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S09E02 – Family Secrets

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Reader beware: I’ve been up since 5am watching the Eurovision final. There will be spoilers. Also I am in desperate need of coffee but my grocery delivery hasn’t arrived yet. Read on at your own peril.

JB is hard at work at the Cabot Cove library researching poisons/watching the Eurovision vote on her newfangled contraption people are calling a laptop.

I am happy Portugal won, it’s a lovely song. But Europe, we really need to talk.

Jess decides a lock-in at the library is in order, and so librarian Arnold Lumis leaves her to find which poison will do the trick in her next book. Soon after he leaves, Jessica notices a shadowy figure lurking in the shadows.

It’s JB’s former student, Randall Sloane, taking time out from being a reporter and back in town researching a book. JB is eager to hear more so they arrange to meet for breakfast the next morning. Randall is first to the diner, and takes the opportunity to arrange an afterwork meeting with Sally the waitress but she’s not interested.

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. The actress playing Sally just offered JB some coffee and my doorbell rang and now my groceries are here which means I get coffee oh GOD I’m so tired.

Randall tries again to arrange a meeting with Sally but she shoots him down like Europe did to my hopes of a Montenegran victory in Eurovision. JB is eager to hear more about the book and Randall tells her it’s about Margaret Babbington – the biggest scandal that ever happened in Cabot Cove. And let’s face it guys, there’s been some scandals. Jess tells him that story must have been done to death but Randall has an angle that’s going to tear a hole in Cabot Cove.

Except I was drinking lemon tea on account of destroying my voice trying to yodel rap a-la Romania (who should have gotten more points)

Later on, JB is kicking back in House Fletcher testing poisons out on Seth (not literally) when the Sheriff arrives looking stressed out. Some journalist is harassing him for access to the Margaret Babbington case files.

“Ah, Randall Sloane.” JB smiles.

“Yeah how did you know?” Says Mort.

Amos would be proud Seth.

Seth and JB explain the case to Mort. Back in ye olde times, specifically the 50s, Margaret Babbington, Owen Abbott, Emily Weymouth and George Latimer were out gallivanting around Cabot Cove when the two couples got separated, there was an accident with the gun and Owen ended up dead, while Margaret ended up in a sanitarium and died a short time later. Mort thinks that’s pretty open and shut, and wonders what Randall is getting at.

Across the road from the diner, Neal Latimer is watching Sally through a window, which isn’t creepy at all especially since they aren’t going out any more. Neal’s father George takes time out from business deals to wish that his son would date someone more appropriate like Janet Weymouth, but Neal says he was never a fan of frostbite.

(Meanwhile, Australia is having a meltdown about the streaker. 50% are furious that people keep calling him Australian when he was actually Ukranian, and 50% are furious that a Ukranian stole their idea. What a time to be alive).

Jess and Seth hit the docks for poison inspiration when they bump into Janet Weymouth herself. They ask after her mother and she tells them Emily rarely leaves the house or sees anyone. She was asking after JB though so Jess promises to pop round for a cup of tea. Pushing her luck, Janet reminds Jess about the community centre fundraiser happening that afternoon, and Jess says she’ll be there. Seth wants no bar of it, he’ll spend money and he doesn’t like spending money.

So I was really gunning for Moldova this year. This is how much of a nerd I am, I recognised them from the 2010 contest. And epic sax man deserves all the awards. But Portugal was adorable.

Janet goes to see her mother, who is the architect for the fundraiser, but she won’t be attending. Emily is on the phone trying to find out what Randall is up to but won’t tell her daughter why she cares so much.

Later at the fundraiser, while Seth moans about the cost, Neal corners Sally in the kitchen. He wants her to be patient but she’s done – it’s not about them any more as much as it’s about Neal and his father. Janet barrels along and is pleased to announce that the fundraiser is a success, and George Latimer is pleased to announce that they will name the centre after Emily Weymouth. Randall spots Sally and tries to talk to her but is pounced on by Janet Weymouth who wants to know what his book is about. He tells her Margaret Babbington and the room goes quiet. He excuses himself and goes after Sally but she’s already driving away. George Latimer, who overheard the whole conversation comes up to Randall and wonders what it would take for Randall to not write the book but Randall’s not backing off, not even for a thinly disguised threat.

That afternoon Seth drives JB up to see Emily Weymouth and wants a full report of the inside of the house – not many people get invited in. As Jessica goes up the stairs she sees George Latimer drive away. Inside, Jess and Emily chat over tea. Emily knows Jess was Randall’s teacher, maybe she could have a word to him about not writing the book? Jess says no chance, and maybe sitting down with Randall might do Emily some good?

Over at the library Randall is doing more research but stops when Arnold starts lurking around. Turns out they went to school together, and Arnold has literary aspirations too, but none of them have worked out.

Yes I know Australia isn’t part of Europe, but exactly how European is Israel and besides we are like the 4th biggest Eurovision audience so you know, we’re here now.

Jess pops in to the library to continue to research new ways to kill people and asks Randall how it’s all going. Randall tells her half the town won’t talk to him and the other half is furious that he’s even writing the book and Arnold is sad he can’t co-write the book (literally didn’t say that at all, but whatever). Jess tells him to keep going, but to be careful. Later that night, Randall gets a visit from Neal Latimer, wanting to smooth things over post fight between George and Randall, and also to suggest Randall should leave the book alone. Randall says nothing doing.

The next morning, Arnold arrives to open the library with Sally and finds Randall dead on the floor. That shock is up there with Cyprus and Greece giving each other 12 points.

Mort, Seth and JB arrive in that order (for a change), and JB gets to work. Arnold tells her he was there to open up the library and Sally was there early to meet with Randall as per his request. She assumes it was another pick-up attempt but Jessica thinks the library at that hour is a weird time to make romantic overtures. I don’t think Jess has seen some of the people who frequent the library. Shady. They find a key under Randall’s body but not his briefcase or his book notes.  Mort and Jess go up to the Hill House to test the key but it doesn’t fit Randall’s room. They hear glass break and so Mort kicks the door open to find Neal going through Randall’s things.

That afternoon Sally pops round to House Fletcher looking for help – the Sheriff is convinced Neal Latimer killed Randall but Sally can’t believe it. Jess asks her what Randall wanted to talk to her about, and Sally tells her it was mostly to do with her upbringing in the orphange – looking at old photos and paperwork, that sort of thing. Jess asks Sally to bring it all over so she can have a little look at it.

Released for now, Neal goes to see his father, who has a pretty good idea about why Neal was snooping. He tells his son the true story of Margaret Babbington – there was an argument, but the shotgun didn’t go off by accident. Margaret killed Owen deliberately.

Jess has come to this conclusion on her own, and wonders why Margaret reacted the way she did. Suddenly she has a thought and calls the sanitarium in Portland to ask about her cause of death. They call her back a short time later with confirmation  – Margaret died in childbirth.

Yeah you know where this is going. Just like Seth knows where that apple pie is going.

Oh man I’m hungry

Jess goes to see Margaret’s cousin, Emily Weymouth, who confirms that Margaret had a baby. She covered it up so that the child wouldn’t have to suffer the stigma of the mother’s crime. The night Randall died he came round to talk about it, she tried to buy him off but he wouldn’t accept the payment. She didn’t kill him.

Jess happens to believe her. Because she’s just worked out who the actual killer is.

So I was kind of hazy on why too.

Janet overheard a conversation between her mother and Randy where Randy refused to take a buyoff from Emily. She followed Randy to the library to talk him out of the book, if the true Babbington heir came forward they would be left without a cent. And it turns out that key belonged to her.

I need a nap. Lisbon 2018 you guys.

Later Fletcherfans.

S08E03 – Unauthorized Obituary

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At a fancy shindig in New York this week, Fletcherfans, where Our Heroine is being begged by some bloke named Griswold to become JB’s agent.

Ain't got time for this, there's drinking to be done.

Ain’t got time for this, there’s drinking to be done.

Attention is diverted when Jane Dawson, author of the scandalous tell-all biography of Senator Edward Crawford, wanders into the room and is swamped by fans.

Now I know why I spent this episode thinking God that looks like Jessica Walter. I'm on the ball. *coughs*

Now I know why I spent this episode thinking God that looks like Jessica Walter. I’m on the ball. *coughs*

Griswold rushes over to greet Jane but she sashays past him to meet JB. She’d heard Jessica had moved to New York, it was a smart move, that’s where the action happens. New Hampshire’s loss is NYC’s gain!

“I’m just here temporarily.” Says JB. “And it’s Maine.”

Like that was even possible.

Like that was even possible.

Jane barrells on. She wants to have lunch with JB, she hasn’t got time to talk now but she hears JB is friends with Arthur Brent. With that she departs, leaving JB’s companion to ask “Who’s Arthur Brent?”

The next day (probably), Jane is hard at work on her next target/arguing with her lawyers on the phone when her assistant comes in with good news – they bribed someone at a sanitarium and managed to get the target’s medical records. Jane sends her off to try and find someone who hated the target and get more dirt but then Jane’s sister Beth comes in. She’s worried because she heard Jane fighting with her husband the previous evening, but Jane tells her not to worry about Steve – unless he lays a finger on Beth in which case she should tell Jane and she will rip his liver out. Beth says that’s unlikely, she doesn’t even like Steve and she doesn’t know why Beth married him. Beth tells her it’s simple enough – he’s tall, looks good in a tuxedo and is great in bed.

I do love Jessica Walter, I’m not going to lie.

Jane tells Beth she had a little fight with Steve, he went off to the Hamptons to cool off, but no big deal. She sends her off with some money to go buy something nice and then demands to know from her assistant why JB hasn’t returned her call yet.

Later, JB is waiting for her publisher to arrive for their lunch date when Jane sits herself down, saying she moved her publisher back an hour so they could talk. She cuts to the chase – Jessica is friends with Arthur Dent and his wife Ellen Lombard, and Jane wants to know why Ellen doesn’t make movies any more, what happened with her nervous breakdown/suicide attempt and whether it’s true that Ellen is now addicted to booze, tranquilizers and whatever else is kicking around.

JB tells Jane that she doesn’t gossip about her friends, especially not to people who will twist the facts to titillate her readers, and if she proceeds with the book Jess hopes Jane is ready for a lawsuit.

(Sweetheart is the name of the tape recorder, obviously)

(Sweetheart is the name of the tape recorder, obviously)

Jane informs her she’s never lost a lawsuit but decides to appeal to Jessica’s practical side – JB being linked to the book will sell more copies, which will generate publicity for her. If she doesn’t, well some of the dirt thrown at Ellen could stick to Jessica.

Jessica requests that Jane leaves while Jess is still in control of her temper.

She's going to Hulk out in 3...2...1...

Fletcher smash in 3…2…1…

Jess calls Arthur to tell him about the impending shit-storm that is rumbling. Arthur is devastated, Ellen is still in a fragile state after her suicide attempt and he will not let her come to harm. Jess feels awful that she hasn’t seen them that much in the last couple of years but Arthur tells her that Ellen won’t see anyone, not even Jess. She had a stroke a year ago and she doesn’t want anyone to see her in her current state.

Later that night, Jane’s husband Steve picks Beth up from class so she can help him convince Jane they should stay together. As they sit in the car out the front of the house, they notice someone go inside. Steve shrugs it off but Beth is worried and they go in after him. They go inside but there’s no sign of Jane. Suddenly the lights go out and a figure rushes past them on the way out – it’s Arthur Brent. They go upstairs and find Jane dead in the bathtub with the television.

You never see that any more. There’s never the toaster in the bath, or the hair dryer in the bath. Ah, the olden days.

The next morning, JB goes down to pick up her newspaper from Ahmed the doorman, who is all of us in this picture.

HE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE HER AHMED YOU ARE THE BEST.

HE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE HER AHMED YOU ARE THE BEST.

JB tells him she’s not happy with the local supermarket and wonders if he can suggest another one, but then gets distracted by the headline about Jane Dawson’s murder. She goes upstairs and calls Ellen but Ellen tells her Arthur has gone out and he was up late all night the previous night reading to Ellen. She tells JB that they will catch up again soon, when Ellen is feeling a bit better.

Jessica heads over to Jane’s house where she meets Lieutenant Gerard, who is also delighted to see her – so much so that he invites her to come up to view the crime scene. JB notices a phone message left by Jane’s assistant Kristy at 9:45, as she goes up the stairs. Presumably relevant. Upstairs, Gerard explains that all the clocks stopped when the place shorted at 11:03pm, when the television went into the tub. He resumes his interview of Jane’s sister Beth, who explains that the man (Arthur Brent, and you guys have no idea how much I keep wanting to write Arthur Dent) rushed down the stairs. She describes him and JB says it could be almost anyone oh is that time I must dash. Gerard asks her to pop by the precinct later, he still has something he wants to talk to her about.

JB goes to see Arthur, who fills her in on his side of the story. He was at the house at Jane’s request, but when he arrived at 11pm there was no answer. The door was unlocked so he went in – he heard the hot tub going so he figured she hadn’t heard him knock but when he went upstairs to check she was already dead. He was about to call the police when he heard Steve and Beth downstairs so he fled. Jessica tells him he needs to talk to the police, and that the lead detective seems very friendly but she isn’t sure why.

Jessica finds Gerard interviewing Jane’s assistant Kristy, who says she left Jane’s house at about 8 o’clock, which sounds fishy to JB on account of that phone message from earlier. Apparently Jane was in the habit of watching the news and returning phone calls from the hot tub which is a level of multi-tasking I frankly do not want. She excuses herself, and after she’s gone Jessica tells Gerard about the phone message. He’s not bothered though, because there’s something he wants to show Jessica….his manuscript.

I feel like this has happened before...

I feel like this has happened before…

Gerard’s offer to split the profits 50-50 is thankfully interrupted by Arthur’s arrival to admit to being the mysterious person in the house. Gerard is delighted – JB lives up to her reputation and gets the killer to surrender!

While Kristy goes to the publisher to try and get a book deal for the Ellen Lombard book now that Jane isn’t around to finish it, Jess and Gerard are chowing down on hotdogs and debating the murder. Gerard is convinced that it’s all over now that Arthur has come in, and is going back to Jane’s hosue to try and find more clues to prove it. He invites JB to tag along, that way they can discuss his book.

At the house, Gerard launches into a long explanation of how televisions can kill, until Jessica interrupts to say she’s seen it before. (Damn right she has). Kristy appears with a folder full of papers under her arm and a half-arsed excuse about clearing out her desk but Jessica has no time for these shenanigans and suggests to the lieutenant that nothing should be taken from the crime scene until it’s been checked. Kristy sighs and hands it over before leaving. Jessica shamelessly volunteers to read them for the lieutenant and he’s grateful – hopefully Arthur Brent’s motive might be in there somewhere.

Jane’s husband Steve pipes up and says Arthur has a hell of a motive considering his wife was the target of Jane’s next book. Gerard asks JB if she knew about this and she stalls him long enough for the phone to ring. She flees before she has to answer the question.

That suit is pretty amazing just by the way.

That suit is pretty amazing just by the way.

Jess goes home to investigate the papers and finds the birth certificate of Elizabeth Prewett, along with a baby photo and a lock of hair. She’s interrupted by a phone call from Gerard saying that he’s tracked down the mysterious phone message – it was Jane’s lawyer who had called and he’s coming in for a chat.

At first Jane’s lawyer is reluctant to disclose what the call was about, but eventually reveals that Jane was planning to divorce her husband Steve and wanted to confirm the details of their pre-nuptial agreement. He says she called him back at about 10 o’clock but that she had another call coming in and said she would get back to him the next day.

Jess excuses herself and goes to see Beth at the funeral home, who confirms what JB suspected – Jane wasn’t Beth’s sister, she was her mother. Beth tells her the whole story of how Jane had her at fifteen, danced in a club in New Orleans, fought her way to the top etc etc etc. She thought it possible that Kristy was blackmailing Jane about Beth’s identity, but didn’t know anything about Jane’s plans for divorce. She just regrets that she sat talking to Steve in the car for so long, and then going in and the lights going out. JB asks her if all the lights went out, and she says they did.

JB convinces Ellen and Arthur to pop round for tea and a chat and to confirm with Arthur a couple of things. He tells her the lights were definitely on when he got there, and the TV wasn’t plugged in. This is all JB needs and she goes to call Gerrard to meet her at Jane’s house.  Steve lets them in and leaves them to it. Gerard launches into a detailed explanation of how circuit breakers work.

JB don't need no man explaining ANYTHING

JB don’t need no man explaining ANYTHING

JB tells him that there’s no way the TV going into the tub would have shorted the whole house, and she believes Arthur when he says the lights were on and the TV unplugged when he got there. She thinks Jane had been dead for an hour before she was found, and what’s more she thinks she knows who killed her.

Tale as old as time....*coughs*

Tale as old as time….*coughs*

Steve arrived back early from the Hamptons, just in time to eavesdrop on Jane’s conversations, and had an adverse reaction to the news he was on his way out as number 1 toyboy.

Job done, Jessica neatly ties up loose ends by setting fire to Jane’s file on Ellen Lombard and telling Lieutenant Gerard to give Kristy the assistant a call – she’s looking for a project.

Shout out to the electrical workers who came and fixed the power to my building when the transformer blew, and to Melbourne weather for refusing to believe it’s nearly summer by hailing, snowing, blowing up transformer boxes with wind and generally making a general fool of itself. Classic Melbourne.

Later gang!

Later gang!