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S04E19 – Just Another Fish Story

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Oh look who’s back.

Why. Just, why.

Look at him. No clue.

JB is in New York to visit the World’s Worst Human Being, who has just gotten engaged. Now if that doesn’t prove there’s someone in this world for everyone then I don’t know what does. Grady, Donna and JB are set to have dinner at Alice’s Farm, a restaurant that Grady does the books for and convinced JB to invest in (so presumably it’s about to go under then). Donna is late, leaving Grady and JB to fight with the maitre’d  Chaz Gautier (aka Hymie from Get Smart) about the mysterious case of the disappearing reservation. It is left to the brother of the chef, Doug Brook, to sort it out and scold Chaz about taking bribes for tables (I should point out that it seems like the restaurant is a steakhouse that serves flaming ribs on pitchforks and charging $22.50 for fried chicken. Blessed are the 80s).

While they wait for a table JB gets stuck into the wine list and listens to the bar tender tell stories about pouring wine for Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. They are joined at the bar by ‘trends’ columnist Mimi Harcourt who calls JB Jennifer and says that her readers don’t read fiction, they prefer to make their own scene. What a top human being. As she swans off to go be fabulous somewhere else, Donna finally arrives with some news – her parents are going away to Europe but want to throw a party for the happy couple, specifically tomorrow night at their house upstate. Grady doesn’t take the news well but JB loves a party and says it will be delightful. She begs them to tell her all about their plans for the wedding and it is soon revealed that neither of them have any idea about life/wedding planning.

JB has a similar view of weddings to me, as it turns out.

Amen.

Amen.

They finally get a table and Grady and Donna are amazed to discover that they want the same things. JB is on to her third glass of wine and is delighted for them/everyone who has ever lived and tries to order caviar to celebrate but alas the kitchen is out. Instead the waiter offers oeuf de poulet  -hard boiled eggs. Same same, right?

By the end of the night JB is well and truly boozed, and offers a sneak preview of the speech she’ll give at the wedding.

MY HERO.

MY HERO.

Chef Alice comes out to thank JB for investing in the restaurant and JB congratulates her on her success and the fish. Later, they drop Donna home and Grady celebrates life by jamming his fingers in the door of the taxi. Not even making that up.

The next morning, JB gets a call from Donna. The police are at her apartment to take her down to the restaurant. Chaz has turned up dead in the freezer room. At the restaurant NYPD’s finest, led by Lieutenant Rupp, show the ledgers to Donna and ask her why some of the entries have been whited out. Donna has no idea, she only brought the books up to date the previous day. Rupp is delighted, and says it shouldn’t be too hard for them to work out what was removed. Jess tries to explain that they have to go upstate to attend an engagement party but he is unmoved, even when JB helpfully spots a pocket knife wedged in between some boxes in the freezer room. Alice and Doug Brooke arrive and Alice discovers that six cases of lobster tails have disappeared. Rupp asks Doug about the receipt found in Chaz’s pocket and Doug explains its from the register, showing the final days take.

Back at his apartment Grady tells JB that he’s off to help Donna with the books and might be some time. JB asks him why he’s so terrified of meeting Donna’s family and the truth comes out – Grady has met Donna’s father before. About five years ago. When he fired Grady after a couple of days.

UNSURPRISED JESS IS UNSURPRISED

UNSURPRISED JESS IS UNSURPRISED

While JB comforts Grady as best she can, the phone rings. Mimi Harcourt is doing a piece about the restaurant and would like to have a late breakfast with JB. Grady accepts immediately on JB’s behalf and begs her to go, saying that she might find out all sorts of gossip that might help them get away quicker so he can face his doom.

Over breakfast, Mimi tells JB that the proprietor of the establishment, Valentino (aka Sonny Bono), was furious when Alice left to start her own business, taking Doug and Harry the bartender with her. Business has been quiet ever since, to the point where he now plays a tape of people talking to make the restaurant have more ambience. JB asks Mimi about the article she’s writing but it isn’t about the murder, it’s about people investing. Or something. I kind of zoned out for a second. Mimi is then called away on urgent business – her nail designer has just been arrested and Mimi has a party to get to.  She hands JB money for her share of the bill and sashays away.

JB goes to have a chat with the owner, Valentino

#sorrynotsorry

#sorrynotsorry

JB tells him that’s very kind, but he says not at all. Besides, it’s easier than starting a new register tape.

Cue ‘clue discovery’ music.

JB heads to the police station with Grady and Donna to report to Lieutenant Rupp her theory that Chaz was closing the till early and pocketing the money that came in later. Donna and Grady also discovered that the restaurant was paying for goods that were never received. Rupp is disappointed they haven’t found more, and ask them to continue examining the books. JB tells him that he can’t keep them there against their will, but he says they can do it the easy way or the hard way. He has bigger fish to fry – the murder weapon was a knife with a sickle shaped blade but they haven’t had any luck finding it yet.

While Donna and Grady go back to the books, JB eats with Alice and Doug. JB compliments them again on the fish, and Alice says it was the same as the previous night, the frozen yellow-tail. Doug had pulled it out of the freezer the previous night to defrost. Doug denies it.

The point, apparently, is this:

I TOLD YOU HE HAD BIGGER FISH TO FRY *drops mic*

I TOLD YOU HE HAD BIGGER FISH TO FRY *drops mic*

This danger fish business does have a precedent, as you might remember:

Oh dear. I’m about to fall down a youtube rabbit hole. Focus!

Back at the police station, Rupp is suspicious of Alice’s assurances that she didn’t see blood on the fish before she cooked it, and that she and Doug were both home all night. JB points out that the cunning use of fish indicates the murder wasn’t premeditated and that it was most likely that the killer caught Chaz in the middle of stealing the lobster tails. Rupp decides he needs to read one of JB’s books.

Down at the restaurant Grady and Donna are poring over the books but not getting anywhere. It takes a visit from JB to point out that the initials on the list of investors are probably silent partners, and that it seems likely that M.H stands for Mimi Harcourt, whom JB decides to pay a visit on. Donna says she needs something from the office and share the cab. While they drive. Donna tells JB she’s starting to have doubts about everything, including the wedding. Apparently, Grady is starting to remind Donna of her perfectionist father.

Donna seems to have gotten Grady confused with someone else

Donna seems to have gotten Grady confused with someone else

JB assures her that she’s never met two people more suited to each other, and in this I agree. (They got married in real life, so aww to that). JB tells her that if she doesn’t want to be an accountant she shouldn’t, and Donna confesses all she wants to be is a stay-at-home Mum.

Mimi is alarmed with JB outs her as an investor and tells her that noone was meant to know, except Chaz had been blabbing all over town. Jess says that must have made Mimi angry but Mimi’s having none of that, besides she has an alibi for the whole night Chaz died. She was in her apartment, with Doug Brooke. Jess then confronts Alice with this news and Alice admits she made up the alibi because she wasn’t sure where her brother was.

Jess has a theory about who was buying the stolen food, and goes to see her buddy Valentino. He denies stealing the food but doesn’t deny buying food from less than reputable sources. The phone rings, and it’s Grady looking for JB. “It’s happened again.” He tells her.

“Another murder?” JB asks, horrified.

“I’ve been dumped.” Says Grady.

Her work is never done.

Her work is never done.

At the restaurant, JB tries to console Grady who is miserable. All he wants is a wife who will stay home and raise the kids, but he doesn’t want to get in Donna’s way for her career. Yada yada you see where I’m going with this right?

Rupp turns up and tells JB he’s arrested Valentino for the murder, which makes no sense to JB since he had no motive. She wonders how the stolen supplies got delivered, since the merchandise was gone after Chaz’s murder. She remembers where she last saw the pocket knife she found in the freezer room and confronts Harry, who confesses to being Chaz’s accomplice but not his killer.

Meanwhile, Grady is still sitting at the bar mumbling about whether it was his fault when he said that Donna shouldn’t have been calculating the value of the stolen lobster tails and caviar. This sets off alarm bells in Jess’s head, which is funny because this whole damn episode has been a giant alarm bell.

Nevertheless, the killer has been busted. And yes it’s who you think it is.

This episode is so weird.

This episode is so weird.

But the good news is, it was self defence. Donna worked out Chaz’s scam, and went to confront him about it. He tried to cut her in on the deal but she refused, so he came at her, so she came at him with a dead fish, causing him to slip and whack his head.

Who cares though, right? Grady and Donna are back on (and even though they are equally derpy it’s nice to know they’ve found each other) and JB has saved the day. Again.

So until next time.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

S02E14 – Keep the Home Fries Burning

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I don’t know about you Fletcherfans, but I could use a little ridiculousness after this week. Fortunately, Our Heroine is home in the Cove again, which means you know who.

You headin' my way?

You headin’ my way?

Amos is cheating on his regular diner (owned by Bo Dixon) with a new restaurant called the Joshua Peabody Inn, named after Cabot Cove’s answer to Jebediah Springfield.  In fact, most of the town is, including Doc Hazlitt, who is taking Jess to breakfast.

All is not well inside the Inn, however. The owner, Floyd is frazzled, the chef Alan Dupree is drunk and trying to get fired, and the patrons – including two feuding local politicians and some out-of-towners who have stopped in for a bite to eat – aren’t all that convinced that it’s the best place for them. I can’t imagine why though, with menu items like Eggs Benedict Arnold, or the Benjamin Frankenfurter (with beans), or the One if By Land, Two if By Sea Surf and Turf platter, or Life, Liberty and Prosciutto Happiness with Melon, how could you go wrong?

Amos plonks himself down with Seth and JB and promptly starts arguing with Seth about whether Joshua Peabody was a real person. Cornelia, the waitress, stops by their table with the jam and Seth says “At least you didn’t have to dress up like Betsy Ross at the old place!” to which Jessica says “Doctors who walk around in hip boots hardly qualify as fashion experts.”

(Can we just talk about the expression on JB's face right now?!)

Fletcher burn!

Meanwhile, Bo the spurned diner owner is also having breakfast, trying to see where all his customers (and his waitress) have gone. Amos spots jam on a neighbouring table, occupied by two ladies from out of town named Wilhelmina and Betty and snares it for his toast before Cornelia snaffles it up and places it briefly on the table of the two warring politicians before delivering it to a family table. One can only presume that this game of Musical Jam has some sort of nefarious point.

While Seth and Our Heroine argue over the bill, the father of the family that last had the jam comes rushing back into the restaurant. His son has fallen ill! Well colour me surprised, etc.

Seth goes running and finds the son rolling in agony on the ground. The two politicians come outside and one collapses. Then Amos hollers – Betty from the next table is on the ground, and not moving.

That’s it, I’m calling it now.

It was only a matter of time...

It was only a matter of time. That jam was a loose cannon.

Down at Cabot Cove General Hospital (which is what I assume the hospital is called), Seth is tending to his patients when Margo Perry from State Health (also known as Anne Francis from Forbidden Planet) arrives demanding information and bringing a whole lot of sass.

d2 e1

Margo The Feisty gets to work immediately, going through the Inn and making sure her minions collect a sample. It goes a little something like this:

Margo: Ham.

Minion: Check.

Amos: I had some of that.

Margo: Syrup.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (worried) I had some of that.

Margo: Marmalade.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (really worried) I had some of that too!

Our Heroine: (dryly) You had some of everything, Amos.

Paying scant disregard for Amos’s rising terror, JB discovers a preserves rack with the raspberry jam missing. She asks Floyd who was sitting at that table but he’s too busy trying to keep up with Hurricane Margo.  Jess gets Amos to drive her back to the hospital, where Seth insists on giving them a checkup. Before he can do so, Eric from The Bold and the Beautiful comes in looking for his wife Wilhelmina – the friend of the woman who died.  Seth tells him that his wife is going to be fine, but her friend Betty Fiddler didn’t make it. Eric promptly collapses in shock.

In the corridor, Jess tells Seth her theory – the food was poisoned by someone who removed it before the state health people arrived. They don’t notice Hurricane Margo come up behind them until she tells Seth to stop formulating pointless theories with the local “crisishound”, and start testing samples.

Oh Margo. You're going to regret that one.

Oh Margo. You’re going to regret that one.

Back at the Peabody, Jess resumes the hunt for Jam of Death, but it’s nowhere to be found. As she searches, she asks Floyd if he has any enemies, and he tells her about the Chef Who Can’t Cook, Dupree. Floyd imported him from France, assuming that a) he was French (he isn’t) and that he could cook like his family (he can’t).  The only way Dupree can get out of his contract is if Floyd fires him, which he won’t.

Seth calls and tells Jess he needs to tell her. He has a theory about what the problem is – atropine poisoning. He has an antidote for it, and if it works it will confirm Our Heroine’s theory that it wasn’t food poisoning, it was poisoned food. Theory confirmed, JB goes to see Cornelia the waitress, who was the last person to see the suspect jam. She tells JB that she left it on Bo Dixon’s table when the hubbub began.

Upon hearing this, Amos runs with it. But of course Bo is guilty! Not even JB pointing out that he had no chance to put the poison in the jam and collect the jar afterwards can convince him otherwise. Surely that just means Cornelia the waitress must have helped him! Why, some of that poison might have been meant for Amos! He did (unintentionally) take Bo’s customers to the Joshua Peabody Inn, because you know what they say “Where goes Amos Tupper, so goes Cabot Cove.”

“I must be moving in the wrong circles,” JB mutters to Seth. “I haven’t heard anyone say that.”

Another Fletcher-burn!

Another Fletcher-burn!

JB tells Amos about how Dupree is trying to get out of his contract at the Inn, but is interrupted by Mercer Hawthorne, the local politician who has now recovered from his bout of poisoning. He tells them that his dinner date and fellow politician Eb(enezer) McHenry is the poisoner, since Mercer has proof of Eb’s shady dealings.

That’s enough for Amos, who inexplicably throws both Bo and Eb in the cells, releases them and then picks up Dupree. He tells Amos and JB that he wasn’t the only person who had access to the kitchens. Bo turned up in there, and so did some random dude who wanted to take a look at the diner. Amos scoffs at this, but fortunately said mysterious stranger comes in to complain about the parking ticket he just got while he was in the hospital visiting his wife.

It’s Eric from Bold and the Beautiful again!

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I'm acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00's

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I’m acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00’s. Like Passions! Remember Passions?

Amos demands to know how Harrison Fraser III Eric Forrester could have been in the kitchen at the Joshua Peabody Inn that morning when he said he was in Portland when he heard the news about the food poisoning. JB ponders why he was so devastated about Betty’s death, but barely concerned about his wife’s illness, which leads her to wonder who he was looking at from the kitchen at the Inn that morning, and who he was trying to avoid. Eric flounces out without replying.

Later that night JB is hard at work on her next best-seller when she gets an unexpected visitor. Eric Forrester appears. He confesses to JB that he was having an affair with Betty, and that he followed them to stop Betty from telling his wife about their affair. He swears he didn’t poison anyone.

JB is stumped. She believes Eric, but she’s rapidly running out of suspects. She goes to see Bo Dixon, who is disinclined to provide any information to JB. Fortunately, a throwaway comment about leaving a tip on a credit card from Hurricane Margo, who is sweeping off home, sets Jess off. She knows who went on a poisonous rampage.

You may have guessed, too. It’s kind of obvious. Though at this point, I’d like to highlight how restrained I’ve been so far. Okay?

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, Murder She Wrote writers, for allowing me the opportunity to utter the phrase Willie Of Death.

And on that highbrow note…

Later, gang!

Later, gang!