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|Air Date||October 8, 2008|
|Written by||Peter Ocko|
|Next episode||"Bad Habits"|
We find our crime-solving and pie-making heroes solving a mystery in the most unlikeliest of places: the circus.
76 days after being taken to the Longborough School for Boys, Young Ned flees the school with Digby and travels through the woods. He comes across Ms. Moss and her kindergarten class, who are trying to get at a nest of yellow canaries in a tree. Ned climbs up and discovers that they're dead, and gives them a new beginning by bringing them back to life. Unfortunately, after a minute Ms. Moss' class project, three red-breasted woodpeckers, die. The kindergarteners are disappointed and Ned, disillusioned about new beginnings, goes on his way.
In the present, Ned is sleeping alone in his apartment since Chuck has moved out. In the morning they come out of their next-door apartments and greet each other. Ned is less than convincing when assuring Chuck that he had a good night's sleep.
Emerson is swamped with calls due to his successful track record of solved cases when Georgeann Heaps comes into his office to hire him directly. She's worried about her daughter, Nikki, who has run away. The police believe it's a normal runaway case, but Georgeann insists that Nikki hates to be alone and would never have run away. She asks if Emerson is a parent, and when he reluctantly admits he is, he takes the case.
Chuck is filling in (badly) for Olive at the Pie Hole while Ned is jumpy about the possibility of the aunts coming back. Emerson has already talked to Nikki's best friend Randi Jean but gotten nowhere. Chuck offers to speak to her. While Chuck talks to Randi, Emerson tells Ned he is angry that Chuck moved out and warns him Chuck could move even further away. Chuck bonds with Randi and finds out that Nikki ran away to be a star, and ended up with Rocky Baselli, a guy in a tricked out van. The trio finds the van and discovers the corpse of Rocky, a mime who's been dead a week. Ned brings Rocky back to life and he starts miming the answers to their questions. When Emerson draws a gun, Rocky explains that Nikki broke up with him to be with a clown. Rocky gives Chuck a poem to pass on to Nikki and Ned re-kills him.
Ned asks Chuck to stay at the Pie Hole and run the place while he and Emerson go to the Circus of Fun. Chuck wonders if Ned is mad at her but he claims not and promises to let her go with them next time. Meanwhile, Olive is looking for an epiphany but the Mother Superior warns her that it takes hard work to find a new life. Lily has returned, disguised as a nun, and tells Olive to meet her that night.
Emerson and Ned arrive at the circus and run into Pierre, an upside-down acrobat. He doesn't like clowns and directs them to Arnaud Bailey, the owner and ringmaster. Bailey makes several jokes and each time his assistant snorts at them. She also snorts when Bailey denies remembering Nikki. Outside, Ned tells Emerson he thinks the snort meant Bailey was lying about knowing Nikki. Ned goes back and confronts the assistant, Ms. De Jong who admits that nobody liked Nikki, and tells Ned what she knows. Back outside, Ned explains that Nikki was apprenticed to the head clown, Jackie Johnny, and left with him the previous night.
At the Pie Hole, Chuck is closing early when her Aunt Vivian comes in. Chuck hides behind the counter and pretends to be shy. Vivian admits she came looking for her friend Olive and came to get a pie. Chuck mumbles some answers back and Vivian says that she's lonely with Olive no longer delivering pies and Lily away on a trip. Vivian thanks her for listening and departs with the pie that a crying Chuck leaves for her on the counter.
Ned and Emerson drive along the road where Nikki and Jackie Johnny were last seen. Ned describes his relationship with Chuck to Emerson, who doesn't want to hear. They spot a weird clown mask on the side of the road and follow it to a pond where a clown car has gone off the road. They call in the police who pull the car out… and discover it's filled with 15 dead clowns. None of them are Nikki.
Back at his office, Emerson tells Georgeann what's happened and she insists that Emerson find Nikki. Meanwhile, Ned meets Chuck at the morgue and promises her he'll close the Pie Hole when they have a case. Chuck tells him that Vivian stopped by and she took care of it on her own. Ned finds Jackie Johnny and brings him back to life. The clown explains that on the previous night Nikki, the low clown on the totem pole, ended up cleaning up the volunteer from the audience they chose to pick on. The volunteer, Bryce von Deenis, threatened to kill them for making up a limerick about his name. Ned quickly re-kills him again.
While Emerson slips a free pie coupon under von Deenis' door, Olive meets with Lily, who claims she is Chuck's mother but she never slept with Charles Charles, Chuck's father. Lily tricked Charles Charles into raising Chuck as his own daughter. When Olive notes there's no reason for Charles to have believed that, Lily admits that she's lying to Olive and she really did sleep with Charles Charles: she's tired of keeping the secret.
At the Pie Hole, Chuck wonders why her aunts are changing and Ned notes they're moving on. Chuck wonders why Ned can't accept her moving on. Von Deenis arrives to claim his pies and the trio start interrogating him. He remembers Nikki being forced to stay late, and admits they made him wear a clown mask. However, von Deenis explains that Nikki went after the other clowns and took the mask with her. He has an alibi and Emerson checks it out.
That night, Ned is at home when Emerson arrives to confirm von Deenis' alibi and have some tea. Emerson doesn't believe Nikki is the murderer and Ned realizes that Emerson lost his daughter. The detective explains that his wife took his daughter seven years ago, and then remembers that Georgeann said that Nikki didn't like to be alone, so she must still be at the circus.
Lily and Olive have porridge at the nunnery and Lily admits she hoped that her guilt over betraying Vivian would die when Chuck did. Olive suggests that Lily go home and cling to Chuck a little longer. Olive finally has an epiphany that she needs to stay at the nunnery for a while longer because of the secret that Charlotte aka Chuck is still alive. She then blurts out her secret about loving Ned, who is in love with someone else.
As they search the circus, Ned apologizes for being overly protective and admits he doesn't want anything to change. Chuck responds by noting she was terrified of change the first time around and she doesn't want to make the same mistake again. Ned wonders how they can make it work when he only knows her from before. Emerson arrives to reveal that mimes have arrived to fill the recent job openings. But the advertisement for the jobs went out before the clowns were dead. They go to Bailey, who confesses that he knew the clowns were trying to form a union, and he was planning on firing them. He had Nikki working as a spy. She was following them to a secret union meeting the night of their murders. Bailey didn't tell them because he thought they'd think he was guilty. They're interrupted by a muffled boom: a human cannonball bursts through the window, just missing them.
Emerson thinks he knows who the killer is, and tells the other they need to find Nikki before the killer does. They find Nikki inside a prize storage tent, disguised as a giant doll. Outside, Nikki explains she hid because she thought they'd believe she was the killer. Emerson realizes that someone overheard Bailey and Nikki planning her spy mission: Pierre the acrobat. To stop the clown union, Pierre followed them the night of the meeting, unaware that Nikki was catching up after cleaning off von Deenis. Pierre ran the clowns off the road into the pond, but saw that Nikki had seen him do it.
Pierre takes Nikki up on the high wire and explains that he only wanted to scare the clowns, and he killed Rocky to scare the mimes away from taking the clowns' jobs. Insisting a union would ruin the circus, Pierre tries to use Nikki as a hostage but lets Chuck read Rocky's poem. Ned throws a baseball and knocks Pierre out, and Nikki falls into the safety net.
Olive reads up the nunnery rules and regulations, and finds a hidden bottle of alcohol.
Lily returns and she and Vivian visit the Pie Hole, forcing Chuck to hide.
Emerson reunites Georgeann and Nikki and gets the angry mother to reconcile with her daughter. As they hug, Emerson wonders if he'll ever find the daughter that he knew.
The next morning, Ned and Chuck rehearse their lives, then go outside to pretend to meet each other for the first time… as they'll do every day from now on.
- In the credits, the character of Rocky Baselli is incorrectly listed as his original last name, Rocky Milano.
- The recap uses a different take of Olive saying "I'm quitting you."
- The scene of Lily taking Olive to the nunnery is actually a scene from "Pigeon", except that the blue screen background was changed to a night scene.
- Olive tells Lily her deep, dark secret: That she is in love with Ned. However, Lily already knew that as in Bzzzzzzzz!, she told Olive: "... Praying that the man you worship will show you some sign of his love? You can do that here!"
- Lee Pace: Ned
- Anna Friel: Charlotte "Chuck" Charles
- Chi McBride: Emerson Cod
- Jim Dale: The Narrator
- Field Cate: Young Ned
- Ellen Greene: Vivian Charles
- Swoosie Kurtz: Lily Charles
- Kristin Chenoweth: Olive Snook
- Rachael Harris: Georgean Heaps
- Lee Arenberg: Bailey
- Diana Scarwid: Mother Superior
- Googy Gress: Bryce von Deenis
- Theodore Zoumpoulidis: Pierre
- Sy Richardson: Coroner
- Michael C. Alexander: Customer #1
- Artie O'Daly: Rocky Milano
- Nicole Greenwood: Ms. Moss
- Loren Lazerine: Jackie Johnny
- Hayley McFarland: Nikki Heaps
- Casey Weiant: Randi Jean
- Mark Povinelli: Small Person
- Jackie Harris: Ms. De Jong (uncredited)
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