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Episode 204: Frescorts

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Frescorts
Air Date October 22, 2008
Teleplay by Lisa Joy,
Gretchen J. Berg,
&
Aaron Harberts
Story by Lisa Joy
Director Peter Lauer
Next episode "Dim Sum, Lose Some"
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Emerson’s mom, Calista, drops by his office for a rare visit and Emerson considers coming clean about a few things in his life. But before he can get to the dilly, someone else drops in - sexy Veronica Villanueva. She’s there to request Emerson’s help in finding out who killed her best friend, Joe. But just how many “best friends” did Joe have?

Synopsis

The Past

Private detective Calista Cod used her five-month-old son, Emerson (or, rather, a doll of him) to bust a stock clerk committing insurance fraud. The two became partners and vowed never to let lies come between them.

The Present

Emerson is trying to get his pop-up book, Lil' Gum Shoe, published without success and burns his most recent rejection notice. Meanwhile, an elderly woman has taken a table at the Pie Hole. Emerson comes in and recognizes her from the smell of her cigar, and the two cheerfully greet each other. Emerson introduces Calista and they leave to get food. Ned offers to comfort Chuck because she is sad that, while she's discovered that Lily is her mother, Lily doesn't know she's still alive. He notes that Olive and Chuck have been hanging out a lot and starts to feel needy, but makes sure to cover it up for Chuck's benefit. It turns out the two women are living together. Chuck was preparing to move out of Olive's apartment but since Olive lost all her belongings at the nunnery, she asks Chuck to stay as her roommate so she'll have furnishings. They turn out to be perfectly compatible despite the fact that Chuck likes her independence and wants the bed by the window. It turns out that Pigby and Digby are bonding as well.

Emerson and Calista go back to his office, and he feels bad that he has lied about the fact he has a seven-year-old daughter and he's writing a pop-up book to bring her back into his life. He prepares to tell her the truth, but one Veronica Villanueva comes in with a case of a murdered best friend, Joe. She has cash and Calista takes the case on Emerson's behalf. It turns out Emerson has taken another case, hired by Dr. Eugene Halifax to investigate a dead best friend and tough guy named Joe. It turns out they're the same Joe, but he acted differently with the two clients.

Emerson, Chuck, and Ned go to the morgue and Ned brings Joe back to life. He was stabbed in the back and the killer stitched it up. Joe starts leaking formaldehyde and Emerson notes that coroners don't embalm. Joe says that Downy was his one and only and he never got a chance to tell her he loved her. He wonders if his murder had anything to do with "my best friend," before Ned re-kills him.

Emerson brings Veronica and Eugene in and with his mother interrogates them both simultaneously. They admit that Joe was a "frescort": a friend/escort who becomes whoever the client wants them to be. Eugene is shy and Veronica admits she is too attractive: it stops people from getting to know her. They go to the company, My Best Friend, Inc., and the plan is that Chuck and Olive go in as prospective employees, while Emerson and Ned talk to the company's CEO. Ned suggests he go undercover with Chuck so he can spend time with her, but Chuck and Olive already have their back stories and secret handshakes ready. Ned and Emerson talk to the CEO, Buddy Amicus, who explains that he was a football player and bully in high school until his knee was injured. Then he was forced to quit the team, the Spartans. Now Buddy uses his "powers" to put people together for friendship. Buddy checks Joe's file and tells Emerson he had no appointments the night he was murdered. Buddy demonstrates a hug machine for Ned while Emerson secretly reads Joe's file and gets his address. Ned is impressed by the brief moment of abated loneliness.

Chuck and Olive, under the aliases of "Kitty Pimms" and "Patty Boots", meet with the receptionist, Barb, and apply for jobs as frescorts. Barb is impressed with their ability to fake feelings. She notes that frescorts aren't allowed to fraternize with the staff and she only knew Joe by name. Friends aren't allowed to work together but Barb promises not to let anyone know.

Emerson and Ned go to Joe's place and look for his client list. Emerson is skeptical of the idea of people hiring friends but Ned notes that not everyone is good at having friends. Emerson is feeling guilty that he hasn't told Calista about his daughter. He starts to pick the lock when the door opens, and he finds himself confronting a glass eye… held by Joe's roommate, Randy Mann. Ned empathizes with Randy's loss of a roommate. Randy says he didn't know Joe was a frescort, and doesn't know who Joe was with the night he died. When Emerson goes to see Joe's room, Randy stops him claiming he has another appointment.

At the Pie Hole, Emerson and Calista are suspicious of Randy but Ned defends him. Chuck and Olive haven't found anyone named Downy and if she's an employee, the company policy would force her to stay secret. Randy arrives, due to a coupon for a free baking lesson slipped to him by Emerson so the P.I. can search Joe's room. Chuck doesn't want to leave Ned alone with a possible murderer but Emerson sends her and Olive back to My Best Friend. Calista is paged on her current case and leaves before Emerson can tell her about his daughter.

Emerson goes to Joe's apartment and finds a bill to Randy from My Best Friend saying he's fallen behind on his frescort payments. He also finds Joe's room filled with stuffed animals in creative dioramas. He also finds a bottle with Joe's appendix in it.

Ned is teaching Randy how to bake a meat pie and Randy admits he was a klutz in school, was teased by the other kids, and spent his time with his pets. Ned can sympathize, admitting that he was also bad at sports as a child. Touched, Randy tells Ned he brought him a gift that he put out back. They open the door and find… a stuffed golden retriever wearing sunglasses and playing a guitar. It's Randy's (stuffed) Golden Retriever, that he's held onto after it died. Ned can sympathize with someone holding onto a dead friend but still orders him out. Emerson arrives and tells him what he's discovered. Randy claims he let Joe stay free in the apartment as a roommate, and Joe gave him the appendix as a joke gift for taking him to the hospital when it burst. Randy knows that Joe was seeing someone at work and planned to quit My Best Friend to be with her, but doesn't know who it was.

Ned pages Chuck to let her know they've confirmed Downy works at the company. Chuck brings Olive up to speed and Barb comes in to ask for crossword puzzle help. When she says she doesn't do the acrosses, they realize that she's "Downy." She breaks into tears and asks for tissues, then shoves Olive and Chuck into a locker when they go to get them.

Emerson returns to his office to find a masked figure searching it. They struggle and Emerson pulls off the intruder's mask to reveal… Calista. She reveals that Missy Scrivner, an editorial assistant at Book'em Books, spilled liquid on Emerson's rejection letter, obscuring the address. She phoned directory assistance to get Emerson's address and got Calista's instead. Calista thinks the book is a thinly disguised tell-all about what a horrible mother she is. Emerson finally explains he wrote the book to provide a way for his missing daughter to find him. Emerson realizes she faked the fraud case she is supposedly working on so she could poke around in his personal life. He says he was going to tell her everything but she doesn't believe him. They're interrupted when Ned comes in to tell them Chuck and Olive haven't checked in.

In the locker, Olive and Chuck start sharing unpleasant thoughts about the other, and it boils down to the fact Olive still has feelings for Ned and Chuck can't handle it. She mentions that she can't touch Ned and Olive insists that doesn't make any sense. Emerson and Ned arrive and free them and Olive storms off. Chuck goes to Buddy's office to get Barb's address but finds her dead in the hug machine. Ned brings her back to life and she apologizes for locking Chuck in the locker. Her lungs crushed by the hug machine, Ned quickly pumps them back up and she explains that she could be her true self around Joe. Chuck tells her that Joe was going to leave the company for her, and Barb says that Joe was going to call to tell her something important, but he never made it back from his frescort job, a standing sports date who was apparently a spaz. Barb went to Buddy's office to use the hug machine and someone dressed as a Spartan turned the machine up. She gives them a scrap of crest she pulled off of the Spartan's helmet and Ned kills her before the minute is up. Ned remembers that Randy said he was teased by jocks and they figure Buddy was one of them. Buddy comes in but claims not to know anyone named Randy.

Buddy goes to order an evacuation and someone outside attacks him. Chuck trips over the air pump and almost touches Ned. Instead they knock over a display case holding a dummy dressed in Buddy's Spartan football uniform. Ned picks it up… and the corpse hidden within comes to life. They have him take off his helmet and mannequin face but it's mummified and leather-like. The corpse can't speak but mimes and points to the yearbook to show that he was Ares Kostopolous, the high school quarterback. Buddy was the mascot and killed him. Ned rekills Ares and Buddy comes in dressed as a Spartan mascot and puts a sword to Chuck's neck.

In high school, Buddy believed that Ares was his best friend and became the mascot to be closer to him. Unfortunately, Buddy accidentally deflected a pass with his sword during the State Championship, causing the team to lose. Afterward the team stripped him and tied him to the goalpost. Ares delivered the final blow, breaking Buddy's delusion of friendship and driving him mad, so Buddy killed him. Buddy then used steroids and fixed his skin and teeth to transform himself into a good-looking physical specimen, and founded My Best Friend. When he met Joe he became obsessed with a new best friend. However, when Joe quit to be with Barb, Buddy convinced him to show up for one last sports date and killed him.

Buddy tells the gang he used formaldehyde to try and preserve Joe's corpse, just like he did with Ares, but the chemical triggered his asthma. He then killed Barb for taking Joe from him. Buddy says he started the company to help the friendless, but Ned says that his customers never stopped feeling like weirdos. Angry, Buddy prepares to kill Ned but Emerson grabs a baseball bat and knocks him out.

Ned brings Digby to see Randy and offers Randy friendship, noting they both have strange talents or hobbies or gifts that they try to hide. Randy says Joe taught him to be comfortable with being alone, advice that Ned considers. Ned then invites everyone on Buddy's client list to the Pie Hole for a low-key mixer. Eventually everyone comes out of their shells and starts becoming their true selves. Ned asks Chuck to give Digby a hug, and she reveals that she's moving back in with Ned. Ned admits he's felt lonely and missed her since she's been staying with Olive. Ned tells her she can't move in: she needs to fix her friendship with Olive and he needs to get used to being alone.

Chuck returns to the apartment bringing Olive a conciliatory pie and they agree to work out their differences. Emerson finds Calista at his office, and she explains she needs to start acting as his mother rather than his best friend. He's okay with that and she offers him notes on his book. She tells him the story is stupid and he needs to write about the grown-up Emerson Cod and how good he'd be as a father. And Ned has a quiet pizza at home… until he opens the door and finds Chuck outside. She comes in wrapped in a duvet, and removes it as a thank you, displaying she's naked.

Additional Info

Notes

Cast

Regulars

Guest starring

Co-Starring


Previous episode: Next episode:
"Bad Habits" "Dim Sum, Lose Some"
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