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S12E17 – Track of a Soldier

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JB is off to Wyoming for a bit of R&R this week. Fortunately, her friend Ellen Levering operates a lodge with her husband the ex-soldier Howard, and his son Pete. And a dog called Solider, presumably the leaver of the aforementioned tracks.

Jessica is not the only one staying at the lodge – she arrives with Marla Hastings (who is pretending to having a fling with Arthur Wainwright), Lloyd Nichols (who is having a fling with Marla Hastings),  Greta Bayer (who used to have a fling with Lloyd Nicholls), and Harley Foote, who hasn’t and isn’t having a fling with anyone but is Arthur Wainwright’s assistant.

You got that love rhombus sorted? OK.

As Jessica settles into her room, Ellen tells her that Howard is planning to run for Senate, but she’s less excited about it as she wanted to go travelling. Downstairs Harley Foote gets a phone call from his doctor telling him he is terminally ill. Greta, fresh from registering her displeasure at the lack of a safe at the hotel, finds him sitting stunned in a chair and suggests they go for a walk.

While Greta solves the lack of safe problem by hiding a big fat diamond in her minibar icecube tray, Marla calls Lloyd and tells him everything is under control. She tells Arthur she’s on the phone to her mother. Meanwhile, the Sheriff comes up to tell Pete that there’s been another complaint made about Soldier the dog, who is so far the only person in this episode I care about. Lloyd arrives and asks Juan the assistant about Howard. It seems he knows who Howard is, but he’s not telling Juan (who served with Howard) anything about it. When Howard arrives home from declaring his Senate candidacy Juan warns him about Lloyd.

Lloyd knocks on Greta’s door and forces himself into her room. A passing JB hears the commotion behind the door and knocks on the door. Greta answers and Jessica reminds her about happy hour. Lloyd informs her Greta’s had a change of plans, and JB tells him if he doesn’t let Greta go that instant he’ll be in more trouble than he knows how to deal with.

Very much current mood.

Down in the bar, Harley celebrates winning ten grand on a college basketball game and celebrates by taking Greta for a walk. Arthur wants to know if Harley called Arthur’s wife like he was supposed to, or skimmed the retirement accounts to bankroll a share trade like he was supposed to? Harley just walks off, because Harley’s getting his groove back.

Howard has only just arrived in time to see Jessica when Lloyd offers a drive-by sneak attack. Instead of explaining what that was about to Ellen, JB and Pete, Howard goes outside to confront Lloyd and get him away from the hotel. It transpires that Lloyd holds Howard responsible for the death of his brother. Juan comes upon them and breaks up the discussion. Howard tries to explain to Juan what happened but Juan doesn’t care, all he knows is that Lloyd is a troublemaker.

The next morning, while Greta goes shopping and JB hangs with Ellen, Lloyd sneaks into Greta’s room for a rummage, presumably for Greta’s big fat diamond. He’s forced into the closet when Juan’s daughter Luisa comes in to do housekeeping. She spots the diamond in the ice tray and quickly leaves the room, which is lucky as Lloyd had his gun out.

JB meets Soldier but is soon joined by Howard who tells Pete that the Sheriff’s called him about Soldier’s roaming ways and that he’ll be put down if he’s not brought under control. Later down in the bar Jess spots Lloyd and Marla having a cosy chat. Lloyd has just worked out where Greta hid the diamond but he can’t get back into her room now, and tells Marla to keep Greta away from her room that night.  They arrange to meet after the theft but Lloyd won’t give Marla her air tickets just yet.

Arthur confronts Harley about his lack of action on his instruction from the previous day. Harley tells him he saved the retirement funds 123 million dollars, but he bought the shares with Arthur’s money as requested. Also he should call his wife. Also Harley quits.

Harley’s going rogue

Jessica heads back to her room and finds Lloyd there looking to apologise for his behaviour but mostly asking Jessica to butt out. Jess wants to know what Lloyd has on Howard and Lloyd gives her just enough information to tell Ellen, who finds a newspaper clipping about the death of Lloyd’s brother. Howard decides to withdraw from the Senate election, much to the sadness of Pete and Ellen.

I’ll be happy if I ever hear the word election or vote again after this weekend if I’m honest.

That night Harley, Marla and Greta make plans to see a movie but Harley withdraws at the last minute after a Mysterious Phonecall. When Greta and Marla return with JB and Juan, they all agree the movie was terrible. Ellen tells JB she’s off to bed but JB decides she’s going to read for a while. Juan finds a drunk Howard and tries to cheer him up.

As the clock strikes one, JB wraps up her reading and hears someone go outside. Soldier goes out on patrol. Lloyd packs his car for his getaway but hears something in the bushes and thinking that it’s Marla he goes to investigate. Cut to JB listening to a dog howling. Cut to Pete standing over Lloyd’s dead body on the ground.

The next morning Sheriff Bullock is on the case, and it is quickly discovered that Greta’s diamond is missing. The sheriff is horrified to learn that Greta was keeping the diamond in an ice tray, and tells her to come down the station to file a report for her insurance. Jessica suddenly realises that she knows what the murder weapon is – an old knife that belonged to Howard, that temporarily went missing from a display.

Harley resurfaces with the news that his terminal diagnosis isn’t so terminal after all – in fact, he’s going to be completely fine. He thinks this will put Greta off, but far from it. Naw. Alas for the happy couple I’m too bitter about how Australia did at Eurovision to summon up anything other than that #spoilsport.

That night Sheriff Bullock arrests Pete for Lloyd’s murder – his prints are on the knife, there was blood on the knife and he refuses to tell them anything. The next morning Jessica checks on Soldier, who delivers her a clue in the form of a broken watchband, and then goes to sort out Pete who she correctly guesses thinks he is covering for his dad. Pete reluctantly tells her the truth – that he went looking for Soldier, found the body, found the knife and then panicked when he heard someone in the bushes.

Jess floats a theory by Sheriff Bullock that someone might have found the body earlier than the people who “discovered it”, and might have stolen the diamond.

THERE I SAID IT DON’T @ ME ALSO WTF WAS MADONNA ON/DOING THERE/ABOUT?

Anyway, Jess knows all the answers because of course she does, and orders Bullock to drive her to the hotel.

This is a late contender for best-timed pause for Uber Eats I’ve ever done.

Back at the hotel, JB makes a pitch to the thief to buy their jacket for two million dollars but she refuses…

A shock to literally no one.

Marla confesses to finding Lloyd’s dead body and stealing the diamond from it, but 100% didn’t kill him.

Oh dear.

GRIM GRIM GRIM.

Juan took matters into his own hands to protect his army buddy.

Eesh. In light of the tyre fire that is 2019, please accept the below image as your own personal liferaft.

Later gang

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S01E22 – Funeral at Fifty-Mile

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It’s the season finale this week Fletcherfans! JB is in Wyoming for a friends funeral. A minor scandal is caused when a man liked by noone – Carl Mestin – turns up with his Barbie doll wife, but noone thinks any more of it.

Back at the ranch there’s a storm a-brewin’ and tumbleweed a-tumblin. It’s okay though, because Our Heroine is getting stuck into the dandelion wine.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

The local sheriff who prefers to be called marshall comes over for a chat, and informs Jess that he read one of her books…it was “not up there with Mickey Spillane, but darn good for a woman”.

Jess accepts this compliment with good grace.

Jess manages to not punch the marshall in the face.

She notices that the marshall wears his holster tied down for a quick draw – he offers to demonstrate but she politely declines. (I am assuming that this is all code for penis).  She asks him if he’s had to draw his gun on anyone before, and he says no, but when the time comes, he’ll be ready for ’em to “make my day!”

WORD.

Meanwhile Mary Carver (daughter of the late lamented Jack), her uncle Tim and her father’s friend Sam are having a chat about the ranch. Tim announces that his brother was going to leave the ranch to him, which is news to Mary, but Sam points out that there is no will anyway so there isn’t anything anyone can do for the time being.

Incidentally, remember this guy. We’ll see him again in a season or two.

For now, he’s Sam Breen Attorney-At-Law. But we’ll see him again soon.

They are rudely interrupted by the arrival of Cowboy Ken and Barbie, who are waving a piece of paper around and announcing that Jack left the ranch to them. Needless to say this causes a bit of a ruckus, and Mary’s fiancee Art Merrick steps in to defend her honour. Peace restored, Mestin goes to get a drink and JB wanders over for a chat. Mestin tells her he thinks Jack left him everything because he saved Jack’s life in Korea.

Oh, says Jess. Then you must have known my husband, Tom Fletcher?

Sure, says Mestin. Good guy.

LIAR! LIAR! JB’s husband’s name was Frank, as we all know. I call shenanigans on the Cowboy Ken and Barbie show.

As the storm from the set of Dracula moves closer, the manly men of the ranch batten down the hatches, including Cowboy Ken who has just lost an arm wrestle to Cowboy Barbie. (Not code).

See, not code.

The storm clears and Art gets a lift back to the house from one of the ranchhands Jesus (who is listed in IMDB as Hay-Soos. Really?), after he got his truck bogged in the storm. Before he can sit down and have some soup though, Jesus comes running from the barn. Cowboy Ken is hanging from the rafters.

The sheriff is called, and he’s less than thrilled that they left the body hanging like that. Jess apologizes, saying she did that because she figured he’d want to see everything undisturbed. While the marshall stares at the body and ponders, Jess asks the Doc how many murders the marshall has investigated. Naturally, it’s none. Armed with this knowledge Jess manages to guide the sheriff into realising that it was no suicide, and that he had a blow to the head as well as being strung up.

That night, the sheriff sits everyone down for a little chat. Subtly prompted by JB, he demans to know where everyone was at the time of the murder. Tim Carver, Sam the lawyer, Bill the friend from the army, and the Doc all alibi each other. Mary was sleeping, Emma the maid was cleaning, Cowboy Barbie was having a nap in the RV and JB was in her room “getting rid of jetlag,” aka downing bottles of dandelion wine.

JB mulls on the fact that none of the women have an alibi, but the sheriff has moved on. He’s decided there can only be one answer – Art is the killer.

Jess makes her views obvious.

The sheriff goes to find Art trying to unbog his car, and arrests him. The next day, Sam goes in to try and get him released but the sheriff is drunk with power and says no. Not even the combined badgering by Sam and JB is enough to make him change his mind, and he storms off in a huff.

Art tells Jess and Mary that he overheard a conversation between the sheriff and the coroner – apparently Cowboy Ken did die from hanging, and the blow on the head came after which is the opposite of what the Doc said happened. Jess decides to pay him a visit at his surgery but he’s out. She does manage to find out from his receptionist that the Doc threw Cowboy Ken out of his office for snooping around in his files. MYSTERIOUS.

Later that afternoon the sheriff finally sees sense and releases Art. JB congratulates him on a rare moment of intelligence. He asks her who she think did it if not Art, and she enigmatically suggests that the sheriff challenge Cowgirl Barbie to an armwrestle. He does so, and gets his arse kicked, but he agrees with Jess that she was certainly strong enough to hang her husband. Cowgirl Barbie takes umbrage to this and declares that the sheriff and JB can “suck eggs”. Oooo-kay?

That night, Our Heroine wakes up to find a hangman’s noose outside her window. She’s positively delighted! She’s making someone nervous!

The next morning, the sheriff arrives at the ranch to arrest Cowgirl Barbie, much to Mary Carver’s delight. Unfortunately JB steps in again – it turns out Cowboy Ken and Cowgirl Barbie were never actually married, so she gets nothing out of the will. The sheriff agrees, and Cowgirl Barbie rides off into the sunset in her RV.

While Mary and Art go and retrieve his pickup from where he left it, JB goes for a little walk in the barn. She has a feeling she’s solved this case.

Of course she has.

Kinda obvious, huh?

It turns out that Cowboy Ken was an absolute creep who used to work on the ranch until he raped Mary’s mother…and so was Mary’s real father. Charming. Totes got what he had coming to him.

The men admit what they did, and tell Jess that they will go to the sheriff and come clean, as long as she doesn’t tell Mary the truth. She agrees, and they leave the barn.

There you have it, Fletcherfans! One season down, eleven more to go. Season 2 is on its way, so stay tuned for more Murder, She Blogged mayhem, hijinks and double entendres.

Until next time, dear reader.