It’s a beautiful day in the Cove Fletcherfans, and JB is hard at work in her garden with the assistance of local boy Kevin.
JB tells Kevin he’s the best worker she’s ever had and he’s right chuffed. It’s just him and his Mum at home and he’s got to earn a living.
Sidenote: this actually happened:
Over at the shoe factory where Kevin’s mother Marla works Stuff is Going Down. The owner of the shoe factory is freaking out after his landlord, Jack Franzen increases his rent (and hits on his workers, this time Patsy aka Liza Minelli’s half sister). In a helpful coincidence, Jack Franzen is also Marla and Kevin’s landlord and he’s keen to collect if you know what I mean. Marla tells him that she hasn’t got the money on her and he says he’ll come around later but Marla says not in front of her son. Jack is fine with that – if she’s short he can find a way she can make up the difference.
(Sidenote part the second: Jack Franzen is being played by Crispin Glover’s father which is kind of totes appropes considering it was Back to the Future Day the other day).
Back at Casa Fletcher JB has returned with Seth Hazlitt and a load of garden supplies so they can crack on with the gardening on Monday. Jess gives Kevin his weeks wages and Seth offers to give him a ride home considering how dark it has become. Kevin tells them he’ll be fine – he’s got errands to run and he has an excellent headlight. On his way home, however, he’s nearly run off the road by a swerving car. His bike damaged, Kevin walks the rest of the way.
A couple of days later JB is on a mission to get a whole heap of packages sent of to various family members (because as we know, The Family is huge), ably assisted by Seth.
On the way to the post office they spot Kevin appearing to wait for a bus to arrive, but as it leaves he does too, telling Jess he will go and get started on her garden. While getting the mail sorted Seth and Jess run into Jack Franzen’s wife Gloria, picking up some fancy lingerie she ordered. Seth asks after Jack, saying he hadn’t seen him for awhile but she says likewise. Outside the post office they run into Jess’s former colleague and Kevin’s history teacher Lydia Johansesen who tells JB to tell Kevin she hopes he’s feeling better, since he wasn’t in school today.
Jess finds Kevin hard at work in her garden and offers a banana bread and milk break, which Kevin gratefully accepts, saying that his Mum wasn’t feeling well and didn’t make him lunch. Jess tells him his teacher will be glad to hear that he’s okay since he wasn’t in school today. Kevin tells her that he had to stay home and look after her, but refuses any offers of help or seeing Doctor Hazlitt. Instead he asks JB for his wages for the day just in case he needs to pick something up for his mother. Jess sends him on his way, but is concerned and starts rummaging through her fridge for leftovers.
To the Fletch-mobile!
JB knocks on the door and hears Kevin say “Mom?” but when he answers the door and realises it’s JB he tells her she can’t come in, his mum is asleep. When JB presses Kevin comes clean – when he got home on Friday there was a note from his mother saying she’d gone to Portland and that she’d be back that night, but she’s been gone for three days.
Jess is in shock and asks him why he didn’t call the sheriff and he tells her about the time in Chicago he got placed in foster care – he swears he will never go back. JB tells him she understands, but that his mother is probably worried sick about him too and convinces him to go see Sheriff Metzger, saying she thinks she can convince Mort to holdoff on calling the authorities for a little while.
Down at the Sheriff’s office Mort hears the story and tells Kevin he will call around the hospitals in Portland to see what he can find out. Privately he tells Jess that he should call child services but Jess asks him to hold off until he’s made his calls. Mort agrees and tells her to get Kevin to check his statement. While they do that, Gloria Franzen wanders in to make an official report – not that she cares but her husband has been missing since Friday. Jess tells her she’s sorry to hear it, and wonders if she knows Marla Bryce. Gloria tells her that it wouldn’t surprise her if they’d run off together – Jack charged Marla 200 bucks a month rent but the place is worth triple that. Presumably (Gloria tells them) Marla makes up for it with services rendered.
Leaving the Sheriff’s office, JB asks Kevin if he recognised Gloria Franzen which he did, as the wife of their landlord. Kevin tells JB that Jack Franzen would come around all the time chasing rent, but that his mother didn’t like him at all and said they would be free of him soon enough. Jess suggests they go out to his place, leave a note in case his mother turns up, and get some of his things so he can spend the night at House Fletcher. On the way they take a short cut and find a crashed car down a ravine – with the body of Jack Franzen in it.
Well I think we all saw that coming.
While Seth, the sheriff and his men go about their business, Kevin confides in JB that he used to think it would be cool to find a dead body.
“Well it isn’t,” says JB. And let’s face it guys, SHE WOULD KNOW.
Mort reports in that Jack Franzen had been dead about 3-4 days, meaning he was killed on Friday. It was no accident either, Seth tells them. Jack was hit over the head, probably with a two-by-four – or the Bryce’s missing shovel. While Seth gets Kevin to help him put the bikes in the back of Seth’s truck, JB follows the Sheriff, who’s just found some broken tail light pieces on the ground. They’re interrupted by Deputy Floyd arriving with the news that Marla Bryce has been located in a Portland hospital.
Marla is relieved to see Kevin but doesn’t really remember what happened. She came down to Portland for a job interview, got lost heading back to the bus station and was mugged when she asked for directions. Mort asks her if she saw Jack on Friday, and Marla says she thinks so but is shocked when they tell her he’s been murdered. Mort tells her he will have to take her in for questioning.
Mort is convinced Marla is guilty but JB isn’t so sure. Back in the Cove though, Jess has more pressing concerns. She invites former student Lee McAdam around who is conveniently also a social worker. Kevin is suspicious when she suggests foster care, but is delighted when she tells him that the foster carer would be JB – as long as Jessica is a responsible adult.
“I try!” says JB. NAWWWWWWWW.
That night, JB checks in on Kevin all tucked up in bed and asks him if he remembers anything else about Friday that might help his mother. Kevin remembers the car, and tells JB it only had one taillight. A clue! Kevin is all set to start looking right away but Jess tells him they will go chat to the Sheriff in the morning.
The next morning, Jess goes to wake Kevin with the promise of blueberry pancakes but he’s gone. In a panic she calls Seth and they set out to look for him and sure enough they find him down the street in town, checking all the parked cars for a broken taillight. On the way back to Jess’s for pancakes (which Seth has conveniently wrangled an invitation to), they spot Marla’s boss at the shoe factory getting into the car of Gloria Franzen.
After breakfast, and a brief speech about how horrible that such things like the case of Marla and Kevin Bryce are happening in their little town, Seth drives JB to see Marla to try and jog her memory about where she went on that fateful Friday. JB shows Marla the job advertisements from the paper that day and Marla remembers where she she had the interview. She tells JB she’s terrified of losing Kevin but Jess is on the case. Marla also mentions that her boss, Owen might have had a reason to kill Jack, on account of the rent raising.
On a mission, JB heads down to the shoe factory where she bumps into one of Marla’s co-workers, Danny Snow (JD from Hill Street Blues for those who are playing along at home), who offers to help pay for Marla’s legal fees. Jess mentions she heard the funeral was going to be on Friday but Danny tells her not to expect a crowd. Jess is surprised to hear this, she remembers Danny and Jack were the best of friends back in high school but Danny tells her Jack just liked having people around who made him feel better about himself.
Inside, while JB orders a pair of moccasins from Patsy she notices Gloria Franzen and Owen the factory owner busy talking up in the managers office. She goes to investigate – Owen tells her that Gloria has found a way for Owen to buy the building outright, paving the way for a joint business selling shoes via catalog. He’s excited, she’s excited, JB’s suspicious and even more so when she learns that Owen got rid of his car last Saturday morning. As she leaves the factory with her new slippers, she runs into Sheriff Metzger who has bad news – the company Marla says she interviewed at has never heard of her.
JB won’t stand for this and so calls the company herself, speaking to the man who actually interviewed Marla and forgot to write it in his calendar. This doesn’t clinch it for Mort, although his new focus is the busted tail light pieces he found. Jess tells him that if they belong to a twelve-year-old Chevy to check with Owen the factory owner. Floyd gets an anonymous tip placing Jack Franzen at Patsy’s place at 3pm that Friday afternoon so Mort troops over to suss it out, since if Jack was at Patsy’s after Marla left for the interview she will be completely off the hook. Patsy confirms the timeline, and with a quick look at her taillight for good measure Mort returns to the sheriff’s office one suspect less than what he had to begin with.
Meanwhile Seth is raiding JB’s brownies at her place when he and JB have a seemingly pointless conversation about red lights on coffee makers that leads to a JB epiphany.
While JB gets Mort to start checking for people who might have bought new taillight covers, Kevin is out doing his own investigating – and finds a fresh new taillight and the person who did it.
JB and Mort arrive just in time to avert disaster. Danny confesses to killing Jack Franzen but says it was in self-defence. Something about a lifetime of bullying. Poor bloke.
Guys this episode was just depressing. I recommend you scroll down and look at Bill Maher’s hair until we all feel better.
So until next time.