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S07E11 – Family Doctor

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Spoiler alert: my thoughts on this episode can be summed up by this picture:

g2

Fairly warned be thee says I.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Boston, a mafioso by the name of Carmine Abruzzi is having the hard word put on him by a couple of Feds. If he tells them all about his friends, they’ll put him in witness protection so his “friends” can’t find him but Carmine won’t talk to no foot soldiers. He’ll talk to the boss or no deal, so they take him down to the parking garage to transport him to the FBI office. Before they get to the car, a couple of goons jump them, knock the FBI guys unconcious and hustle Carmine into a waiting limo that speeds away.

Life Lesson #61 – Nothing good ever happens in a parking garage. Except perhaps gaining valuable information about exposing a dirty President, or proving the existence of aliens. But mostly nothing good.

But never mind all that because an old friend wants lobster.

Hooray!

Hooray!

Seth demands dinner at his favourite restaurant, the Clam and Claw, a restaurant that hasn’t changed in 75 years – much like Seth. He manages to wrangle a reservation by dropping the word “Doctor” into the conversation but on their arrival at the restaurant later that night Seth is devastated to discover that the restaurant is under new management, his maître’d friend no longer works there and in short, the place has gone trendy.

Poor Seth.

Poor Seth.

While they are shown to their table, a young man and his pregnant wife arrive. The new maître’d instantly welcomes them as Mr and Mrs Abruzzi and escorts them to the private dining room. A short time later, he returns to the dining room and waits for a knock on the door. A Mr Gant checks to see if everyone has arrived and then asks the maître’d to start serving in five minutes. Inside the dining room is Michael Abruzzi and his pregnant wife Denise, his mother Rosa, his brother Salvatore and his girlfriend Maid Marion Connie.

Dat hair. Such envy.

Dat hair. Such envy.

They are soon joined by (surprise surprise) Carmine Abruzzi, who tells them to stop talking and start eating.

In the main restaurant, Seth takes time out from feeding his face to lecture Jess about how her new book shouldn’t take priority over feeding a friend, to which she sighs and offers him the rest of her lobster dinner, saying she’s too full. There’s a scene at the front door – Andrew Gant’s daughter Phyllis arrives demanding entrance to the private dining room and orders the maître’d to inform her father that she’s arrived. She also demands a bottle of champagne and threatens to pour it down the dress of the waitress if she makes that face again.

What a treasure.

Back in the dining room, Carmine announces that he and Rosa are fleeing the country for Italy via Canada, and that he’s leaving control of the empire to Michael. Michael’s wife Denise shouts “No!” and runs from the room while Salvatore says Michael can’t run the family he can’t even control his wife. Carmine orders him to shut up, but now Andrew Gant chimes in, saying that Michael wants to make expensive changes that the other families won’t like. Carmine tells him to talk it over with Michael.

The maître’d arrives to inform Mr Gant about the arrival of his daughter, who in the intervening time has gotten herself well soused. As Jess and Seth debate the possibility of dessert, Andrew asks his driver to take Phyllis home,  and tells her that Sal has better things to do tonight than come to her.

Carmine and a tearful Rosa decide it’s time to go. Michael and Salvatore go with them out to the car, and as Carmine dishes out some last minute advice, a shadowy figure with a gun crawls along a rooftop. Carmine opens the car door and collapses, but he’s not dead. Salvatore and Michael carry him inside.

Sidenote: If I was playing racial stereotype bingo on this episode I think I would have won about ten minutes ago.

Jess settles on berries for dessert and Seth goes for the pie, but before he can take a mouthful the maître’d arrives at their table – there’s an urgent phone call for Seth. He sighs and follows the maître’d out of the room – and doesn’t return.  Forty minutes later Jess pays and asks the maître’d where Seth went but he doesn’t know. Jess takes her coat and goes straight to the police station but the sergeant on duty is not feeling particularly helpful. A passing detective hears the name “Clams and Claws” and his ears prick up. He offers to take JB back to the restaurant to find out what happened to Seth.

On the way the detective, Lieutenant Marino, asks JB whether Seth considered the restaurant a hangout, or if he was “connected”, or if he made frequent trips to New York. Jess wants to know what this is about, but Marino tells her hopefully nothing.

At the restaurant, the maître’d takes them to his office and shows them where Seth “took the call”, but begins to look uncomfortable when Marino points out that Seth’s car is still outside. Marino suggests they go and look around, and leave the office. After the door closes the maître’d puts a call in to Sal but hangs up when Marino reappears, requesting a tour guide. Jess is already five steps ahead, and notices a bleached spot on the carpet in the hallway, along with some red spots where they missed. Marino cuts out a sample and tells maître’d, whose name is Freddie, that if it turns out those red spots are blood then he’ll be ruining a lot more than the carpet.

Across town, a patrol car spots a figure walking down a deserted street. He flags them down – and of course it’s Seth. Back at the police station Seth fills them in – after being taken to see Carmine, Seth and the whole Abruzzi clan went to a country mansion where Seth was ordered to save Carmine’s life, which he naturally did because he’s Seth.

Marino fills in the blanks and explains who the shot guy was – Seth is glad he didn’t know it at the time or his hand might have slipped. Jess and Seth prepare to leave, but Marino tells them they can’t go back to the Cove yet. Two feds are on their way up from New York and they want to talk to Jess and Seth. The worst case scenario – they have to go into witness protection in Provo Utah.

Although I would watch the hell out of that show.

Although I would watch the hell out of that show.

The next day, Michael Abruzzi’s wife Denise apologises for running out but says that she can’t be married to a mobster. Michael tells her his father was shot, a doctor treated him and he got better, but then Carmine took a turn for the worse and died an hour ago. Salvatore is convinced that the doctor who treated Carmine is responsible.

At the hotel Jess and Seth are on the footpath waiting for the FBI agents to pick them up when Seth realises he left his medical bag in the coffee shop and goes to retrieve it. A car pulls up and Jess starts to get in before Seth calls out “Jess! That’s the wrong car!”

One of the people in the car pulls out a gun and orders the pair of them inside.

At the country mansion, Michael is slowly taking charge. Andrew informs him that he’s made all the arrangements for burial and the funeral home will come to collect the body in the morning to prepare Carmine to be buried back in Italy. Denise is concerned that her husband is being sucked into the business but he swears that he’s out to make the family legit. He asks Connie to find a guest bedroom for himself and Denise before going to answer the door. It’s one of Carmine’s goons with Seth and JB, and JB is OUTRAGED at the fact she’s been kidnapped. The goon tells Michael he took Seth on Salvatore’s orders, but he didn’t know JB would be there. Which is fair, because let’s be honest JB has had precisely no involvement in any of it so far.

Seth asks about Carmine and Michael informs him that Carmine died – an apparent heart attack after his heart started racing. Seth doesn’t understand, the drugs he gave Carmine would have slowed his heart rate down. A scream rings out from upstairs and Michael is called away to investigate.  Connie has just walked in on her boyfriend in bed with Phyllis Gant, the drunken cow from the restaurant and is losing her mind.

Back at the police station, the feds are demanding Marino sort himself out. They listen to the tape again and take note of Seth’s observation that they passed over a covered bridge right before arriving at the mansion. Surely there can’t be that many of Carmine’s associates that this applies to.

After putting pants back on, Salvatore begins interrogating Seth, which soon turns into a shouting match with his brother. Salvatore wants Seth and JB dead even though JB is not involved and Salvatore accuses Michael of  wanting to get them a guest spot on Donahue which is a sentence I’d never thought I’d hear again.

I really think JB is unimpressed that she's not being included more.

I really think JB is unimpressed that she’s not being included more.

After a passionate speech from JB about Seth’s role as a doctor that I wasn’t entirely listening to because Pokemon Go happened, they are joined by Rosa Abruzzo who has just been informed that Connie and Salvatore’s wedding is off. “I JUST HAD MY LAST FITTING FOR THE DRESS YESTERDAY!” she says loudly, in a way that in no way denotes important plot point.

Salvatore goes off after his mother and Connie, leaving Michael with JB and Seth. Seth offers to look at the body to establish cause of death, and although Michael is resistant he agrees. Back in town, Marino and the Feds discover the body of the man who shot Carmine in the first place.

Seth discovers that Carmine was definitely murdered by a clumsy injection. Michael is called away when Andrew Gant arrives back, leaving Seth to tell Jess the bad news – Carmine was killed by an injection of digitoxin, which had been stolen out of Seth’s medical bag along with one of his syringes.

In the next room Andrew Gant tells them that the other mafia families had nothing to do with the hitman, but he doesn’t believe them. He and Salvatore think it’s time for a show of strength.

Seth spots a picture of Phyllis Gent on the table and they realise they are at the home of Andrew Gant. Jess suddenly realises they had it all wrong after all. Seth distracts the guard with a visit to the bathroom while JB phones it in. Unfortunately for JB Salvatore appears at that moment and pulls his gun on her. Michael comes in hot on his heels and orders Salvatore to put the gun down. Then they hear sirens.

Marino and his men appear and arrest Salvatore and Andrew for kidnapping. Marino tells JB about finding the hitman but says he still doesn’t know who hired him.

JB can help him out with that one.

I feel like I've written wife of death at least once before.

I feel like I’ve written wife of death at least once before.

JB picked up on the fact that Rosa kept a dress fitting appointment even though she knew she would be leaving the country. Rosa, devastated at the thought of losing her family to go on the run with Carmine, hired the hitman but the hitman botched it so she took matters into her own hands.

And now confession: this episode was dreadful, and so the minute I saw Amy Yasbeck my brain wandered and ended up here:

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S01E21 – Murder at the Oasis

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Apologies for the delay, Fletcherfans! It turns out the Murder, She Blogged typewriter is very much like Melbourne’s public transport system in that it freaks out when it gets hot.

This week Our Heroine is back on the road, this time catching up with an old school-friend who has tickets to her ex-husband’s tennis tournament. You know, that old story. I can’t imagine why he’s her ex though…

There’s a lot going on here…

Or maybe I can. In any case his name is Johnny Shannon, his kids hate him, and he has upset the local Mafia representative. I can’t imagine any of these being a problem…

It’s not all bad news though – he has his very own minion, who travels with him everywhere. An Amos to his Jessica, if you will.

For some reason, I’ve started humming ‘All The Single Ladies’.

Johnny and his jester-friend are on their way to meet JB and Peggy Shannon, who are reminiscing about their shared hatred of brussel sprouts while watching a John McEnroe wannabe spit the dummy out on the tennis court. Jess can’t help but notice that said dummy-spitting man is a bit of all right.

You know what I love about tennis? The double entendres.

They are soon joined by Johnny (the jester and the bodyguard/Hulk relegated to another table) and by Peggy’s daughter Terry, who doesn’t stick around long – she’s got a hot lunch date with He-Who-Thinks-He’s-John-Macenroe. It’s obvious she’s only doing it to spite her Dad, and has a great old time watching him get into a shoving match with El Dummy Spit. Only the convenient arrival of the local constable calms everyone down.

Later that night, Johnny’s jester comes down to his study to deliver a ‘glass of milk’ (actually, it looks like it is just milk…huh) but finds the door locked. While he bangs on the door, his son Mickey runs to find his sister – who is in her bedroom with El Dummy Spit. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more. Lou the friendly bodyguard/Hulk breaks the door down and they find Johnny more dead than ususal.

The next morning JB and Peggy go to comfort the recently bereaved. Except Terry, who’s gone to the tennis club to suggest that El Dummy Spit gets out of the country before the po-po start knocking on his door. At least I think that’s what she’s saying. I can’t hear her over her necklace.

Seriously though, what is that?

Back at the house, recently relocated from Chicago Lieutenant Barnes (previously only known as The Constable) informs Peggy, Mickey and JB that he’s on the case, since there is no homicide division. Mickey suggests that JB help him out, but JB humbly says that her occasionally exploits are grossly over-exaggerated. (Liar!). Lieutenant Barnes says he doesn’t mind though – JB has covered the subject of murder fairly well in her books, even if she isn’t always accurate.

For insulting her honour, JB considers punching him in the face.

He takes her down to the scene of the crime, where they quickly establish that there was no way someone could have snuck in via security. THE CALL KILLER CAME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! They are interrupted by Buster-the-Jester, who tells them that Lou is out on the patio trying to kill Mickey as payback for Mickey killing his father. Lieutenant Barnes deftly handles the situation by shoving Lou into the pool.

According to IMDB, you will know Lieutenant Barnes from such things as 30 Rock and Grey Gardens.

The reason for the confusion, it seems, is that Lou saw Mickey going into the den and obviously 2 + 2 = 5. Mickey explains that while he did go into the den he came out of it again, and at no point did he shoot anybody. I believe him – he’s starting to remind me of Grady.

Peggy comes running up to inform everyone that Mickey didn’t do it and admits to sneaking El Dummy Spit in through the service entrance. This is enough for Lieutenant Barnes, who demands to know where El Dummy Spit is. Peggy admits to giving him money to get out of town, but Lieutenant Barnes doesn’t give up that easily.

Our Heroine asks Lou where he was when Johnny got shot. Apparently Johnny told him to get lost, which is code for having a girl over according to Buster. Lou says that this is impossible, since he didn’t have a name to call down to the security gate.

Ah, says JB. Which is short for, “But what if it was someone the guard knew by sight? Someone who might have been married to Johnny once upon a time?”

Back at the tennis club, Peggy admits to ‘paying her ex-husband a visit’, if you know what I mean. She swears she didn’t kill him, and her children didn’t either. Jess apparently accepts this and talk turns to Johnny’s enemies, of which apparently he had a few of. Like Milo Valentine, the friendly neighbourhood Mafia guy.

Hanging out in Lieutenant Barnes’s office, JB sketches out her mob hitman theory, and he agrees. He seems convinced that El Dummy Spit is a tennis player by day and a mob hitman by night. Which is a genius set-up for a television show, and you’re welcome TV land.

Back at the house, Terry overhears Buster on the phone trying to get in touch with said Mr Valentine. SUSS.  JB arrives in a taxi (and says to the taxi driver “Thank you for a lovely ride!”). She goes to visit Terry who tells her about overhearing Buster on the phone to Mr Valentine. JB notices a video tape missing from Johnny’s collection and Terry says it’s from the camera over the billiard table. Johnny used to film himself ‘playing’ so that he could ‘correct’ his mistakes. I bet he did.

Lieutenant Barnes arrives, and wants to know what JB’s doing there.

“Taking care of business,” she says sweetly.

Seriously though, she’s the best.

Turns out Lieutenant Barnes just wants Mickey’s statement. They’ve found El Dummy Spit making a break for Mexico.

Having his ass busted on the border, El Dummy Spit is hauled back for questioning. He insists that he didn’t kill Johnny Shannon, and that Terry did. JB quietly suggests he might want a lawyer, and the interview is over. Peggy, Mickey and Terry head home, accompanied by JB who has some unfinished business to take care of.

Out on the patio, JB grills Buster on his phone call with Milo Valentine and he admits to calling, but only to make sure there was no hit out on him. This is just like The Sopranos, probably. Buster explains to Jess that Milo got Johnny started in show business, but when he got famous Johnny resented being told what to do. One night, to clear the air, Johnny had Milo over for a friendly game of pool.

Aha! That explains the missing tape! SEE HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. JB has it all figured out. The killer had two assignments – kill Johnny and steal the tape. More than that, she knows who the killer is.

I’m glad she knows, because I didn’t see this one coming.

Sigh. Can we trust no one in this crazy world?

I liked the Lieutenant of Death, right up until he pointed a gun at JB and said “You’ve won a prize – a trip to oblivion!” It turns out he’s a cop by day, mob hitman by night. The opposite of Batman, if you will.

Before things get too out of control Jess hollers and her posse come running.

There you have it, Fletcherfans. Another case neatly tied up by our heroine. Stay tuned for the season finale next week!

Until then, dear reader.

See you next week!

PS – I’ve made a Facebook page for Murder, She Blogged. Go and like it, and enjoy the random pictures that people send through!