Welcome to Season Ten Fletcherfans! It’s a whole new season and Our Heroine has chucked her typewriter for the most high-tech computing technology in the opening credits.

Like a boss.

But even more excitingly welcome to Hong Kong, where JB has been lured by her friend, ceramicist Emma Soon Dunbar, to experience all that Hong Kong has to offer.

YEAHHHH BOOIIIIIIII

JB’s infinite pork bun plans are derailed by a stop at a jade shop, where the owner is delighted to show Jess his wares at the most reasonable prices and Emma is kidnapped by a carload of thugs. I guess this sort of thing happened when the British were in charge?

Jess leaps into action, helping Emma’s chauffeur to his feet and asking Mr Lee the shopowner to call the police. She also calls Emma’s husband Brian, who is in the middle of merger talks with Kai Kuan, a Hong Kong business owner who wants to take over House of Dunbar before the British give Hong Kong back to the Chinese.  Brian tells JB not to call the police which naturally does not compute for Jessica, also they are already there. Brian says not to worry and hangs up the phone. The meeting is then interrupted by another phone call, this time by the kidnappers themselves, who demand 200 grand in small bills for the safe return of Emma.

Meanwhile, JB is down at the police station contending with Inspector McLaughlin, aka everyone’s favourite bad guy David Warner.

Sidenote: this interview with David Warner is really great.

McLaughlin explains to JB that his frosty sarcastic demeanour isn’t a lack of concern about Emma, it’s just that this sort of thing happens all the time. Kidnappers kidnap, demand ransoms well within the means of the victim’s families, and then the victim is returned safe and well. Chances are, Emma is already at home right now.

Not in Cabot Cove anymore Toto.

Jessica returns to the Dunbar estate on the Peak and is both shocked and relieved to find Emma sitting on the couch looking quite content. JB refuses tea and sandwiches, asking instead if the merger talks might have had anything to do with the kidnapping. Brian says probably, his sidekick Mark agrees and says they were the ones who were probably responsible for a recent spate of factory fires. Emma thinks not though, and insists Brian arrange a new meeting to continue the talks. Brian sends his lackey Louise off to make the call and goes with Emma to have a nap before their evening plans. As they go up the stairs, Louise pops in to tell him that the Kuans can only meet him at 3:30, not at 2:30 as he wished. Brian, naturally, isn’t all that fussed.

Louise and Mark take a stroll in the grounds, and Louise gently tells Mark that there’s no point blaming Kuan for the factory fires. She knows the destroyed goods have been appearing on the black market in Shanghai and she knows about his rampant gambling debts in Macau. She’s keeping her mouth shut for the sake of the merger talks but if there’s any hint of trouble she’s taken steps to protect herself.

That night, JB finds Emma looking for her car key with no success. Hashtag plot point. She gives up and they all head down to the city to see Brian and Emma’s daughter April sing at the Shing Po Nightclub.

I’ll be honest, I’m probably projecting a bit here.

April’s performance is a raging success, and Emma finds her car keys in her bag. Case closed!

Oh, wait, no. April goes backstage to prepare for her next set and gets a visit from her boyfriend who just happens to be David Kuan, Kai Kuan’s son. April swears she will tell her father about them soon, but fortunately, she saved the effort when Brian wanders in and catches them making out. April quickly decides she needs to be on stage and leaves the two of them alone. Brian warns David that he will not allow April to be hurt, and to stay away from his daughter.

The next morning JB finds Emma hard at work in her studio and tells her not to worry about driving her to the university where JB is giving a lecture. Emma says nonsense, it’s on her way.  In the car, Emma dictates a memo to her in car recorder, which is the most cluiest of clues that ever clued.

Over at Kuan Tower, Brian’s sidekick Mark has taken it upon himself to visit and offer his support/allegiance, making him the Littlefinger of this episode of Murder of Thrones. Kai accepts his allegiance, but after he leaves tells David to never take your eyes off a desperate man. He orders one of his men to follow Mark and tells David that he heard Emma was kidnapped the previous day. The plot thickens.

Later that afternoon, Chang the chauffeur picks JB up from the university for the drive back up to the Peak. Jess asks him if he noticed the car following them on the way to the Jade shop the previous day and he says no. He only knew about the stop at the jade shop when Emma called him from the house to arrange the car. He immediately changes the subject and starts talking about how it often rains in the city, but not on Victoria Peak. Man, the writers are really ramming these clues in.

Man, I wish I had pork buns right now. And some xiao long bao. And some fried beef dumplings. And a wonton or two. Goddamnit, I only just had breakfast.

The merger talks resume but only briefly. Brian insinuates that Kai was the mastermind behind Emma’s kidnapping and Kai cracks it. David presents the Kuan final offer, valid for 24 hours. Brian refuses it but David suggests it would not hurt to give it some thought, he has 24 hours. In the meantime, they should all prepare for the House of Dunbar anniversary dinner scheduled for that night.

I swear to god there better be pork buns.

Jess returns to the Peak, where she notices Emma’s car is wet and has yellow paint on the wheel. Man, they are really spelling this out. Later, the house gathers for some victory champagne – not only is it the House of Dunbar anniversary but Louise has managed to pull off a big European sale by calling the manager at the crack of dawn so he would be too groggy to say no.

At the venue for the 110th-anniversary dinner, complete with a wet paint sign on the newly painted yellow gutter (OH MY GOD CALM DOWN), Jess runs into Inspector McLaughlin, who tells her they have a lead on one of Emma’s kidnappers. April introduces her to Kai and David Kuan, who come off as appropriately menacing. Mark the side-kick arrives just as the dinner commences with a traditional dance and a speech from Brian. Apparently, it is the tradition at House of Dunbar anniversary dinners to serve a century egg.

NO. HELL NO. NO CENTURY EGG. If you don’t know what a century egg is (and I only do because I saw it on Masterchef and was violently ill for several minutes afterwards), basically it is an egg traditionally preserved in clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice husks for days, weeks or months. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT and I say that having eating jellyfish (weird) and a lamb’s head in Morocco (quite delicious if you didn’t think about what was happening, which is how I get through life generally).

Brian explains how to eat a century egg to JB – grab some pickled ginger, dip it in lime juice, put it on the egg and go nuts.

There’s no way you can convince me that a century egg is a good idea. None. I’d rather eat mushrooms and I HATE mushrooms.

Brian Dunbar enjoys JB’s reaction so much that he promptly chokes to death and dies. Inspector McLaughlin appears from nowhere and Jess tells him that she could smell bitter almonds.

LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU. A CENTURY EGG WILL DISGUISE THE TASTE OF CYANIDE.

McLaughlin takes charge and sends everyone home, except Mark who has already vanished. He and JB see April and David hugging, and casually says to David that it’s a bonanza day for the Kuans – Emma will be much easier to deal with than Brian. Back at the mansion, Emma gets a phone call from Kai backing out of the merger completely. Timing bro? He also warns her that she has a rat amongst the ranks but refuses to out Mark completely.

The next day JB heads down to see her old mate Inspector McLaughlin who tells her they’ve identified one of the kidnappers. He finds it odd that JB doesn’t recognise him (???) but says it’s no matter, hopefully he will slip up now that he knows the police are on to him. McLaughlin also tells JB that she was right about the cyanide. They traced it back to Brian’s lime juice bowl, which also contained sugar, but no one else’s lime juice was affected.  JB thinks this is most curious and sits down to watch the video footage from the night before. They confirm that the poison wasn’t in the bowl before the lime juice was poured but that’s about it.

McLaughlin gets a phone call to say his men have found something up at the Dunbar mansion, in Emma’s studio to be precise. It’s a bag of cyanide powder, which Emma swears isn’t hers. JB points out that the studio is never locked. McLaughlin knows but insists Emma come downtown for a chat.

JB and McLaughlin reconvene in his office later in the day, as JB has a theory about how the poison happened. Long unnecessarily complicated story short, the original dish was swapped for one that had cyanide and a sugar glaze. When the lime juice hit the glaze it dissolved, leaving the cyanide to mix with the lime juice.

As Jess goes to leave, McLaughlin reminds her to take an umbrella, the regular afternoon shower has hit.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR BAO. CHAR SIU BAO. NAI WONG BAO. ICECREAM BAO, WHICH IS TOTALLY A THING.

JB calls the Kuan’s who apparently give her the answer she wanted because she then asks McLaughlin to speak to Emma.

Later that night, JB is in Emma’s car in the garage fiddling with the voice recorder when the killer appears, ordering her to give up the tape.

I mean, sure.

Louise arranged the whole thing so she could take over House of Dunbar. So, she lied about when the meeting could and couldn’t take place, she stole Emma’s car keys to make a copy so she could borrow the car to talk to the dude in Paris and tell him she would soon be taking over, and she parked the car next to the yellow paint at the anniversary dinner when she swapped the plates.

Also, for those playing along at home, Mark was the one who arranged the kidnapping so he could use the ransom money to pay off his gambling debts in Macau. House of Dunbar really needs to reassess their hiring practices.

But not to worry Fletcherfans. The merger is going ahead, and not only that, but David and Lily are going to get married.

“I’d call that a double merger!” Says JB.

Later gang