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S06E20 – Shear Madness

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Welcome to Fairville Texas Fletcherfans where the the sky is blue, the leaves are – green probably, and a bus has just arrived into town. Some people get off, including this guy:

Back to him in a sec

He arrives, he takes his suitcase, he tries to make a phone call. More later.

But frankly I’d like to talk about how this guy:

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

YEP.

Grew up into this guy:

Frankly I don’t know how I can continue with this, but I will do my best.

While we all dwell in this new reality where Joseph Gordon Levitt was once in Murder She Wrote, Our Heroine is helping her cousin Ann Owens Arden prepare for her upcoming wedding to Bill Spenser, renowned bad boy turned good. Or so says Ann’s sister.

Sorry Doris. You aren't the best cameo in this episode.

Sorry Doris. You aren’t the best cameo in this episode.

While Ann gets coffee ready for the rehearsal dinner, Helen and Jess take her dress and things upstairs, laughing when Jess forgets to skip the squeaky step. You guys, I think this might come up again later. Jess remarks that nothing in the house has changed, and apparently apart from getting a new fridge, nothing has.

Helen tells JB that she will be moving out once the marriage happens, she refuses to share a house with Billy Spenser. Jess thinks he can’t be as bad as all that, some youthful scrapes but nothing serious. Helen tells her Billy was the wildest boy in town with never a dime to his name. Jess says that’s obviously changed now that he spent 15 years making his fortune in Alaska. Helen conceeds that Billy doesn’t have the gambling debts of Anne’s last fiance, but he’s bad news and wrong for Ann. DEAD WRONG.

PROPHETIC STATEMENT IS PROPHETIC PROBABLY.

Speaking of the devil, Billy arrives and is delighted to meet the famous cousin Jess. He’s just sorry that his future brother-in-law George is too unwell to attend the wedding. Jess is surprised to hear this, she thought Ann had said that George was getting better, but Ann quickly says overall the doctors are encouraged but he couldn’t attend. Billy says he knows depression can be tough, not that he’s ever had to deal with it.

THAT FACE IS GLORIOUS I MUST LEARN IT

THAT FACE IS GLORIOUS I MUST LEARN IT

The doorbell rings and Helen goes to see if it’s the Reverend in time for the rehearsal. Jess helps Ann with the coffee and wants to know just what is going on? How does Billy not know about George?

Ann tells her she hasn’t told Billy the whole story, because she doesn’t really understand what happened. George idolised her former fiancee Nathan. Jess agreed but thinks surely Billy won’t be worried about something that happened 15 years ago, and that surely he’s heard gossip. Ann tells her that if he has, he hasn’t said anything.

The rehearsal kicks off with Helen busting out her rendition of Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won’t Do That’.

h1

h2

Seems like a weird choice for a wedding though,

Seems like a weird choice for a wedding though.

Just as the rehearsal concludes, Ann gets a phone call. She tells them it’s Rosemary Taylor down at the paper, who is covering the wedding party that night and got confused about some of the details, although Ann seems more rattled than a call about details. Helen still thinks it’s weird that they are having the wedding reception before the actual wedding but Billy tells them he and Helen have a flight to catch and a cruise to make. The reverend tells them he’ll make it quick. As he leaves, Ann opens the door and finds George.

George is in fact auditioning for Children of the Corn: They're Ba-ack!

George is in fact auditioning for Children of the Corn: They’re Ba-ack!

Needless to say everyone is a little bit surprised to see George, which confuses him since the hospital told him that they would let his family know. George himself is a lot surprised when Billy introduces himself as Ann’s fiance. Billy tells Ann to show George her ring and for a second he is hypotised.

The Reverend quickly departs, telling them he will see them all tonight. Billy departs as well, telling Ann he has a little errand to run. Ann tells Helen to show George up to his room while she and JB fix him some food. Ann gets on the phone to the hospital who confirm George has been released but she can’t speak to his psychiatrist as he left that morning and hasn’t been seen since. Ann confesses to JB that she loves her brother, but that he scares her.

Meanwhile, it turns out Billy’s errand is to the newspaper to see Rosemary Taylor. He’s furious with her, saying he was there when she called Ann. “Oh, then you must have met George! I saw him get off the bus –

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

I wasn’t sure if it was him or not

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

so I made a few calls before I called Ann.”

Oh right, she’s talking about George.

Rosemary and Billy are soon joined by Rosemary’s daughter Meg who’s just found the newspaper her mother was looking for. Billy takes one look at Meg and departs, leaving them to look at the headline.

A newspaper. That thing that Buzzfeed isn't.

A newspaper. That thing that Buzzfeed isn’t.

Later that night the party is in full swing(ish) and Jess and George are having the time of their lives.

George remembers his great aunt’s punch recipe fondly, but still can’t remember the night he bumped off his sister’s husband. Problematic. They are blinded by a flash – Meg and Rosemary have arrived and Jess swears she’s met Meg before (but apparently not, according to Meg). Rosemary on the other hand is dying to know how George is post-hospital life. She’s knows how hard it must have been, she’s seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Amen

Amen

She asks him all about his therapy, and whether or not he had shock therapy, and he tells her no, she can check his records. This is music to her ears, she has big plans for an article about George. Or 2! Or 3! George starts to panic and tells them he needs air. Ann, Helen and Billy arrive just as he leaves and Ann demands to know what Rosemary said to George. She denies saying anything, but when Billy orders her to leave Meg sparks up, saying Billy has no right to speak to her mother like that. Rosemary shrugs it off, and they depart.

God this is exhausting.

Later, one of the caterers brings Billy a note she found left for him on the veranda. Jokes fly about a secret admirer but Billy informs them it’s just a business thing and heads for the cellar, where someone stabs him with some gardening shears because duh.

An hour later, as the final guests are departing, Ann is worried about Billy but has to contend with an excess of leftovers. She gets Jess to fish out the cheque and goes to show the caterers where the old fridge is in the cellar. Jess finds the cheque, along with a written telephone message saying George had been released and asking them to call Dr Carlsson. Helen finds JB with her hand in the till (so to speak) but when Jess asks her why she didn’t tell Ann about George’s release she says there wasn’t time. She herself didn’t speak to Dr Carlsson either, it was his secretary. All she knew was that Dr Carlsson was very upset that George had been released.

A scream from the basement – Ann’s just found Billy. When the police arrive Jess begs them to defer questioning until the next day, as Ann has been sedated. The Sheriff is fine with that, it’s an open and shut case – exactly like the one 15 years earlier. George was clearly guilty. Jess is suspicious – how can George recreate exactly a murder he doesn’t even remember committing? The Sheriff tells her the details were in the papers, it wouldn’t be hard.

Shouting erupts from upstairs and the Sheriff is summoned. The source of the commotion is Dr Carlsson who says George was one of his patients.

Actual quote. (Actually snort laughed).

Actual quote. (Actually snort laughed).

Doctor Carlsson informs them that George is basically a zero change of killing someone. He was against George’s release because he felt that George was on the brink of remembering the night Ann’s last fiance died, and to return home prematurely could jeopardise that. The Sheriff doesn’t care, and tells them he will post a man outside in case George comes home. Carlsson tells JB that George was beginning to remember one detail from the night of the murder – seeing something shiny. He tells Jess he will go get a room at the hotel and call her in the morning to see if he can be of assistance.

Meanwhile, on the veranda:

Children of the shrubbery

Children of the shrubbery

The next morning Helen and Jess try to take care of Ann but she’s determined to get things done. Helen offers to drive her to the mortuary to make arrangements for the funeral, and Jess volunteers to stay behind in case George turns up. Ann hears the squeaky floorboard go and rushes to get ready. Jess rushes down after Helen, herself stepping on the squeaky floorboard, but Helen is nowhere to be seen. As Jess hunts for Helen she notices the crime scene tape is all cut up on the door to the cellar. She goes to investigate and finds Meg taking pictures. Meg rushes out a side door, and JB returns to the front door to try and stop her before she gets away. Instead she finds Rosemary, who says she’s been knocking but no-one heard her. Rosemary is just after a quote from the family for the paper, she doesn’t want to intrude, she remembers how brutal the first crime scene was with blood all over the walls and the fridge and the whatnot. Jess enquires as to why Meg was down their taking pictures if she was so horrified, and Rosemary tells her she is wrong. Meg is at the fairground.

Later that night (my god this episode just keeps going), Jess gets a phone call from Helen – the storm is pretty bad and they are going to wait until it passes before driving home. Jess promises to check on the windows, and as she goes to the stairs she spots muddy footprints leading up – footprints that skip the squeaky step. She follows the trail upstairs and finds George, holding the bloodied pruning shears. Because SHEAR MADNESS GUYS GEDDIT.

George tells JB that he had returned to the house just in time to hear what he had done, and hid again, only coming out to pack his things. As he packed though he found the murder weapon. George catches sight of JB’s brooch and starts mumbling about seeing Ann’s jewellery in the basement as the Sheriff appears to disarm the situation. He agrees to let Dr Carlsson see George the next day.

Dr Carlsson hypnotises George to take him back to the night of Nathan the first fiancee’s murder. George finally remembers what happened – that he busted Nathan trying to steal Ann’s jewellery to pay off a gambling debt and when George tried to stop him Nathan went for the shears. Long story short, self defence!

The Sheriff is unmoved by this revelation – it doesn’t prove George didn’t kill Billy. Au contraire, Sheriff. JB thinks it proves exactly that, and what’s more she knows who did kill Billy – she just doesn’t quite know how to prove it yet. She and the sheriff go to the newspaper to ask Rosemary about her daughter’s whereabouts, but Rosemary refuses to believe that Meg had anything to do with it – she had no motive! No motive, says Jess, except that Billy Spenser was her father.

At the realisation that the truth is out about Meg’s paternity, and the fact that Meg put the shears in George’s desk, Rosemary finally comes clean.

You guys will never know how much I wanted to write Doris Roberts of DEATH but it just wasn't to be.

You guys will never know how much I wanted to write Doris Roberts of DEATH but it just wasn’t to be.

The sheriff apologises – to JB. He was convinced it was the daughter, but JB knew it – she knew it when Rosemary said the fridge had been covered in blood 15 years earlier when the fridge had only been moved down a month ago. Also, something something squeaky stairs and revenge for Billy leaving her pregnant.

Guys I’m not going to lie to you. The whole time I wrote this my brain was doing this. I need to lie down and reassess my life up until this point.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S01E10 – Death Casts A Spell

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We’re on the road again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Lake Tahoe where Jess has been lured under false pretenses by her editor’s assistant Joan. She has a BRILLIANT IDEA for JB’s new book, based on the resident hotel hypnotist who goes by the name Cagliostro, and who happens to be George Clooney’s uncle.

He’s hypnotising you right now…

Remember when hypnotism was a thing? Somebody once hypnotised me and made me watch Maid in Manhattan – now that I think about it, I still haven’t had justice for that. But I digress.

This Cagliostro character is adored by his fans (especially Joan) but has made an enemy of the hotel owner, mostly because the C-bomb shagged his missus. His missus naturally claimed she had been hypnotised. What a genius excuse! A couple of reporters – Andy Townsend and Bud Michaels –  have a bone to pick with the C-bomb too, and so he makes a deal: they can come up to his room and ask anything they like, as long as they let him hypnotise them first.

Across the restaurant, JB does an exceptional job of not being interested…

JB learnt her powers of surveillance from her neighbours in the Cove.

Joan can’t handle a gauntlet being tossed around like that, and runs off to demand that the celebrated mystery writer JB Fletcher be permitted to attend the demonstration, to which the C-bomb magnanimously agrees. Jess meanwhile is being harrassed by a lunatic at the slot machines who is convinced that JB is a character from Doctors after Hoursand desperately trying to get JB to come and meet her bridge club who are playing craps. Jess tries to get Andy’s attention, but he flees in the elevator.

Huzzah for a topical caption! (Sorry)

Eventually she is saved by Joan, who tells her that the C-bomb will be honoured to have JB attend his soiree. Jess pointedly tells Joan that she most certainly will not be attending, and Joan says “You’re a writer…aren’t you the least bit curious?”

MAGIC WORD.

Joan and Jess hit up the elevator, but they’re too late. The C-bomb has started his demonstration and his lackey on the door doesn’t even have a key to get in, which is a problem when they hear the glass of the window shattering. Fortunately the boss of the hotel appears with his Boss Key and opens the door.

The C-Bomb is dead, and the six journalists are all hypnotised. THAT’S GOT TO SUCK.

Enter the pipe smoking Lieutenant Bertcam (not kidding), who is stumped. Fortunately, JB is on the case. She Using Joan’s recording of the C-Bomb’s most recent performance, the police bring the journalists out of their trance. Honestly, where would these people be without our gal?

The good news is, JB’s picked up the scent of a juicy murder. The bad news is, she’s completely stumped as to how it happened…

JB sums it all up.

…so she pays a visit to the town shrink, to get a professional opinion. He volunteers to give Jess a demonstration by hypnotising her, and despite her rampaging scepticism she agrees. The doctor promptly turns our hero into a drunken barfly and a rich snob, just for our amusement.

I’m going to be honest with you – I got a bit distracted by the ink blot behind the doctor’s desk.

Freud would have a field day with me.

Reinvigorated, Jess goes back to the casino to do some sleuthing and discovers that the police are convinced that the hotel owner, Mr Kellijian is their number one suspect, despite the small matter of him walking out of an elevator seconds after the C-bomb was murdered. Jess isn’t the only one asking around either – Bud Michaels, whose drunken shenanigans caused the whole shindig in the first place, is determined to find out who killed the C-bomb and why, so that he can stop writing for Today Tonight the local rag, and work for a proper newspaper again. What he neglected to mention is that the reason he is writing for the local rag is because the C-bomb ruined his life back in the old country. Jess has a chat with the C-Bomb’s assistant and learns the truth. That, and that she used to be a trapeze stripper in Vegas.

Yeah. Just think about that one for a minute.

JB decides it’s high time she has a chat with this Mr Michaels, and asks him why he pretended to be rolling drunk the night of the murder. (Obviously that incident down in Hollywood has made her drunken senses much more keen). He admits to faking drunkeness in order to avoid the C-Bomb Sideshow, but doesn’t have an alibi. Before Jess can grill him even further, she spots a guy abseilling down the building and runs off to find out how such unauthorized activity can be taking place without her.

It turns out it’s a joint effort between the PD and Joan, who have the new working theory that a trapeze stripper from Vegas could easily rig up an abseil, wander over the side, stab the C-Bomb in the back and bugger off without being seen by anyone.  Sigh. People like this are why the Lindbergh baby was never found. Besides, a trapeze stripper from Vegas wouldn’t stab someone in the back, she’d glitterbomb them to death.

Fed up with the incompetence of those around her, Jess has a word with Mr Kellejian who scoffs at her mild suggestion that he is a suspect, and doubly so at the idea that his wife did it. Jess is unsure about this, and even less so when she spots Mrs K slinking out of the parking lot looking furtive.

Faced with a fleeing suspect, JB does the only thing she can do – hijacks a motorbike and guns it.

Life Lesson #22 – it is possible, if not advisable, to wear a skirt while riding a motorbike…

They tail Mrs K to a deserted road and watch her give an envelope to a mysterious man of mystery. JB’s chauffeur asks what that was about and JB primly says “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff”. Her new friend pisses himself laughing, so presumably “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff” is code for something, or JB goosed him. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Back at the hotel JB goes up to Mrs K’s room and demands an explanation. Mrs K admits to ordering a hit on the C-Bomb but was getting blackmailed by the hitman. She swears she had nothing to do with it, and JB tends to believe her, despite the whole contract killing biz. Jess is stumped, but when the Lieutenant mutters about his suspects being deaf, dumb and blind, she has an idea.

A cunning trap is set, and the killer falls right into it. JB ALWAYS GETS HER MAN.

And the killer is…Andy!

And there you have it folks. Andy is busted trying to avenge the death of his father, who committed suicide after the C-Bomb ruined his career, and Joan finally convinces Jess to write a book about it.

What hijinks will ensue next week? Stay tuned!