It’s with a heavy heart that I pen this review of Pushing Daisies, in that it’s apparently official that ABC has stopped production of this show. I’d always been concerned that the subtle nature of the humour, characters and plots might sail like a miss-thrown Frisbee over the heads of the audience, and recent viewing figures, unfortunately, support that theory. But to those that do get it, this is a smart and beautifully crafted TV show that deserved better, and will be fondly remembered. There’s already a campaign running to move the show to another channel, or a least allow the production of a two hour conclusion for direct to DVD consumption. But having had those dreams horribly dashed with Deadwood, I’m not about to invest heavily in a ticket for that emotional rollercoaster.
Perhaps what might cheer me up is a trip to a magic show, or that’s the plan put forward by Chuck when she organises herself, Ned, Emerson and Olive to an evening out in this week’s episode, Oh Oh Oh…It’s Magic.
It isn’t cheering Ned up; he suffers an incontrollable acid reflex at the very idea of magic shows, as it brings back long buried memories of his father and being unceremoniously dumped. But the connections to those events go further than just the magic theme, as this magical venue is the workplace of Ned’s half brothers, Maurice and Ralston. It transpires that their interest in magic stems from being dumped there by their father, and falling under the comforting influence of The Great Hermann, played by Fred Willard, headline magical act.
The Great Hermann employs Emerson Cod to discover why his supporting players; a monkey, two doves and a rabbit, have all died in unfortunate circumstances. The problem is that none of these are suitable recipients for Ned’s special touch, as they’d be unlikely to say who killed them.
But it’s not the end of the fatalities, and soon the Great Hermann is also an ex-performer, incarcerated in the same block of concrete that he usually escapes twice nightly. But initially this appears to be a ruse, when they open the block and find it light on quickset-magician. Eventually, they discover that he is indeed dead, just not in that exact block!
Ultimately, the killer is discovered to be the ‘Geek’, who swallowed the magnets from The Great Hermann’s shoe, which provided his usual means of escape. The motivation is abandonment, with which Ned and his brothers can all associate. Maurice and Ralston get The Great Hermann’s secret book of magical tricks, which they use to help his assistant become the ‘Great Alexandria’. Happiness generally prevails, even if Emerson Cod doesn’t officially approve of such things.
Overall, the cast get some excellent lines in this story, which had an underlying theme about confronting the past and dealing with those emotions. As to a counterpoint to this at the end Olive goes to see Lily Charles, and acting as a surrogate for Chuck hidden outside in the car asks those questions she’s most like answers to. I have a curious feeling that before this is entirely over the secret of Chuck’s birth and death will be revealed, but probably not in those stories already in the can. We can only hope for a ‘resolution’ special.
Next week, Ned and Emerson investigate the death of a Mr Hoffer, but obviously not the crime connected union leader of fame, I assume.
Check out Mark’s review of the previous episodes here.