Home

S12E23 – Mrs Parkers Revenge

2 Comments

Welcome to Atlanta Fletcherfans, home of the BRI (Biological Research Institute, and absolutely not the Centre for Infectious Diseases why would you think that) where some Hard Core Science is happening.

Doctor James Lamont, head Science Guy, is going into the top secret part of the lab, the part that requires fancy outfits and passwords, to take a look at his pet project Project 14 which I can only assume is the zombie virus. He is joined in the lab by Security Chief Mark Reisner (aka Gregg Henry) who would like to know why Lamont has been dodging his requests for a security interview. Lamont is outraged but finally agrees to one to take place on Friday.

Later that day, Our Heroine is rolling into the Gambier Hotel for the weekend to judge the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Conference page 1 competition. She finally gets her suite key after her original suite is given to a cranky man who checks in ahead of her. Oh yes. Suites for days.

As it happens Lamont is in the hotel bar waiting to meet someone and WOULD YOU BELIEVE it’s the cranky man who took JB’s room ahead of her? It would appear he’s got his hooks into Lamont for something, he seems to know all about how Lamont’s wife left him, his lawyer won’t return his calls until he pays him, and the Atlanta Hawks lost something. Raul Jaffa (pronounced Jafar, because of course, it is) is there to purchase the Project 14 Zombie Virus from Lamont, but Lamont is worried that Mark Reisner knows too much. Jaffa tells him not to worry about it and gives him a hundred grand as a down payment on the virus. Meanwhile, a man in a suite listens to the whole conversation on his earpiece.

Meanwhile, Mark is catching up with his old pal from Manhattan University, Jessica Fletcher. His wife Karen Reisner is the president of the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society and so they discuss the program for the conference – and the fact that the page ones Jessica has to judge have gone missing – before Mark gets a call summoning him back to work. Karen confides to JB that she’s worried the viruses at the BRI are making Mark tired and overworked and turning into a zombie.

Turns out the pages were sent to JB’s room, so mystery solved I guess.

Later that night, Lamont and Reisner sit in a car with FBI Agent Ed Crider. It would seem that Lamont had previously confided in Reisner about Jaffa’s offer and he brought in the feds to investigate. Crider tells Lamont to keep his meeting with Jaffa, and they’ll surveil the whole thing. After Lamont leaves Crider tries to boot Reisner from the investigation but Reisner refuses to be shut out.

Also later that night…

Rocking the polka dots like nobody’s business

…Jessica promises her publisher she’ll do an interview if she has time, and discovers she’s received the wrong manila envelope in her room – instead of mystery stories, she has photos and notes in French.

Down the hall, the FBI has set up surveillance of Jaffa in Jessica’s old room. Crider is taking charge of the whole situation but is pissed now that CIA agent Dennis Quinlan has wandered into proceedings. Apparently, there’s an international arms dealer and assassin by the name of Carl Van Ness in town looking to get his hands on the zombie virus, and he looks suspiciously like the man in the photos Jessica was looking at.

You wouldn’t believe it, but the man himself is already in Jaffa’s room kicking back and reading Jessica’s envelope of short stories. The phone rings and Van Ness inexplicably thinks that answering is a good idea. It’s JB looking for Jaffa, who enters the room just at that moment. Van Ness announces he’s a deliveryman and injects Jaffa with a syringe. He collapses, and Van Ness saunters off with Jaffa’s suitcase.

At that moment, the FBI surveillance cameras kick into life – just in time to see JB walking down the hall towards Jaffa’s room. Crider flips and chases after her, but arrives in time for JB to discover her envelope of short stories and Jaffa’s body. Crider tells her he’s the house detective, clearly, Jaffa died of a heart attack, he’ll take care of it from here. He asks Jessica what she’s doing there and she explains about the mix-up with the envelopes. He takes a look at the one in her hand but dismisses it has he can’t speak French. She translates it for him but he still doesn’t think there’s anything to be concerned about.

I’m going to miss that face.

Reisner and Quinlan wander into the room and beg JB to forget she was ever there. Put out, she agrees and leaves as another man comes in – National Security Agent and JB Fletcher Fanboy Nathan Mitchell (aka the Candyman). He basically tells them all they’re hopeless and hatches his own plan – they will swap out the virus for a knockoff and let Lamont keep his appointment with Jaffa that Van Ness is clearly planning to keep. A tracker in the vial will lead them to Van Ness’s secret lair and then they’ll nab everyone.

Seems like a solid plan to me.

The next day Van Ness plants a bug in JB’s room for reasons I do not understand frankly I don’t think he’s all that, evil genius-wise. Lamont is picked up by Crider, told there’ll be no surveillance following him, and driven to his meeting with Van Ness, while Reisner follows.

Van Ness and Lamont meet in an abandoned factory and Van Ness hands over more money in exchange for the virus later that day. As he leaves, Lamont makes a call and tells whoever is on the line that it’s all arranged, but that something needs to be done about Reisner. High up in the rafters, Reisner records the whole thing.

Back at the hotel, JB is about to head out when she spots Van Ness and so does what any sensible law-abiding citizen would do – follows him. She doesn’t get very far of course, as the Fed/CIA/NSA triumvirate have surveilled the entire hotel and Nathan Mitchell swoops in and diverts her to their surveillance room. He’s a big fan, but he just doesn’t understand what possessed her to trail Van Ness.

“A murder suspect? That question doesn’t deserve an answer. I was hoping to provide you with a location!” Says JB.

ALL HAIL.

Mark Reisner wanders in looking absent-minded and asks to meet Jessica for tea later while sneaking a key into her coat pocket. Mitchell begs JB to leave Atlanta but until she fulfils her obligations to the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society she’s not going anywhere except back to her room to write her presentation speech.

As she walks out she crashes into Crider, who spills his takeaway coffee and wants an update. Quinlan announces they ran a check on every licence plate within a mile radius of Lamont’s meeting with Van Ness and wants to know why Reisner’s car came up. Reisner tells them his position is clear – he’s there to protect the zombie virus and if they try to arrest him on obstruction of justice he’ll go public and bring it all down on them.

Back in her suite, JB calls the local police station looking for Lieutenant Paul Bragg, a friend of Artie Gelbers, while Van Ness listens in on the whole thing. Hanging up, JB spots the flowers in her room and goes in for a closer look and finds the bug. Mark Reisner knocks on the door and she warns him to shush and they head out.

Mark begs her to leave Atlanta with Karen but Jessica’s not having a bar of it. She’s had her papers confused with an assassin’s, she’s been accused of seditious meddling by three federal agencies and her room’s been bugged. She wants in on whatever is going on, and she wants in now.

I’ve been looking forward to this episode and it hasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Mark caves and explains the whole thing. JB promises to look after Karen, while Mark heads to Washington to tell the Attorney General what he knows. As he heads up the escalator JB finds his key in her pocket but he’s too far away to see her waving. Suddenly there are shots and Mark crashes down the escalator, dead.

Lieutenant Paul Bragg is summoned to the scene but quickly informs JB that whatever intrigues she knows about, he doesn’t need to know. It’s already being written up as a robbery gone wrong. Meanwhile, over at the BRI, Lamont takes a vial of zombie virus out of storage.

Back in her hotel room with Karen, JB remembers the key she found but has no idea where it’s for. She calls Lieutenant Bragg and asks where Mark got the parking ticket they found on his body, and he tells her it was for the midtown train station. While Lamont and Van Ness conclude their business, JB sends Karen to the train station to see what Mark left in the locker – a cassette tape and a note for JB explaining that Mrs Parker’s Revenge solved the problem. Karen doesn’t understand and JB doesn’t really either except that Mrs Parker was a character in one of her books. They listen to the taped recording of Lamont’s first meeting with Van Ness, and his subsequent mystery call, and are stumped until Jessica has a Second Thought about cell phones and calls Bragg to get him to trace the call. (Her first thought being, it’s a shame about the thunder on the tape I could have heard the phone buttons being pressed and worked out what the number was that way, oh the 90s it was a simpler time).

With the news that Van Ness is being tracked to the Middle East, the Spy Team decide to have a beverage to celebrate, despite the fact that Lamont has disappeared with two million dollars. JB runs into Lieutenant Bragg in the hotel lobby and learns that Lamont’s phone call on the tape came from a Starbucks two blocks from the hotel.

JB enlists Lieutenant Bragg as backup and goes to visit the Spy Team for a little chat.

Of course, it was

Turns out Crider and Jaffa were in cahoots and transporting the virus in Jaffa’s duck umbrella. But never mind that, because what happened next made me so deliriously happy that it can only be explained in screen caps.

SLY-THER-IN QUEEN.

Mrs Parker’s revenge, it turns out, came from one of JB’s novels in which a wife discovered her husband was planning to poison her and so subbed out the offending liquids. And then presumably killed her husband, we’ll never know.

And that, my dear Fletcherfans, is the story of how Jessica Fletcher single-handedly stopped the zombie apocalypse, received a job offer to work at the NSA and the CIA, and deliver the keynote presentation to the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society.

Stay tuned next week for the *gulp* last ever episode of Murder, She Blogged.

Last. Ever.

Boy, I am not ready for this.

Later, Fletcherfans!

S12E10 – Frozen Stiff

5 Comments

Guys, the 90s were a dark time for men’s hair and computer operating systems.

You kids with your Fortnites and your Ariana Grandes, you have no idea how we suffered.

The 90s hair dude examining the 90s operating system is all set to leave for the night but someone comes into the room next door so he ducks down and hides. The man makes a call and leaves a message before someone else enters the room. The man tells the mystery person he doesn’t work for them any more, and then the other person shoots him. 90s hair dude comes into the room and hits redial on the phone but doesn’t leave a message. The clock goes off and he legs it.

The recipient of the missed calls is Larry Armstrong, one half of the aforementioned Garry and Larry’s Frozen Stuff and friend of Our Heroine. JB is in town for talks about the literacy foundation she’s a part of but is mostly there to work out the secret recipe for Garry and Larry’s Tropical Secret, which so far consists of lemon and mango. Larry bets JB won’t work it out before the time she leaves, and she tells him he’s on. Larry wonders why his accountant Kyle Macgregor didn’t explain why he was calling, and Jess says she’ll need to meet with him for some foundation business. Larry gets another phone call – Kyle has been found dead in his office.

Down at G&LFSHQ (no bloody way am I typing that out every time), the doctor rules the case to be a suicide. Larry’s business partner Garry (and I’ll be honest I’m only guessing I have those names right at this point). Garry wants a word with Larry about their upcoming advertising campaign but Larry tells Garry that now isn’t the time and he’s already called the advertisers to put a hold on everything until they can review it together. Kyle’s wife Susan arrives just as Kyle’s body is being wheeled out. The sheriff asks her how Kyle’s mood has been recently and she doesn’t understand why he needs to know.

We are five minutes into this episode and I feel like my brain is trying to leave my body through my ears with this whole Galarry business.

The next morning Larry is out chatting to his cows when Kyle’s assistant Peggy Evans drops by to give him some paperwork and let him know that Garry is meeting with some consumer group. Jess misses a call and finds an old photo of Larry from Woodstock. Down at the factory, Larry tells press guy Jim Kenton to send out a press release about Kyle’s death before getting into a spat with Garry about his decision not to give Kyle a place on the board. They are interrupted by admin assistant Vicky Nolastname, who tells them they have a problem.

I mean yeah they have a problem, this episode is complicated as hell. Ice cream should not be complicated, it should be frozen and in plentiful supply. But it turns out their problem is that 750K – the money earmarked for JB’s charity – has disappeared. This is obviously Very Bad News, but no one has time for this right now, someone called Ken Brewer from Verity is in the lobby and Jess has to take Larry’s answering machine tape to the sheriff.

Ken Brewer, it turns out, is from a consumer affairs group who have been tipped off that G&LFS products aren’t as natural as the cows it comes from, as the cows are full of hormones. Larry is horrified, Garry demands to know where this information came from but Ken isn’t saying. They have 48 hours before he goes public.

They aren’t having a great day.

Jess gets a lift to the sheriff’s office from 90s-hair from the start of the episode, who has a lot of questions about Larry’s past. Meanwhile, Larry’s present isn’t too flash either now that he’s just learned that Garry has been using hormone milk behind his back. Larry is furious and says the ad campaign won’t go ahead until the situation is fixed.

Down at the sheriff’s office, the sheriff tells JB that the coroner is confirming suicide due to the gun powder residue. Jess hands over the tape and tells the sheriff she thinks the second call came from Larry’s office due to the mooing clock you can hear on the tape. There are also squeaking noises she can’t identify. The sheriff thinks it’s odd Kyle killed himself over the missing money before #GaLarry even knew it was missing but JB thinks he must have been racked with guilt.

Garry runs into his wife Carol with her new Cadillac out in the carpark – he’s not thrilled she’s burning through his money but Carol tells him tough, she’s bored and also there are overdue bills from their bedroom renovation that need paying. Garry tells her to give them to Peggy and tell her they’re office expenses. Jim Kenton reappears and Carol takes off. Jim tells Garry he thinks he has some dirt they can use on Ken Brewer but it will cost. Garry doesn’t care, he wants that info now.

Later that night, JB gets down to the serious business of Just What’s In Tropical Secret but before she can an intruder interrupts her scheme. It’s 90s hair, whose name is actually Woody Seabrook. Larry comes down the stairs and wants to know why he shouldn’t call the police on Woody right now, but JB suspects he has a very good reason for being there since Woody is Larry’s son. It comes out that Woody is named after the place he was conceived (so thank goodness he wasn’t conceived at CBGB’s or something) and that his mother never knew who his Dad was, except after his mother died he found his birth certificate and discovered that Larry’s real name is Leonard Atkins. Larry tells him he only knew Woody’s mother for three days, and that he changed his name after he was arrested for an anti-war demonstration. After he got out of jail he came back as Larry who’d been in France for three years.

Woody walks away, his sneakers squeaking on the tiles. Jessica realises that’s the noise from the tape and that Woody was in the G&LFS office when Kyle died. Woody explains what happened, and how he thought Larry was the killer since his was the last number dialled. Jessica thinks they need to tell the sheriff so the next day Woody and Larry head down to tell him. The sheriff is very interested in this development and wonders who Kyle was planning to meet. Before Larry leaves, the sheriff quietly warns him that there are a lot of financial reasons why Woody would want to be Larry’s son but Larry tells him the blood test is only going to prove what he already thinks.

Down by the water, Carol is having a lovely afternoon making out with Ken Brewer, who still loves her and wishes the feeling was mutual. He’s not dropping the tainted milk situation though and she says there’s a chance the company might be bought out by a bigger corporation so if he waits he could go after a company with deep pockets.

Back at G&LFSHQ Jessica is investigating the missing money. Peggy explains how Kyle was the computer expert in the office and set up all kinds of systems including measuring temperature in the storage rooms. They find a receipt for a steakhouse in Milwaukee from the day before Kyle died, which was odd since he was meant to be in St Louis. They look up Kyle’s Milwaukee file, but someone had deleted it. Jess gets on the phone to the sheriff, but not before asking if the recipe for Tropical Secret is in the computer (it isn’t).

Garry decides to have a quiet meeting with Ken Brewer but Ken says he’s already had the international company speech. Garry asks him where he thinks the donations his organisation gets come from. Meanwhile, Larry asks Kyle’s wife Margaret if she knew why Kyle was in Milwaukee instead of St Louis but she knows nothing. That night, Garry makes a phone call to talk about the missing 750k while Jessica stages another assault on the Tropical Secret only to be thwarted by a pensive Larry struggling to come to terms with fatherhood.

Kyle Macgregor’s funeral takes place the next day. Larry arrives late, Garry not at all. JB remains vigilant.

EYES ON THE PRIZE

While Woody hits on Peggy, Victoria the secretary who presumably has been in this episode before and I’ve been calling her Peggy,  finds Garry’s body in one of the cold storage rooms.

Wait. Peggy is the secretary, Victoria is the admin assistant? I AM SO CONFUSED.

The sheriff rolls in and tells JB they caught a break working out the time of death, Garry’s watch stopped at 9:30. JB notices a broken watch face on the factory floor. Larry offers his condolences to Carol, who announces she’s going to oust him as CEO at a specially called shareholders meeting the following week. That night Jim Kenton demands Peggy tell him where Kyle’s secret Milwaukee hideout was, and only backs off when Woody gets involved.

Down at the sheriff’s office, the sheriff and JB break it to Margaret that  Kyle had embezzled the money from the company and withdrew it from his secret account right before he died. Also, he’d done the same thing twenty years earlier but had avoided conviction by testifying against his co-conspirators, his wife and her boyfriend. Also, he never divorced his wife so he was a bigamist.

Carol and Ken are hanging out when a news bulletin comes on the radio announcing the discovery of tainted milk at G&LFS, but confirming it hadn’t left the factory. Carol is pissed and goes to confront Larry who informs her he’s found proof she was writing off personal expenses through the company. Unfortunately, Larry’s victory is shortlived – the sheriff arrives to inform him they found the murder weapon in Larry’s truck and he’s under arrest.

Jessica isn’t buying it though, and through a Sudden and Emphatic Epiphany works out who Kyle’s partner in the embezzling was – Jim Kenton. Apparently, Jim worked out that Kyle was a shady character early on and decided to blackmail him for it, which resulted in the embezzling. Kyle was meant to give Jim the money that night but instead, he shot himself. He insists he didn’t kill Garry though, and since at this point I have no idea who anyone is, I believe him.

And to draw this not terrible but terribly complicated episode to a close…

Mrs Macgregor did it after all

And for those playing along at home, the Tropical secret was mango, lemon, passionfruit, persimmon, cumin and nutmeg. We know this because Jessica got the sheriff to send a sample off to be tested at the lab.

Using police resources to win a one dollar bet – guys JB is a Slytherin Queen and I frankly love her for it.

Kia kaha Aotearoa. I’m thinking of you.