Disclaimer: normally I watch the episode once before I do this, but not this time! Will it make more or less sense than usual? Who knows!

 

We’re back in the Cove Fletcherfans and the carnival is in town! Nothing says Scooby Doo murder like a carnival! Especially a carnival in financial difficulty, which apparently this one is. The show manager Joanna Simms begs help from the co-owner Carl Dormer but he’s too busy being a magician to go get the permits.

Meanwhile, Seth is grumping Jessica into hurrying up so they can get to the carnival but Jess has just discovered she’s been burgled. While she’s sad about the loss of her jewellery, she thinks it’s ironic that she comes home from the crime capital of the universe to discover she’s been broken into.

It turns out Cabot Cove is having its own crime wave (again) as Jean O’Neill is down at the Sheriff’s office reporting the theft of her good crystal and her mother’s silver tea set while she was out walking the dog. Mort is taking it all down when Joanna walks into the office to get the permits for the carnival and he nearly passes out. It would appear that they had a Thing twenty years ago. Jean is somewhat miffed the focus has been taken off her good crystal but Deputy Andy is there to save the day and goes to investigate the case of the missing crystal.

Mort offers Joanna a cup of coffee and it is revealed that they were at college together before Joanna ran off with star footballer Don Sims, who was picked up by the LA Rams, blew a knee and was never heard from again. Until right now when he bursts into the office, demands Joanna hurry up, laughs at Mort and suggests he lead them all in the college song.

“Don’t hate me.” Says Joanna as she follows Don out of the office. Fun fact, people who say that almost always deserve hatred.

EVERY EMOTION SIMULTANEOUSLY ON MORT’S FACE. All that’s missing is the dramatic finger bite. You know what I mean.

Over at the carnival, a shady character is keeping an eye on Carl as he gets the receipts from the previous day’s takings at the ticket booth. He goes to follow Carl as he leaves but then makes himself scarce when JB and Seth turn up wanting to discuss the previous day’s takings. Carl shows them but warns it’s not good news. Jess and Seth are surprised, the crowds the previous night indicated that they were rolling in the money but Carl just shrugs and says the crowd might have been there but they weren’t spending. He departs to get ready for his show, and Jess goes to look around while Seth ensconces himself in one of the sideshows and starts drumming up business. The shady character sidles up to a juggler and says he lost Carl. The juggler tells him Carl will be in his trailer. The shady guy tells him to get the books if the juggler is still in.

Back at the ticket office one of the girls goes on break, leaving the other, Lisa, to flirt with Toby the carnival roustabout who departs just as JB sidles up.

Yeah she does

Some dude called Richard cuts JB off to announce that the carnival called him to order more hotdogs, they’d underestimated the supply, and to show his gratitude he wants to buy a hundred bucks worth of tickets. He’ll come back and pick them up when he picks Lisa up to see the magic show (which appears to be news to Lisa). JB is astounded and asks Lisa if she has a copy of the previous day’s takings for her. Lisa tells her Carl said it wasn’t necessary to make a copy but she spilt soda on the first copy and she still has it. Jess reads it over and is not happy with what she sees.

If this was the Mystery Gang obviously JB would be Velma but I think it gets harder after that. Except Grady is Scrappy Doo, obviously.

Mort runs into Joanna again, who asks him if he ever thinks about college, and he tells her not really. She does, and she thinks she really screwed up. Mort thinks everyone makes choices but is then called to a kerfuffle at one of the sideshows where Don Simms is trying to confiscate the prizes from a group of kids because they didn’t knock the bottles off the table, they only knocked them over. Seth wants him arrested for being shady but Mort just tells the kids to take their prizes and play somewhere else. Joanna tells him to close the stand down, his shenanigans aren’t going to play in Cabot Cove. Don thinks she clearly should have married Mort.

Dramarama

Lisa goes on break and finds Toby flexing his muscles on the strength tester. Apparently, he hates his job but is taking a year off between high school and college to save money for school.

He must be from Beverly Hills, everyone who lives there ages really quickly according to television

Unfortunately for Hot Toby, he has set the strength tester up outside Carl’s trailer and the noise drives him to come out and start abusing him. Toby swears he set it up as per his instructions but Carl drags him away, leaving the juggler to sneak into his trailer while Joanna looks on.

Back at House Fletcher Mort is investigating the break-in. There’s been a few of them and they’ve all been well timed. Townsfolk are blaming the carnival but it’s only been in town for two days.

Mort asks JB if she has a torch and a magnifying glass.

(Everyone knows this is a Holmes/Lestrade situation. Seth is Watson with a hangover)

Mort spots some scratches on the kitchen door that weren’t made with a key. He promises to put the word out about the stolen items, to go with the other antiques that have been pinched, and offers JB a lift back to the carnival.

Speaking of which, Joanna confronts the juggler (whose name is apparently Nicky) when she finds him going through the desk drawers. He swears it’s not what it looks like, and is backed up his fiancee/assistant Carmen who bursts in to see if he’s found her engagement ring that very specifically fell off in one of the drawers when she was meeting with Carl. She spots it under the desk and the pair of them leave. Joanna isn’t buying Carmen’s stunt for a minute but Carmen swears she knows nothing.

JB drags Seth to the magic show under great protest – he’d rather just get Mort to arrest Carl for skimming the take but JB doesn’t want to disappoint the people who want to see his show. As Joanna is about to enter the tent Don grabs her and tells her to convince Carl to retire so they can take over. She thinks he should quit drinking, he thinks she should be more supportive. You know, that old chestnut.

As the show starts Carl requires two volunteers from the audience. Joanna drags Richard the supermarket guy up on stage and eventually gets Seth up when Jess convinces the audience to buy another ticket to see Seth do it. The show begins and Carl cheerfully nicks things out of their pockets while the crowd laughs. “Are you giving your girlfriend a sausage necklace?” Carl asks Richard as I spray tea out my nose.

Seth’s audition for the Full Monty did not go according to plan.

After the show, Richard storms out fuming. Lisa bumps into Toby and arranges to meet him after the carnival closes that night. When she arrives, she sees Carl fighting with a shadowy figure who stabs him. Lisa runs away, then Carmen appears and starts screaming as the rides start to come on and Carl’s body takes a cruise in the Whirlwind.

Say it with me. ALL CARNIVALS ARE HAUNTED. Also abandoned theme parks.

Mort gets called to the scene early the next morning and quickly works to stop the carnival from leaving town. Seth tells him Carl was stabbed and then placed in the ride. Joanna pops up to say that Carls’ trailer has been broken into. She didn’t know anything, she just heard the Whirlwind music. Apparently, Don slept through the whole thing, classic Don. Mort thinks it’s suspicious but Joanna swears Don didn’t have a motive (except he did, now Carl’s dead they can take over the carnival. She tells Mort about Nicky breaking into the trailer – Mort asks her why she didn’t mention it sooner but she says Nicky’s a good kid she didn’t want him to get in trouble.

Only if it was between her and him, Mort says. BURN.┬áNicky gets brought down to the Sheriff’s office but he says he swore on a Gideon bible, he can’t talk about it but he didn’t kill Carl. Oh alright then.

Down at the carnival, Carmen tells JB that she saw Nicky talking to a man in a grey suit but she doesn’t know who or why. She couldn’t tell who the woman was she saw running away but she doesn’t think it was Joanna Simms.

Back at the Sheriff’s office Deputy Andy proudly marches The Man In Grey in to see Mort. They found him down at the Lighthouse Motel, Jessica’s theory about the Gideon bible paid off. The man frowns when Nicky appears and swears he didn’t say a word but is alarmed when he hears of the murder. Mort is about to arrest him for pissing him off when the man suggests they swap identification.

Port Mort’s having a bit of a time.

Over at the carnival Jess runs into Toby who tells her he’s been trying to speak to Lisa all day but she said she’d call the police if he didn’t leave her alone. They were supposed to meet at 11:30 the night before but she didn’t show. JB asks where they were meant to meet and Toby’s face drops as he says the Whirlwind. Jess needs to get into town but Toby doesn’t have a car. They spot Don Simms with his car (and suitcase on the roof) but he just hightails it out of there. Later Mort arrives and arrests Joanna for conspiracy to commit murder. Joanna thinks it’s because she walked out on him all those years earlier.

Mort goes to consult Jessica, who thinks Don pinched the books and fled but didn’t necessarily kill Carl or break into the trailer. Seth brings Lisa around for reasons I didn’t understand until Jessica directs her to the kitchen where Toby’s waiting with cookies and an apology. Naww. You go Hot Toby.

Back at work, Mort confronts Joanna in the cells but she says she didn’t kill Carl and neither did Don. She knew that Carl was embezzling money but she didn’t know who else was involved. She thinks Don ran because he thought Mort would throw him in jail as payback for what happened at college. Geniuses. Mort tells her none of this is to do with that and that if she hadn’t left him he would never have met Adele, the love of his life. Deputy Andy pops up to announce they found Don. They bring him in but all he says is that he stole the books to stop them from arresting Joanna. As they tearfully reunite Mort helpfully reminds them they are still under arrest.

Back at home Jess still doesn’t think the Simms were involved. Seth bellyaching about a hangnail gives her an idea and they depart for the wake of Carl Dormer.

Thanks to a bit of dramatic flair by the carnie crew, the killer is outed.

I called it. In my head.

Richard. Richard, Richard Richard. You shouldn’t have kept your cat burglar tools on you at a magic show where anyone might grab them and work out you’re the local cat burglar and blackmail you.

Holy crap you guys. That’s the end of season 10.┬áThere are now officially only 45 episodes left.

Don’t panic.

Later gang.

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