Welcome to South Carolina, aka the only Carolina I haven’t been to if you count my hungover stop in Charlotte Airport on my way to New Orleans, which you probably shouldn’t, to be honest.

Jess and Seth are road-tripping to Orlando (almost definitely to ride Space Mountain until Seth pukes) and making a stop in South Carolina (with some reluctance on Seth’s part) to see Seth’s cousin. South Carolina happens to be the home of Riverton plantation owner and gardener Buford Hazlitt, of the Curmudgeon Hazlitts. This particular Hazlitt is working on a hybrid magnolia, the scent of which is going to make you pass out on a fainting couch or something like that.  Unfortunately for Buford, that means certain nefarious types are trying to get their hands on his magnolias which requires shooting at them with shotguns. Buford’s assistant Kendall Ames is keen to harvest the tree and send the scent off to the perfumier so they can get to work on their other contracts, but Buford is drunk on success and sweet sweet magnolia goodness and thinks they can get more money.

(Buford is being played by the Headmaster from Gilmore Girls, which is making me very happy).

Meanwhile, the Riverton intruder reports back to the perfume designer Nina Larson, who tells him not to contact her again, she told him who to speak to if there were any problems. Nina’s boss, Edward Delaney, is furious with Nina already for all the money she’s spent on promos and packaging for the perfume, which will be called Forever Scarlett. (Whatever, everyone knows that the greatest perfume name that has ever existed is Troy Maclure’s perfume ‘Smellin’ of Troy).

Nina’s day does not get any better when Buford calls her, announces that he won’t deliver on the magnolia unless she promises not to use any artificial additives to the perfume. Edward is furious but Nina says she can fix it and takes herself off to Riverton to find the tree herself.

Back at Riverton, Buford’s ladyfriend Evelyn Colby is preparing for a dinner party when Sergeant John Lindley comes by to whinge because the date he thought he was having with her turned out to be entirely inside his own head, and refuses to take no for an answer when Evelyn points out they have been over for two years. It’s only when Buford arrives and tells him not to come back unless he has a warrant, that John departs.

Seth and Jess finally arrive at Riverton and give Kendall’s son Billy a lift up to the house. Inside, Buford takes great delight in taking pot shots at Seth while Jess gets down to business.

I understand the concept of a mint julep, but I think I’ll stick to a mojito.

Jess would very much like them to change the channel away from the bickering and childhood one-upmanship and Buford tells her he doesn’t mean anything by it and neither does Seth. Seth agrees, saying he couldn’t wait to get to Riverton, just ask Jess.

NOTHING CAN BEAT THAT FACE.

Julep-time is interrupted first by the arrival of Buford’s playwright step-daughter Margaret Barkley who is excited to meet Jessica but less excited to meet Evelyn. No sooner does Evelyn start telling JB about her most recent off-Broadway play than Buford’s lawyer Dan Wilkes appears to have a quiet word with his boss. Buford doesn’t care if Nina is threatening to sue for breach of contract, and orders Dan to go out and earn his money.

Dan pays a visit on Nina at her office, and there’s a whole lot of bourbon and flirting and it’s all frankly a bit gross, to be honest, so I started googling where I could get a mint julep in Melbourne.

Over in the Riverton greenhouse, Billy begs his father to let him drop out of school and come work for him, but Kendall has bigger ambitions for his son. Meanwhile, Margaret hits up her step-father for a loan – her much-touted off-Broadway show that she’d worked on for two years closed after 3 performances and she couldn’t pay the rent. Buford tells her she can stay at Riverton for as long as she likes but she’s not getting any money. He could forgive her coming after him in her play, but not her late mother.

That night Riverton hosts the Botanical Society Gala Dinner, and Evelyn has just enough time to check Buford’s will to see if she’s in it before rejoining the guests downstairs. Dan tells Kendall Ames that Nina would like to help him get funding for his work creating drought-resistant grains and suggests he discuss the details with Nina directly. Seth bumps into the local doctor, Dr Travis, who has seen better days but not better canapes.

Another Hazlitt cousin surfaces in the form of Rob Hazlitt, who has been doing some contracting work for Buford and has been sober for a year. Seth congratulates him, and Rob snarls that he doesn’t give a damn what Seth thinks, before storming off. Buford says never mind, they are the last of the Hazlitt line, they have to stick together.

Let’s not dwell on that time it was discovered Seth and his brother were all the Hazlitt’s that were left in the world.

That night, Buford is smothered by a ninja, while JB is woken by a loud bang. She goes to the window and sees Billy Ames head off into the night.

Won’t lie, haven’t stopped googling mint juleps. I think I’ve found a bar near my flat that serves them. Will report back.

The next morning Sergeant Lindley is called to the scene after Evelyn discovers Buford’s body. Jessica tried to call Dr Travis but couldn’t get through, fortunately, Seth is in the house and is quick to diagnose this a solid case of murder. Jessica has a quiet word with the Sergeant and informs him of the loud noise she heard the previous night, like someone had fallen trying to climb down the drain pipe, but doesn’t mention seeing Billy.

Nina Larsen, in a move that can only be described as impeccably timed, meets with Kendall and puts forward her pitch for his future after he gives her the magnolia tree. He tells her if she’d met him the previous day something might have come of it but he is too upset to make any decisions regarding his friend’s livelihood now. Meanwhile, Jessica and Seth confront Billy about what he was up to the previous night, and he tells them he got dropped home and his Dad was right behind him in his truck.

Back in her office, Nina has a meeting with Dan the Man, who tells her he still has some obligations to the Hazlitt estate but there will soon be no conflict of interest. Nina gives him a cheque and tells him it’s a thank you for the tour of the jazz clubs the previous night and for breakfast that morning. Ew ew ew. More importantly, she wants to know if Dan’s read the will and if Rob or Seth Hazlitt know anything about the tree. Dan thinks not, but knows Seth and Rob don’t really get on and that Rob has a Big Thing for Evelyn.

Speaking of, over at Riverton Rob is making plans to get the hell out of town but Evelyn begs him to stay, saying she’s going to need a friend before this is all over. Jessica and Seth find Sergeant Lindley out in the garden and confirms that someone definitely dropped out of a tree at the time Jessica heard the noise. Dan the Man pops up to announce the will is going to be read that night and Seth and JB should stick around for it.

Sidenote:

I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THEM

Out in the gardens the original magnolia hunter, whose name I think is Cory Davis, tries to recruit Billy into helping him locate the magnolia tree.

That night, the will is read. There’s money for the servants, half of all royalties of the Forever Scarlett magnolia for Kendall, five grand for Rob, a cutting of the 200 year old Queen Ann rose bush for JB…

As if JB wasn’t going to help herself on the way out I mean come on. 

…a lifetime pass to Riverton Gardens for Margaret (awkward), and last but not least to Seth and to Evelyn – joint custody of Riverton.

Reactions are mixed. Seth immediately wants to know if he has to accept it (awkward), while Margaret is furious and accuses Evelyn of worming her way into the will even though when she asked Buford to marry her he said no. Evelyn says that’s not true and Margaret says oh yes it is, Buford told her. She storms out with a pout.

Meanwhile, my inheritance is fast asleep in her bed which always makes me a little suspicious, usually she’s trying to make changes on the blog by now.

Seth is in a funk, and not even JB’s positivity can draw him out of it. Dan the Man runs into them on his way out and casually slides into the conversation that time is running out on the Forever Scarlett situation and he really thinks they should honour the contract and…

Never come between Seth and his rant.

Margaret heads to the police station to complain about life and Evelyn but also to suggest to Sergeant Lindley that she might be able to get her hands on the Forever Scarlett tree if he can help her get out from underneath Evelyn and Seth. John tells her he won’t break any laws, but they’ll talk.

Jess and Seth head over to the greenhouse, where they spot a fleeing Cory Davis. Inside, Nina is upgrading her offer to Kendall but quickly changes the topic to the murder when she sees Seth and Jessica. Nina is very keen to sit down with Seth and Evelyn to discuss things but Seth couldn’t be less interested.

THE SHADE OF IT ALL.

Nina sashays away, and Jess and Seth get to business. Kendall knows someone is keeping an eye on the greenhouse, from their description he thinks it might be Cory Davis, since he had already offered ten grand to Billy for his help in locating the tree. All Kendall knows is the minute he gives up the location of the tree he’s in trouble so, for now, he will keep his mouth shut thank you.

Jess and Seth return to the main house just in time to see John Lindley arrest Evelyn for Buford’s murder. He tells Jess her statement is ready for signature and departs.  Seth and Jess get ready to follow him down to the police station and run into Rob, who begs JB to help Evelyn.

Once she arrives, Jess is quick to correct her written statement, and she spots Cory Davis being shown into John Findlay’s office. Evelyn is brought up from the cells and Jessica confronts her about seeing her sneak out of Buford’s bedroom the night of the dinner (I may have been googling mint juleps at that bit). Evelyn tells JB she’d done it to see if Buford had changed his feelings about her after they’d had a quarrel about not announcing their engagement (which is apparently what Margaret overheard).

Jess has an idea and goes back to the greenhouse with Seth. Jessica thinks the greenhouse is much bigger on the outside than on the inside #NotATardis. They find the secret room with the magnolia tree in it, and also find some cuttings. Seth thinks the tree is very pretty, but Jess thinks she knows now how to trap the killer, and gets Billy’s help to do it.

Not a shock

Jess correctly suspected he was the one coordinating the surveillance on Buford to find the tree and killed Buford because reasons.

Mystery solved. And I solved the mystery of where to get a Mint Julep in Melbourne. Everyone’s a winner!

Later gang!

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