Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Season 1: Lovers and Other Killers

You know, if this snow keeps up I’m going to make quick work of all 12 seasons. Ok, still snowing. Onward!

This is one of my all time favorite epis, because it involves a handsome young man with an unyielding attraction to Jess, and the ending is DARK, very dark. Ok maybe not that dark. MSW dark.

Synopsis

Jessica is in Seattle, visiting her friend Dr. Edmund Gerard for a university lecture (her first!). She arrives off the plane alongside two Chinese nuns, holding a baby…. Yeah I have no words. Anyway, back at the university she meets Amelia, Dr Gerard’s secretary. Jess is in need of a secretary of her own, and Amelia hooks her up with handsome David Tolliver (replete with dimples). David is hired, and takes Jess out for a night on the town. The romantic night is ruined, however, when Lieutenant Andrews meets them in the lobby. Apparently, David is wanted in connection with the murder of a mature, rich woman by the name of Allison Bervard. Ignoring the obvious, Jess comes to the aid of her young secretary. Personally, I learned the lesson about very handsome, seemingly perfect men and “the truth” in college. But we all have our learning curves.

But we aren’t done with the murders. Jess gets a call from Lilia, a student with a shady reputation. After Jess meets her in an abandoned warehouse, she barely croaks out a few works before collapsing dead. After David is released from questioning, he divulges that they were lovers, together on the night of Bervard’s murder. This provides him with an oh-so-convenient alibi, which Jess is eager to accept. While Jess nurses her crush (it’s hard out there for a widow), here are our…

Suspects

Amelia— Dr Gerard’s secretary (you know the drill, the help do not get last names), nursing a very strong crush toward her employer. And in MSW land, women in love are the equivalent of a locked-and-loaded automatic!

David Tolliver— Grad student turned Jessica’s secretary. Tells Jess he just can’t STAND women his age, then gently strokes her hand. God I love this episode. Anyway, he is undeniably creepy, and seems to have more extra cash on hand than your average grad student. But does creepiness + money always = murder? (yes!?)

Todd Lowrey—Fellow professor who spends his time boinking students, including the resident slut (really, there is no other term for how this character is played), Lila Schroeder. He’s married, a secret which Lila may or may not have found out about. Would he kill her in order to keep things a secret?

Lilia Schroeder—Makes threatening calls to Jess in order to clear David’s name. Tries to wear an outfit virtually identical to that portrayed in the famous Farrah Fawcett poster. Tries, does not succeed. As a former conquest of David’s, was she driven mad by jealousy to murder her rival, Allison Bervard?

Famous Actors

Peter Graves, and the only reason I know this is because he is listed as “guest star.” Anyway, he has a “Mission Impossible” connection to another famous guest star, Martin Landau. Graves also starred in a variety of movies skewered by MST3K. Best. Show. Ever.

80's Baby

Evening gowns that look like your grandma’s nighty! Only in the 80’s my friend. Also, THESE days we call “Secretaries” Administrative Assistants. Massive fail on the PC side of things MSW...

The End?

In Jess’s guest lecture, she lets the students play, “Plan a Murder” (this is a far cry from my Russian Literature class, just sayin). She puts Professor Lowrey in the hot seat, and determines he was with his wife at the time of Lila’s murder. Back at the hotel, Jess finds a note from David on the fridge. Yes, the fridge, the first place we all look. This directs Jess to an “urgent” meeting with Professor Lowrey. Jess heads to the meeting, finding an “out of order” sign on the elevator (a nod to Agatha Christie’s “Towards Zero”). Having not read that classic, Jess slowly climbs the stairs. Which sucks because when she reaches the top she gets pushed RIGHT back down again. She also falls really slowly, which made me think Jess did her own stunt, but on rewind it’s clearly a body double. Oh well. David conveniently comes to her rescue.

So at the hospital Dr. Gerrard confesses that Lila was with HIM on the night of Allison Bervard’s murder (geez Lila, just… geez). This means David’s alibi is once again suspect. So Dr. Gerrand and Lila spent the night together, but were almost run off the road by a very specific type of car. Then Lieutenant Andrews shows up saying David is off the hook for Bervard’s murder, apparently deemed a jewel-theft gone wrong. The pieces are falling together, and when David shows up in her hotel unannounced, Jess really lets him have it. Kind of. Jess is convinced all this love triangle twaddle is at the heart of things, and makes a visit to our sweet secretary, Amelia. One quick MSW set up later, she unravels the truth. It was Amelia’s car that nearly ran the lovers off the road (it was specific, remember?). Amelia was wild, mad with jealousy! As mad as a woman who wears a female tie can be! Whew, this one is long. Anyway, Amelia was behind the calls luring Jess to her slow stair fall.

But we don’t end with Amelia, we end with David at the airport (blissfully pre-9/11). David divulges his feelings, he is “enormously attracted” to Jessica, “drawn to mature women!” But Jess is done with the sweet talking. She’s wised up, learned her college lesson. “Who will I be in your next book? A killer, suspect?” He asks her, turning on that boyish charm. “I don’t know, I haven’t made up my mind yet.” OH! Snap. We end with a very steely look from David. MSW dark, told ya.

19 comments:

Kitten said...

It's a rare episode that doesn't end with a freeze frame of Angela Lansbury laughing...very dark indeed!

Fave quotes:
"Personally, I learned the lesson about very handsome, seemingly perfect men and “the truth” in college. But we all have our learning curves."

And

"Amelia was wild, mad with jealousy! As mad as a woman who wears a female tie can be!"

Tres excellent. And even a MST3K shout out!

Elsie said...

I also love the open question of David's true role in Allison's death, WAS he the man in the ski mask doing her in at the start of the epi? MSW leaves it for YOU to decide. This is one of the best IMO.

sophia said...

i just watched this ep on insta-netflix and that ending freeze frame totally wigged me out! naturally i went to the internet for help, and thankfully found your blog. i feel much better now!

also of note in this episode: that part from the intro where she shoots the fake gun and it says "BANG!" So cute!

Joshua said...

Personally, my favorite part was how he gives her a giant stuffed polar bear like he just won it playing balloon darts at the fair. And she takes it with her on the plane! I imagine her cutting it open to find a human heart inside. Also for a male secretary who loves worldly, confident, smart women 35 years older than him isn't this a super infantilizing gift?

rexscribarum said...

I just watched this episode and was looking up some info about it when I came across your blog. What a great idea!

Peter Graves is one of my favorite actors. I thought I'd let you know that Greg Morris, who played Lt. Andrews in this episode, also starred in "Mission: Impossible" alongside Graves.

Elsie said...

Totes agree Rex, the Gravester is amaze! Thanks for reading.

Persephone Jones said...

So glad I found a few kindred spirits when it comes to MSW and in particular the episode "Lovers and Other Killers." I looove this episode. It may be my all-time favorite. I'm a horror-suspense-thriller-mystery fan. I think few other episodes (if any) compare when it comes to the creep factor. Truly spine-tingling at the end. I wish the writers had written up more like this one. Loved the show then and now.

Elsie said...

Persephone you win the awesome name award for the week! Thanks for reading.

terry said...

I always wished they came back to this one. Perhaps they planned on it---
David Tolliver would have made a great serial killer.

Jorja Tabu said...

Thank you for doing this! Awesome idea. I came across your blog because I too, like so many before me, wondered whatever became of the David thread in Jessica's world. I'm bummed he didn't creep his way back into another epi, but the comment suggesting there's a human heart inside that teddy made up for it :) Thank you again for this brilliant blog!

Elsie said...

Thanks for stopping by Jorja! We heart MSW more than your average bear.

Miniatures by MsDee said...

Wow, that a cool site. I love Jessica to pieces. Just a comment, I never saw the "love" light in Jessies eyes for young David. He may have been courting her, but she was not responding. Regarding the slut being poisoned...looked literally like she was stabbed to death, by the red spot on her back. LOL Also Prof Lowery said a speeding car not a specific car tried to run them off the road. But I do imagine that young David did try to kill Jessica, as he was wearing a dark sweater as he passed her by on the stairs and yep he did have a hateful stare in those baby blues as the credits began to roll. Thanks for your take on it, very amusing.

Elsie said...

Welcome MsDee. This remains one of my fav MSW epis of all time for this very reason! Lots of lingering questions. Thanks for reading!

Andrew said...

Just watched this episode and had to go to the internet to find out what the deal was about that strange, decidedly un-MSW like ending. The human heart in the teddy bear comment above... c'est magnifique. Personally, I think David is the Green River Killer.

Elsie said...

Totes agree Andrew. I've yet to watch another epi with a similar dark bent.

Debsjen said...

I watched this episode a few days back on 13th street, I had seen it before and I was wondering like so many if they ever brought David back since I couldn't remember if they did. Sadly I see they did not, except for in "Double Exposure" but that was as an entire different character, played by the same actor.

But yeah this episode could have well played throughout the seasons, at least a few, handsome creepy dangerous young men are always interesting to watch >.o

Elsie said...

Debsjen, MSW is notorious for re-using actors! I concur, I would love to have seen David reappear, and this time for Jess to push HIM down the stairs.

Unknown said...

One of the best MSW ever! Too bad it was essentially a one off.

Elsie said...

Can't you see the head writer going "too dark, we ain't doing that again." If head writers used the word "ain't" that is.