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S10E11 – Northern Explosion

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Welcome to Canada, where JB is currently on the most inexplicable cross-country quest to get to a wedding in Vancouver.

Now I might just be a small-time country lawyer (I’m not), but it seems to me that getting from Cabot Cove to Vancouver would be a small matter of flying from Boston. Even if it’s just to Toronto to change planes. Or Chicago.

Apparently not though.

This is what happens when you let Phyllis Grant book your travel. #DeepCut

Inside Fletcher Force One JB is hard at work on her novel, while a random dude insists on talking to her. At length. About how he never did work out computers, but he’s a very smart man.

Spoiler alert: it isn’t Donald Trump

It turns out they are on their way to Dominion, which Google says is a real place in Nova Scotia, and is, in fact, the complete opposite direction to Vancouver. This flight better have been cheap.

When the pilot announces they will be hitting turbulence all the way to Dominion, Mr Chatterbox tells JB that Dominion has been having trouble with some local Indians who are trying to stop a mine from going ahead. This interests the other passenger on the plane, who is a member of the local tribe and wonders whether Mr Chatterbox might benefit from reading what’s underneath the headlines.

JB enjoys that little truth bomb immensely and says so via the magic of her laptop.

Remember when computers were a novelty and weren’t trying to take over our lives?

Down on ground level, things are getting heated between the miners and the local First Nation people. (Also someone nicked some dynamite at the start of this episode, this comes up later). Mine boss Rick Shipley and his sidekick Brian Wade aren’t having a bar of it, while the First Nation people are being led by local hot head George Quill. It’s only when George’s grandfather Joe steps in that the First Nation people back down and let the mine convoy through. The local constabulary rolls in in the form of Sgt Hilda Dupont, but the situation has calmed down. She can’t wait for George’s lawyer to get to town to sort it all out once and for all, and George says maybe, maybe not.

Jess rolls into town with her pilot promising to get her airborne first thing the next morning to make her connection at Dawson Forks. As she walks into the hotel Rick Shipley pulls up to ask the pilot (whose name is, of course, Buzz Berkeley) if there is anything for him. Buzz scowls and hands him a parcel before storming off. Apparently, Rick has started using Buzz’s competition after years of using Buzz or some such situation.

While the lawyer (whose name I should point out is Peter Henderson) is on the phone with his office, Mr Chatterbox is checking in and chatting with the receptionist Marie Comouche while some helpful clues just hang out on the counter.

Won’t lie, the first time I watched this episode I paid 0 attention to any of this, I was probably googling flights from Maine to Vancouver.

Before he departs, Mr Chatterbox, who it turns out is actually called Mr Macpherson and I’ve just realised is Deep Throat from The X Files and now my mind is blown, orders Jess to accept his dinner invitation but heroically Peter steps in to tell him that Jess already has dinner plans with him.

“Just trying to be friendly is all,” grumbles Mr Macpherson. UGH.

I think we’ve all been there though.

Peter asks Jess to dinner for real, but first drops by the mine to slap an injunction on Rick Shipley, preventing any activity on the mine for 7 days until the case gets heard in court. Rick asks him about the missing dynamite but it’s the first Peter has heard about it, and if Peter finds out Rick has been spreading gossip without proof there will be a lawsuit heading his way. Rick asks Peter if he really is helping the local community, after all, he had to move away to get a good job.

Jess takes herself down to the general store for some film and runs into Joe Quill for some of that Native Person Mysticism that this show freaking loves. George is also there hanging out and drawing. Martin storms in wanting to know more about the dynamite, and to beg Joe to keep everyone in line until after the hearing. Joe says welcome back, and George pops up to tell Peter the whole thing is pointless, the law doesn’t care about them and that he should just go back to Toronto. He storms outside and gets into a punchup with Rick and Brian which only ends when JB wanders out to see if there are any murders that need solving.

Later that afternoon Peter goes out for a stroll and runs into Hilda Dupont, who can’t believe Peter is back or how good he looks. They adjourn inside for a cup of coffee to reminisce and flirt outrageously. Down at the general store, Shipley and Joe Quill yell at each other a bit about the future of the town before Shipley returns to the mine. Oddly enough he has a meeting with Hamish Macpherson, who has a tale to tell of a bank robber who went missing after a heist in Ottawa in which a cop was killed and half a million bucks got pinched. There’s a reward out for the missing robber but Macpherson thinks there’s more money in blackmailing the missing thief, as he wasn’t able to spend the money he stole and the bank robber would probably be very interest in keeping his identity quiet.

Surprise! Hamish Macpherson is a newly retired cop and Shipley is a bank robber.

Shipley arranges to meet Macpherson at his place at 10pm that night, Shipley even gives his car to McPherson when he starts muttering about needing transportation for a meeting that late. Macpherson also tells Shipley that if something should happen to him, his wife has all the information too and if something should happen to her, then provisions have been made.

At dinner that night, Peter and Jess chat about the case, and how Peter is struggling in the city. Apparently, Joe Quill raised him after his mother died on account of his real father is an alcoholic. Being back has kicked up all sorts of things for him. (Meanwhile JB’s plane still hasn’t been fixed and the wedding is at 4pm the next day)

Later that night, Macpherson comes to see Shipley and is blown up after a shadowy figure carelessly on purpose leaves some dynamite under a bridge.

Gilda arrives on the scene and takes charge. Shipley tells her that Macpherson was a mining tool salesman that he had arranged to meet, but he’d gone to check on the equipment at the mine first. He is adamant the explosion was meant for him on account of he leant his truck out of the kindness of his heart, and more than that it was defs George Quill behind it all.

The next day Jess gets the bad news that the plane still isn’t ready, which gives her plenty of time to answer Hilda’s questions about Macpherson, not that JB knows much. She does mention the briefcase, but that has yet to be found. Hilda tells her that it turns out Macpherson was a retired cop, so lord knows what he was doing in Dominion.

Hilda goes to see Peter and Joe, who are wrapping up a tribal council meeting, and asks them where George is, she has questions. Back at the hotel Jess gets the good news that the plane is fixed when a phone call comes in from Hilda requesting her attendance at the police station.

Imagine a TV show where a psychic travel agent purposefully redirects her cop client to solve murders instead of go on holidays. Yeah. Get to work television.

Jess tells Hilda what she knows about the fight between George Quill and Shipley and Brian Wade, which Hilda says matches what they told her. She has no choice but to hold George on suspicion of murdering Hamish Macpherson, killed because George thought it was Shipley. Jess thinks that none of it makes sense, and also where is Hamish’s briefcase? Hilda tells her not to worry about it, she’ll drive Jess to the plane. Jess wonders if they could just pop round the crime scene on the way…

A trip to the crime scene yields nothing more than a fleck of yellow enamel, but a call comes in from one of Hilda’s colleagues to inform her that they have found the missing dynamite stolen from the start of the episode, buried under George’s cabin. And there are three sticks missing.

George tells them that they must have been missing to begin with, he didn’t count the dynamite when he stole it, he just stole it to stop the mine from going ahead. When Hilda tries to get in touch with Shipley to confirm, Brian tells her he can’t return her call on account of he’s just turned up dead.

On a completely unrelated topic, I once had a conversation with my friend Owen about which Hogwarts House Jessica Fletcher would be in, and guys she is 100% Slytherin. She is missing a wedding to make sure everyone knows that a murder doesn’t get solved unless she solves it. BOSS MODE.

(Also I’m 100% Ravenclaw, just in case any of you were wondering).

Hilda, Peter and JB head to Shipley’s office where it appears he has packed a bag before killing himself. Buzz phones in to see if Shipley is still catching the plane to Dawson Forks, making them all suspect that Shipley did not in fact kill himself. Jess thinks they need to find out more about Hamish Macpherson, and quickly.

While Jessica and Peter chat to Joe in the general store, Hilda goes to work and soon finds out that Shipley was the bank robber and that’s why Hamish Macpherson was in town. She tells them she’s stumped, which makes Jess realise who the killer is and I’m sorry guys I’ve watched this twice and I still don’t get it.

If you worked this out then get to work building a warp drive because you are clearly a genius.

So that is Marie the hotel receptionist, who was married to the cop who was killed in the bank robbery. Presumably she killed Macpherson because she thought he was Shipley, and then she killed Shipley because he was Shipley. Jess worked it all out because of a conversation she overheard Marie having about blowing up tree stumps.

I don’t even know. Anyway, I just discovered there’s a teaser trailer for the Han Solo movie, guys I gotta go.

Later gang!

 

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S10E09 – Murder at a Discount

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Back in the Big Apple again, where JB is finishing up some JB business before heading to Maui for a well-deserved vacation. Alas, it is not meant to be, and Jess gets served papers as she is leaving her publishers office. Dave Novaro, local discount store legend, is suing for All The Things. He thinks JB’s newest book is basically a retelling of his first wife’s murder, a murder he was tried for and acquitted.

Spoiler alert: someone does.

Dave’s feeling stressed and he’s taking it out on his school friends /colleagues Neil Fraser and Lillian Conway, while wife number 2 Iris Novaro can’t show her face in the nail salon anymore without people talking about the murder. THE SCANDAL. She tells Dave she’s going to see a divorce lawyer, but Dave talks her down. She says the delay is only temporary but it’s enough for Dave. Iris leaves the store, gets into a truck and starts making out with a hot roofer named Randy (not kidding) who wants to know why she hasn’t told Dave about him yet. Iris hopes Randy isn’t just trying to get at her money.

Jessica and her publisher head straight to their lawyers to suss out what to do.

Sometimes you just have to ask the question.

Her lawyer, Aaron Woodman, tells them that Novaro is after ten million dollars.

Sidenote: fully coordinated outfit with the curtains.

With a deposition scheduled for the morning, Hawaii is off the table for the time being so instead Jess turns to proving her book is not based on the murder of Dave’s first wife. The research team at the publishers send over everything they can find on the murder and JB gets up to speed while watching Dave on TV going ballistic. Wouldn’t you know it, the original detective on the case is Artie Gelber.

Jess gets a visit from Dave’s former father in law, who is convinced Dave killed his daughter. He is surprised to hear that JB’s book isn’t based on the case, as all the main details match, but offers to do whatever he can to help Jessica’s case if it will cause Dave to squirm. His wife died not long after Janet, so he’s kind of got an axe to grind.

JB’s next stop is to visit Artie to see the original case file, and he doesn’t have good news either. Apart from some minor details, like the murder weapon and how the killer broke in using the garage opener instead of breaking in through a window, her book is almost exactly the same as the case. JB tells him she was in Cabot Cove when she wrote the book, she had not even heard of the case. Artie finds that hard to believe, but he has bigger problems that he needs help with – specifically, getting JB to write an ad for his car that he is trying to sell.

Such a Szbornak move.

The next morning Aaron takes Jess to the offices of Dave’s attorney, who just so happens to be his daughter and also Juliana Margulies.

She’s pretty great really.

Dave loses it when he sees Jessica and tells her she’s going to pay for what she’s done to his life.

So innocent.

Jessica asks him if he’s even read the book and he says of course he hasn’t. Jess suggests he give it a crack, it might help him realise the book isn’t about him.

Deposing all the things, Rachel Novaro tells JB that the value of the stamps in her book is equal to the value of her mother’s necklace that was stolen. JB spots a photo of the said necklace around the neck of the said woman. Guys full disclosure I’m writing this at 6:00am because I’m going to the tennis today so this episode might make less sense than usual.

Jess goes out to lunch for a debrief with her publisher Ted Hartley, where they are confronted by Iris Novarro, who tells Jessica she was Dave’s assistant at the time of the murder but they weren’t fooling around and she hopes Dave takes JB to the cleaners. Ted asks the maitre d to escort Iris out of the restaurant and wonders if JB has considered an out of court settlement – thanks to all the publicity the book is flying off the shelves so with all the extra money they could afford the hit. Jess refuses, it’s a matter of principle naturally. Alas for Ted Rachel Novaro has also thought about this and serves Aaron with a notice preventing all sales and publicity of the book.

Meanwhile, Dave finds Iris (who has apparently moved out of their house) in another restaurant and begs her to come home. He gives her a teddy bear she forgot to take with her and reminds her of their secret signal during the trial that meant I love you. Huh, so much for not having a fling at the time of the murder. Across town, Rachel’s grandfather is struggling with the idea that she is defending her mother’s killer, aka her Dad.

Night happens. While Randy the Randy sits in his truck outside Dave’s store and watches hobos walk past, Neil tells Dave they need to find ways to save money and Lillian reminds him of when they were in high school and Dave asked her to the prom and she thought the would get married.

The struggle is real.

Dave throws everyone out and continues reading. Something in the book strikes him and he calls JB to tell her he thinks he will drop the lawsuit, but something in the book has made him realise who the killer is. Jess doesn’t want to hear it but eventually agrees and gives him her address. Dave says he’ll be there in 20 minutes. On his way out the door, he meets Hilda the Hobo and gives her ten bucks.

Time passes and when Dave doesn’t show up Jess calls the store but gets an engaged signal. She calls the operator who tells her there’s no one on the line. Jess calls Artie, worried that something has happened. Artie agrees to meet her at the store – he’s in a good mood after selling his car to Detective Henderson. They all cruise down to the store and find it unlocked, Dave’s body lying dead on the floor. Neil and Lillian both arrive later expressing their shock. Rachel also turns up but when JB expresses her condolences Rachel tells her it changes nothing about the lawsuit.

The next morning JB calls Artie for an update and learns that Dave’s fingerprints show he was up to the top of page 247 when he died, and also that Detective Henderson loves the new car. This is news to Detective Henderson, who has just walked in with the car door handle in his hand.

Jess goes to see Rachel Navarro and explains to her that Dave was up to the section of her book in which the killer sent his secretary off on a long list of errands in which time he would drive over to his wife’s house, kill her and return to work. Something about that set an alarm off in Dave’s head but Rachel has no idea why and she has a lot of work to do. JB spots what looks like the missing necklace in Rachel’s drawer but Rachel tells her it’s a copy Dave had made one time when he had to pawn the original. He gave her the copy of it when he got the original back.

I see, says Jess and then has an epiphany about garage doors. She calls Artie who agrees to pull the old case file but then gets called away by Detective Henderson (who is still not terribly pleased with the car) to the forensics lab.

Across town, Iris Novaro comes home from the supermarket to find Randy loading their stuff into a truck, all set to move into Dave’s house. Randy isn’t terribly happy to hear that Iris signed a prenup and Rachel gets the lot. Iris walks away.

Jess goes down to the precinct to look at the file, but Artie hadn’t gotten around to pulling it on account of he’s just arrested Rachel’s grandfather for the murder. Jess isn’t buying it for a minute though and insists on seeing the case file anyway.

A short sting operation at Dave’s funeral later…

Let’s be honest, not a shock.

It’s the classic story of a mistress bumping off the competition, and then bumping off the husband when he works it out five years later.

So while Artie is paying to get Detective Henderson’s car fixed, and Rachel Novarro and Aaron Woodman decide to go into business together, I’ll leave you with a deleted scene from The Shining.

Later gang!

 

 

 

S10E06 – Bloodlines

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If anyone tells you Horses by Daryl Braithwaite isn’t Australia’s national anthem they’re a filthy liar

JB is in Virginia hanging out at her pal Matt Cleveland’s place, where she is writing a new book set in horse racing land. Matt is a horse trainer currently training celebri-horse Swift Prince, and so knows a thing or two about such things. His daughter Jill just happens to be the jockey on board so you know there’s that too. Also he’s Mickey Rooney.

Naww. 

Matt is so excited with the Prince’s hot lap that he puts a call in to two of the owners, Catherine Noble and Wally Hampton. They are stoked with the Prince’s time and assure Matt that they will convince the third owner Lloyd Mentone that the hose must race that weekend.

Spoiler alert: this entire episode is basically this:

I don’t understand how Mickey Rooney isn’t playing an old retired jockey actually.

Anyway.

Jess, Matt and Jill head back to Matt’s cottage, while up at the big house Catherine Noble (aka Tippi Hendren) informs her daughter Tracey that Swift Prince will be racing on the weekend. Tracey is delighted, she needs the prize money to fund another 100 guests for her upcoming wedding to Wally’s son Paul. UGH. Catherine tells her the money isn’t going to cover her debts, they are inches away from losing the farm completely, and are counting on Paul approving a bank loan.

That afternoon, Lloyd Mentone is furious to discover that his co-owners have entered the horse in a race when he was focussed on stud fees. Apparently, the horse was recovering from a serious injury and Lloyd thinks it’s a big risk, but he’s overridden. It also turns out that Paul Hampton and Jill once had a thing before he got talked into falling in love with Tracey. Paul looks miserable and later refuses to stay for a drink with his father, who wonders what’s wrong. Paul asks him what he wants, and Wally says for Paul to quit the bank and return to managing the stud, but he’d settle for his audit.

Meanwhile, JB is back at work on her book when she gets a visit from Lloyd, who tells her he grew up watching races from the tower at Saratoga (righto mate) and that he’s concerned about Swift Prince’s race. JB tells him she’s sure Matt and the others know what they’re doing, also the tower at Saratoga wasn’t built when Lloyd was growing up.

Ouch. Burn!

Getting nowhere with JB, Lloyd’s next stop is to see assistant trainer Gus Tardio aka Don Swayze as if you couldn’t tell.

Like Hungry Eyes, except not at all.

Gus is moping because Matt got made head trainer over him. Lloyd orders Gus back to work, and sober since that’s what he’s paying him for. Gus returns back to the stable to find life has pretty much gone on without him and Matt sacks him for being a douche.

Tracey visits Paul at work, where he’s trying to secure her mother’s loan and says she can’t wait until the wedding so he can quit his silly banking job and run the stables. Paul tells her he happens to like his banking job but she says that’s only because his father doesn’t.

Later that night JB is slaving away over her laptop when she hears bangs and crashes from the stable. She rushes to see and finds Matt staggering around after copping a whack on the head. Jill helps him to stand while JB carefully extracts a syringe from a pile of hay. OH YOU GUYS IT’S A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK.

While the vet has Swift Prince tested for performance-enhancing drugs, Sheriff Clyde Benson wants to know who might have been behind it. The consensus is Gus, but JB can’t see what his motive is and Wally Hampton agrees. Clyde thinks it’s more likely that one of the horse’s connections might have done it, but he’ll swing by Gus’s and see. Wally begs him to keep it quiet until they know if the horse was actually injected and Clyde says he’s happy to do them a favour as long as it’s within the law.

Alright Clyde, calm down.

The next day Catherine gets a call to say that Swift Prince is all clear, and there was much rejoicing by Tracey and by JB for wildly different reasons. Down at the bank, Paul gets a visit from Lloyd who wants Paul to convince Catherine to scratch the horse from the race, or else some finance peeps are going to find out that Catherine lied on her loan application and Paul approved it. Paul throws him out.

Over at the farm, Catherine confronts Matt (who turns out used to work for her before he worked for Wally) and says she wants a more experienced jockey on the horse because SHE NEEDS THE MONEY OMG WEDDINGS DON’T PAY FOR THEMSELVES AND TRACEY IS A PRINCESS etc etc. Matt tells her it’s in his contract – he trains, he picks the jockey. Later that afternoon he tells JB he has a plan for shaving 3 seconds off Swift Prince’s time and waves a videotape around.

That night, Jill runs into Paul and they go get dinner together. JB finds Matt rushing out the door, telling her he’ll explain later. Jess hears some car doors slam, and gets back to work. As a car drives way, Gus appears out of the bushes, like this but in reverse.

Tracey turns up a while later looking for Paul, but Jess says he’s been gone about an hour so they decide to have dinner together instead. On their way into town, they find Matt’s truck parked on the side of the road, and Matt dead on the ground.

BASTARDS KILLED MICKEY ROONEY THIS WILL NOT STAND.

Clyde comes to the house to take statements, but he’s fairly convinced Matt was killed by a hobo in a robbery gone wrong. Jess thinks this is highly unlikely, and doubly so when Clyde tells her there was no sign of the videotape Matt had been waving around.

After checking in with Catherine, who it turns out was supposed to meet Matt with Wally but he never showed, Jess goes to search Matt’s office for the tape, but it’s gone. She does, however, find the envelope and puts a call in to the offices of Sportrack to find out what Matt had requested. She also finds a notepad, and with the classic pencil rub finds VICTOR WY etched onto the pad. Fun fact, WY apparently means Wyoming. Victor means Victor I guess.

Sportstrack is a surprisingly efficient company, and they deliver another copy of the tape to Jess the next day. She watches it with Jill, but they don’t know why Matt was so interested in it. Catherine and Wally come over and tell Jill they’re getting another jockey for the race.  Down at the bank, Lloyd pops in for a chat with Paul, but Paul tears up Catherine’s loan contract and tells him to do his worst. Paul quits.

Paul is getting his groove back completely, his next stop is to see Catherine but instead, he finds Tracey who accuses him of ignoring her to spend time with Jill, so he calls off the wedding. YOU GO BOYFRIEND.

Drunk on his own power, Paul heads down to the racetrack to wish Catherine and Wally well for the race the following day, but Catherine tells him to go to hell. Paul and Jill watch the substitute jockey fail completely with Swift Prince. Paul tells Jill to let Catherine come to her and to say maybe at least once. Paul, you’re alright.

Meanwhile, Jess is still trying to catch a murderer. She has a chat with Clyde who is convinced Gus is guilty, but when he shows her the wrong piece of paper she suddenly realises why Matt had been so excited the night he died. They rush over to the racetrack just in time to catch Lloyd about to inject Swift Prince, who isn’t Swift Prince at all but a horse called Victor Way that Lloyd swapped so that he could make more money or some such business. Victor Way was going to make money as a stud horse, the real Swift Prince was off making money in South America.

But he didn’t kill Matt.

UNSURPRISED

Trust me on this, it’s got to do with car doors and Tracey running into Matt as he was about to tell her mother and worrying that the scandal would put an end to her wedding.

Whatevs. The important thing is, Jill wins the race on Victory Way and there’s champagne for everyone.

Later gang!

 

S10E04 – The Phantom Killer

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It’s a sunny day in the Big Apple and the editor of Follies Magazine, Dean Richards, is having a bit of a day. His finance manager, Carter Drummond, has just informed him that the bank isn’t giving him another loan, he just got blasted over the phone by literary agent Gary Manning about his client Ben Forman’s upcoming profile on JB Fletcher, and his assistant Ellen Harper has just shown him some photos that suck.

Some top-notch exposition right there.

Across town, the profile piece on JB Fletcher is going well.

I mean if anyone’s going to solve it…

Unfortunately what with Ben’s constant crashing bumping and spilling things the interview has to be cut short as Jess has Business. Instead Ben decides he’ll follow JB around the next day.

Jess heads off to her lunch meeting, which happens to be with Dean Richards and his lady friend Kathryn Schofield, and assures Dean that the profile is going a treat and that Ben is adorable. Kathryn goes off to her photo shoot leaving Dean and Jess to throwback cocktails until local media mogul Harrison Kane pops up.

Alan Thicke = 50% responsible for the existence of Robin Thicke who is 100% responsible for Blurred Lines a song I’m still angry about. My vendettas are complicated and last ages.

“Been a long time!” He says to JB.

JB is in smackdown mode.

Turns out Harrison isn’t there to see JB, he just wants to remind Dean that if he doesn’t accept Harrison’s bid for the magazine Harrison will just run the magazine out of business. He sashays away, and JB explains to Dean that a year earlier Harrison was shopping around a movie option for one of JB’s books that he didn’t have rights to and did such a bad job that by the time a legitimate producer wanted the rights the whole thing was cactus.

Meanwhile, Ben is kicking back relaxing all cool shooting some bball outside after school at his house with his friend/raging crush Abby Peters, who is rehearsing for an audition that afternoon. She thinks she’d be a big success if she had an agent like Ben so he gives his agent a call, and tells Abby that she should call him that afternoon. Abby’s boyfriend Dave picks her up and tells her he hopes she’s learned her lines this time.

Jesus Dave, calm down.

After they leave Ben gets a phone call from Harrison Kane, who is rather impressed with Ben’s screenplay and wants to turn it into a movie, but he thinks Ben should get a different agent – Gary Manion is demanding 100K for the rights to it. Ben says he’ll see what he can do, and suggests Abby for one of the roles. Harrison tells him to have her people call his people to sort it out.

Harrison hangs up. Kathryn Schofield is disinterestedly reading a magazine on his couch.

The next day Ben manages to get his last bits of interview from Jess as she races about the place. As she jumps into a taxi, she gives him a free word of advice – keep an eye on his script, and his wallet, around Harrison Kane.

Word must get back to Gary Manion as he puts a ferocious call into Harrison Kane, livid that Kane has shopped around scripts he doesn’t have the rights to. Harrison can’t get a word in. Manion says it’s 100K or nothing, and there’ll be hell to pay if he shops the script around or does one of his famous scope’n’gropes on Abby Peters.

*Coughs* Relevant *Coughs*

Manion hangs up on Kane, and there’s a knock on the door. It’s Carter Drummond, begging Harrison not to rescind his offer. Kane tells him too late, he’s going to destroy Follies Magazine and everyone involved in it, and to get the hell out. Carter departs, leaving Kane with a letter from his lawyers. Something about financial records which I’m sure is important.

Meanwhile, Kathryn is hard at work going about her model business, while a frustrated photographer called Hans bemoans her lack of interest. Dean calls a wrap and orders Hans to deliver some photos by 10am the next morning.

Sidenote: Uma Thurman’s Thanksgiving post on Insta was freaking amazing.

The above goes the way you expect these things to go. Ben arrives just to hear banging and crashing, Abby shouting “NO!” and then sees her run out of the room and into the elevator. He chases her but she flees into a taxi and disappears into the traffic. Meanwhile, room service arrives at Kane’s hotel room to find Kane dead in the bathtub with a hair dryer.

NYPD’s finest detective, Stan Zbornak Artie Gelber is naturally assigned the case and pops round JB’s house for a statement and a chat, as Jessica’s name appears in Harrison Kane’s little black book. JB confirms that she and Dean saw Kane at the restaurant two days ago, and that she and Kane didn’t have the best relationship. Artie wants to make this quick, he’s got reservations in the Catskills etc etc

10 points for that shirt though.

Ben Forman, who was at JB’s going over his draft of the profile piece, makes to leave but Artie has questions for him too.  Jess asks him if they have any suspects and Artie tells her half the world had it in for Harrison Kane. They do know that at some point the previous night Kane had a visitor from someone who liked cigars and bourbon but that they hadn’t ID’d them yet.

Down at Follies HQ Dean and Gary are getting into it over the phone, ending in Gary telling Dean to treat Ben with more respect or he walks, and Dean telling Gary if he tries to extort more money out of him for Ben they are all finished. Carter the finance guy is there too, freaking out after Harrison’s untimely demise – with him dead, the banks think Follies have no more money, but Dean says he’s got some leads.

Jess is summoned down to the precinct when her fingerprints turn up on a manuscript, but it turns out to be hers – the one Kane was shopping around without permission the previous year. Detective Henderson pops his head in to say they still hadn’t found Gary Manion, and that there were still some prints they hadn’t identified. Artie apologises for dragging Jessica into it and she tells him for what it’s worth she was home alone at the time of the murder.

Out in the street, Carter the finance guy and Ellen the assistant at Follies trade barbs. Ellen is meant to be spying on Dean for Carter, which she initially agreed to when Dean started up with Kathryn but now she wants out and she doesn’t care if Carter tells Dean she was spying for him.

Back at home Jess gets a phone call from Dean asking if she’s heard from Gary Manion or from Ben – he’s gone AWOL and hasn’t submitted his profile on JB. Jess tells him she’ll get right on it, and calls the phone company pretending to be Gary Manion’s secretary. Praise be for lax security.

And now lets take a moment to appreciate how 90s this actually is:

I can’t even.

Jess is hot on the trail of Garry Manion and heads down to his office, where she first runs into Abby Peters and then Artie and Detective Henderson, the latter of which elegantly breaks into the office. There’s no sign of Manion inside, but JB has a sneaking suspicion she knows where to find him.

They head over to Ben’s house, and find Garry on the phone, issuing more ultimatums.

YOU GUYS BEN WAS HIS OWN AGENT ALL ALONG *cue cheesy should have known face at camera*

Artie puts Ben under arrest and they all cruise down to the precinct. While Artie wanders around congratulating himself Ben explains to Jess that Garry Manion was a creation borne out of necessity – editors wouldn’t read his work unless he had an agent and agents wouldn’t look at his work unless he’d already sold something. So, he became Garry Manion.

Preach.

Artie pops back in and confirms that Ben’s prints are all over everything plus someone saw him there. Jess tells him to wait and speak to his lawyer but Ben says there’s no point, he’s ready to sign a confession. Artie’s stoked, he’s got Catskills to get to, but Jess isn’t buying it. She has a theory though.

Meanwhile, Dean and Kathyrn are out to dinner. Dean has an ulterior motive, which Kathryn spots a mile away – Dean needs more money to keep the paper afloat and Kathryn has it. They are interrupted by the appearance of Ellen, who lets Dean know the magazine went to print with the JB article and it’s great. She senses tension and wanders off again. Kathryn tells Dean she’ll think about the loan.

Jess goes to see Abby, and despite the constant interruptions from Dave the 90s guy, manages to get Abby to admit to being in the hotel room.

She also picks up a magazine.

In other news, this episode is ranked #5 in the list of movies and TV that contain a hairdryer in the bathtub according to IMDB.

At his studio, Hans is about to settle in for a solid night of drinking when he finds Carter sitting in a chair.

“The pictures Hans.” Says Carter.

“I haven’t got them.” Says Hans.

“Stop jerking me around Hans.” Says Carter. “Hello Hans. You’re breaking my balls”

The pictures, apparently, are of Kathryn in bed with Harrison Kane, which Carter was going to use to break up Dean and Kathryn. Hans tells Carter he destroyed them.

Back at the police station Abby explains what happened with Harrison and Ben explains that after he saw Abby run out he went in to yell at Harrison, found him dead, freaked out and tried to cover up evidence of Abby’s crime. Except it wasn’t Abby. Artie is delighted Jess convinced her to come forward, he’s sure that hers is the only set of fingerprints left unidentified and it seals Ben’s fate.

Artie’s about to head out at last, when he gets a phone call from Jess – she wants to know where Abby got that magazine from. She tells Artie she doesn’t know, and Artie and Jess go to her apartment to take a look at it. It’s addressed to Hans “You’re breaking my balls” the photographer.

Over dinner that night, Jess tells Dean and Kathyrn that the evidence against Abby is mounting up and that the police are going to search Abby’s apartment the next day. Which is all the bait she needs.

Ahhhh yes.

I mean everyone else had a motive, so why not her? She gave Harrison money to finance a movie that she was meant to be in, but then she found out Harrison had no money so she bumped him off.

Ugh it’s too hot to question this.

Later gang!

 

S10E01 – A Death in Hong Kong

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Welcome to Season Ten Fletcherfans! It’s a whole new season and Our Heroine has chucked her typewriter for the most high-tech computing technology in the opening credits.

Like a boss.

But even more excitingly welcome to Hong Kong, where JB has been lured by her friend, ceramicist Emma Soon Dunbar, to experience all that Hong Kong has to offer.

YEAHHHH BOOIIIIIIII

JB’s infinite pork bun plans are derailed by a stop at a jade shop, where the owner is delighted to show Jess his wares at the most reasonable prices and Emma is kidnapped by a carload of thugs. I guess this sort of thing happened when the British were in charge?

Jess leaps into action, helping Emma’s chauffeur to his feet and asking Mr Lee the shopowner to call the police. She also calls Emma’s husband Brian, who is in the middle of merger talks with Kai Kuan, a Hong Kong business owner who wants to take over House of Dunbar before the British give Hong Kong back to the Chinese.  Brian tells JB not to call the police which naturally does not compute for Jessica, also they are already there. Brian says not to worry and hangs up the phone. The meeting is then interrupted by another phone call, this time by the kidnappers themselves, who demand 200 grand in small bills for the safe return of Emma.

Meanwhile, JB is down at the police station contending with Inspector McLaughlin, aka everyone’s favourite bad guy David Warner.

Sidenote: this interview with David Warner is really great.

McLaughlin explains to JB that his frosty sarcastic demeanour isn’t a lack of concern about Emma, it’s just that this sort of thing happens all the time. Kidnappers kidnap, demand ransoms well within the means of the victim’s families, and then the victim is returned safe and well. Chances are, Emma is already at home right now.

Not in Cabot Cove anymore Toto.

Jessica returns to the Dunbar estate on the Peak and is both shocked and relieved to find Emma sitting on the couch looking quite content. JB refuses tea and sandwiches, asking instead if the merger talks might have had anything to do with the kidnapping. Brian says probably, his sidekick Mark agrees and says they were the ones who were probably responsible for a recent spate of factory fires. Emma thinks not though, and insists Brian arrange a new meeting to continue the talks. Brian sends his lackey Louise off to make the call and goes with Emma to have a nap before their evening plans. As they go up the stairs, Louise pops in to tell him that the Kuans can only meet him at 3:30, not at 2:30 as he wished. Brian, naturally, isn’t all that fussed.

Louise and Mark take a stroll in the grounds, and Louise gently tells Mark that there’s no point blaming Kuan for the factory fires. She knows the destroyed goods have been appearing on the black market in Shanghai and she knows about his rampant gambling debts in Macau. She’s keeping her mouth shut for the sake of the merger talks but if there’s any hint of trouble she’s taken steps to protect herself.

That night, JB finds Emma looking for her car key with no success. Hashtag plot point. She gives up and they all head down to the city to see Brian and Emma’s daughter April sing at the Shing Po Nightclub.

I’ll be honest, I’m probably projecting a bit here.

April’s performance is a raging success, and Emma finds her car keys in her bag. Case closed!

Oh, wait, no. April goes backstage to prepare for her next set and gets a visit from her boyfriend who just happens to be David Kuan, Kai Kuan’s son. April swears she will tell her father about them soon, but fortunately, she saved the effort when Brian wanders in and catches them making out. April quickly decides she needs to be on stage and leaves the two of them alone. Brian warns David that he will not allow April to be hurt, and to stay away from his daughter.

The next morning JB finds Emma hard at work in her studio and tells her not to worry about driving her to the university where JB is giving a lecture. Emma says nonsense, it’s on her way.  In the car, Emma dictates a memo to her in car recorder, which is the most cluiest of clues that ever clued.

Over at Kuan Tower, Brian’s sidekick Mark has taken it upon himself to visit and offer his support/allegiance, making him the Littlefinger of this episode of Murder of Thrones. Kai accepts his allegiance, but after he leaves tells David to never take your eyes off a desperate man. He orders one of his men to follow Mark and tells David that he heard Emma was kidnapped the previous day. The plot thickens.

Later that afternoon, Chang the chauffeur picks JB up from the university for the drive back up to the Peak. Jess asks him if he noticed the car following them on the way to the Jade shop the previous day and he says no. He only knew about the stop at the jade shop when Emma called him from the house to arrange the car. He immediately changes the subject and starts talking about how it often rains in the city, but not on Victoria Peak. Man, the writers are really ramming these clues in.

Man, I wish I had pork buns right now. And some xiao long bao. And some fried beef dumplings. And a wonton or two. Goddamnit, I only just had breakfast.

The merger talks resume but only briefly. Brian insinuates that Kai was the mastermind behind Emma’s kidnapping and Kai cracks it. David presents the Kuan final offer, valid for 24 hours. Brian refuses it but David suggests it would not hurt to give it some thought, he has 24 hours. In the meantime, they should all prepare for the House of Dunbar anniversary dinner scheduled for that night.

I swear to god there better be pork buns.

Jess returns to the Peak, where she notices Emma’s car is wet and has yellow paint on the wheel. Man, they are really spelling this out. Later, the house gathers for some victory champagne – not only is it the House of Dunbar anniversary but Louise has managed to pull off a big European sale by calling the manager at the crack of dawn so he would be too groggy to say no.

At the venue for the 110th-anniversary dinner, complete with a wet paint sign on the newly painted yellow gutter (OH MY GOD CALM DOWN), Jess runs into Inspector McLaughlin, who tells her they have a lead on one of Emma’s kidnappers. April introduces her to Kai and David Kuan, who come off as appropriately menacing. Mark the side-kick arrives just as the dinner commences with a traditional dance and a speech from Brian. Apparently, it is the tradition at House of Dunbar anniversary dinners to serve a century egg.

NO. HELL NO. NO CENTURY EGG. If you don’t know what a century egg is (and I only do because I saw it on Masterchef and was violently ill for several minutes afterwards), basically it is an egg traditionally preserved in clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice husks for days, weeks or months. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT and I say that having eating jellyfish (weird) and a lamb’s head in Morocco (quite delicious if you didn’t think about what was happening, which is how I get through life generally).

Brian explains how to eat a century egg to JB – grab some pickled ginger, dip it in lime juice, put it on the egg and go nuts.

There’s no way you can convince me that a century egg is a good idea. None. I’d rather eat mushrooms and I HATE mushrooms.

Brian Dunbar enjoys JB’s reaction so much that he promptly chokes to death and dies. Inspector McLaughlin appears from nowhere and Jess tells him that she could smell bitter almonds.

LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU. A CENTURY EGG WILL DISGUISE THE TASTE OF CYANIDE.

McLaughlin takes charge and sends everyone home, except Mark who has already vanished. He and JB see April and David hugging, and casually says to David that it’s a bonanza day for the Kuans – Emma will be much easier to deal with than Brian. Back at the mansion, Emma gets a phone call from Kai backing out of the merger completely. Timing bro? He also warns her that she has a rat amongst the ranks but refuses to out Mark completely.

The next day JB heads down to see her old mate Inspector McLaughlin who tells her they’ve identified one of the kidnappers. He finds it odd that JB doesn’t recognise him (???) but says it’s no matter, hopefully he will slip up now that he knows the police are on to him. McLaughlin also tells JB that she was right about the cyanide. They traced it back to Brian’s lime juice bowl, which also contained sugar, but no one else’s lime juice was affected.  JB thinks this is most curious and sits down to watch the video footage from the night before. They confirm that the poison wasn’t in the bowl before the lime juice was poured but that’s about it.

McLaughlin gets a phone call to say his men have found something up at the Dunbar mansion, in Emma’s studio to be precise. It’s a bag of cyanide powder, which Emma swears isn’t hers. JB points out that the studio is never locked. McLaughlin knows but insists Emma come downtown for a chat.

JB and McLaughlin reconvene in his office later in the day, as JB has a theory about how the poison happened. Long unnecessarily complicated story short, the original dish was swapped for one that had cyanide and a sugar glaze. When the lime juice hit the glaze it dissolved, leaving the cyanide to mix with the lime juice.

As Jess goes to leave, McLaughlin reminds her to take an umbrella, the regular afternoon shower has hit.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR BAO. CHAR SIU BAO. NAI WONG BAO. ICECREAM BAO, WHICH IS TOTALLY A THING.

JB calls the Kuan’s who apparently give her the answer she wanted because she then asks McLaughlin to speak to Emma.

Later that night, JB is in Emma’s car in the garage fiddling with the voice recorder when the killer appears, ordering her to give up the tape.

I mean, sure.

Louise arranged the whole thing so she could take over House of Dunbar. So, she lied about when the meeting could and couldn’t take place, she stole Emma’s car keys to make a copy so she could borrow the car to talk to the dude in Paris and tell him she would soon be taking over, and she parked the car next to the yellow paint at the anniversary dinner when she swapped the plates.

Also, for those playing along at home, Mark was the one who arranged the kidnapping so he could use the ransom money to pay off his gambling debts in Macau. House of Dunbar really needs to reassess their hiring practices.

But not to worry Fletcherfans. The merger is going ahead, and not only that, but David and Lily are going to get married.

“I’d call that a double merger!” Says JB.

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

 

S09E09 – A Christmas Secret

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A Christmas special! It’s Christmas in the Cove!

Even the cars are on point.

This particular establishment is the home of Mary and Alan Forsythe, who are throwing a little pre-Christmas shindig to welcome their daughter Elizabeth’s fiancee, Charlie McCumber to the Cove. And you know that when there’s a party…

Their entire relationship in a nutshell.

Jess says Charlie and Elizabeth make an attractive couple, and Seth says sure – they both have their health and they’re under thirty.

While Alan Forsythe pontificates on about his plans for Charlie coming in to the accounting company Alan has with Irving Lazarus, Seth fills JB in on the gossip – Irving’s son Bert is pissed that Charlie is being made vice-president when Bert is still the office manager. JB seems to remember Bert flunked math at school, which seems like a vital component of working at an accounting firm.

Alan continues on to talk about Amy Wainwright, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of.

Now there’s a show/person I haven’t thought about in quite some time

Apparently Amy works for Floyd Bigelow Male Gigolo, who runs the local hardware store. Alan wants to thank him too, but Floyds out back making out with Wanda Andrews (being played by Veronica Mars’s mother). Bert finds them and is told off for not knocking. They rejoin the party in time to see Charlie give Elizabeth a fancy emerald ring. Wanda wonders why she never gets a ring like that, Floyd tells her she doesn’t deserve one. Bert is put out that an army guy can afford such a ring, and Elizabeth used to wear his ring but Floyd points out that was high school and he should get over it.

While Seth and Mort investigate the lunch options, JB and Elizabeth have a quiet chat. Elizabeth thinks it’s all so sudden, but JB says maybe Charlie saw some things in the Gulf War that made him not want to wait. Charlie chats to his in-laws about his upbringing with his sister in foster homes. Mort interrupts to recruit Charlie for the Cabot Cove pistol club, and also to check if Charlie might want to join the Cabot Cove Carolers – Charlie says he’s a fair shot but no singer. (Side note look how Mort has gone all in on Cabot Cove since he moved there).

Charlie and Elizabeth finally get some alone time and Charlie gives Elizabeth his key at the hotel so they can see each other properly later. Nudge nudge. The party over, the guests all head outside, and Jess declares there’s going to be a white Christmas. Seth says bah humbug, snow is only good for traffic accidents and frozen extremities. (Couldn’t agree more, I have seen snow twice in my life and both times suspiciously).

Seth and JB leave Floyd and Charlie to compare their cars (as seen in the first pic) and walk down the street. Jess asks Seth why he has been so grinchy, and he tells her he’s been reminded of the Christmas when he was ten, and he was certain that his Pop had bought him a train set but it turned out to be socks and underwear for little Seth. With the way the world is these days, Seth says, Christmas seems like a hollow promise – we should not be looking for toys any more.

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit I am a little bit Seth-ish in my views on Christmas. I’m taking notes from JB in this episode.

Charlie and Floyd get into their respective cars, with Floyd promising to find Charlie a good deal on a car like the hire one he’s got right now. Charlie finds a present on the drivers seat, and unwraps it to discover a cassette of Willie Nelson – except when he plays it, a woman is threatening to expose his dirty secret unless he meets her at Sally’s Landing at ten o’clock that night. He stops the tape when Elizabeth gets into the car, but when she sees it and goes to play it he freaks out and distracts her by kissing her – solid misdirection. They agree to meet for dinner at 6:30 that night.

Later, JB wanders in to Floyd’s Hardware and finds both Amy and Floyd on the phone. When they both get off, Floyd tells Jessica he’s off to Portland but Amy will look after her. He leaves before Amy can finish saying that she will have the inventory report for him. Nothing says Christmas like an inventory report.

After an evening of canoodling, Charlie tells Elizabeth he has to go, but that he’ll pick her up in time for the Cabot Cove Toy Run the next evening. Elizabeth tells him she’ll be decorating all day, but Charlie says that’s fine, he’ll be studying for his CPA exam. He leaves Elizabeth and heads over to Sally’s Landing, where he discovers that Wanda was the mysterious voice on the tape. Instead of confronting her, he drives off.

It’s still not snowing, just FYI.

The next day everyone is hard at work decorating the community centre. Amy excuses herself, saying she has to go and watch the store until Floyd gets back from Portland. She passes Wanda, who wonders why she’s leaving so soon. Wanda gets her instructions from Elizabeth’s mother re: her assignment (balloons – she should in fact blow them up). Elizabeth explains to JB that Wanda has a reputation for going after any loose men left lying around, single married or other. As for Amy, she’s been in love with Floyd since forever but Floyd has no respect for women. (Well, he is Floyd Bigalow Male Gigolo. Called it.)

Elizabeth asks JB if she should be worried about Charlie with Wanda free-ranging around. Jess suggests she go and take Charlie to lunch and get it all out in the open and Elizabeth says she will, at about noon.

Over at the hardware store, Floyd has returned from Portland and gets a phone call. He tells Amy he’ll take it in the back, but Amy stays on the line to listen in.

I’m in Cabot Cove dreaming about who we used to be #2015reference

Back at the Community Centre, Jess sends Elizabeth off to have lunch with Charlie, and goes to get more red balloons.

TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE. #WhateverIMadeMyselfLaugh

Wanda says she’ll swap balloons for the lunch she left out in the main hall, but Jessica points in the locker and says “isn’t that your lunch there?”

Wanda slams the locker shut and says it’s business papers in there. She hands Jess some green balloons, and Jess points out she needs red ones, not green. Wanda says oops, she’s colourblind. Jess says no matter, and wanders off with some red balloons leaving Wander to ponder just who will bring her lunch.

Over at Hill House, Elizabeth goes into Charlie’s hotel room but finds it empty. She finds the blackmail tape and plays it. She also snoops in his diary and finds the name of the Lighthouse Motel and a time circled so she cruises on over there and sees Charlie go into one of the rooms with a woman. She drives off crying, and later that night refuses to go to the Christmas party, claiming illness. Her parents refuse to let Charlie off the hook though and so force him to tag along.

At the party, Seth moans about the lack of snow while Jess tells him to shush and look at all the toys, while Mort gets down with his bad self.

Remember that time Seth beatboxed? It’s not as good as that time but it’s pretty good.

I refer you to my previous point about beatboxing.

Cut to Elizabeth going back to the Lighthouse Motel, peering in the window and then running away again.

Back at the party, Seth is explaining to JB that they were dancing the samba, not the rhumba, when Mort pops up to say that the toy drive doubled what it did the previous year. Seth asks where Mrs Mort is, and Mort says she’s off delivering gift baskets to a church up the coast. Mort excuses himself followed by Seth – he has to get his Santa suit on. Jess explains to Charlie that if Seth calls out the number on his ticket then he will win a prize.

Bah humbug, says Seth. The previous year he won some sequined slippers and they weren’t even his colour.

As Elizabeth slinks into the back of the party, Charlie spots Wanda heading towards the back and follows her into the women’s locker room, narrowly missing Seth strutting his stuff.

For real, this is the highlight of Seth’s year.

As Seth heads out into the party there is a gunshot. In the women’s locker room Charlie bumps into who he assumes is Seth in his Santa suit and asks what the shot was, but Fake Seth just leaves quickly. Charlie finds Wanda slumped on the floor, just as Jessica arrives. Miraculously she’s still alive, and so Seth escorts her to the hospital in the ambulance. Deputy Andy finds the discarded Santa suit outside, and Jess points out the open locker to Mort, saying that Wanda had been very protective of whatever had been in the locker that morning, and it might mean something that it’s empty now.

The party now officially over, people start to make their way home. Charlie runs into Elizabeth, who tells him she went to the Lighthouse Motel and saw the woman, and he freaks out, saying that he’d wanted to tell her for ages. He’s interrupted by Bert Lazarus, who appears with a gun he found in the bushes outside. It’s army issue, and Charlie confirms that it’s his but that he has no idea how or why it isn’t in his hotel room. Mort asks him not to leave town and Charlie says he’s not leaving until this is straightened out.

The next morning, Seth pops by JB’s on the way home from the hospital for breakfast and information. Wanda survived the gunshot wound, but it’s still touch and go. A thumping at the door signals the arrival of Elizabeth, freaked out that Mort has arrested Charlie for Wanda’s murder, but is a relieved to hear it’s not murder yet. She tells Seth and JB about Wanda blackmailing Charlie, and how he went to see her at Sally’s Landing but couldn’t even face her to find out what she had on him. Seth wonders how then he found the courage to shoot her, but JB too is wondering what Wanda thinks she has on Charlie.

With a pointed look Jess gets Seth to leave, and Elizabeth tells her she’s worried about the ring Charlie bought her, she has no idea how he paid for it. She also tells Jess about the woman at the Lighthouse Motel, but Jess refuses to believe Charlie was going to marry Elizabeth and keep the woman on the side.

Jess pops down to the Sheriff’s Office for a chat with Mort, to ask if Wanda left the Cove at all the previous year, specifically to go California where Charlie was living. Mort says no, she was too busy especially when the mayor and the local businessmen went to Tokyo on a business trip. Floyd wanders into the office to continue the story – in fact, it was on his return from that trip that Floyd discovered that the pension fund was missing 400K, and since Wanda had been in charge of the books while they were away…

JB brings Seth up to speed over a cup of coffee, and they both agree that it seems unlikely Charlie could have done it. Jess wonders why Wanda was targeted – if it was the blackmail or something else. She also wonders who the intended blackmail victim really was, as the tape was pretty generic.

Taking matters into her own hands, Jess goes to the Lighthouse Motel to talk to the mysterious woman. She turns out to be Charlie’s sister Monica, but Monica isn’t staying at the hotel alone – she’s got Belinda with her. Charlie’s daughter.

I really didn’t. (But duh that it was Charlie’s sister though, I mean come on)

Over tea, Monica explains that Belinda (mother of Belinda the daughter) died in childbirth while Charlie was in the Gulf on active duty. When he came back he was destroyed so Monica looked after Belinda. Charlie couldn’t tell Elizabeth, he was too worried that Elizabeth would leave him.

Jess understands, but wonders why Wanda would blackmail him over something so trivial. It’s not until she sees Belinda playing with some red and green blocks that she figures it out and puts a call in to Floyd Bigalow, asking him to meet her at the community centre. And to bring Amy.

It turns out, Floyd was the one Wanda was trying to blackmail, because Floyd was the one who skimmed the money from the pension fund, but Wanda was colourblind and put her tape in the wrong car. It’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

But Floyd wasn’t the one who killed Wanda.

I guess soon someone’s going to be
*puts on sunglasses*
JUDGING AMY
#yeahhhhhhhhhh

With 2 bad guys behind bars and Wanda expected to make a full recovery, there’s absolutely no reason for Christmas to continue unabated. So Jess buys Seth a toy train for Christmas, Seth admits that helping to save Wanda’s life has given him a new perspective and Jess says “So Frank was right – Christmas should remind us about what could be, not what is.” (Life lesson #68)

And so the Carolers arrive and the snow falls. Merry Christmas in July Fletcherfans! You have six months to get your Christmas shopping done, get to work.

Later Fletcherfans!

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