A Christmas special! It’s Christmas in the Cove!

Even the cars are on point.

This particular establishment is the home of Mary and Alan Forsythe, who are throwing a little pre-Christmas shindig to welcome their daughter Elizabeth’s fiancee, Charlie McCumber to the Cove. And you know that when there’s a party…

Their entire relationship in a nutshell.

Jess says Charlie and Elizabeth make an attractive couple, and Seth says sure – they both have their health and they’re under thirty.

While Alan Forsythe pontificates on about his plans for Charlie coming in to the accounting company Alan has with Irving Lazarus, Seth fills JB in on the gossip – Irving’s son Bert is pissed that Charlie is being made vice-president when Bert is still the office manager. JB seems to remember Bert flunked math at school, which seems like a vital component of working at an accounting firm.

Alan continues on to talk about Amy Wainwright, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of.

Now there’s a show/person I haven’t thought about in quite some time

Apparently Amy works for Floyd Bigelow Male Gigolo, who runs the local hardware store. Alan wants to thank him too, but Floyds out back making out with Wanda Andrews (being played by Veronica Mars’s mother). Bert finds them and is told off for not knocking. They rejoin the party in time to see Charlie give Elizabeth a fancy emerald ring. Wanda wonders why she never gets a ring like that, Floyd tells her she doesn’t deserve one. Bert is put out that an army guy can afford such a ring, and Elizabeth used to wear his ring but Floyd points out that was high school and he should get over it.

While Seth and Mort investigate the lunch options, JB and Elizabeth have a quiet chat. Elizabeth thinks it’s all so sudden, but JB says maybe Charlie saw some things in the Gulf War that made him not want to wait. Charlie chats to his in-laws about his upbringing with his sister in foster homes. Mort interrupts to recruit Charlie for the Cabot Cove pistol club, and also to check if Charlie might want to join the Cabot Cove Carolers – Charlie says he’s a fair shot but no singer. (Side note look how Mort has gone all in on Cabot Cove since he moved there).

Charlie and Elizabeth finally get some alone time and Charlie gives Elizabeth his key at the hotel so they can see each other properly later. Nudge nudge. The party over, the guests all head outside, and Jess declares there’s going to be a white Christmas. Seth says bah humbug, snow is only good for traffic accidents and frozen extremities. (Couldn’t agree more, I have seen snow twice in my life and both times suspiciously).

Seth and JB leave Floyd and Charlie to compare their cars (as seen in the first pic) and walk down the street. Jess asks Seth why he has been so grinchy, and he tells her he’s been reminded of the Christmas when he was ten, and he was certain that his Pop had bought him a train set but it turned out to be socks and underwear for little Seth. With the way the world is these days, Seth says, Christmas seems like a hollow promise – we should not be looking for toys any more.

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit I am a little bit Seth-ish in my views on Christmas. I’m taking notes from JB in this episode.

Charlie and Floyd get into their respective cars, with Floyd promising to find Charlie a good deal on a car like the hire one he’s got right now. Charlie finds a present on the drivers seat, and unwraps it to discover a cassette of Willie Nelson – except when he plays it, a woman is threatening to expose his dirty secret unless he meets her at Sally’s Landing at ten o’clock that night. He stops the tape when Elizabeth gets into the car, but when she sees it and goes to play it he freaks out and distracts her by kissing her – solid misdirection. They agree to meet for dinner at 6:30 that night.

Later, JB wanders in to Floyd’s Hardware and finds both Amy and Floyd on the phone. When they both get off, Floyd tells Jessica he’s off to Portland but Amy will look after her. He leaves before Amy can finish saying that she will have the inventory report for him. Nothing says Christmas like an inventory report.

After an evening of canoodling, Charlie tells Elizabeth he has to go, but that he’ll pick her up in time for the Cabot Cove Toy Run the next evening. Elizabeth tells him she’ll be decorating all day, but Charlie says that’s fine, he’ll be studying for his CPA exam. He leaves Elizabeth and heads over to Sally’s Landing, where he discovers that Wanda was the mysterious voice on the tape. Instead of confronting her, he drives off.

It’s still not snowing, just FYI.

The next day everyone is hard at work decorating the community centre. Amy excuses herself, saying she has to go and watch the store until Floyd gets back from Portland. She passes Wanda, who wonders why she’s leaving so soon. Wanda gets her instructions from Elizabeth’s mother re: her assignment (balloons – she should in fact blow them up). Elizabeth explains to JB that Wanda has a reputation for going after any loose men left lying around, single married or other. As for Amy, she’s been in love with Floyd since forever but Floyd has no respect for women. (Well, he is Floyd Bigalow Male Gigolo. Called it.)

Elizabeth asks JB if she should be worried about Charlie with Wanda free-ranging around. Jess suggests she go and take Charlie to lunch and get it all out in the open and Elizabeth says she will, at about noon.

Over at the hardware store, Floyd has returned from Portland and gets a phone call. He tells Amy he’ll take it in the back, but Amy stays on the line to listen in.

I’m in Cabot Cove dreaming about who we used to be #2015reference

Back at the Community Centre, Jess sends Elizabeth off to have lunch with Charlie, and goes to get more red balloons.

TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE. #WhateverIMadeMyselfLaugh

Wanda says she’ll swap balloons for the lunch she left out in the main hall, but Jessica points in the locker and says “isn’t that your lunch there?”

Wanda slams the locker shut and says it’s business papers in there. She hands Jess some green balloons, and Jess points out she needs red ones, not green. Wanda says oops, she’s colourblind. Jess says no matter, and wanders off with some red balloons leaving Wander to ponder just who will bring her lunch.

Over at Hill House, Elizabeth goes into Charlie’s hotel room but finds it empty. She finds the blackmail tape and plays it. She also snoops in his diary and finds the name of the Lighthouse Motel and a time circled so she cruises on over there and sees Charlie go into one of the rooms with a woman. She drives off crying, and later that night refuses to go to the Christmas party, claiming illness. Her parents refuse to let Charlie off the hook though and so force him to tag along.

At the party, Seth moans about the lack of snow while Jess tells him to shush and look at all the toys, while Mort gets down with his bad self.

Remember that time Seth beatboxed? It’s not as good as that time but it’s pretty good.

I refer you to my previous point about beatboxing.

Cut to Elizabeth going back to the Lighthouse Motel, peering in the window and then running away again.

Back at the party, Seth is explaining to JB that they were dancing the samba, not the rhumba, when Mort pops up to say that the toy drive doubled what it did the previous year. Seth asks where Mrs Mort is, and Mort says she’s off delivering gift baskets to a church up the coast. Mort excuses himself followed by Seth – he has to get his Santa suit on. Jess explains to Charlie that if Seth calls out the number on his ticket then he will win a prize.

Bah humbug, says Seth. The previous year he won some sequined slippers and they weren’t even his colour.

As Elizabeth slinks into the back of the party, Charlie spots Wanda heading towards the back and follows her into the women’s locker room, narrowly missing Seth strutting his stuff.

For real, this is the highlight of Seth’s year.

As Seth heads out into the party there is a gunshot. In the women’s locker room Charlie bumps into who he assumes is Seth in his Santa suit and asks what the shot was, but Fake Seth just leaves quickly. Charlie finds Wanda slumped on the floor, just as Jessica arrives. Miraculously she’s still alive, and so Seth escorts her to the hospital in the ambulance. Deputy Andy finds the discarded Santa suit outside, and Jess points out the open locker to Mort, saying that Wanda had been very protective of whatever had been in the locker that morning, and it might mean something that it’s empty now.

The party now officially over, people start to make their way home. Charlie runs into Elizabeth, who tells him she went to the Lighthouse Motel and saw the woman, and he freaks out, saying that he’d wanted to tell her for ages. He’s interrupted by Bert Lazarus, who appears with a gun he found in the bushes outside. It’s army issue, and Charlie confirms that it’s his but that he has no idea how or why it isn’t in his hotel room. Mort asks him not to leave town and Charlie says he’s not leaving until this is straightened out.

The next morning, Seth pops by JB’s on the way home from the hospital for breakfast and information. Wanda survived the gunshot wound, but it’s still touch and go. A thumping at the door signals the arrival of Elizabeth, freaked out that Mort has arrested Charlie for Wanda’s murder, but is a relieved to hear it’s not murder yet. She tells Seth and JB about Wanda blackmailing Charlie, and how he went to see her at Sally’s Landing but couldn’t even face her to find out what she had on him. Seth wonders how then he found the courage to shoot her, but JB too is wondering what Wanda thinks she has on Charlie.

With a pointed look Jess gets Seth to leave, and Elizabeth tells her she’s worried about the ring Charlie bought her, she has no idea how he paid for it. She also tells Jess about the woman at the Lighthouse Motel, but Jess refuses to believe Charlie was going to marry Elizabeth and keep the woman on the side.

Jess pops down to the Sheriff’s Office for a chat with Mort, to ask if Wanda left the Cove at all the previous year, specifically to go California where Charlie was living. Mort says no, she was too busy especially when the mayor and the local businessmen went to Tokyo on a business trip. Floyd wanders into the office to continue the story – in fact, it was on his return from that trip that Floyd discovered that the pension fund was missing 400K, and since Wanda had been in charge of the books while they were away…

JB brings Seth up to speed over a cup of coffee, and they both agree that it seems unlikely Charlie could have done it. Jess wonders why Wanda was targeted – if it was the blackmail or something else. She also wonders who the intended blackmail victim really was, as the tape was pretty generic.

Taking matters into her own hands, Jess goes to the Lighthouse Motel to talk to the mysterious woman. She turns out to be Charlie’s sister Monica, but Monica isn’t staying at the hotel alone – she’s got Belinda with her. Charlie’s daughter.

I really didn’t. (But duh that it was Charlie’s sister though, I mean come on)

Over tea, Monica explains that Belinda (mother of Belinda the daughter) died in childbirth while Charlie was in the Gulf on active duty. When he came back he was destroyed so Monica looked after Belinda. Charlie couldn’t tell Elizabeth, he was too worried that Elizabeth would leave him.

Jess understands, but wonders why Wanda would blackmail him over something so trivial. It’s not until she sees Belinda playing with some red and green blocks that she figures it out and puts a call in to Floyd Bigalow, asking him to meet her at the community centre. And to bring Amy.

It turns out, Floyd was the one Wanda was trying to blackmail, because Floyd was the one who skimmed the money from the pension fund, but Wanda was colourblind and put her tape in the wrong car. It’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

But Floyd wasn’t the one who killed Wanda.

I guess soon someone’s going to be
*puts on sunglasses*
JUDGING AMY
#yeahhhhhhhhhh

With 2 bad guys behind bars and Wanda expected to make a full recovery, there’s absolutely no reason for Christmas to continue unabated. So Jess buys Seth a toy train for Christmas, Seth admits that helping to save Wanda’s life has given him a new perspective and Jess says “So Frank was right – Christmas should remind us about what could be, not what is.” (Life lesson #68)

And so the Carolers arrive and the snow falls. Merry Christmas in July Fletcherfans! You have six months to get your Christmas shopping done, get to work.

Later Fletcherfans!

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