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S09E06 – Night of the Coyote

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Fletcherfans, remember that time Murder, She Wrote did that Native American episode and it was horrific? The good news is this episode is MUCH better than that episode, and it mostly contains Native Americans messing with dumb white people, which is a little hit and miss. I’m still an ignorant fool when it comes to Native American culture and depictions thereof, so let me know what you think about it.

BECAUSE WE’RE IN NEW MEXICO BITCH!

Guys I really think I should binge Breaking Bad again.

But even if I hadn’t yelled that at you, Jessica’s outfit at the start of this episode would be a Useful Guide.

I endorse that jacket completely TBH.

Jess is in Chaco Springs visiting her artist friend Susan Lindsay, who has taken her to see the main street reenactment of That Time What Cutter McGee Robbed A Bank And Got Caught By Navajo Indians. Once the show is over, Susan introduces JB to the brains behind the rebooted ghost town, Max Teller. He tells them to check out the museum before being called away by his secretary, who reminds him he has a meeting with a dude by the name of Ben Judson. Judson, it turns out, wants to buy the town of Silverville from Max but Max isn’t selling.

Jess and Susan adjourn to the Susan’s house in Chaco Springs, where Susan is showing off her work and JB is getting into the margaritas.

MARGARITAS FOR EVERYBODY

While Susan runs to check on her lasagne JB chats to another writer, Charles Strickland, who is in town researching the silver strike, but he assures Jessica that it’s no best seller. Max wanders past and says he hopes it will be so the tourists come running, and goes off in search of dinner. Jess tells Charles that she noticed Cutter McGee never lost his sea-faring ways, his sextant and things were kept immaculately. Charles tells her that he used them to navigate the desert – he also recommends JB doesn’t get Max started on the lost treasure of Cutter McGee.

JB has stopped listening.

Me, usually drinking tequila. Or coffee. Or pretty much anything really.

Later that night, Susan and JB are cleaning up after the party and Susan asks JB what she thinks of “him”. JB assumes she means Max, on account of the way Susan’s eyes never left him. Susan is embarrassed to think she was that obvious – she had sworn she wouldn’t get involved with another man after her divorce.

“Love’s sneaky like that. It blindsides you, just when you don’t want it and you think you don’t need it!” Says JB. (Life Lesson #67 right there)

Is she talking about Frank? Is she talking about someone else? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS.

The next morning Max heads in to work and finds his old pal Tony kicking back with his feet up. Tony just wants to buy Max some breakfast and also demand his share of the contents of an off-shore bank account – Max knows which one. Max doesn’t want anything to do with Tony but Tony thinks he just needs some more time, something he knows all about. He tells Max not to bother with the cops, he’s clean now. Max on the other hand…people might be interested to know how he got the money to buy Silverville…

Meanwhile, JB is out in the desert looking for Heisenberg’s money communing with nature and lamenting the loss of her favourite pen. Jess decides to go for a wander while Susan paints, and has a chat with some coyotes before being startled by the sudden appearance of a Native American man sitting on a rock.  He tells her the echoes make it confusing up there, and that if you hear it at night you will understand why the shamans believe that the spirit of Coyote brings evil into the world. He introduces himself as Sam Keeyani, and warns her the track gets pretty dangerous up ahead with loose rocks and whatnot. Also there’s skinwalkers/witches, which he totally doesn’t believe in but you do think you see weird things in the shadows. Jess peers up the mountain and when she looks back, Sam is gone – in his place, her missing pen.

Back in Silverville, Max calls in Earl – one of the stuntmen/workers in Silverville – for a meeting. Turns out Earl has been shorting Max on his hay deliveries, and so Max fires him. Earl tells him the job stinks, he’ll just take his money and be gone, but Max says he doesn’t owe Earl a dime.

Earl wigs out.

Fun fact – I saw Point Break for the first time last week and it was excellent except I had Patrick Swayze’s haircut in 2007 I am not good at fashion.

Later that night, while Max wraps up his work day, someone sneaks into Silverville and burns down the museum. The next morning, Jess and Susan come to see if Max is alright, and Sheriff Sam Keeyani rolls in to take charge of the scene.

I legit have no idea why Susan is pulling that face but it amuses me greatly.

While appropriately mystical music plays, the Sheriff picks up a handful of dirt and watches it blow away before breathing in deeply. He asks Max if he has any enemies and Max tells him about firing Earl the previous night. Sam says it wasn’t Earl, does he have any others? Max says it was definitely Earl, but Sam says he’ll look into it but he needs a full list of enemies. Max departs for his office, closely followed by Susan. Sam offers Jess a ride back to Chaco Springs, and the promise of the best cup of coffee in town. At Max’s office, Susan tries to offer her help and money restoring the museum but Max is shutting her down and out, saying there’s more money in Cutter McGee than just a story for tourists. She gives up and tells him to keep his secrets to himself she’s not interested any more, and storms out.

Over a damn good cup of joe (OMG Twin Peaks though), Jess calls out Sam’s performance outside the museum, and he admits to smelling for gasoline and working out which way the wind was blowing. He also admits that someone handed in JB’s pen and he figured there’d only be one person in town with a fancy pen like that. Sam tells her he does it to lure suspects into a false sense of security.  Jess wonders how he’s so sure that Earl didn’t do it, and he tells her that the tracks he found show that someone wearing sneakers was the culprit, and Earl wears boots. Sam gets distracted by the arrival of local babe Alice Chee, who Sam is quite keen to know better if you know what I mean. Charles Strickland pops in with a list of items that were out on display at the museum, but he says there were boxes in the back he never got round to. Sam says he’ll check it out and goes back into his office. Charles offers to give Jess the Charles Strickland Historical Drive back to Susan’s house and she gratefully accepts.

Sam goes to see Earl at his ranch, who didn’t know Sam knew about it, or that the whole town was talking about it. Sam says he’ll have to read him his rights, but Earl says all he did was punch a guy at the bar. Turns out he was there all night, has witnesses and definitely didn’t burn down the museum.

The next morning Max’s secretary arrives for work and finds Max dead on the floor shot in the chest. Sam goes to inform Susan of Max’s murder, but she doesn’t seem terribly affected, telling Sam that they’d only been out a few times, she had no idea what he’d been up to the previous evening and she has work to do. Jess follows her to her studio, and she says she had wanted to kill Max the previous night, after the fight. She’d been back to see him to apologise, later that night but had found him and Betty together. She left before they saw her but she was too upset to talk to Jess about it the previous night.

Jess tells Sam about what she’s found out, and the two of them go to see Betty. She tries to bluster her way out of it, but cracks and admits she stayed and had some drinks with Max, she listened to how he was about to get rich, they got down to business (nudge nudge wink wink) and she left around 8:30 when Max said he was meeting someone. She didn’t know who it was, but she tells them about Ben Judson’s offer to buy Silverville earlier that week. Maybe that had something to do with it.

A deputy pops up to tell Sam that a man has been picked up driving Max’s car – it’s Tony Sable, Max’s sketchy friend from California. At the sheriff’s office he tells them that he and Max once had a mail order business going – Tony got greedy and so Max turned states evidence against him. Tony got four years, Max conveniently forgot to mention the offshore bank account where most of the money ended up, and when Tony got out of prison the money was gone.  He hadn’t seen Max since the previous afternoon – Max told him he had some money coming, and he would buy him off.

Jess notes that this is the third person Max told about his imminent windfall. Sam figures this is proof he was about to sell Silverville, but Jess thinks differently.  Max told Susan it was to do with Cutter McGee, maybe he had a line on the treasure? She decide to investigate at the library but before she goes, Sam asks her if it’s possible to meet someone in a dream – his uncle Ashie swears he has met Jessica many times in dreams. Jess says she doesn’t remember the name but there’s no way she’s turning that invitation down.

At the library she discovers that copies of the Silverville Gazette are missing from right around the time of Cutter McGee’s robbery, but the librarian tells her Charles Strickland already reported it. The only information left from that time are some misc bills of sale, a postcard and an old worthless bond from a company that went out of business in 1905. Disappointed, Jess is about to leave when she bumps into Charles Strickland. When he hears she’s wanting to find out more info on Cutter McGee he reaches into his briefcase to pull out a book on celestial navigation, inside which is the only known photo of Cutter McGee. Jess asks Charles if anyone knows how much Cutter stole, but Charles says he’s heard everything from gold bullion to bags of silver dollars. Whatever it is, he thinks it’s worth millions now.

Sam goes to visit Ben Jurnow, who wants to apologise for campaigning against having Sam as mayor. Times have changed, and we have to change with them, says Ben, and comes out with it – when his great grandfather moved west, he was attacked twice by Indians.

“I guess we have something in common,” says Sam. “Being as my great grandmother was murdered by a bunch of boozed up white settlers.”

No comment.

Jurnow tells Sam the sheriff’s department has never been so well run, how can he help? Sam asks about Ben’s offer on Silverville, and Ben says yes – he wanted water rights for his herd, Sam would have gotten the money and the bank (which he happens to be president of) would have avoided a foreclosure. He had no reason to kill Max though. He tells Sam that the bank has frozen Sam’s assets, bank accounts and a safety deposit box and Sam tells him he will send a deputy around for the box.

Later that night Sam takes Jess to see his uncle Ashie, who wants to repay Jess’s kindness in his dreams. Jess asks him (through Sam) if he knows the story of Cutter McGee and long story short, Cutter McGee hid out for a couple of days, but when he came out for water the Navajo found him and took his horse. McGee was killed by his own people a short time later.

Jess asks him if there’s anything she can do for him, and he says hell yeah sign this copy of your book.

I mean, at least they have managed to cast actual Native American’s this time (although I think the guy who played Sam is Canadian. Still, closer than Sri Lanka)

Back at Susan’s Jess finds Susan gazing into the fireplace, mourning Max. Jess tells her that with all the things she’s gotten to do since she’s become famous, she just wishes that Frank had been there to share it with her. Still, she’s made a lot of lovely friends along the way.

NAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

At the Sheriff’s office the next day Sam shows Jess the autopsy report – traces of sand in the bullet wound and Max’s hair seem to suggest that Max was killed somewhere else and moved to his office. Sam also shows Jess the contents of the safety deposit box – Cutter McGee’s diary. Jess wonders at it not being on display, but then wonders if Max had held it back because he thought it contained directions to the treasure.  Some random numbers on the first page of the diary give Jess an idea about where the treasure is hidden, and where Max was killed. A map at the library gives them the general area, but it’s big. Jess remembers that Uncle Ashie said that his relatives were looking for rabbitbrush when they found Cutter McGee and Sam says there’s only one place that grows – Coyote Canyon, aka the place Jess was the first time she met Sam. THE CIRCLE OF LIFE YOU GUYS. They find traces of blood and so Sam calls in a forensic team. He points out a cave up the hill that the Anasazi used to bury their dead in, and Jess thinks she has a pretty good idea of how to catch the killer.

Back at the police station Sam returns the now empty safe deposit box to Ben Jurnow, while Jess calls Charles Strickland with her discovery. She offers to meet him at the canyon so they can find the treasure together.

Later that afternoon, Jess is wandering through the cave when Charles Strickland arrives. Jess is disappointed. She was waiting for Max’s killer. She shows Charles Cutter’s chest and he throws it open – it’s full of bonds for a certain company that went bust in 1905.

“Yup,” says JB. “You killed him for some worthless paper”

 

I have no opinion about this.

He didn’t mean to shoot Max, he swears – Max was pissed that Charles was going after Max’s treasure so when Max followed him to the canyon and confronted him Charles shot first and asked questions later.

Case closed!

Drink up Fletcherfans!

S09E04 – The Wind Around the Tower

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Welcome to suspiciously sunny Ireland Fletcherfans, where JB is researching for her new book. As it happens, recently retired NYPD detective Sean Culhane (aka the other Demon Barber of Fleet Street, seen previously here) has returned home to Ireland and is happy to chauffeur Our Heroine around, while bitching about the prevalence of Australian soap operas on TV. (Such blasphemy will not stand, although I must confess I’ve never really watched Home and Away but I did watch Neighbours for a time, until that ridiculous storyline with the bomb on the plane on their joyride to Tasmania, because frankly Tasmania did nothing to be dragged into that shambles).

I digress.

JB just wants to hang out with some typical Irish folk, and Sean knows just the place – his friend Neil Gillen heard he was back in the old country and has invited him for a visit, so they head to his village. While the hotel owner sees to their rooms JB and Sean stop for a bite of lunch, and Neil soon joins them for a pint and an invitation – forget staying at the pub, come stay at his his new castle-y big house he’s just bought. It has a library full of old books ready for JB to peruse.

Guys I won’t lie, I am well acquainted with Irish drinking customs. In fact, I have a degree in whisky-tasting from the Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland because I’m awesome.

JB knocks off the rest of her beer and remembers she has some film she wants developing so she cruises on over to the chemist across the street. After she leaves, Sean tells Neil he’s here, what does he need? Neil says he can’t say just yet, but he wants Neil just to look around, and see what’s up. They’ll talk later.

Over at the chemist JB meets the proprietor and long time fan Francis O’Reilly, who had heard JB had been coming. He’d be happy to get the film done for her, and asks her to sign a few of her books so that he can take them round the housebound villagers. Jessica is obviously happy to oblige.

I mean it’s long at the bag and slightly less long on top. Turbo mullet?

Jess and Sean arrive at the fancy-pants house and meet Neil’s assistant Claire Abbot, who is delighted to discover that the guests are so famous (well, one is anyway) and tells them to let her know if there’s anything she can do. Neil then introduces Jess and Sean to his new wife Anne and his cousin Liam (previously also seen here). Anne is delighted to meet them both, and particularly Jessica – she hadn’t known Jess was coming until the day before. Liam politely excuses himself from dinner, saying he has other plans.

At dinner everything goes swimmingly until they hear shrieking coming from outside. Neil assures them that it’s just the wind catching on the facade, but Ann says it might be the Crying Lady. Back in ye olde black and white times, a ship captain built the house for his wife as a wedding present, complete with tower so she could watch the ship come in, but one (dark and stormy) night, she was in the tower and saw her husband’s ship crash against the cliffs and sink. She threw herself off the tower and died, and to this day people say she can be heard roaming the grounds. And guys would it surprise you to learn that she is a harbinger of death?

(Jessica Fletcher is 100% not a harbinger of death though, obviously).

That night Sean is woken by the sound of dogs barking. He looks out his window to see a shadowy figure walking thr grounds with a torch. He rushes to the hallway and bumps into Jessica.

“I was just going for some hot milk.” He says.

“So was I.” Says JB.

This is the weirdest episode of Scooby Doo ever.

They head on out and follow the light to the tower, but when they go inside the figure is missing. They find a plaque that reads “For my beloved Sarah, safe passage through dangerous places.” Then a man appears with a machine gun. He introduces himself as Quint Sankey, caretaker, (I WOULD WATCH THAT SHOW) and orders them back to the house. Neil and Ann quickly sort it out, Quint takes his leave and everyone goes back to bed, while Claire Abbott lurks in the shadows.

The next morning, Jess is up early eating breakfast and raiding Neil’s library. She’s found a goldmine but she wants more info so she’s going to go into town and see what she can find out from the locals. She invites Sean along, but he tells her he’d rather stay and stroll the grounds to get a feel for the place. Jess says that’s what he says when he’s investigating a crime. Sean tries to cover it up and JB says she doesn’t mean to intrude, she is offering her help whenever he needs it.

In town JB picks up her photos and for extremely subtle plot point reasons also grabs a bottle of the newest fragrance Emerald Sunset. The shopkeeper tells her she’s the first one to buy it and would love to hear what she thinks. Jess then goes back to the pub to hear the story of a battle between five strong men, one woman, a tax collector, a horse, several cases of good Irish whisky, and crossing rights to a bridge.

SPOILER ALERT: The horse won.

I just realised that the person telling this story is inexplicably drinking a pint of milk. But anyway.

Jessica and the storyteller (a Mr Foudy) are joined by Neil’s neighbour Jason McNamara who suggests that Jess might be interested in the story of the Crying Lady. Foudy hasn’t got much more to add, just that in life no one ever saw the wife go in or out of the tower, and that Jason McNamara can’t think of a more deserving person to have to deal with a ghost than Neil Gillen. Foudy explains after Jason leaves that Neil bought up Jason’s land when his finances went sideways.

Back at the house, Sean basically learns the same thing from Quint Sankey, caretaker while inside Neil confronts Liam about some money that’s gone missing out of some Swiss bank accounts. The place that they are filming this episode is the house from Clue! I’ve just worked it out. Oh man I love that movie.

After dinner that night, Sean and Neil confur in the library. Sean has had about enough of these mysterious shenanigans and he’s not a big fan of hiding things from Jess. Neil comes out with it – he thinks someone is going to kill him in the next 48 hours. He explains about the missing money, but he thinks there’s something else going on and asks Sean to meet him back there at midnight – he’ll explain it all then.

Sean sits up until 11:45 but he’s too late. The house is woken to the sound of Anne screaming – Neil is in his study, eyes wide open, dead as a post. Sergeant Devon O’Malley is called to the scene, and quickly rules it natural causes on account of there being not a mark on him. At first he rules it a heart attack but JB is quick to point out the lack of blueish tinge to Neil’s lips.

Downstairs Sean has a quiet word with O’Malley about possibly getting a full autopsy done on the down-low, cop to cop. O’Malley says he’ll see what he can do.

And now, a quick word from our sponsors…

And now, back to the show.

Out on a stroll, Sean explains the whole thing to JB, who knew something was up, the whole thing seemed dodge as. She springs into action, sending Sean to find out more about Jason McNamara, while she heads back into town.

Sean finds Jason banging up some no trespassing signs on Neil’s land. Jason says he heard or saw nothing the night before, but that he suspects Anne Gillen will be in a mood to sell the land off cheaply. Sean finds this remarkable, being as Neil’s not been dead a day.

Down in the village Jess is chatting to Brian Mulrain, the publican, who thinks it’s obvious – the killer was the Crying Lady. No one had heard anything from her for 50 years until Neil bought the house and then it all kicked off. Jess thinks there’s something to this and heads on her way, bumping into Francis O’Reilly on the way out.

Back at the house Jess tells Sean they need to talk but are soon joined by Liam Gillen, who wants to offer his apologies that such a dreadful thing should happen during their stay. He’d been out of town on business and had only just returned, and was likely to have to leave again now that he would be running the business. He departs, leaving Jess and Sean more suspicious than ever. Jess tells Sean to go and call O’Malley to find out more about Liam Gillen while Jess goes upstairs to talk more with Anne.

Outside, Liam sends his girlfriend CLAIRE ABBOTT off to stay with her family for a few days while he irons this whole situation out. Anne Gillen watches the whole scene play out from her bedroom window before she gets a knock at the door – Jessica offering condolences in this trying time. Ann tells her she plans to sell the house, she feels uncomfortable staying. Jess says she understands that Liam will take over the business, which is news to Ann – that was the opposite of what Neil would have wanted. Jess asks if anyone would have wanted to hurt Neil and Ann gets upset, insisting that it was natural causes. Jess scurries into the bathroom for a tissue, noticing a bottle of Emerald Sunset on the counter as she does so.

Later that afternoon Sean gets the coroners report back – cause of death is fluid in the lungs, presumably pneumonia. Both Sean and Jessica find this highly odd, as Sean didn’t appear sick in the slightest, but Ann and Sergeant O’Malley appear with some evidence that Ann just found. It’s a video from Sean’s cam-corder showing (among other things) Neil turning on a lamp, Neil constantly relighting his cigar, and Neil passing out and dying. We see Ann coming in to turn off the lamp before discovering Neil’s body, going to the doorway slowly and screaming.

JB is about to do her best Nic Cage from Gone in 60 Seconds impression (#ThingsThatAreOnlyTrueInsideMyHead)

A quick jaunt to the chemist confirms that while noone else has bought a bottle of the perfume, there is indeed one extra missing from the stand. The sale assistant thinks O’Reilly must have bought it for one of his lady friends, as he is wont to do.

Sean is confused as to how this will help but Jessica tells him they will just have to see the Crying Lady for more information. They sneak into the tower before being rumbled by Quint Sankey, Caretaker. Unfortunately for Quint, JB makes her getaway down a helpfully lit secret passage. (Forget Scooby Doo this is some Famous Five business up in here). She discovers nitrogen tanks, some pipes that were arguably screaming, and eureka!

Jess returns to the study to lay a trap. Anne wanders in to see what she’s doing and Jess explains that she’s convinced Neil was murdered, and she’s looking for evidence. Jess turns the lamp on, and Ann declares she’s not waiting around all night trying to find something that isn’t there. When she discovers she’s locked in though she loses it, until Jess announces it’s alright, they disconnected the nitrogen tanks already.

If I had a dollar for every wife/husband of death I’d be a rich woman.

Ahh yes. Anne was having a little something something going on with Francis O’Reilly, mainly so she could get hold of some nitrogen, bump off Neil and get hold of his money. That old chestnut.

But never mind all of that. It just so happens to be my birthday today, and this week has been a terrible horrible no good very bad week, so my birthday gift to myself, and to all of you, is the entirety of Angela Lansbury’s health and fitness video.

Watch and learn, Fletcherfans. Watch, and learn.

 

Later gang.

S09E01 – Murder in Milan

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Welcome to season nine, (welcome to a new version of the theme song I think) and welcome to Milan Fletcherfans!

The Milan Film Festival is on, and anyone who is anyone and some people who aren’t are in town to congratulate themselves on a marvellous bit of film-making. One film in particular, All the Murderers, is garnering a bit of attention, as it’s based on a book by a certain mystery author we all know and worship.

Also, Caesar Romero is in town working it with the ladies under the name of Marcello Abruzzi.

“Whoever voted for Nick Nolte as sexiest man alive clearly hasn’t seen Marcello Abruzzi” says the Countess. 

Nick Nolte was hot #ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s. I’ve conducted a thorough analysis of Nick Nolte, for science, and have concluded however that the Countess is in fact correct. Myth confirmed.

Anyway, the director of All The Murderers, Jim Randall, is drifting through the festival with his girlfriend/leading actress Louise Thayer, before excusing himself to go and meet his rival for the top gong, Steve Morrison, who produced competing film Day of Heroes. Steve wants Jim to direct his next picture, but Jim is under contract for two more years to Catherine Wayne productions and from the sound of things she’s not likely to loan him out. Jim says he is on his way to speak to her and Steve tells him to do what he has to – throw her off the roof if necessary.

Hashtag foreshadowing.

Our Heroine rolls up at that moment, much to the delight of the gathered paparazzi. Wouldn’t you know it, Jim’s father lives in Cabot Cove and Jim used to make short films up there during the summer so Jessica was delighted that he ended up directing the film of her book. WHAT WERE THE ODDS.

Tired of the surging pack of reporters and paparazzi, Jessica squints across the foyer of the hotel and says “Is that Mel Gibson?”

The pack disperses.

#ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s

Jim takes Jess to meet Paul Crenshaw, a man who wanted to produce All The Murderers but was beaten out by Catherine Wayne. Paul has just got off the phone with some bad news and so they leave him to it. I think. To be honest at this point I was watching the background extras – specifically a group of photographers taking photos of what I thought was each other, while a Sikh family looked on.

Both times I have watched this episode and I can’t not watch these guys.

Jess flees to the safety of her non-smoking suite, while Jim goes to see Catherine Wayne. She’s heard the rumours about Arc of Steel, the film Steve Morrison is putting together, and there’s no way she’s letting Jim out of her contract with him. They argue and Jim storms out.

Turns out Catherine has a bit on just at the moment – she’s just found out that All The Murderers is a million dollars over budget, and there are payments to accounts she doesn’t recognise. She tells her accountant, Tom Hillier, and he promises to look into it.

At lunch, Jim introduces Jess to Steve Morrison, and JB is delighted to see her old friend Andrew Thayer, who it turns out is Louise’s father. They sit down to lunch and Tom Hillier passes by. He stops to say hello but gets a phone call on his fancy cellular phone from Katherine and has to rush off. Word has got out about the dodgy accounting but Tom tells them he is going to get to the bottom of it. After he leaves Jim tells JB that Tom was and probably is still in love with Katherine.

That night is the black tie gala screening of All the Murderers and it’s a resounding success, naturally. Jess congratulates Katherine on the film and then hides behind a program while Katherine and Paul Crenshaw get into an argument.

THIS IS THE FACE OF INFORMATION ACQUISITION

After the screening everyone heads to the Countess’s palazzo for the party. Steve confronts Katherine but she says noone steals from Katherine Wayne. The Countess demands only smiles at her party.

Meanwhile…

Cesar is tearing up Milan.

Jess takes a break from Marcello’s wily charms and has a chat to Andrew Thayer, who is delighted to see Louise and Jim so happy. He tells Jess Jim has been a great support to them both, especially since Andrew hasn’t really worked in a while, and has offered Andrew to collaborate on the script for Arc of Steel. Across the room Tom tells Jim about the dodgy accounting and asks him to stop by his office in the morning to talk about it.

The next morning, Louise runs into Katherine at the cafe in the hotel. Katherine has a business proposition for Louise – a starring role in Katherine’s next picture and a screenwriting job for Andrew if Louise convinces Jim to abandon Arc of Steel. Louise tells Katherine to go to hell. YOU GO GIRL.

Jess pops by Katherine’s office later on. Katherine is in the middle of something but tells JB that Jim is in with Tom Hillier and would like a word. She sticks her head in and Jim asks her to lunch with himself and Louise. Tom waves but is busy on the phone and waving for Jim to bring him the giant marble ashtray sitting on the desk.

In her office, Katherine explains about the stand-off between herself and Jim but Jessica isn’t getting involved. Katherine also has a list of undecided prize jurors who she thinks Jess might be able to glad-handle into giving the top gong to All the Murderers but Jess says that’s not her style. If All The Murderers is the best film it will win, if not some other fine film will. Katherine hands over Jess’s itinerary for while she’s in Milan.

If you throw that much shade at JB you’d better accept the consequences. Which is presumably being murdered.

Down by the pool later that afternoon Jim and Louise announce their engagement. While the champagne flows and the toasts are declared, a phone on the table rings – it’s Katherine. She wants to meet Jim in her suite in an hour. When Jim arrives there he’s steeled for a fight but Katherine wants to talk about the dodgy accounting. Before she can explain there’s a call from Tom Hillier looking for Jim. When Jim gets off the phone he tells Katherine he has to make a personal call and goes into the next room.

Later, JB leaves a press conference and heads back to her room, while Louise goes in search of Jim at Katherine’s suite. As JB arrives on the floor, there’s screams from a maid. JB rushes in and finds Louise standing in Katherine’s room while Jim hovers over Katherine’s dead body. He’d been in the next room, he tells JB, and when he came out she was dead on the floor, an ashtray next to her head.

(Now if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you know who the killer is at this point. But let’s all play along because the writers had 15 more minutes so let’s pretend we have no idea who could have possibly killed Katherine Wayne).

Inspector Lombardo is called to the scene, and quickly succumbs to JB’s charms. He allows her to stick around and watch him work. He asks Jim about the phone call with Tom Hillier and he says that Tom told him to call back from the phone in the bedroom on Tom’s private line so Katherine couldn’t hear their conversation, but that when he tried the line there was no answer. He tried two or three times, but couldn’t get through so went back into the main room and found Katherine’s body. Louise tells Lombardo she’d come to give Jim his notebook that he’d left on the terrace, he never went anywhere without it. Lombardo tells Jim to go down to the precinct for more questions. They are interrupted by paparazzo and long-time JB fan Giorgio on the balcony taking photos. The police escort him out and JB goes to take a look outside, inadvertently locking herself out in the process. Lombardo comes to her aid, and delightedly tells her that she’s just proven that the only way into the room is through the hallway.

Jess sees Steve Morrison down by the pool, already working hard to get the ball rolling on Arc of Steel. He tells Jess he was in a screening at the time of the murder, so he’s off the hook. JB’s next visit is to Tom Hillier, who says that he sat waiting for Jim to call back but that the phone never rang. Inspector Lombardo calls up to tell JB that they found Jim’s fingerprints all over the murder weapon – the ashtray.

Jessica goes to see Jim in the cells and he tells her he never touched the ashtray. Jess is suspicious of this business with the dodgy accounting, and Jim tells her that’s what Katherine wanted to see him about – there were account numbers she didn’t recognise but that she never got to tell him more than that.

Hot on the trail, JB sneaks into Katherine’s office to get some more info.

Pretty sure this is what Julian Assange looked like creating Wikileaks.

Jess tracks the accounts to company names and then calls her lawyer Jonathan in London to get him to find out more information. After, as she’s leaving the hotel, she notices a conveniently disguised ladder leading up to the balcony of Katherine’s room.

That night, Jessica is about to go to dinner with Marcello Abruzzi when a) he lights up and b) a lightbulb goes off.

Alright, enough of these shenanigans, you know what the deal is.

THE SHOCK!

IT’S ALWAYS THE ACCOUNTANT.

But for real though – tracking phone accounts, getting cellular phone records, calling them cellular phones, being thankful for Mel Gibson – this ticked all the 90s boxes. All that was missing was a Rachel haircut.

Later gang!

S08E18 – Programmed For Murder

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We are back in the murder-iest Cove that ever Coved Fletcher fans, and the culprit is right up front this week.

The struggle is real.

Unrelated, but I rewatched Copycat last night (the one with Sigorney Weaver and Holly Hunter) and if you want some quality mid-90s technology you should definitely watch it. But I forgot how damn creepy it is, so also maybe don’t.

Anyway, JB is having a crisis, her computer ate 40 pages of her manuscript. Fortunately, Cabot Cove is the Silicon Valley of Maine (it turns out) and local programming tycoon Harriet Wooster is here to save the day. She’s feeling a little under the weather, and a little preoccupied with the fact that her marriage is in trouble and she’s in the process of selling her programming empire, but she’ll do her best to rescue JB’s missing pages.

SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER

Meanwhile at the head offices of Computanic in Boston, company President John Halsey is trying to boost confidence in his chief investor Rudy Ortega, who is having none of it. He tells Halsey to get it done or the people he represents will not be happy. He hands over a suitcase filled with presumably counterfeit Pokemon games or cash, we’ll never know, and departs. Halsey whips out a gun and ponders. (Fun fact, Halsey is being played by the guy who played Angie Lans’s son in the stage show of Driving Miss Daisy, remember that time I was in the same room as Angie Lans holy crap that was a time).

Back in the Cove and the state of the Boss’s manuscript isn’t the only crisis hitting the cove. A new doctor has moved in to the hospital and is solving cases all over the place, including The Case of Eve Simpsons Mysterious Allergy which turns out to be a reaction to the newspaper ink. Seth is unimpressed.

For those playing at home, the role of the new Doctor Beckwith will be played by everyone’s favourite double verb, Hunt Block.

Seth tries to bluff his way out of his mood when he runs into JB by going on a rant about her computer, but Jess tells him her computer has increased her output by 40% (clearly because Tumblr wasn’t a thing yet), and in any case is it possible that Seth’s bad mood isn’t about her computer?

Seth grudglingly admits he doesn’t like losing patients to this new upstart with his lab tests and fancy medicines which Seth thinks are nothing to his intuition and his ability to treat the whole patient.

“Happy now?” Seth asks JB.

Good grief if I’m chucking Limp Bizkit lyrics in this blog has gone terribly terribly wrong

Seth and Jess cruise on over to Harriet’s house – Jess to deliver a thankyou basket, Seth to do a housecall. Harriet’s husband Alan snags Seth as they arrive to talk about his wife’s health. Seth thinks she will be fine once the business has been sold and things calm down a bit, but after getting inside and checking her pulse, Seth asks Harriet to come in the following day for some tests. Harriet tells him she’s fine, she’s just stressed out about the business deal, she’ll come in next week. She starts to get worked up about being late for the meeting but Alan points out that her brother Doug hasn’t arrived – which he conveniently chooses that moment to, bringing his girlfriend Gretchen along with him. Harriet begs Alan to keep Gretchen occupied at the house while the business deal happens and he promises he will. Jess and Seth, sensing it’s all about to kick off, sneak out quietly.

Doug and Harriet meet Halsey at the Hill House and Doug lays it out – they aren’t selling for less than ten million. Halsey is horrified, the computer market just isn’t up to it, and software is struggling (lol) but Doug isn’t buying it. Harriet on the other hand looks like she’s about to pass out and collapses in agony. Doug calls an ambulance and they race over to the hospital but Doctor Beckwith emerges with some terrible news – Harriet has shuffled off her mortal coil and not only that, it would appear Seth was treating her for the wrong illness. Harriet had a bleeding ulcer.

While Gretchen brings everyone cups of water, Seth and Jonas Beckwith bicker about the cause of death until JB tells them all to shush. Seth is devastated and leaves, JB following. Doug Simmons is convinced Seth is a public menace and shouldn’t be practicing medicine.

Later that night, Allan is sitting in his darkened florists shop when Rudy pops by to tell him that he shared certain interests with Allan’s late wife, and that now he shared them with Allan. Long story short, take the deal or Rudy’s friends are going to be pissed.

The next day, Mort pops round to Doctor Beckwith’s office to get more information for his report, and ends up leaving with a prescription for his cough. Meanwhile, over at the Woosters residence Allan, Doug and Gretchen are talking about Harriet when Doug announces he has issued Halsey an ultimatum – 10 million or the deal is off. Allan is horrified Doug is thinking about money at a time like this but Doug is just trying to get things done. Allan just wants the deal done now, and they start to argue but Gretchen steps in and tells Allan Doug is just looking out for his best interests.

Over at the hospital, Doctor Beckwith finds Seth and says how very sorry he is, he knows Seth was a close friend of the deceased. Seth is disgusted – her name wasn’t The Deceased it was Harriet Wooster, she had a mole on her shoulder, she had an appendectomy when she was 14 and every year she drove to Boston to see the Celtics play the Lakers. Beckwith apologises, but wishes Seth would cut him some slack – they have different approaches to medicine but there’s no reason why the two can’t work together. Seth shouts OH HELL NO and storms out. (Paraphrasing).

Meanwhile, JB’s cardigan game is strong this episode.

Seriously though I want that cardigan.

JB has suspicions and is hoping to get the autopsy results from Mort, but he hasn’t got them yet and besides they know what happened. He knows how Jess feels about Seth, and he doesn’t think Seth did anything wrong either.

Deputy Andy Broom pops up to deliver Mort’s prescription from Doctor Beckwith.

DEPUTY ANDY IS ALWAYS ON DUTY.

Later, JB runs into Jonas Beckwith who tells her he’s very sorry about the deceased her friend. Jess thanks him and says she’s glad he’s decided to practice medicine in Cabot Cove, and not to mind Seth.

Speaking of, Seth pops by JB’s house later that afternoon with his brand new fishing reel. JB can’t help but notice it’s the one he showed her in the catalog that cost $375.

Seth is doing what I do in times of great emotional stress (except I buy books and not fishing equipment).

Seth’s decided to take a step back and be kind to himself, and maybe even retire. Jess calls him out and tells him there’s no evidence that he had anything to do with Harriet’s death. Seth says his new fishing reel has nothing to do with Harriet’s death but Jess says it does, she knows how his mind works.

The coroner calls, looking for Seth and delivers his verdict – Harriet died from a transfusion of the wrong blood type. Jess tells Seth that proves he wasn’t to blame but Seth begs to differ – if he’d been treating Harriet for stomach ulcers in the first place she wouldn’t have needed a transfusion and she’d still be alive.

Poor Seth.

Jess heads over to the hospital to speak to the nurse responsible for the transfusion, Laura Garrison, but she’s reticent to talk to JB – she knows how tight she is with Seth. Jess just tells her she wants the truth and Laura tells her all she knows is that she took Harriet’s blood a few weeks before, and got the blood ready for transfusion when she came in sick.

(The coffee, not the blood. Just so we’re clear). 

Over in downtown Cabot Cove, Halsey runs into Rudy who tells him without Harriet the company is less juicy (his words not mine), so he won’t offer a cent over 4 million dollars. Halsey is furious but Rudy tells him that’s all there is, and if there’s a problem he needs to deal with it efficiently.

The next day, Jess is formulating a theory and gets on the phone to Laura Garrison to ask if she ever saw Harriet’s face the day she came in sick. Harriet says no, she wasn’t in the emergency room that day and when she dropped the blood off Harriet’s face was obscured. JB asks Laura to describe Harriet from when she came in to donate, but Laura says she was so busy she can’t remember. She’d remember if she saw the face again somewhere but not otherwise.

Over at the Hill House Doug Simmons has been doing his own formulating, and asks Gretchen to seduce Halsey for information. Gretchen is horrified but Doug tells her to think of the money.

Jess heads down to the Sheriff’s office and faxes a photo of Harriet Wooster over to Laura, who calls back a short time later. JB has a quick word, gets off the phone and announces that Harriet’s death had nothing to do with negligence, she was murdered.

The best kind of jam.

Jess has correctly deduced that someone pretending to be Harriet Wooster donated blood that would prove to be fatal if she ever needed a transfusion. All she needs now is a doctor to think of a way that someone could bring on an illness that would require a transfusion – and two doctors could do it even faster.

SETH YOU ARE SUCH A CURMUDGEON.

Cabot Cove’s greatest medical gurus stop butting heads and put their minds together, and decide that certain poisons could induce the symptoms Harriet displayed. That’s all Jess needs to hear and she gets back on the phone to Laura Garrison.

Over at the Hill House, Gretchen is launching Operation Halsey, but it doesn’t go well. JB arrives just as the operation sinks without a trace, to ask Gretchen to give Doug a message – JB thinks Halsey murdered Harriet, they are just waiting on more tests.

Gretchen rushes straight out to deliver the message – but not to Doug.

Well alright then?

Allan, inexplicably, has been having an affair with Gretchen this whole time. JB noticed that Gretchen knew where to find the blood bank coffee cups when she handed out drinks when Harriet died, therefore proving she’d been the one to donate blood pretending to be Harriet.

WHAT? I mean this seems like a long-ass bow guys. I would never doubt the genius that is Our Heroine, but MSW writers, I’m giving you some hard side-eye right now.

Let us leave this episode with the knowledge that Jess has brokered peace between the warring doctors and remains the Queen of Cabot Cove.

Later Fletcherfans!

S08E16 – Ever After

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Once upon a time there was a soap opera called Happily Ever After, in which all the usual soap opera-y things happened, but mainly a dude waking up from a coma after a billion years (or three. I mean, whatever.)

Captain Janeway really pulls out the big hair this episode, just FYI.

Captain Janeway really pulls out the big hair this episode, just FYI.

Unfortunately for the man in the coma, former child actor Devon ‘Don’t Call me Sonny’ Lane, his newly conscious role doesn’t come with more screen time – his character is going back to Philadelphia to his wife and kids and it’s all happening off screen – in short, he’s fired.

Amazingly enough though, Joanna Rollins – star of Ever After – happens to live in the same apartment building as our heroine.   Seriously though, what were the odds of that?

Our Heroine, it turns out, has just returned from Washington DC (no doubt solving some sort of international crisis because that’s how she rolls), and is collecting her mail from everyone’s favourite doorman Ahmed, when Joanna discovers she has accidentally picked up some of JB’s mail. Jess recognises her from the show, she doesn’t get to watch it often and she’s dying to know what happens next. Joanna invites Jess in for some tea, but Jess declines, saying she needs to get inside to check her messages. At that moment Devon Lane appears, baying about how he needs to talk to Joanna. Jess is excited to meet the former child star, but Devon doesn’t quite feel the same way.

b1

I mean, really.

I mean, really.

Jessica quickly excuses herself, leaving Joanna and Sonny the Douche to duke it out in the hallway – it would appear Sonny and Joanna have had an on-again off-again thing that a) Sonny blames for his getting fired and b) Joanna thinks is very much over. JB listens to the blue while she puts the kettle on, but a banging on the door gets her back into the action – Joanna is freaked out, and tells Jess to lock the door before Sonny can get in. Jess puts the chain on and Sonny starts bashing the door but stops after a patented Jessica Fletcher scolding. He promises he’ll be back, but leaves.

Job done, thinks JB, as she turns to Joanna, but Joanna is busy watching herself on TV.

c1

c2

This might be my autobiography, now that I think about it.

This might be my autobiography, now that I think about it.

Out on Long Island, a man named Walter Bowman is on an exercise bike also watching Joanna’s performance with some interest – apparently he is planning to marry her. His personal trainer Bo agrees she is a stunning looking woman. They are soon joined by Walter’s daughter Marci and her boyfriend Teddy.

Yes that is Marcia Cross. That is also Barry, the guy who stands Rachel up in the first episode of Friends. (Bad Barry is also a newspaper headline I will tell you about another time)

Yes that is Marcia Cross. That is also Barry, the guy who stands Rachel up in the first episode of Friends. (Bad Barry is also a newspaper headline I will tell you about another time)

Teddy has a business proposal for Walter – ROLLERCOASTERS! ROLLERCOASTERS EVERYWHERE! MOAR ROLLERCOASTERS – but makes the mistake of switching the television off so Walter has his undivided attention.

The number 1 old white guy rule.

The number 1 old white guy rule.

Marci(a) is furious that her father would rather watch dreadful television than listen to her boyfriend’s (dreadful) business plan, and doubly so when her father informs her that he is marrying Joanna. Apparently he kept it quiet until his divorce from Marci(a)’s mother went through, but now that’s over and done with the bells can ring.

(Cut to the soon to be ex Mrs Bowman finding out about the wedding in the newspaper and blowing a gasket)

But you can’t stop true love Fletcherfans, and especially not true love at the registery office surrounded by paparazzi and film cameras.

Such romance, I am overcome.

Such romance, I am overcome.

The ceremony begins, but is interrupted by the arrival of everyone’s least favourite former child star Sonny Lane, who demands that Joanna not go through with it.

Across town, JB is watching it all go down from her desk.

 

Clearly needs popcorn.

Clearly needs popcorn.

(Sidebar: My desk is clearly not living up to the standard thrown down by our Heroine:)

This might be the neatest my desk has ever been tbh

This might be the neatest my desk has ever been tbh

I would however point out that while JB has flowers on her desk, I have a TARDIS and a Lego Ghostmobile, so I think I am following her teachings mostly kind of, whatever I have a TARDIS.

Sonny rages on, but Joanna declares that she loves Walter. Sonny goes nuts and security escort him out.

I thnk JB and I are having similar weeks *screams silently into the void*

I thnk JB and I are having similar weeks *screams silently into the void*

The next day, Our Favourite Doorman is reading all about the chaos at the wedding ceremony when Sonny Lane walks through the lobby. Ahmed, bless him, tells Sonny he’s under strict orders not to let him into the apartment and anyway Joanna is out. Sonny tells him he’s not here to see Joanna he’s here to get something that belongs to him – a painting. Ahmed says sorry but there’s nothing he can do, but is distracted by a painter trying to use the guest elevator instead of the service elevator. By the time he sorts that crisis out Sonny has disappeared.

Upstairs, JB is hard at work on her next book when she gets a knock at the door – an art appraiser by the name of Irwin Fisk has arrived to appraise a painting of Joanna’s and was told Jess had a key to let him in. Jess finds the key and goes to let Fisk into the apartment – apparently Joanna is selling a Von Hockhauser, and he is a fan of the artist’s work, especially the large nudes with the plump bottoms.

I don't even know where to begin with this.

I don’t even know where to begin with this.

Joanna and Walter arrive just in the nick of time, and they all go into the apartment together to discover the aforementioned big butt-ed nude slashed to hell. Joanna is convinced it’s Devon, he gave her the painting, and Walter is inclined to agree. (Irwin Fisk takes himself home to mourn not getting his hands on a plump nude).

Walter calls the police, and a friendly local sergeant comes down to take statements. He clearly finds the whole thing baffling, from Ahmed’s tales of spurned lovers and painters sneaking into lifts, and men with keys slashing up paintings that they own anyway. He tells Joanna that there’s not a lot he can do, despite the threats he made on TV. If he makes good on a threat, then he can do something.

But we’ll be dead, says Joanna.

I hope it don’t happen. Says the friendly local sergeant.

Feeling less than impressed, Joanna and Walter head out to Long Island, where Joanna is about to meet the ex for the first time. While she freshens up, Marci(a) and Miriam greet Walter. Marci(a) departs in tears when Walter claims Teddy has been stealing the silverware, and Walter orders Miriam out when she informs him she wasn’t sleeping with his chauffeur, she was too busy sleeping with his personal trainer, Bo.

SAH DRAMA ERMAHGHERD

SAH DRAMA ERMAHGHERD

Which reminds me

Joanna is amazed to think that her precious little Walty-Walty ever shared a bed with such a heinous creature and proceeds to make out with him, until Bo arrives, having been summoned by Walter, who is unimpressed that his beloved personal trainer was nailing his wife. Bo is booted, with pay.

The next evening, JB and Joanna are hanging out drinking tea. Joanna is bemoaning her thoroughly un-glamourous lifestyle but JB says if she’s learned anything it’s that success comes from within, not out there in the world (Life Lesson #66).

Joanna realises she’s late to call Walter and uses the phone in JB’s room. He tells her it’s the chef’s night off and he’s going to have some low sodium soup after his workout so Joanna invites JB out for some “divinely authentic” Chinese food which JB can’t resist. Unfortunately for Walter (but fortunately for the premise of this TV show), when he goes to the closet after his workout he is met with a shotgun blast to the chest.

Long Island Police roll in, in the form of Sheriff Beals and Deputy Ginger Billis. Ginger is quite pleased with herself when she finds the murder weapon stashed under the bed, and announces that she followed the rules of discovery and it totes doesn’t have fingerprints on it. You go Ginger. You do you.

We all need more Ginger in our lives.

We all need more Ginger in our lives.

Joanna and JB arrive, storming the press throng and making it into the house. While Joanna delicately wipes a tear from her eye Jessica quickly takes control of the investigation, noting dents in the butt of the shotgun which Ginger (and therefore the sheriff) think happened when the gun got tossed under the bed. JB is not so sure, and asks to take a look at the crime scene.

How could you say no to that face though

How could you say no to that face though

Ginger takes JB through the crime scene, and tells her that Walter wasn’t shot in the back, he copped both barrels to the chest. The best they can figure out is that the killer hid in the closet and waited for Walter, except it was a closet full of women’s clothes so it doesn’t make sense.

“Unless the killer was waiting for a woman.” Says JB.

To be fair I read a fan theory that said that Sean Connery's character in The Rock was really James Bond and this was my exact face.

To be fair I read a fan theory that said that Sean Connery’s character in The Rock was really James Bond and this was my exact face.

*saving for R U OK Day later this year*

*saving for R U OK Day later this year*

Downstairs, the Sheriff is getting a precise explanation of just why Joanna thinks Sonny is the killer when the ME calls in a time of death – some time between 6 and 8 o’clock. JB arrives just in time to remember that Joanna called her husband about 6:45, and so most likely Walter was killed about 7:05pm.

Joanna spots Sonny lurking on the balcony and starts shrieking. Ginger goes out and drags him in for questioning – but he has a rock solid alibi. He was in the casting office reading for a part at the time of the murder, verified by the casting director who begs Ginger to arrest Sonny for being a psycho.

What a charmer

What a charmer

I really don't.

I really don’t.

The next morning Jess comes down to breakfast where Marci(a) is eating and Teddy is trying to pitch his rollercoaster idea. He tries it on JB but she’d rather talk about where they were the night before. They were off eating oysters in the Hamptons, which might be code for something I have no idea. Joanna appears, to declare she can’t take it any more she’s going to the studio to film more Happily Ever After and tells Marci(a) she’ll be staying in the town house and not to take anything out of the house until the will gets read. As Joanna and JB are getting ready to leave, a car screeches up the driveway, only just missing them thanks to JB’s quick thinking. It’s Sonny, wondering if there’s a chance for him and Joanna now that Walter has shuffled off.

Timing, bro.

JB returns to her apartment where Ahmed tells her Miriam Bowman has been waiting for Joanna for a while. Miriam tells JB she feels awful about what happened, if she hadn’t told Walter about Bo then he wouldn’t have been alone in the house and she just wants to apologise to Joanna. JB wants to talk to Bo though, and Miriam points her in the direction of his gym. It’s soon apparent that Bo knows nothing, about the murder or life.

(I'm just here to amuse myself guys)

(I’m just here to amuse myself guys)

JB’s last stop is to the previously mentioned casting agent, Dorothy Fremont, who is in the middle of casting prostitutes for a TV show that is almost definitely Law and Order. She tells JB that Sonny turned up a day late claiming he hadn’t been told the audition had been changed and raged all over the place until security got called. Jessica stares at a lamp and has an epiphany.

I can't begin to tell you how much I wanted it to be Marci(a) of Death

I can’t begin to tell you how much I wanted it to be Marci(a) of Death

Everyone’s favourite over-actor, along with everyone’s least favourite former child star, combined to kill Walter. Except it was mostly Joanna. Because I still don’t really know.

Before I go, three things – I just discovered that my email forwarding thing wasn’t working so if you’ve sent an email to twister.in.the.sun@gmail.com I’ve only just found it (and sent a very late reply) so my bad but thank you guys so much for telling me how much you’re enjoying the blog!

Thing the second – You may have noticed a donate button pop up on the side of the blog. Think of it as a tip jar – the posts will still be coming and make less sense than ever, but if one particularly tickles your fancy I’d love it if you could hit the donate button. It would mean a lot.

Thing part 3 – I’m going offline for a couple of weeks to attend to some things, least of which is a wedding (huzzah) but never fear I shall return.

So until next time, dear reader.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S08E14 – The Monte Carlo Murders

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So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that The Boss is going to be in the new Mary Poppins movie with Lin-Manuel Miranda and you probably anticipated my thoughts on this but here they are anyway.

Seriously though. And Dick Van Dyke is going to be in it, I mean good god how I am I supposed to wait until next Christmas I already have to wait for Stranger Things and Westworld and Game of Thrones.

THE WAITING GAME SUCKS GUYS.

Speaking of things, we’re in Monte Carlo this week Fletcher fans! The episode kicks off with a cat-burglar (alas, not our favourite cat burglar) abseiling down the side of a building and breaking into a room where a woman is fast asleep. It’s not as entirely weird as it sounds, she is expecting him, but he’s not best pleased with her. Apparently she’s been flirting with someone called Earl Harper and he’s not having it. She tells him that she’s doing it for him – Earl Harper’s wife has a big fat diamond that someone with a certain set of skills (cue Liam Neeson impression) might want to snatch up. The cat burglar isn’t sold on the concept, saying he’s done time in a French jail before, but she promises it will be easy. He tells her he’ll do it, but if she sleeps with Earl Harper he will kill them both.

Our Heroine is herself in Monte Carlo, catching up with her old school chum Annie Floret, the owner of The Claudine Hotel. JB is eager for a tour and Annie is happy to oblige – she has a whole lot of fun planned for JB, including a reception that evening for the Prince of Monaco’s birthday, but first a tour of the Claudine. Annie introduces JB to the hotel’s piano player who has another job, you may be able to guess it from my subtle captioning.

Also previously seen in this episode.

Also previously seen in this episode.

The piano/burglar tells JB he takes requests and will be happy to play her favourites. She tells him she’ll get back to him.

Next on the tour is a visit to the kitchen, home of the head chef Chef Robertwho distrusts all Americans as potential spies for McDonalds. Not even JB nearly passing out from delight at a taste of his wares will change his mind.

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was the world’s famous chef. I’m pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was a nightmare, I’d ring home and he’d answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn’t actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling, he thought it was hilarious. He had another alter ego called Tanaka who was a sumo wrestler, don’t ask.)

JB has no time for this though, there is something in the sauce and she can’t tell what it is.

Screw a murder, JB's got ingredients to sniff out.

Screw a murder, JB’s got ingredients to sniff out.

They take a break for tea, and newest staff member Armand cops an earful from Annie for taking too long. JB asks if anything is wrong, and Annie tells her she’s fine, it’s just hard to get good help these days and it’s a lot harder since her husband Andre died. Annie also tells JB that she’ll be in the suite opposite Earl Fisher (quelle surprise) – JB recognises the name, he’s under investigation for insider trading.

Annie excuses herself to go do hotel things, and Jess decides to head out and do some antique shopping. A thoroughly unscrupulous salesman tries to con her but she is saved by the local policeman, Inspector Morel.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau.  Today is a good day.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau. Today is a good day.

Inspector Morel, a dear friend of Annie’s, offers to escort JB back to the hotel. As they walk, she asks him why Annie appears to be under so much pressure. Morel tells her that five years earlier, Annie and Andre borrowed money to keep the hotel going, and the man they borrowed the money from demanded a huge balloon payment – a payment due in three days. Guys will it surprise you to learn that the man who loaned the money – the man who is taking over the hotel next Monday – is Earl Harper?

I KNOW RIGHT?

Inside the hotel, we see Armande putting a bug on a telephone. As he leaves the hotel room, JB is entering hers across the hall. Conclusion – Armande is bugging Earl Harper’s phone. GUYS I AM NAILING THIS DETECTIVE BUSINESS.

As they get ready for the Prince’s birthday bash, Richie (Annie’s son) begs her to just let Earl Harper take the hotel so she can go on with her life. As they talk, there’s a knock on the door – it’s the man himself, here for his meeting with Annie. Richie leaves in disgust and Annie begs Earl  for more time but he’s not interested. As he goes to leave, he sees Peter Templeton’s girlfriend from the beginning of the episode stroll past in a red dress and tells Annie it’s a shame she’s not a younger woman, they might have worked something out.

Can't help but feel like I know where this is going...

Can’t help but feel like I know where this is going…

That night, JB and Inspector Morel dance up a storm at the reception. When JB decides it’s time for a break they head for the nearest table but bump into a man named Albert Devere, a creepy looking dude who wants to dance with JB. Apparently he’s her biggest fan. Fortunately Morel is there to help guide JB back to the table where Richie Floret is chilling out – Annie decided it was too late but Richie thinks it’s because of Earl Harper, currently dancing up a storm with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend while his wife is hanging out at the bar with his bodyguard Henry and flashing her big fat diamond necklace around.

Richie excuses himself to go take photos of the Prince’s arrival and Morel returns just in time to see Earl Harper have a deep conversation with Scott Larkins. Morel explains that Larkins owns a fleet of ships that Harper would dearly love to get his hands on.

Guys, sometimes I'm just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

Guys, sometimes I’m just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

The next day JB is caught in the lobby by Albert Devere again, but luckily Inspector Morel arrive just in time to extricate her and take her out galavanting around Monaco for the day. Meanwhile Richie and Earl Harper nearly come to blows, by which I mean Richie nearly stabs him with some scissors, but Earl decides to pocket the scissors and be on his merry way. Annie, who sees the whole thing, looks horrified.

Later that afternoon there is a fancy garden party for reasons I have apparently missed. Richie takes his camera and snaps pics of Earl’s bodyguard handing something sneakily to Scott Larkin and Mrs Harper looking angry at the sight of Earl making out with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend Barbara. Pepter himself isn’t pleased with the sight and goes after Barbara to tell her that she and the job are over. She says she’s fine with them being over, but she’ll do the job herself if she has to.

Larkin and Harper go into a room to have a little chat. Larkin asks him how he thinks he can just go around ruining lives and Harper tells him it’s a game, sport. UGH JUST KILL HIM ALREADY WHAT A DOUCHECANOE. Harper accuses Larkin of having a spy in his company and swears he will find him and string him up by his toes. They punch on and Harper leaves Larkin bloodied on the ground.

Meanwhile, JB is hot on the case.

Toughest case of her career I should think.

i2

Scolded by Robert, JB goes to see what Richie is up to and finds him developing photos from the party (fun fact, it was Scott Larkin’s party there you go). Apart from the photo of Larkin paying off Earl’s bodyguard, JB also spots a photo of Armande the waiter carrying an armload of audio equipment. She’s got no time to worry about that now though, she’s there to make sure Richie isn’t planning on doing anything stupid. He swears he won’t, he doesn’t want to stress his mother out more.

That night while more fireworks explode over Monte Carlo, Albert Devere tries to break into JB’s room but finds the door locked. Hearing someone coming, he departs. Mrs Harper and Henry the bodyguard wander down the hall, all over each other. Mrs Harper sends him back to his room, goes into her room and starts screaming. Shockingly,  Earl Harper is dead. Hearing the noise JB and Annie come rushing in. Annie tells JB to take Mrs Harper into the bedroom and tells the staff to get back to work. She asks Armande what he’s doing on the 3rd floor anyway and he tells her someone ordered alcohol. She asks him to find Richie but he tells her Richie left at around nine that evening and hasn’t returned.

Morel takes up the investigation and asks Mrs Harper what she’d been up to that evening. She’d been disco dancing with a certain bodyguard to “protect” her but it was unnecessary since she wasn’t wearing the Alexandra stone that night…she rushes to check the safe but the necklace is gone.

JB runs into Inspector Morel the next morning, but he’s confident he’ll have the case wrapped up by lunchtime. He knew all about Barbara and Peter Templeton. Barbara was seen leaving Earls room and since she has a reputation for luring married men into compromising situations, it seems pretty likely she and or Peter are involved.

Jess isn’t sure though and goes to see Annie. She tells Annie she knows what she did – opening a window and the safe while JB took Mrs Harper into the bedroom. Annie confesses to that, saying she was worried that Richie had done it and so made it look like a robbery to throw everyone off the scent.

Outside the hotel Jess runs into Barbara, who begs her to help get Peter off the hook. She swears he didn’t kill Earl and neither did she. She did meet Earl in his room, but it was to tell him to leave her alone. He accused her of spying for Larkin, as she’d been present when he’d made some business calls earlier that day and information had gotten out, so she left his room. She also tells JB the reason why Peter wasn’t seen at his piano the previous night was because he’d received a faked note from her asking to meet him. JB tells her she’ll do what she can to help, but she did see a photo of Barbara and Peter looking decidedly out of love from Scott Larkin’s party so there’s that.

Jess sneaks into Harper’s hotel room on a hunch and finds the bug that Armande had planted there. Remembering the photo of Armande with his hands full of audio gear she goes to see him and finds him lying on the floor, dying. She asks him who did this and he tells her something in French.

Morel has a new theory in light of recent events, including the discovery of the diamond necklace (sans diamond) in Armande’s room. It turns out Armande was a private detective, hired by Scott Larkin to spy on his business competitor. Morel thinks Armande got greedy, grabbed the stone and so Larkin killed him. He asks JB about Armande’s dying words and she repeats them to him. He tells her it means “in the fish”, and that Armande was probably delirious.

JB runs into Scott Larkin who tells her Richie’s been cleared, and Scott has loaned Annie the money to make the final payment on the hotel, so they are inside celebrating now that it’s over. JB says it’s not over yet and heads inside, where she runs into Superfan again, this time holding the book ready for Jess to sign. JB notices the title in French is Le Poison Dans Mon Coeur, and asks Albert the Superfan what the difference is between fish and poison. (It’s poisson vs poison, for those playing along at home).

It’s in the poison? JB has an idea and much to Chef Robert’s annoyance goes hunting around his kitchen for the rat poison. Inside, she finds a cassette tape that records the death of Earl Harper. The killer has had the same idea, but gets there just too late…

Noooooooooooooooooo

Noooooooooooooooooo

Oh Fletchefans. The things we do when we’re in love with a widowed hotel owner about to lose her beloved hotel to a raging douchecanoe. And by things I mean double murders.

JB of course worked it out ages ago, because she thought he was a better cop than how he was investigating the case. I think that’s how. To be honest I’ve been googling episode summaries of The Pretender this whole time so if this doesn’t make sense a) sorry and b) has any of this ever made sense ever?

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

You said it Jean Claude.

And on that note, I’m going to retire to my couch for a long congested nap. Guys, summer colds are the worst. Don’t get them. Let us leave this week feeling as happy as JB with a jar of Chef Robert’s mystery sauce.

Later Fletcherfans

Later Fletcherfans

 

S08E12 – Witches Curse

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You guys, it’s been a while (and yes I did just sing that), but we’re back in the Cove at last. It’s a dark and stormy night, and a certain doctor is casting roles for the town’s newest theatrical production – a retelling of a classic tale where a woman called Rachel Abbott was burned to death for being a witch.

Seth is loving it.

Seth is loving it.

After commenting on one potential witch’s scream as “melting lead”, and gently telling Penelope that while Rachel’s role is bigger, he needs her to play the witch’s mother, Eve Simpson steps up to audition for the role of Rachel. (Fun fact, Eve and Penelope look about the same age, so Seth is clearly up to something).

Eve gives a command performance, but would prefer to update the script a little, make it more hers. “I can do a Blanche Dubois that will curl your hair.”

“Of that I have every confidence.” Says Seth.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

This is reminding so much of the Streetcar Named Marge episode of The Simpsons.

Just then, there’s a loud clap of thunder, the doors burst open and Stevie Nicks wanders in.

(It's not Stevie. But let's pretend it is because I love her a lot)

(It’s not Stevie. But let’s pretend it is because I love her a lot)

The woman apologises for her dramatic entrance and introduces herself as Mariah Osborne, aka the chick that apparently shot JR that time. She tells them she’s new in town, she’s just rented the old Walker place (much to the shock of others, no-one has lived there for 20 years) and she’s wondering whether there are any roles still open she might audition for?

Seth can’t believe his luck. It’s like Rachel Abbott herself walked in. Stoked.

While she still has to audition, some of the cast view her audition as a foregone conclusion. Judge Willard Clinton will be conveniently play the role of the judge in the play (method acting), and the role of the prosecutor will be played by Nate Parsons, local insurance rep.

Mariah’s audition is a stunning success…

Could not puff up any more.

Could not puff up any more.

…so much so that when she shouts a line about the bells tolling to proclaim her innocence, the bells in the church go off. Everyone in the room shivers.

The next morning, Seth retells the story of the casting of Rachel Abbott but is less than enthused with the response from his audience.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Sweet, innocent Seth.

Mort’s response is to ask Seth if he’s been hearing voices again, which Seth decides is sour grapes because he wouldn’t cast Mort in the play as the constable. Mort tells Seth if he hears the voices telling him to go off and save France he shouldn’t do it, Mort saw how that movie ended.

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Seth tells JB the story of how Mariah floated in to town and rented the old Walker place, which JB finds puzzling – it must be full of dust, just like the court archives which is where she’s supposed to be right now. Seth drops her off and she settles in for some investigating, but overhears someone reading something familiar. She goes on the snoop and finds Mariah reading from the original transcripts. JB introduces herself and Mariah tells her she’s studying up for her role. Jess says the whole town is abuzz with her performance the previous night, and Mariah says it wasn’t her, it was Rachel Abbott. What’s more, she thinks Cabot Cove has a habit of ganging up on innocent people. She excuses herself, saying it was nice to meet JB.

JB doesn’t care right now.

#lifegoals

#lifegoals

Mariah’s next stop is to the Winthrop house, to return a shawl she borrowed from Lydia Winthrop the previous evening. She finds Lydia’s husband Charles at home, in a wheelchair thanks to a renovating accident, and offers to massage his leg when it gets cramped up.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Oh Robert Vaughn. Rest in peace.

Lydia Winthrop walks in at that moment, and notices her husband is having another of his muscle spasms. She and Lydia step out to give him some peace, and Mariah returns the shawl. Lydia tells her that her audition was quite extraordinary, and Mariah says she has always had a soft spot for the unjustly accused. Don’t we all, Lydia says but the phone rings. Mariah says she can find her own way out, but has a peek at Charles Winthrop before she leaves.

This'll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about...

This’ll be one of these alternative facts I hear so much about….

She watches him put some papers in his safe, and then leaves.

Later that night Lydia hears the sound of breaking glass, and goes downstairs to investigate. She finds the safe wide open, and rose petals flung about everywhere – but as they report later to Mort, nothing appears to be missing. When Mort asks if they’d had any visitors, Lydia reminds her husband about the visit they got from Mariah Osborne the previous day.

But she absolutely isn’t trying to cause trouble though. No way.

That face!

That face! It turns out she was Mr Big’s mother in Sex and the City for like one episode. 

Mort thinks it’s odd that a thief would stop to scatter rose petals but not bother to steal anything, and Lydia is reminded of the speech Mariah has to give in the play about rose petals scattered in memory of blood spilled.

But seriously guys she’s not trying to cause trouble.

Mort takes Deputy Andy to go see Mariah at her new ramshackle home – Andy has it on good authority that Mariah is basically a witch but Mort tells him to calm down. Things do not improve when Mariah invites them inside and they spot a black cat and cauldron bubbling away with dry ice steam billowing out of it. Back at the sheriff’s office they fill in JB on the latest and despite JB telling Andy she saw Mariah buying cleaning products at the hardware store Andy is convinced she’s a witch. Mariah might claim she was home all night cleaning, but Penelope told Lisa Tuttle who told Sharon Goldsmith who told Andy’s wife that she saw Mariah out walking by herself dressed in black every midnight.  Clearly, a witch.

TEA-QUILA

TEA-QUILA

Undeterred by all the rumour-mongering in town, Mariah’s next stop is to see Nate the insurance agent (remember him) to ask about getting some fire insurance. It is an old house after all. Nate would be delighted to stop by and assess the property, and maybe afterwards they could get di-

“And a history of the place would be great.” Mariah continues. “Any old fire would have affected the structure of the property.”

Nate would love to help out there, but the company doesn’t like giving that information out, plus no one has lived there for 20 years so any files on the property would probably be in the shed behind his house but like he said, company policy. Mariah thanks him anyway and goes to leave – but finds Lydia Winthrop at the door. She was hoping to have a word with Nate about increasing her insurance after the break-in the other night.

Later, Jess bumps into Seth chivalrously  helping Mariah load paint into the back of her car. Seth can’t have his leading lady doing her back a week before opening night, and Jess says she’ll remember that the next time she’s shovelling snow. She asks Mariah what she’s up to, and Mariah says she wants to do it all up like the old photos. Jess asks which photos and Mariah says you know, photos of old Victorian houses.

Flagrant cover-up aside, JB cautions Mariah to store them somewhere safe, they are highly flammable.

Now what do you think we’re going to cut to?

Well I'll be damned.

Well I’ll be damned.

The fire in question is taking hold of – wait for it – Nate Parson’s shed. The next day the fire chief tells Mort that some sort of chemical was involved, and when Mort asks what was in the shed  Nate’s wife interrupts to say it doesn’t matter, it was definitely deliberate, she saw a pentagram on the door.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Mort really has no time for this witch business.

Penelope pops up again to remind everyone that Rebecca Abbott said she would return in storm and fire and death, and that Mariah Osborne arrived in town during a storm, and now there’s been a fire, so unless she’s very much mistaken, Mort’s problems are just the beginning.

That night, dress rehearsals are underway. Seth’s worried Mariah’s forgotten her script but she tells him not to worry, she’s memorised it. So well in fact, that when they rehearse the courtroom scene where Lydia’s character accuses Mariah’s character of bewitching her husband, she manages to insert a big speech about how Goody Butler is a small-minded bitter woman whose soul is as barren as-.

Lydia is outraged. Seth is outraged. That’s not in the script! Mariah tells them she read a transcript of another account of the trial and thought it would add to the character. Lydia storms out, and Seth declares a break. Willard Clinton (remember him?) wanders over for a chat, and they get a bit of a flirt on, much to the disgust of Penelope and Lydia. After rehearsal, Willard finds a note on his car from “Rachel” asking to meet the “magistrate” at 10pm. He returns at the appointed time, and starts looking for Mariah/Rachel. Rose petals fall down from the bell tower so he starts to climb. At the top, he sees a familiar looking shadow, right before it pushes him out the window to his death.

I wondered when we were getting to the murder part of this show.

JB wanders down to see whether Mort had it under control and finds him slightly panicked. He’s starting to worry that the town might have been right about Mariah. He shows JB the letter. Jess reminds him that Rachel Abbott and Mariah Osborne are two completely different people. Mort tells her she knows that, and he knows that but he wonders if Mariah knows that. They visit her at home and she tells them she swears she didn’t kill Willard. She gladly offers a handwriting sample and gets JB to retrieve a notebook for the task. JB starts poking around and finds a scrapbook with a newspaper article about the trial of Monica Walker, and a photo of Monica standing next to a boat.

JB is on the case you guys. She goes to the courthouse to find the court documents but is told all the files are missing. Curious, says JB. She’s also been to the Gazette office and all their records for 1967 are missing – could the trial have happened then. The court clerk tells her it did.

With all the usual sources gone, JB has one card left. After feeding Seth full of homecooked goodness, she pesters him for information about Monica Walker. He tells a sad tale – she was working as a secretary for Charles and Lydia Winthrop but then was convicted of stealing a diamond necklace. She went to prison for five years and then upon release sold the house and left town never to return.

JB decides a call on the Winthrop’s is in order. She finds Charles hard at work on a model boat, sad he can’t go sailing on his own boat until his leg heals. Lydia tells him she did warn him about the builders re-varnishing the stairs. They heard all about what happened to Willard from Nate Parsons, and there’s no doubt in their minds Mariah did it. They won’t feel safe until she’s been arrested and until then they are bumping up security and getting a new safe for Lydia’s jewellery. JB takes the opportunity to ask about the trouble Lydia had a few years earlier, and Lydia says Moncia Walker stole the necklace, she never did get it back why does JB ask?

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

YOU GUYS I MEAN REALLY.

JB leaves, but returns just in time to find Charles standing up at the fireplace. Passing no comment on his rapid recovery, JB instead asks if he remembers who the prosecutor was on the Monica Walker case. Charles nonchalantly tells Jess it was in fact Willard Clinton, right before he was appointed a judge. Jess thanks him and leaves.

Next, Jess heads over to investigate the crime scene, and is startled to find Nate Parsons doing the same thing. He tells her Willard Clinton was a client of his so he has to investigate the death. JB quickly concludes that there was no way that this was anything other than murder, and spots some long dark hairs caught in a nail. She grabs them to take to Mort, and as she leaves asks Nate if his company did the policy for the Winthrops. He confirms yes, for over 20 years.

JB drops the hairs off with Mort and is interrupted by Deputy Andy arriving to announce that the fingerprints on the Winthrop’s safe belong to Mary Lynn Walker. Everyone is taken aback, but JB obviously is unfazed. She knows why Mary Lynn has returned to Cabot Cove.

At Mariah/Mary Lynn’s house, Mariah comes clean about why she came back to town and admits to breaking into the safe to try and prove her mother was innocent. She didn’t kill Willard Clinton even if she had good reason – back in the day he offered to drop the case if Monica did certain favours for him. Mort doesn’t care and arrests her anyway.

Jess isn’t giving up though. A quick chat with the fire chief reveals that the source of the fire at Nate Parson’s house was a liquid commonly used in floor varnishing and paint removal. JB then stops by Nate Parson’s house to ask for records relating to the theft of Lydia Winthrop’s necklace, and to ask whether he had gone ahead with his planned renovations. He tells her they didn’t but they did get the floors done.

THIS EPISODE JUST KEEPS GOING.

Jess manages to find out via Seth that the hairs she found in the bell tower were from a wig, not from actual hair. This seals it for Jess but Mort is unconvinced. Only when JB manages to get the killer to confess that Mort believes it.

Let's be honest, this isn't a surprise.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t a surprise.

Guys this is what happens when you find out your husband is sneaking around with another woman, and you stage a theft to get her out of the picture, but the prosecutor who helps you stage it gets cold feet when he sees the woman’s daughter years later and so you have to kill him to shut him up really it’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

Ugh. It’s a hot and stormy afternoon in Melbourne and I need a nap.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

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