On a Halloween-themed episode, Olive's past life as a jockey comes back to haunt her; meanwhile, Ned and Chuck deal with their childhood traumas

By Leah Greenblatt
Updated November 01, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Scott Garfield
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”Pushing Daisies” recap: A ghost stalks Olive

Trick or treat, daisy pushers! In this Halloween-themed episode, we returned as usual to Ned’s boarding-school youth — only this time, it all rhymed. How adorable/annoying! (Please circle one.) Anyway, we learned that Ned’s grieving, widowed dad is actually a word that rhymes with…masshole, having gone on and started a new prefab family, complete with wife and little boys, while poor Ned remained in Hogwarts-esque limbo. The fact that Ned witnessed this with his own bed-sheet-shrouded eyes on All Hallow’s Eve has made him, as a grown-up, ”moodier than a pumpkin full of PMS,” according to Olive, come said holiday.

Olive, of course, was thrilled to lord this knowledge of Ned’s psyche over Chuck, who was busy covering the pie shop in seasonal skeletons and such. Then Olive let slip, ”I scream, you scream, we all scream ’cause you faked your death!” After all, to Olive, what other explanation could there be? Poor Chuck was left to imagine that knowledge literally blowing her poor aunts’ minds.

As Olive celebrated her temporary victory (and how amazing is it that even her TV remote is Pepto pink?), she learned of a very real death, however — in the form of a jockey turned blacksmith taken out by a serious horseshoe trampling. It seems Olive, too, was once a jockey, and a hefty chunk of cash — ”think of it as an escrow…between my thighs” says our detective — got her an investigation into her old colleague’s death. Only Chuck could decipher the dead man’s horse-induced speech impediment, and we were left with the possibility that the killer was the ghost of a jockey named John Joseph Jacobs, cruelly trampled in the 2000 Jock-Off. A check-in at a horsey hangout called the Saddle Sore Saloon (no one over 60 inches, please!) made it appear that Jacobs was knocking off his Jock-Off competitors one by one, much to Olive’s chagrin. And what’s in his tomb? A horse with no name! Now if that’s not the cue for a sing-along, we don’t know what is. Come on, you two: ”In the desert [or dessert — pie shop!], you can’t remember your name….”

Annnyway, back to the stables, where Chuck and the detective met up with a strange case of oyster crackers, which we were hoping would be a good clue, seeing as how they were also sprinkled about the tombstone. This show doesn’t really go in for red herrings, so we assumed it was. Ned’s return to his decrepit childhood home was just plain sad, but the zingers flying between the detective, Olive, and Chuck at the door of the dead jockey’s mom (veteran character actress Barbara Barrie) cheered us back up. And so did Barrie’s passive-aggressive (aggressive-aggressive?) put-downs.

Ned’s visit to the aunts revealed that Swoosie Kurtz agrees — his dad was a jackass! And that the aunts miss Chuck terribly. But we could have done without more stamped-face horsey murder victims. It’s actually kind of gross, isn’t it? But now, we got why the episode was titled ”Girth”! That’s some sort of racing apparatus. Or something. And cutting it is how they killed poor John Joseph.

By the way, you guys have ruined Lee Pace’s eyebrows for me. I can’t stop staring at those crazy little caterpillars. But back to John Joseph: Who is that actor? My advance copy doesn’t have the credits (I know, poor me), but I believe it was Hamish Linklater, the brother from The New Adventures of Old Christine. He’s a doll.

Did you all guess Mama Jacobs was the real killer? The rescue scenario did get Olive one brief smooch with Ned, which was a bit of a moment. Also, how do we feel about the full-circle ending, with Chuck going ghostly under a sheet to visit her dear aunts? I actually thought it was touching, but this situation of not knowing can’t drag on forever, can it? At least Chuck’s got a female friend now, it seems, in Olive. Though Ned may continue to be the monkey wrench in that equation.

What else about this week’s episode made you want to gather round the watercooler, readers?

Episode Recaps

Pushing Daisies

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