As the gang investigates a fishy odor expert, they learn that Chuck has the odor of death; plus, Olive helps the aunts experience a little aquatic happiness
Anna Friel, Pushing Daisies
Credit: Scott Garfield

”Pushing Daisies” recap: Sniffing out a crime

What are you people doing on Don’t you have turkeys to baste? Stuffing to stuff? Pies to…well, you did come to the right place for pies. We’re speaking, of course, of young Ned and his pastry predilections. How sad to see the little guy in last night’s episode, baking all alone in that industrial boarding-school kitchen and curling up around the fruits (ha) of his labor in his narrow little boarding-school bed. But then, a special Thanksgiving treat — not just pies, but Pee-wee! More on that later.

Are we the only ones confused by Chuck’s plan to build a honeybee empire? Isn’t there already enough sweetness between these two crazy lovebirds? Though honestly I was totally swayed by the idea of her cup pies with honey-baked crust. Nobody says no to snack-size pies. Frankly, I’m surprised anyone says no to Olive, though, either, so what do I know? Ned (and his rolling pin) have no interest in her romantic overtures, and Chuck’s aunts were unresponsive to her machinations to get them back in the water — though she did summon a magnificent grin/gassy grimace from Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) and eventually led them back, a little indirectly, to the holy waters. But still, is she not the cutest little mermaid since Daryl Hannah? Though the idea of Chuck with a Quasimodo bell around her neck is pretty adorable too.

I know you all have noted it before, but I really saw it this episode: Why aren’t Chuck and Ned more concerned about actually touching? I swear every week they’re like drunks on a subway car, weaving and leaning toward each other as if life and death weren’t at stake. But speaking of death, how great was it that after our Murder of the Week, a poor, crispy-fried olfactory-science assistant named Anita (“Pungent, like fried chicken grilled on a bed of hair,” as Emerson so succinctly put it) led our principals to Napoleon LeNez, the Smell Maestro, he nailed each of them by sniff test. Though Emerson got the most elaborate diagnosis (“aftershave, antacids, cash, yarn — you’re a knitting detective!”), Napoleon did note that Chuck smells like “honey and death.” And speaking also of death, the aunts referenced Chuck’s mom’s shuffling from this mortal coil, but they didn’t say how. Do you all have any guesses? I’m thinking it was something ridiculously exotic and fruity colored, eventually to be revealed. But I don’t know if anything could be more terrifying than having the bearskin rug one is enjoying “intimate relations” on come back to life. No wonder Ned doesn’t have a lot of ex-girlfriends.

So back to Pee-wee! (I know: He’s also the respected actor known as Paul Reubens. I’m just biased by my childhood.) The bad guy turned good guy who graced this very special episode as a sort of mad olfactory professor (with a perm?) who lives in the sewers like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle — or, as Chuck noted, a cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller. (Another nice Emerson moment: “I hope they like white meat.”) And yes, they solved the crime, and yes it was the original smell guy, Napoleon, (who, like so many other bad guys on the show, employed the classic James Bond Movie Villian Method of Slow and Escapable Murder, this time by gas), but honestly, I’m just stuck on that magnificent musical finale with the aunts. Cat Stevens’ “Morning Has Broken,” with the pair dressed like gorgeously kooky boxes of very special aquatic chow mein? A true world of synchronized magic. Also can it be that Pee-wee will return? I figured the scene with Ned putting cup pies on the menu and his and Chuck’s hug by proxy was an appropriate note to end on, but no! Reubens got the last laugh (sniff?). As the narrator said, “It was not so much the telling as it was the smelling.” Having detected Chuck’s indescribable undead odor, he needs to know more.

So what do you think, readers? Will he be the one to blow her back-to-life cover? Or will the aunts get to the truth first? Chew on that over your turkey, and give us your theories!

Episode Recaps

Pushing Daisies
  • TV Show