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S11E01 – A Nest of Vipers

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Welcome to the second last season of Murder She Wrote oh god.

Welcome to Season 11 Fletcherfans and more specifically welcome to the jungle.

Richmond are doing very well, thank you for asking. #YellowAndBackToBack #Hopefully

And by jungle I mean the Los Angeles Animal Park, home of the greatest game of all – shadowy figures ratting out their employers to reporters.

Is this the first time I’ve made this joke? No. Will it be the last? No.

The shadowy figure is keen to take down park director Norman Gilford and wants to enlist the moustachioed Jimmy Russell into the fight. Apparently, Gilford is corrupt up the wazoo and there is a petition to have him removed. Russell returns a key to the figure and says this better be real.

More importantly than all that, Our Heroine is in town researching for her new book in which someone gets bumped off and the killer tries to make it look like an animal did it. She’s getting a lift from Kelly Michaels, golf cart driver and park operations assistant manager according to IMDB (there are like eleven million people in this episode and I’m s-to-the-leepy so bear with me on this one guys ok?) Kelly is pulled over by another angry moustache, this time it’s City Councilman Joe Gandolph who isn’t happy about something in the paper that apparently Norman  said. Kelly shrugs and floors it – she promised Norman she’d take JB straight to see him.

They arrive at the park HQ as Norman’s assistant Bea Huffington eavesdrops on Norman’s interview/argument with Jimmy Russell about corruption in the park and Joe Gandolph’s investigation of it. Norman throws him out of his office and immediately apologises to JB for all this unsightly yelling. JB tries to explain she’s on a tight deadline but he won’t have a bar of it, he orders Bea to get coffee and he wants to hear all about Jessica’s book.

Down at the vet clinic, Jessica bumps into veterinarian Dr Ray Stinson and animal caretaker Ted Fraley gossiping about Norman and his latest attempts to not pay for things (this is set after the 1994 earthquake and there’s a whole thing about trying to rebuild). Bea tells Ray that he’s wanted in the boss’s office but Ray has an elephant situation happening (don’t we all) and promises Jess he’ll see her later. Ted has some ideas for Jess’s book but also some ideas about asking Bea out, but she tells him she has to cancel on their date, something came up.

All living creatures adore her.

Meanwhile, Ray meets Norman and Kelly and is told in no uncertain terms (by Norman) have nothing to do with the petition or anything involving Norman’s departure. Ray tells him he has no interest in Norman’s job but that he should be more concerned about Mark Attwater and the Earthspeak mob who want the park to close. Kelly thinks that’s not true but Norman thinks she’s biased on account of she’s having a thing with Mark.

Jess continues her tour of the animal kingdom.

It’s a fierce-off

Ted then introduces her to a black mamba who might feature in JB’s book as a murder suspect.

SHAKESPEARE SNAKE IS BACK YOU GUYS OR AS HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED ALL ALONG, SNAKESPEARE

Someone calls out to Ted, who leaves JB reciting sonnets with Snakespeare. It’s Mark Attwater, who wants his money in 24 hours or else past transgressions will become public knowledge.

That night Norman watches a news story with Gandolph calling for his departure and makes plans to meet someone the next day. Kelly gets met at the office by Mark who escorts her out for the night but not before making snide remarks at Dr Ray who seems to have a thing for Kelly maybe? I don’t really know, this episode has a love octagon in it.

If I had to choose between people talking about their love lives and a snake quoting Shakespeare, I mean…

Later that night JB is invited to a party at TV reporter Joyce Hacker’s house. Joyce explains she’s passionate about zoology, doubly so as her late husband liked to thinking hunting endangered species was doing the world a favour. Ugh. Mark declares he’d like to offer an unpopular opinion (a white man offering an unpopular opinion? I don’t believe it) but Joyce shoots that down and asks Ray for a quiet word. She wants him to take over the park management and she will take over the park board. Ray tells her he doesn’t want it but he’s flattered and disappears. Joyce is soon joined by Mark and in the 3 seconds before they start making out it is established that she has arranged for Mark to be working for the Earthspeak crew. Downstairs Kelly spots them making out and runs out of the house crying past JB.

(Things I think at weddings)

The next day Bea is showing JB the leopards when Ted pops up looking to impart more Black Mamba wisdom. Jess says she’ll come see him later and he leaves, but not before sulking at Bea about her not going to the movies with him the night before. (Bea went to the party thing with Ray. As friends. Just FYI)

I think I have it straight now. Ted loves Bea. Bea loves Ray. Ray loves Kelly. Kelly is engaged to Mark Atwater. Mark Atwater is making out with Joyce.

Mortals. What can you do?

Kelly runs into Mark who tells her it’s not what she thinks it is. Gee Gaslight was a good movie. Across the park, Norman begs Gandolph into finding someone else to take the fall for the park’s demise and offers 150K to sweeten the pot. Gandolph tells him he’ll think about it and wanders off, past Bea who heard the whole thing. Later, Norman meets mark and offers him money to throw Joyce under the bus and disavow the whole campaign.

I WANT TO HEAR MORE FROM SNAKESPEARE.

That night…

#Bossmode

Mark Atwater comes in looking for Kelly but JB hasn’t seen her all day. Mark assumes Kelly told Jessica about what happened the previous night and Jessica tells him she didn’t need to be told, she was there. Mark gets a phone call and departs but not before telling JB she doesn’t have all the facts.

Cut to Jimmy Russell slinking around in the vet room and bumping into Snakespeare…

Snakespeare’s got nothing but love

Also Mark Atwater is slowing dying and clutching his neck but whatever.

The next day Lieutenant Gabriel Caceras wanders in to take charge of the investigation while a bear cub gets ready for the Grammys.

There are literally too many bear puns for me to make right now.

Caceras takes down JB’s and Jimmy’s statements but it’s case closed, the black mamba did it. Jess finds it a curious set of circumstances that led to Mark being in the same place as a loose black mamba but Carceras won’t buy into it. Ray wanders past and asks where the esteemed Norman Gilford is while this crisis is happening.

Jess and Ray go for a drive and run into Joyce and Gandolph. Gandolph wants to shut the park down but they beg him for more time. Joyce thinks the whole situation with the snake and the shady lady would make wonderful fodder for a book and Jess quite agrees. She shoots off in the golf cart with Ray while Gandolph tells Joyce about Norman’s big fat bribe.

Jessica continues her research into deadly snakes and proves that Snakespeare was not the murderer, obviously. Joyce confronts Norman about the bribe and gives him the option to fess up or flee.

Back at the animal hospital…

I don’t actually know what that animal is

Jess discovers that there is black mamba poison missing from the fridge. Caceras and Bea wander in and announce Ted’s been arrested for the murder after his prints were found at Atwaters’ ransacked house. It turns out Ted was being blackmailed by Mark and after he heard Mark was dead he tried to get the proof back. Jess believes him, and after a eureka moment gets Caceras to find out who owns the vacant land next to the park. Caceras calls her later that night and tells her that it’s owned by the CH foundantion but he doesn’t know more than that.

A sign on the wall gives Jessica another eureka moment and she goes to confront Bea Huffington who confesses to being the source of Jimmy Russell’s info. Russell wasn’t the only recipient of Bea’s info, and JB gets her to call the other person and set up a meeting.

To conclude…

I mean why not.

Joyce’s husband owned the land, Joyce wanted the park’s land, Gandolph was in on it and Atwater tried to blackmail her.

But never mind all that. My chronic fatigue might have come back, but a bunch of lions killed some rhino poachers in South Africa and in the omnishambles that is life on Earth in 2018 let’s just take the wins where we find them.

#SnakespeareLives

 

 

 

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S06E07 – Night of the Tarantula

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First of all, I’m just going to put this out there:

Wouldn't have thought it was that great to be honest.

Wouldn’t have thought it was that great to be honest.

There’s mysterious things happening in this land of Grand Bushes. Specifically, the Kali scene from Temple of Doom but replacing worshipping Kali with voodoo and setting spiders loose on voodoo dolls.

Wherever could we be Fletcherfans? Helpfully the team at Murder She Wrote are here to set us straight.

Just in case the preceeding 3 minute voodoo sequence wasn't clear enough.

Mystery solved, case closed, goodnight everybody!

JB is in town to visit her old friend Olivia Waverly, whose son Adam is about to turn 30. Everyone’s favourite cousin, Emma Macgill, was supposed to attend but alas she’s busy with other things. It’s a bit of a touchy subject though, the 30th. Adam turning 30 means he is to take over the family plantation currently being run by his uncle Harry. Harry doesn’t think he is ready for the responsibility of the family business, especially since Adam has been away in Kingston for 3 weeks ‘on business’ and has been uncontactable.

They are interupted by a loud bellowing and Harry appears, informing Olivia she has a phone call from someone named Reggie.

“Oh, you mean Reggae!” Olivia says. “The music!”

“Reggae, Reggie. You would have thought after all these years of being ruled by the British that they would have learned to speak the Queens English.” Says Harry.

“Well to tell you the truth I’ve heard the same complaint about us Americans.” Says Jess.

Hooray!

Today’s casual racist will be played by everyone’s favourite dwarf, Jonathan Rhys Davies.

While Olivia gets on with her mysterious reggae plans, Harry escorts JB out into the garden, where something is a little off.

Still not quite my favourite though.

Still not quite my favourite though.

They are soon joined by Harry’s other nephew Mark, who has Very Definite views about how things should go in the family business, like how to poison rats and how to stop people stealing their horses, much to the irritation of Harry.

Alright time out. This is basically an episode of Supernatural. And I’m not just saying that because I spent today at a wine festival and the only thing better about wandering around and eating things on toothpicks is waving a wineglass at people and saying MOAR PLEASE.

But I digress.

The crew are also joined by Jean-Pierre Dusant, a neighbouring plantation owner, and his daughter Michelle. While Michelle delivers a punch bowl to Olivia, followed by a panting Mark, Jean-Pierre reminisces about the parties his family used to throw at the plantation. Jessica is surprised by this, until Harry explains that his father won the plantation in a card game against Jean-Pierre’s father back in 1946.

I don't think JB approves of Texas Hold'em as a sound business practice. (Neither do I, because I'm rubbish at poker)

I don’t think JB approves of Texas Hold’em as a sound business practice. (Neither do I, because I’m rubbish at poker)

Luckily for Jean-Pierre, the two hundred acres his father was left were the richest in all of Jamaica, meaning that they didn’t do too badly out of the deal. He’s had plenty of offers since but he still hopes to reunite his fathers lands – through marriage.

JB thinks it’s surprise Mark hasn’t already proposed, but Jean-Pierre says no. His daughter Michelle is to marry Adam. That’s an even bigger surprise to JB, since she had no idea that the two were engaged.

Well, nothing is official yet, says Harry, but Jean Pierre and he have always had an understanding.

Ugh. Gimili you are being a dick.

Ugh. Gimili you are being a dick.

Later that night, Adam’s party is in full swing awaiting the guest of honour to arrive. JB meets the local reporter George Gordon (who is the ACTUAL Grand Bush, and turns out was one of the Johnsons in Die Hard). He’s not Harry’s biggest fan and the feeling is mutual – Harry seems to think Jamaicans should be grateful that England stepped in and took control of the rabble and skulks off before George can reply. While Jean-Pierre refills JB’s glass, George and JB chat about George’s visit to America, where he worked in Hollywood as a props man and makeup artist on horror movies among other things.

The conversation is shut down by the announcement that Adam is on his way in the cab, and the party guests all scurry to hide. Harry gives it a shot.

He gives it a shot and that's good.

He gives it a shot and that’s good.

As you can see, it was a genius hideout.

Good job bro.

Good job bro.

Topped only by Jean-Pierre:

Worst game of hide and seek EVER.

Worst game of hide and seek EVER.

Captain Oblivious, by which I mean Adam, remains so until the lights come back on and the guests all sing For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow. Captain Oblivious is delighted, and even more so to see Jessica (much to the irritation of Michelle, who wasn’t getting the attention she felt she deserved) but it turns out that Adam has a surprise of his own. He goes back outside and returns with a woman whom he introduces as Selena – his wife.

j2 k2 l2

The next day, Jean-Pierre, Michelle and Harry are having a war meeting in Harry’s study. Jean-Pierre and Michelle are devastated, but Harry is all “meh, I have another nephew, he gets two-thirds when he turns 30, you win some you lose some, oh by the way Adam might die.”

Jesus Harry!

Outside, Olivia and Jess are getting to know Selena, who as it turns out married Captain Oblivious after knowing him three weeks. Seems legit. They are interrupted by Mark, who has caught a tramp in the woods but as it turns out it’s Selena’s father who is not best pleased his daughter has thrown her lot in with a white dude, which is hilarious to Harry because he’s not pleased about it either which he demonstrates by shouting about how he’s not wasting Waverly money on Selena and waving his axe around.

Let's face it, you knew that was coming,

Let’s face it, you knew that was coming.

Side note:

YOU SUCK MICHELLE

YOU SUCK MICHELLE

It’s not til Harry orders Calder Williams to let Selena go or he’ll “put a bullet in your black heart,” (JESUS HARRY) that Calder retreats, but not before cursing the house and leaving a wedding gift.

I mean yes the curse sucks but a snake performing Hamlet is a pretty sweet present.

I mean yes the curse sucks but a snake performing Hamlet is a pretty sweet present.

Harry is all set to shoot it but Mark volunteers to take it outside.

Later that night, the entire house is woken by the sound of drums – except for Harry. They try his door but it’s locked, with the key in the keyhole on the inside. Adam and Mark are set to smash it down but Jess stops them, sticks a doily under the door, and carefully pokes a hairpin through the keyhole until it drops down on to the doily, where she gently pulls it back under the door.

“Where on Earth did you learn that?” Asks Olivia.

FACT.

FACT. 

Inside, it’s bad news Fletcherfans. Harry is dead, and has a snake in the bed to prove it.

SHAKESPEARE SNAKE CARRIES ON REGARDLESS.

SHAKESPEARE SNAKE CARRIES ON REGARDLESS.

The police arrive to escort Harry’s body away (and presumably take Shakespeare Snake to London to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company) and to inform everyone that until the police arrive to take charge of the investigation, Harry’s room is to be sealed off. Olivia thinks it’s obvious that the snake killed Harry to eat, but Jessica wonders why the snake would kill something it clearly couldn’t eat. She thinks perhaps Harry was murdered.

The next morning Jessica is staring at the front of the house wondering how someone could get in and out of Harry’s room without being seen when George Gordon arrives to see if she’s lifted the curse yet. She tells him her theory of a secret passage way and he says it’s possible – many of the old houses had secret passage ways built in to escape during slave revolts. He asks her if she’s checked the room and she explains that they are all barred until the police arrive from Kingston. George wonders if a nudge from the press might help things move along and Jessica says “By all means, press on!”

I’m not making that up, she actually said that. MY HERO.

Inside, Jess finds Captain Oblivious, aka Adam, getting a massage from his new wife to try and relieve a migraine. While she goes to brew up more of her special tea, Jess asks him if there’s a chance there’s a secret passageway stashed in the walls. He doesn’t know, but conveniently Mark had the house blueprints the previous day and left them in this here cupboard. Before a closer examination can take place, Mark himself come storming in, furious that Adam has given the workers a day off during harvest season. It’s not til Olivia comes in to tell them to shut up and that Jean-Pierre and Michelle have arrived to pay their respects and have lunch.

As they sit down to lunch, Jean-Pierre whips out a bottle of something fancy that he’d been saving to drink with Harry. Olivia gets teary and he hands her his handkerchief, looking a little worse for wear, covered in something that may or may not be paint. Adam feels a little uncomfortable sitting in Harry’s place at the head of the table but has a drink anyway.

A servant appears with a box found on the verandah, addressed to Adam. It’s a voodoo doll, which Michelle is quick to blame on Selena’s father. Adam tells her to shut up before collapsing in agony, probably from the over-dubbed chanting.

Adam is rushed to hospital, where it’s quickly established that he had been poisoned with rat poison. The only reason he’s still alive, the doctor says, is because he somehow already had some of the antidote in his system. Selena says that’s her, it was one of the herbs she was putting in the tea. CONVENIENT. Adam offers to drive Jess back to the plantation but runs into George Gordon outside, who takes her instead.

Back at the plantation, Jess and George find the clue to the missing secret passage in the old house blueprints, and George inadvertently discovers who the killer might be when he picks up the voodoo doll and gets red and black paint on his handkerchief.

Oh yes. Jess knows who the killer is. But why just get him in a room and make him confess when she can get Adam (now fine thanks to the antidote) to dress up like a zombie and chase the killer through the house.

You guys, there's a possibility I may have time-travelled back to 1989 and wrote an episode of Murder She Wrote.

You guys, there’s a possibility I may have time-travelled back to 1989 and wrote an episode of Murder She Wrote.

The arrival of Zombie Captain Oblivious causes the killer to shoot some blanks and reveal his knowledge of the secret passageway, where he flees – only to run into Jess, George, some policemen and Selena.

Just so’s we’re clear.

 

BRING BACK SHAKESPEARE SNAKE

BRING BACK SHAKESPEARE SNAKE

You guys, it really pays to know someone who has worked in make-up in Hollywood. I suggest we all get to that immediately.

So until next time Fletcherfans,

SHAKESPEARE SNAKE FOREVERRRRRRR

SHAKESPEARE SNAKE FOREVERRRRRRR