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S10E06 – Bloodlines

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If anyone tells you Horses by Daryl Braithwaite isn’t Australia’s national anthem they’re a filthy liar

JB is in Virginia hanging out at her pal Matt Cleveland’s place, where she is writing a new book set in horse racing land. Matt is a horse trainer currently training celebri-horse Swift Prince, and so knows a thing or two about such things. His daughter Jill just happens to be the jockey on board so you know there’s that too. Also he’s Mickey Rooney.

Naww. 

Matt is so excited with the Prince’s hot lap that he puts a call in to two of the owners, Catherine Noble and Wally Hampton. They are stoked with the Prince’s time and assure Matt that they will convince the third owner Lloyd Mentone that the hose must race that weekend.

Spoiler alert: this entire episode is basically this:

I don’t understand how Mickey Rooney isn’t playing an old retired jockey actually.

Anyway.

Jess, Matt and Jill head back to Matt’s cottage, while up at the big house Catherine Noble (aka Tippi Hendren) informs her daughter Tracey that Swift Prince will be racing on the weekend. Tracey is delighted, she needs the prize money to fund another 100 guests for her upcoming wedding to Wally’s son Paul. UGH. Catherine tells her the money isn’t going to cover her debts, they are inches away from losing the farm completely, and are counting on Paul approving a bank loan.

That afternoon, Lloyd Mentone is furious to discover that his co-owners have entered the horse in a race when he was focussed on stud fees. Apparently, the horse was recovering from a serious injury and Lloyd thinks it’s a big risk, but he’s overridden. It also turns out that Paul Hampton and Jill once had a thing before he got talked into falling in love with Tracey. Paul looks miserable and later refuses to stay for a drink with his father, who wonders what’s wrong. Paul asks him what he wants, and Wally says for Paul to quit the bank and return to managing the stud, but he’d settle for his audit.

Meanwhile, JB is back at work on her book when she gets a visit from Lloyd, who tells her he grew up watching races from the tower at Saratoga (righto mate) and that he’s concerned about Swift Prince’s race. JB tells him she’s sure Matt and the others know what they’re doing, also the tower at Saratoga wasn’t built when Lloyd was growing up.

Ouch. Burn!

Getting nowhere with JB, Lloyd’s next stop is to see assistant trainer Gus Tardio aka Don Swayze as if you couldn’t tell.

Like Hungry Eyes, except not at all.

Gus is moping because Matt got made head trainer over him. Lloyd orders Gus back to work, and sober since that’s what he’s paying him for. Gus returns back to the stable to find life has pretty much gone on without him and Matt sacks him for being a douche.

Tracey visits Paul at work, where he’s trying to secure her mother’s loan and says she can’t wait until the wedding so he can quit his silly banking job and run the stables. Paul tells her he happens to like his banking job but she says that’s only because his father doesn’t.

Later that night JB is slaving away over her laptop when she hears bangs and crashes from the stable. She rushes to see and finds Matt staggering around after copping a whack on the head. Jill helps him to stand while JB carefully extracts a syringe from a pile of hay. OH YOU GUYS IT’S A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK.

While the vet has Swift Prince tested for performance-enhancing drugs, Sheriff Clyde Benson wants to know who might have been behind it. The consensus is Gus, but JB can’t see what his motive is and Wally Hampton agrees. Clyde thinks it’s more likely that one of the horse’s connections might have done it, but he’ll swing by Gus’s and see. Wally begs him to keep it quiet until they know if the horse was actually injected and Clyde says he’s happy to do them a favour as long as it’s within the law.

Alright Clyde, calm down.

The next day Catherine gets a call to say that Swift Prince is all clear, and there was much rejoicing by Tracey and by JB for wildly different reasons. Down at the bank, Paul gets a visit from Lloyd who wants Paul to convince Catherine to scratch the horse from the race, or else some finance peeps are going to find out that Catherine lied on her loan application and Paul approved it. Paul throws him out.

Over at the farm, Catherine confronts Matt (who turns out used to work for her before he worked for Wally) and says she wants a more experienced jockey on the horse because SHE NEEDS THE MONEY OMG WEDDINGS DON’T PAY FOR THEMSELVES AND TRACEY IS A PRINCESS etc etc. Matt tells her it’s in his contract – he trains, he picks the jockey. Later that afternoon he tells JB he has a plan for shaving 3 seconds off Swift Prince’s time and waves a videotape around.

That night, Jill runs into Paul and they go get dinner together. JB finds Matt rushing out the door, telling her he’ll explain later. Jess hears some car doors slam, and gets back to work. As a car drives way, Gus appears out of the bushes, like this but in reverse.

Tracey turns up a while later looking for Paul, but Jess says he’s been gone about an hour so they decide to have dinner together instead. On their way into town, they find Matt’s truck parked on the side of the road, and Matt dead on the ground.

BASTARDS KILLED MICKEY ROONEY THIS WILL NOT STAND.

Clyde comes to the house to take statements, but he’s fairly convinced Matt was killed by a hobo in a robbery gone wrong. Jess thinks this is highly unlikely, and doubly so when Clyde tells her there was no sign of the videotape Matt had been waving around.

After checking in with Catherine, who it turns out was supposed to meet Matt with Wally but he never showed, Jess goes to search Matt’s office for the tape, but it’s gone. She does, however, find the envelope and puts a call in to the offices of Sportrack to find out what Matt had requested. She also finds a notepad, and with the classic pencil rub finds VICTOR WY etched onto the pad. Fun fact, WY apparently means Wyoming. Victor means Victor I guess.

Sportstrack is a surprisingly efficient company, and they deliver another copy of the tape to Jess the next day. She watches it with Jill, but they don’t know why Matt was so interested in it. Catherine and Wally come over and tell Jill they’re getting another jockey for the race.  Down at the bank, Lloyd pops in for a chat with Paul, but Paul tears up Catherine’s loan contract and tells him to do his worst. Paul quits.

Paul is getting his groove back completely, his next stop is to see Catherine but instead, he finds Tracey who accuses him of ignoring her to spend time with Jill, so he calls off the wedding. YOU GO BOYFRIEND.

Drunk on his own power, Paul heads down to the racetrack to wish Catherine and Wally well for the race the following day, but Catherine tells him to go to hell. Paul and Jill watch the substitute jockey fail completely with Swift Prince. Paul tells Jill to let Catherine come to her and to say maybe at least once. Paul, you’re alright.

Meanwhile, Jess is still trying to catch a murderer. She has a chat with Clyde who is convinced Gus is guilty, but when he shows her the wrong piece of paper she suddenly realises why Matt had been so excited the night he died. They rush over to the racetrack just in time to catch Lloyd about to inject Swift Prince, who isn’t Swift Prince at all but a horse called Victor Way that Lloyd swapped so that he could make more money or some such business. Victor Way was going to make money as a stud horse, the real Swift Prince was off making money in South America.

But he didn’t kill Matt.

UNSURPRISED

Trust me on this, it’s got to do with car doors and Tracey running into Matt as he was about to tell her mother and worrying that the scandal would put an end to her wedding.

Whatevs. The important thing is, Jill wins the race on Victory Way and there’s champagne for everyone.

Later gang!

 

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S10E04 – The Phantom Killer

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It’s a sunny day in the Big Apple and the editor of Follies Magazine, Dean Richards, is having a bit of a day. His finance manager, Carter Drummond, has just informed him that the bank isn’t giving him another loan, he just got blasted over the phone by literary agent Gary Manning about his client Ben Forman’s upcoming profile on JB Fletcher, and his assistant Ellen Harper has just shown him some photos that suck.

Some top-notch exposition right there.

Across town, the profile piece on JB Fletcher is going well.

I mean if anyone’s going to solve it…

Unfortunately what with Ben’s constant crashing bumping and spilling things the interview has to be cut short as Jess has Business. Instead Ben decides he’ll follow JB around the next day.

Jess heads off to her lunch meeting, which happens to be with Dean Richards and his lady friend Kathryn Schofield, and assures Dean that the profile is going a treat and that Ben is adorable. Kathryn goes off to her photo shoot leaving Dean and Jess to throwback cocktails until local media mogul Harrison Kane pops up.

Alan Thicke = 50% responsible for the existence of Robin Thicke who is 100% responsible for Blurred Lines a song I’m still angry about. My vendettas are complicated and last ages.

“Been a long time!” He says to JB.

JB is in smackdown mode.

Turns out Harrison isn’t there to see JB, he just wants to remind Dean that if he doesn’t accept Harrison’s bid for the magazine Harrison will just run the magazine out of business. He sashays away, and JB explains to Dean that a year earlier Harrison was shopping around a movie option for one of JB’s books that he didn’t have rights to and did such a bad job that by the time a legitimate producer wanted the rights the whole thing was cactus.

Meanwhile, Ben is kicking back relaxing all cool shooting some bball outside after school at his house with his friend/raging crush Abby Peters, who is rehearsing for an audition that afternoon. She thinks she’d be a big success if she had an agent like Ben so he gives his agent a call, and tells Abby that she should call him that afternoon. Abby’s boyfriend Dave picks her up and tells her he hopes she’s learned her lines this time.

Jesus Dave, calm down.

After they leave Ben gets a phone call from Harrison Kane, who is rather impressed with Ben’s screenplay and wants to turn it into a movie, but he thinks Ben should get a different agent – Gary Manion is demanding 100K for the rights to it. Ben says he’ll see what he can do, and suggests Abby for one of the roles. Harrison tells him to have her people call his people to sort it out.

Harrison hangs up. Kathryn Schofield is disinterestedly reading a magazine on his couch.

The next day Ben manages to get his last bits of interview from Jess as she races about the place. As she jumps into a taxi, she gives him a free word of advice – keep an eye on his script, and his wallet, around Harrison Kane.

Word must get back to Gary Manion as he puts a ferocious call into Harrison Kane, livid that Kane has shopped around scripts he doesn’t have the rights to. Harrison can’t get a word in. Manion says it’s 100K or nothing, and there’ll be hell to pay if he shops the script around or does one of his famous scope’n’gropes on Abby Peters.

*Coughs* Relevant *Coughs*

Manion hangs up on Kane, and there’s a knock on the door. It’s Carter Drummond, begging Harrison not to rescind his offer. Kane tells him too late, he’s going to destroy Follies Magazine and everyone involved in it, and to get the hell out. Carter departs, leaving Kane with a letter from his lawyers. Something about financial records which I’m sure is important.

Meanwhile, Kathryn is hard at work going about her model business, while a frustrated photographer called Hans bemoans her lack of interest. Dean calls a wrap and orders Hans to deliver some photos by 10am the next morning.

Sidenote: Uma Thurman’s Thanksgiving post on Insta was freaking amazing.

The above goes the way you expect these things to go. Ben arrives just to hear banging and crashing, Abby shouting “NO!” and then sees her run out of the room and into the elevator. He chases her but she flees into a taxi and disappears into the traffic. Meanwhile, room service arrives at Kane’s hotel room to find Kane dead in the bathtub with a hair dryer.

NYPD’s finest detective, Stan Zbornak Artie Gelber is naturally assigned the case and pops round JB’s house for a statement and a chat, as Jessica’s name appears in Harrison Kane’s little black book. JB confirms that she and Dean saw Kane at the restaurant two days ago, and that she and Kane didn’t have the best relationship. Artie wants to make this quick, he’s got reservations in the Catskills etc etc

10 points for that shirt though.

Ben Forman, who was at JB’s going over his draft of the profile piece, makes to leave but Artie has questions for him too.  Jess asks him if they have any suspects and Artie tells her half the world had it in for Harrison Kane. They do know that at some point the previous night Kane had a visitor from someone who liked cigars and bourbon but that they hadn’t ID’d them yet.

Down at Follies HQ Dean and Gary are getting into it over the phone, ending in Gary telling Dean to treat Ben with more respect or he walks, and Dean telling Gary if he tries to extort more money out of him for Ben they are all finished. Carter the finance guy is there too, freaking out after Harrison’s untimely demise – with him dead, the banks think Follies have no more money, but Dean says he’s got some leads.

Jess is summoned down to the precinct when her fingerprints turn up on a manuscript, but it turns out to be hers – the one Kane was shopping around without permission the previous year. Detective Henderson pops his head in to say they still hadn’t found Gary Manion, and that there were still some prints they hadn’t identified. Artie apologises for dragging Jessica into it and she tells him for what it’s worth she was home alone at the time of the murder.

Out in the street, Carter the finance guy and Ellen the assistant at Follies trade barbs. Ellen is meant to be spying on Dean for Carter, which she initially agreed to when Dean started up with Kathryn but now she wants out and she doesn’t care if Carter tells Dean she was spying for him.

Back at home Jess gets a phone call from Dean asking if she’s heard from Gary Manion or from Ben – he’s gone AWOL and hasn’t submitted his profile on JB. Jess tells him she’ll get right on it, and calls the phone company pretending to be Gary Manion’s secretary. Praise be for lax security.

And now lets take a moment to appreciate how 90s this actually is:

I can’t even.

Jess is hot on the trail of Garry Manion and heads down to his office, where she first runs into Abby Peters and then Artie and Detective Henderson, the latter of which elegantly breaks into the office. There’s no sign of Manion inside, but JB has a sneaking suspicion she knows where to find him.

They head over to Ben’s house, and find Garry on the phone, issuing more ultimatums.

YOU GUYS BEN WAS HIS OWN AGENT ALL ALONG *cue cheesy should have known face at camera*

Artie puts Ben under arrest and they all cruise down to the precinct. While Artie wanders around congratulating himself Ben explains to Jess that Garry Manion was a creation borne out of necessity – editors wouldn’t read his work unless he had an agent and agents wouldn’t look at his work unless he’d already sold something. So, he became Garry Manion.

Preach.

Artie pops back in and confirms that Ben’s prints are all over everything plus someone saw him there. Jess tells him to wait and speak to his lawyer but Ben says there’s no point, he’s ready to sign a confession. Artie’s stoked, he’s got Catskills to get to, but Jess isn’t buying it. She has a theory though.

Meanwhile, Dean and Kathyrn are out to dinner. Dean has an ulterior motive, which Kathryn spots a mile away – Dean needs more money to keep the paper afloat and Kathryn has it. They are interrupted by the appearance of Ellen, who lets Dean know the magazine went to print with the JB article and it’s great. She senses tension and wanders off again. Kathryn tells Dean she’ll think about the loan.

Jess goes to see Abby, and despite the constant interruptions from Dave the 90s guy, manages to get Abby to admit to being in the hotel room.

She also picks up a magazine.

In other news, this episode is ranked #5 in the list of movies and TV that contain a hairdryer in the bathtub according to IMDB.

At his studio, Hans is about to settle in for a solid night of drinking when he finds Carter sitting in a chair.

“The pictures Hans.” Says Carter.

“I haven’t got them.” Says Hans.

“Stop jerking me around Hans.” Says Carter. “Hello Hans. You’re breaking my balls”

The pictures, apparently, are of Kathryn in bed with Harrison Kane, which Carter was going to use to break up Dean and Kathryn. Hans tells Carter he destroyed them.

Back at the police station Abby explains what happened with Harrison and Ben explains that after he saw Abby run out he went in to yell at Harrison, found him dead, freaked out and tried to cover up evidence of Abby’s crime. Except it wasn’t Abby. Artie is delighted Jess convinced her to come forward, he’s sure that hers is the only set of fingerprints left unidentified and it seals Ben’s fate.

Artie’s about to head out at last, when he gets a phone call from Jess – she wants to know where Abby got that magazine from. She tells Artie she doesn’t know, and Artie and Jess go to her apartment to take a look at it. It’s addressed to Hans “You’re breaking my balls” the photographer.

Over dinner that night, Jess tells Dean and Kathyrn that the evidence against Abby is mounting up and that the police are going to search Abby’s apartment the next day. Which is all the bait she needs.

Ahhhh yes.

I mean everyone else had a motive, so why not her? She gave Harrison money to finance a movie that she was meant to be in, but then she found out Harrison had no money so she bumped him off.

Ugh it’s too hot to question this.

Later gang!

 

S10E03 – The Legacy of Borbey House

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Welcome back to the Cove Fletcherfans, where winter is coming, teens are making out in cemeteries and the dead are rising from the grave.

So you know, the usual.

The Boss Lady is getting some construction done on House Fletcher and is packing up things in boxes while the contractor Charles Wetherby makes himself look busy until he finds a note in his toolbox from his missing fiance Laurel. Jessica’s sympathy is shortlived after Charles gets a phone call from his other client Lawrence Baker and leaves, telling Jess he’ll be back in the morning.

Risky life move, buddy. 

Seth pops in just as Charles departs, eyes on Jessica’s peach pie. Jess tells him she gave it to Mort, it would have spoiled what with the lack of electricity and or plumbing in her house.

Seth is about to blow.

As you can see, Seth is apocalyptic. He’s just spent the whole morning dealing with a freaked out teenage girl who saw someone come out of a grave the night before, and now there’s no goddamn pie?

Later that night, local wallpaper peddler Molly Holt drops by Lawrence Baker’s house where she is shown inside by his butler Peter Jatich. She thinks she’s there to show samples but he’s got a whole three-course dinner planned.

I mean it. You get the hell out right now.

Despite Mollie’s protests Baker orders Jatich to start serving the first course. As he heads to the kitchen, he pauses to eavesdrop on the conversation he can hear through the vents.

Later that night, when Molly finally returns home, her father Philip tells her that her boyfriend Dave called to see where she was – apparently she’s broken three dates with him in the last month. Molly says she’s surprised he noticed. Her father tells her to give him a break and she says she has, for eighteen months now. Molly tells him which wallpapers Baker has chosen and Philip simply says that he’s glad he doesn’t have to pay her by the hour.

The next day Molly is around at JB’s to show samples, but she and JB are both distracted – Molly by Lawrence Baker, JB by the complete shermozzle that is renovating her house.

She is so done you guys. (I have no context for this, the only way I could afford to live in a house is if the zombie apocalypse destroys society. I’m not saying I hope it happens, but I wouldn’t mind renovating something)

JB calls time on the whole thing and returns some library books with Seth.

Let’s be honest, it’s also me at the bookshop. And that time I went to the second-hand book sale in Geelong and all the books were a dollar and I passed out.

JB meets visiting writer Dr Howard Sorensen (who was the guy popping out of the grave at the start of the episode, apparently he’s visiting from the netherworld) who explains he’s in town researching the history of the Borbey house. Which just so happens to be the house Lawrence Baker is renovating I mean really what were the odds.

Oh, you guys! Dr Sorenson is being played by the guy who was in charge of all the wildfire in Kings Landing in Game of Thrones. He passed away like a month ago.

Seth thinks the idea is hilarious. Apparently back in the day, the former residents of the Borbey house were killed by a vampire.

“Well despite what the medical establishment would have us believe, Doctor, there are a great many things in this world which defy rational explanation.” Says Dr Sorenson.

Huh. You’re not wrong there.

Jess hurries Seth out of the library before he completely hulks out. Outside they find Dave Perrin, brother of Charles Weatherby’s missing fiance, sticking up posters begging for information about his missing sister. Molly begs him to accept that she’s gone, but he won’t have a bar of it. He tells Seth that his car is fixed just as Mort rolls up in the Mort mobile and thanks JB for the peach pie. He asks how the renovations are going and Seth tells him not to mention the war. Mort’s reason for stopping though is to update Dave on a lead he tracked down about his sister. Apparently, the private investigator Dave hired mistook a 56-year-old short woman for his sister. Mort gently suggests that these leads are eating too much into the department’s sources.

Later that afternoon Mike drops Lawrence Baker’s car off at his house and demands payment. Jatich the butler refuses to let him in, but a sunglasses totin’ Baker says it’s fine. Molly’s told him about Mike, but apparently not that they are going to be engaged. Mike takes a swing at him and is thrown out of the house just as Molly arrives. Once the door closes, Baker takes off his glasses. Because obvs he’s a vampire.

Later that night, the kids from the cemetery are strolling along a path when the girls spot an arm sticking out of the ground and loses her mind. The next morning, Seth and Mort are called to the scene to discover it’s a mannequin arm. Apparently, that’s not cause for alarm BUT I BEG TO DIFFER THOSE THINGS ARE CREEPY AF.

Over at the Borbey house Lawrence Baker has decided a wall needs to come out. Charles tries to explain that it’s a load-bearing wall, and it will cost a lot of money to compensate for it. He quotes double his initial amount for the project, and Baker tells him to do it.

Charles jets over to House Fletcher to tell JB he can’t do her renovations anymore, Baker’s stepped up his demands and he still has to finish the rennos at the sheriff’s office but it’s okay because he’s got someone coming to take over the job who can start that afternoon don’t even worry about it.

Oh, how I know this feeling.

Over at the sheriff’s office, the renos are in fact full steam ahead, much to Mort’s chagrin. He gets a phone call and is about to head out the door when one of the old ducks wanders in to tell him that she saw Dr Sorenson digging up graves at the cemetery the previous night. Mort gets Deputy Andy on the case and rushes out the door – turns out his hot new lead is actually a potential sighting of Laurel, in a critical condition in hospital. He tells Dave who rushes over there. Mort then heads over to the cemetery where the grave of William Borbey has been opened and garlic shoved in.

Later that evening, JB is picking up some wallpaper from Philip and Molly when Old Mate Baker wanders in, wanting to purchase a house Philip has for sale. Philip tells him it isn’t for sale and that the shop is closed. Molly reappears from the back room and is delighted to see “Larry!”

Jess really doesn’t have time for this.

Philip throws “Larry” out of his store and orders him to stay away from his daughter. Molly is a bit peeved at his behaviour, but Philip tells her Lawrence Baker doesn’t exist according to the credit check he got his friend to do down at the bank. Jess finds that interesting, as Eve Simpson told her that Larry paid cash for the house.

What a concept.

Night falls, a storm hits. Dr Sorensen takes it upon himself to do a thorough investigation of Larry by sneaking into his house and taking note of the lack of mirrors and bottles of red liquid because you guys Larry is totes a vampire.  Meanwhile Mort shows off his new sheriff’s office to Seth and JB who are very impressed. Well, JB is, Seth thinks its a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The open for inspection is unfortunately cut short when Mort gets a phone call. There’s been a murder at the old Borbey place. The trio roll on over and find Larry dead on the ground, a stake through his heart.

Because, and I can’t remind you enough (and neither can the MSW writers) LARRY IS 100% TOTES OBVS A VAMPIRE.

Mort tries to hide his belief that Larry was a vampire, despite all evidence to the contrary. Seth tells him that Larry was whacked on the head before getting staked, which does nothing for Mort’s fears. Peter Jatich tells them that the side door was open, which was how the killer got in, and no he wasn’t that upset Larry was bumped off, he wasn’t wild about him.

The next day Dave is hard at work mechanicing when Mort calls to see how he went with the mystery woman. Turns out she wasn’t his sister either, and he didn’t get home til 3am so definitely didn’t stake the vampire. Molly swings by to say how sorry she is it wasn’t Laurel, and he tells her he’s sorry to hear about Larry. It’s awkward.

Down at the police station Dr Sorenson says he was in his hotel room all evening, and he never met Larry #fakenews. JB strolls in armed to the teeth with books and says that Larry was staked with the wrong kind of wood to be killed, it should have been ash, not fir. Jess thinks that someone was trying to make it look like a staking.

Charles pulls her aside and apologises again for the way he skipped out on her reno. JB says whatever. Dr Sorensen announces that the grave he dug up was William Borbey’s and it was empty. He thinks that in fact, Larry IS William Borbey and he’s not dead, only undead.

This episode is ridiculous.

Mort and JB go for a stroll along the water. Mort’s convinced this is some vampiric shenanigans, but Jess is sure there must be a logical explanation. They run into Dave who is showing photos of Laurel’s boat in case it jogs someone’s memory. It does for JB, but not in relation to Laurel. She asks Mort to call the planning board, they need to get over there immediately.

The planning board, it turns out, is being renovated as well and they can’t find the file JB is looking for – the building permit for the Borbey house. Deputy Andy pops up and tells them that Peter Jatich’s fingerprints match those of a known Stasi agent in East Germany.

Mort and Jess confront Peter, but he denies the whole thing. He tells them he heard Larry and Dr Sorenson arguing, but didn’t actually see Dr Sorensen kill Larry. Mort figures either Dr Sorenson is lying or Peter is, but either way they’ve nabbed a killer.

JB has found the inital tender bids for the renovation project and tells Mort she’s not so sure about that.

Of course not, says Mort. And are you going to tell me?

I think JB is just making her own fun at this point.

Instead, JB wanders into the sheriff’s office the next morning and announces to the world that Larry’s attorneys are finishing the renovation, and her contractor is starting the next morning.

Later that night…

I’m not even sure I care at this point.

For you see, Charles bumped off his beloved Laurel when she tried to dump him, and then hid her body in a wall at the Borbey house where he was doing some rennos at the time. Then when Larry wanted him to remove the wall, he killed him.

I mean what even was this episode. Where’d the vampire stuff come from? I’m so confused and hungry.

Let’s just end on the mental image of Mort’s face when he is shown a picture of William Borbey looking identical to Larry Baker and not dwell on whatever the hell this was.

Later gang

S10E02 – For Whom The Bell Tolls

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Just one sec.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

This demolition derby is in fact in NYC, and is being undertaken by the Gillrich brothers, Eugene and Walter. Their efforts are not going unnoticed and a group of concerned citizens is working to save three remaining brownstones from being demolished. Two have already been vacated but one still has people and even more conveniently a bar, which is where we find Our Heroine being recruited to the cause by local so-and-so Carol Collins. Jess is happy to chuck some coin in but she’s swamped with deadlines. They are soon joined by Margaret, who apparently is a friend of JB’s but I can’t work it out. Apparently some famous writers did some writing and some gangsters did some gangstering in the building, which of course JB knows all about because JB loves a good historical snoop.

My grandfather’s rule is that it’s socially acceptable to start drinking at 4pm (except on Christmas when it’s 12pm), which I think is incredibly reasonable.

Meanwhile all is not well in the state of Gillrich. There’s trouble with protestors, trouble with investors, and Walter is subjected to Lady Macbeth’s Gillrich’s plans for the interiors of Gillrich Tower which should absolutely in no way be confused with Trump Tower no siree Bob.

This is a Simpsons quote that frankly can’t get shouted enough.

Walter has had a phone call from Margaret.  There’s a hearing the next day to grant or deny an injunction requested by the Save Our Building mob, and Margaret just wants them to know that there will be pickets and TV crews and all sorts of shenanigans. Also, there’s an 87-year-old lady called Mrs Rhodes who isn’t leaving her apartment.

Eugene tells Walter not to worry about Mrs Rhodes, Walter wouldn’t let Eugene just kick her out so they are paying for the move to Florida. Walter is still anxious and wonders whether another site might be more suitable but Eugene tells him to shut it, and to keep his mouth closed during the hearing.

Now Fletcherfans, you’re not going to believe this, but the next day at the meeting Walter admits he has reservations about the project leaving the committee to adjourn for the day without reaching a verdict. Local reporter Mike LaRocca is there to cover all the reactions from Margarets (shy bafflement) to Carols (gloating) to Eugene and Walters (furious and stubborn silence respectively). He also gets the reaction from bar owner Nolan Walsh who is also keen to plug his new signature cocktail.

The signature cocktail is called A Hickey From Kernickie and seriously that should be true.

JB sees the news report and feels inspired (plus she’s totally on top of her deadlines now) so she calls Carol and offers her presence at the rally that evening. Carol is delighted and immediately tells her new boyfriend Eugene Gillrich all about it. He’s not too fussed, he’s there for one reason and one reason only – which is good news for Carol as she’s planning to record the whole thing on tape to share with the committee when it resumes in 48 hours.

Across town, Walter Gillrich sends his secretary home for the night, while Mike Larocca cops a bollocking from someone called Vic Barton for reasons that will become clear if you read the IMDB page like I just did. But for now, know that Vic and Mike want the building torn down.

Later…

They are really signalling the clues these days.

JB and Margaret arrive the same time as Lee Gillgrich pulls up in her car. They barely wonder what she’s doing there but it turns out her husband is inside the bar trying to milk some goodwill so there you go. JB gets interviewed by Mike, who starts with the question “So Mrs Fletcher, does your bar crawling bring you here often?”

This might have broken the sass-o-meter.

Post interview JB meets Mrs Rhodes’s nurse Josie Miles, who explains her patient isn’t up to coming downstairs but she’ll definitely sign the petition. Margaret gets a phone call from Walter and leaves the bar. Later, the bartender announces that the 5-0 have arrived to start towing cars, and there’s a mass exodus of people who leave to move their cars. Eugene sits down with Nolan and offers him more money to move the bar, or else feel his wrath. Nolan offers Eugene to feel his fist in Eugene’s face, at which Eugene picks himself up from the ground and departs with Mrs Gillrich.

The next day Lord and Lady Macbeth/Gillrich roll into work and find Walter dead at his desk. The NYPD are called to the scene, led by everyone’s favourite Golden Ex-Husband, Artie Gelber. Eugene and Lee tell Artie they can’t think of anyone who would want to kill Walter, he was liked by everyone.

As Artie leaves the scene of the crime he’s ambushed by Mike LaRocca who gets on his soapbox when Artie won’t give him anything, leaving Artie to tell him if he wants to make speeches he should run for office. LaRocca is ambushed himself when Vic Barton turns up again to inform him that with Walter dead the injunction to stop the demolition has been put on hold which means the demolition on hold. For the record, Mike LaRocca wants to do a TV special where he digs up Nolan’s bar to find the victims of a gangster who used to hang out there and presumably Vic Barton is bankrolling the special except this is never made clear at all.

Artie goes to see Margaret to get more info and runs into JB, who tells him she cannot really offer anything. Margaret says she spoke to Walter on the phone but that was it. Artie’s sidekick announces that Walter was shot between 8pm and 9pm. JB points out that if Walter was shot from behind sitting at Eugene’s desk then the assumption must be made that the intended target was Eugene and Artie agrees. His current theory is that a tenant whacked him to stop him from destroying their home. Margaret hands over a list of tenants still living in the buildings, including Mrs Rhodes who has lived there so long she’s only paying $300 per month.

What I would give for rent control to be a thing in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, there’s high drama in the gang to save the brownstones. Margaret has just told Carol that a whole heap of petitions have been declared invalid because they were signed by dead people (talk about burying the lede guys) and Carol tells Margaret that she knows she went to see Walter that night. The whole thing is a bit frosty.

After facing an apparent bust interviewing tenants, Artie turns his attention to Nolan Walsh, since he did punch out Eugene. Nolan tells him he’d totally whack Eugene but he had nothing against Walter, and he wouldn’t mistake the two. Artie gets a call from Detective Henderson who tells him they finally caught a break via some fingerprints.

Apparently, the fingerprints belong to Margaret, as her assistant tearfully explains to JB over the phone when she calls to cancel their meeting. JB is stunned, especially since she received a fax from Margaret smack bang in the middle of when Margaret should have been committing the crime. Oh the 90s, when we were all saved by fax machines.

JB finds Artie at the Gillrich offices and explains she’s convinced Margaret didn’t kill Walter but Artie is unimpressed. He’s a little more impressed when JB finds some blue fluff on the floor and deduces that Walter was actually killed in his office and wheeled into Eugene’s office to throw everyone off the scent, but he thinks this still proves Margaret is guilty.

#TeamDorothyForever (I haven’t seen that much Golden Girls but I think I’m more a Sophia)

Down at the police station JB tries to explain to Artie that he’s got it wrong, Margaret tells him he’s caving under pressure from Eugene Gillrich but Artie’s not buying it. Henderson pops up to confirm that all the tenants of the building had nothing against Walter Gillrich, except he still hasn’t spoken to Mrs Rhodes. According to her nurse, Mrs Rhodes has gone to New Jersey to see family/hit up the tables at Atlantic City (look at me go with my local references I’ve learnt from extensive television watching). Artie offering to make Margaret a coffee gives JB an idea and she bolts out of the office on a mission.

Back at the bar JB finds Carol and Nolan drinking to their almost guaranteed win at the planning committee hearing. Nolan offers his chair to JB and wanders off, leaving JB to confront Carol with the truth – she’d met Eugene before the hearing? JB knows this because she heard Eugene order Carol a martini with an onion without being told. Carol admits it freely and explains that she has Eugene on tape offering 50K for the save the building committee to stop its campaign against the development. JB is aghast but Carol doesn’t care – her reputation is already tarnished, it will do more damage to Eugene. She’s fine with it. The mailman drops some mail off for Mrs Rhodes and JB decides it’s time to pay a visit so she offers to take it upstairs.

Meanwhile, Nolan and Mike are having a chat about Mike’s plans to do a TV special and dig up the bones of the victims of the gangster that used to hang out there. Nolan’s on board until Mike starts talking about how much money he will make, then he throws him out of the bar.

(In case you were wondering if this storyline sounded familiar)

Upstairs, JB knocks on Mrs Rhodes’s door and explains she has her fitness mags but not her social security check. The door opens, and it’s the nurse. You caught me, she says.

DAT FACE THO

Josie goes downstairs to move her car and tells JB that when Mrs Rhodes died she left everything to Josie as she had no other family. She notified everyone else, she just kind of forgot to tell the rental authority.

JB suddenly remembers something else. Something about cars being towed. She drags Artie down to the town planning injunction committee and snags Mr and Mrs Gillrich for a private word.

Surprised or not surprised? I’ll never know.

Ah yes. Lady Macbeth was getting annoyed at Walter’s lack of support for her husband’s plans to take over the world and so shot him. You know. The usual.

Later gang!

 

 

S10E01 – A Death in Hong Kong

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Welcome to Season Ten Fletcherfans! It’s a whole new season and Our Heroine has chucked her typewriter for the most high-tech computing technology in the opening credits.

Like a boss.

But even more excitingly welcome to Hong Kong, where JB has been lured by her friend, ceramicist Emma Soon Dunbar, to experience all that Hong Kong has to offer.

YEAHHHH BOOIIIIIIII

JB’s infinite pork bun plans are derailed by a stop at a jade shop, where the owner is delighted to show Jess his wares at the most reasonable prices and Emma is kidnapped by a carload of thugs. I guess this sort of thing happened when the British were in charge?

Jess leaps into action, helping Emma’s chauffeur to his feet and asking Mr Lee the shopowner to call the police. She also calls Emma’s husband Brian, who is in the middle of merger talks with Kai Kuan, a Hong Kong business owner who wants to take over House of Dunbar before the British give Hong Kong back to the Chinese.  Brian tells JB not to call the police which naturally does not compute for Jessica, also they are already there. Brian says not to worry and hangs up the phone. The meeting is then interrupted by another phone call, this time by the kidnappers themselves, who demand 200 grand in small bills for the safe return of Emma.

Meanwhile, JB is down at the police station contending with Inspector McLaughlin, aka everyone’s favourite bad guy David Warner.

Sidenote: this interview with David Warner is really great.

McLaughlin explains to JB that his frosty sarcastic demeanour isn’t a lack of concern about Emma, it’s just that this sort of thing happens all the time. Kidnappers kidnap, demand ransoms well within the means of the victim’s families, and then the victim is returned safe and well. Chances are, Emma is already at home right now.

Not in Cabot Cove anymore Toto.

Jessica returns to the Dunbar estate on the Peak and is both shocked and relieved to find Emma sitting on the couch looking quite content. JB refuses tea and sandwiches, asking instead if the merger talks might have had anything to do with the kidnapping. Brian says probably, his sidekick Mark agrees and says they were the ones who were probably responsible for a recent spate of factory fires. Emma thinks not though, and insists Brian arrange a new meeting to continue the talks. Brian sends his lackey Louise off to make the call and goes with Emma to have a nap before their evening plans. As they go up the stairs, Louise pops in to tell him that the Kuans can only meet him at 3:30, not at 2:30 as he wished. Brian, naturally, isn’t all that fussed.

Louise and Mark take a stroll in the grounds, and Louise gently tells Mark that there’s no point blaming Kuan for the factory fires. She knows the destroyed goods have been appearing on the black market in Shanghai and she knows about his rampant gambling debts in Macau. She’s keeping her mouth shut for the sake of the merger talks but if there’s any hint of trouble she’s taken steps to protect herself.

That night, JB finds Emma looking for her car key with no success. Hashtag plot point. She gives up and they all head down to the city to see Brian and Emma’s daughter April sing at the Shing Po Nightclub.

I’ll be honest, I’m probably projecting a bit here.

April’s performance is a raging success, and Emma finds her car keys in her bag. Case closed!

Oh, wait, no. April goes backstage to prepare for her next set and gets a visit from her boyfriend who just happens to be David Kuan, Kai Kuan’s son. April swears she will tell her father about them soon, but fortunately, she saved the effort when Brian wanders in and catches them making out. April quickly decides she needs to be on stage and leaves the two of them alone. Brian warns David that he will not allow April to be hurt, and to stay away from his daughter.

The next morning JB finds Emma hard at work in her studio and tells her not to worry about driving her to the university where JB is giving a lecture. Emma says nonsense, it’s on her way.  In the car, Emma dictates a memo to her in car recorder, which is the most cluiest of clues that ever clued.

Over at Kuan Tower, Brian’s sidekick Mark has taken it upon himself to visit and offer his support/allegiance, making him the Littlefinger of this episode of Murder of Thrones. Kai accepts his allegiance, but after he leaves tells David to never take your eyes off a desperate man. He orders one of his men to follow Mark and tells David that he heard Emma was kidnapped the previous day. The plot thickens.

Later that afternoon, Chang the chauffeur picks JB up from the university for the drive back up to the Peak. Jess asks him if he noticed the car following them on the way to the Jade shop the previous day and he says no. He only knew about the stop at the jade shop when Emma called him from the house to arrange the car. He immediately changes the subject and starts talking about how it often rains in the city, but not on Victoria Peak. Man, the writers are really ramming these clues in.

Man, I wish I had pork buns right now. And some xiao long bao. And some fried beef dumplings. And a wonton or two. Goddamnit, I only just had breakfast.

The merger talks resume but only briefly. Brian insinuates that Kai was the mastermind behind Emma’s kidnapping and Kai cracks it. David presents the Kuan final offer, valid for 24 hours. Brian refuses it but David suggests it would not hurt to give it some thought, he has 24 hours. In the meantime, they should all prepare for the House of Dunbar anniversary dinner scheduled for that night.

I swear to god there better be pork buns.

Jess returns to the Peak, where she notices Emma’s car is wet and has yellow paint on the wheel. Man, they are really spelling this out. Later, the house gathers for some victory champagne – not only is it the House of Dunbar anniversary but Louise has managed to pull off a big European sale by calling the manager at the crack of dawn so he would be too groggy to say no.

At the venue for the 110th-anniversary dinner, complete with a wet paint sign on the newly painted yellow gutter (OH MY GOD CALM DOWN), Jess runs into Inspector McLaughlin, who tells her they have a lead on one of Emma’s kidnappers. April introduces her to Kai and David Kuan, who come off as appropriately menacing. Mark the side-kick arrives just as the dinner commences with a traditional dance and a speech from Brian. Apparently, it is the tradition at House of Dunbar anniversary dinners to serve a century egg.

NO. HELL NO. NO CENTURY EGG. If you don’t know what a century egg is (and I only do because I saw it on Masterchef and was violently ill for several minutes afterwards), basically it is an egg traditionally preserved in clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice husks for days, weeks or months. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT and I say that having eating jellyfish (weird) and a lamb’s head in Morocco (quite delicious if you didn’t think about what was happening, which is how I get through life generally).

Brian explains how to eat a century egg to JB – grab some pickled ginger, dip it in lime juice, put it on the egg and go nuts.

There’s no way you can convince me that a century egg is a good idea. None. I’d rather eat mushrooms and I HATE mushrooms.

Brian Dunbar enjoys JB’s reaction so much that he promptly chokes to death and dies. Inspector McLaughlin appears from nowhere and Jess tells him that she could smell bitter almonds.

LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU. A CENTURY EGG WILL DISGUISE THE TASTE OF CYANIDE.

McLaughlin takes charge and sends everyone home, except Mark who has already vanished. He and JB see April and David hugging, and casually says to David that it’s a bonanza day for the Kuans – Emma will be much easier to deal with than Brian. Back at the mansion, Emma gets a phone call from Kai backing out of the merger completely. Timing bro? He also warns her that she has a rat amongst the ranks but refuses to out Mark completely.

The next day JB heads down to see her old mate Inspector McLaughlin who tells her they’ve identified one of the kidnappers. He finds it odd that JB doesn’t recognise him (???) but says it’s no matter, hopefully he will slip up now that he knows the police are on to him. McLaughlin also tells JB that she was right about the cyanide. They traced it back to Brian’s lime juice bowl, which also contained sugar, but no one else’s lime juice was affected.  JB thinks this is most curious and sits down to watch the video footage from the night before. They confirm that the poison wasn’t in the bowl before the lime juice was poured but that’s about it.

McLaughlin gets a phone call to say his men have found something up at the Dunbar mansion, in Emma’s studio to be precise. It’s a bag of cyanide powder, which Emma swears isn’t hers. JB points out that the studio is never locked. McLaughlin knows but insists Emma come downtown for a chat.

JB and McLaughlin reconvene in his office later in the day, as JB has a theory about how the poison happened. Long unnecessarily complicated story short, the original dish was swapped for one that had cyanide and a sugar glaze. When the lime juice hit the glaze it dissolved, leaving the cyanide to mix with the lime juice.

As Jess goes to leave, McLaughlin reminds her to take an umbrella, the regular afternoon shower has hit.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR BAO. CHAR SIU BAO. NAI WONG BAO. ICECREAM BAO, WHICH IS TOTALLY A THING.

JB calls the Kuan’s who apparently give her the answer she wanted because she then asks McLaughlin to speak to Emma.

Later that night, JB is in Emma’s car in the garage fiddling with the voice recorder when the killer appears, ordering her to give up the tape.

I mean, sure.

Louise arranged the whole thing so she could take over House of Dunbar. So, she lied about when the meeting could and couldn’t take place, she stole Emma’s car keys to make a copy so she could borrow the car to talk to the dude in Paris and tell him she would soon be taking over, and she parked the car next to the yellow paint at the anniversary dinner when she swapped the plates.

Also, for those playing along at home, Mark was the one who arranged the kidnapping so he could use the ransom money to pay off his gambling debts in Macau. House of Dunbar really needs to reassess their hiring practices.

But not to worry Fletcherfans. The merger is going ahead, and not only that, but David and Lily are going to get married.

“I’d call that a double merger!” Says JB.

Later gang

S09E21 – The Survivor

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In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the mystery writers who investigate crime; and the everyone else, who do what they’re told. These are their stories.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long. Surely not.

It’s the middle of a night and a gang of thieves, who are less of a gang and more of a small army, are making off with the contents of a warehouse down by the docks. A call comes into the head burglar and they leg it just before a convoy of NYPD arrive. The convoy, lead by Detective Sergeant Vince Lofton, are furious. Lofton announces that they are being shut down if they don’t catch the gang soon, and as it’s clear there’s a leak in the group, he is getting some outside help.

Lofton leaves his posse to meet another detective, who is supplying the new recruit. Captain Meyers, it turns out, is in Internal Affairs, and has a file all about Lofton’s new recruit, John Bondy.

*beats head against desk*

Lofton is convinced a cop is dirty, but Meyers isn’t so sure.

Over at House Fletcher, a misbehaving computer sees JB go into panic mode and call her friendly neighbourhood computer technician to beg her to stop Jess from murdering her computer. Paula the technician promises to be around on Friday.

Bondy, John Bondy, throws himself into his new undercover gig down at the docks and manages to get one of the thieves to promise the name of his contact on the NYPD, but not before Friday. Bondy reports back to Lofton, who surmises this means the thief is going to report in about the new guy at the dock, so when he introduces Bondy to the rest of the strike team, the dirty cop will know and prevent his meeting with the thief. I think. Bondy is worried he’s being made the bait but don’t worry you guys, Lofton’s a man with a plan. Bondy suddenly remembers he has a date on Friday, but Lofton tells him not to worry it will all be fine.

Friday rolls around and Paula pops in to work her magic on JB’s computer before heading out on her date. JB wants to hear more about her quest to find her birth family, but apart from some searches on some internet bulletin boards, Paula has heard nothing new. What a rich back-story. A call from downstairs signals the arrival of Paula’s date and YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT IT’S JOHN BONDY.

The hell name is John Bondy though.

Cut to a barbecue in the suburbs, where the entire strike team has a day off and is enjoying beers while the father-in-law of one of them, whose name may or may not be Jimbo,  handles the meat. John and Paula arrive and get introduced to everyone and GUYS YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS but Paula used to date one of the detectives, Sonny Greene. I mean what were the odds.

Later that night, Jess is chilling out waiting for the Fletch Signal to appear in the sky when she gets a phone call. There’s been an accident. She rushes down to the hospital to discover Paula unconscious, and Detective Sergeant Lofton explaining that the car hit a wall and exploded and all they could read from the things in her purse were Jessica’s name and number. They aren’t sure who the driver was on account of the flames.

Jessica tells them she doesn’t know much about Paula, she has no family but she was on a date with someone called John Bondy.

Guys I’m not sure Lofton is that great at his job

Paula starts to wake up and tells them that John’s dead. The doctor tells her it was instantaneous in the crash but she tells them he was dead before the crash, and more to the point she was never in John’s car. They left the barbecue so that John could meet someone for a business thing, and Paula was to wait for him in the diner but when he didn’t show she went looking for him and found him dead in the driver’s seat of his car. The last thing she remembers before passing out is BLOOD! ALL THE BLOOD.

Lofton wants her woken up for more questions but the doctor quite rightly tells him to get out. Jessica follows, wanting to know why he thinks it’s a murder, after all, why else would he be there? He tells her about Bondy John Bondy being a cop, and his new partner, and thinks he might have been targeted. Jessica asks him what happens if the killer finds out that Paula is still alive and he tells her he will put a detail on her.

While Lofton gets to work finding out what the bloody hell is going on, Jessica naps in the waiting room. She is woken by a passing nurse who informs her that Paula is awake and asking for her. In her room, Paula has remembered more about the party – namely that John didn’t know anyone there except for one guy who turned up later drunk. That guy was Lofton, and he started trying to pick a fight with Bondy, spilling ice cream all over Jimbo’s pants, sending him home to change them before he went to show a property to someone somewhere something something.

Paula catches sight of Lofton and starts freaking out, so the Doctor orders him out of the room. Jessica follows him out, wanting to know what the hell that was about, but Lofton says he hasn’t got time to worry about it and if Jessica still wants to help she should meet him at the car yard so they can go over John’s car together.

The next morning a forensic mechanic ( a job title I totally just made up but it’s probably a thing) discovers the accelerator pedal had been jammed down with a paperclip, thereby proving that MacGuyver was the killer, case closed. Jess still wants to know what Lofton’s scene at the barbecue was about, and Lofton reveals he is actually Internal Affairs and explains the sting down at the docks. He is feeling guilty as hell about Bondy John Bondy’s death, they both knew he was bait and Lofton couldn’t stop him from getting killed. So he’s going to get justice and noone is going to stop him.

Back at home JB gets a visit from Captain Meyers who begs her to leave the investigating to the police, but when the doctor at the hospital calls to tell JB that someone had just broken into Paula’s room and tried to kill her JB tells the cop to go jump and rushes down to see Paula. Lofton is also there, and decides to come clean to both of them about the extent of his and Bondy James Bondy’s investigation (SO MANY FLASHBACKS). To cut a long story short, Lofton’s plan was to tail whoever left the party after Bondy John Bondy but it all went pearshaped when Sonny left first but wasn’t heading to the pub where the meeting was supposed to take place, and by the time Lofton realised and hotfooted it over to the pub Bondy was already dead. Hence, guilt.

While Lofton cops a bollocking from Meyer about the entire business Doctor Call-Me-Ramon and Jessica get Paula settled back in her apartment but not long after the Doc leaves the strike team arrives, ostensibly  to check-in on Paula but mostly to suss out what she knows about the whole business.  She tells them she is Jon Snow about the whole thing***, and they ask her to give one of them a call if she hears anything. Sonny tells her he’s still on the same number. After they leave, Jess finds a pair of sunglasses and recognises them as belonging to one of the detectives, Alex Machio (son-in-law of Jimbo the barbecuer for those playing along at home) and decides to return them.

Over at the Machio’s Mrs Machio is confused when Jess drops off the sunglasses and then outraged when Jess wonders how an NYPD detective can afford $200 sunnies. When Jess explains she is a friend of Paula’s Jill explains they get a lot of financial help from her father, who just this minute is walking in the room with his grandson who drew a picture of his grandad’s car in art class.

I don’t want to alarm anyone but there appears to be some sort of sorcery involved with this car I’m suspicious.

Down at the docks Lofton is on the hunt for Bondy John Bondy’s contact and finally finds him. Vinnie doesn’t want to talk, but having a loaded gun pointed in his face soon jogs his memory.

JB delivers some icecream to Paula, who returns the favour by giving Jess a written account of everything she remembers, although none of it really make sense. It makes sense to JB though, who gets straight on the phone to Captain Meyers.  Meanwhile, Vinnie takes Lofton to Chinatown, and points out the car belonging to the cop. It’s a car. A big red car. Toot toot chugga chugga.

Lofton takes matters into his own hands and breaks into the warehouse, where he finds what he was looking for a guilty man.

Not touching that one.

Fortunately JB and Captain Meyers arrive just in time to stop Lofton for cocking up another investigation.

To be honest I would have been more impressed if Mrs Machio had done it but whatever.

Poor Alex. He’s just found out his father in law is a stolen goods kingpin, and a murderer, and Alex has accidentally been helping. #awkward.

But it’s not all bad news. Paula is off to meet her birth father, and Lofton promises not to get in the way, which is apparently the funniest thing anyone has said all week. Seriously, rich back story.

Later Fletcherfans!

 

 

 

 

***Yesterday there was a horse running in the Caulfield Cup called Jon Snow. I put a bet on it. It lost. You can take it from here.

 

 

S09E18 – Dead to Rights

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JB’s back in the Cove Fletcherfans, but only long enough to finish the edits on her next book, with the occasional help of a personal assistant by the name of Dana Ballard. It turns out Dana is a fairly terrible research assistant, and only a marginally better liar but the good news is that she’s off to make her fortune in the stock market and is no longer JB’s problem.

A question I ask myself frequently.

While Jessica prepares for her book tour, Dana scoots on down to Portland to interview to be a stock market person. Her potential boss, Ethan Stevens, hasn’t yet checked her references but will get right on it. He’s been a bit busy with the Train of Destiny.

Why is it there? Where does it go? These are the mysteries of our time.

Dana mentions she has another one to add – she has just finished up working as a personal assistant to a mystery novelist up in Cabot Cove and Ethan Stevens freaks out and says he’ll get right onto it. Dana quickly tells him that Jessica only takes calls after three, and he completely understands. Such self-discipline!  Dana tells him he has no idea – Jessica gets up at five every morning, walks three miles along the same route and then has four cups of coffee before sitting down to her computer.

Ethan Stevens is already in love with JB and he hasn’t even met her yet

Fun fact – the name Ethan Stevens gets mentioned so much in this episode that if you were so inclined you could have a shot for every time someone said it. From here on out, every time I say Ethan Stevens will be every time someone says it in the show. Shots of tequila are totally optional.

Back in Cabot Cove, Jessica is about to head out the door when her editor pops round to drop off revisions for JB’s next book – she’s worried about how many simple research mistakes are in it and wonders if Jess is feeling alright. An exasperated Jess tells her she’ll fix them all on the road and rushes out the door. Meanwhile, Dana Ballard returns to her hotel room in Portland, rings JB’s answering machine and replaces the message with one of her own. A short time later Ethan Stevens calls to leave a message asking Jessica to call him regarding a reference for Dana.

(Fun fact, the message Dana records and the message Ethan hears are different. Hashtag continuity).

Ethan gets off the phone to cop a scolding from his wife Missy, who is concerned that they are about to get busted for something, but who has also made reservations for Portland’s hottest new restaurant Atlantis.

The following afternoon, Dana plays back the recording from Ethan Stevens and calls Ethan Stevens’ office pretending to be JB, while simultaneously throwing back some Chardonnay because why the hell not. She gives herself a sterling reference to Ethan, who is delighted, and more so when “JB” asks him to look her up if he is ever in Cabot Cove.  His good mood evaporates when he gets off the phone and his associate Baker Lawrence tells him the jig is up, he’s going down for insider trading, and if he makes a full confession he will only have to serve less than a year, and then Baker will conveniently buy him out. Ethan refuses, but Baker tells him he has 48 hours to come clean or else he’ll go to the SEC on his own and tell them he’s literally just discovered what Ethan has been up to.

Jess arrives in Portland and has her first stop on her book tour – a dinner with local critic Thomas Gideon at Atlantis restaurant. And you guys, you’d never believe who else is there!

Ethan Stevens goes up to JB and introduces himself with excitement.

Another question I ask myself frequently.

Ethan thanks her for the reference for Dana, introduces her to his wife and Baker, and then decamps for his table leaving Jessica feeling a bit lost. Thomas cheerfully explains that Ethan Stevens is one of the foremost stockbrokers in the city (as evidenced by the whispered argument he is currently having at the table with Baker and another man).

Dana starts her first day on the job and gets a lot of assistance from one of Ethan’s brokers, Todd Merlin. Ethan meanwhile is on the phone to someone saying he has sixteen million problems, which is more problems than Jay Z. See, I know what’s going on.

Dana goes into her office to find JB waiting for her, demanding an explanation. Dana swears she has no idea about any of it ever, but JB isn’t having it. Before she can press the issue Dana gets called into a meeting so Jessica departs, with Dana’s promise that she’ll have Ethan get back to Jessica as soon as possible. After Jessica leaves Dana gets on the phone and tells someone that they too have a problem, but only one, which is less than Jay Z. #Maths

That night, as Dana is getting ready to leave, Missy Stevens pops by to warn her to stay away from Ethan. It would appear that Missy isn’t buying Dana’s game for a minute. She seems to be on the money because later that night Dana is snooping around Ethan Steven’s office when the man himself walks in, greets her, and is promptly shot.

Let’s just get this out of the way now. Dana didn’t kill him.

Jess arrives at the office the next morning to talk to Ethan but finds Portland 5-0 all over the scene led by Lieutenant Rodrino, who is mostly concerned with how fancy the desk is. Baker Lawrence pops by to tell them that it appears nothing was stolen, and that the desk is made from jasmine wood. Jess heads back to her hotel to get the hell out of town when she gets a knock on the door from local attorney Vincent Polaski, who has been assigned to represent Dana Ballard, who has been arrested for the murder of Ethan Stevens. The police found a gun in a storm drain not far from the building, and hair and blood they found on the desk is a match to Dana. Despite Dana’s casual relationship to the truth, Vincent believes she didn’t do it and is here to beg JB for her help. She’s in no mood to offer any assistance until Vincent asks her how she would feel if Dana was innocent and went to prison for a crime she didn’t commit all because JB was too eager to get her train to Boston.

JB swears it’s because there are some loose ends, but you know…

Down at the courthouse, Dana denies everything from re-recording JB’s answering machine to being in the office the night of the murder, and so Vincent and JB leave her to it. Outside, Rodino tells them that Dana also lied about college and so there’s probably no limit to the number of lies she told. They are summoned to Deputy Prosecutor Bruce Hastings’s office where he is willing to offer a deal for Dana to avoid trial but Vincent isn’t having a bar of it. JB wants to know why Dana was under the desk and Hastings tells her it was to search for Ethan Stevens’s security pass. That leads to JB’s next question, which is how Dana could have known to search for the pass, but Hastings says whatever, she’s a liar, who cares.

After they leave Hastings’s office, Jessica correctly deduces that Vincent is in love with Dana, and cops a soliloquy about Vincent’s love life in response.

I bet she regrets that particular deduction right about now.

JB shuts him up by wondering if Dana had taken that particular job as requested by someone else, i.e she had a partner in crime. Vincent runs with this, and thinks that maybe said partner got Ethan Stevens’s last assistant fired so that Dana could step in. Jess asks him if there might be a way to look at the employment records for Stevens & Lawrence on the down low, and he says yes – if she doesn’t mind bending the rules. While he gets on the phone to organise it, Jess spots the guy who had the fight at Atlantis with Ethan wandering the halls.

Vincent’s plan is solid gold you guys. When you need help, ask your hacker grandmother.

For real, why isn’t there a TV show about a group of geriatric hackers who are trying to stop the creeping invasion of privacy by mega global corpogovernments. Maggie Smith is their leader or I’m not signing off. Call me, Hollywood.

Guys have I told you my idea for a reboot of Charlies Angels where Angela Lansbury is Charlie and Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are the angels and Patrick Stewart is Bosley and when they aren’t solving crimes they are passing judgement on how crap everyone else is?

I KNOW. IT’S GENIUS.

Wanda the hacker informs JB that Ethan’s former assistant left voluntarily without a forwarding address but that there is another employee at the company who came from the same town as Dana – Todd Merlin. Jess heads down to the office to confront him, and he finally admits to setting the last assistant up to get fired so that Dana could get the job. When Jess and Vincent ask Dana about it, she tells them that Todd had found out about her pathological lying situation and told her to do what he said or he’d tell her father. All she knew about the murder is that they went there to steal some bonds, Ethan Stevens found her in his office, she got a whack on the head and when she woke up Todd was gone and Ethan Stevens was dead.

Now that they are at something resembling the truth, it now falls to Vincent and JB to find out who the real killer is. Jess thinks someone else was in the room with Dana but she doesn’t remember seeing anything. Out in the hall, Jess and Vincent run into Hastings and Lieutenant Rodino, the former still determined to charge Dana with murder. Jess announces she thinks she can prove that there was someone else in the room – the real killer of Ethan Stevens.

Back at the House of Hacking, Wanda announces she received a fax from an old friend in Washington, who had seen the name Ethan Stevens and Portland and sent it through to Wanda. JB reads it and declares that the SEC were investigating Ethan Stevens for insider trading. She thinks it’s time they took another look at Ethan’s office.

A close inspection of the desk in Ethan’s office reveals no bumps from Dana’s head, and then Jessica realises something and long story short

To be fair I really thought the wife did it.

Surprise! The murder weapon was from a case Bruce tried! The missing millions have turned up in his accounts! Jess worked it all out because of a man bag that was there, but then it wasn’t, and Ethan Stevens didn’t carry one.

Bruce Hastings admits that the mystery man from the dinner/courthouse hallway was the inside man who helped arrange the insider trading for Bruce and Ethan Stevens.

Final Ethan Stevens count: 27. Approximately. To be honest I kind of lost count. If you did have a shot for every Ethan Stevens, then I salute you, also please go and have a big glass of water.

Later gang!

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