Spoiler alert: the egg is Faberge, but whatever. This week the peregrine falcons that nested on top of 367 Collins in the city had babies and there’s a webcam and frankly, I’m never getting anything done ever again.

Anyway, once upon a time in a far away galaxy called St Petersburg, a man shows another man a Faberge egg and gets shot for his trouble.

A year later…

Starsky and Hutch, except it’s Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury. Build me a time machine and put me in charge of television.

Jessica is in town for some sort of book convention being hosted by old friends Marcie and James Devon, who are having a bit of a financial crisis and are looking at closing one of their bookstores currently being managed by Marcie’s brother Leo. Leo quickly excuses himself, shortly followed by James who disappears to go set up JB’s booth. Jessica is nostalgic about her first book signing at Marcie’s first bookstore, and Marcie tells her the minute she read The Corpse Danced Alone she knew it would be a hit.

Except JB’s first book was called The Corpse Danced At Midnight so I call shenanigans on this whole business.

Leo wanders off to meet a business colleague who informs him that the payment Leo gave him was in fake roubles and there’s going to be hell to pay, mostly if Leo doesn’t return his commission in 48 hours. A hired goon is about to get to work beating the crap out of Leo when a bearded Russian appears, pulls a gun and orders everyone to leave. He tells Leo he’s here for the egg, and he’d better get it or else. Leo tries to bluster his way out of it by saying the police would want to know about a foreigner with a concealed weapon but the man just says he’ll see Leo that night and skulks away.

Jess wanders into the book fair to get a name badge (like her face wouldn’t work) and runs into Valerie Harris and Ben Peterson. Ben is waiting on a scholarship approval, Valerie is…his girlfriend? The bearded Russian appears to try and get into the book fair but is stopped by security. He is Sergei Nemiroff, and tells Valerie he left his badge in his room and asks for another one but when Valerie can’t find it he quickly says he’ll go back and get it. He’s delighted to meet JB, he’s a big fan.

Who to this day I keep accidentally calling Frank Burns but don’t mind me

While Marcie and Charles continue to argue about Leo, Valerie tries to reassure Ben that his application will be accepted. Valerie’s father and apparent book publisher James Harris turns up to order Leo to set up more booths and to order Valerie to find more space for more booths and to forget Ben. Charmer.

Jessica overhears Sergei on the phone speaking Russian and sees him drop an invoice for a late payment on the hotel room. Meanwhile, at the arranging of hotel owner Victor Roscoe, Marcie and Charles meet with James Harris to request an extension on their loan and to propose a new business arrangement. James shoots it down, and tells them the money is due on Thursday or else he owns their bookstore chain.

As Marcie and Charles leave the meeting in a panic, Jessica watches Sergei filch a security badge from one of the other attendees before following Marcie and Charles outside. They get into a taxi and drive away and Sergei is set to follow when JB stops him and demands to know why a Russian policeman is following her friends.

Sidebar:

I’m very much enjoying that whole necklace situation.

Sergei has no idea what she is talking about but she harangues him into admitting that he is a Russian cop investigating Leo Stone. She’s not done with him yet, and so Sergei gives up on following Marcie and Charles and goes to lunch with Jessica instead. He tells her about a missing Faberge egg and tiara that were stolen from St Petersberg – the tiara turned up in Miami but without the jewels. Leo Stone was known to be in St Petersberg at the time of the theft, and given that the tiara turned up in Miami it seems like a natural conclusion that he was involved in the theft. Jess thinks there is more to the story, and Sergei reluctantly admits that his brother has been sentenced to death for killing the thief and will be executed in the next 48 hours unless Sergei can retrieve the egg and prove his brother’s innocence.

Over at James Harris’s house, James wanders through the rooms alone. He comes to a wall. He presses a hidden button. A door opens. It’s James’s Room Of Hidden Treasures. He walks in and begins stroking the Faberge Egg lovingly.

True fact, James Harris is a Bond Villain.

Over at the hotel, Leo is putting a business idea to Victor but he’s not having a bar of it. He tells Leo to stick with the job Charles gave him, he’s a lucky man. Leo gives up and asks to borrow two grand but Victor sadly tells him no, he’s not a bank.

Meanwhile, Jessica runs into Valerie and a despondent Ben who has just found out his college application has been rejected after the college found out about his chequered past (apparently something to do with a high school football team and a prank). This has apparently torpedoed any chance of him getting into med school.

*mumbles something about the college having higher standards than the US Supreme Court*

MOVING ON

Incorrect. A kangaroo can disembowel you with its eyes and will warn you beforehand with some Tibetan throat singing #AussieFacts

Sergei is solidly minding his own business when Leo confronts him – apparently, someone has ransacked his house. Sergei thinks this is a weird way to thank him for stopping the beating but then warns Leo he knows Leo either has the egg or knows where it is and furthermore, he knows who killed the thief. Leo tells him he’s crazy and walks away. Sergei follows.

Jess is helping Marcie set up her booth at the book convention when Charles returns with bad news – the bank is not going to speed up their refinancing, and in fact are pulling out of the whole thing after receiving some not inconsiderable pressure from James. Marcie thinks maybe they can try talking to him again but Charles thinks there’s no point. Jess quietly asks Marcie if all of this is happening because Marcie chucked James to be with Charles and she is starting to think maybe.

That night a reception is held at House Harris and the shenanigans are aplenty. Leo confronts James about their recent business and James drags him into another room to discuss it in private. Ben tells Valerie he shouldn’t be there, James clearly doesn’t want him there, but Valerie thinks he’s being paranoid. Jess arrives with her date Sergei and if that’s a jacket I WANTS IT.

I need it. I want it.

Sergei’s had a big afternoon following Leo around, and he’s not going to let up until he finds the egg. Jess points out Leo wasn’t the only one in St Petersburg the previous year but Sergei’s convinced.

James reappears from his meeting with Leo, decants some white wine (the hell?) and Marcie takes the opportunity to beg him to reconsider the loan extension. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. Sergei sees the conversation and decides to investigate James’s study. Unfortunately, James notices him sneak in and is all set to have him thrown out when JB sashays in to ask if Sergei’s found her glasses yet. James tells them dinner is ready but JB has just noticed he is a former student of the college Ben was trying to get into. Wouldn’t you know it, he was the one who torpedoed the application.

Ben says the college was unaware of his police record, and so should not be considered for the medical school. (Still doesn’t mumble anything about the college being stricter than the US Supreme Court). JB is disgusted and produces some documents to prove it but James doesn’t care and storms out. Jessica leaves the papers on his desk and follows.

A short time later, as the party is winding down, there is a scream. Valerie has just found her father lying dead in a fountain in his Hidden Room of Treasures. Sergei and Jess rush to investigate, and it is quickly made apparent that the egg is missing. Lieutenant Perez is on the case and doesn’t like the idea of Russian involvement but Jessica assures him that Sergei is just attending the book fair.

(Intense not-mumbling about Russian involvement in things).

The murder weapon is located behind one of the pedestals (and I feel terrible but the actor who delivered his one line did it so earnestly that I sprayed tea everywhere).

The next day Jess tells Sergei she can’t cover up for him forever, and that there is no sign of the egg, or of Leo Stone. Jess suddenly remembers the papers she left on the desk were missing and rushes away. Back at the hotel Marcie and Charles have just discovered James’s death hasn’t changed their problems one jot, and to make things worse Leo’s on the phone begging to meet Marcie. She finds him down at the marina where he begs her for two grand to flee the country (he swears he didn’t kill James though). Marcie promises to get him the money.

Jess goes looking for Ben Peterson at Victor Roscoe’s office and finds Victor working the phones trying to find the money for Marcie and Charles. They mull over the events of the previous night, and Victor says he understands complicated father-son relationships. (Apparently, his Dad was a violin playing genius).

Over at House Harris, Jessica explains about the missing papers to Ben and Valerie but before she can start looking Lieutenant Perez arrives and has questions for everyone about everything ever. Ben confesses to the murder, but then Valerie says no I am Spartacus. Jess wanders into the Hidden Room of Treasure and notices a chain in the fountain. Perez fishes it out and notices it’s inscribed BP. Case closed, says Perez, when Ben says the chain is his. Jess calls shenanigans and later has just enough time to fill Sergei in before Perez pops up and decides to detain him too. Sergei is devastated and yells “Jessica, my brother!” before being shoved into the car.

Back at the hotel, while Marcie weeps over the loss of her last 5 grand being used to get Leo out of the country, Jess suddenly gets an idea about how to free Ben and tracks down Leo for his help.

Long story short (too late!)

Sure, why not.

Victor was apparently procuring the treasure for James’s Hidden Room of Treasure and… I guess he’d had enough? Wait, Leo was working for Victor? I swear I’ve watched this episode twice now and I’m still hazy on why anyone did anything. But I was considering photoshopping Jeff Goldblum into every screenshot of this episode, so that might have had something to do with it.

Until next time!

Onwards and upwards!

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