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S08E11 – Danse Diabolique

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It’s ballet time Fletcherfans! The most excellent of times!

JB is off to the theatre in San Francisco, where a production of Danse Diabolique is about to be mounted. It’s only the third time in history, on account of the lead ballerina dying in the two previous attempts -the first, in Russia over a century earlier, and the second in Paris in the 1920s. The gathered press and JB watch the footage of the Paris performance – the story of two lovers bumped off by death but reunited in the afterlife –  and JB correctly spots cause of death as a heart attack and everyone is rightly impressed.

Solving crimes via television, because that's just how she rolls.

Solving crimes via television, because that’s just how she rolls.

Considering the body count this ballet has produced, one of the gathered journalists asks where they will find someone to dance the role. Producer Geoffrey Presser is delighted to introduce the prima ballerina who will perform the role, mostly because it’s his wife, Claudia Cameron. Another ballerina in the crowd openly laughs while everyone applauds.

The role of Claudia’s love interest will be played by a mullet on legs.

That is one fine mullet.

That is one fine mullet.

The person standing on the end of that photo, basking in the reflected majesty of Damien Bolo’s mullet, is Edward Hale who will dance Death. (He is also Duncan Macleod from Highlander, the tv series that I still can’t believe was ever a think and you should totally watch it on Youtube because the early 90s were a goldmine for ridiculous television and it’s good to remember how far we’ve come).

Introductions over, Geoffrey invites the gathered crowd to stay and watch the first rehearsal. JB plonks herself in the front row, while Claudia asks the laughing ballerina, Lily, what’s so funny – she tells her it’s hilarious to think of Claudia as a maiden.  Calling it early, Lily is a bitch. Meanwhile, Edward is commanding stage manager Barry Carroll (aka the guy with the eyepatch from Days of Our Lives for those playing along at home) to move a flat, but Barry says the pulley system isn’t working. Geoffrey tells him to figure it out and goes to sit down with Jess, who helpfully brushes dust off his jacket because she takes care of the little people. About 30 seconds into the rehearsal Geoffrey notices a flat about to fall from the ceiling and yells “WATCH OUT” just before it comes crashing down. Helpfully, noone was hurt.

Later, back at the ballet company HQ, Barry approaches Lily looking for a dinner date to clearly rekindle something they had previously going on but Lily gives him the cold shoulder. He tells her when he thinks of her with Edward he can’t breathe but Lily just waits for him to release her hand and she sashays away. Over at JB’s hotel room it is revealed that JB is an old friend of Claudia’s, but there was a specific reason she was at the ballet launch – they want her to stick around and be a good luck charm to protect the production from the curse. Not that they believe in it of course, but theatre people are superstitious.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

JB is technically in town for a book tour, but figures sure why not. She’ll be the resident cursebuster, no worries.

The next day Claudia confronts Lily about her behaviour and Lily promises not to act that way in front of the patrons again, but since there are no patrons there right now she thinks Claudia should retire gracefully and leave the roles to people young enough to do them justice. UGH LILY YOU ARE THE WORST.

Jess arrives at the theatre on her first day as official curse-buster and runs into Edward who offers his assistance. JB says he must be excited after being away for awhile and Edward thinks she’s being diplomatic – he’s been in rehab for a pill addiction but now he has a second chance so whatever he can do to help Jess she only has to say the word.

Barry Carroll shows Jess how the pulley system works, and what he thinks went wrong the day before – he’s surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, everything is old and falling apart. He tells Jess he used to be a dancer until a tumble off stage while dancing ended his career. Jess tells him the company is lucky to have him backstage and he is right chuffed.

Back in the dressing rooms Lily and Edward are going at it with their tongues. Lily is trying to convince Edward to talk to Geoffrey about replacing Claudia with another ballerina, say for example Lily, for the good of the company. Edward doesn’t think he can do it, but Lily tells him if he doesn’t, he knows what could happen. Edward nods and Lily beams. Oh piss off Lily you attention seeking cow.

That afternoon in rehearsals Claudia is struggling with the choreography and Edward is losing his mind. Damien is fine with changing the choreography but Edward calls and end to the rehearsal and asks Geoffrey for a word. Lily is delighted by everything. Later, when Claudia is leaving she hears familiar music and finds Lily rehearsing Claudia’s role. Except it isn’t Claudia’s role anymore, as Lily happily points out. This is confirmed by a sad Geoffrey and a solemn looking Edward. Claudia’s out, Lily is in. Claudia tells Lily she hopes there is a curse and that it comes true and Lily dies.

Fair call really.

The next day, Geoffrey finds Jessica backstage and tells her rehearsal is about to start. Jess tells him they need to talk. They adjourn to his office and Jess tells him she worked it out – it was impossible to reach the pulley that controlled the flat that fell without getting chalk dust on your clothes from the blackboard. And she remembers brushing chalk dust off his jacket the day of the accident.  Geoffrey comes clean immediately – he knew it wouldn’t hurt anyone and it would generate some publicity. He hopes Jess can forgive him and that she will still come to preview night on Friday. Jess says she’ll think about it.

Which is worse, obviously.

Which is worse, obviously.

Mullet update:

YOU CAN'T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

YOU CAN’T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

Honestly this episode is ticking so many of my boxes.

Rehearsal with Lily is not going well, as the mullet Damien is pointing out above. Lily is just not as good as Claudia, and a terrible partner. Lily tells him if he’s not up to it they will find someone who is, and Damien says she sounds like she’s taken over the whole company. Lily flounces back to her dressing room saying she’ll be back when they decide to act like professionals. Edward calls a break and screams at them to be better when they come back. Damien asks Geoffrey how he could replace Claudia and he says he had to do it for the sake of the company, and that preview night is almost here, they just need to pull together. Damien says fine, but one more stunt like that and all bets are off.

Claudia goes to visit Jess at her hotel to beg forgiveness on behalf of Geoffrey – they are all under enormous pressure and doing things they don’t mean (like yelling at everyone a-la Edward). Jess tells her it must have been hard to be replaced like that and Claudia says it happens – ballet loves young people, she just doesn’t know what to do now that she’s too old for it. JB reminds her that she wasn’t exactly a teenager when she started writing, and that age and experience are advantages not disabilities (Life Lesson #64).

Thursday afternoon dress rehearsal rolls around and Lily is nowhere to be found. Edward sends Barry to find her, and finds her sans clothes in her dressing room with Geoffrey Presser DAMNIT GEOFFREY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. After a bit of a scene Geoffrey delivers his message and returns to the stage, not noticing Edward standing in the corridor.

Preview night arrives at long last, and the scene backstage is chaos. Roses arrive for Damien, while Barry confronts Lily about Edward and Geoffrey and she tells him she’s sorry he can’t dance any more but that’s nothing to do with her and leaves. At the last minute a rose is swapped on the prop table, then curtain goes up. Claudia rushes to her seat just after the performance begins.

Basically the whole ballet can be summed up as follows:

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!... but you keep it all inside.

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!… but you keep it all inside.

Of course as Death disappears off the stage, it it revealed that he was a little too good at his job and Lily is lying dead on the stage. The curtain comes down and JB and Claudia rush backstage, but it’s confirmed. Lily is dead.

The police are called…

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don't even start me on Deadpool 2. )

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don’t even start me on Deadpool 2)

…and the accusations start flying. JB heard Barry arguing with Lily, which Geoffrey says isn’t a surprise it was Lily that Barry was dancing with when he had his accident at which point Barry says “when did she tell you that Geoffrey? When you were fooling around in her dressing room?”

Geoffrey says she called him to discuss her costume, and she was like that when she got there, dressing rooms are like that etc etc. Claudia looks horrified. Jess suggests they move to a rehearsal space so that Lieutenant Martin Kinicki can continue his questioning. He starts with Claudia and Geoffrey – Geoffrey admits to tampering with the flat that time, but says he had no reason to kill Lily, certainly not for publicity. JB asks Claudia why she was late to her seat when her car was out front, and Claudia says she went to get asprin, she had a terrible headache.

Mullet update:

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

Damien tells JB he didn’t notice the rose was real, what with being all psyched for the show and all. Jess notices a bouquet of roses in his dressing room and remarks how lovely they are, except it looks like one is missing. People usually order 12. Damien says he was lucky to get them at all – 11,12 what’s the difference?

He doesn't need to math, he has MULLET.

He doesn’t need to math, he has MULLET POWERS.

Jess leaves the mullet to meditate, but hears crying coming from a darkened room. It’s Edward, crying over what might have been – he was in love with Lily, he wanted to marry her. Jess consoles him as best she can.

The next day though, it’s back to work – undercover at a florists trying to work out who sent Damien the roses. Using a quality Southern accent and some bombardment she learns that Damien ordered the flowers himself. DUN DUN.

Down at the police station Damien confesses to swapping the roses, as a payback for Lily being a bitch, but that he didn’t poison them. This is confirmed by a passing detective who delivers the results of the autopsy – Lily was poisoned but no trace of the poison was found on the clothes, the rose, the skull, nada.

HOW ASTONISHING, says JB.

Jess and Kinicki head back to the theatre to examine the costumes. Kinicki wonders what they are looking for, but JB will know it when she sees it. Or in this case smells it – machine oil. Next it’s back to the police station to watch the tape of the 1920s performance in Paris. Between 6 cups of coffee and men prancing in long underwear Kinicki is close to breaking point but JB says there’s something she can’t quite put her finger on…

This isn't as funny as I think it is.

This isn’t as funny as I think it is.

Whatever Jess is pointing at on the television has solved the puzzle, in her mind at least. She tells Kinicki it’s time to go back to the theatre. “Aren’t you sick of that place?” Asks Kinicki.

“There are three things you can never get enough of Lieutenant,” says JB. “Chocolate, friends, and the theatre.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMEN.

AMEN. (Life Lesson #65)

At the theatre they take an electric lift ride up into the ceiling, until JB says “Say hello to our murderer.”

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

The next day, Geoffrey announces they will go on with the show, but a different show – Cinderella. The company aren’t pleased but Edward says the public love it. He’ll post assignments and they will begin rehearsal at 9:00am. Geoffrey says to make it 2pm – a maintenance crew are coming to fix the pulley system.

Trap set, Kinicki, and JB kick back and wait for the killer to come and retrieve the murderous skull. And he doesn’t disappoint.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Edward, permanently worried that Lily would reveal he was back on drugs, and seeing her with Geoffrey in the dressing rooms, correctly assumed that she would dump him the way she dumped Barry and took matters into his own hands.

So there you have it Fletcherfans! The show will go on and Claudia has decided to teach dance instead of perform dance. Case closed, I’m off to the beach.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

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S08E10 – The List of Yuri Lementov

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Happy New Year Fletcherfans! I hope you had a lovely time over the festive season and ate/drank/slept a lot, as was appropriate.

Wouldn’t you know it – we’re in Washington DC this week! (#timing.) Soviet trade delegate/spy Yuri Lementov is retiring and heading back to Russia, and feeling a bit bummed out out about it, but has been invited to a trade reception that evening as a last hurrah. Jess is in town to catch up with a friend, Congressman Arthur Prouty, who wants to show her a book he’s written about fly fishing (not quite Dreams From My Father, really) in exchange for an advance copy of her new book. He’s forgotten to bring it though, and instead tells Jess to come to a certain trade reception that’s being held in her hotel that evening. Their discussion is cut short by the sudden arrival of Constantin Kesmek, furious at an article in the paper announcing something that means that his missile shipment can’t leave New York harbour. Arthur’s chief-of-staff, Harry Neville, arrives to tell Constantin he has an urgent phone call from Charles Standish, who is freaking out about the missile deal going south but Constantin tells him that if he starts taking risks now, Charles will lose the deposit on his horse farm, and his woman in Georgetown.

Constantin’s next call is to the aforementioned Yuri Lementov, to advise him he has the “materials” he requested and that he will meet him tonight. Yuri tells him that there might be a problem, but Constantin just says they will be inconsequential in comparison to the problems he will have if he violates the arrangement. Yuri hangs up, and retrieves a piece of paper written in code, looking worried.

Such spy shenanigans can only mean one thing.

Which is coincidentally how I sing the James Bond theme music.

Which is coincidentally how I sing the James Bond theme music.

Michael isn’t best pleased with Yuri’s retirement plan, but Yuri tells him his apartment in Kiev is tiny, and his pension even tinier. He has no money from his years of spying and so is doing this one last thing before he gets out of the game for good. Yuri is offering his merchandise to Michael, on account of their long history as Cold War foes, and that time Michael saved his life. (Merchandise is clearly code for something but I don’t know what). Michael tells him that he’s having trouble getting those twits at Whitehall (tee-hee) to play along, and he needs 24 hours, but Yuri says he’s closing the deal that night and getting on a plane at 8 o’clock the next morning. Michael threatens to shoot him, and says if the merchandise is damaged in any way, he’ll kill him and Yuri simply tells him death is probably better than his apartment in Kiev.

The reception kicks off that evening, with Arthur giving Jess a copy of his book and with Constantin having a run-in with Charles, who isn’t terribly pleased with the news that Constantin had a bust-up with Arthur that morning. He tells Constantin if he goes through with the Yuri Lementov deal, he can find himself a new lawyer. Meanwhile, Harry is hitting on a woman called Bonnie, who is giving him nothing so he accuses her of having an old man fetish.

“And thank God she does,” says her date, Sir Michael Preston.

c2

**Actual quote. Hegarty burn!

**Actual quote. Hegarty burn!

And then…

d1  d2

You can't prove Michael Hegarty's inner voice ISN'T Scooby Doo.

You can’t prove Michael Hegarty’s inner voice ISN’T Scooby Doo.

Just as Michael spots JB, Constantin spots Yuri and signals that he wants a word. At the last second, Yuri slips his coded message into Arthur’s fly-fishing book and quickly excuses himself. Michael bounds over, Bonnie in tow, and quickly introduces himself to JB as Sir Michael Preston before she can out him.

Poor Jess, she was just here to get a book (and drink the bar tab, presumably)

Poor Jess, she was just here to get a book (and drink the bar tab, presumably)

Michael promises he will explain later, but Jess says this isn’t going to be like San Francisco or Athens. Michael scurries off to block Constantin from reaching Yuri, leaving Jess standing alone.

Some things are too perfect to draw on.

Some things are too perfect to draw on. 

Arthur wonders what it was all about, and Jess says “You have no idea how much I don’t want to know.”

After the reception, Arthur walks JB back to her room and promises to pick her up at 7:30am for breakfast. He’s still struggling to remember where he’s seen Michael before, but Jess tells him on the few times she’s met Michael he’s been rather secretive on the subject of what he does for a living. Hashtag not a lie.

Jess goes into her hotel room to find Michael relaxing on the couch, assuming that Jess is hanging out with Arthur to cure a bout of insomnia. Jess tells him there is nothing romantic about her relationship with Arthur, which doesn’t mean he’s not very attractive, literate, charming, principled…”

“And boring” Declares Hegarty.

To be fair though, literate? That's a low bar. I hope she means "can spend a whole weekend on the couch reading and not talking" because that sounds amazing.

To be fair though, literate? That’s a low bar. I hope she means “can spend a whole weekend on the couch reading and not talking” because that sounds amazing.

i2

Phallic statue is phallic.

Phallic statue is phallic.

Michael assures her there’s nothing going on between him and Bonnie, she was just his ticket into the reception but JB doesn’t care. She wants answers. NOW.

Michael answers with a question – “Where’s the book?”

The book, is of course still downstairs, where a helpful waiter has just returned it to Arthur, under the watchful eye of Charles and Constantin.  Arthur in turn takes it up to Jessica, but when he sees Michael leaving her hotel room he hides in a potplant until he departs. After Michael goes down in the lift, Arthur knocks on her door and hands her the book, saying that her relationship with “Michael Preston” was none of his business, but he wanted to make sure she was alright.

“Fine thanks bye!” Says Jess, snatching the book and slamming the door. She pulls the coded paper out and looks at it.

In the early hours of the morning, Yuri breaks into her hotel room, looking for the book. He spots a bunch of copies of JB’s new book, but then gets clocked on the head by a masked man who snatches a copy of JB’s book and legs it out of the room. JB awakens at the kerfuffle and comes rushing in to find Yuri lying dead on the floor. The police arrive with the sun, and Lieutenant Blaisdell, slightly crazed member of Washington DC Police,  who wants to take everyone in for questioning but realises noone will talk to him. Jessica is about to tell him about the piece of paper when Hegarty shows up, trying to ask her where the book is. Blaisdell is about to lose his mind and when Hegarty won’t answer his questions Blaisdell demands he be arrested. In response, Hegarty punches him in the stomach and jumps out the window.

Man this episode is DELIVERING on JB reactions and I love it.

Man this episode is DELIVERING on JB reactions and I love it.

Blaisdell loses his mind and orders JB to the police station, where she still refuses to name Hegarty, even when lab results show her and his fingerprints were on the phallic statue murder weapon. It’s only when Sergei Onyegin from the embassy arrives to demand justice for his countryman, murdered by a British agent, that Jessica reveals Hegarty’s name. She also points out Yuri was KGB, to which Sergei says “Yuri Lementov was no longer KGB, not that he was saying he ever was.”

Blaisdell evidently gives up on JB and lets her and Arthur leave. Harry Neville picks them up from the police station and takes Jess back to her hotel, where he compliments her on her new book. They spot Bonnie getting into a car and driving away. Arthur offers Jess his spare room but she’s happy to stay at the hotel, and rest up.

Alas JB isn’t quite done yet – inside the hotel she is accosted by Charles Standish (Benjamin Horne from Twin Peaks and OMG YOU GUYS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW EXCITED I AM FOR NEW TWIN PEAKS FOR REAL I CAN’T EVEN) who offers to buy Yuri’s list from her. She asks him if he killed Yuri and he says no, to which she asks him how he knows the killer didn’t take the list. He tells her the marketplace suggests no one has come forward with an offer yet.

“And how much are you willing to pay for this list?” Asks JB.

Charles tells her she’s clearly equally as good at business as she is at writing but JB don’t care.

All I want is for someone to steal a painting in one episode so I shout BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONET #lifegoals

All I want is for someone to steal a painting in one episode so I shout BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONET #lifegoals

JB tells him she’ll think about it, and departs. Charles spots Constantin across the lobby, hiding in a potplant.

Upstairs, Michael is waiting. Her room has clearly been searched and he is worried about the list but JB assures him it’s safe. Michael also wants to tell her that she needs to beware of Arthur – “on the surface he’s all tea party etiquette, but dull enough to put a shark to sleep, and underneath he’s oilier than Saddam Hussein’s hair”.

Crying. What were the odds of this happening today of all days. Thank you universe.

Crying. What were the odds of this happening today of all days. Thank you universe.

Michael asks her for the list again, but JB puts her foot down. She swore she wasn’t going to get dragged into his shenanigans again, but this time it would be different. She wanted the truth.  He comes clean – the list is 5 MI6 operatives who are in deep cover in Libya that they can’t get to to warn. Yuri came across the list and saw it as a retirement plan. According to Yuri there was only one copy of the list but there was no way to be certain. There was a mission underway to get the operatives out of Libya but they need to protect the list until that could happen.

Blaisdell bursts in to arrest Hegarty for All The Things. He considers arresting JB for harbouring a fugitive but she tells him he has the wrong guy, the  killer was the one who searched the rooms and not for nothing but Bonnie and Charles Standish were both in the hotel right before she came upstairs. Hegarty is taken away in handcuffs, but Blaisdell relents and orders a fingerprint team to come check her room. Back at the precinct it is revealed Bonnie’s fingerprints were all over the room, but Blaisdell chalks it up to Bonnie being Hegarty’s date at the reception. Jess tells him she can prove who the real killer is, but he just tells her to have a nice day.

Undeterred, Jess sets her trap in action. She calls Arthur to confirm a couple of details, arranges for a delivery to go to his office at the end of the day, and then waits for the killer to knock on her door.

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

After Jess verified that Harry couldn’t have read Arthur’s copy of her new book, she knew Harry had taken an advance copy of her book from her room. Turns out Harry had been taping Arthur’s conversations and selling the information to the highest bidder.

Before I go, here’s a message not from the Queen, but from a Princess. Today of all days, I think it’s worth remembering. I don’t know who made it, but it’s perfect.

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(This was JB's reaction to Hegarty finding out Bonnie was a US spy. This episode was what the doctor ordered).

(This was JB’s reaction to Hegarty finding out Bonnie was a US spy. This episode was what the doctor ordered).