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Episode 109: Corpsicle

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Corpsicle
Air Date December 12, 2007
Written by Lisa Joy
Director Brian Dannelly
Next episode "Bzzzzzzzz!"


It’s Christmas, and Emerson and Ned investigate the death of an adjuster from Über-Life Life Insurance who was found in a snow bank. Their investigation leads them to the home of Abner Newsome, a 14-year-old in need of a new heart, literally and figuratively. Meanwhile, Oscar Vibenius continues his attempt to figure out Chuck’s secret.

Synopsis

When Chuck’s father, Charles Charles, died Ned and his mother waited with her for Chuck’s aunts, Lily and Vivian, to arrive. Lily didn’t embrace Charlotte, but she later embraced Ned when he came over to report his mother had died. Ned was then taken away by his father as Chuck chased after him, calling his name.

Ned looks for Chuck, who has fled into the wintry night after being told that Ned killed her father. He goes to the aunts’ house, who invite him in. The house is cold because Charlotte was the one who used to light the furnace. Once Ned gets it going, he asks them to report of any strange signs of Chuck's presence. Lily mentions she imagined seeing Chuck once and dismisses Ned. He then goes to see Olive but she says she doesn’t know where Chuck is. After she sends him away, she goes inside to talk to Chuck, who is hiding in her apartment. Olive insists on an explanation for Chuck's supposed death and Chuck gives her the truth, but Olive doesn’t believe her. Olive reveals the aunts are swimming again. Olive offers to make a pie for the aunts, and Chuck gives her the herbal mood-enhancer, which she says is vanilla.

Ned tells Emerson what he did and the detective wonders if Chuck will go to the news. Emerson tells Ned to drop the matter with Chuck and help with a new investigation: Victor Narramore, an insurance adjuster for Über-Life Life Insurance who was found frozen to death. Ned brings the man back and he reveals that someone hit him with a baseball bat with the word “kindness” scratched into it. In life he had to decide who gets organ transplants, but Ned is more concerned about Chuck. He’s unaware that she’s on the apartment roof with Oscar Vibenius. Oscar gives Chuck her mother's sweater back but asks for a sample of her hair, having already taken some from Digby. Oscar notes that Chuck and Digby both have a unique odor and suggests she knows a lot about death.

Ned begins to suspect Olive is lying about knowing Chuck’s whereabouts. Emerson arrives and reveals three of the people Narramore turned down for organs are still viable. One of them, Abner Newsome, needed a new heart but Ned doesn’t want to talk to the boy. Ned goes to Olive’s apartment and finds Chuck, who understands Ned didn’t kill her father deliberately but wants him to leave. Instead she leaves a message in the sewer, asking Oscar to meet her on the roof.

Emerson goes to talk to Abner Newsome and his mother Emma. Abner isn’t upset that Narramore died and doesn’t have anything useful to add. As Emerson leaves, he spots a corpse frozen in a snowman on the front yard.

Emerson takes Ned to the morgue but notes that his partner is more worried about Chuck. Ned revives the corpse, which is Über-Life Life Insurance adjuster Bill Richter. Richter reveals he was also killed with a bat and they should talk to Kevin Vanden Eykel, his carpooler who yelled out a warning before he died. They go to Über-Life and end up talking to Steve Kaiser, who says that Kevin has disappeared and they assume he’s dead as well. Bill, Victor, and Kevin all rejected Abner for a heart transplant, and it’s clear that Kaiser is upset at the situation but can’t approve a transplant due to the high chance Abner won’t survive.

Oscar meets Chuck on the roof and speculates that she may have been brought back to life based on her odor. He notes that it isn’t unusual for people to come back from death and tries to get her to tell her secret. She asks for a pair of scissors and gives him a piece of her hair to smell.

Ned and Emerson go back to see Abner and Emma, suspecting that Kevin’s body will show up frozen. Madeline McLean from the Wish-A-Wish Foundation arrives with a monkey friend, Bobo the bonobo, but Abner doesn’t have any wishes for her to fulfill. Emerson and Ned stake out the Newsome house that night but Ned is still concerned and thinks he should bring back Chuck’s father so she can say goodbye to him. Emerson doesn't think that is a good idea. Emerson reveals he has a daughter and tells Ned to not ask about her. They are both unaware that someone has secretly sealed off their exhaust pipe with a potato.

The next morning, Ned barely wakes up with the car filled with carbon monoxide fumes. He gets Emerson out, who is relieved to be alive (and not just brought back to life by Ned), but they spot a new snowman in the Newsome yard.

Olive goes to visit the aunts and bring the new pie, unaware that she overdosed it with the herbal mood-enhancer because she thought it was a weak-tasting vanilla. Olive reacts when Lily says she’s seen Charlotte’s "ghost".

Meanwhile, Chuck makes pies and wonders what Oscar might discover. He arrives and gives her back her hair as a gesture of trust, and to give her the chance to tell him her secret. She realizes there’s only one person she wants to talk to about her secret, and that’s Ned.

Lily finishes off the entire pie and starts hallucinating the decorations coming to life. She points out there’s no vanilla in the pie, making Olive wonder exactly what was the secret ingredient.

Meanwhile, Emerson and Ned watch the coroners remove Kevin’s body, while Emerson realizes that Emma was peeling potatoes like the one in their exhaust pipe. They prepare to touch Kevin’s body but the coroners drop it and it shatters, and Ned refuses to bring it back. They go inside to find that Abner has been rejected yet again for a heart. Emma mentions that McLean asked for the name of the adjuster who refuses Abner’s most recent transplant request, which was Steve Kaiser. Ned and Emerson realize McLean is the killer and head for Über-Life, while McLean pulls into the parking lot where Kaiser is getting into his car.

Ned and Emerson close in on McLean while Ned tries to find out more about Emerson’s daughter. McLean takes a swing at Kaiser and just misses, then pins him down to deliver the final blow. Ned and Emerson confront her but she pulls a gun and says her job is to grant wishes. It turns out that McLean was depressed that Abner had no wishes for her to grant, until he said he wanted the insurance adjusters who rejected him to drop dead.

However, they’re unaware that Bobo the bonobo is playing with the gearshift in McLean's van and runs her over. She’s killed, but her heart is intact and Abner receives it as a transplant.

Ned goes to the cemetery to find Chuck at her father’s grave. She admits she feels better and asks Ned to bring her father back to life, but Ned refuses to be responsible for killing him again. Only one of Chuck’s wishes is granted that night: Lily hallucinates floating mermaids and talks about how she secretly made snow angels in the back yard for the young Charlotte. The mermaid is Olive, and Lily reveals that she is actually Charlotte’s mother.

Additional Info

Notes

  • This was the last episode script handed in before the WGA strike. Before the start of the strike, many rewrites (many, if not all, written by series creator Bryan Fuller) were done so that this episode could function as the season finale. Therefore, the first season only lasted nine episodes, only 13 episodes short of the episodes ordered by ABC.

Trivia

  • While Chuck is in the cemetery, she comments she has no headstone, and that "they" wait a year for the permanent marker. It is Jewish tradition to have an "unveiling" of the headstone on the first-year anniversary of the person's death, which ties in with Emerson's comments in the pilot episode about Chuck's family burying her so quickly (again, according to Jewish tradition).
  • In this episode, Chuck's father's name is revealed to be Charles Charles, in keeping with the running gag of redundancies.

Goofs

  • Bobo is called a bonobo monkey by both Ned and Madeline McLean. However, a bonobo is actually a species of chimpanzee (a member of the great ape family) and not a monkey. The animal that plays Bobo is not a bonobo at all but some type of monkey.
  • As the camera pans down to the body of Victor Narramore from above the snowplow, the reflection of the camera is visible in the windshield.

Music

  • In this holiday-themed episode, some Christmas classics were peppered throughout the score. Olive and Emerson's themes were replaced with sexy saxophone and vibraphone renditions, respectively, of "Jingle Bells". Also featured were Jim Dooley arrangements of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and "March" from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker.

Cultural References

  • When Emerson returns to the Newsomes' house with Ned we see a view down a road leading from the house. This is the exact same view that Bill Murray as Phil woke up to every morning in the film Groundhog Day.
  • Emerson says to the Newsomes "We're going to be outside to catch the iceman when he cometh." This is a reference to Eugene O'Neill's famous play The Iceman Cometh.
  • Olive says to Ned, "I also heard you walking the streets, moaning [Chuck's] name like something out of a Tennessee Williams." She is most likely referring to A Streetcar Named Desire, a play written by Tennessee Williams, that has the famous line, "Hey, STELLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" which was made famous by Marlon Brando both on Broadway and in the film version.

Cast

Regulars

Guest starring

Co-Starring


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