Pushing Daisies S01 E03: The Fun in Funeral

This is the episode where we really start to see the show growing into its world and becoming better than the first two episodes promised.

Summary:

We once again flashback to Ned’s childhood to when he first starts experimenting with his powers at his boarding school. Through experimenting with fireflies, Ned learns what I will now be calling the minute, that once he has brought something back to life, he has minute before he must touch them again, otherwise something else will die. After this, he vows to never bring something back for more than a minute (that is until Chuck, of course).

When we come back to the present, we find Ned and Chuck baking pies. The two discuss Chuck’s new-found freedom to become someone new, which leads to Chuck’s questioning why he can only bring someone back for a minute. Ned skillfully avoids this question. This leads to probably one of the most remembered scenes of series when Chuck spontaneously kisses Ned through cling wrap.

Unfortunately, Olive sees this and is distressed. She goes to help a customer, Alfredo, and he comes to find her as a kindred spirit when she admits that it feels like all the oxygen has left the room. Through their conversation, we learn that Alfredo is a travelling alternative pharmaceutical salesman, which will come into play later.

Immediately after, Emerson enter and has a quick conversation with Olive about their mutual dislike of the sudden appearance of Chuck. We’re then moved forward to an explanation of the mystery of the week, though Emerson is much more reluctant than usual with the new intrusion of Chuck into their business. Emerson refuses to tell Ned about the case until he sees the body for himself.

The three then meet up at the morgue and Ned uncovers the body to find that it is the grave robbing funeral director that died in Chuck’s place. Ned runs away without touching the body. Finally, the truth comes out and Ned explains to Chuck that someone had to die in her place in order for her to still be alive. This obviously distresses Chuck.

Afterwards, we move back to the diner and another interaction between Alfredo and Olive. Alfredo shows that he clearly has a connection with Olive as he adeptly understands Olive’s inner feelings without discussion. This mood is broken, though, after he offer her some of his homeopathic medicine.

Emerson and Ned enter the kitchen of the Pie Hole and Emerson explains that he accepted the case to protect Ned from other private investigators and to find the stolen loot that the funeral director, Lawrence, had stolen. The crew then head to the funeral home because Chuck insists that Ned brings Lawrence back so that they can talk with him.

This brings us to a non sequitur where we learn what happened to Chuck’s aunts after the events of the first episode. Getting ready to start a new tour of their synchronized swimming routine, they go to leave their house. Here, they find a belated postcard from their previously dead niece and fall into a bout of depression.

At the funeral home, we learn of Lawrence’s twin brother Lewis and how Lawrence was caught grave robbing. Incredibly angry at Lawrence, the families of the deceased confronted the brother, leading to Lewis believing that he was murdered. Of course, Lewis insists that Lawrence never confessed to where he had hidden the treasures. After Lewis’s departure, Ned  touches Lawrence and apologizes while Emerson asks where the treasure is. Lawrence tells him that grave robbing was a family business and that Lewis had actually hidden the treasures.

After a fight with a casket to touch Lawrence the second time, Chuck breaks down, now distraught that she had learned that her aunts had fallen into depression again (learning this from Lewis before he left). Even though Ned sympathizes with Chuck, he insists that they cannot visit them. The trio then head back to the Pie Hole to go through the pile of hate mail for the funeral director brothers.

While sorting through the hate mail, Alfredo notices Chuck’s somber mood and offers a free sample of his wares. She agrees, but decides to bake them into pies that she could send to her aunts instead. Unfortunately, the aunts’ house is outside the delivery route, so Olive decides to deliver it herself.

That same morning, Chuck explains to Ned that she understands the emotional turmoil that Ned has been going through with this case and attempts to make amends. This is cut short as Ned finds the dead body of Lewis in his freezer.

After this, we jump to Olive’s story as she delivers the special pie to Chuck’s aunts. She is invited inside and learns that they are the famous Darling Mermaid Darlings. This leads to Olive’s discovery that Chuck is the thought to be dead lonely tourist Charlotte Charles. This shocks her, but doesn’t tell the aunts of Chuck’s new life.

We jump back to Ned and Chuck as they try to move the body before the cops come to investigate. This leads to Ned waking the dead and finding out that he died choking while being confronted about a missing Civil War heirloom. Because of her meticulous reading of the threatening mail, Chuck knows exactly who it was. The trio head back to the funeral home to return the body and learn more.

At the funeral home, Ned comes to find the confronter, William Woodruff. This leads to a sword fight between the two. During the fight, we learn that he was trying to frame Ned for Lewis’s death because he was afraid that he would face the blame. Surprisingly, Ned wins the swordfight and accidentally uncovers the hidden treasure that was behind a curtain in the basement.

During the epilogue, we find that Alfredo had left a romantic gesture for Olive, William was arrested, and Ned and Chuck return the stolen items.

Pros:

-There was a lot of great development for the characters in this episode.

-Anna Friel’s performances during her sad scenes were amazing. She can really sell the characters emotions.

-The cling wrap scene was very cute and well executed.

-Further development between the relationship between Olive and Emerson was much needed.

-The introduction of Alfredo leads to the hope of a more rounded character for Olive.

-Continuing of backstories for minor characters is great.

Cons:

-The mystery is again disappointing compared to later episodes.

-The audience couldn’t play along with the mystery like other episodes.

Overall:

This is a great episode for being so early in the series. The continuing introduction of Chuck’s conflicting emotions with Ned and her new life was beautifully handled and felt incredibly genuine. The reintroduction of the aunts was great and allowed for better plotlines for Olive outside of her puppy love for Ned. Alfredo’s introduction was strange but also helped to further Olive’s character. My only real problem was the disconnected nature of the narrative of this episode. There were a lot of jumps between the various, unconnected stories going on, making it tiring to retain attention. But this was only really a problem, because of the multiple times I have watched this episode.

Rating:

8/10 Daisies

Thomas Degroat

A student majoring in Neuroscience, art is a second passion to him. He is particularly fond of analyzing film, theater, television, and literature. If he had not found love within science, he would most assuredly be a Comparative Literature major. His review inspirations are Lindsay Ellis, Rantasmo, and Chris Stuckman.

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