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S10E17 – The Dying Game

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Once upon a time in a faraway land called Larkins Department Store, a man hides in a pot plant to escape the watchful eyes of a security guard. The guard safely on his way, the man does what we all did in the 90s – steal a floppy disk and some dot-matrix printouts before using a landline to call your boss and tell them that the Larkin Pension fund is missing about five million dollars.

Come on guys you know we were all doing that in the 90s. That and Pogs.

The man promises the guy on the other end of the line that he’ll find out who’s been pinching the money and hangs up. He hears a noise and quickly goes to the elevator however it doesn’t reach him in time and someone leaves an axe in his back. And by axe, I mean a hatchet that looks like it came from a toy shop.

(Frankly, he deserves to die, you take the goddamn stairs like a normal thief FML).

Before the killer flaps off into the night, they hit redial on the phone in the office and ask the person on the other end of the line who is speaking. Spoiler alert the killer is a woman but apparently isn’t…well I’ll get to that.

The next day, as the employees come to terms with the loss of Chief Accountant Henry Wilson (the recently axed man found in the elevator), owner of the store Floyd Larkin (aka Peter Donat, aka Mulders Dad) is in crisis talks with Clint Halliwell and Thornton Brewer from Amalgamated Holdings. Clint and Thornton have secretly outbid their competitors, the Museum of Cultural History to take over the Larkin building and Floyd is having a crisis of conscience. He promised the building to the museum but he’s signed the paperwork. Clint, in particular, gives no bothers about the whole thing and tells Floyd to get over it, he has bigger problems than letting down a friend, aka someone’s been pinching from the pension plan. As they leave the office with personnel manager Maud Gillis (aka Captain Janeway) Clint tells Thornton he got a weird phone call the previous night asking who he was.

Captain Janeway has a really unique voice though, wouldn’t you agree? We’ll get to that.

Meanwhile, Floyd’s friend is in the elevator and has just found out about the recent murder.

It must be exhausting, frankly.

That guy, Bill Maguire, promises to have lunch with JB later, but must now away to a meeting with Maude. JB lets Floyd’s secretary know she is here (fun fact, the secretary is being played by Angie Lans’s niece), and goes off to wait. She first bumps into Larkin employee and student of the Fletcher Writing System Shirin Hourani, who tells her she will have to drop out of the course now that she’s about to lose her job. The lawyer for the Cultural History Museum Meredith Peckham tells her that all Larkin employees will have the chance to train to work at the museum and Shirin is very excited to hear.

Jess runs into another old friend, Lieutenant Alan Terwilliger (previously seen here) and immediately asks him how his beets are doing. Man, that’s a long throwback. I’d forgotten all about this guy who is not in another episode after this one. There’s no time to get into a beetdown though (you’re welcome), Floyd is ready to see JB now.

(Meanwhile, Bill Maguire has a big argument with Maude about a fifteen grand loan that is now due. Something about wedding costs and his house not being mortgaged. It was about this time I started thinking about pancakes)

Jessica is outraged to hear that Floyd is going back on his word about the museum buying the Larkin building. Floyd doesn’t have a whole lot to say for himself but Clint Hallowell, who shall be henceforth known as Douchebag McGinty (not my first choice of name, but less sweary) announces that Floyd made the right move and gets five million out of the deal. Thornton Whatsisface says Larkin employees who measure up will get to become part of Amalgamated as well. Meredith tells them that a verbal agreement is binding and there is such a thing as *insert whatever law term she was talking about here* and storms out. Douchebag McGinty tells Floyd to accept the deal by close of business or the whole thing goes down and he and Thornton wander off. Floyd asks JB if he’s lost a friend and JB says no, but she’s very disappointed and she owes it to the museum to fight him to the end. He tells her she’s invited to the closing down party on Friday night but she says given the circumstances she won’t attend.

Jess pops down to see Bill, but he’s so busy taking inventory he can’t attend. He introduces her to fellow Larkin employee Ernie Fishman (who on his IMDB page lists himself as quite a good pinball machine repairman, you can all update your social media accounts accordingly). Ernie is a) saving up to open a bridal boutique on Madison Avenue (sure buddy) and b) is dating Sherin.

So for those playing at home, I am about 9 minutes into this episode and there have been 12 characters including one JB said hello to as she walked into the reception area. I’m already exhausted.  Meanwhile, Floyd overhears Douchebag McGinty and Thornton Whatsiface discuss their financial woes, and how Douchbag plans to borrow money from the Larkin pension plan to cover it until November.

Later that night…

This was basically me last night, except I was watching the football and had a cat instead of a telephone #whereshefitsshesits

…JB gets a call from Ernie to tell her that Bill Maguire for Henry Wilson’s murder. JB tells him not to worry, she’ll get into it first thing in the morning.

Jess goes to see Sideshow Alan Terwilliger (you’re welcome, people who get that reference) who is adamant Bill killed Henry and put a virus on the store network to wipe any trace of his debt to Floyd Larkin. Jess isn’t buying it, not even when he tells her that the security guard saw Bill leave the store a short time after the murder.

Down at Larkins, Tina Poulos (who said hello to JB at the elevator and I think possibly told Terwilliger about the virus) is yelling at Floyd about how he’s letting Amalgamated win, and did the Bahamas mean nothing and so on and so forth. I’m not entirely sure what her job is at Larkins but she’s very opinionated.

Back at the precinct Bill tells JB that he was there the night Henry died – he’d been following Henry for a few nights, suspicious that Henry knew something was up. His suspicions were confirmed when he saw him meeting Douchbag Macginty the night before the murder, but when Henry didn’t appear downstairs for Bill to tail he just went home. Ernie was with him at closing, and so JB decides to go have a chat with him.

Back at Larkins, Douchbag McGinty arrives just as Shirin is leaving for the day. She politely excuses herself but Douchbag says that’s no way to treat a man whose sent her roses every day for a week, and that he doesn’t give up that easily.

An arrogant jackass that won’t take no for an answer? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

He corners her for another crack and she tells him no. He tells her her mouth says no but her eyes say “what have I got to lose?”

Hashtag mace face

Meanwhile Maude is called into Thornton’s office for a chat. She thinks chat is code for sexy times, but he wants to remind her that she has an excellent opportunity with Amalgamated, and that she needs to remember that Chairman Douchebag Macginty likes women to be submissive.

NAILED IT

Maude tells him to man up and stop cleaning up after him, but immediately apologises and they get to the making out. Later, Maude finds Shirin in her office wanting to make a complaint about Douchbag McGinty. She doesn’t want to file a lawsuit, she needs her job. Maude tells her she’ll be head of makeup with a 30% raise – if she dates Douchbag, find out who he meets, where he goes, and reports back to Maude. Put out, don’t put out, she doesn’t care. Shirin can take the deal or an unemployment cheque when Maude tells the new overlords about Shirin’s record for shoplifting as a teenager. Shirin tells her that Floyd forgave that but Maude tells her there’s no record of that in the file.

Our Heroine and Meredith are out regrouping after losing a legal challenge when Douchbag McGinty pops up.

Fun fact: the collective name for a group of men in suits blocking your path is in fact a Conglomerate of Douchebags. #themoreyouknow

He just wants to commiserate with them – his team had bigger guns.

THIS EPISODE IS MAKING ME SO ANGRY WHERE’S THE GODDAMN KEYTAR

Douchbag McGinty wanders off with Shirin on his arm and Meredith and JB vow to go down fighting. On that, JB pops round to the store to see Ernie and find out more about the hatchet that was used to kill Henry. He tells her it wasn’t missing during stocktake, so someone must have come down and taken it after hours and only Bill and the bosses (Floyd, Tina Poulos and Maude etc) have keys to get in.

Back at home, Jessica calls Sideshow Al to tell him her theory that Henry was a mole for Amalgamated, but he ain’t got time – he’s gotten an invite to the closing down party and he wants to do some snooping. It’s not Jess’s first choice but she wouldn’t mind another go at Floyd so she tells Al she’ll see him there.

That night over a dance Sideshow Al reluctantly conceeds JB’s theory is valid, and says he’s having a familiar feeling that she knows something he doesn’t.

Something something worst ties at Larkins…

Their conversation is cut short by Terwilliger’s pager going off. Later, JB is kicking back with a beverage with the inexplicable Tina Poulos who is bemoaning the fate of the store despite having no real idea what she does there. Ernie tells Jess Al’s gone back to the precinct and resumes waiting for Shirin. He doesn’t have to wait long, she arrives in a blast of fanfare on the arm of Douchbag McGinty looking miserable. While DM swans about congratulating himself she rushes over to apologise to Ernie. Douchbag himself bobs up to ask Ernie what he’s so mad about, he never had a shot at Shirin. Ernie responds by going to punching him in the face. DM ducks, and proceeds to beat the crap out of poor old Ernie. Jess corners Floyd for one last try at a postponement, but he’s given up.

DM gets a call and wanders off, closely followed by Ernie, but not before DM takes the time to tell Maude that she’s riding a dead horse or hasn’t Thornton told her yet? No, I don’t know either. DM goes downstairs, drunkenly smashes a couple of mannequins and then someone dressed as a deer hunter shoots him with a crossbow – unfortuantely not in his nuts.

The next day Sideshow Al rocks up to investigate the murder and discovers that someone has also broken into the personnel office and trashed the files. JB is summoned and Al tells her the murder happened at roughly 10:35 according to DM’s smashed watch. A minion appears with the deerstalker outfit and that triggers something in JB’s memory but she can’t quite remember it. Al gives her a lift home and they have a lovely voiceover conversation about fingerprints in an effort to speed things along under budget.

Later, Jess gets a call from Sideshow Al who tells her that Ernie’s prints were on the crossbow and the personnel office and he’d like a word. Jess tells him she’ll let him know when she sees Ernie, hangs up and discovers Ernie and Shirin were in her kitchen this whole time drinking tea I mean what were the odds?

Shirin explains how Floyd and DM had an argument the night of the party, and Ernie tells Jess he trashed the office after he heard what Maude had threatened Shirin with. He also did follow DM down to the basement, but legged it when he saw the body. JB asks him to think hard but he can’t remember anything else except how weird it was that someone had stripped the deerstalker outfit off the mannequin.

This gives JB an idea and she hightails it back to Larkins. She bids Maude a goodnight, runs into Tina and tells her she’s just looking for something she’s forgotten and would Tina like to help her down in the basement? Tina says no, it’s all a bit creepy and goodnight. A quick call to Sideshow Al and Jess heads down to the basement where she finds what she was looking for – the mosquito net mask of the deerstalker hat, and the killer.

WTF WHY WHAT NO.

But also

WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING

You guys I do not understand. I get that Floyd was the one who embezzled the money. I do. And obviously he killed Douchbag McGinty. But who killed Henry? And the person who called the phone was 100% Kate Mulgrew. I AM SO CONFUSED.

Two months later Shirin is pregnant and about to become a docent, Ernie has opened his shop and all is well except for a random freeze frame about spelling Abraham/Ibrahim.

I am so confused. Guys, explain this to me.

Later gang!

S09E17 – The Big Kill

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Welcome back to the Cove Fletcherfans, where a giant storm has parked itself. Despite this, local fisherman Henry Riddett is heading out anyway. Mort warns him as he helps load Henry’s boat, but Henry says the fish like to shelter in his nets, it will all be okay. Meanwhile, some dude named Phil Shannon stands in a truck with a loaded gun in his pants (not a metaphor). As Mort drives off, some other dude named Brian Bentall appears, warning against violence. Phil tells him Henry is going to get them all arrested, and Brian tells Phil that Henry isn’t the person who worries him.

Guys, I’ll be honest, the first time I watched this episode I started alphabetizing my books so I don’t entirely know what’s happening. We’ll discover it all together.

The next morning, with the storm still in residence, JB is contending with a whole lot of leaks and has Seth and local handyman Russell on the case. (The story of my childhood, minus having Seth on the roof. Nothing worse than a leaky roof!) Russell is grateful for the work, having lost his job when the factory closed down and is about to launch into some gratitude poetry but JB ain’t got time for that.

Life Lesson #71 – When delivering gratitude poetry it is important to read the room.

The person under that umbrella is Eve Simpson, who has blown in to invite Jessica and Seth to a party being hosted by Martin Fraser – Eve’s new boyfriend and He Who Laid Off The Staff At The Factory. Russell and Eve greet each other frostily, but Eve is far too excited about the party to dwell on such trivia.

Seth appears from the roof, after doing his back, but wants no part of Martin’s get together. JB notices his discomfort and offers to make him an appointment for her chiropractor over at Bar Harbour but Seth wants no part of that either. He’s going home to take two aspirin and he’ll call himself in the morning.

I mean he SAYS he was fixing the roof…

Meanwhile, over at Pantechnics HQ, Martin Fraser (aka Chad Everett) is having a crisis meeting with Carl Ward (aka Gregg Henry) and Brian Bentall (aka that guy from before). I don’t entirely know what they’re talking about but long story short the company is in trouble and Brian and Martin have been smuggling weapons out of Cabot Cove to make ends meet. Seems legit.

Down at the docks, Henry the fisherman gets a visit from his daughter Sarah, who is furious he went out in the storm. In response, Henry gives her an envelope with a thousand dollars in it, money collected from poker games and fishing (but actually from gun running). After Sarah leaves, Henry puts a call in to Mort, asking to meet. Mort offers to drive over now but Henry sees Phil watching him and arranges to meet him later that night, on his boat.

Jess and Seth are out for a casual stroll when they come across a traffic jam – a Pantechnics boat is being hauled in by a truck and no one appears to be terribly happy about it. Seth and JB run into Eve and Martin, who receives a frosty greeting from Seth.

At Eve and Martin’s house, Martin’s secretary Helen pops in to ask for a cheque for the caterers. While Martin is off writing it, Eve and Helen glower at each other for reasons I can only guess at. Presumably, Helen and Martin had a thing? I have no idea. I think they cut a bit too much back story out of this episode.

Later that night, as a shadowy figure leaves the dock, Mort goes to meet Henry on his boat but finds the boat filled with carbon monoxide and Henry dead from a whack to the head. Over breakfast at House Fletcher the next morning, Seth declares Henry must have passed out from the fumes and whacked his head, which killed him. Mort thinks its still a little weird that all the drawers were open and that the log book was missing, and that there are elephant footprints on the dock, but JB is far too busy correcting student papers and going over revisions for her next book to care. Mort and Seth leave, bickering.

Me getting home from anywhere with more than two people in it #introvertlyfe

Carl Ward, who it turns out is some sort of financial investigator either working for or investigating Pantechnics, visits Phil Shannon at his garage to find out why Pantechnics have been paying him, but Phil is giving him nothing. After Ward leaves, Phil puts a call in to someone to complain about Ward, the drums full of weapons he has stashed in his garage now that Henry’s shuffled off, and life in general.

That night Eve’s party takes place, and in between people waffling about undersea exploration (which apparently is what Pantechnics is into now? Literally no idea what they are talking about), and Mort inviting Brian Bentall to his weekly poker game the next night, and Eve and Helen throwing side-eye at each other (still unexplained), Martin has a clandestine meeting with someone called Walter Kurtz who may or may not be the shadowy person on Henry’s boat. Kurtz and Martin have a whispered fight about Henry’s death and the need to stick to their arrangement when Eve drags Martin away to meet some people. Carl Ward, watches the whole thing.

I honestly have no idea who anyone is or what anyone is doing.

The next day, probably, Ward confronts Martin with the news that he knows what Martin has been up to. The good news is that Ward won’t dob Martin in – if Martin gives Ward 1% of all the money he gets from the sale of the weapons. If Martin says no, the long awaited loan will not come through, and the feds will be called.

That night, Ward goes snooping around the Pantechnics boat and gets a whack on the head for his efforts. Meanwhile, the poker night at Mort’s house is well underway and Mort is cleaning up, much to the disgust of Seth and Deputy Andy. Brian, on the other hand, is more concerned with checking his messages than worrying about Mort’s antics. Over at Martin’s house Martin is throwing himself a massive pity party while Eve tries to find out what’s wrong.

Down at the docks the next morning Brian is wandering around, trying to see if anyone has seen Ward, when he finds him for himself, dead in the bottom of the Pantechnics boat which is full of carbon monoxide. JB pops by a short time later to discuss how similar it is to Henry’s death with Seth and Mort, who are surprised she remembers anything they said.

It’s always good to be reminded.

Brian overhears them talking and asks Mort if Ward was murdered, and Mort says maybe. Jessica thinks it’s an odd way to kill someone, there are much easier ways to do it. Seth thinks it’s one for the record books, which gives Jess an idea and she scurries off.

Back at the sheriff’s office Martin and Helen tell Mort their alibis for the previous evening – Helen was at her mother’s and Martin was working til one in the morning which will probably surprise Eve when she finds out. They waffle on about the loan and Ward’s report back to his office that they should reject it which comes as a surprise to Martin, but I’m so confused I don’t even care.

Seth drops around the coroner’s reports for Jess to read while he sneakily grabs the business card for the chiropractor. Henry’s daughter Sarah pops round with the news that her father had apparently sent her his log books in the post. A quick scan of the log books and a call to the coastguard reveals that a big ship sat waiting for three hours the night of the storm, but that Henry’s boat couldn’t get out due to the storm. Jess asks Mort what he saw the night of the storm, and he tells her they were loading drums, he assumed of oil.

They track the truck number to Phil Shannon’s garage, who tells them he was often asked to pick up oil drums from Pantechnics to take them to Henry’s boat, but that he hasn’t seen them since the night of the storm. Mort gets him to open his truck but it’s empty. Jess notices some rope which matches some rope she saw on the Pantechnics boat, which makes no sense because she never went on the boat, but whatevs, of course she’s right. Martin appears on the dock and tries to deny it but Mort arrests him for All The Murders anyway.

At the Sheriff’s office, Martin tells Mort that it wasn’t him it was an international gun runner and all around bad guy. “What’s his name, Goldfinger?” Asks Mort.

Martin tells him about Kurtz, and Jessica rattles off a description, from when she saw him at Martin’s party. Mort says he’s got no alibi for the murders, but then Eve pops in to tell them that Martin was with her both nights. Apparently, he was lying to protect Eve’s reputation? I don’t think he understands who this works.

Over lunch, Mort, Seth and JB discuss the case. Jess can’t work out why the killer whacked Ward but then waited two hours to turn on the carbon monoxide. Seth loudly exclaims (for the benefit of some nearby gossipers) that Eve and Martin have a secret lovechild in Paris and moans that gossip gets around Cabot Cove faster than a phone call.

This gives Jess an idea and she drags Mort away from his lunch to prove it.

Seth’s back is all better FYI

A quick stop at Pantechnics for a word with Brian and Helen et voila:

Brian of death. Whatever.

Jessica has apparently worked out that Brian called a circuit board that he’d placed in the boat engine so he could remotely turn on the boat engine. Except since JB wasn’t at the poker game I have no bloody idea how she worked this out.

Seriously, I don’t know if it was the writing or the editing but I’m still confused. I need a nap.

Later gang