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The Halloween Episode (or Pushing Daisies: Girth)

Well, it had to happen. There had to be a Pushing Daisies episode that didn’t make me want to sing and dance. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But last night’s episode wasn’t my fave. It felt like, "Hey, our show is going to air on Halloween. Let’s make a Halloween episode. Oh yeah, don’t forget about Ned and everybody." Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible or boring. It just wasn’t magical.

The best part was the intro/flashback with young Ned and Narrator Jim Dale. It was all in rhyme. Have I told you I could marry Jim Dale’s voice? *sigh* But for the first time I’m going to recap a flashback. Basically because it was so dramatic.

Young Ned is at his first year in boarding school. He never gets mail from his dad. It makes him sad but everyone tells him, "Your dad is just grieving." On Halloween, his dream comes true and he gets some mail! A pre-printed postcard that said, "We’ve Moved". Ned is horrified, so he leaves the school dressed as a ghost (such a great ghost costume!) and visits his dad’s new home as a trick-or-treater. What he sees breaks his young heart (for the 3rd time, at least). His dad, with a new wife and two new sons (dressed appropriately as devils) leaving the house to trick-or-treat. His dad sees young Ned, doesn’t recognize him and hands him a lone piece of candy. Ned is never the same. Every year on Halloween, he takes his candy bar and lays on the floor of his old room missing his father. Isn’t that awful?!

Back to the future…

Chuck and Olive are discussing Halloween and her "faked death". This is the beginning of Chuck and Olives’…dare I say…friendship. I liked this new development. You’ll see it as we continue with…

The plot. Olive hires Emerson to investigate the death of her friend, a horse jockey. He had been trampled to death. We discover Olive, in fact, used to be a famous jockey. (Can you just see the writer’s planning meeting? "What could Olive’s old job be? Well, she’s so short. How about a Dwarf at Disney? Nah. Ewok? No. Uhm…Gringott’s Goblin? Oh! I got it! A jockey! Let’s write an episode about jockeys!")

The resurrection. Ned touches the trampled man. (Which by the way, I’ve been meaning to say this for a few weeks. I kinda like the…ahem…costuming of these dead people. So, less gruesome than CSI. And very funny!) He is adamant that he’s been killed by the ghost of John Joseph Jacobs!

Olive’s reaction. When Emerson says the name John Joseph Jacobs to Olive, she falls out in a dead faint. And then finally tells the story. In her final race, John Joseph Jacobs, the race favorite fell from his
horse and was trampled by Olive and 3 other riders. This scarred Olive
and even though she won, she left racing and threw her winnings into a
safe deposit box. Now Olive is concerned that the 3 remaining riders will be killed, herself included as revenge for John Joseph Jacobs’ death!

Another resurrection. Pinky (jockey number 2) and owner of a bar (60" and under only) is found trampled to death after an interview with Emerson & Olive. Now Ned has his turn. And again, Pinky is sure the ghost of John Joseph Jacobs has killed him. Oh, but there is one more thing. He confesses to snipping the girth of JJJ’s saddle. (I hope that’s the right equestrian terminology!)

Olive’s reaction. Now she tells the REST of the story. After JJJ was trampled, the four riders discovered the snipped girth. No one confesses, but everyone vows to keep it a secret. They burn the saddle and all become drunks (except Olive, who ends up single and working at a pie restaurant.) Now everyone is afraid that Olive is next in the revenge of JJJ. So, Chuck and Olive stay locked in her apartment. (This is the friendship thing I was telling you about.) As Chuck makes tea, Olive discovers a horseshoe in her window. She decides to confront the ghost and climbs out the window to meet him. And now we meet the real JJJ. Not dead. Not a ghost. Just two feet taller.

JJJ’s story. The paramedics that took him to the hospital after being trampled by his competitors shocked him back to life. But his legs were beyond repair. So, they took the bones of his horse and put them in JJJ’s legs. You know, the obvious procedure. He’s been living in his mother’s basement the last 7 years learning to walk. (Oh, I forgot about the whole mama thing. She’s a freak about her son’s winnings. Chuck, Emerson and Olive interviewed her. JJJ heard Olive’s voice through the grate and came to see her.) However, JJJ has no idea who’s killing the jockeys. He doesn’t know about the snipped girth, so why would he kill anyone?

The finale. Chuck, Olive & JJJ go back to his house, to let his mama know he’s moving out. But before he grabs his jacket and oyster crackers, the ghost of JJJ comes riding a horse through the house. And who is it? The Mama. Yup. Jockey #1 had caved and told her the whole story. She was out for blood (literally) for the death of her son’s career. And she’s ready to kill Olive, too. And now the quick version of the end:

Chuck & Olive run.

The ghost mama follows.

Chuck twists her ankle.

Olive hides Chuck and throws herself in front of the horse.

Ned runs in and saves Olive.

Olive kisses Ned.

Ned doesn’t kiss back.

Emerson knocks off the mama with a shovel.

Favorite Line.
JJJ’s mom to Olive, while commenting on her singleness and revealing clothes, "You wouldn’t need all that bait if your belly were full of fish, dear."

The romance.
No touching but another gift from Ned to Chuck. He dresses her up as a ghost (a la his childhood) and lets her trick-or-treat at her aunt’s house.

Conclusion. Like I said, I didn’t love it. The only advancement
of the story is the fledgling friendship between Chuck and Olive. And I hope the Ned’s dad issue comes back again. It was poignant. The
things I loved were, as usual, the character’s names (I mean, really,
I’ve been singing John Jacob Jingleheimer Scmidt all day!), the
costuming, the sets (the mom’s house was just great!) and of course,
the yummy Jim Dale.

Pushing Daisies won’t be back for two weeks. So, don’t try to miss Ned and Chuck too much! But, hey, if you miss me, you can always visit me at!