jack Hutchings take off from the house just as she arrived – but Kelly says its find and takes JB in to see Doris, who is heartbroken by the death of her husband. Marilyn reappears a short time later to announce the arrival of Father Barnes. Kelly tries to avoid meeting him, but is thwarted by some stuck doors. Father Barnes and Kelly try to hide the fact that they know each other, and unsurprisingly do a terrible job of it.

Ninja skills are not a requirement of the priesthood, it turns out.

Ninja skills are not a requirement of the priesthood, it turns out.

Jessica excuses herself and goes after Kelly to see if she’s okay/wants to confess. Jess tells her that Eddie has been arrested and unless the real killer comes forward will likely be institutionalized if not worse.  Leaving Kelly to dwell on that little snippet of info, Jess goes to see Jack, the long-time friend of Doris and former English teacher at the high school to reminisce about old times. Jess remembers teaching Kelly freshman English but Jack says he never taught Kelly – she went off to boarding school in Vermont before senior year. Jess says she was always puzzled by that, since Doris and Kelly were so close, but Jack tells her he knows nothing about it. Back at the house Father Barnes asks Kelly if she’d like to talk more at the church but she shuts him down. What was said will remain secret. The night is dark and full of terrors.

At JB’s the next morning Seth is desperately trying to eat his breakfast while Jess drills him about the autopsy report. Evan West, it turns out, died from drowning after being stabbed and whacked on the head. It would seem like Kelly really wanted her stepfather dead. Seth tells Jess to spit out what’s bothering her and she tells him about Father Barnes and the murderer who won’t come forward. He tells her not to worry about Eddie, he’s got ace attorney George Woodward on the case.

Down at the Sheriff’s station George and Mort are discussing the case when JB drops by with some comic books for Eddie. While Mort delivers them, Jess tells George it’s generous that he’s donating his time to help Eddie’s defence, but George tells her that he’s been retained by Doris West to represent Eddie. Mort returns and delivers some bad news – an eyewitness has come forward saying she saw Evan in an argument and Eddie prowling around the docks – Doris’s nurse, Marilyn.

Jess asks George what he knew of his former client’s relationship with his step-daughter and he says not much – but remembers a trip to Boston where Evan got drunk and declared he’d married the wrong Barrett. At the time, Kelly was 16.

EW. EW EW.

Jess asks if  Evan left anything for Kelly in his will but George tells her Evan had been living off Doris for the last 8 years, and there was nothing else. Jess goes back to House West to see Marilyn and sees Jack saying goodbye to Kelly. Jess tells them she’s there to see Marilyn to ask about what she saw the night of the murder. Kelly can’t believe it, but when pressed says she can’t confirm anything since the night of the murder she was at Jack’s looking at old yearbook photos.

Jess spots Marilyn’s telescope trained on Evan’s boat and takes a look. Marilyn emerges from the house to ask her what she’s doing and Jess asks her if there was any chance Evan could have had another visitor to the boat – say for instance Kelly. Marilyn tells her she doubts it, and returns to her packing – she’s leaving town now that Kelly has taken over her mother’s care.

Unsatisfied, JB goes to search the boat and finds some dried blood before she’s busted by Jack and Kelly. She makes one last appeal to Kelly to come clean, and Kelly finally relents and tells Jess about how she’d come down to the boat to think about her father, when Evan came down and tried to force himself on her. She stabbed him and he went into the water.

JB has a thought. Kelly says she scratched Evan in the struggle on his arms, but when his body was found later he was wearing a windbreaker. Down at the sheriff’s office, after telling Mort the story, Jessica tells him her theory – Evan was only injured, went back onto the boat to fix himself up, and was killed by someone else.

Someone, it turns out, who is about to make a getaway.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

Nurse Marilyn, it turns out, was having a thing with Evan and was so horrified when he told her about how he was after Kelly again that she bumped him off.

Good riddance.

Until next time.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans! I gotta go eat!

 

 

 

 

S06E01 – Appointment in Athens

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Salutations Fletcherfans! Sorry for that unexpected break in transmission, but unfortunately not even JB Fletcher herself can stop Gastropocalypse 2015, which has ended just in time for Wintergeddon to begin (if you’re in the northern hemisphere I AM SO JEALOUS RIGHT NOW I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU WINTER IS STUPID).

In any case, welcome to season 6! At the end of this season we will reach the halfway mark *gulp* so to celebrate I will livetweet another one of the movies. But more on that later, because GUESS WHO’S BACK?

Yes Michael, it's called a telephone

Yes Michael, it’s called a telephone

Everyone’s favourite Not Quite James Bond, Michael Hegarty is in Paris having a crisis. One of his best agents has been taken hostage in Athens, his pal back in England still hasn’t turned up any info about it, and Michael’s fake wife Pamela has backed out of the mission to rescue, citing appendicitis. His Athens cover blown – unless he can find a fake wife in time.

Funny story though, you’ll never believe who’s checking out downstairs.

I think she's on to you Hegarty.

I think she’s on to you Hegarty.

Whatever Hegarty is working on, JB doesn’t want to know about it – she’s in the middle of a world-wide book tour and is off to Cairo. No time for your shenanigans Hegarty.

The man at reception gets a phone call and tells Jess her flight has been delayed for at least 8 hours. Never mind! Says Michael. You’re coming with me to Athens! Just get a connecting flight etc etc. Jess is not at all keen on the idea – on account of the last time she spent any time with Michael she ended up in jail on a murder charge – but ends up on a flight to Athens anyway.

At Athens Airport, Michael escorts her to the check-in counter, where YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS there is no reservation in her name and the flight is fully booked. WHAT WERE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING? When JB turns around, Michael has legged it and in his place is another English man who “recognises” JB from her book covers. Bane Harold Baines, JB’s white knight, offers to let her stay in his “company’s” 2 bedroom suite at the Hotel Grand Bretagne until she is able to get a flight to Cairo, on account of there being no other accommodation in Athens due to a trade convention. This is just a series of amazing conicidences you guys.

Down at the Hotel Grand Bretagne, the arrival of JB with her new buddy Harold has not gone unnoticed.

NOONE SAW NOTHING

NOONE SAW NOTHING

While The Mysterious Hat Man lurks in a potplant Bane Harold Baines escorts Jessica to reception and wanders off with her passport, because that’s absolutely not weird. He returns a short time later, while Jess is unpacking (WHY IS SHE UNPACKING IF SHE’S ONLY THERE ONE NIGHT THIS WHOLE UNPACKING IN HOTEL ROOMS IS DOING MY HEAD IN), and gives her her passport back. They are soon surprised by a special delivery for a Mrs Reardon. Jess tries to tell them there’s a mistake but Bane tips the bellhop and closes the door.

Something something penny dropping something.

Something something penny dropping something.

Bane comes clean and admits he’s MI6, that there was never a reservation made in her name to Cairo but that he didn’t lie about the lack of hotel rooms in Athens. He also has no idea where Michael is – some people were closing in on him at the airport when Bane went up to Jess and he hasn’t heard from him since. He begs Jess to go along with the charade and she agrees, mostly so she can kill Michael afterwards.

Meanwhile The Mystery Hat that is also known as Henryk Stuvesant has extricated himself from the shrubbery long enough to visit Mr Papadopolous to sell information regarding the current whereabouts of Mr and Mrs Reardon. Papadopoulous pays him half, and promises more money once Henryk learns more about their movements. Henryk then puts in a call to station chief Alec Scofield, to sell more information – that Mr and Mrs Reardon will be attending the home of Mr Papadopoulous that evening. Trafford agrees to payment in exchange for an invitation. He’s not best happy that Hegarty has gone rogue, and orders Bane to keep a close eye on Mr and Mrs Reardon.

Henryk is not done yet though – he pays a visit to “Mrs Reardon”, chilling out with a “cup of tea” in the hotel lobby. He tries to ascertain the time and location of the “transaction” but Mrs Reardon gives him nothing. When she turns the tables and starts asking for information about the other party involved in the transaction Henryk bails, unhappy Mrs Reardon does not trust him.

Stirred, not shaken.

Stirred, not shaken.

Jess returns to the suite to find a big bouquet of roses from Michael, and the man himself fussing with a bowtie and ordering her to hurry up and frock up, they have a party to get to. Jess is about to put her foot down when there’s a knock at the door.

It’s Pamela Reardon.

Michael Reardon’s wife.

Damn straight.

Damn straight.

After miraculously recovering from her appendicitis, which turned out to be gastritis/a failed audition, Pamela decides to sack out on the couch and rest. JB tells Michael he clearly doesn’t need her any more but he points out that Henryk and the hotel staff know her as Mrs Reardon, and it was too late now.

In the car on the way to the party, Michael explains how his colleague Laddie Fairchild (REALLY? THAT’S YOUR NAME? YOU ARE ALL TERRIBLE SPIES) was running a travel agency as a front for collecting intelligence on some gun runners or some such business and was kidnapped for ransom by some garden variety kidnappers who don’t know they’ve kidnapped a MI6 agent. He met then in Paris and managed to stall them by saying his wife was the sister of Laddie Fairchild (UGH WHAT IS THAT NAME) and has the money to pay. The kidnappers gave him til 1pm the next day to find the money.

Once at the party, Michael and JB run into Alec Scofield, who has come to take an interest in Michael’s harebrained scheme. His wife, however, is mainly there to judge Alec on his poor life choices, although I think she and Laddie had a little something something going on the side. Hegarty gets him to agree to play along just as Mr Papadopolous comes up to them and says “Mr Reardon I doubt I shall ever forgive you…for not telling me how lovely your wife was.”

That is my default expression when I'm at a party

That is my default expression when I’m at a party

Papadopolous drags JB off to quiz her about her life/make out with her hands but she is eventually saved by Michael who asks if the exchange will take place tomorrow. Papadopolous tells him he has not been in contact with the kidnappers, but now that he has satisfied himself in regards to Mr and Mrs Reardon, he will tell the kidnappers that Mr and Mrs Reardon will be at a certain telephone box at 12pm tomorrow.

On their way out they spot Bane and Hegarty has a go at him for revealing the plan to Scofield. He apologises but says he didn’t reveal JB and Michael would be at the party, but if he didn’t keep Scofield at least partially informed he might be suspected of being involved. He’s got a tap on Papadopolous’s phone but hasn’t heard anything from the kidnappers yet.

Meanwhile back at the hotel Pamela Drake is dead. The police suspect robbery gone bad but JB points out that since her jewellery was fake a jewel thief would have no reason to take it. Jess also tries to point out that she’s not Mrs Reardon but is surprised to see that her passport says otherwise. Down at the MI6 office, Henryk Stuyvesant is filling Alec Scofield in on the mysterious second Mrs Reardon (for a price, obviously).

In their new suite across the hall, (hotel can’t be that booked out then) Michael has returned from a supply run and is set to call the whole thing off but JB assures him she’ll be fine. He asks her about the cablegram that reception said was given to Mrs Reardon earlier than afternoon but Jess tells him she doesn’t know anything about it. Just when they work out Pamela must have taken it (come on guys!) they get a knock on the door. It’s Bane with news – the kidnappers have set the location point for the exchange at 1pm tomorrow.

The next morning they go to the bank to withdraw the million dollar ransom, and Michael comes clean – there is no money. He whips out a newspaper and tells Jess to start crumpling.

Next stop is the phone box, where they are to receive word of the location (which they already learned thanks to Bane’s wire taps). Hegarty gets on  the phone and freaks out – the kidnappers moved the exchange up half an hour and swapped it to the Roman Market. They floor it over there but the kidnappers or Laddie Fairchild are nowhere to be found. Instead, they find Dimiti Papadopoulos who has presumably heard about the other Mrs Reardon and now wants to see the contents of the briefcase. Just when Michael is trying to find out who killed Pamela, the Greek police arrive. Sergeant Petrakas, the investigator in charge of Pamela’s murder, has a friend who’d just been to a book shop…

Petrakas takes everyone down to the police station but noone is talking, and with insufficient evidence he is forced to let Michael and JB go. Hegarty is set to roll on Laddie Fairchild’s kidnappers, but has no proof in relation to Pamela’s killer. JB has a theory about that, and so while “Mr Reardon” pays a visit to Henryk Stuvysant asking for help in getting in contact with the kidnappers, and then follows Stuvysant (with the surprising help of Sergeant Petrakas) to the kidnappers, JB sets a trap of her own. A cablegram gets sent to Michael Reardon at the Hotel Grand Bretagne, which happens to be spotted by Bane.

And the thing about that is

Let the games begin. (This episode would have been greatly improved if Bane was actually in it).

Let the games begin. (This episode would have been greatly improved if Bane was actually in it).

It turns out Bane was in league with the kidnappers because Laddie was about to get promorted, and thanks to a wildly convenient lipstick smudge on Bane’s jacket at the party Bane’s fate is sealed. Apparently Hegarty was on Bane’s tail the whole time? I find this whole episode rather suspicious to be honest.

And on that note:

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!