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S02E05 – Sing a Song of Murder

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There’s big trouble in Mother England this week, Fletcherfans. Our Heroine’s cousin, Emma Macgill, is a) an aging caberet actress b) in danger and c) very familiar in the looks department.

CUNNING USE OF WIGS

Remember that time with the turban? THIS IS WAY MORE EPIC THAN THAT.

Now I’m not sure if it’s the fur muffler, the dress, or the singing, but someone is out to get Ms Emma Macgill. It’s clearly noone in the audience though, since they’re all too busy singing along,

This is exactly what going to see Muse at the Big Day Out in 2010 was like. #nottrue

This is exactly what going to see Muse at the Big Day Out in 2010 was like. #nottrue

Methinks the grief may be coming from everyone else in the theatre like Archie, the guy who inherited half the theatre from his father and now wants to sell up, or his conniving wife Violet, or Kitty, the daughter of Oliver Trumble the opening act who is both a comedian who was last funny in 1937 and also bumping uglies with the star of the show.  (If you’ve been playing along since Season 1, you’ll remember that an unfunny comedian is always the most likely suspect).

Meanwhile in Cabot Cove, JB gets a phone call informing her of her cousin’s tragic demise from Emma’s lawyer Ernest Fielding, who I’ve just realised was the Right Hand Of Death last season, and so clearly has form. JB quickly hops the concord for Heathrow, but is accosted on the street by Danny Briggs, a man who wants to buy Emma’s musical and enjoys doing crap impressions of Michael Caine.

(Sidenote: after googling Ernest Fielding I fell down an IMDB rabbit hole and ended up here. I COMPLETELY FORGOT THIS SHOW EXISTED, NOW EXCUSE ME WHILE I YOUTUBE).

Ahem. So, failed Michael Caine wants to get his Cockney hands on the music hall that Jess inherited about thirty seconds ago, (seems familiar right?), but Jess politely tells him to jog on, and meets up with the aforementioned Ernest Fielding. He escorts JB to his car and politely but firmly insists she get in the back.

ZOMBIES! MOAR ZOMBIES! (I might be having a Walking Dead withdrawal problem, shut up alright?)

ZOMBIES! MOAR ZOMBIES! (I might be having a Walking Dead withdrawal problem, shut up alright?)

Turns out it isn’t the reanimated flesh eating corpse of Our Heroine’s cousin (boo), it turns out Emma faked her own death. Through some devilishly clever cutaway shots, Emma, JB and Ernest Hemingway Fielding try to nut out who exactly has it in for Emma. While drinking tea, since they are in London after all. Our Heroine is less than excited to learn that her cousin has set her up as a potential victim so she can discover who is trying to bump Emma off.

This picture deserves a better caption than this.

This picture deserves a better caption than this.

Having had quite enough of her cousin’s rampant drug use bright ideas, JB decides to pay a visit on her old friend Inspector Kyle, who you may remember from such episodes as this one. Unfortunately he’s off on holidays so Jess enlists the help of Inspector Crimmins.

The next day, JB turns up at Emma’s ‘funeral’ in much the same way that Clint Eastwood walks into a bar. She has a bit of a poke around in Emma’s dressing room but is busted by her maid, Bridget. JB quizzes Bridget about Emma’s ‘accidents’ before she ‘died’ in a ‘car accident’ but Bridget doesn’t know terribly much. JB runs into Oliver and his daughter Kitty but they’re off on a secret Shakespearian mission. Or something.

Has anyone else noticed the distinct lack of murders in this episode of Murder She Wrote? Just saying.

Later that night, JB and Inspector Spacetime Crimmins are having a quiet shandy when JB decides they need to go and search Emma’s flat for clues. It turns out to be a brilliant idea – they arrive just in time to see Bridget-the-maid, wearing Emma’s leopard print coat, get mown down by a car. SO THERE IS A MURDER, OKAY RELAX EVERYONE.

Inspector Crimmins calls time out on the whole Emma-faked-her-death thing and orders Emma and Ernest to go down to Scotland Yard. Word gets out that Emma is less dead than originally thought, and Archie (co-owner of the theatre) turns up to suss out just how undead Emma is, and if this new undead Emma might want to sell the theatre. Emma refuses to leave the flat and so JB and Inspector Crimmins go to see her to find out just exactly why her maid was breaking into her flat and stealing her leopard print coat. Our Heroine cuts right to the chase – noone would have been trying to run anyone down if they thought Emma was still dead (as opposed to her current undead status). JB smells a rat. A dirty, undead rat.

Emma comes clean and admits leaving a message for Oliver, letting him know that she was in fact undead. JB and Inspector Crimmins go to pay him a visit but he’s not at home. Crimmins suggests taking a listen to the ‘answering device’ and discover that he’s still on his Shakespearian mission, by which I mean audition. The message from the director of the play is on the machine, after the message from Emma advising her undeadness. JB goes to see his audition, the highlight of which is the part where he loses his mind and starts Shakespearian insulting everyone in sight. (Though he doesn’t drop the ‘You Painted Maypole!’ which has always been my favourite).

The director doesn’t take too kindly to this turn of events:

You're welcome, fellow Shakespearian nerds.

You’re welcome, fellow Shakespearian nerds.

…leaving JB and Kitty to console poor Oliver. He brightens up when JB tells him she’s still alive, but he’s not impressed to hear that he’s the last to know. This suprises JB, who points out Emma called him and left a message. Oliver tells her he hasn’t been home, he’s been too busy begging for an audition. Unfortunately, Inspector Crimmins has other ideas and drags him off to Scotland Yard under arrest.

JB does not entirely agree with this view of the whole shebang, and goes off to see Emma, but Danny Briggs gets there first. Fortunately, Emma is nothing like Grady.

SMASHING VASES LIKE A BOSS.

Emma Mad! Emma SMASH!

A peculiar thing happens. The bump on Danny’s head has knocked some sense into Our Heroine, and she’s worked out who the killer is…

I thought there was a little 'Evil Stepmother' thing going on with her...

I thought there was a little ‘Evil Stepmother’ thing going on with her…

There you have it guys. Kitty tried to bump Emma off 4 times and managed a 0% success rate. Well done, Kitty.

And on that rather depressing note…

Until next time...

Until next time…

And now, a word from our sponsor

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Alas the Murder, She Blogged typewriter has crapped out again. I’m hoping I will be able to get my henchmen to make it work over the Christmas break, and I will be back to completely misinterpreting Murder She Wrote episodes in about three weeks.

In the mean time, here’s a little something-something from me.

Merry Christmas Fletcherfans. See you soon!

S01E12 – Broadway Malady

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Guess who’s back guys! JB’s lame-ass nephew Grady!!

Oh how we missed you Grady… wait, no we didn’t!

Grady’s on the phone to Jess bragging about his new job as a book-keeper for a new Broadway show (he even makes that sound lame), and he’s dying for his aunt to come down and see him in action, and meet his new bit of fluff, Kate.

JB is bemused at all this, but isn’t sure if she’ll have time to see him, what with all the high-powered publishing meetings she’ll be attending. (Sounds like an excuse to me).

Grady’s having none of it. He tells his aunt that not only does she get to come down and see rehearsals, but she gets to meet the star of the show, Rita Bristol. “You’ll love her,” Grady says. “Although everyone seems to love everybody around here.”

Yay! Grady made a joke!

While Grady is on the phone being all Grady-like, Rita Bristol is throwing a tantrum and flouncing off stage, the producer, Rita’s son Barry, is trying to hold everything together, and the director is demanding the show’s co-star, Rita’s daughter Patti, sing on-key. Cue the music! (I think this is as close to a musical episode as I’m ever gonna get).

JB arrives in New York and is immediately accosted at her hotel by El Lame-o, who tells her that Rita Bristol has invited her out to dinner with some of the cast and crew of the show. Jess, not wanting to spend any more time with Grady than she has to, tries to wriggle out of it but Grady pouts and she agrees. At dinner, Jess politely chats with everyone, eager to get back to her hotel and sleep. Then Barry starts on his Grand Toast To His Sister, and Jess is  delighted.

It’s just like every cast dinner I’ve been privy to, believe me…

After dinner, the show’s backer Si Parrish offers JB a lift back to her hotel, clearly hoping for a little lovin, and Barry and Patti say goodnight. Unfortunately on their way to the car, between a doomsday priest and card shark, a random mugger jumps out from behind the bin, yells “Gimme your money and your jewels,” and shoots Patti in the chest. Barry pops a couple of rounds off and the mugger drops dead. The card shark grabs his table and legs it.

(I’ll be honest. I was hoping for a musical number here to. Ah well, the show must go on).

The next morning, Jess is watching the news story on the shooting of Patti Bristol. There’s something fishy going on, and the Queen of Cabot Cove is going to get to the bottom of it, because let’s face it, Grady won’t. She pays a visit to the detective on the case, and is unimpressed when he starts rabbiting on about statistics and carrots.

I said 24 CARATS you fool!

Jess asks the cop if he is tracking down the card shark she heard about on the news. The cop very politely tells JB that the case is essentially closed.

What a boss. Honestly, would you mess with her?

Jess turns on her heel and flounces out of the office and goes to see Rita Driscoll at home, trying to cope with the stress by wearing her dressing gown and high heels. After listening to Rita pour forth about her life, her kids and her alcoholism, Jess hits the streets looking for the card shark. She finds one of his colleagues and lures her into finding him with half a hundred dollar note. (Not fifty bucks, literally half a note – they get the other half once she’s spoken to this mysterious card shark named Taki). Naturally the plan works, and JB meets up with Taki for lunch. He tells her that he thinks the mugger was an amateur, and that he didn’t even wait for Patti to give up her money. Jess’s carrot-chomping detective is unimpressed with this news.

Meanwhile, it’s good news at the hospital – Patti is going to be fine. Huzzah! The news is not so great backstage though – the director has gone and imported his own leading lady to replace Patti, and Barry and the cast are less than excited with the news. The show must something something, I guess.

It’s even better news at Grady’s apartment though – Jess has spotted the man who shot at Patti on the TV. He was an actor! (See? TV solves everything). The carrot-muncher is still unimpressed, and tells JB that if she  continues on, he may not be able to help her. Because he’s done such a great job up until now. Jess tells him he’s a moron (paraphrasing), and goes to see the dead man’s agent, who happens to also be Milton Berle.

Among Milton Berle’s lesser known film roles are a guest spot on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and an uncredited role as a transvestite at a wedding on Roseanne. Thanks, IMDB!

In between chatting up the bright young things, Milton Lew tells Jess that he hadn’t seen his client for years. He gives her the last address he had for him, and promises to get a full list of his credits. Jess is convinced that he is tied to the Driscoll’s somehow, dammit! Back at rehearsals, Rita is less than happy that Patti’s role has been increased ever since the director’s new toy came on as Patti’s replacement.

Sidebar:

Sometimes I’m sad the 80s ended. This is not one of those times. (Be grateful I didn’t use a reverse angle)

This particular scene ends with Barry punching the director in the face, mostly because he was bad-mouthing his mother and sister, but I’d like to think a part of it was to do with that leotard. I mean, I’d get punchy too if I had to see that.

Grady unhelpfully rushes on stage to tell Barry something, but Barry tells him to take hike (something I think we’d all like to do, amirite?). Instead he takes his grievances to his aunt – he thinks Si the moneyman has oversold shares in the production, which means that if the show is a hit, he owes a lot of people a lot of money Jess patiently explains that is the basic plot of The Producers, and turns her attention to more pressing matters, that is, going to visit the home of the late actor/mugger Morley. Grady escorts her, on account of the general dodginess of the locale. They meet his landlord, who tells them that Morley had just met a guardian angel who had promised to produce his movie.

Jess doesn’t like this and orders Grady to stop ogling a random couple dancing and get to Lew to get a list of Morty’s credits while she hoofs it over to Rita Driscoll’s to make sure everything is alright. They find Rita passed out on the floor of the kitchen with the gas on, an empty bottle of booze and an empty bottle of pills. Bummer.

Cut to an ambulance roaring down a street, and soon the gang is all congregating outside Rita’s hospital room. Si somewhat inappropriately asks the director if he has someone who can replace Rita in the show. The doctor comes out and announces that it’s touch and go with Rita. Grady finally shows Jess the credits list for Morley, and straight away, she knows who set up this whole charade.  Barry Driscoll gets a page over the PA system to report to intensive care…

Later, Jess and Barry are sitting in Rita’s lounge room drinking coffee, and Jess calls him out. Barry denies it.

Life Lesson #25: Red and white polka dots are acceptable sartorial choices when interrogating a suspect.

And of course, she’s right.

Sinister man drinking tea…

Not only did he arrange for his sister to get shot, but he faked his mother’s suicide just to get his hands on the money. Bastard!

The joke’s on him though – his mother isn’t dead. Jess just made him think that! LOL! Another case closed, JB heads back to the Cove to get back to work on her book. Grady gives her a call on opening night and tells her that the show is success. Jess asks after Grady’s bit of fluff, but it turns out she’s run away with a weatherman, but it’s okay because he’s met Francesca!

Freeze frame on JB laughing at her loser nephew, and we wrap on another action-packed week of Murder, She Wrote.

Until next time, Fletcherfans!