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Bad Habits and Not-So Flying Nuns on "Pushing Daisies"

I watched last night's episode of Pushing Daisies ("Bad Habits") a few weeks ago but I couldn't resist saying a few things about this fantastic installment that ranks up there with some of the series' very best episodes.

Written by Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (who created the WB's short-lived series Pepper Dennis), "Bad Habits" not only continues the storylines elegantly established in the previous two episodes--Olive running away from the Pie Hole, Lily covering up her tracks, Chuck attempting to be independent--but also puts a nice little bow on them as well. We know that Olive won't stay metaphorically cloistered now that Chuck knows the truth about her birth mother but I can't wait to see whether she moves in with Chuck (who is now residing in her old apartment)... or is forced to move in with Ned in the meantime. Strange bedfellows, people.

I loved Ned, Chuck, and Emerson going undercover as Vatican investigators (a better inspired cover story has yet to be invented) looking into the death of a nun at the convent where Olive is hiding out. (I especially loved the Father Dowling, Father Mulcahy, and Sister Christian references. Classic.) That Olive would seek to involve Emerson (given her distaste for being near Ned and Chuck whilst she knows Lily's secret) points to the fact that she really does believe that the death of her fellow nun Sister LaRue (guest star Mo Collins) wasn't suicide but murder. Especially given the fact that it was pretty damn likely that Emerson would laugh in her face. (And, oh boy, did he.)

Olive believes that murder, like secrets or truffles, will out, to quote the Bard himself. But how far can someone run from the truth? Even Lily must realize that eventually the truth will come out about Chuck's parentage... even if she doesn't know that Chuck is still alive and around to hear it. Was it just me or did Kristin Chenoweth turn in a performance that was so pitch-perfect, so subtle and winning, that it all but seals her Emmy nomination next year?

We finally got an actual explanation for Chuck's complicated and tangled family tree: Aunts Lily and Vivian are her step-aunts. Sort of. It turns out that Chuck's grandfather married Lily and Vivian's mother, making Charles Charles and Lily and Vivian step-siblings. So there's no actual biological relationship between Lily and Charles... making Lily and Vivian aunts by proxy. Whew.

What else did I love? Seeing super-determined and plucky Young Olive end up getting an Arabian horse through sheer grit and, well, unearthing a trycerotops skeleton buried in the yard (yep, everyone's digging in this episode); Ned's dog head mugs; guest stars galore in the form of Mo Collins, Michael Hitchcock, and Diana Scarwid; Olive saying her full name when she goes to see Emerson ("Olive. Olive Snook."); Sister LaRue's longshoremen-like vocabulary; Chuck and Ned's proxy high-five; Olive screaming "you are killing me!" at Ned's ineptness at deciphering her clues ("something to do with the sacred feminine?"); Ned's sad confession; and Ned catching Olive. Aw.

But one of the most beautiful elements of this week's gripping episode was Chuck and Ned's heartfelt discussion of how Chuck felt as though she were stuck "in between" life and death. Poor Chuck. At least she realizes she has a second chance once she learns that Lily is in fact her mother and Ned realizes that just because his past is "rotten" it doesn't mean that Chuck's is as well.

Nice twist with Ned admitting to the priest that if he ran into his father today, he wouldn't know him "from Adam," only to have his father turn up at the Pie Hole. As for Ned's father coming back into the picture, I am extremely worried about him revealing Ned's secret to the world. I can't help shake the feeling that his return to Ned's life isn't a blessing but a curse and wonder just how much Ned's father knows about the boy he abandoned all those years before...

Next week on Pushing Daisies ("Frescorts"), Emerson is hired to investigate the murder of a woman's best friend named Joe but uncovers a rent-a-friend agency, where the gang learns that the victim had quite a lot of, um, best friends... and each of them had a reason to kill Joe; Emerson's mother Calista pays her son an unexpected visit.


Anonymous said…
I thought this was the best episode of the season so far. KC was absolutely amazing last night and I only wish that they had given her something to sing as well just to complete the awesomeness. I am intrigued to see where the writers are going with storylines involving everyone's parents, especially with Ned's dad turning up AND Emerson's mom as well? Does this mean we'll get to see Young Emerson too? :)
I wasn't home last night, so I will be watching my tape of the ep tonight (I haven't joined the DVR revolution yet).

Thanks for the recap, Jace! It will tide me over until I can see the real thing. :o)
Unknown said…
"And Sister Christian is a ... power ballad!" Hysterical.
Anonymous said…
I was worried about Olive being sent far, far away from the gang but her storyline at the convent has been hysterical and it's actually given her more to do. And it was great to see everyone reunited in this episode!
Last Wednesday's ep was superb! Kristin will get an emmy nomination for sure. And I love how Olive aired her grievances with Ned, and he apologized for how he had treated her. Very mature, and a departure from many other shows that would have dragged out the unrequited love story by having the characters bottle up their feelings and never say a word about them.

Also, bring on the episode(s) with David Arquette as a love interest for Olive! She needs some sugar already. :o)

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