”Pushing Daisies” recap: Chuck’s cold shoulder
Welcome back! After a one-week hiatus, we returned to our land of fantasy, sexy necrophilia, and pie. In the last episode’s cliff-hanger, Ned could hold his tongue no longer and confessed to Chuck his inadvertent killling of her father. In this episode we were, for once, treated to an opening scene not in Ned’s draconian boarding school but in Chuck’s own idyllic childhood yard, where she played amidst a Claymation kingdom that reminded me of nothing so much as the amazing Peter Jackson make-believe scenes in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures. Anyhow, Chuck’s dad, as we already knew, keeled over once Ned revived his mother, only to touch her again hours later — leaving them both minus a parent and finding comfort in the arms of the aunts. Until, of course, Ned was carted off to the evil boarding school. As the narrator darkly (and, technically, accurately) intoned, ”Chuck would not see him again for as long as she lived.”
Cut to grown-up land, as poor Ned wandered the streets like a lovesick puppy, calling Chuck’s name, looking for her at the aunts’ house and at Olive’s apartment, where the latter scolded him to buck up. ”It may be romantic,” she said, ”but it’s not dignified.” Unsurprisingly, Emerson was less than thrilled with Ned’s ”word vomit” as well. (And for those of you looking for a fashion update, this week Olive’s uniform was lime, with white stripes!) Meanwhile, she happily harbored the fugitive Chuck, who was hiding out from Ned and a little bit adrift. When Olive pestered her for the truth behind her faked death and their cahoots (insurance scam?), Chuck’s ”I died. He brought me back to life. Is that cahoots enough for you?” was of course roundly ignored.
Okay, so onward to the murder of the week, and of course the city morgue, where Emerson sweetly dubbed the coroner’s holiday sweater ”uglier than a chipmunk’s ass.” Insurance adjuster Victor Narramore, a freezer-burned little popsicle of a corpse (hence the episode’s title, ”Corpsicle”), woken long enough to recall his death, knew only the how, not the who. And how was he killed? With kindness! Or, more accurately, a baseball bat inscribed with that word, now writ backward across his poor frozen forehead.
Speaking of fashions, what the fonk was Paul Reubens wearing? We’re happy to see him back, but good lord, that mossy metallic leather ensemble, the lumberjack shirt, the kicky Phil Spector perm…wow. And he’s also the Digby bum shaver, no less. Unfathomably, Chuck didn’t feel like giving him a hunk of her hair for his creepy purposes, but it did allow for some witty repartee. Also cute? Ned and Olive’s question-with-a-question back and forth.
A little more fraught was Chuck and Ned’s inevitable meeting, in which Chuck bemoaned Ned’s fickle finger, the one that took her father so cruelly before his time. Still, her comparison to him playing with a gun doesn’t really seem fair. He touched his mother because she was dead and he still had no understanding of the consequences. Usually, an 8-year-old knows the danger of a big bullet-packed weapon, but not of a fickle finger that happens to bring the dead to life. Still, Chuck said she did have to hate him ”a little bit for a little while.”
And who was Emerson investigating? None other than actress Julia Campbell, a.k.a. Christy Masters, the high school ice queen you loved to hate in Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. Maybe that was just me? Anyway, she and her son, Abner, waiting for a new heart, made for a memorably vicious pair, didn’t they? Their festive front-yard snowman just happened to contain a corpse, this one yet another jolly insurance adjuster — who, alas, brought his postmortem questioning to a premature end when he chucked Ned on the chin to relieve the latter’s heartache.
Also blasted from the past this episode? Murphy Brown‘s Grant Shaud, as, you guessed it, another insurance guy. I wasn’t sure who that Wish-a-Wish lady was, but she seemed familiar too — IMDB says she was played by Audrey Wasilewski, the kindly neighbor on HBO’s Big Love. Never met the bonobo, however (which was actually played by a monkey). There was another kooky murder attempt against Emerson and Ned — this time, a potato in their tailpipe. Nice reference to a Coen brothers film, Emerson! (Blood Simple.) Poor Wish-a-Wish Madeline, eventually revealed to be our killer (she couldn’t say no to little Abner’s wish that his unhelpful insurance adjusters would drop dead), was taken out by her pet monkey, though Chuck was denied her wish to have her father brought back to life for one brief minute of closure. But watchers wishing for a big reveal sure got it: Aunt Lily (Swoosie Kurtz), way high on enhanced pie, confessed to Olive that she is…drumroll…Chuck’s real mother!
So, what does that mean for future episodes? Will Olive tell? How did you all feel about Chuck having her secret — and her hair — coaxed from her and then pulling back at the last minute? Will this be her only temptation? And when will we meet Emerson Cod’s daughter? Weigh in, dear readers.