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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.

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I just woke up to the news that Terry Pratchett has passed away after battling Alzheimer’s, and I’m immeasurably sad about it. While this blog is a list of life lessons I’m learning from Jessica Fletcher, in the beginning was the word and the word was written by Terry Pratchett.

So, here’s a list of life lessons I’ve learned from reading Terry Pratchett’s books.

1. The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues. (Moving Pictures)

2. Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.

3. The entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.

4. Give a man a fire and he’s warm for a day, but set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life. (Jingo)

5. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry. (Thief of Time)

6. Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. (Men at Arms: the play)

7. It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done. (A Hat Full of Sky)

8. His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink. (Small Gods)

9. Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual. (Jingo)

10. …inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

11. Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken? (Going Postal)

 

And last, but possibly most importantly:

It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.

Rest in Peace Terry. And thanks.