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S06E02 – The Seal of the Confessional

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Not for nothing, but this actor’s name is Hunt Block.

I bring you facts!

I bring you facts!

Today he is Donald Barnes, and he has just made friends with JB after helping local boy Eddie Frayne audition for Leo DiCaprio’s role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape crash a kite into JB’s head. Delighted to meet a fellow English teacher, especially one as awesome as Jessica Fletcher, he invites her to breakfast the morning.

Later that same evening, a time travelling extra from the set of Eyes Wide Shut rushes into the church to ask the priest to hear her confession. Luckily, the priest is in da house, but it’s not Father Malloy – he’s off visiting his family for a few weeks.

A mild mannered English teacher by day, a mild mannered priest fighting crime by night

A mild mannered English teacher by day, a mild mannered priest fighting crime by night. Side note, and this is not strictly relevant, but I’ve watched the Batman vs Superman trailer a lot this week and can someone please explain to me why Batman has suddenly become Iron Bat? WHY ARE HIS EYES GLOWING I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

 

Noticing the blood on her hands (literally), Father Barnes goes into the confessional to hear her story – it’s been 4 weeks since her last confession and she’s just killed a man.

Somewhere Amos Tupper is laughing for no reason.

Somewhere Amos Tupper is laughing for no reason.

Father Barnes tries to reassure her and urges her to go to the police, but she says that while she didn’t mean to kill him, she’s not sorry she did and runs off again into the night.

The next morning Mort is in buying himself some breakfast when he runs into JB reading a book in the corner. She tells him she’s rereading Walter Scott and asks him if he’s read The Lady of the Lake. He tells her no, but he saw the movie.

I don't know why this face is happening but it's hilarious

I don’t know why this face is happening but it’s hilarious

Jessica is saved by the arrival of Donald Barnes, although she is surprised to hear Mort call him Father Barnes. She asks him why the secrecy and he tells her that people act weirdly when they find out when they’re talking to a priest, and half the time he thinks they want to kiss his ring.

I’m letting that one go.

Father Barnes asks JB if she is familiar with the seal of the confessional and tells her the vague story of a parishioner coming to him the previous evening with a troubling tale. Jessica manages to deduce that a murder has been committed but gets no further. Father Barnes tells her she has a reputation for being an amateur detective…

No Emmys? THE SYSTEM STINKS

No Emmys? THE SYSTEM STINKS

…but Jessica says without clues, or a body, there’s nothing to go on. Possibly it’s just a case of an overactive imagination.

Some imagination though.

Cut to two teenagers finding a dead body on the beach and Seth Hazlitt doing his thing. The body turns out to belong to local businessman Evan West. Jess asks Seth how he died, and Seth says he thinks it has something to do with the massive stab wound in his chest. UNDER STATEMENT. They’re joined by Mort who has a bee in his bonnet.

“I don’t know how you do it ma’am…I get a call on my radio and within five minutes I’m down here. Doc gets a call and ten minutes later he’s here checking out the corpse. What I don’t get Mrs F, is who calls you?”

 

This might be the factiest fact I'v ever facted.

This might be the factiest fact I’v ever facted.

Mort thinks it’s an open and shut case – the dead man was clearly cheating on his wife, confined to a wheelchair, and so dead happened.

Plot twist: Father Barnes’s buddy Eddie Trayne has just been found with Evan’s knife. Mort gets a phone call at the home of Evan’s newly widowed wife Doris to inform him and he takes off – but not before telling Doris and her daughter Kelly that they have someone in custody. This is astounding news for Kelly – since she’s the one who went to Father Barnes to confess in the first place.

ERMAHGHERD PLOT TWISTS.

While Kelly consoles her mother about the death of her stepfather, and Mort goes about his Mort business, Jessica rushes to the church to inform Father Barnes of Eddie’s arrest. Father Barnes is stunned, so Jess asks him if Eddie had been in for confession recently. Father Barnes says no, so Jess goes to see Eddie in the cells to see what he has to say. Eddie tells her he found the knife, it was yucky so he cleaned it off, and that it was Evan’s fault that Kelly went away and that he was a bad man, and he’s glad he’s dead and can he go home now. Jess goes to find Mort and tell him what a mistake he’s making, but Mort is having none of it. He asks what proof JB has of Eddie’s innocence but she tells him she can’t say.

Jess’s next stop is to Doris West’s house to pay her respects. She’s greeted by her carer, Marilyn North, who is cleaning off a wheelchair. She tells JB Doris has been doing well but took the death hard. Doris’s daughter Kelly appears, and while she’s surprised Marilyn is cleaning a chair not often used by her mother, she understands when Marilyn says it helps to keep busy. Jess asks Kelly if Doris is up for more visitors – having seen the car of former colleague Jack Hutchings take off from the house just as she arrived – but Kelly says its find and takes JB in to see Doris, who is heartbroken by the death of her husband. Marilyn reappears a short time later to announce the arrival of Father Barnes. Kelly tries to avoid meeting him, but is thwarted by some stuck doors. Father Barnes and Kelly try to hide the fact that they know each other, and unsurprisingly do a terrible job of it.

Ninja skills are not a requirement of the priesthood, it turns out.

Ninja skills are not a requirement of the priesthood, it turns out.

Jessica excuses herself and goes after Kelly to see if she’s okay/wants to confess. Jess tells her that Eddie has been arrested and unless the real killer comes forward will likely be institutionalized if not worse.  Leaving Kelly to dwell on that little snippet of info, Jess goes to see Jack, the long-time friend of Doris and former English teacher at the high school to reminisce about old times. Jess remembers teaching Kelly freshman English but Jack says he never taught Kelly – she went off to boarding school in Vermont before senior year. Jess says she was always puzzled by that, since Doris and Kelly were so close, but Jack tells her he knows nothing about it. Back at the house Father Barnes asks Kelly if she’d like to talk more at the church but she shuts him down. What was said will remain secret. The night is dark and full of terrors.

At JB’s the next morning Seth is desperately trying to eat his breakfast while Jess drills him about the autopsy report. Evan West, it turns out, died from drowning after being stabbed and whacked on the head. It would seem like Kelly really wanted her stepfather dead. Seth tells Jess to spit out what’s bothering her and she tells him about Father Barnes and the murderer who won’t come forward. He tells her not to worry about Eddie, he’s got ace attorney George Woodward on the case.

Down at the Sheriff’s station George and Mort are discussing the case when JB drops by with some comic books for Eddie. While Mort delivers them, Jess tells George it’s generous that he’s donating his time to help Eddie’s defence, but George tells her that he’s been retained by Doris West to represent Eddie. Mort returns and delivers some bad news – an eyewitness has come forward saying she saw Evan in an argument and Eddie prowling around the docks – Doris’s nurse, Marilyn.

Jess asks George what he knew of his former client’s relationship with his step-daughter and he says not much – but remembers a trip to Boston where Evan got drunk and declared he’d married the wrong Barrett. At the time, Kelly was 16.

EW. EW EW.

Jess asks if  Evan left anything for Kelly in his will but George tells her Evan had been living off Doris for the last 8 years, and there was nothing else. Jess goes back to House West to see Marilyn and sees Jack saying goodbye to Kelly. Jess tells them she’s there to see Marilyn to ask about what she saw the night of the murder. Kelly can’t believe it, but when pressed says she can’t confirm anything since the night of the murder she was at Jack’s looking at old yearbook photos.

Jess spots Marilyn’s telescope trained on Evan’s boat and takes a look. Marilyn emerges from the house to ask her what she’s doing and Jess asks her if there was any chance Evan could have had another visitor to the boat – say for instance Kelly. Marilyn tells her she doubts it, and returns to her packing – she’s leaving town now that Kelly has taken over her mother’s care.

Unsatisfied, JB goes to search the boat and finds some dried blood before she’s busted by Jack and Kelly. She makes one last appeal to Kelly to come clean, and Kelly finally relents and tells Jess about how she’d come down to the boat to think about her father, when Evan came down and tried to force himself on her. She stabbed him and he went into the water.

JB has a thought. Kelly says she scratched Evan in the struggle on his arms, but when his body was found later he was wearing a windbreaker. Down at the sheriff’s office, after telling Mort the story, Jessica tells him her theory – Evan was only injured, went back onto the boat to fix himself up, and was killed by someone else.

Someone, it turns out, who is about to make a getaway.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

Nurse Marilyn, it turns out, was having a thing with Evan and was so horrified when he told her about how he was after Kelly again that she bumped him off.

Good riddance.

Until next time.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans! I gotta go eat!

 

 

 

 

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S03E18 – No Laughing Murder

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Make yourself comfortable, Fletcherfans. I have a story to tell.

Once upon a time there was a comedy duo by the name of Mack Howard and Murray Gruen. It’s the same old story, they took the world by storm, parted in anger and have hated each other ever since.

Fast forward 30 years and Mack Howard is a late night talk show host while Murray Gruen is struggling after buying an old lodge in the mountains. Someone is making boatloads of money from videos of their old routines, though each swears it isn’t him. Worse than that, their children Kip and Corrie have fallen in love, gotten engaged, and are throwing a party at Murray’s lodge to celebrate. Father of the groom Mack Howard doesn’t want a bar of it, but his wife Edie tells him that if he doesn’t go to the party he shouldn’t bother going back to the apartment either.

Fun fact: Steve Lawrence was in other things besides Blues Brothers.

Fun fact: Steve Lawrence was in other things besides Blues Brothers.

Meanwhile, father of the bride Murray Gruen is already at the lodge, self- diagnosing his medical issues with the 1980s version of WebMD, while his friend Norma wonders exactly why she’s there since he doesn’t seem to understand she’s in love with him.

Fun fact: 30 seconds after I realised Buddy Hackett voiced Scuttle in The Little Mermaid I was in the kitchen singing Part of Your World while the kettle boiled.

Buddy Hackett voiced Scuttle in The Little Mermaid. Commence loud rendition of Part Of Your World in 3-2-1…

Fortunately, JB drives up at that moment with the bride and groom to be. And honestly, I don’t know why Murray is relying on books to self- diagnose. His daughter is marrying a doctor.

DAT HAIR

DAT HAIR

OH MY.

Murray is delighted to see his late wife’s dear friend Jess.

Nawwwww

Nawwwww

Clooney is unmoved.

Nice sideeye from Corrie there. Top marks.

Nice side-eye from Corrie there. Top marks.

Dinner that night is a raging success, everyone forgives everyone for everything.

Though to be fair, who can concentrate when George Clooney's hair is RIGHT THERE.

Though to be fair, who can concentrate when George Clooney’s hair is RIGHT THERE.

As the insults between Mack and Murry escalate, Jess has a quiet word in the ear of Phil Rinker, former manager to both Mack and Murray, now manager to Mack, and he interrupts the bickering to give a toast. Mack is touched, and gives his own toast. In response, Murray stands up and smashes a glass in the fireplace.

Gotta admit, the guy has style.

The bickering starts again, with Mack and Murray accusing each other of cutting the other one out of the video sales, while their former business manager Farley Pressman tries to tell them that there is no money in the video sales, which sets Phil Rinker off as he’s convinced there is.  Buddy storms out, Mack storms out, and Farley offers JB a brandy.

The brandy break is cut short when they hear Murray screaming in his room. Everyone comes running to find Murray slumped over in the hall, howling in pain. Someone has stabbed him in the back.

YO, CLOONEY, PREP THE O.R OR WHATEVER.

In the bathroom retrieving medical supplies, JB notices the knife on the floor. Farley goes to pick it up but she tells him it’s best not to. Clooney returns to tell them that all the doors and windows are locked from the inside. While they wait for the doctor to arrive (since Clooney isn’t stepping up), JB asks Murray if he saw his attacker. He tells her not really, he just saw a shadow and then a flash of colour. JB asks him what colour the flash was, and after careful deliberation he says a deep red.

I'm not entirely sure what that means, but damn straight.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but damn straight.

Mack is unhappy with being called a backstabber and flounces off to pack. JB talks him down, pointing out that Murray didn’t actually accuse him of stabbing him, and Mack relents. He tells JB that if Murray so much as hints that Mack shived him, he’ s outta there.

Corrie and Kip go for a walk to calm down, but Kip has other things on his mind.

Did I mention, Batman?

Did I mention, Batman?

Meanwhile, JB is inside dealing with the local constabulary in the form of Acting Chief Wylie B Ledbetter. Well, trying to.

o2n2

She gently explains to him that it seems very unlikely that a stranger would break into a house full of people to kill one of them, so the only conclusion to be made is that the culprit was someone on the inside. She also suggests he take statements to establish where everyone was at the time of the stabbing. He eventually gets there and establishes that Farley was in the den with JB, Edie was in the kitchen while Norma, Corie Kip and Mack were all in their rooms when Murray was stabbed.

p2

They realise that Phil is missing, and JB reports that his coat and overshoes are missing from his room. JB suggests that Wylie get someone to the train station to see if Phil is there, but Wylie tells her that he and the chief are the only two cops in town – but he’ll get his mother to take a look.

The next morning, JB goes hunting for sugar in the cabinet in the storeroom and finds Phil hanging from the ceiling instead. The note apologising to Murray for stabbing him convinces everyone that it’s suicide but Jess is unconvinced. The group gathers to watch Phil’s body get loaded into the ambulance, and are soon joined by Farley, who announces that he’s been all over the grounds and hasn’t seen Phil anywhere. He’s very surprised to learn that Phil was in a storeroom the whole time.

JB does some basic geometry and comes up with a startling fact – there was no way Phil could have killed himself. She goes to the police station to inform Wylie who doesn’t want to know about it but shows her the lab report of the knife used to stab Murray. It contains traces of white paint, which Wylie assumed happened when someone used the handle of the knife to scrape paint.

Idiots, idiots everywhere.

Idiots, idiots everywhere.

Armed with this new information, JB conducts an investigation of the bathroom

Game over.

No contest.

She also spots some chunks taken out of the bathroom door, and a a pile of white dust on the floor of Murray’s bedroom. Upon closer inspection JB finds a peephole carved into the wall, allowing Murray to see into Mack’s bedroom.

JB confronts Murray who breaks down and reveals the truth – he stabbed himself and set Mack up. He couldn’t bear the thought of Corrie spending time with his arch-enemy Mack. Seems legit.

That still leaves the small matter of who bumped off Phil, and for now Jessica is stumped. That night, while they are preparing dinner she asks Wylie if he learned anything from the lodge’s phone records. He tells her that the only call out on the night Phil died was to a video distribution company in New York. Edie and Norma worry that they have to spend another night with a killer in their midst, but Wylie tells them not to worry, he expects to solve the case before the end of the day.

...

Someone’s getting ahead of themselves

Fortunately for Wylie, JB has already solved the case. The killer has fallen neatly into her trap.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Batman.

Yeah. Surprised I am not.

Yeah. Surprised I am not.

Farley, you see, had been the mysterious person getting all the money for the video sales. Farley had been embezzling money from Mack and Murray for thirty years. And when Phil cottoned on to him, he had to go.

But it’s not all bad news. Mack and Murray buried the hatchet, Corrie and Batman were more in love than ever, and Murray finally asks Norma to marry him.

And they all lived happily ever after. Probably.

The End.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

S01E18 – Footnote to Murder

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I’m sorry to say it Fletcherfans, but we’re still not back in the Cove – JB is in New York, accepting the US presidency the Nobel Prize, an award for crime writing. While I am desperately sad that the Cove doesn’t feature in this episode, it does start with a man roller skating in the rain, which gives me an excuse to show you this video:

Before she accepts her award, JB meets her friend Horace, a poet who looks like a cross between Rick Moranis and Neil Gaiman (just think about that one). Horace is hanging out in a diner bemoaning the lack of booze/cigarettes/women in his general vicinity, and writing crap poetry that includes the line “Cupid’s turgid rights neglected.”

Let the record show that Our Heroine gave this line the reaction it deserved.

This line was later used in Fifty Shades of Grey. Probably.

JB and Horace aren’t the only people in town for American Idol X Factor the literary awards. Hemsley Post (who in his spare time is the voice of King Triton in The Little Mermaid according to IMDB) is in town to host the awards/tempt people with his penis new book. This news is received with great interest by Tiffany the assistant award manager (who finds great penises literature ‘stimulating’) and with indifference from Hemsley’s ex-wife, who just says ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a man with a carton of milk called Frank Lapinski is very interested to learn that Hemsley Post is in town to host the awards, and pays him a visit in the bathroom of the opening night reception. Someone’s not very pleased with Hemsley’s incessant talk of his penis new book.

Holy crap, they’re called the Gotham Book Awards! IF THERE IS NO BATMAN IN THIS EPISODE I’M DEMANDING A REFUND.

JB and Horace aren’t the only winners of the Gotham Book Awards, or the Batties as I’ve just decided they’re called. Also attending the awards are Adrian Winslow, who is in fact Mike Brady from The Brady Bunch.

I KNOW RIGHT!?

Completely irrelevant side note: apparently he was second choice for Mike Brady after Gene Hackman turned it down. Gene Hackman. Just consider that one for a minute.

On their way into the awards ceremony Our Heroine and Horace are accosted by Batman Debbie Delancey, a young lady desperate to show off her tits short story. Horace is more concerned with the application of his mouth to as much scotch as he can find, but Jessica being the Incredibly Magnanimous Human that she is offers to read it for her.

Inside the party Winslow/Brady is chatting to Lucinda Lark, who has written ‘Woman Unleashed’ which presumably is the 1985 equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey. Meanwhile, Hemsley’s little friend Tiffany has just burned Our Heroine and Horace.

I’m pretty sure Tiffany knows not what she does, mainly because she’s a complete bimbo. JB should set her up with Grady.

Shaking off this outrage, JB grabs a drink and settles in to watch a bitch-fight between Hemsley and Winslow/Brady, while Horace works his turgid magic on the 50 Shades of Unleashed lady. If ever there was a match made in heaven…his tugidity is interrupted by Hemsley looking for someone to talk about his penis book to. Horace tells him he couldn’t finish his book due to the terrible grammar, and Hemsley thanks him for his constructive criticism by punching him in the face.

JB steps in to referee.

I’ll be honest, I’m starting to fall in love with Horace a little bit…

After a good scolding from Our Heroine the two brawlers go their separate ways.

The next morning, JB discovers she has Hemsley’s umbrella (nothing suss), and goes to return it. When she arrives at his hotel room she discovers a D.A called Comstock, a lieutenant called Meyers, and Horace’s sword umbrella shoved in Hemsley’s chest. This’ll take some explaining, methinks.

The DA seems more preoccupied with big-noting himself than actually solving the case so JB gives the lieutenant a hand in searching the room. By the way, does this lieutenant look familiar to you?

Recognise him yet? I’ll explain this pic in about two seasons time. Or you could just Google Ron Masak, if you can’t wait that long.

A search of the room brings up a key to a room not in this hotel and a lipstick smudge on the bed. Looks like Hemsley got to show his ‘book’ off after all…they also find a signed copy of Fifty Shades of Grey Woman Unleashed, and a pair of glasses. What they don’t find, however, is Helmsley’s manuscript. Curiouser and curiouser! Done with making phone calls to as many TV crews as he can think of, Comstalk-Codswallop throws Jess out of the room, but not before putting the mystery glasses in her handbag. He’s a bright one, that Codswallop.

Someone tips him off that the umbrella belongs to Horace and the key belongs to Tiffany aka She What Snubbed Our Heroine, and so the DA drags them in for questioning. Tiffany admits giving Hemsley the key so he’d come round and show her his penis manuscript, but says he never showed up. Horace admits that everything is a blur after he got to the hotel bar. I think everything is a blur for him all the time, to be honest.

D.A Codswallop decides he has heard enough and has Horace arrested for murder. Our Heroine takes umbrage a this and lets loose a tirade that I’m pretty sure was the inspiration for this speech last week. Nobody arrests JB’s drinking buddies and gets away with it! This means war, Codswallop! Luckily for Horace the presiding judge only has eyes for hos not bros, and he’s let off the hook, for now, anyway.

JB is on the hunt for the person who left the lipstick in Hemsley’s room and rules out Tiffany and the ex-wife. She runs into Horace in a revolving door, allowing a NEVERBEFORE SEEN REVOLVING DOOR JOKE, before she drags him back to DA Codswallop’s office to make sure he’s not a fugitive. Codswallop himself is interviewing the author of Fifty Shades of Grey Woman Unleashed, and enjoying it a little too much.

And where the bloody hell is Batman anyway?

Unfortunately for D.A Codswallop, Our Heroine interrupts any shenanigans he might have been planning with the safe return of a terrifyingly sober Horace. His hopes are further dashed when it turns out that Ms Unleashed spent the previous night in Horace’s bed. With Horace.

Wait, maybe Horace is Batman?

Horace safely off the hook, he informs Jess that he’s pretty sure he didn’t kill anyone and invites her out for a night of partying with the cast of Jersey Shore (might have made that bit up).

Jess has no time for jelly shots now.

Worst Batsignal ever. I’m starting to think these so-called Gotham awards are nothing but lies. DAMN LIES.

Jess leaves Horace to it, and pays a visit on Frank Lapinksi – he who had the milk carton and bailed up Helmsley in the bathroom. He deftly avoids her questions. Shifty much? JB discovers the second pair of glasses in her bag – too many mysteries to solve at once! Get the lady a scotch already! She alerts Codswallop to the general shiftiness of Frank, and getting the usual non-reaction, goes to see Brady/Winslow.

WAIT, MAYBE MIKE BRADY IS BATM-…no, that’s just silly.

Actually, I think I’m starting to fall in love with Brady/Winslow, he’s so bitchy and he sounds like Ian Holm! He puts his money on Alexis-the-ex, but JB isn’t convinced. After a brief roadblock in the form of Debbie Delancy, JB pays Tiffany another visit but despite her lie about where she was the night before, JB agrees that she didn’t do it.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn Codswallop pays Lapinski a visit, and Lapinksi Labolts out of Lawindow, before getting La-rrested anyway. It turns out Hemsley Post had claimed Lapinksi’s penis manuscript as his own, and Frank was understandably miffed. As they cuff him he admits that he was the one that did Hemsley in, and he’s proud of it, and he’d do it again! (Paraphrasing).

Of course, we reject all mysteries not solved by Our Heroine, and this is no exception. After finding THOSE glasses in her bag again, and seeing Horace model them for her, Jess has an inkling of an idea of who the killer might be. She gives Horace money for the cab and scarpers for the optometrist.

And by cab I mean batmobile. Oh who am I kidding, Batman’s not coming is he?

A quick trip to the optometrists, and it’s as JB feared. But not me, because I’d forgotten all about her.

Yep. Life Lesson #32 – only meeting someone for 30 seconds doesn’t mean they haven’t bumped somebody off.

Ugh. Really?

I MEAN COME ON. First you lure me in with promises of Batman, and now the chick who gives JB a short story to read just happens to be Frank Lapinsky’s brother? That’s what you’re going with?

Debbie D informs Jess that she’d had no intention of killing Helmsley, she’d just defended her womanhood after Hemsley got a bit too eager to show her his manuscript. And by manuscript I mean penis.

Well, that’s something I’d believe. But that’s brought us to the end of a Batman-free episode of Murder She Wrote. OH MY GOD, MAYBE AMOS IS BATMAN!!??

See you next week, Fletcherfans!