Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I find it amusing that a key point in this week’s Pushing Daisies mystery is that the killer has hypoglycemia, i.e. low blood sugar. Because this show, whatever it may be, is never lacking in the sweetness.
So it was with Wednesday’s Halloween-flavored episode, which was a little long on Ned-and-Chuck shmoopiness for me, and a little short on the Emerson acid that makes the more saccharine stuff easier to take. It was, however, kinda dirty, in a fun way, and featured lots and lots of Olive, which is increasingly fine with me.
(Spoilers coming, unless those meddling kids stop me.)
The mystery of the week, frankly, had a Scooby Doo-ish quality to it, as Emerson, Ned and Chuck investigate the "ghost" of a former top jockey, John Joseph Jacobs who’s hunting down the conspirators in a crooked horse race — that would be the 2000 Jock-Off (dirty!). Seems that another jockey, Pinky, cut John’s girth before the race, and poor John was trampled by Pinky and three other riders — including Olive, who ended up the winner.
Though only Pinky was actively involved in causing John’s spill, the others agreed to keep the secret, and now John’s ghost is out to exact his revenge. It wasn’t John, of course — though he was, in fact, still alive — and it wasn’t hard to see, moments after meeting her, that his mother was the real culprit, having never let go of her son’s career and now out to get those who ended it.
So, yeah, not much of a case. What made the episode work, though — and I didn’t think it was quite up to the snap of the past couple of weeks — were the little things, like the trophy that was nearly as big as Olive herself and the heartbreaking sight of young Digby standing next to young Ned in a matching cowboy ghost-sheet on that long-ago Halloween and the touching conversation between him and Aunt Vivian.
Other business of note from "Girth":
- The bits of Ned’s backstory we get at the start of each episode are starting to grow on me. This week’s prelude was particularly affecting, as young Ned discovers that his father was only too ready to begin a new life — a notion supported by Chuck’s aunts, who told him that, essentially, his father was a bastard. What I’d really like to know, though, is something about the years between his childhood and now. How’d he get to where he is?
- Some good bits of physical comedy tonight: Olive falling off the bed, Ned stopping short as he sees the Halloween decorations in the pie shop, the way Hamish Linklater (as John) walked as if he really did have horse bones fused into his legs.
- Emerson line of the night: "Let me ask the money. [Makes a phone with his hand] … Can I still pay the bills and buy stuff even though you were Olive’s money first? OK, thanks. [Hangs up] The money don’t care. Touch him."
- The level of snark between Olive and Chuck ratcheted up tonight, and it’s rather a lot of fun. Maybe it’s because Kristin Chenoweth so often plays the good-hearted sweetie, but seeing her be competitive and kind of bitchy works really well.
- Aunt Vivian on Ned’s pies: "I don’t know how we lived without them. It’s like a sex addiction … or so I’d imagine." Dirty, and one of the reasons I enjoy the show so much. An episode is unfolding like a cartoon from my childhood, and then the writers go and throw a line like this in. Fantastic.
- Ned’s assertion that the fact that he has some magical gift doesn’t prove the existence of other magical things is an interesting idea, one I hope the show will expand upon in the future. What will happen to Ned’s worldview if it turns out he’s not the only one with this ability? And what does it mean for him having to live with it for so long?
What did you think of the Halloween Pushing Daisies? Were you waiting for the Mystery Machine to show up?