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Stockholm Syndrome: Waking, Baking, and (Heart) Aching on "Pushing Daisies"

Oh, hell no.

Not since the days of Twin Peaks have the Norwegians been so front and center and so quick to rush to judgment.

I'm speaking of course of last night's episode of Pushing Daisies ("The Norwegians") which featured Papen County's other team of crack sleuths, overseen by Emerson Cod's nemesis Magnus Olsdatter (Orlando Jones), who in investigating the mysterious disappearance of one Dwight Dixon (Stephen Root), one-time paramour to Aunt Vivian, stumble onto a secret that could finally expose Ned and Chuck. That is, if it hadn't been for the help of Itty Bitty herself.

Written by Scott Nimerfro (who previously scripted Season One's "Smell of Success"), last night's episode was another fantastic addition to the Daisies oeuvre, further complicating an already deliciously taut plot involving Chuck's alive again (and on the run) father, Charles Charles, a cover-up (Emerson and Chuck's disposal of Dwight's corpse), and the reappearance of a certain central character whose absence has haunted the Pie Maker his entire life. All this and the first episode of Daisies not to feature Ned's ability. Curious...

So what did I love about last night's oh-so-satisfying episode? Let's grab a cup of Olive's coffee and dive in.

I absolutely loved seeing the gang be the ones under investigation. Much of the series has presented our Pie Holers as investigative sleuths, waking the dead, asking questions, and solving murders, so it was wonderful to see them walking on eggshells as the Norwegian investigators--ably (and hysterically) embodied by Orlando Jones, Ivana Milicevic, and Michael Weaver--began to investigate them. And yet the crack team of Nordic PIs never noticed that lonely tourist Charlotte Charles was alive and working at the Pie Hole, which made their investigation all the more humorous to me.

But even more so I loved that our Norse sleuths had a mobile crime lab that they referred to lovingly as "Mother," but whose full name-- Mobile Investigative Lab Facility--actually forms the hysterical acronym of MILF. Those naughty, naughty Norse.

The biggest surprise, of course, was that it wasn't Charles Charles who came to Olive and Ned's rescue as they dangled over the edge of a cliff after destroying Mother (and the evidence inside) but rather Ned's own father, who seemingly abandoned him as a boy... and then abandoned his half-brothers Maurice and Ralston unexpectedly as well. Could it be that Ned's father has been keeping an eye on him for quite some time (he was, after all, at the Pie Hole once before) and has actually acted as an unseen guardian angel for quite some time now? Hmmm. Methinks his disappearance and reappearance have something to do with those pocket watches that Dwight Dixon was so keen to get his hands on. Just what secret do they unlock? Why was Dwight so keen to get his hands on them? And where has Ned's dad stashed the final one?

I loved that Bryan Fuller and Co. cast the incomparable George Hamilton as Ned's father in the present day. Absolutely wacky casting, but I'd expect nothing less from Pushing Daisies, which has always excelled at selecting some rather zany guest stars. And that Ned's dad went so far as to dig up the coffins of Charles Charles and Chuck, remove Dwight's body, and frame Dwight for the unearthing and burning of their bodies. All of which would seem to indicate that, yes, he has been watching Ned carefully. Could there be a bigger existential reason why he has chosen to remain far away from Ned? One connected to Ned's abilities?

And I was glad that Olive finally buckled under the pressure of being kept out of Ned, Emerson, and Chuck's confidence in a plot that mirrored Lily and Vivian's own ability to excel at keeping secrets from one another. I was beyond happy that Olive finally told Ned that he never looks at her like he does at Chuck and that Ned answered, "I wouldn't say never." Aw.

Plus, I was very pleased that Olive wasn't a really turncoat but rather a "reversible coat" who infiltrated the Norwegian's enterprise in order to sabotage it from the inside out. Throughout the series, Olive as been unerringly trustworthy yet has always remained outside the little circle of knowledge that our troika has formed. I'm happy that Olive stood up for herself and proved that she could be a valuable addition to their team... even if they guys didn't repay her kindness by telling her the whole truth.

What else worked for me? Emerson's explanation of dogs and cats up trees to Vivian when telling her that Dwight was a bad man; the Narrator appropriating Emerson's "oh, hell no"; the revelation that Olive has several long-standing restraining orders in place; Emerson's decoy speech about Shaft and the nature of PI work; Olive's description of her alleged attackers beating her with a blue and yellow sock as they "got high on ABBA and tiny little meatballs"; Vivian's Titanic-esque sketch of Dwight reclining,complete with necklace; Chuck thinking her dad was leaving her messages in the form of buttons; Olive and Ned's game of questions; the set up at Dwight's motel room including the can of fire accelerant and stolen jewels; Vivian standing up to Lily in their conversation about truth; Young Ned in jail after resurrecting that hunter.

Best line of the evening: "Oh, look at that: a dumb idea just found a friend." - Emerson

Tied with: "Waking the dead creates too many unfortunate variables. I'm just taking myself out of the equation." - Ned

All in all, a fantastic episode. I'm not entirely sure that Ned will be able to keep his hands off of dead fruit or dead people, but I am intrigued that he's attempting to go through life with the living rather than focusing on bringing things back from death. Nice touch seeing him cutting the fresh strawberries during his speech to Chuck. Just what that means for their future remains to be seen but it's clear that Ned is finally seeing the consequences of his actions...

Sadly, Pushing Daisies only has three episodes remaining before it disappears (like Chuck's dad) altogether and, as of press time, there are no air dates for those installments. On the next episode ("Window Dressed to Kill"), the team investigates the mysterious death of famed window dresser Erin Embry, Ned discovers that his resurrection abilities have inexplicably fizzled, and Lily and Vivian receive some visitors.


Anonymous said…
I also loved Olive posing as a "reversible coat" as well as the narrator stealing Emerson's "Oh, hell no" line!

And I'm happy to see Ned's father back in the picture and can't wait to see where it all leads (and will be heartbroken if they don't air the final three episodes)!
Anonymous said…
Another great episode. I am definitely going to miss this show. I hope that ABC doesn't do something stupid and not air the last three and make fans wait for the DVD. That would be ridiculous. The George Hamilton reveal was AWESOME.
Unknown said…
Yes! That was totally the best line. "Oh, look at that: a dumb idea just found a friend." I still laugh! (And I can't wait to use it.)

Do we know Ned's last name? Given Charles and Dixon, I wonder if it could be Baker. And his dad could be Bob (or something more ornate and in keeping with the show).

Only 3 left? Wow. My 11yo just started watching with me, and he'll be heartbroken. Or at least disappointed.
Jace Lacob said…
Only three episodes left and, sadly, even the folks at Warner Bros. TV don't know if/when ABC will air them. Fingers crossed that ABC does decide not to leave fans hanging... and waiting for the DVD.

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