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S08E15 – Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief

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This week Fletcherfans Our Heroine has gone to London (Home of Dangermouse) to have meetings with her publishers, get some shopping done at Harrods (naturally) and have lunch with her old friend John Thurston, who works at the embassy. Never mind all that though because he is just about to introduce her to someone called Nigel Atkins but the actor’s name. You guys.

He has been in many things (including Robin Hood Men In Tights, a movie I adore) but he's about to play Doctor Frankenstein according to IMDB so let's just rejoice at that.

He has been in many things (including Robin Hood Men In Tights!) but he’s about to play Doctor Frankenstein according to IMDB and I couldn’t be more pleased about it.

Nigel Atkins, who works at the Home Office, is delighted to meet JB but is clearly running late for something and excuses himself. This suits John just fine – he has two tickets to the new Stephen Sondheim musical, would Jessica be interested?

I mean what sort of question is that really.

I mean what sort of question is that really.

While John and  JB have lunch, across town a man and woman are saying goodbye to each other. He seems annoyed at her constant shopping, she seems annoyed at his constant working. As she leaves him, a man in a bowler hat emerges from an alleyway and begins following the woman, while the man looks on smugly.

I only mention this guys because a short time later, back at the hotel, JB collects her shopping and her room key from the front desk and heads to the elevator and WHAT WERE THE ODDS THE MYSTERY LADY AND THE BOWLER HAT GET IN TOO AND GET OFF AT THE SAME FLOOR I MEAN REALLY WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING.

JB and the mystery woman go into their separate rooms (next door to each other, really the coincidences are just astonishing) but before Jessica can even put her shopping down there is a scream from next door. She rushes to the hallway and sees the mystery woman, who then turns tail and flees. Jess goes to investigate, obviously, and to her surprise finds Clement von Franckenstein  dead on the couch. She looks up to see the bathroom door gently closing.

(Sidenote: John Oliver's hashtag #JessicaFletcherIsASerialKiller made my Monday night.

(Sidenote: John Oliver’s hashtag #JessicaFletcherIsASerialKiller made my Monday night.

Jess dashes back to her room to phone the police, forgetting all about her shopping in the process. The police arrive and take Jess back to the hotel room – but the body is gone.

The case of the invisible corpse.

The case of the invisible corpse.

Inspector Stillwell and his sidekick are not impressed by Jessica’s insistence that there was a dead body, and less impressed by Jess’s ability to describe him, and not at all by the fact that she met him in the hotel lobby. “Should be careful of strange men in lobbies, even in the best hotels.” Stillwell’s sidekick says.

FLETCHER HULK HAS NO TIME FOR THIS.

FLETCHER HULK HAS NO TIME FOR THIS.

 

Thanks to the police and their lack of assistance, Jess decides to take care of business herself. She calls John but he’s not back in the office, so she goes downstairs to ask Albert at the front desk for the name of the “publishing agent” she met who was staying in the room next to hers. Albert remembers the man but is puzzled when he checks the book and discovers there’s no-one meant to be staying in that room.

Jess has already moved on though, she’s just spotted the Bowler Hat going through the lobby and so she follows him out through the kitchens to the back of the hotel. She walks past the service elevator and spots one of her shopping bags and a familiar looking shoe poking out of the garbage. Jess calls for help but there is no answer. She grabs the dead man’s wallet and goes to call Stillwell again. Stillwell’s posse arrive and find Jess’s other shopping bag but wouldn’t you know it the body’s gone again.

Stillwell politely asks Jessica if she’s taking medication.

Jess is about five seconds from beating him with her handbag.

Jess is about five seconds from beating him with her handbag.

Stillwell promises to return the wallet to the owner, and before Jess can go nuclear Albert appears to tell the police there’s been a nasty incident out the front of the hotel. Everyone heads out to the front where a small crowd has gathered – a man has just jumped from one of the windows according to these two witnesses.

g2

 

 

 

 

...

#helping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jess’s reaction is amazing.

Noone has ever been more delighted to see a dead body.

Noone has ever been more delighted to see a dead body.

John Thurston meets JB at Scotland Yard to try and make Stillwell see sense but Stillwell has become rather agreeable. Apparently it’s all been straightened out – Nigel Atkins lost his wallet in a bathroom at Heathrow and is delighted to get it back as he was due to board a flight to Australia. The man who committed suicide was a Mr Brown from Birmingham, and it was definitely suicide move along nothing to see here.

In the taxi later, JB laments how frustrating it is not to be believed, and John says he believes her…

j2

…”but the police seem so sure!”

I think JB has had about enough of this

I think JB has had about enough of this

Jess gets back to the hotel to find the Bowler Hat at the front desk asking about Nigel Atkins. Albert gives him nothing but JB tells him she’d like a word and he says likewise. Over tea in the dining room the Bowler Hat reveals himself as Archie Potter P.I – he’s looking for Nigel, if JB has any knowledge of where he is, could she get in touch?

#awkward

#awkward

Jess is called away by a telephone call – it’s John with a curious invitation to a Home Office shindig, but he has only been invited if JB comes too… Outside the hotel, Archie is off going about his PI business when he runs into local toughguy Mickey Dawks demanding to know what Archie knows about Nigel Atkins, and who Archie was talking to at the hotel.

At the party that night JB is introduced to Julian Fontaine, Home Office who is delighted to meet JB, but not as delighted as I was when I realised who it was.

Trevor Eve, the guy from Waking The Dead. Remember when long hair was a thing? #classic90s

Trevor Eve, the guy from Waking The Dead. Remember when long hair was a thing? #classic90s

Fontaine is surprised to learn that JB had met a colleague of his that very morning, and quickly excuses himself. He returns after a moment with two people – Edward and Penelope Caldwell, aka the couple who were really awkward at the beginning of this episode, and the woman who went rushing out of the hotel room. JB says to Penelope she’s sure they’ve met before – just that day in fact, at her hotel – but Penelope says she must be mistaken and rushes her husband over to meet someone else.

Fontaine asks John to excuse himself and JB, he wants to show Jess some first editions, but JB doesn’t want first editions she wants answers – why was she invited to the party, was it to see if she’d recognise Penelope Caldwell? Fontaine did work with Nigel Atkins didn’t he?

Fontaine suddenly remembers how he knew JB was in town – Nigel told him that morning on the way to the airport before his flight to Australia. JB isn’t barely paying attention, she’s just spotted something…

Look familiar? Scroll up a bit....I KNOW! Well played MSW.

Look familiar? Scroll up a bit….I KNOW! Well played MSW.

Also that bow is A++++

Also that bow is A++++

Fontaine is still giving her nothing about Atkins, so she tells him the police might like to know that the people who witnessed Atkins’  ‘suicide’ are also working at his party, to which Fontaine scowls and says that would be a very bad idea. Nigel Atkins is dead.

She's not giving up on this.

She’s not giving up on this.

Back at her hotel room that night, JB is kicking off her shoes when she gets a knock on the door – it’s local tough guy Mickey Daws, wanting to know what Jessica knows about the location of Nigel Atkins. It turns out Mickey is a moneylender, and Nigel owes him ten thousand dollars.

JB tells him that the police told her that Nigel had gone to Australia.

*backpedals aggressively*

*backpedals aggressively*

Mickey suddenly decides he didn’t need the ten grand back anyway and departs.

The next day, Jess goes back to see Inspector Stillwell and lays it all out for him – she knows about the affair and the money. He promises there is no coverup and he will look into all of her allegations most carefully. Jess says she hopes so, otherwise she’s going to visit her friend on Fleet Street and this little yarn will be on the cover of every paper in town.

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

After she leaves, Stillwell gets on the phone to Fontaine, who himself gets on the phone to another man in a suit. He tells the man Jessica is threatening to go to the public, does the man authorise the radical solution?

The man says he’ll get back to him on that.

DRAMA.

JB, clearly the only person doing anything about this murder, decides to visit Nigel Atkin’s apartment to see what she can find. The door is locked, but she overhears a delightful exchange between the landlord and his neighbour Daisy Collins about Daisy’s back-rent, which she has just decided to pay with a bonus, she’s moving to Mayfair.

...

THAT FACE THOUGH

The landlord disappears in a huff, and Daisy comes round to find JB loitering in the corridor. Daisy doesn’t seem to surprised, and says Nigel’s not usually back until six. She opens his door and goes in to feed his cat.

 

100% would wear this now.

100% would wear this now.

On the pretense of looking for a letter she’d sent Nigel, JB gets chatting to Daisy and learns that she feeds Nigel’s cat sometimes but the poor thing is going to the pound the next day, as she’s moving out. JB comments on the dress and Daisy tells her it’s new from Selfridges.

As JB leaves she bumps into Fontaine, who offers to give her a lift back to her hotel. JB soon realises that’s not where they are driving to but Fontaine only smiles and starts blaring Ride of the Valkyries. Her constant demands for a explanation/telephone go ignored, and it’s only when JB is shown into a room of an old manor house that answers are forthcoming. Jess is introduced to the man Fontaine had spoken to on the telephone, who tells her that after extensive enquiries about Jessica, they have decided to tell her the problem with Nigel Atkins.

“He was some sort of agent – a spy?” Asks JB.

“I see your deductive abilities live up to your reputation.” Says the man.

DUH.

DUH.

Anyway, long story short Nigel Atkins was a double spy for England and China and there’s a dicey diplomatic situation involving the handover of Hong Kong back to China (remember when that was a thing) but guys. HOW DID THEY NOT KNOW WHO JESSICA WAS, MICHAEL HEGARTY HAS BEEN GETTING HER INTO TROUBLE FOR AGES I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

It is revealed that Fontaine arrived at Atkins’ hotel room after the murder and before Penelope Caldwell, but was unable to do anything of about it on account of JB turning up. They staged the suicide and it almost worked apart from JB’s constant questioning.

On the way back to London Jess tells Fontaine about the loan shark and how Nigel had promised to repay him the next day. No money was found on him, so they interview Mickey again. He swears he didn’t kill Nigel, and that Nigel had told him the night before he died that he would have the money for him that day. They tell him he’s off the hook for the time being. Jess wonders if Penelope Caldwell’s husband knew about her affair with Nigel and Fontaine tells her he didn’t even know until he saw her in the hotel room after the murder. Jess tells them about the private investigator, and they look uncomfortably like they knew nothing about that. Fontaine handles it by going to see Archie and giving him a bit of an incentive to go on holiday.

Cut to Penelope Caldwell stress drinking vodka while her husband tells her all about how Nigel Atkins went to Australia on short notice.

JB and Fontaine are sitting in the park watching pigeons going about their business…

This screencap is for my brother, he knows why. (You're welcome)

This screencap is for my brother, he knows why. (You’re welcome)

Jess suddenly remembers Nigel’s attache case (go on, scroll right up – I KNOW! I nailed it today!) but Fontaine says it wasn’t in Nigel’s apartment when they searched it. Except when JB went to see it, it was there (seriously, go and scroll up again I AM A GOD OF SCREENCAPPING HELLFIRE).

Now how can that be?

The same reason a certain cat was about to be impounded.

Yeah, called it.

Yeah, called it.

What happens when a girl hears about ten thousand dollars and knows just what to do with it. Naturally JB worked it all out and convinced Inspector Stillwell to let Mickey Dawks go in wearing a tape recorder to record Daisy’s confession. But they don’t arrest her just yet – apparently the world needs to think that Nigel Atkins is still alive for a little while yet.

Case closed!

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

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S08E14 – The Monte Carlo Murders

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So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that The Boss is going to be in the new Mary Poppins movie with Lin-Manuel Miranda and you probably anticipated my thoughts on this but here they are anyway.

Seriously though. And Dick Van Dyke is going to be in it, I mean good god how I am I supposed to wait until next Christmas I already have to wait for Stranger Things and Westworld and Game of Thrones.

THE WAITING GAME SUCKS GUYS.

Speaking of things, we’re in Monte Carlo this week Fletcher fans! The episode kicks off with a cat-burglar (alas, not our favourite cat burglar) abseiling down the side of a building and breaking into a room where a woman is fast asleep. It’s not as entirely weird as it sounds, she is expecting him, but he’s not best pleased with her. Apparently she’s been flirting with someone called Earl Harper and he’s not having it. She tells him that she’s doing it for him – Earl Harper’s wife has a big fat diamond that someone with a certain set of skills (cue Liam Neeson impression) might want to snatch up. The cat burglar isn’t sold on the concept, saying he’s done time in a French jail before, but she promises it will be easy. He tells her he’ll do it, but if she sleeps with Earl Harper he will kill them both.

Our Heroine is herself in Monte Carlo, catching up with her old school chum Annie Floret, the owner of The Claudine Hotel. JB is eager for a tour and Annie is happy to oblige – she has a whole lot of fun planned for JB, including a reception that evening for the Prince of Monaco’s birthday, but first a tour of the Claudine. Annie introduces JB to the hotel’s piano player who has another job, you may be able to guess it from my subtle captioning.

Also previously seen in this episode.

Also previously seen in this episode.

The piano/burglar tells JB he takes requests and will be happy to play her favourites. She tells him she’ll get back to him.

Next on the tour is a visit to the kitchen, home of the head chef Chef Robertwho distrusts all Americans as potential spies for McDonalds. Not even JB nearly passing out from delight at a taste of his wares will change his mind.

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was the world’s famous chef. I’m pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was a nightmare, I’d ring home and he’d answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn’t actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling, he thought it was hilarious. He had another alter ego called Tanaka who was a sumo wrestler, don’t ask.)

JB has no time for this though, there is something in the sauce and she can’t tell what it is.

Screw a murder, JB's got ingredients to sniff out.

Screw a murder, JB’s got ingredients to sniff out.

They take a break for tea, and newest staff member Armand cops an earful from Annie for taking too long. JB asks if anything is wrong, and Annie tells her she’s fine, it’s just hard to get good help these days and it’s a lot harder since her husband Andre died. Annie also tells JB that she’ll be in the suite opposite Earl Fisher (quelle surprise) – JB recognises the name, he’s under investigation for insider trading.

Annie excuses herself to go do hotel things, and Jess decides to head out and do some antique shopping. A thoroughly unscrupulous salesman tries to con her but she is saved by the local policeman, Inspector Morel.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau.  Today is a good day.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau. Today is a good day.

Inspector Morel, a dear friend of Annie’s, offers to escort JB back to the hotel. As they walk, she asks him why Annie appears to be under so much pressure. Morel tells her that five years earlier, Annie and Andre borrowed money to keep the hotel going, and the man they borrowed the money from demanded a huge balloon payment – a payment due in three days. Guys will it surprise you to learn that the man who loaned the money – the man who is taking over the hotel next Monday – is Earl Harper?

I KNOW RIGHT?

Inside the hotel, we see Armande putting a bug on a telephone. As he leaves the hotel room, JB is entering hers across the hall. Conclusion – Armande is bugging Earl Harper’s phone. GUYS I AM NAILING THIS DETECTIVE BUSINESS.

As they get ready for the Prince’s birthday bash, Richie (Annie’s son) begs her to just let Earl Harper take the hotel so she can go on with her life. As they talk, there’s a knock on the door – it’s the man himself, here for his meeting with Annie. Richie leaves in disgust and Annie begs Earl  for more time but he’s not interested. As he goes to leave, he sees Peter Templeton’s girlfriend from the beginning of the episode stroll past in a red dress and tells Annie it’s a shame she’s not a younger woman, they might have worked something out.

Can't help but feel like I know where this is going...

Can’t help but feel like I know where this is going…

That night, JB and Inspector Morel dance up a storm at the reception. When JB decides it’s time for a break they head for the nearest table but bump into a man named Albert Devere, a creepy looking dude who wants to dance with JB. Apparently he’s her biggest fan. Fortunately Morel is there to help guide JB back to the table where Richie Floret is chilling out – Annie decided it was too late but Richie thinks it’s because of Earl Harper, currently dancing up a storm with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend while his wife is hanging out at the bar with his bodyguard Henry and flashing her big fat diamond necklace around.

Richie excuses himself to go take photos of the Prince’s arrival and Morel returns just in time to see Earl Harper have a deep conversation with Scott Larkins. Morel explains that Larkins owns a fleet of ships that Harper would dearly love to get his hands on.

Guys, sometimes I'm just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

Guys, sometimes I’m just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

The next day JB is caught in the lobby by Albert Devere again, but luckily Inspector Morel arrive just in time to extricate her and take her out galavanting around Monaco for the day. Meanwhile Richie and Earl Harper nearly come to blows, by which I mean Richie nearly stabs him with some scissors, but Earl decides to pocket the scissors and be on his merry way. Annie, who sees the whole thing, looks horrified.

Later that afternoon there is a fancy garden party for reasons I have apparently missed. Richie takes his camera and snaps pics of Earl’s bodyguard handing something sneakily to Scott Larkin and Mrs Harper looking angry at the sight of Earl making out with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend Barbara. Pepter himself isn’t pleased with the sight and goes after Barbara to tell her that she and the job are over. She says she’s fine with them being over, but she’ll do the job herself if she has to.

Larkin and Harper go into a room to have a little chat. Larkin asks him how he thinks he can just go around ruining lives and Harper tells him it’s a game, sport. UGH JUST KILL HIM ALREADY WHAT A DOUCHECANOE. Harper accuses Larkin of having a spy in his company and swears he will find him and string him up by his toes. They punch on and Harper leaves Larkin bloodied on the ground.

Meanwhile, JB is hot on the case.

Toughest case of her career I should think.

i2

Scolded by Robert, JB goes to see what Richie is up to and finds him developing photos from the party (fun fact, it was Scott Larkin’s party there you go). Apart from the photo of Larkin paying off Earl’s bodyguard, JB also spots a photo of Armande the waiter carrying an armload of audio equipment. She’s got no time to worry about that now though, she’s there to make sure Richie isn’t planning on doing anything stupid. He swears he won’t, he doesn’t want to stress his mother out more.

That night while more fireworks explode over Monte Carlo, Albert Devere tries to break into JB’s room but finds the door locked. Hearing someone coming, he departs. Mrs Harper and Henry the bodyguard wander down the hall, all over each other. Mrs Harper sends him back to his room, goes into her room and starts screaming. Shockingly,  Earl Harper is dead. Hearing the noise JB and Annie come rushing in. Annie tells JB to take Mrs Harper into the bedroom and tells the staff to get back to work. She asks Armande what he’s doing on the 3rd floor anyway and he tells her someone ordered alcohol. She asks him to find Richie but he tells her Richie left at around nine that evening and hasn’t returned.

Morel takes up the investigation and asks Mrs Harper what she’d been up to that evening. She’d been disco dancing with a certain bodyguard to “protect” her but it was unnecessary since she wasn’t wearing the Alexandra stone that night…she rushes to check the safe but the necklace is gone.

JB runs into Inspector Morel the next morning, but he’s confident he’ll have the case wrapped up by lunchtime. He knew all about Barbara and Peter Templeton. Barbara was seen leaving Earls room and since she has a reputation for luring married men into compromising situations, it seems pretty likely she and or Peter are involved.

Jess isn’t sure though and goes to see Annie. She tells Annie she knows what she did – opening a window and the safe while JB took Mrs Harper into the bedroom. Annie confesses to that, saying she was worried that Richie had done it and so made it look like a robbery to throw everyone off the scent.

Outside the hotel Jess runs into Barbara, who begs her to help get Peter off the hook. She swears he didn’t kill Earl and neither did she. She did meet Earl in his room, but it was to tell him to leave her alone. He accused her of spying for Larkin, as she’d been present when he’d made some business calls earlier that day and information had gotten out, so she left his room. She also tells JB the reason why Peter wasn’t seen at his piano the previous night was because he’d received a faked note from her asking to meet him. JB tells her she’ll do what she can to help, but she did see a photo of Barbara and Peter looking decidedly out of love from Scott Larkin’s party so there’s that.

Jess sneaks into Harper’s hotel room on a hunch and finds the bug that Armande had planted there. Remembering the photo of Armande with his hands full of audio gear she goes to see him and finds him lying on the floor, dying. She asks him who did this and he tells her something in French.

Morel has a new theory in light of recent events, including the discovery of the diamond necklace (sans diamond) in Armande’s room. It turns out Armande was a private detective, hired by Scott Larkin to spy on his business competitor. Morel thinks Armande got greedy, grabbed the stone and so Larkin killed him. He asks JB about Armande’s dying words and she repeats them to him. He tells her it means “in the fish”, and that Armande was probably delirious.

JB runs into Scott Larkin who tells her Richie’s been cleared, and Scott has loaned Annie the money to make the final payment on the hotel, so they are inside celebrating now that it’s over. JB says it’s not over yet and heads inside, where she runs into Superfan again, this time holding the book ready for Jess to sign. JB notices the title in French is Le Poison Dans Mon Coeur, and asks Albert the Superfan what the difference is between fish and poison. (It’s poisson vs poison, for those playing along at home).

It’s in the poison? JB has an idea and much to Chef Robert’s annoyance goes hunting around his kitchen for the rat poison. Inside, she finds a cassette tape that records the death of Earl Harper. The killer has had the same idea, but gets there just too late…

Noooooooooooooooooo

Noooooooooooooooooo

Oh Fletchefans. The things we do when we’re in love with a widowed hotel owner about to lose her beloved hotel to a raging douchecanoe. And by things I mean double murders.

JB of course worked it out ages ago, because she thought he was a better cop than how he was investigating the case. I think that’s how. To be honest I’ve been googling episode summaries of The Pretender this whole time so if this doesn’t make sense a) sorry and b) has any of this ever made sense ever?

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

You said it Jean Claude.

And on that note, I’m going to retire to my couch for a long congested nap. Guys, summer colds are the worst. Don’t get them. Let us leave this week feeling as happy as JB with a jar of Chef Robert’s mystery sauce.

Later Fletcherfans

Later Fletcherfans

 

S08E13 – Incident in Lot 7

4 Comments

We’re in Hollyweird this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just rolled up to Universal City Studios meet the people who want to turn her most recent book into a movie.

Side note, I love it when an actor name is also a subtitle.

AMAZING NAME

AMAZING NAME

Turns out that woman opening the car door to greet Our Heroine is the aforementioned parked Lincoln, today playing Carolyn Price, the secretary of the producer Daryl Heyward. She’s been sent to escort JB through the lot to a meeting.

b2

*violins intensify*

*violins intensify*

At the meeting, JB meets Daryl, his agent Willy Montego, and the writer hired to adapt the screenplay, John Cavershaw.

e2

*intense violin intensifies*

*intense violin intensifies*

JB tells Daryl her publisher was impressed with his persistence, and asks him whether he thinks there will be any creative problems adapting the book. He says that’s John’s purview and John tells her he’s got a few fixes to do…

g2

…fixes meaning, making things more visual for the screen.

Daryl’s watch beeps, he has to be somewhere in 20 minutes. He’s set up a lunch meeting between JB and John to discuss the script, which gives JB just enough time to check into the hotel. Willie tells her she hopes she will enjoy herself – on the lot they are just one big happy family.

Cut to a bottle being thrown at Daryl’s head by the movie’s star, Leonora Holt.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Seems fair.

Seems fair.

The reason for the bottle smashing is a report in the paper that says that Leonora’s creepy nemesis Kevin Maxwell is going to be in the movie, but Daryl swears it isn’t true, and that the actor probably planted the story himself to try and get on the cast. Leonora cautiously believes him, and promises to come to the set later that day to meet JB.

Across town, on the set of Baywatch…

No seriously, don't. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the upside down now...)

No seriously, don’t. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the Upside Down now…)

…Daryl is on the phone to his secretary to tell Kevin Maxwell’s agent that if his client opens his mouth again there will be trouble, he was only offered the role on the proviso he kept it quiet. Daryl also says he won’t be back in the office for a bit, he has an errand to run.

Over at the lot, JB and John Caversham are having lunch and discussing his plans for the movie, which is based on a true story. Caversham thinks they don’t need to do much, just add a couple of car chases, 2 or 3 more murders and they’ll have to change the ending, audiences won’t pay five dollars to go and see it if they’ve already read the book and know who the killer is.

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

FIVE DOLLARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It costs 25 dollars to go see a movie! Damn I miss 90s prices.

l2

Tonight, on Plots, They Murdered...

Tonight, on Plots They Murdered…

Daryl, meanwhile, is about to do his errand.

Blergh,

Blergh,

Back at the lot though, a little old man is sneaking into a shrubbery in a truck.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Jess has given up on explaining to John what a nonce he is, so he has delivered her to the head of production, Ben Miller for a tour of the lot. As they walk, Ben asks JB if she thinks evil is a real thing. For example, say you spend a lot of money to convince the world that something is evil – does it then become evil?

JB thinks it depends on what it is.

“That,” says Ben, and points.

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

That, as I’m sure you know, is the Psycho house. Home of the originator of on-screen mummy issues, Norman Bates. Naturally JB wants to get in there and have a poke about, but alas it’s locked up tight. Ben promises to get the key tomorrow so they can go in and take a look around. As they leave JB sees a shadowy figure cross the window, but decides she’s imagining it.

Daryl has finished doing his errand (ERGH), and decides it’s the end of the line. She’s married to one of his biggest investors, she’s got kids, it’s all too complicated. He launches into a speech about Darwin’s theory of evolution and she points out he didn’t think it was complicated when she was convincing her husband to invest in Daryl’s company when it was about to go broke. Daryl tells her he’s grateful, they’ll do lunch.

Back at the lot, Carolyn introduces JB to Leonora Holt, who is thrilled when she discovers that the book is based on a true story and she will be playing JB (how she didn’t work this out until now is in fact a mystery). She can’t wait to spend all her time with JB picking her brain, finding out about her life and her work, how she investigates murders, how she dresses, she wants to make the role as true to life as she can. She’ll have to learn all those words like moxy and hood and how to put someone on ice. She wonders if she will have to learn to type…

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Faced with the overwhelming omnishambles that this production is turning into, JB goes to Daryl and says she would rather withdraw her book from the deal rather than see it eviscerated. Daryl tells her sure, no problem, they’ll get rid of John Cavershaw, he never wanted him anyway (which is news to Leonora, she always thought Daryl liked him.) Daryl has a brainwave – JB should write the script and he’ll set up a brains trust of people to help her through the learning curve and then that way Leonora can spend more time learning about her character.

“Oh no, I really wouldn’t want to impose.” JB says through gritted teeth.

That night, as Carolyn and Daryl are leaving, Daryl’s errand rolls up. Turns out her name is Monica. She’s not thrilled with the way things ended, and when Daryl tells her right now isn’t the best time or place to be discussing it she suggests they go to his place, to see what his wife thinks about it all. Daryl sees no reason for her to know, but Monica thinks there’s plenty – so she can hurt him the way he hurt her. Daryl says it will happen over his dead body and Monica tells him that suits her down to the ground.

After a clearly bad nights sleep Daryl arrives at work and tells Ben Miller he’s being let go for cost cutting reasons. Ben swears he won’t leave and Daryl tells him he can either leave with dignity and a month’s pay or leave with security. Ben tells him this ain’t over. At lunch Jess runs into Daryl and Willie at the commissary and says she’s looking for Ben so they can finish the tour of the Bates House. Daryl says Ben’s not available just now, but he’d be delighted to finish the tour with her and arranges to meet her at the Bates Hotel at 3 o’clock. As Jess leaves, Roger the Shrubber peers up over a menu.

That afternoon Daryl lets himself into the Bates House. JB arrives a little while later and sees a figure move in front of one of the windows. She goes inside and finds Daryl dead on the floor.

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

The police rock up and…excuse me I have something in my eye…

He's so young in this!

He’s so young in this!

Lieutenant Hanrahan listens as JB points out a few details in the crime scene, like a weird blood smear, but they are soon interrupted by Carolyn who would like a private word with the lieutenant. JB politely leaves them too it and joins the rest of the staff in the office. Ben comes in with a shaken Willy, who collapses on the couch.

The shoes are a thing, I'll get back to them.

The shoes are a thing, I’ll get back to them.

Lieutenant Hanrahan arrives just in time to hear Ben Miller say he’s not sorry Daryl’s dead, and asks him to go into much greater detail. Afterwards, he goes to see Daryl’s errand Monica to find out more about this fight she and Daryl had that Carolyn overheard,  and Monica says she didn’t kill Daryl and Carolyn was probably making the whole thing up.

Back at the office, Jess is worried that Daryl was killed because of the movie, but Willy says he doesn’t know anything about anything. Leonora thinks this is the perfect time to practice her 1940s noir detective words she’s learnt and starts demanding information.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting, probably.

Leonora takes her self off to practice more gangster words, and JB asks if Willy knew anyone else who would try and hurt Daryl. Willie says he gave the list of names to Lieutenant Hanrahan who told him to keep it confidential. JB understands, and says at least he got to see Daryl right before. He tells her they were in the commissary finishing the paperwork on his new agent contract, Willy was going to rep Daryl for another 2 years. Meanwhile, Carolyn is fielding calls and barely notices when Roger the Shrubber comes in to ask when Leonora will be in again. She tells him she won’t be back til the afternoon but the phone rings again and Roger says that’s okay, he can wait, and goes into the office.

Jess gets back to her hotel room, a bit tuckered out if I’m honest, and suddenly realises the news is on. She catches the tail end of the report and then starts channel surfing and wouldn’t you know, Psycho is playing on another channel. She watches on with interest as Detective Arbogast (played by Martin Balsam who was in these episodes of Murder She Wrote) gets stabbed by Mrs Bates and go tumbling down the stairs, before a knock at the door brings her back to reality. It’s John Cavershaw, who decided JB was right and has written up some new treatments for the movie. JB asks him if Daryl had said anything to him about the script and John says no. He also reveals that Daryl never wanted Leonora in the role, and so had hired Kevin Maxwell to be in the movie in the hope she would quit.

Back at the studio Leonora denies the rumour that she wasn’t first choice, or that she had any issue with Kevin Maxwell, but then JB is called away to the phone. While Leonora waits, she gets a visitor from Roger the Shrubber, who turns out to be her number 1 fan.

Poor Roger isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Obvious shrubber.

After some deft work from JB Roger is contained and taken to the police station. The gun turns out to be a prop from Leonora’s first movie that he wanted to give her, possibly in exchange for dinner. But he knew nothing about Daryl’s death – he left his Bates House hideout to go and get food and when he came back there was a body on the floor and the house was talking to him.

Poor Roger

Poor Roger

(For the record Roger’s real name is Oliver, but whatever he’s Roger the Shrubber).

JB has one last question – did Roger notice any papers on the body when he went back? Roger tells her yes, a whole heap of blue pages. Hanrahan says they weren’t there when the police arrived and Jess no. She knows what’s going on now.

Later that Ben Miller goes to see Willie to beg him to tell JB not to go back to the Bates House that night. Willy asks him why she’s going and Ben says she told him she was going to make the house talk to her.

JB arrives at the dark deserted house and heads inside. A quick test of the pipes in the kitchen and the bathroom upstairs reveal all JB needed to know, just as the killer walks in.

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there's been a willie of death it turns out.)

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there’s been a willie of death it turns out.)

Turns out Ben Miller wasn’t the only person who got the boot that day. Willie was being let go too, so he bumped off Daryl, slipped in some blood, went all over the Bates House looking for water to clean his shoes and THAT’S WHY HIS SHOES ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLOURS LIKE THAT TIME UP THERE WHEN I SAID I’D GET BACK TO THE SHOES JOB DONE.

Case closed kids. Time for me to have a coffee.

*cue the violins*

*cue the violins*

 

S08E12 – Witches Curse

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You guys, it’s been a while (and yes I did just sing that), but we’re back in the Cove at last. It’s a dark and stormy night, and a certain doctor is casting roles for the town’s newest theatrical production – a retelling of a classic tale where a woman called Rachel Abbott was burned to death for being a witch.

Seth is loving it.

Seth is loving it.

After commenting on one potential witch’s scream as “melting lead”, and gently telling Penelope that while Rachel’s role is bigger, he needs her to play the witch’s mother, Eve Simpson steps up to audition for the role of Rachel. (Fun fact, Eve and Penelope look about the same age, so Seth is clearly up to something).

Eve gives a command performance, but would prefer to update the script a little, make it more hers. “I can do a Blanche Dubois that will curl your hair.”

“Of that I have every confidence.” Says Seth.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

Just then, there’s a loud clap of thunder, the doors burst open and Stevie Nicks wanders in.

(It's not Stevie. But let's pretend it is because I love her a lot)

(It’s not Stevie. But let’s pretend it is because I love her a lot)

The woman apologises for her dramatic entrance and introduces herself as Mariah Osborne, aka the chick that apparently shot JR that time. She tells them she’s new in town, she’s just rented the old Walker place (much to the shock of others, no-one has lived there for 20 years) and she’s wondering whether there are any roles still open she might audition for?

Seth can’t believe his luck. It’s like Rachel Abbott herself walked in. Stoked.

While she still has to audition, some of the cast view her audition as a foregone conclusion. Judge Willard Clinton will be conveniently play the role of the judge in the play (method acting), and the role of the prosecutor will be played by Nate Parsons, local insurance rep.

Mariah’s audition is a stunning success…

Could not puff up any more.

Could not puff up any more.

…so much so that when she shouts a line about the bells tolling to proclaim her innocence, the bells in the church go off. Everyone in the room shivers.

The next morning, Seth retells the story of the casting of Rachel Abbott but is less than enthused with the response from his audience.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Mort’s response is to ask Seth if he’s been hearing voices again, which Seth decides is sour grapes because he wouldn’t cast Mort in the play as the constable. Mort tells Seth if he hears the voices telling him to go off and save France he shouldn’t do it, Mort saw how that movie ended.

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Seth tells JB the story of how Mariah floated in to town and rented the old Walker place, which JB finds puzzling – it must be full of dust, just like the court archives which is where she’s supposed to be right now. Seth drops her off and she settles in for some investigating, but overhears someone reading something familiar. She goes on the snoop and finds Mariah reading from the original transcripts. JB introduces herself and Mariah tells her she’s studying up for her role. Jess says the whole town is abuzz with her performance the previous night, and Mariah says it wasn’t her, it was Rachel Abbott. What’s more, she thinks Cabot Cove has a habit of ganging up on innocent people. She excuses herself, saying it was nice to meet JB.

JB doesn’t care right now.

#lifegoals

#lifegoals

Mariah’s next stop is to the Winthrop house, to return a shawl she borrowed from Lydia Winthrop the previous evening. She finds Lydia’s husband Charles at home, in a wheelchair thanks to a renovating accident, and offers to massage his leg when it gets cramped up.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Lydia Winthrop walks in at that moment, and notices her husband is having another of his muscle spasms. She and Lydia step out to give him some peace, and Mariah returns the shawl. Lydia tells her that her audition was quite extraordinary, and Mariah says she has always had a soft spot for the unjustly accused. Don’t we all, Lydia says but the phone rings. Mariah says she can find her own way out, but has a peek at Charles Winthrop before she leaves.

This'll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about...

This’ll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about….

She watches him put some papers in his safe, and then leaves.

Later that night Lydia hears the sound of breaking glass, and goes downstairs to investigate. She finds the safe wide open, and rose petals flung about everywhere – but as they report later to Mort, nothing appears to be missing. When Mort asks if they’d had any visitors, Lydia reminds her husband about the visit they got from Mariah Osborne the previous day.

But she absolutely isn’t trying to cause trouble though. No way.

That face!

That face! It turns out she was Mr Big’s mother in Sex and the City for like one episode. 

Mort thinks it’s odd that a thief would stop to scatter rose petals but not bother to steal anything, and Lydia is reminded of the speech Mariah has to give in the play about rose petals scattered in memory of blood spilled.

But seriously guys she’s not trying to cause trouble.

Mort takes Deputy Andy to go see Mariah at her new ramshackle home – Andy has it on good authority that Mariah is basically a witch but Mort tells him to calm down. Things do not improve when Mariah invites them inside and they spot a black cat and cauldron bubbling away with dry ice steam billowing out of it. Back at the sheriff’s office they fill in JB on the latest and despite JB telling Andy she saw Mariah buying cleaning products at the hardware store Andy is convinced she’s a witch. Mariah might claim she was home all night cleaning, but Penelope told Lisa Tuttle who told Sharon Goldsmith who told Andy’s wife that she saw Mariah out walking by herself dressed in black every midnight.  Clearly, a witch.

TEA-QUILA

TEA-QUILA

Undeterred by all the rumour-mongering in town, Mariah’s next stop is to see Nate the insurance agent (remember him) to ask about getting some fire insurance. It is an old house after all. Nate would be delighted to stop by and assess the property, and maybe afterwards they could get di-

“And a history of the place would be great.” Mariah continues. “Any old fire would have affected the structure of the property.”

Nate would love to help out there, but the company doesn’t like giving that information out, plus no one has lived there for 20 years so any files on the property would probably be in the shed behind his house but like he said, company policy. Mariah thanks him anyway and goes to leave – but finds Lydia Winthrop at the door. She was hoping to have a word with Nate about increasing her insurance after the break-in the other night.

Later, Jess bumps into Seth chivalrously  helping Mariah load paint into the back of her car. Seth can’t have his leading lady doing her back a week before opening night, and Jess says she’ll remember that the next time she’s shovelling snow. She asks Mariah what she’s up to, and Mariah says she wants to do it all up like the old photos. Jess asks which photos and Mariah says you know, photos of old Victorian houses.

Flagrant cover-up aside, JB cautions Mariah to store them somewhere safe, they are highly flammable.

Now what do you think we’re going to cut to?

Well I'll be damned.

Well I’ll be damned.

The fire in question is taking hold of – wait for it – Nate Parson’s shed. The next day the fire chief tells Mort that some sort of chemical was involved, and when Mort asks what was in the shed  Nate’s wife interrupts to say it doesn’t matter, it was definitely deliberate, she saw a pentagram on the door.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Penelope pops up again to remind everyone that Rebecca Abbott said she would return in storm and fire and death, and that Mariah Osborne arrived in town during a storm, and now there’s been a fire, so unless she’s very much mistaken, Mort’s problems are just the beginning.

That night, dress rehearsals are underway. Seth’s worried Mariah’s forgotten her script but she tells him not to worry, she’s memorised it. So well in fact, that when they rehearse the courtroom scene where Lydia’s character accuses Mariah’s character of bewitching her husband, she manages to insert a big speech about how Goody Butler is a small-minded bitter woman whose soul is as barren as-.

Lydia is outraged. Seth is outraged. That’s not in the script! Mariah tells them she read a transcript of another account of the trial and thought it would add to the character. Lydia storms out, and Seth declares a break. Willard Clinton (remember him?) wanders over for a chat, and they get a bit of a flirt on, much to the disgust of Penelope and Lydia. After rehearsal, Willard finds a note on his car from “Rachel” asking to meet the “magistrate” at 10pm. He returns at the appointed time, and starts looking for Mariah/Rachel. Rose petals fall down from the bell tower so he starts to climb. At the top, he sees a familiar looking shadow, right before it pushes him out the window to his death.

I wondered when we were getting to the murder part of this show.

JB wanders down to see whether Mort had it under control and finds him slightly panicked. He’s starting to worry that the town might have been right about Mariah. He shows JB the letter. Jess reminds him that Rachel Abbott and Mariah Osborne are two completely different people. Mort tells her she knows that, and he knows that but he wonders if Mariah knows that. They visit her at home and she tells them she swears she didn’t kill Willard. She gladly offers a handwriting sample and gets JB to retrieve a notebook for the task. JB starts poking around and finds a scrapbook with a newspaper article about the trial of Monica Walker, and a photo of Monica standing next to a boat.

JB is on the case you guys. She goes to the courthouse to find the court documents but is told all the files are missing. Curious, says JB. She’s also been to the Gazette office and all their records for 1967 are missing – could the trial have happened then. The court clerk tells her it did.

With all the usual sources gone, JB has one card left. After feeding Seth full of homecooked goodness, she pesters him for information about Monica Walker. He tells a sad tale – she was working as a secretary for Charles and Lydia Winthrop but then was convicted of stealing a diamond necklace. She went to prison for five years and then upon release sold the house and left town never to return.

JB decides a call on the Winthrop’s is in order. She finds Charles hard at work on a model boat, sad he can’t go sailing on his own boat until his leg heals. Lydia tells him she did warn him about the builders re-varnishing the stairs. They heard all about what happened to Willard from Nate Parsons, and there’s no doubt in their minds Mariah did it. They won’t feel safe until she’s been arrested and until then they are bumping up security and getting a new safe for Lydia’s jewellery. JB takes the opportunity to ask about the trouble Lydia had a few years earlier, and Lydia says Moncia Walker stole the necklace, she never did get it back why does JB ask?

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

JB leaves, but returns just in time to find Charles standing up at the fireplace. Passing no comment on his rapid recovery, JB instead asks if he remembers who the prosecutor was on the Monica Walker case. Charles nonchalantly tells Jess it was in fact Willard Clinton, right before he was appointed a judge. Jess thanks him and leaves.

Next, Jess heads over to investigate the crime scene, and is startled to find Nate Parsons doing the same thing. He tells her Willard Clinton was a client of his so he has to investigate the death. JB quickly concludes that there was no way that this was anything other than murder, and spots some long dark hairs caught in a nail. She grabs them to take to Mort, and as she leaves asks Nate if his company did the policy for the Winthrops. He confirms yes, for over 20 years.

JB drops the hairs off with Mort and is interrupted by Deputy Andy arriving to announce that the fingerprints on the Winthrop’s safe belong to Mary Lynn Walker. Everyone is taken aback, but JB obviously is unfazed. She knows why Mary Lynn has returned to Cabot Cove.

At Mariah/Mary Lynn’s house, Mariah comes clean about why she came back to town and admits to breaking into the safe to try and prove her mother was innocent. She didn’t kill Willard Clinton even if she had good reason – back in the day he offered to drop the case if Monica did certain favours for him. Mort doesn’t care and arrests her anyway.

Jess isn’t giving up though. A quick chat with the fire chief reveals that the source of the fire at Nate Parson’s house was a liquid commonly used in floor varnishing and paint removal. JB then stops by Nate Parson’s house to ask for records relating to the theft of Lydia Winthrop’s necklace, and to ask whether he had gone ahead with his planned renovations. He tells her they didn’t but they did get the floors done.

THIS EPISODE JUST KEEPS GOING.

Jess manages to find out via Seth that the hairs she found in the bell tower were from a wig, not from actual hair. This seals it for Jess but Mort is unconvinced. Only when JB manages to get the killer to confess that Mort believes it.

Let's be honest, this isn't a surprise.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t a surprise.

Guys this is what happens when you find out your husband is sneaking around with another woman, and you stage a theft to get her out of the picture, but the prosecutor who helps you stage it gets cold feet when he sees the woman’s daughter years later and so you have to kill him to shut him up really it’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

Ugh. It’s a hot and stormy afternoon in Melbourne and I need a nap.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!