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S08E02 – Night Fears

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JB is back to school Fletcherfans! It’s her first day teaching Criminology at Manhattan University, which seems entirely legitimate and the sort of thing that doesn’t sound farfetched at all.

Arriving early on her first day, Our Heroine gets a tour from the department head Dr Auerbach, and meets her fellow colleagues including this guy who you might remember from season 2:

Wings Hauser, ladies and gentleman. Time to recycle all my jokes from this episode.

Wings Hauser, ladies and gentleman. Time to recycle all my jokes from this episode.

Wings Wallace Evans offers most insincerely to be of all the assistance he can give to the new fascinating experiment. Turns out he used to teach the class that JB is going to be teaching and isn’t too thrilled with the new arrangement. As Auerbach escorts JB to her classroom he explains that Wallace was hoping to be made department head but that didn’t work out either. Also there’s been lots of muggings on campus so don’t stay late but I’m sure you’ll do great oh I’d better run.

(I think JB doesn't know what she's in for tbh)

(I think JB doesn’t know what she’s in for tbh)

Her first class begins and all seems to be going well. She even drops in a Hamlet quote to demonstrate a point (I love it. I had an anthropology lecturer who used to do the same thing with Monty Python clips it was awesome). This doesn’t sit well will all of the class though, NYPD Officer Morelli in particular who starts muttering away to his neighbour.

Morelli is going to regret this.

Morelli is going to regret this.

When JB asks if she can do anything for him, he says well that’s the point isn’t it? You’re a writer, I’m an NYPD detective, what can I hope to learn from you?

JB pauses, goes back to her lectern. “Well…perhaps as much as I’ve already learned from you. That for instance you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning. Then stopped by the precinct’s target range to get in some practice.  You’ve recently given up smoking, you were born in the midwest and you’ve been married only a few months.”

e2

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

After class, JB heads to the cafeteria where she is accosted by one of her students, Luke Phillips.

I think we know where this is going

I think we know where this is going

It turns out Luke is actually a mechanic who just wanted to meet his idol JB, and when JB points out he should consider dropping the class and taking another he loses his mind. He’s read all her books twice, she owes him. If it wasn’t for people like him she’d still be in Cabot Cove baking brownies.

Sitting down to lunch Jess is soon joined by another student, Kevin Bryce. He’s another NYPD cop, but he was happy to see JB take Morelli down a peg or two. As they chat, Kevin reveals that he’s studying for the sergeants test again, but that he’s already failed it three times. Because Our Heroine is benevolent and wise, she offers to coach him through the test and he’s delighted. Damn right he is.

That afternoon, JB is wandering around campus when she hears sirens. She (along with half the school) go running and finds one of her students, Roslyn, being loaded into an ambulance – the latest victim of the campus mugger. JB goes to see her in hospital but Roslyn doesn’t remember much. She just knows she’s too scared to go back to school. JB tells her there are counsellors who can help her get past this, and of course if there’s anything she can do…

There is, says Roslyn. Could she catch this guy?

 

The only acceptable response to a rhetorical question.

The only acceptable response to a rhetorical question.

JB tells her that she’s only new to the university, and that the police might not appreciate her involvement in the case but she’s sure the police will have it all sorted soon. She tells Roslyn to concentrate on getting well, and that the class will still be there when she gets back  – but Roslyn says she doesn’t think she can come back, what with this monster still on campus and all.

Time passes (presumably). JB is back in class teaching away when Wings Wallace pops in to listen to her class, bemoan the fact that JB won’t let him help, and suggest that the muggings on campus could be used as a workshop for the class to track down the guilty party.

Wings has lost the plot you guys

Wings has lost the plot you guys

Wings Wallace tells JB that he too has read all of her books and finds them interesting – 5 people in a house, 2 get murdered, and then the killer is caught. Much like Cabot Cove – home to 3 suspects, 2 dogs and a duck.

(No seriously, who wouldn't?)

(No seriously, who wouldn’t?)

Wallace thinks he can solve the case, what about JB? Jess is horrified at the suggestion of a wager but Wallace says its an academic exercise that will benefit the students. JB suggests they take it outside, where she informs Wallace (again) that the idea of a bet to see who can solve the case the fastest is inapprorbut Wallace figured JB would jump at the chance to prove herself.

“Well I’ve found that people who think they have something to prove never succeed in doing so. ” Says JB.  (Life Lesson #63. Ooh that’s a good one).

Down at the precinct Wallace hits up Kevin for all the files on the muggings so that he can “build a profile of the suspect”. (I should point out that earlier in the episode Doctor Auerbach tells JB that Wallace was sacked off the NYPD after two years for being heavy-handed so this whole building a profile thing sounds like something he saw on an episode of LA Law or something). Kevin tells him he won’t help him take down JB, not even when Wallace threatens to fail him out of his forensics class. YOU GO KEVIN.

Wallace pops by JB’s classroom with an advanced copy of the student newspaper proclaiming the race between Wallace and JB to solve the campus muggings. JB is horrified, but Wallace thinks she should be happy – it’s publicity and that’s why she was hired – enrolments were down, money was drying up so Doctor Auerbach had a crazy idea to boost enrollments by bringing in a celebrity.

Devastated, JB goes to see Auerbach who, like every middle aged white dude, begs her to see it from his perspective. The school was desperate.  He asks her if she would have taken the job if he was upfront with her and she says absolutely not. She informs Auerbach that she will stay until a suitable replacement can be found and then she’s out. Auerbach asks her if they could just discuss it and JB says “I believe we just did.”

BOOM.

Later that night, JB is leaving the university when sirens start blaring and people start running towards the sound. JB follows and runs into Kevin, in work mode. He says the mugger has struck again, but this time it went too far and the victim died. JB asks him for everything he’s got on the case. She’s in.

Cut to JB’s New York bunker, where Jess is taking a break from helping Kevin study for his test by going over the murder. He tells her that the knife was found but also two blood types so they’re thinking the victim managed to defend himself and cause some damage to his attacker. JB wonders if the attacker ended up in hospital and Kevin says they’re checking, but that the only weird thing is that another student was hospitalised across town for a gunshot would but he can’t see how the two events might be connected.

Down at the precinct Kevin gets pulled up by his boss for providing information to JB (which frankly is a valid point as much as I love Our Heroine) and orders him to back off. Meanwhile over on campus JB has stumbled onto a message left by the killer – I am the sword of justice, death sings to me, alpha and omega.

Get a better slogan, murderous mugger guy

Points for effort, 0 points for originality.

JB recognises the reference and goes hunting in the library for the source material but before she can find the book, Luke the crazy fan pops up to tell her he’s no longer her #1 fan.

Down at the precinct, Wallace and the captain are contemplating how to proceed.

The eternal question.

The eternal question.

The captain is worried, but Wallace is all over it. It’s definitely either disgruntled former student or employee, or it’s a crazed psychopath drifter. Wallace is convinced it’s the latter, and thinks if no murder occurs in the next 72 hours then he will be proven right. The captain hopes so, but Kevin overhears and approaches Wallace. He thinks it’s too early to have a definite idea on who it is, but Wallace is unstoppable. Plus he got a letter from the killer so he’s totes a threat.

Wallace isn’t the only penpal of the mugger, JB’s got a letter too. She goes to show it to Kevin after class but he tells her he’s under strict orders to stay out of it and stop helping JB. Undeterred, JB heads to the library to try and track down the book she thinks the mugger is quoting from. The librarian conveniently wanders away from her desk so JB can see the screen – the book was borrowed by Wallace Evans.  As JB leaves the campus for the night, someone takes a potshot at her and drives away. As the hordes come running, JB spots the Greek characters for alpha and omega on the ground.

The next day JB takes a cab out to Kevin’s place. Kevin’s not home but his mum is – they get to chatting and it’s revealed that Kevin’s father (who was a cop) got done for corruption just because everyone else in his squad was. Mrs Kevin’s Mum doesn’t want him to be a cop. Kevin arrives home and asks Jessica to a) leave and b) drop the investigation. JB says she’ll leave but she won’t drop it – someone took a potshot at her, this time it’s personal.

Kevin goes to work and tells his boss he can’t stand by any more, he’s going to help JB. The captain tells him he’s on his own, and department policy means he can’t take any documents out of the precinct. Fortunately Kevin has a way around that, as he explains to JB later. He just ordered copies from the coroner’s office and picked them up before they entered the precinct. YOU GO KEVIN.

As they go through the reports, JB notices that no skin tissue was found on the serrated knife belonging to the mugger, only blood. Furthermore, there were no fingerprints on the knife, which makes no sense if the murdered guy used it to fight his attacker. JB sees it all now. They go to find the student who was shot across town, and after some grilling get him to admit he was the mugger.

Which basically leaves only one suspect. Which I thought was obvious about 10 minutes ago, but what do I know.

Is this the first time someone has been a killer twice on Murder She Wrote? WINGS IS A SERIAL KILLER

Is this the first time someone has been a killer twice on Murder She Wrote? WINGS IS A SERIAL KILLER

Determined to restore his fragile ego,  Wallace sets out to catch the mugger. Except when he does he decides the easiest option is to shoot him, except when he shoots the bullet goes straight through the mugger and kills the mugging victim. You stuffed that up Wallace old man. And so, to cover up his boo-boo, Wallace created the idea of a crazy hobo transient as the killer. Except JB knew better.

JB ALWAYS KNOWS BETTER.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S02E06 – Reflections of the Mind

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, there was a lady name Francesca Lodge.

Francesca in her glory days, along with Someone Very Familiar, a random dude that I don't really care about and the name WINGS HAUSER. WINGS. HAUSER.

Francesca in her glory days, along with Someone Very Familiar, a random dude that I don’t really care about and the name WINGS HAUSER. WINGS. HAUSER.

IMDB just told me WINGS HAUSER was in the Young and the Restless. I am an ignoramus.

Anywho, Francesca had a husband. He bought her a Jewellery Box Of Doom. He died (unrelated, presumably). Francesca nailed up her bedroom and moved into the one next door. Then Francesca got married again.

And that is the entire history of Francesca Lodge up until she comes screaming out of the closet (literally, not sexually) and attacks her husband Scott with a knife. Awkward. Naturally, there’s only one person you can call when your wife is having a Homicidal Moment. Well, two if you count 911.

JB arrives to sort this mess out, and is most concerned to find her friend on the psychiatric ward. Because really, she only NEARLY stabbed her husband with some scissors, it’s not like she actually did it. Francesca tells JB that she’s just feeling a bit tired, but Cheryl points out that she was so tired she called the sheriff and nearly stabbed her husband. I know it’s early to be calling this, but it’s clearly the work of a Demonic Music Box enslaving its owner to its will. OBVIOUS.

All conversation ends when Francesca’s shrink arrives. The role of Dr March will be played by the Devil.

Believe me when I tell you this is an improvement

Believe me when I tell you this is an improvement

The Devil Dr March smites everyone within a five mile radius promises to get Francesca home. JB is bemused by his bedside manner (see above pic) but it turns out he’s one of the best, and even treated Cheryl when she ran away with a rock group to get as much sex drugs and rock’n’roll into her as possible.

Back at home, JB and Francesca are catching up over a pot of beer cider tea, and Francesca asks after her friend. She worries about JB being alone in the big empty house. Jess is more worried about the tea.

Nothing but complete focus on the matter at hand...

Nothing but complete focus on the matter at hand…

JB notices the Jewellery Box of Doom – it turns out she helped Francesca’s ex husband Ross pick it out. (Life Lesson #36 – no one is perfect). Francesca quickly puts it away, lest any Doom escape from the music box and cause her to go on another homicidal rampage.

Margaret, the housekeeper, arrives to see Jess to her room and tells JB that Francesca hasn’t been playing with a full deck of cards for some time. Meanwhile downstairs, Scott and his secretary are signing documents. AND BY SIGNING DOCUMENTS I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. They aren’t being very discreet about it, there’s a WINGS at the window.

Wings's playing someone called Carl. I think. But let's face it, who cares? WINGS IS AT WORK.

WINGS is playing someone called Carl. I think. But let’s face it, who cares? WINGS IS AT WORK.

Cheryl is in the lounge room with the dog, being chatted up by The Devil Dr March, when they are soon joined by the whole gang. Scott decides to have a martini for the road, before he gets on his plane to Chicago. Jessica declines (SOMETHING IS WRONG), but the others all accept. Cheryl (clearly rattled by her run-in with the Devil) spills hers all over the floor but goes back for another.

Suitably liquored up for his flight, Scott departs, leaving JB and Francesca to gossip while Cheryl goes about her Cheryl business. Unfortunately everything goes to hell when Francesca receives a phone call from her dead first husband telling Francesca he’d see her tonight. I hate it when that happens. JB scolds the caller, while Francesca faints and  Scott drives off a cliff.

Sheriff Bodine comes to deliver the bad news about Scott’s accident but JB ain’t nobody’s fool – she can tell it’s murder. She tells the sheriff that only that morning Scott had told her that his brake lines had been cut a couple of weeks ago, and he suspected Francesca. (WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY SUSPECT THE DEMONIC JEWELLERY BOX OF DOOM?) The sheriff duly takes note.

Upstairs, Francesca is woken up by the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom, notices that her canary has died and runs out of the room screaming. JB and Cheryl escort her to JB’s room to calm her down, which works for about a minute until Margaret returns with the bird-cage. The bird is fine! It’s not an ex-parrot canary! Judging by Francesca’s overreaction to the current status of her canary, JB wisely decides to tell her about Scott’s untimely demise.

Later that evening the sheriff drops in to inform them that it definitely was no accident – Scott was full of tranquillizers, which historically makes driving a tad difficult. Francesca admits to taking tranquillizers, and The Devil  Dr March loudly proclaims they are prescribed by him. Unfortunately when they examine the bottle it’s empty. Francesca has another meltdown and the sheriff leaves, promising he’ll be back after he’s analysed the drugs. And by analysed, I mean taken. (Not true).

Our Heroine puts Francesca to bed, and sits with her to make sure she doesn’t have one of those Homicidal Rampages. All being quiet on the Francesca front, JB heads for bed but is soon woken again when Francesca has another mini fit, this time because the reanimated corpse of her dead husband has just arrived in her bedroom.

I KNEW THERE WOULD BE REAL ZOMBIES IN THIS SHOW EVENTUALLY. NAILED IT!

I KNEW THERE WOULD BE REAL ZOMBIES IN THIS SHOW EVENTUALLY. 

JB patiently explains to Francesca that it’s not the zombie apocalypse (I’M NOT SO SURE). The next morning, JB is out sleuthing in the garden when she runs into WINGS, who is planting some mysterious plant-like things in the ground. Also, petunias. WINGS has no time to chat with Our Heroine and gives her the cold shoulder, but not before lending her his ladder so she can have a look at Francesca’s old bedroom from the outside. It’s just as nailed outside too. As JB descends from her lofty perch, Cheryl’s dog digs up a clue – a dead canary.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER.

JB is in the lounge closely examining the bottle of gin Scott had used to make the martinis when Scott’s secretary arrives. She has barely enough time to retrieve her love letters from Scott’s desk before the Sheriff turns up too. Francesca has another run in with the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom, but is rescued by JB.

The Sheriff demands to know if Francesca knew about Scott’s affair with his secretary. Francesca says NO WAY MAN, but the sheriff isn’t so sure. Francesca collapses, saying she could have done it, she just doesn’t remember. The Devil Doctor March orders Francesca back to the hospital. Jessica pleads with the sheriff to keep an open mind, and he tells her he’s open to all theories, should she have one.

As it so happens, she does. And it involves WINGS breaking down the sealed bedroom door. Unfortunately, the great big box that says CLUES on it isn’t there, and Jess is stumped. Cheryl goes to see her mother in the hospital and leaves JB alone for some sleuthing. She quickly discovers a secret door that leads from the bathroom…

NARNIA!

*cue dramatic music*

…into Francesca’s old bedroom, where she also finds a convenient hiding place full of nifty clues, like the tape that was used to frighten Francesca, a birdcage, and a random vinyl album of a man called Carson Todd. Hmm *strokes metaphorical beard*

The night grows conveniently dark and stormy, and Cheryl arrives home. The phone lines are down/cut and Francesca is having a fit about it. Cheryl’s dog appears with Scott’s hat in his mouth, and they find his pipe on the floor of Francesca’s room. IT’S THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

Downstairs, The Devil Doctor March arrives but is dragged away by a gloved hand (that is presumably attached to someone, but as it’s the zombie apocalypse who knows). Upstairs Cheryl is beside herself. Scott must have worked out what she was doing and faked his death!

“What were you doing Cheryl?” asks Our Heroine.

“TRYING TO KILL SCOTT!” Screams Cheryl.

“SHUT UP!” her accomplice bursts out of the wardrobe.

I guess WINGS was just gonna *puts on sunglasses* live and let die. YEAHHHHH.

I guess WINGS was just gonna *puts on sunglasses* live and let die. YEAHHHHH. (I’m so sorry)

WINGS (assisted by Cheryl but who cares) wanted his filthy paws on Francesca’s money, since Cheryl’s was held in trust until she turned 35, and so tried to get Francesca committed for being all crazy-like. “That’s fine,” JB says. “But why did you leave Scott’s pipe and the hat?”

“Lady, I don’t know what you’re on about.” WINGS mutters.

“IT’S THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!” Cheryl probably would have screamed, if she’d thought of it. JB turns the light off and a figure appears at the window. WINGS and Cheryl lose their collective shit, but as the figure comes crashing through the window the truth is revealed. It’s Sheriff Bodine. It was all part of JB’s CUNNING PLAN.

 

I was wrong to doubt Our Heroine. It wasn’t the zombie apocalypse and it wasn’t the Demonic Jewellery Box of Doom. Or was it?

No, it wasn’t.

The Devil  Doctor March demands an explanation. He was only there because Francesca was having kittens in the hospital, and was a bit startled to be dragged away from the house. Turns out the gloved hand belonged to a deputy. NEATLY TIED UP, MSW WRITERS.

Until next time, dear reader.

Until next time, dear reader.