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S09E11 – Final Curtain

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Fletcherfans if you’d just acquired the rights to a play and you wanted to stage a short run before taking it off-Broadway, where would you go?

Darn tootin’ you take it to Cabot Cove. Then Eve Simpson will get you a good deal on the local theatre that hasn’t been used for years and would you believe legendary actor David North used to tread the boards there before he moved to England?

Would you believe it guys, David North is back!

Also the brother of Richard Donat who was in Haven which was a great show.

And frankly, Eve isn’t coping.

Eve’s done. So very done.

Meanwhile, JB is hard at work trying to work out how a businessman will be killed foiling an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister. In this scene, the role of the businessman will be played by Mort Metzger, and the role of the Prime Minister will be played by Gatesy from Tripod*** a dummy.

This episode is in my top ten, you guys.

JB’s plans are interrupted by a phone call from Eve Simpson

“She’s making noises only a squirrel could understand.”

Eve finally manages to get out that David North is back in town. “NO!” Exclaims JB, excited. “Does Seth know?”

You tell me.

Guys Seth emoting is one of the weirdest things about this show and has happened exactly once before.

Seth is frankly losing his mind that his old pal David is back in town. David is delighted to see Seth too and invites him to come to dinner the next night after the auditions for the play. Seth says he can’t, he’s having dinner with Jessica. David says to bring her along, what actor doesn’t love a good mystery?

Indeed.

The next day auditions are underway for the supporting roles for the play. Under the watchful eye of director Kathryn Evans, producer Jerome Mueller, and David North, the hopefuls take the stage. First up is (surprise!) Eve Simpson and Lyman Taggart, a ring-in from Bangor. Eve nails it but Lyman is terrible, and when Kathryn gently tells him to leave the stage he loses it and starts abusing everyone. Jessica and Seth wander in to watch but Lyman eventually wears himself out and storms off the stage. David decides to take this as a sign and wanders over to be introduced to JB, who is delighted to meet him but not as much as he is to meet her.

Fun fact, Lyman is being played by the guy who played Jack in Profiler.

Over dinner, the cast and crew chat about the production – one man’s descent into madness, as portrayed by David North and some fancy new paint that only shows up under UV light (hashtag plot point). While everyone else gets up to dance, JB asks how it feels to be back on stage, and David says it’s wonderful. Seth can’t understand why he ever retired, and David tells him it wasn’t as much fun anymore. Also, he could never come back to Cabot Cove because he lost a dear friend, something Seth knows about clearly. David gets a shock when his old manager Eric Benderson appears – he heard David was back and just wanted to be sure that David had everything he needed.

Later in the night, dinner is winding down. Kathryn makes her departure, running into Lyman as she leaves. He storms in to tell David he drove 100 miles to see him, and that he used to think David was something special. All he wanted was a chance, but now he thinks someone should take David down a peg.

The next morning Seth pops around to JB’s for breakfast. He’s dying.

Oh, how I wish I didn’t know how he felt.

Seth is regretting all of his life choices, but specifically the ones that happened after he and David dropped Jess off the night before. According to Seth, David is coping with the day better than he is, but Seth is still concerned – he got the impression David was out for a good time even if it killed him. He is also concerned that his mouth feels like outdoor carpeting.

Guys, I don’t think Jessica has had a hangover in her life.

Far from hungover, David is at the theatre, examining with a little bit of horror the UV artwork that is meant to represent his descent into madness, while someone lurks in the shadows. Seth is also restored to life, thanks to JB’s cooking, and so offers to drive Jessica into town. Before they set off, Jess finds the scrapbook Seth made dedicated to his life-long friend (#bromantical). Jess notices a newspaper clipping not pasted in and Seth tells her it’s from a sadder time – this was the friend that David had lost, Vincent Chansing, who died in a car accident. (Fun fact, apart from the headline, the rest of the newspaper article is about the LA riots. Thanks, pause button!)

The phone rings – it’s Jerome Mueller, looking for Seth. There’s a problem at the theatre. Seth hurries down, dropping JB off in town in the process, and goes off to the theatre. Jess runs into Lyman again, who is super apologetic about his behaviour but really wants to work with David so if Jess could put in a good word maybe..? Jess tells him she can’t do it, and Lyman starts screaming got a light “CAN’T OR WON’T?”

Seth arrives at the theatre to find his friend barricaded in the dressing room. David is not in a good way, and he confesses to Seth that he’s scared. Of course, says Seth. Who wouldn’t be? But David is the best, he can nail his return to acting even with the time away. David thinks Seth is a very good friend, and he wishes they were talking about the same thing.

Job done, Seth leaves the theatre chatting to Eric Benderson, who tells him he appreciates Seth – there are people out there who wish David harm. JB arrives with Mort, who is desperate to meet his idol David North. Jess tells him to shush and they sneak in, followed by the parents of one of the other supporting cast members who commentate everything their son does.

Me when people talk/use their phones in the cinema. Don’t get me started on this.

Mort eventually loses his shit at the people behind him (to which I say well done sir) and bellows “DO YOU MIND?”

Up on stage, the actors fall silent. David comes down and asks him to repeat the line a couple of times, and announces that they have found the constable they need for the show.

BOOM! FORCED HAMILTON REFERENCE AT LAST! BOOM BOOM!

Later that night, David arrives at House Fletcher to take her to the cast party, as Seth got held up on Seth business. He apologises for being late, he had to go all the way across town to find a manual car, such is his hatred of automatic cars. While Jess shuts her computer down, she asks David if he’s feeling good about the play. He is – especially about the young actor from New York – he doesn’t get a lot of work so if this turns out to be his big break David will take a certain amount of pride. Jess knows the feeling, she has it whenever one of her students does well. “We repay the good things in our own lives by investing in someone elses.” She says. (Life Lesson #70)

Down at the theatre, Kathryn wants a word with Jerome. She’s pissed – she’s just found out that Eric Benderson has started demanding a 15% cut of the gross when the original plan was a three-way split between Kathryn, Jerome and David. Jerome tells her the play is nothing without David but not to worry, a lot can happen before the ink dries.

The party in full swing, Jess takes up residence next to the punch bowl. Mort is anxious not to make a fool of himself in the play, but Eve assures him he will be fine, he gets bumped off at the end of the first act. Jess spies Eric and Jerome arguing, but Eric later comes over to assure her that everything is fine, and to ask where David was. Jess points him out, but before Eric can go to him Lyman appears. Eric and another dude escort him out, Lyman shrieking.

Later, the party done, Seth is driving JB home when he realises he left his glasses at the theatre. Classic Seth. He tries to take JB home first but she says nonsense, they only just left the theatre, it will be quicker to turn around and go back now.

So they do, and wouldn’t you know it Eric Benderson is lying unconscious on the floor, covered in the UV paint. Hashtag plot point.

Eric is taken to hospital where Seth works on him but it’s no good. Mort tells JB that he did a bit of digging into Lyman’s life and learned he was in and out of institutions with a long line of crazy fan boy behaviour. The next day, despite Jessica’s theory that he’s staying at the Hill House (for reasons, don’t worry about it), they find him coming out of the Lighthouse Motel. Mort chases after him and Jess suddenly notices the room where Eric Benderson was staying is now on fire. JB reports it to the manager who goes at it with a fire extinguisher but the fire is too great. Also, gas.

Mort returns with Lyman in custody.

It sure did Mort.

Down at the Sheriff’s office, Lyman swears he didn’t start the fire. At first, he says he was staying there but admits he only went there because he saw David North go in there and he wanted to apologise. Mort wonders if David saw who started the fire – JB wonders if it was David who started it. Or if someone started it because David was in Eric’s room.

They drive over to his house, but there’s no answer at the front door. Jess asks Mort if he can smell what she smells – gas. Mort breaks in and finds David unconscious on the bed, and carries him out, ordering Jessica to call for backup. They take him to Seth, who begrudgingly clears him to go home and rest. JB can tell something is wrong though, and after Mort leaves with David asks Seth what it is.

“Who says something is wrong?” Asks Seth.

ACTUAL QUOTE THIS EPISODE IS GLORIOUS

Seth can’t deny it. David told them that he’d been knocked unconscious but Seth examined him, there wasn’t a mark on him. Jess sadly thought that might be the case – all the doors and windows were locked from the inside at the house. Seth refuses to believe it but Jess has a point – David tried to commit suicide.

Deputy Andy pops in looking for Mort, but he’s just missed him – he’s taken David to the theatre, despite Mort being worried that Seth will kill him for taking David anywhere but home. Andy found a locked box under the bed – Jess takes a look and finds a fragment of a photo of a car. Seth can’t place it but Jess can. It’s the car that killed Vincent whatshisface, David’s friend. Jess compares it to the photo from the paper and it’s identical, except it was taken at night, not during the day. Jess asks Seth about the night of the accident, and Seth tells her that he got the call from Eric Benderson, who arrived at the accident after Seth and the sheriff. Vincent had been going to the airport to head home after breaking his arm.

“Which arm Seth?” Jessica asks.

“Right one,” Seth says. “Why?”

Jess knows why. And after recruiting Kathryn the director, she proves why.

Ah yes. The old covered in UV paint giveaway. Many have been brought undone by such….god I’m hungry.

This is what happens when your manager blackmails you after you leave the scene of an accident because you’re blind drunk and accidentally kill your best friend.

So, while Seth goes with David to the prison to make sure he’s okay, and Mort catches up on paperwork, let’s leave Our Heroine back at work on her book, and frankly doing an excellent impression of me writing this blog.

Later gang!

***If you get this reference take the rest of the month off.

S03E10 – Stage Struck

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Don’t know where JB is this week Fletcherfans, but wherever it is has something called an Applewood Playhouse where two of her friends Julian Lord and Maggie Tarrow are reuniting for a revival of the play that got them famous back in the day, Apparently what got them more famous were the hotel rooms they trashed when they fought it out. The Applewood Playhouse, it turns out, was the place where Jessica met a bloke named Frank Fletcher. Nawww.

JB catches up with Maggie in her dressing room, in that Maggie talks at her for a while, opens her makeup case and completely freaks out. (This tallies with my experience with actors).

The calm before the storm (Fun fact: this is Julie Andrews's rival in The Sound Of Music)

The calm before the storm (Fun fact: this is Julie Andrews’ rival in The Sound Of Music)

She flounces out of the dressing room, yells at her former husband (twice former, I think), yells at her understudy and departs to yell at another actor, Larry Matthews, who was having a marvellous time making out with the stage manager Pru, whom Maggie accuses of being a bedspread. I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it sounds like a burn. Later, while Maggie and Larry are rehearsing Maggie loses her shit again, when a silhouette turns into a man. Not only a man, but a man who had previously been making snide remarks at Maggie and Julian’s press conference. Maggie’s understudy, Barbara Bennington, comes forward to announce that that’s no man that’s a space station it’s her fiance from New York. Except as they leave the stage he thanks her and tells her to make sure Maggie never finds out who he really is.

MYSTERIOUS.

While Maggie regroups, the actor playing the butler (who also happens to be the Chief of Police) comes on to ask what his motivation is in this scene. “You’re a butler, chief. Your motivation is to buttle.” Says the director.

Disclosure: I judge people who don't like the movie Clue. (Image credit)

Disclosure: I judge people who don’t like the movie Clue. (Image credit)

Rehearsals continue, and then Maggie loses it again when a mysterious thing appears in the prop scrapbook she is reading, causing her to faint. They lay her down on the casting couch in her dressing room and she informs Julian that “It was…HIM!”

I’m not gonna lie, I think she’s a zombie now.

While Maggie recovers back at the hotel Jess investigates the scrapbook, which has suddenly reappeared, but it’s completely empty. Later that night, Julian has an argument with producer Nicky Saperstein and show director Alexander Preston but Nicky is convinced: the show must go on, with Barbara Bennington in the lead role. Julian declares that Barbara can perform in the show if Nicky wishes…but not with Julian! *cue door slam* A short time later, JB comes across Barbara leaving Julian’s dressing room saying “Believe me, I support your decision 100%” Isn’t that nice?

JB tells Julian that she’s worried someone is trying to frighten Maggie. Julian tells her that her imagination had been running a little wild lately, but before he can explain Alexander turns up to defend the decision to go on with Barbara, saying that Maggie had bailed on a production before and he was damned if she was going to do that to him again. Julian agrees to go on that night on the condition that Maggie resume her role the following evening.

The curtain goes up and the first act goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately the second act is cancelled when Barbara Bennington drops dead. Seems like a legit excuse, really. Fortunately, the chief of police is already on hand. Unfortunately, he’s decided that he can only solve the case if he pretends to be Poirot.

If you ever wondered what Poirot would sound like with an American accent, watch this episode.

If you ever wondered what Poirot would sound like with an American accent, watch this episode.

Our Heroine’s reaction to this new development is measured and appropriate.

It could be worse, really...

It could be worse, really…

JB follows him into Barbara’s dressing room and finds him having a panic attack. He asks her how his performance went – he doesn’t think he can perform the role of investigating this case as himself, only as Monsieur Poirot.

Fair question.

Fair question.

In light of the Chief’s tenuous grip on reality JB agrees to help him, and suggests they take samples of all the liquids around to see which was poisoned. The next morning, Jess visits Maggie at the hotel to find her even more rattled. She’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her and doesn’t want to return to the theatre but Julian convinces her.

JB runs into Alexander at the theatre and asks him what he meant the previous night about Maggie having run out on him before. He tells her that during the first run of the play thirty years ago Maggie begged out of her contract “to do a movie” and disappeared for about a year. JB points out that Maggie didn’t make her first movie until much later, and Alexander tells her that it was just an excuse to get out of the play.

While Nicky the theatre owner revels in his new-found notoriety, the Chief informs JB and Alexander that cyanide in the decanter of wine on the stage “was responsible for the death of our luckless thespianette.” (Thespianette apparently has about twelve syllables).   He decides that Julian is the guilty one, then changes his mind and decides Maggie is the guilty one, JB, showing infinite patience, tells him that he’s an idiot the clue to solving the case has something to do with the scrapbook that caused Maggie’s fit the previous day. Apparently no one agrees with her as  she is left to investigate the stage on her own, but is immediately distracted with memories of the first time she met Frank, all those years ago.

(For the record, she's listening to the voice of her dead husband explaining how to paint the sets. Basically, Ghost)

(For the record, she’s listening to the voice of her dead husband explaining how to paint the sets. Basically, Ghost)

JB’s walk down memory lane is interrupted by Larry and Pru having a bit of a makeout. Honestly, kids these days *shakes fist*

That night, the show goes off without a hitch…until the end of the first act when Julian smells cyanide in the wine again and knocks the glass out of Maggie’s hand with an outlandish flourish. Pru brings the curtain down and the accusations start flying.

Down at the police station, JB gives the chief a lesson in how to find evidence.

(One is called Amos and the other is Seth. #factsIjustmadeup)

(One is called Amos and the other is Seth. #factsIjustmadeup)

Back at the theatre, JB asks Maggie to come clean about why she thinks someone is trying to kill her. Maggie shows her the note left in her makeup case that reads 30 YEARS CAN’T’ CHANGE WHAT YOU DID TO ME. Subtle.  She refuses to give JB any more information. JB tries to get Julian to talk about the year Maggie disappeared, saying that nine months is close to a year. (Life Lesson #49)

“I’m sorry, but this is a scene in which I have no lines.” Says Julian, and walks off. For the record I will be stealing this line and using it to get out of conversations I don’t want to be a part of. Fair warning.

JB asks Alexander for Larry’s resume. to check his vital statistics but is interrupted by the Chief barreling with an arrest warrant. Apparently it’s clear that Alexander set the whole thing up to kill Maggie as revenge for walking out on the play thirty years ago. While JB explains to the Chief why the whole thing is preposterous Larry spots Barbara’s mysterious fake fiancée rifling through her dressing room and gives chase, bringing him down with an epic tackle.

The Chief decides to multi task and interrogate the man, Terry Holt, while dressing for the show. Terry admits to being an investigative reporter looking to do a story on Maggie and Julian. Barbara was an acquaintance looking to further her career by taking over for Maggie by freaking her out – notes in makeup cases, birth certificates in scrapbooks, that old chestnut. JB thinks that Maggie thought that Terry must have been her son, which is why she said “It was….HIM!” earlier on. She explains it all very clearly to the Chief, who promptly tries to arrest Terry for poisoning Barbara’s red wine in order to steal the birth certificate.

JB's patience is cracking.

JB’s patience is cracking.

Terry tells them that Barbara couldn’t have been poisoned by red wine as she was allergic. This gives Jess an idea.

That night, the show finally goes ahead without any attempted murders. While the cast celebrates, the Chief decides to have one last stab at arresting someone, this time arresting Terry for being the long lost illegitimate son of Maggie and Julian. Also a murderer.

Of course, he’s completely wrong. Fortunately JB is there to set things right.

I'll be honest, my care factor is not high.

I’ll be honest, my care factor is not high.

There you have it. It was all an attempt by Julian to be free of that role-grabbing little so-and-so Barbara. Actors, man. What are you going to do?

Later gang!

Later gang!

S02E03 – Murder in the Afternoon

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Happy New Year Fletcherfans! I hope you all had a marvellous Christmas and an appropriately ridiculous new year. If that saying about what you’re doing at midnight holding true for the year is accurate, I will be dancing Gangum Style with a bottle of wine in each hand while fireworks go off behind me. I’m not sure whether that’s a forecast for my year or an inevitable fact.

Ahem. Anyway.

Our Heroine is on a roadtrip again this week, catching up with her sister Agnes and her niece Nita, who has just got a role as a homicidal lunatic called The Avenger on a daytime soap opera called Young Bold Days of Our Beautiful Restless Hospital Our Secret Lives. This can only end well.

It turns out all is not well on the set. One character is refusing to die, another character wants to get killed off, one character called Julian seems to have issues facing the fact he isn’t really a doctor, one of the actresses is having an affair with one of the writers, who’s wife is the head writer and despised by everybody.

Fun fact. Her name is Joyce and she’s also Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth.

I didn't know Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth were the same person. Mind. Blown.

I didn’t know Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth were the same person. Mind. Blown.

Later than night Joyce is at home, plotting to kill off another character. Her husband Larry (having an affair with the actress from the show) starts making eyes at her but she gives him the cold shoulder. He tells her he’s off to the Friar’s Club, to which she replies “I may call you later. You’d better be there or else I may have to cut off your…inheritance.”

Allowance is code for penis.

Allowance is code for penis.

Joyce settles down to finish her work, but is interrupted by a bullet shot by a figure dressed as the Avenger from the show, who walks in while the theme from Pink Panther inexplicably plays in the background. No more Malory/Lucille/Joyce. The masked marauder steals Joyce’s script for the next day and hightails it out of there.

The next day, JB is packing up to head back to the Cove when she receives a visit from the police. There’s an arrest warrant out for Nita for the murder of Joyce/Lucille/Malory.

JB is clearly delighted by this turn of events.

JB takes exception to a man wearing a hat indoors.

JB takes exception to a man wearing a hat indoors.

He takes her downtown to see his boss Lieutenant Antonelli, who has just finished establishing that Joyce’s husband did not go to the Friar’s Club, but was so wasted  that he didn’t know where he was. Needless to say he is not in the best of moods, so when JB explains that it’s just not possible that Nita is the killer, he responds with “Mrs Fletcher, let me be frank. You’re writing ain’t my kind of reading.”

To which Our Heroine replies “Well lieutenant let me be even franker, anyone who is capable of imagining that my niece can commit murder is being grossly overpaid or taking up valuable space in this office.”

That'll teach him to sass her books.

That’ll teach him to sass her books.

Copping the oratory bitch slap with remarkable good grace, the lieutenant explains that the killer was seen leaving the apartment building at the time of the killing, which JB sensibly explains doesn’t mean it was Nita. Then the lieutenant drops a bomb – Joyce called her sidekick Gordon and told her that Nita had tried to kill her. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if she did do it, she’d still be more awesome than Brady, but JB storms out before she can tear the lieutenant a new one. She goes to see her sister to talk strategy, and receives a phone call from Nita who is hiding out at a hotel. Before Jess can go and collect her she is arrested by the police. That lieutenant didn’t take his scolding that well after all.

Nita admits to Jess that she went to see Joyce, after it became clear that Joyce was going to kill Nita’s character off, but didn’t go inside her building. Jess tells her to buck up and goes out on a mission to get more evidence. She runs into Bibi (banging Joyce’s husband) and another actor from the show downstairs, who politely ask about Nita and demand to know what has happened to the new script. JB brushes them off – she’s got nieces to protect.

JB goes to see the recently widowed Mr Joyce, aka Larry, and asks him why he lied about the time he left the house. He admits he was upstairs banging Bibi-the-actress, but denies killing his wife. Stay classy, Larry. Back at the studio, asks the new head writer Carol and new director Gordon if they knew what changes Joyce was planning to make to the show. Gordon admits he does, and arranges to meet with JB later that evening. Unfortunately for  Gordo, he gets lured back to the studio with a  recording of the actors bitching about him and shot in the shoulder for his trouble.

Antonelli immediately jumps to conclusions about who the shooter is, and tries to arrest Todd-the-actor-who-wanted-out, but receives a phone call that the gun that shot Joyce is the same one that shot Gordo, but isn’t the Avenger’s gun. Yeah, okay? JB decides to conduct a little experiment and gets the help of the new head writer to drop some new dialogue into the show. Aided by the teleprompter, Julian (actor who has trouble remembering he’s not really a doctor) confesses to killing Joyce.

Say it ain't so!

Say it ain’t so!

WHAT THE HELL?

Wait, no, no. The whole gun thing. Julian had the Avengers gun, the Avenger gun wasn’t the murder weapon.

Turns out it was the husband the whole time.

Ah yes. That old chestnut.

Ah yes. That old chestnut.

And there you have it gang! Another week goes past and JB doesn’t have any murderous relations! Huzzah! Let’s hope it continues next week.

Later, Fletcherfans!