Saturday, February 6, 2010

Season 1: Death Casts a Spell

A hypnotist is murdered, found in a locked hotel room of hypnotized reporters. No one remembers a thing. Jess goes for a jog in this episode, gets hypnotized, and jumps on the back of a motorcycle to chase a suspect. Just another classic episode of MSW!


Calistro is a famous hypnotist who has beautiful young blondes “completely under his spell.” This, admittedly, makes him an unpopular fellow. Especially when people’s wives and dignity are concerned. So Joe, the owner of the hotel in Lake Tahoe where Calistro performs, (and the husband of a blonde done wrong) wants him out! There’s bad blood, a giant tub of hotel silverware is knocked over, and I just can’t get over the fact that hotels used to put this sort of entertainment on stage. Thank god for DVR. Jess is visiting said hotel under the guise of meeting her editor. Instead of finding her editor, Joan meets her. This ambitious copy editor wants to pitch a new book to our famous author. She should have saved herself the trip, Jess sees through these schemes like moms hear swear words. It’s not until Calistro arranges for a hypnotist session with a group of reporters that things turn… murderous! He is found dead in his hotel room, stabbed in the back. The reporters invited to his session are all hypnotized, no one witnessed the crime. “I understand you were outside when the murder took place Ms. Fletcher,” our Lieutenant says. Fella, you have NO idea…


Sherry Diamond—Former Vegas stripper (on a trapeze, this is important later... promise). She admits that Calistro was often hard to work with. After an elaborate set up, we find out that Ms. Diamond is pretty scared of heights, an inconvenient phobia for a trapeze artist.

Joe Caligen—Angry boss-man-hotel-owner, held a grudge against Calistro for making his wife do some very silly things under hypnosis. Reminds me of the actor from “Elf” and “Misery.”

Gina Caligen-- I’m just making up this spelling, BTW. They often get fanciful with naming these side characters. Gina gets manhandled by Joe after Calistro makes her look silly on stage. Then she’s later roughed up by Joe’s henchmen. Me thinks a quickie divorce and restraining order is the way to go here, but Gina seems stuck in a no-win situation. Jess catches her making a cash payment to one of Joe’s henchmen (this is after Jess jumps on a motorcycle in hot pursuit), a pay off for a successful hit?

Bud Michaels—Washed up journalist. Held a grudge against Calistro after some previous run-ins over libel articles in jolly old England. Pretended to be drunk the night of the demonstration (I have no idea how Jess knows this), and was conveniently elsewhere at the time. Was he in the hotel room, murdering his old nemesis?

Andy Townsend—Tabloid journalist. Or so he says! He certainly didn’t respond to that name when Jess calls to him in the hotel lobby. He was in the room during the murder, but did not remember a thing…

Famous Actors

Well HELLO there Michelle Phillips. Our former “Mama” of “The Mamas & The Papas” fame plays the young, tempestuous Gina. She gets manhandled a lot in this epi, which is kind of intense for MSW. Anyways, she looks really good. Purple eye shadow notwithstanding.

80's Baby

Calistro wears a white leisure suit. With a cranberry mock turtleneck. I think this is more of a disco throwback, but he acts quite dapper in it. Actually, truth be told he doesn’t look all that bad. More 80’s exercise equipment, all of which looks like spray-painted chrome torture equipment. Which, in fact, it probably was.

The End?

Gina readily admits to Jess that she is being blackmailed (these confessions require the suspect to turn away from Jess and pour a drink from a crystal tumbler). Turns out she was “involved” with Calistro, who could easily be close to 70 in this epi. Ok, suspend belief. She was being blackmailed by Joe’s crony to keep the affair from him.

With that suspect out of the running, Jess still can’t figure out how the murder was committed, so she sets up a good old MSW fake out. In other words, a hypnotist session with Andy Townsend! During the session, Andy recalls seeing our former trapeze artist Sherry enter the room and kill Calistro. This is conveniently the same story that Joan planted to fellow journalist Bud Michaels. Coincidence? I think not. Andy used earplugs to block out Calistro’s voice. This is why he didn’t hear Jess in the lobby, and was impervious to Calistro's hypnotist session. He waited until his back was turned, and struck, the perfect crime! Until Jess cracked it, that is. Turns out Andy’s dad got his career destroyed alongside Bud Michaels, also at the hands of that villain Calistro! After his father committed suicide, Andy plotted revenge. We end with a kiss on the hand from the Lieutenant, “I’ll call you the next time a mystery is on my hands!” and a last ditch effort from Joan to pitch her novel. Jess scrunches up her nose, freeze frame!


Kitten said...

James Caan??

Your recap made me LOL. Especially: "Jess sees through these schemes like moms hear swear words". Elsie, you are the queen of the 1-liners!

I can't believe I haven't seen this episode! Sounds like a doozy.

Elsie said...

YES! James Caan, except not because that would make James Caan like 100. This was one I had never seen before, it does happen from time to time.

Kitten said...

Have you seen James Caan in anything recently? He totally could be broaching 100 years old.

Elsie said...