By Sonia Aurora
Oh yes, its magic, you know, but if only that magic could extend past the screen and into the hearts of the ABC execs who loom over Pushing Daisies with weed killer and shears in their hands.
Alas, we have to enjoy the show while it’s on, but I couldn’t help but notice the aged furrowed brow on Ned, and wonder if the stress of the show’s imminent (rumored) demise is causing lovely Lee Pace to age a bit. He looked older, and not only to comparison with his younger half brothers Maurice and Ralston, but overall, stressed with the growing weight that confrontation of the past will bring.
Magic disconcerts our Fair Piemaker, as his father played around with tricks but twice did his disappearing act for first Ned and then the Half Brothers. He stopped believing in magic, and the thought of it incites acid reflux, and throughout the episode he grinds on lozenges to ease the pain.
Olive and Chuck are smitten at the chance of seeing magicians, as the brothers hope to perform soon under the tutelage of The Great Herrmann, surrogate father and master magician. Ned doesn’t want to go, and Emerson could care even less who, in full feminine lilt squeals, “A magic show??!? Where did I put that rat’s ass I could give?” (and yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that was the line of the night).
Turns out the Great Herrmann’s assistants are being killed (as in his rabbit, monkey and doves). His other assistant, Alexandria (an absolutely gorgeous Kerri Kenney from Reno:911 – the transformation to bombshell was a magical feat of the show in and of itself) is alive and well and sore that after 8 years of promises to be promoted to her own show, getting bubkus, but soon enough she becomes the suspect of Herrmann’s death on stage by Cementia (ie, cement).
Meanwhile, Chuck is desperate to get Lilly to admit she is her mother, no small feat being that she is supposed to be passed on. She crank calls in different accents with different requests to elicit a confession of motherhood, to no avail. And even more so, our (un)trusty Dwight Dixon, not only knew Ned’s father but Chuck’s as well, and it becomes obvious his goal is attaining the pocket watches they all had …but why the desperation of it? And even more than that, he knows Lilly’s secret. And he lets her know he knows it, but poor Vivian remains oblivious, and blinded by flirtation, arranges a secret date at the Pie Hole with Mr. Possible Bad Guy.
The half brothers are devastated at the loss of another father (figure), and I’m at a loss for Fred Willard biting it so soon (ah yes, guest stars, the Red Shirts of Prime Time). The gang investigates Alexandria and also the opening magician for the show, The Geek, who swallows things, including magnets that capture Chuck’s necklace through his breastplate, and the promise he can go from regurgitating rodents to kittens.
As the gang tries resurrect The Great Herrmann, turns out the block of cement he was in was empty, with a clever “now you see me now you don’t” note in the middle. So it’s a disappearing act, eh?
No, he’s really dead, but now they have to find that other block of cement. The one that actually has the body in it.
Going back to the Conjurer’s Castle, they find the block and chase a shadowy figure (the killer) whose trying to cement the blocking the floor by activating a cement mixer. The gang unearths The Great, who reveals his greatest trick required magnets in his shoes that were missing…aha! Swallowed by the Geek, of course, who also saw the Great Herrmann as a father figure, but the Great only saw a novelty act. Our bad guy is apprehended, the brothers inherit the Great Herrmann’s Magic Book of Magic (which they promise to photocopy and share with Alexandria, destined to now be Great herself) and Ned learns that “magic isn’t just what disappears, but what reappears when you least expect it.”
And meanwhile, Dwight, in search of Chuck’s father’s pocket watch, digs up her grave only to find it…empty. Uh-oh, another snag in the woven blanket of half-truths the show has been unraveling all season. One can only hope that they are given the opportunity to expose it all.
In, by far, the most touching scene of the evening, Ned, softened by thoughts of family and distant parents, outfits Olive with a microphone and listening devise to use her as the vessel where Lilly confesses her motherhood and Chuck can ask questions., and it showcases again the love that Ned has for Chuck. That despite his tug of emotional issues regarding his father and newly found brothers, he wants to in any way he can gift motherhood to Chuck. The expression on Chuck’s face when she hears Lilly say “I’m your mother,” even though it’s through Olive role-playing the part, is filled with shock and awe of the most delicate and desperate kind, much like the expression a child gets when they see magic – of any kind – for the first time.
This show is magic. That anyone who can’t see that is beyond me, and that a tally of an antiquated ratings system named after -well, I want to say Leslie Nielsen, but I know that’s wrong- is the deciding factor of viewership in an age of Tivo’s, DVR’s and Internet Buzz and fan pages aren’t even considered in the percentages frustrates and angers me. Too often on television real art gets sacrificed, and I’m growing more cynical of the medium that allows other mega-watt shows wither and die over years whose creativity only lived and breathed by taglines and product placement (yes, Heroes, I’m calling you out) but won’t water the seedling of a show with true vision and distinction.
To only have a magic wand, to change it all. To make it right.
About Sonia Aurora: Aspiring screenwriter and seamstress, Sonia’s dream is to write life-changing films while product-placing her own line of handbags. In 1999, she wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the short film Dr. Lovestrange, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bug, a satirical homage to Stanley Kubrick set amidst the panic of Y2K (Featured on ifilm.com & Coming Soon to YouTube!). While Sonia waits patiently for the Studios to call, she continues her selfless, humanitarian efforts (think Mother Teresa) through her scripts, short stories and sewing (a true triple-threat!), knowing all the while that someday her efforts will indeed save (or at least mildly tweak) the world. She still struggles with which picture to kiss before bedtime: her boyfriend’s or Bruce Campbell’s. And, in the interest of time, she’d like to start thanking the Academy now.
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