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S08E02 – Night Fears

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JB is back to school Fletcherfans! It’s her first day teaching Criminology at Manhattan University, which seems entirely legitimate and the sort of thing that doesn’t sound farfetched at all.

Arriving early on her first day, Our Heroine gets a tour from the department head Dr Auerbach, and meets her fellow colleagues including this guy who you might remember from season 2:

Wings Hauser, ladies and gentleman. Time to recycle all my jokes from this episode.

Wings Hauser, ladies and gentleman. Time to recycle all my jokes from this episode.

Wings Wallace Evans offers most insincerely to be of all the assistance he can give to the new fascinating experiment. Turns out he used to teach the class that JB is going to be teaching and isn’t too thrilled with the new arrangement. As Auerbach escorts JB to her classroom he explains that Wallace was hoping to be made department head but that didn’t work out either. Also there’s been lots of muggings on campus so don’t stay late but I’m sure you’ll do great oh I’d better run.

(I think JB doesn't know what she's in for tbh)

(I think JB doesn’t know what she’s in for tbh)

Her first class begins and all seems to be going well. She even drops in a Hamlet quote to demonstrate a point (I love it. I had an anthropology lecturer who used to do the same thing with Monty Python clips it was awesome). This doesn’t sit well will all of the class though, NYPD Officer Morelli in particular who starts muttering away to his neighbour.

Morelli is going to regret this.

Morelli is going to regret this.

When JB asks if she can do anything for him, he says well that’s the point isn’t it? You’re a writer, I’m an NYPD detective, what can I hope to learn from you?

JB pauses, goes back to her lectern. “Well…perhaps as much as I’ve already learned from you. That for instance you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning. Then stopped by the precinct’s target range to get in some practice.  You’ve recently given up smoking, you were born in the midwest and you’ve been married only a few months.”

e2

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

After class, JB heads to the cafeteria where she is accosted by one of her students, Luke Phillips.

I think we know where this is going

I think we know where this is going

It turns out Luke is actually a mechanic who just wanted to meet his idol JB, and when JB points out he should consider dropping the class and taking another he loses his mind. He’s read all her books twice, she owes him. If it wasn’t for people like him she’d still be in Cabot Cove baking brownies.

Sitting down to lunch Jess is soon joined by another student, Kevin Bryce. He’s another NYPD cop, but he was happy to see JB take Morelli down a peg or two. As they chat, Kevin reveals that he’s studying for the sergeants test again, but that he’s already failed it three times. Because Our Heroine is benevolent and wise, she offers to coach him through the test and he’s delighted. Damn right he is.

That afternoon, JB is wandering around campus when she hears sirens. She (along with half the school) go running and finds one of her students, Roslyn, being loaded into an ambulance – the latest victim of the campus mugger. JB goes to see her in hospital but Roslyn doesn’t remember much. She just knows she’s too scared to go back to school. JB tells her there are counsellors who can help her get past this, and of course if there’s anything she can do…

There is, says Roslyn. Could she catch this guy?

 

The only acceptable response to a rhetorical question.

The only acceptable response to a rhetorical question.

JB tells her that she’s only new to the university, and that the police might not appreciate her involvement in the case but she’s sure the police will have it all sorted soon. She tells Roslyn to concentrate on getting well, and that the class will still be there when she gets back  – but Roslyn says she doesn’t think she can come back, what with this monster still on campus and all.

Time passes (presumably). JB is back in class teaching away when Wings Wallace pops in to listen to her class, bemoan the fact that JB won’t let him help, and suggest that the muggings on campus could be used as a workshop for the class to track down the guilty party.

Wings has lost the plot you guys

Wings has lost the plot you guys

Wings Wallace tells JB that he too has read all of her books and finds them interesting – 5 people in a house, 2 get murdered, and then the killer is caught. Much like Cabot Cove – home to 3 suspects, 2 dogs and a duck.

(No seriously, who wouldn't?)

(No seriously, who wouldn’t?)

Wallace thinks he can solve the case, what about JB? Jess is horrified at the suggestion of a wager but Wallace says its an academic exercise that will benefit the students. JB suggests they take it outside, where she informs Wallace (again) that the idea of a bet to see who can solve the case the fastest is inapprorbut Wallace figured JB would jump at the chance to prove herself.

“Well I’ve found that people who think they have something to prove never succeed in doing so. ” Says JB.  (Life Lesson #63. Ooh that’s a good one).

Down at the precinct Wallace hits up Kevin for all the files on the muggings so that he can “build a profile of the suspect”. (I should point out that earlier in the episode Doctor Auerbach tells JB that Wallace was sacked off the NYPD after two years for being heavy-handed so this whole building a profile thing sounds like something he saw on an episode of LA Law or something). Kevin tells him he won’t help him take down JB, not even when Wallace threatens to fail him out of his forensics class. YOU GO KEVIN.

Wallace pops by JB’s classroom with an advanced copy of the student newspaper proclaiming the race between Wallace and JB to solve the campus muggings. JB is horrified, but Wallace thinks she should be happy – it’s publicity and that’s why she was hired – enrolments were down, money was drying up so Doctor Auerbach had a crazy idea to boost enrollments by bringing in a celebrity.

Devastated, JB goes to see Auerbach who, like every middle aged white dude, begs her to see it from his perspective. The school was desperate.  He asks her if she would have taken the job if he was upfront with her and she says absolutely not. She informs Auerbach that she will stay until a suitable replacement can be found and then she’s out. Auerbach asks her if they could just discuss it and JB says “I believe we just did.”

BOOM.

Later that night, JB is leaving the university when sirens start blaring and people start running towards the sound. JB follows and runs into Kevin, in work mode. He says the mugger has struck again, but this time it went too far and the victim died. JB asks him for everything he’s got on the case. She’s in.

Cut to JB’s New York bunker, where Jess is taking a break from helping Kevin study for his test by going over the murder. He tells her that the knife was found but also two blood types so they’re thinking the victim managed to defend himself and cause some damage to his attacker. JB wonders if the attacker ended up in hospital and Kevin says they’re checking, but that the only weird thing is that another student was hospitalised across town for a gunshot would but he can’t see how the two events might be connected.

Down at the precinct Kevin gets pulled up by his boss for providing information to JB (which frankly is a valid point as much as I love Our Heroine) and orders him to back off. Meanwhile over on campus JB has stumbled onto a message left by the killer – I am the sword of justice, death sings to me, alpha and omega.

Get a better slogan, murderous mugger guy

Points for effort, 0 points for originality.

JB recognises the reference and goes hunting in the library for the source material but before she can find the book, Luke the crazy fan pops up to tell her he’s no longer her #1 fan.

Down at the precinct, Wallace and the captain are contemplating how to proceed.

The eternal question.

The eternal question.

The captain is worried, but Wallace is all over it. It’s definitely either disgruntled former student or employee, or it’s a crazed psychopath drifter. Wallace is convinced it’s the latter, and thinks if no murder occurs in the next 72 hours then he will be proven right. The captain hopes so, but Kevin overhears and approaches Wallace. He thinks it’s too early to have a definite idea on who it is, but Wallace is unstoppable. Plus he got a letter from the killer so he’s totes a threat.

Wallace isn’t the only penpal of the mugger, JB’s got a letter too. She goes to show it to Kevin after class but he tells her he’s under strict orders to stay out of it and stop helping JB. Undeterred, JB heads to the library to try and track down the book she thinks the mugger is quoting from. The librarian conveniently wanders away from her desk so JB can see the screen – the book was borrowed by Wallace Evans.  As JB leaves the campus for the night, someone takes a potshot at her and drives away. As the hordes come running, JB spots the Greek characters for alpha and omega on the ground.

The next day JB takes a cab out to Kevin’s place. Kevin’s not home but his mum is – they get to chatting and it’s revealed that Kevin’s father (who was a cop) got done for corruption just because everyone else in his squad was. Mrs Kevin’s Mum doesn’t want him to be a cop. Kevin arrives home and asks Jessica to a) leave and b) drop the investigation. JB says she’ll leave but she won’t drop it – someone took a potshot at her, this time it’s personal.

Kevin goes to work and tells his boss he can’t stand by any more, he’s going to help JB. The captain tells him he’s on his own, and department policy means he can’t take any documents out of the precinct. Fortunately Kevin has a way around that, as he explains to JB later. He just ordered copies from the coroner’s office and picked them up before they entered the precinct. YOU GO KEVIN.

As they go through the reports, JB notices that no skin tissue was found on the serrated knife belonging to the mugger, only blood. Furthermore, there were no fingerprints on the knife, which makes no sense if the murdered guy used it to fight his attacker. JB sees it all now. They go to find the student who was shot across town, and after some grilling get him to admit he was the mugger.

Which basically leaves only one suspect. Which I thought was obvious about 10 minutes ago, but what do I know.

Is this the first time someone has been a killer twice on Murder She Wrote? WINGS IS A SERIAL KILLER

Is this the first time someone has been a killer twice on Murder She Wrote? WINGS IS A SERIAL KILLER

Determined to restore his fragile ego,  Wallace sets out to catch the mugger. Except when he does he decides the easiest option is to shoot him, except when he shoots the bullet goes straight through the mugger and kills the mugging victim. You stuffed that up Wallace old man. And so, to cover up his boo-boo, Wallace created the idea of a crazy hobo transient as the killer. Except JB knew better.

JB ALWAYS KNOWS BETTER.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

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S07E21 – Tainted Lady

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Welcome to Dry Wells California Fletcherfans, where people are having heart attacks and Patrick Swayze’s brother is riding around town like he’s Patrick Swaze’s brother.

And he's blaming it on youuuuuuuuu

And he’s blaming it on youuuuuuuuu

Swayze Jr (who’s name in this is Edge Potter, what even is that?) is about to be escorted out of the cafe by owner Ellen Wicker, to try and put a stop to the bickering between Edge and regular patron Ross Corman. Once the Edge has been taken off (heh heh he), talk turns to the death of Jake Gerringer, who died the previous evening of a heart attack. Over at the doctor’s office, however, Ross’s wife Laura is copping a lashing from her boss Dr Logan for ordering tests on Jake Gerringer’s body, but is proven right when the lab calls to tell Dr Logan Gerringer died of arsenic poisoning. Logan puts a call through to the Sheriff, Deloy Hayes, to let him know.

Let the record show that the role of Deloy Hayes is being played by Eric Cartman, who is being played by Gary Lockwood from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Also seen in Murder She Wrote.

Bahaha you can see the lighting rig in his sunglasses I don’t know why that’s so funny.

On hearing news of the arsenic poisoning, Deloy takes it upon himself to head over to Ellen’s cafe to look around. If you’re thinking that’s a bit of a leap, you’d be right, but it turns out that Ellen was once put on trial for murdering her husband but was found not guilty thanks to some detective work by Ellen’s writer friend (whomever could he be referring to?). Deloy tells Ellen she got lucky once, but this ain’t no Boston and it ain’t no country club either.

Seeing the Fletch-signal in the sky, JB hurries down to California, where she is met by Ellen’s lawyer Herb Apple (what is with the character names in this episode?). Their arrival in Dry Wells just happens to coincide with Ross asking his wife out to lunch only to cop the response “the Health Authority have closed Ellen’s restaurant, and the Sheriff has Ellen, so is that why you’re out patrolling main street? ” Or words to that effect.

JB’s first stop in Dry Wells is to see Ellen in the lock-up, who is overjoyed to see Our Heroine. She tells JB that she should never have come back to Dry Wells, it’s not the same as when she grew up there – the tannery closed after the earthquake, everyone lost their jobs and it’s becoming a ghost town. Also, she didn’t poison Jake Gerringer. She tells Jess not to expect any help from the sheriff just as he appears to inform JB visiting hours are over, Ellen has to go over to the courthouse to be arraigned. Excellent, says JB. I’ll come too and post Ellen’s bail.

Bail posted, Jess, Ellen and Herb try to leave but run into the local angry mob.

CRAZY SWAYZE EYES

CRAZY SWAYZE EYES

They make it to the car, which the angry mob starts shaking because THEY ARE ANGRY THEY ARE MOB. Across the street one of the sheriff’s deputies suggests they should go and do something before someone gets hurt but Deloy The Douchebag thinks they are just letting their feelings be known, it’s the American way.

Deloy the Douchebag would later have his own reality TV show, start wearing an albino squirrel on his head and  try to become president of the United States. #metaphorical

Deloy the Douchebag would later have his own reality TV show, start wearing a dead albino squirrel on his head and try to become president of the United States. I mean, what?

JB and Ellen arrive home, where the abuse starts up again, this time via phone. Fortunately for Ellen, JB knows how to take care of business.

“Look if you’re trying to shock us, you’re only betraying your ignorance. We’ve all heard words like this and usually with a good deal more originality.”

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Alright time out. Have I ever told you guys about the three greatest things I’ve done in my life so far? They are

3) Kicked a netball to score a goal from the centre of the court at the end of a PE lesson in year 10 (noone saw this, remain devastated about it)

2)  Won 3o grand on Deal or No Deal in 2005 despite having a hangover that could only be described as biblical.

1). The year was 2007. I was home alone one afternoon. The landline rings. I assume it’s my mother, so I pick up the phone and say “Hello?” without really listening. Then I realised it was a man’s voice I didn’t recognise and say “I’m sorry, what?”

The man on the end of the phone says “Hi, I was wondering if you’d like to come round and play with my 12 inch cock.”

WITHOUT EVEN TAKING A BREATH I say “Well surely if it’s 12 inches then you can go fuck yourself.”

I hang up the phone. I do several laps of my house singing We Are The Champions while declaring myself to be the greatest human being that ever lived. 

The end.

JB gives Ellen a pep talk and tells her that she will stick around to straighten the whole thing out, and Ellen has nothing to be scared or sorry about. She asks Ellen about Jake Gerringer’s daughter Doris. Ellen tells her she doesn’t really know Doris all that well, but that she’s kind of mousy and plain although apparently she’s been dressing kind of oddly lately.

Nah though.

Sweetie sweetie sweetie sweetie

Sweetie sweetie sweetie sweetie

Mmkay mmkay.

Mmkay mmkay.

Apparently Doris is practicing for the life she’s going to live in Hollywood once she gets her father’s insurance money by having champagne and caviar at 10am. Doris tells JB that Ellen was her best friend in high school and they both worked for Jake until Ellen was fired for stealing money from the til, and she shouldn’t have killed her father, but she already got away with it once in Boston, and Doris will have to buy something good to wear for the trial she’d make an excellent witness.

(That was the look on my face after I kicked the netball through the hoop in PE.)

(That was the look on my face after I kicked the netball through the hoop in PE.)

Sheriff Douchebag, who had apparently tailed JB to the Gerringer house and is sitting in his car surveilling the place, gets a call over the radio to say that Katie Emhardt has come in to say she thinks her husband was also poisoned. He heads back to the station to get the whole story – apparently the original cause of death was declared to be a heart condition, but Katie says there were no heart tablets in the bathroom and that before he died he was clutching his stomach in agony.

Deloy the Douchebag heads over to the doctor’s office to suss it out and gets Laura to look at Walter Emhardt’s medical file. It turns out there was no mention of a heart condition, and when Deloy notices how much the time of death on Walter’s certificate cuts into Doc Logan’s gambling in Laughlin time, he suspects the Doc might not have been super thorough. He gets on the radio to arrange to get the body dug up.

Back at Ellen’s house JB asks about Ellen getting fired and she says she was never caught, someone told Jake that she was taking money and he reported it to the police. (Someone like Doris maybe, says JB). While she was in holding, then-deputy Deloy the Douchebag offered to make it all go away, how much of it would go away would depend on how friendly Ellen was. It was only when Herb Apple arrived to say Jake was dropping the charges that Deloy backed off. The next day Ellen left town, but Deloy the Douchebag hasn’t changed a single solitary jot.

The body of Walter Emhardt is dug up and sent over to the pathology lab. Deloy tells Herb Apple to pass on a message to JB – get out of his way or get out of his town. Edge Potter takes it upon himself to deliver the message by menacing JB while she’s out and about and suggesting JB might get hurt. Just as he declares he will take JB to the bus station himself sirens start blaring – Deputy Ray Gomez had been sent by Deloy to checkup on Jessica but is in time to stop the Edge from going too far.

That night, Ross Corman invites himself over to Ellen’s, allegedly for a glass of wine and to tell her about Walter Emhardt, but when he starts forcing himself on her Ellen starts to scream. Fortunately JB is there to save the day and Ross scurries away into the night. A rock flies through the window, and when Jess goes to investigate she finds the words KILLER spray-painted across the house.

Herb Apple arrives soon after to help clean up and to warn them that Walter Emhardt did die from arsenic poisoning. He also puts himself in charge of fielding prank calls, to questionable effect.

Although I'm seeing the method in his madness.

Although I’m seeing the method in his madness.

Later that night, Ross Corman dies in a method of acting that could only be described as over.

(Full disclosure: I love William Shatner)

(Full disclosure: I love William Shatner)

Ross calls for his wife, who calls the sheriff’s office hysterical. The police and the doc both arrive but Ross is 100% dead. Laura tells them that Ross had been out at a business meeting, came home sloshed, and then started howling in agony. The Sheriff gets a call about a hot tip they received at the sheriff’s office – Ross Corman had been at Ellen’s house. He heads on over to arrest Ellen and confiscate the wine bottle and orders JB to stay out of his business.

Someone is about to get Fletchered.

Someone is about to get Fletchered.

Jess goes to tell Herb about the latest developments, and stares longingly at the coffee machine.

 

JB LOOKS AT COFFEE THE SAME WAY I DO

JB LOOKS AT COFFEE THE SAME WAY I DO

While she stares at the coffee pot, she has an idea about what’s behind all the death in Dry Wells, and it’s not a psychopath.

Life Lesson #62: Coffee will answer your questions.

Jess goes to see Katie Emhardt for a peek into her husbands files – Walter worked at the tannery before it closed down after the earthquake flattened it. Katie tells her she looked in the files when JB called her and there’s no mention of Ellen in there – just a whole bunch of records and memos about closing the plant.

“Including what to do with the toxic waste?” Asks JB.

BOOM.

Over at the sheriff’s office Deloy the Douchebag comes into the cells. His staff have orders not to disturb them. He and Ellen need to come to an understanding.

ARGH HE IS CREEPY I JUST WANT TO PUNCH MY TELEVISION.

ARGH HE IS CREEPY I JUST WANT TO PUNCH MY TELEVISION.

Fortunately for Ellen and my television, one of Douchebag’s deputies comes in – there’s something on the TV the sheriff needs to see – Captain Planet and the Planeteers JB and some Save the Planet volunteers are digging up at the old tannery. The sheriff slams his hat on his head and goes over there to arrest them all…

q2

 

It doesn’t go well…

r2

JB explains that they’re there to find toxic waste that might have leaked into the water after the earthquake. He doesn’t believe it, but the planeteers are on the case and voila!

t2

s2

Case closed? Hell no! JB says there’s no doubt that one of the victims was murdered, and she wants to know just what Deloy is willing to do to prove it.

Herb and JB head over to the doctor’s office – Doc Logan tells them that Walter and Jake had preexisting conditions that would have made them much more susceptible to the poison while people like Doris were fine. Ross Corman on the other hand wasn’t even drinking contaminated water.

Or was he?

(He was).

Whomp there it is.

Whomp there it is.

That would explain why she called the sheriff and not the doctor. She was sick of being treated like a ATM.

Stay tuned for the season 7 finale next week! Only *gulp* 5 more seasons to go! Remind me why I thought this was a good idea again?

Later gang!

Later gang!