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S12E17 – Track of a Soldier

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JB is off to Wyoming for a bit of R&R this week. Fortunately, her friend Ellen Levering operates a lodge with her husband the ex-soldier Howard, and his son Pete. And a dog called Solider, presumably the leaver of the aforementioned tracks.

Jessica is not the only one staying at the lodge – she arrives with Marla Hastings (who is pretending to having a fling with Arthur Wainwright), Lloyd Nichols (who is having a fling with Marla Hastings),  Greta Bayer (who used to have a fling with Lloyd Nicholls), and Harley Foote, who hasn’t and isn’t having a fling with anyone but is Arthur Wainwright’s assistant.

You got that love rhombus sorted? OK.

As Jessica settles into her room, Ellen tells her that Howard is planning to run for Senate, but she’s less excited about it as she wanted to go travelling. Downstairs Harley Foote gets a phone call from his doctor telling him he is terminally ill. Greta, fresh from registering her displeasure at the lack of a safe at the hotel, finds him sitting stunned in a chair and suggests they go for a walk.

While Greta solves the lack of safe problem by hiding a big fat diamond in her minibar icecube tray, Marla calls Lloyd and tells him everything is under control. She tells Arthur she’s on the phone to her mother. Meanwhile, the Sheriff comes up to tell Pete that there’s been another complaint made about Soldier the dog, who is so far the only person in this episode I care about. Lloyd arrives and asks Juan the assistant about Howard. It seems he knows who Howard is, but he’s not telling Juan (who served with Howard) anything about it. When Howard arrives home from declaring his Senate candidacy Juan warns him about Lloyd.

Lloyd knocks on Greta’s door and forces himself into her room. A passing JB hears the commotion behind the door and knocks on the door. Greta answers and Jessica reminds her about happy hour. Lloyd informs her Greta’s had a change of plans, and JB tells him if he doesn’t let Greta go that instant he’ll be in more trouble than he knows how to deal with.

Very much current mood.

Down in the bar, Harley celebrates winning ten grand on a college basketball game and celebrates by taking Greta for a walk. Arthur wants to know if Harley called Arthur’s wife like he was supposed to, or skimmed the retirement accounts to bankroll a share trade like he was supposed to? Harley just walks off, because Harley’s getting his groove back.

Howard has only just arrived in time to see Jessica when Lloyd offers a drive-by sneak attack. Instead of explaining what that was about to Ellen, JB and Pete, Howard goes outside to confront Lloyd and get him away from the hotel. It transpires that Lloyd holds Howard responsible for the death of his brother. Juan comes upon them and breaks up the discussion. Howard tries to explain to Juan what happened but Juan doesn’t care, all he knows is that Lloyd is a troublemaker.

The next morning, while Greta goes shopping and JB hangs with Ellen, Lloyd sneaks into Greta’s room for a rummage, presumably for Greta’s big fat diamond. He’s forced into the closet when Juan’s daughter Luisa comes in to do housekeeping. She spots the diamond in the ice tray and quickly leaves the room, which is lucky as Lloyd had his gun out.

JB meets Soldier but is soon joined by Howard who tells Pete that the Sheriff’s called him about Soldier’s roaming ways and that he’ll be put down if he’s not brought under control. Later down in the bar Jess spots Lloyd and Marla having a cosy chat. Lloyd has just worked out where Greta hid the diamond but he can’t get back into her room now, and tells Marla to keep Greta away from her room that night.  They arrange to meet after the theft but Lloyd won’t give Marla her air tickets just yet.

Arthur confronts Harley about his lack of action on his instruction from the previous day. Harley tells him he saved the retirement funds 123 million dollars, but he bought the shares with Arthur’s money as requested. Also he should call his wife. Also Harley quits.

Harley’s going rogue

Jessica heads back to her room and finds Lloyd there looking to apologise for his behaviour but mostly asking Jessica to butt out. Jess wants to know what Lloyd has on Howard and Lloyd gives her just enough information to tell Ellen, who finds a newspaper clipping about the death of Lloyd’s brother. Howard decides to withdraw from the Senate election, much to the sadness of Pete and Ellen.

I’ll be happy if I ever hear the word election or vote again after this weekend if I’m honest.

That night Harley, Marla and Greta make plans to see a movie but Harley withdraws at the last minute after a Mysterious Phonecall. When Greta and Marla return with JB and Juan, they all agree the movie was terrible. Ellen tells JB she’s off to bed but JB decides she’s going to read for a while. Juan finds a drunk Howard and tries to cheer him up.

As the clock strikes one, JB wraps up her reading and hears someone go outside. Soldier goes out on patrol. Lloyd packs his car for his getaway but hears something in the bushes and thinking that it’s Marla he goes to investigate. Cut to JB listening to a dog howling. Cut to Pete standing over Lloyd’s dead body on the ground.

The next morning Sheriff Bullock is on the case, and it is quickly discovered that Greta’s diamond is missing. The sheriff is horrified to learn that Greta was keeping the diamond in an ice tray, and tells her to come down the station to file a report for her insurance. Jessica suddenly realises that she knows what the murder weapon is – an old knife that belonged to Howard, that temporarily went missing from a display.

Harley resurfaces with the news that his terminal diagnosis isn’t so terminal after all – in fact, he’s going to be completely fine. He thinks this will put Greta off, but far from it. Naw. Alas for the happy couple I’m too bitter about how Australia did at Eurovision to summon up anything other than that #spoilsport.

That night Sheriff Bullock arrests Pete for Lloyd’s murder – his prints are on the knife, there was blood on the knife and he refuses to tell them anything. The next morning Jessica checks on Soldier, who delivers her a clue in the form of a broken watchband, and then goes to sort out Pete who she correctly guesses thinks he is covering for his dad. Pete reluctantly tells her the truth – that he went looking for Soldier, found the body, found the knife and then panicked when he heard someone in the bushes.

Jess floats a theory by Sheriff Bullock that someone might have found the body earlier than the people who “discovered it”, and might have stolen the diamond.

THERE I SAID IT DON’T @ ME ALSO WTF WAS MADONNA ON/DOING THERE/ABOUT?

Anyway, Jess knows all the answers because of course she does, and orders Bullock to drive her to the hotel.

This is a late contender for best-timed pause for Uber Eats I’ve ever done.

Back at the hotel, JB makes a pitch to the thief to buy their jacket for two million dollars but she refuses…

A shock to literally no one.

Marla confesses to finding Lloyd’s dead body and stealing the diamond from it, but 100% didn’t kill him.

Oh dear.

GRIM GRIM GRIM.

Juan took matters into his own hands to protect his army buddy.

Eesh. In light of the tyre fire that is 2019, please accept the below image as your own personal liferaft.

Later gang

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S12E16 – Something Foul In Flappieville

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Welcome to Flappieville Fletcherfans, where the newly arrived Inspector Lachère, who I think is a possum is charging a racoon with theft.

If only.

JB is watching the Flappieville puppet show with a keen eye, as Inspector Lachère is her creation, something she came up with for her grand nieces and nephews, and now Flappieville Toys want to take Inspector Lachère on the road. Think Hercule Poirot, with a tail.

Unfortunately, the delivery is a bit more Gerard Depardieu than Poirot, and JB is not here for it.

Someone’s gonna die for this.

JB is not the only person with notes.  Stevie, one of the kids in the audience (being played Angela Lansbury’s grandson), thinks Inspector Lachère sounds like Pound Dog, the main character in the Flappieville TV show. (Spoiler alert, he doesn’t). Robbie Dorrow, the designer of Flappieville toys, agrees with Stevie when his wife Mary brings Stevie over for like three seconds in a completely weird move. Also, Robbie thinks Mary is cheating on him, but you know, whatever.

Head puppeteer David Crossley locks Inspector Lachère up in a filing cabinet and hands the key to security chief Alvin Bucknell for safekeeping. David is delighted to be bringing Inspector Lachère to the world but is offended when Robbie suggests that it’s time to retire Pound Dog. They nearly come to blows before Mary steps in. Mary later explains to JB that she used to date David before she fell in love with Robbie, and it tore the friendship between the two apart. Also, they can’t have children.

Back at Flappieville HQ, puppeteer Kim Swofford is complaining loudly about the costume for her puppet Happy Bunny so that the costume designer can hear her. She also asks puppet designer Jason Cardino to take a look at the puppet controls before cheerfully rejecting his request for a date and walking off.  Costume designer Helena McKenna (aka Veronica Mars’s mother) warns him off her, but Jason would rather listen to his hormones. Another puppeteer, Gus Hayward offers to go over Jason’s contract so that he can sign it, but Jason tells him it’s all good. Later, Jason catches Alvin with Inspector Lachère and loses it.

Meanwhile, David has a meeting with the TV network about the Pound Dog Show.

I’m glad we fit in one last round of Breaking Bad She Wrote.

Parker Foreman has some bad news for David – Pound Dog is not getting renewed, it’s old and tired. David says amazing timing, he’s just come up with a new character, Inspector Lachère – he was going to fold him into the Pound Dog show gradually before spinning him off into his own show. Did he mention it was based on a JB Fletcher character, and JB happens to be in town?

START KNEELING (BITCH)

Parker sees dollar signs and agrees to the idea, but he wants to see samples. He also wants someone different to voice the Inspector and tells David to get Natty Holt. David agrees that someone like Natty would be great but Parker says no, he wants Natty.

Back at Flappieville Jason and Helena show JB the new sketches for Inspector Lachère’s new look and she is delighted. Helena goes to get the material for the costume to show JB and leaves JB flipping through sketches. Meanwhile, Darren is hard at work designing when Kim pops in for a flirt and to complain she’s not having any input into her character’s costume. Gus needs a word so Darren leaves her in his office and goes off with Gus – it turns out Natty Holt is Gus’s ex-wife and Darren needs his help convincing her to come on the show. He also has a separate job for Alvin – he needs him to follow someone.

That night, Jason conducts a secret trial and sentences Darren to one hundred years in the electric chair. Using puppets.

Really though, enough said.

Also, it turns out Darren bought Pound Dog off Gus and presumably for a very low price.

The next morning Jason and Darren unveil the new look Inspector Lachère and JB is delighted. Darren sends Jason off with the sketches to be delivered to Parker Foreman at the network, then makes a last minute change swapping the magnifying glass from his right hand to his left. He also decides to bump Jason’s profit share up to five per cent, and JB’s to thirty per cent.

Kim delivers the sketches over to Parker Foreman.

Not the only one who knocks, it turns out

Later that afternoon, Mary Dorow has lunch with her mystery man while Robbie watches them from behind a tree. Parker appears out of nowhere to congratulate Robbie on the imminent success of Inspector Lachère and laughs at the fact Robbie seems unaware the Inspector will be released in four weeks time.

Gus goes to see Natty and talks her into joining the show. Darren later confirms she’s on board in a walk-and-talk with Parker, who informs him it’s all going ahead – on the condition that he gets 50% of the merch profits wired to his private Cayman account. As he walks off, Darren produces a tape recorder from his pocket. Later, Mary Gus and JB discuss Darren’s latest batch of wheeling and dealing to get the Inspector Lachère show on the air. JB asks Gus for a favour.

Robbie calls Darren and tears him a new one – it turns out Robbie actually owns all the merchandising rights that Darren has been dishing out all over the place. Darren assures Natty that everything is fine, but she has her own demands – 30% merchandising for Jason and Gus, 10% for her and Gus must executive produce the Inspector Lachère show. Darren agrees because he’s not smart.

Robbie tells JB about Mary’s affair. Later, JB meets with Gus who has fetched her the merchandising percentages for Inspector Lachère.

Helpful camera shot is helpful.

Me in work meetings.

That night JB goes to Flappieville and finds Darren over the body of Alvin the security guard. Lieutenant Spevak is summoned to the scene and quickly discovers the filing cabinet has been jimmied open. Jessica suggests it was a rookie move and Spevak identifies her as the Mystery Maven, while he’s just a hick cop.

If the shoe fits sweetheart…

They quickly find the murder weapon (an iron) and also discover that there appears to be nothing missing from the filing cabinet. Darren and JB adjourn to the nearest bar for an emergency meeting, and JB tells him about his merch snafu. Darren didn’t realise how much he’d messed it up, and panics until JB suggests he goes to the other parties and explains what he’s done. JB thinks he should be fine – as long as that’s all he’s done. Darren doesn’t mention his deal with Parker.

Later that day the team meet in Darren’s office for a good luck phone call from Parker, who is too busy working on his putt in his office to attend the new focus group session for Inspector Lachère. But he’s very happy with all the changes, swapping the magnifying glass to the other hand etc etc. Parker hangs up as his assistant comes in with a special delivery – it turns out to be the tape of the conversation Parker had with Darren.

The focus group is a resounding success. Mary reintroduces Stevie to Robbie, and Stevie says Inspector Lachère is much better than that Pound Dog. Lieutenant Spevak arrives to arrest Darren for Alvin’s murder. Later, Kim meets Parker and outs herself as the sender of the tape.

Down at the police station, Darren tries to understand what’s happening to him while Helena and JB offer support. JB is convinced there must have been something else in the filing cabinet that was worth breaking in and killing for. Across town, Robbie confronts the man he’s seen with his wife, and it turns out he’s a social worker – Mary is hatching a plan to adopt Stevie but hadn’t discussed with Robbie yet. And so ends the stupidest plot thread we’ve seen for a while.

Back at Flappieville JB suddenly works out the whole deal, thanks to something she remembers seeing on a clipboard. She sets a trap for later that night and gets Kim to confess that she was the one who broke into the filing cabinet and stole the tape. But she’s not the one who killed Alvin.

He is, was, and will always be The Danger.

Apparently, Kim wasn’t the first person to try and blackmail Parker – Alvin got it into his head first and copped a flatiron to the head for the trouble.

And so it goes.

Later gang!

S12E16 – Murder Among Friends

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Welcome back to sunny Los Angeles Fletcherfans, where JB is working on a documentary series about mysteries. The producer of her show, Leo Vardian, has been dropping the ball a bit thanks to the runaway success of the show he co-produces with his wife Ricki. It’s a show about six friends who sit around all day in a coffee shop, entitled BUDS.

Coincidentally my face when the music faded in at the start of the episode.

Tensions are high on the set of BUDS. Despite the roaring success of the show, there’s a rumour going around that the network wants some people cut. JB’s mate in the above pic is staff writer Gene Gains, who took JB’s writing course and got such bad marks he immediately swapped to comedy instead.

Speaking of comedy…

WHAT EVEN IS THIS EPISODE

Leo (on the left) is being chased for a limo payment for one of the BUDS (Timothy) by his father Roy Flint, who also happens to be a cop. After bickering, Leo agrees to foot half the bill to make the conversation end.

Next on Leo’s agenda is his wife Ricky, who is on the phone to the network about cutting two of the BUDS. Ricky doesn’t want to do it, but the network is under new management and they’re looking to cut costs. Leo wants to know why Ricky is nicer to everyone else, and Ricky tells him what he’s dying to know – she was working late the previous night. Leo says it might not be hard to cut anyone, not all of the BUDS are funny, take Vince for instance. Ricky says Vince gets 27,000 fan letters a week and takes off to the set to explain some of her jokes to the director.

As she leaves, Leo’s associate Alex walks in. Leo tells him Ricky says she was working late the previous night and Alex says that’s a coincidence because so was he – and shows him the photos of Ricky and Vince making out in her office the night before. Meanwhile, Timothy tells Roy to back off, he’ll handle things his own way. Roy smiles and then after his son walks away does a dirt check on Leo.

After roaming the set for days hours minutes, Jess finally bumps into Leo who tells her everything will be taken care of for her show. His next target is BUD cast member Diane Emery, who has been offered a starring role in a Rob Reiner film – the bad news is it’s two months shooting in New Delhi straight away. Leo tells her no, she’s under contract for another four more years. But look on the bright side, the show has made her into a star, girls all over America are copying her hairstyle…

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

BUDS co-stars Carly and Vince have a quiet moment on set, and Carly warns Vince to get out of Ricky’s clutches. Ricky wanders past just as they are about to kiss and declares she has new lines for Vince to go over. She links arms with him and escorts him away.

JB has lunch with Timothy Flint, who of course she taught at Manhattan University. She congratulates him on the show’s success, saying “Who’d have thought a group of twenty-something young people sitting around all day long discussing their sexuality would turn out to be a top TV show?”

Actual line of dialogue.

Timothy says there’s more to the show than that, but can’t think of anything off the top of his head.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Timothy is convinced he’s about to be dumped from the show but Jess reassures him that he’s very talented. Carly wanders past to tell him they have a 6am call time thanks to Ricky deciding to dump the whole script and start from the beginning.

That night Ricky gets off the phone with the network, and has agreed to cut one of the BUDS. Leo wants to know if he gets a vote and she says nope, she decides who lives and dies around here. She will rewrite the script that night, and keep the last scene in her safe for now. She refuses to tell Leo who the bumped character will be, so he flings the photos Alex took of Ricky with Vince on the desk.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Ricky gives precisely no bothers about the whole thing, and Leo storms out in a rage. He runs into his pal Alex outside, and he orders Alex to make it go away.

The next day JB has a breakfast meeting with Ricky, in which Ricky scoffs some toast and demands her minions to deliver her new laptop by 5pm. She also would like to pitch a TV show starring Jess’s TV characters.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Jess tries to say no, but it doesn’t appear to be a word Ricky understands.

Over at the precinct, Leo’s pal Alex pops by to ask Roy Flint if he could pull Vince’s arrest record from when he was a kid, but Roy points out it’s sealed, and also he doesn’t want internal affairs on his case. Alex, it turns out, used to be a vice cop and Roy thinks he kept better company then. Alex leaves and Roy calls Ricky to find out who is being bumped off but Ricky’s not talking to him either.

Back on set, Ricky watches the readthrough of the latest version of the episode and isn’t happy with the performance. The director, Joy, tells Ricky they’re all worried they are about to lose their jobs but all Ricky says is that Joy might join them. Later in the morning, she tells Vince they need to can their extra-curricular activities for now.

Timothy finds JB on her set discussing female mystery writers and wants her advice – Roy is digging for dirt on Leo and Ricky to use in case Tim gets bumped off the show. Jessica thinks Tim knows exactly what to do and he agrees – he’ll go and see Ricky and warn her.

Gene confronts Leo on behalf of Carly about who is leaving the show but Leo tells Gene to get back to work. Diane calls her agent with the good news that someone is about to be bumped off, but is told that there’s a lawsuit pending if she tries to leave. She confronts Ricky with this but Ricky tells her that’s Leo’s department, not hers. Diane goes in search of Leo, who overheard her conversation with Ricky and wants to know what he’s supposed to say to her. Ricky just tells him to take the heat so she hates him instead of her for a change.

Carly confronts Ricky about potentially firing Vince, but Ricky sees her off. Carly thrusts Ricky’s Emmy at her and tells her that it doesn’t give her a license to be mean and storms off, just in time for Tim to wander in. Ricky is having trouble with her new laptop and he offers to assist.

Later that night, Jessica finds Leo slouched on the set mumbling about how much his marriage sucks. Jess suggests he talk to Ricky.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Later that night, once she’s wrapped for the day, Jessica decides to return the treatment Ricky gave her to read for the potential new show. When she gets to Ricky’s office she finds Ricky dead on the floor, and her safe open.

The police arrive to investigate, in the shape of Lieutenant Roy Flint which seems terribly inappropriate. Jess asks if they’re assuming the Emmy was the murder weapon and Roy agrees. Jess then wonders if the murder wasn’t a robbery in the usual sense – if the safe was open, perhaps someone was in there looking for the scene detailing who gets bumped from the show.

One of Roy’s minions surfaces to let him know that they’ve gotten alibis for everyone except Tim, and Roy shouts that he was with Tim at the time of the murder. Jessica suggests it might be inappropriate for him to investigate but he ignores her. Leo arrives and Tim asks him why a copy of their prenup was on the desk at the time Ricky was killed. JB and the lab tech discover the missing script in the safe.

The next day the script is shared with the BUDS – Diane was the unlucky one about to be bumped off the show, but Leo says Gene will rewrite the script, and that no one is getting bumped. Diane is relieved – her part ended up being given to Meg Ryan anyway. Jess finds her later having a coffee outside, and goes to see how she’s doing. Diane is happy the show is continuing but sad about Ricky, who did a lot for her career. It turns out her character on the show is based on Ricky, including the glasses. Diane has perfect vision though, so her prop glasses don’t have a prescription in them.

Something Diane says triggers a memory and JB rushes off to see Gene, busily working on the new script. He admits he came into Ricky’s office the previous night to talk to her but found her dead and the safe open. He saw the real ending to the show and swapped it out to save Carly from being booted, but he swears he didn’t kill Ricky.

Roy Flint is not impressed…

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

…but lets Gene go. He tells JB that Leo and Ricky just got life insurance policies that paid double for death by murder. While he seems fairly convinced Leo is the killer, Roy takes time to go find Tim and get his alibi. Tim tells him he went for a run but Roy says wrong, Tim was at Roy’s place the entire time.  Meanwhile, Alex finds Leo and says a) you’re welcome and b) I want a producing credit on the show.

That night JB is hanging out with Carly and Tim. Carly is freaking out that her prints are on the Emmy but she didn’t kill Ricky but it turns out she didn’t need to worry. Roy arrives with the news that it’s been discovered that one of the cast was being paid less than the others (Tim) and that there were only three sets of prints on the laptop – Ricky’s, the delivery guys and Tims.

With his son the prime suspect in the murder, Roy decides to take himself off the case. JB tells him she doesn’t think Tim did it but Roy says he has to look at the facts. JB asks him what he did when he went back to see Ricky the night of the murder – turns out Roy boy was trying to get an alibi for himself just as much as Tim. He says he tried to talk sense into Ricky but she wasn’t having a bar of it and so he left her office, but she was alive.

Filming the last day of her Mystery show, JB suddenly realises who the actual killer is and rushes off to trap them.

Her mother warned her there’d be days like these

This is what happens when someone tries to stop you from being in a Rob Reiner movie. That’s just science. Clap clap clap clap.

Later gang

S12E15 – The Dark Side of the Door

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Thanks to everyone who tweeted along with me during The Last Free Man, aka the episode Jessica solves the mystery of racism. Not gonna lie, that one was grim. (I did bolt off to watch Avengers Endgame when I realised that school holidays were over and guys, it was good).

And now, to business. After this, there are only nine episodes left. Single digits. It is, in fact, the final countdown.

Down on the docks of New York harbour…

(It isn’t that one, but damn the thought made me happy for a minute)

…a woman named Nora Delano is blackmailing a writer by the name of Dirk Mattheson for a quarter of the advance for his next book. He tells her he’ll think about it and walks off. She goes to walk away but gets shot instead.

Earlier that day, high in the tower of Hartley Publishing, JB receives line edits from her new copyeditor, Erin Garman. The newly promoted and nervous Erin spots a continuity error with the make of gun in the book, and JB is quick to tell her that it’s a leftover from a previous draft, but well done for spotting it.

I love it. She doesn’t just say thanks, she has to explain why the error is in there. SHE’S THE ABSOLUTE BOSS QUEEN

JB tells her that her meteoric rise within the publisher is proof her trust in Erin is well founded, and Erin is just grateful not to be working with the new signing Dirk Mattheson, who is apparently a bit temperamental.

The man himself is having a lunch meeting with his agent Charles NoLastName and Hartley editor Laura Kerwin (previously seen here lord what a long time ago) and only wants to hear when he’s getting his money. Charles sends him on his way so he can have a private word with Laura about signing her to his agency as an agent.

Back at Hartley HQ Laura gives Erin Dirk’s manuscript to read. Erin gets a phone call from her mother wanting to know if she bought the apartment she was looking at but Erin decided it was too expensive. Erin’s mother Terry tells her that’s exactly why her grandfather left her the trust fund, but Erin changes the subject and tells her mother she can’t come to dinner, she has to make notes for a new book. Terry tells her that’s fine, she’ll just whizz on out to the Hamptons with Erin’s stepfather Mike (played by the aforementioned John Oliver, now known as Gerry Bean apparently) to check on the progress of the health club they’re building.

Off the phone, Mike shows Terry the new plans for the club and Terry is horrified. It turns out she’s paying for the new health club with Erin’s trust fund and needs to put the money back before Erin finds out. Terry tells Mike she could be prosecuted, but Mike says there’s no way Erin will send her mother to jail. Club employee Sonny wanders past to see why they were looking for him and Terry excuses herself. Mike tells Sonny he’s noticed some discrepancies with his bookkeeping and Sonny tells him he’s been lax but he’ll get on it. Sonny is angling for the manager job at the new club but Mike tells him they’re interviewing other people.

That night Erin sets to reading Dirk’s manuscript and completely freaks out when she discovers the story is clearly based on her kidnapping as a child. Panicked, she calls the detective who investigated her case originally but Lieutenant Phil Corelli has his hands full right now and isn’t terribly interested – he’s just been called to investigate a murder down by the docks.

The next day JB is summoned to Erin’s office to help calm her down, along with Erin’s boyfriend Drew Finley. Jessica is stunned to hear the news and doesn’t quite know what to make of it but Erin tells her she’s sure, despite all the times in the past she was sure too. Jess believes her and accompanies her down to see Lieutenant Correlli, who tells her that even if Dirk was involved, the statute of limitations has expired on her kidnapping and there’s nothing he could do.

Corelli’s sidekick Detective Rogers drops by to deliver the photos of the Jane Doe they found at the docks. Erin snatches them and tells Correlli that the woman was the one who kidnapped her all those years before. Correlli doesn’t want to believe it but JB points out the photo is a match to the police sketch from the kidnapping.

Cut to Dirk having happy hour with Laura behind Charles’s back.

Cut to the health club, where Erin chats to Sonny since her mother is late back from the Hamptons. Terry turns up at the last minute and is stunned to hear that the kidnapper is dead. She wants to know what Dirk says about it all but Erin doesn’t know if the police have spoken to him yet. Terry suggests Erin and Drew take off to the Bahamas for a week, all expenses paid, but Erin tells her no. She’ll be fine. She has a job to do…and takes a gun out of a filing cabinet on the way out.

That night Detective Rogers bumps into Drew outside Hartley Publishing and wants to confirm Erin’s alibi for the night of the murder. Erin arrives a short time later and Rogers excuses himself. Drew wants to go out for dinner but Erin tells him she’s tired and wants to stay home, which is code for going around to Dirk’s place and pulling a gun on him. Corelli has a suspicion this might have been Erin’s plan and he’s not far behind her. Since the gun is empty there’s not much he can do so he orders Erin escorted from the scene so he can have a quiet chat with Dirk about just how the dead woman had his hotel phone number in her possession. Dirk explains that he met Nora in a bar when they were both drunk and she told him the story of the kidnapping. He ran with it as a work of fiction and then met her at the docks when she wanted a cut of his money. He had no reason to kill her, he tells Corelli, because he’d already decided to pay her. Egos are expensive.

Jess pops around the health club to fill in Terry and Mike on Erin’s shenanigans and to deliver a copy of Dirk’s manuscript for Terry to read. Terry asks JB if there are any other clues as to Nora’s accomplice in the kidnapping but JB says not really – just that it was a man with enough inside knowledge to know how to pull it off. In the book, it says the kidnapper tampered with Terry’s car and that’s why she wasn’t there to pick Erin up but Terry tells JB the police looked into it and couldn’t find any evidence the car had been tampered with. JB thinks it’s possible Dirk was involved with the kidnapping, but that writing a book about it seems like a very odd thing to do.

While Charles and Laura go into damage control about Dirk’s new book (and Laura tells Charles he might need to have a word with his client), Erin returns to work. Drew is waiting for her in her office but Erin’s got more important things to do, like internet search where Dirk has been the last ten years. Laura confronts Dirk about all his shady dealings and he tells her that a) he had nothing to do with the kidnapping, b) yes he was going to screw over his agent but he won’t and c) the reason why he wanted a longterm deal with Hartley was because of her. Laura tells him if they’d had this conversation three days earlier, they’d be speaking in his bed. Lucky for her, they aren’t.

JB has a go at getting access to Dirk’s source material but she gets nowhere, only learning that Dirk made a guess that the kidnapper’s hideout was in the West Village. Over at the health club, Mike tells Sonny they’re going with someone else to manage the club in the Hamptons.

That night Terry confronts Dirk but she gets even more nothing than JB. At the precinct, JB agrees to help Lieutenant Corelli get his five-year-old son into art school, and exchanges theories on what Nora did with the ransom money given that she lived in a trailer park when she died. Corelli gets a hot tip that Dirk making it rain at the time of the kidnapping and decides to go over for another chat – only to find him dead on the floor with Drew hovering over the body. Drew swears he only just arrived but Corelli arrests him anyway. Jess finds a suicide note in the typewriter, in which Dirk confesses to everything.

Corelli thinks this is a clear cut case of either Drew killed Dirk or Dirk killed Dirk, but JB isn’t so sure. All of Dirk’s recorded interviews with Nora have disappeared – Corelli thinks Dirk destroyed them to save his reputation but Jess argues why would he do that if he was killing himself anyway. The whole thing is dodgy.

The next day a gunshot residue test proves Drew is innocent and Dirk killed himself, but Jess still wants to know where the tapes are. Corelli is more interested in knowing if JB’s friend has written a glowing endorsement of his son’s fingerpainting for the art school and JB tells him as soon as she’s heard she’ll let him know. (I like to think she puts these favours off until she can’t put them off any more). Erin is relieved that Drew isn’t a killer, but JB is stuck on those tapes. Where are they? Why did Dirk have them in the first place if he was a kidnapper? Are the tapes nothing more than Dirk taping the top 40 off the radio, rushing to hit pause so he doesn’t record an ad break (and by Dirk I mean me).

Jess tracks down the kidnapper’s lair with the help of Drew, who works for the City of New York. They find Erin’s secret stash of jacks and dried carrots she didn’t want to eat. A cracked painting on the floor gives Jess an idea. Over at the club, Sonny tells Mike he has all the proof that he and Terry have been embezzling out of Erin’s trust fund but is happy to be made a third owner of the Hamptons health club.  Terry and Erin have an argument in Erin’s office that seems to be about whether Erin blames her mother for the kidnapping?

Jess and Lieutenant Corelli go back to Dirk’s hotel room and dig around in the pot plant to discover a second bullet. Corelli gets a phone call and tells Jess they finally found the maid who was working Dirk’s floor when he was killed. She says she saw Erin at the hotel room the day Dirk was killed.

Sidenote, JB has her own sheriff’s badge.

LICENSE TO JUDGE

Erin admits to being at the hotel but swears she didn’t get past the front door. Drew followed her there and talked her into going home. When Drew went into the hotel room and found Dirk dead he assumed Erin did it. Detective Rogers informs them that Dirk had a big win on the horses at the time of the kidnapping, eliminating his involvement. A picture of a rabbit eating a carrot gives JB all the answers she needs.

After Erin leaves the precinct with her mother and Drew (and Terry calls the house to arrange dinner and a white tablecloth), JB sets her trap and waits.

Well, this took a dark turn.

Terry and Mike, dating at the time of the kidnapping, arranged the kidnapping to get the ransom to open the health club and then killed everyone who threatened to expose the plot. Which is all a bit grim, but I must admit this episode was a good one.

Later gang!

 

 

S12E14 – Murder in Tempo

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Welcome back to Cabot Cove Fletcherfans, where Seth is putting on a Benefit Concert Extravaganza to save Maine Woods. Not Cabot Cove woods. He’s going statewide and has enlisted the help of band In Tempo led by Tommy Vaughan – a band so beige Richie Benaud once tried to wear them as a jacket. (You’re welcome, people who are laughing at that).

Of course, there’s trouble in paradise. Seth is struggling to get everything done, Tommy Vaughan is losing his voice, band manager Wylie Trey is creeping and local businessman Jim Maddox is hoping the whole thing will flop so he can build a global hyper mega mart or whatever. Coincidentally his son is in Tommy Vaughan’s band. Life is a circle.

Anyway, Jim rolls in to ask Seth for payment for something.

Seth has no time for anyone.

Seth storms off and Jim tries to defend himself, saying some people prefer jobs to trees. Jess tells him he can build a factory anywhere, these trees have been here since the last ice age and will hopefully be here till the next one.

2019 IN ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION

Seth goes to deliver some paperwork to band manager Wylie Trey by getting his attention via the old jacket tug.

I mean really though, why?

The band gets shut down by an electrical short circuit, that Dan the local electrician apologises for. On top of all of this, some bozo with a shotgun decides to take potshots at Tommy Vaughan but misses. Chaos breaks out and Seth gets knocked off the stage.

Jess escorts Seth to the hospital and then back to her house where she gets a call from Rachel Weldon at Palmer’s Music Store, sponsors of the Extravaganza. JB gets caught in the middle of Seth rumbling about unpaid bills and Rachel fangirling over Tommy Vaughan.

In other news, there is a Bryan Cranston/Cher mutual appreciation thing going on on Twitter that is making me VERY HAPPY.

Jessica suggests Seth postpone the concert until he’s recovered from his injuries but Seth will not surrender. He thinks he should definitely not worry about the rain insurance for the concert though, Mrs Carter’s lumbago hasn’t played up yet and Mrs Carter’s lumbago is as dependable as the Rock of  Gibraltar. Mort pops in to check on Seth before heading out to investigate if the shooting was a hunting accident. Jess suggests he check with Tommy Vaughan, as she seems to remember he had trouble with a stalker the previous year.

Over at Hill House, Tommy and Udella are both threatening to leave In Tempo and Wylie has to do some slick talking to get them both to calm down. It turns out In Tempo have made the transition from being a good heavy rock band to be a great modern pop band (agree to disagree there sunshine) but their label is sick of the fighting and if they don’t get assurances that In Tempo is a band about a married couple being in love then they will revoke the contract. Tommy tells Wylie to leave the music to him and gazes at a bottle of gin. Wylie warns him not to or he’ll end up in rehab again.

I choose to believe this is an alternate ending to A Star is Born.

Tommy is summoned to the Sheriff’s office to spill the beans on his stalker in Denver but Tommy just says it was some weirdo with a badge of his guitar. Mort thinks differently, and Tommy cracks it. Mort tells him that his number one job is to keep him alive until after the concert.

After skulking out of the Sheriff’s office Tommy wanders down to Palmer’s music store to see his local fling Rachel. Jim Maddox’s son (and fellow In Tempo member) Blue Maddox is there too. Blue Maddox sounds like the name of a celebrity child. Maybe one of Brangelina’s army or a Gwenyth/Chris Martin production.  In any case, Blue went to school with Rachel and is clearly still in love with her and wants Tommy to stay away from her but she’s mad because he nicked off after school finished because old mate Jim wanted Blue to study engineering and not be in a band. You know. The classic tale.

Downstairs, Wylie runs into Jim Maddox who offers a thought – what if Tommy got an offer that would send the band out of town before the concert. Meanwhile, Seth wanders out of the bank after taking out a mortgage on his house to pay for the concert bless him.

That night, JB kicks off the festivities with a little speechifying as Cabot Coves Celebrity Resident who only lives there like ten per cent of the time, while Seth takes his medicine.

Seth’s self-care is amazing and I’m here for it. (But seriously, probably don’t do this. I am a cautionary tale you guys. Take tequila responsibly).

And because I can…

I mean…

While the crowd rise to their feet and the revolution begins, the shooter from the woods sets up outside but can’t get a clear shot and is forced to run when Deputy Andy does a security check. Jean the librarian (and possibly genuinely my favourite resident of Cabot Cove just because of the backstory) invites Tommy to come to check out her exhibition about the woods at the library.

Later, Tommy and Rachel go for a romantic stroll around the carpark, and Wylie and Jim Maddox go for a romantic sit in the car to talk business. Wylie tells Jim Tommy could be persuaded to go and have the surgery he needs on his vocal cords – all for the low low price of a million bucks for Tommy and a hundred grand for Wylie. In cash. That would leave Seth unable to pay, and Jim free to take the woods for himself.

Back at House Fletcher Seth is flabberghasted when he learns JB is staying until after the concert, and JB tells him she’s flabberghasted he remortgaged his house. Seth says he’s got a plan, and Jess says that’s fine, she’s here to help him get it done.

The next day, while I rejoice

Everything about this makes me so happy.

…In Tempo get back to rehearsing.

Told you.

Also side note, the drummer is my favourite person in this episode.

THIS GUY MAKES ME VERY HAPPY FOR REASONS I CANNOT EXPLAIN.

Over at the House of Fletcher, Hal Palmer has fixed JB’s stereo for her and orders Seth not to experiment with it which of course he promptly does as soon as Hal leaves, and a blast of metal crashes out of the stereo.

“Sounds like Ted Nugent.” Says Mort.

“Nah, more Metallica,” Says JB.

“Whatever happened to Guy Lombardo?” Asks Seth.

JB loves Metallica, this is canon.

That night, Wylie lays out the offer for Tommy – six hundred grand from Jim Maddox will pay for his surgery and get him back on his feet with his creditors. Tommy calls Palmer’s – Hal answers, but puts Rachel on. Tommy wants to talk, and they agree to meet at the concert site. As a tasty storm moves in to provide an appropriate atmosphere, Tommy explains to Rachel why he needs to pull out, and she’s devastated. JB and Seth work the books – Jess asks after Mrs Carter’s lumbago and Seth says she felt not a twinge…and he might get that rain insurance for Saturday. Tommy goes back to Hill House and tells Wylie he’s not quitting.

A new day dawns and the rain passes. Deputy Andy tells Mort they found a badge in the shape of Tommy’s guitar up in the woods. They rush down to the concert site to tell Tommy…but get there just as he is electrocuted and drops dead. Grim.

While Mort assists Jessica with her investigation and gets Dan the Electrician to open up the back of the amp Tommy was connected to, one of the band members tells Tommy’s wife Udella that she’ll be better off without him.

That is cold dude.

Dan the Electrical guy confirms that the amp was tampered with and Mort orders it off for testing. Seth bemoans the murder and violence – he never thought anything like this would happen when he started arranging the concert. Nothing like this ever happens in Cabot Cove except for the fifty other times its happened. Meanwhile Dan the Electrical Guy goes off for a quiet word at Hill House with Jim Maddox – he wants his payment now that the concert isn’t going ahead.

Jess goes looking for Rachel at Palmer’s. Hal tells her he hasn’t seen Rachel but he’s worried about her and has been since she met with Tommy at the square the previous night. JB ends up finding Rachel at the Sheriff’s office, where she tells them about her meeting with Tommy the night before, and how Tommy had been going to take Wylie’s offer but changed his mind. Jess tells Rachel they’re going ahead with the concert, but Mort says this is going to be difficult now the band are packing up and leaving.

While Jim confronts Wylie and demands his money for bribing Tommy out of the show back, JB goes to see the rest of In Tempo to talk them out of leaving. She manages to do so just as Mort arrives to arrest Blue, after finding solder in his room that looks like the solder that was used to tamper with the amp. Fortunately, Udella cutting the thread on a friendship bracelet she was making has given JB an idea and she takes off.

While Mort has Blue and Wylie in the cells for safe keeping, JB pops around Palmer’s music store and has a quiet word to Hal Palmer.

Because –

This is a depressing development. (Also, Ern Lively!)

Hal fell in love with Rachel after his wife died (which is SUPREMELY AWKWARD because I thought they were father and daughter for most of the episode) and killed Tommy because he was going to take Rachel away from him.

Grim.

Speaking of which, I have one last Murder She Wrote movie to live-tweet. So I’m going to do that, this Friday at 10am. Follow the hashtag #thelastfreeman on Twitter for that – so far all I know about the movie is that it’s heavily to do with slavery and the guy who plays one of the main characters is now in jail for life for murdering his wife.

I promise if it all gets a bit grim I’ll start some Game of Thrones theories. Like imagine if Angela Lansbury had played Lady Olenna.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

(And on Friday!)

 

S12E13 – Death Goes Double Platinum

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Back in the Big Apple Fletcherfans, where JB is branching out her entrepreneurial skills to include music producing and can we all just take a moment to celebrate the fact that I know how to spell entrepreneurial first crack?

Jess wanders into the rehearsals of Ortega, the band led by blind pianist Desi Ortega who knows Jessica’s arrived by the smell of her exotic perfume.

You know how she rolls

Ortega is a band on the rise – their first single Philomena just cracked the top 100 of something, and JB has managed to get them access to the school’s sound lab to mix their album, which engineer Sam Desoto is very excited about.

Desi’s hugely pregnant wife Amy drops by to pick him up and take him home, but they are stopped by a Hired Goon by the name of Culligan who informs Desi that Max Daniels would like a word. Amy tries to usher them away but Desi says it’s alright and goes with Culligan.

It would seem Max Daniels has gone from whatever shady shenanigans he got up to back in the day to owning carparks and now he wants to get back into the music business by signing Desi Ortega. Desi tells him nope, he’s signed with Alex Lebron, who is launching his own label Moontide. Record stores are begging for copies of his single and Max says that can change. Max hands him a contract, Desi scrunches it up and hurls it with incredible accuracy into the face of Max’s minion Tomas Aguilar. Desi demands to be taken home and Culligan complies after a nod from Max. As they depart, Max asks Tomas if he’s still friends with Ortega’s bass player (and current student of JB) Luiz Decalde but apparently, that ship has sailed – as has the relationship Tomas had with Luiz’s sister Patricia.

The next time Luiz sees JB he tells her that record stores have backed right off their single, and they’re going to have to pay to have it placed in the store. Jess thinks she knows someone who can help because of course she does, and says she’ll be in touch. Meanwhile, Tomas confronts Patricia on her way to work and tells her he can help Alex’s career all she has to do is leave him, and so on and so forth.

Later Jess invites her friend Wilson Sloane to come to listen to the band rehearse at the bar of Luiz and Patricia’s mother Iza and convinces him that Ortega is the hot new sound he’s been looking for. He signed Luiz’s father back in the day, so he knows what he’s talking about. Wilson wanders off just as Max and Tomas arrive to see if Desi’s changed his mind about his offer (or if Patricia has changed hers). Amy arrives to take Desi home and they’re nearly flattened by a car speeding out of the car park. DO YOU KNOW WHO IT COULD BE I CERTAINLY DON’T.

The next day Amy begs JB to talk sense into Desi but he’s not giving in to Max now that people have finally started listening to his music. Meanwhile, Max thinks the only way to get Desi onside is to whack Alex, which wouldn’t hurt Tomas’s chances with Patricia either. Did I mention Patricia and Alex are together? I’ve taken about a kilogram of cold and flu tablets, so anything’s possible today.

Over at Manhattan University Jessica has asked her old pal Lieutenant Abbe Esposito to come present to her crime writing class about how you shouldn’t get bogged down in forensics when writing your novel, but also to give JB the good word about Max Daniels and Tomas Aguilar. What makes her the authority about what makes a good detective novel we’ll never know, but she does know that Max Daniels is under investigation for racketeering and so on. While the good news is Tomas Aguilar has no criminal record, the bad news is that word on the street suggests Daniels is bringing in a hitman for a special job.

Alex finds Desi at Izas’ bar playing darts (this episode is very strong on the LOOK AT WHAT THIS PERSON WITH NO SIGHT CAN ACCOMPLISH except it is kind of making me feel like Desi has mystical powers and it’s a bit weird) and offers to withdraw to keep Max happy but Desi wants nothing to do with Max. Amy and Alex were the two people who stood with him through his years of lounge bar gigs, and he’s not about to give up on that.

Alex gets a phone call from a mystery man wanting to talk business – it turns out to be Max’s hitman setting up the hit. After he gets off the phone he tells Max if he calls it off it will still cost him but Max says there’s no way it’s being called off.  Alex explains he has a meeting to Desi but he’ll be back for the show.

This episode is 50% Time to Die and 50% Sound of Murder which equals 100% I’ve seen this before.

Three hours til showtime Patricia gets a call at the bar from Tomas – it’s clearly a warning about the hit and she takes off to meet him. Wilson Sloane drops in early to have a chat to Iza about how deeply Max has his claws into Ortega, but she tells him there’s no way, Luiz is his father’s son.

Patricia arrives at Tomas’s house and begs him to call it off, which he does – slowly and poutingly.

He’s so broody he might lay an egg. Wait, is that what I mean? Do I know what I mean? Of course not.

As Tomas and Patricia start making out, cut to a woman stabbing a block of ice with an icepick which is absolutely not foreshadowing at all.

Back at the bar, Max and Culligan roll in and despite Yza trying to block their entrance they take their seat in the front to watch Ortega. Patricia arrives a short time after and tells Alex she had to do something, that was why she was late. Tomas arrives just after her and joins Max at the table, but not before squaring off with Alex.

(Jessica apologises to Wilson for all the drama. “Don’t worry,” says Wilson. “You should have seen the party for the last Aerosmith album”)

Do I wish I’d thought of this while JB was actually holding a gun? Yes.  Am I still amused? Yes.

Tomas sits down with Max and Culligan but Max is pissed that he called off the hit on Alex and tells Tomas he’s a dead man. The lights go out for some kick ass quality smoke machine work and by the time Sam Desoto brings the lights back up Tomas is dead on a table with an icepick sticking out of his back.

Lieutenant Esposito is on the case and is flabbergasted to learn that the killer managed to find his way to Tomas in the dark, stabbed him, and then bolted all within ten seconds. Jess tells her there’s an icepick missing that she should be on the lookout for and bids her good luck.

After everyone leaves Ysa confronts Luiz and Patricia to find out what was going on between Alex and Tomas but they don’t know anything and to be honest neither do I because now I’ve got Janie’s Got A Gun stuck in my head. Whatever happens, Patricia confesses to Tomas’s Indent Proposalling and tells her brother that she was in his apartment that night. He goes over to hide the evidence but is busted by Lieutenant Esposito and arrested for conspiracy.

Sidebar – David Fincher directed the video clip for Janie’s Got A Gun. And Miss Scarlet from Clue played Janie’s mother. And Stephen Tyler opened a shelter for abused women called Janie’s House after meeting so many victims of abuse while he was in rehab.

Never underestimate my ability to get distracted.

Alex meets with Max and rejects his overtures of a job. but not before learning of how there was a hit on him and how Patricia called it off. Lieutenant Esposito drops JB’s statement around for her to sign, where she conveniently finds Patricia and arrests her since Luiz has been released.  Patricia asks JB to go console her mother, and she of course does. Patricia hits the roof but there’s nothing can be done right now. Desi is insulted that no one thinks he killed Tomas Aguilar, so JB asks him if he heard/smelled/touched/tasted anything suspicious that night. He takes himself back and remembers a noise like velcro being pulled apart. Amy bobs up to announce that JB’s doorman is on the phone, Alex is at JB’s apartment looking for her.

Jess returns to her apartment, tells Alex to go see Patricia, and calls Lieutenant Esposito to arrange it. In the middle of all that, she rips a post-it note off her wall and has an epiphany.

With Esposito’s help, JB wanders down to Yza’s bar and confronts the killer.

Because duh

Velcro ripping = phosphorescent tape being ripped. Sam Desoto was in love with Patricia and hated what he said about Patricia so he killed him. You know. The usual.

But the show must go on. And so Amy goes into labour, and JB pulls the below face, and Briony starts falling down a rock and roll hall of fame rabbit hole on youtube.

Later gang!

S12E12 – Kendo Killing

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It’s halfway through the final season and welcome to Japan Fletcherfans, a place that I will, in fact, be visiting next March. This episode has provided exactly zero help with planning for that, but never mind.

In unrelated news, I was today years old when I found out that Donny Osmond was the singing voice of Shang in Mulan. None of this is entirely relevant, but daylight savings ended last night and I’m confused and hungry.

Anyway.

In Osaka, motorbike racing team director Koji Hitaki watches highlights of the most recent race with his star driver Rick Walsh and his girlfriend Miko Ishida. Koji gets a phone call with the news that the engineering team have scheduled testing of the new fuel injection system for the day after tomorrow, which doesn’t work for Rick because he’s working on something else for the bike which is still glitchy but apparently, there’s a cutoff date or something.

Motorbikes. I have even less interest in them than cars. Make a motorbike version of Fast and the Furious and then maybe we’ll talk.

Miko has to go meet her friend (and ours) Jessica so Rick walks her to her car. She takes off, and Rick is about to head off too when a gang of thugs try to jump him for his motorbike (later JB refers to them as bōsōzoku) He fights them off long enough for Koji to come downstairs and scare them away.

I seriously thought BD Wong was the singing voice as well all this time. I mean…huh.

Anyway, cut to Our Heroine in her hotel room, a victim of a burglary and devastated over the loss of a necklace that was an anniversary present from Frank. Miko arrives just as Inspector Ota departs, and Jessica explains that her plane was late and she didn’t want to keep her students at the university waiting so she just dumped her bags and headed on out. Jessica is pleased to report that the thieves weren’t interested in the advanced copy of Miko’s new book of dirty limericks haiku poetry.

I myself am trying to compose a haiku devoted to the ‘It’s gonna be May” Justin Timberlake meme, but it’s hard because It’s Gonna Be May doesn’t have five syllables. This is what happens when you take a social media holiday, it gives you time to devote to the important things.

Over at Hitaki HQ, Koji’s sister Nobu meets with bike engineer Bill Dawson who she is helping with a proposal that he will be putting to her father the next day. Cue talk of family tradition, shoguns etc.

Back at Jessica’s hotel, Miko tells JB about her brother’s political campaign and how it’s struggling, though she thinks he still could win. Even if it came out that his sister was dating a foreigner, or gaijin as apparently it is known.  Meanwhile, Miko’s brother meets with his henchman Tommy Crane who reports back on Miko’s movements.

Back at Rick Walsh’s apartment, JB delivers a floppy disk that Rick’s mother found while cleaning out his late father’s clothes. It contains designs for some sort of motorbike thingamajig and he’s very excited about it. Miko is annoyed he won’t go to the police about his attack by the bōsōzoku but he’s not worried, they didn’t get his bike. JB thinks if they wanted his bike they could have just taken it, they were clearly after him. Something is definitely going on – they were followed on the way over to Rick’s apartment.

People really need to do this more often.

Sidebar.

I spent a lot of this episode going “Oh come on that’s not a thing” to a lot of the cultural stuff that happens in this show. There’s a scene that happens now with Miko and her brother and how Miko is to be married to Koji as arranged by their parents way back when, and I called shenanigans on this but you guys arranged marriage (miai) is still a thing in Japan even now…according to a Google rabbit hole I just fell down.

You know what, I get it. If your choices are miai or go another tinder date, miai might appeal tbh.

Geez,  I’m getting distracted a lot in this episode. I blame daylight saving ending.

ANYWAY. Long story short Miko loves Rick but her brother is ordering her to marry Koji but Miko says over her dead body which is a risky move on this show.

Down at the track Rick tries out the motorbike and it seems to work in a motobikish way. Rick wants to bail on the rest of practice and get back to work on his father’s design but the Team Hitaki…coach? Ikuma Nakata wants him on the bike for another three hours and suspends Rick for his defiance. Koji won’t stand for that and orders them to work it out, which apparently leads to Nakata’s resignation.

Koji’s father, Akira Hitaki, is furious.

If you read this in the voice of Terrence Stamp in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, you aren’t alone.

He insists that Koji assume his rightful position as the heir to the Hitaki empire, news that doesn’t thrill Koji or Nobu. Bill Dawson arrives to diffuse the tension and present his proposal for an American headquarters for Hitaki in Dallas, along with ideas for an engine modification. Akira asks for time to consider these proposals, then after Bill and Nobu depart, resumes harassing Koji. He orders Koji to put together a thorough assessment of Dallas’s tax laws, collective bargaining agreements etc etc…and now he wants to talk about his marriage to Miko.

Meanwhile, JB has tea with Miko’s brother Yosuke who asks for JB’s help in convincing Miko to chuck Rick Walsh and seal the deal with Koji. Yosuke’s chauffeur arrives to take her back to her hotel and gives Yosuke a look. Yosuke nods, and the chauffeur nods in return.

In other news, I just woke up from a nap and have suddenly remembered last week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race where Ru and Nina West were geeking out over Murder She Wrote and you guys if Nina West/someone FINALLY does Jessica Fletcher in the Snatch Game it will be the end of me.

Over at the Kendo club, Rick and Koji are beating each other with sticks, kendo style. Rick wants to know what’s bugging Koji and he tells him to forget it. Later Koji goes to visit Miko and it’s pretty clear he’s in love with her but doesn’t want to admit it.

Later that night at Hitaki HQ Rick runs into Bill and they reminisce about Rick’s father. Rick excuses himself when Nobu appears, and Nobu tells Bill that Rick is designing a fuel injector that might be better than Bills. Bill doubts it.

The next day at the track the testing goes well until it doesn’t and the bike explodes. Noone is seriously hurt, however.

You better believe it.

The incident at the racetrack is enough for Akira to force an ultimatum on Koji – either step up and assume the CEO duties or he’s out of the family. Koji accepts this, and to marrying Miko. Nobu tells him not to ruin Miko’s life too but Koji tells her to get used to it – he’s in, she’s out.

Jess has done a bit of sleuthing and discovered the identity of the man who followed her and Miko – Tommy Crane, Yosuke’s henchman. Rick thinks he might have seen Tommy around at the Waterfall Cafe maybe, but he can’t have tampered with the bike – there’s no evidence of that.

Over at the racetrack, Nobu and Bill find Koji filling his bike up. Nobu apologises for walking out, and to also tell him that Rick called to reconfirm their Kendo appointment and Koji says thanks. He’s off to clear out his locker. Bill tells him to cheer up, business is just as exciting as motorbike racing.

I mean he’s not wrong. They’re both equally exciting to me.

Yasuke tells Miko that the wedding is happening, Koji has made it official. Koji, meanwhile, has just run out of gas and gets a lift to the kendo hall with Nobu. Miko calls Rick to tell him the news and he offers to back off but she won’t let him and says she’d even flee the country to be with him. He says he’ll call her later, and heads off to the kendo hall, leaving his computer on. Meanwhile, Jess follows Tommy Crane to the Waterfall Cafe where she eavesdrops on his conversation with the chauffeur while entertainingly eating some fermented soybeans.

The two men leave the cafe, with the chauffeur telling Tommy that “it doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure the American doesn’t bother Miko again.” Jess rushes to warn Rick, and leaves a message on his answering machine before remembering his kendo appointment and rushes over to the kendo club…

…where a dead body lies on the ground. Inspector Ota is already on the scene but hasn’t removed the helmet on the body yet. When he does, it’s not Rick, it’s Koji. Jess explains why she’s there but Inspector thinks this is a clearcut case – they were both in love with the same woman, so Rick killed Koji.

Rick arrives just to cop a barrage of questions from Ota. Ota orders him down to the police station and requests his passport. Jess offers to collect it from his apartment and heads over – interrupting an intruder hard at work on Rick’s computer.

And to cut a long story short, because today has been quite a day and I need to lie quietly in the dark for a while…

Look it wasn’t a shock let’s be honest.

This wasn’t a great episode. It was all about Bill stealing Rick’s dad’s designs.

Let’s just leave it there. Tomorrow is another day. And if you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you, just remember to keep breathing.

Onwards, Fletcherfans. Onwards.

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