Monday, October 29, 2007

Season 1 Episode 2
Written by Peter Ocko
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Chuck’s sudden arrival in Ned’s life may be great for Ned, but Emerson and Olive are less than thrilled. Olive feels a distance growing between her and Ned, and has taken to some snooping, noting the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much physical intimacy between Chuck and Ned.
Emerson meanwhile, has tried to deal with the stress by knitting, but really, nothing beats a murder (in Emerson’s book, at least): one Bernard Slaybeck (Jonathan Mangum, from The Drew Carey Show), apparently a hit-and-run victim.
But when Chuck gets all Jabberwocky with the revived Bernard (asking him if there was something that he left undone), the minute passes, and all they’re able to get out of Bernard concerning his death is, a crash test dummy killed him.

Fulfilling Bernard‘s last wish, Chuck and Ned take a pie over to Dandy Lion Worldwide Industries, where they must tell Jeanine from Promotions (Riki Lindhome, from Pulse and TV’s Gilmore Girls) that Bernard loved her. While there, we discover that Chuck speaks Japanese (aside from a bunch of other languages), and that the car of the future—the Dandy Lion SX—could very well run on dandelion weed.
When they find Jeanine though, she claims not to have known any Bernard. She does however, take the pie and, unseen by anyone, scarfs it down while crying.
Meanwhile, Chuck sneaks away from the tour and discovers a room filled with crash test dummies, though one, tellingly, lacks its mask and jumpsuit.

When they confer with Emerson, both he and Chuck agree that they need to break into Dandy Lion later that night. Not only do they find that the room with the crash test dummies now contains a whole bunch of dead people (which, when “interviewed” by Ned, don’t seem to have been murdered), but that Jeanine actually did know Bernard.
Moving to The Pie Hole, Jeanine wolfs down pies like there’s no tomorrow, then spends an inordinately long amount of time in the lavatory. Between eating and bathroom breaks, they discover that Jeanine couldn’t talk at work because she was being watched, and that, yes, she did have a relationship with Bernard. She also wants to show them something.
On the drive there though, Jeanine’s Dandy Lion SX explodes.

At hospital, Jeanine tells Emerson and Ned that she wanted to show them the “bodies in the big hole.” This turns out to be a massive pit filled with the crash test dummies that used to be in Dandy Lion; someone wants them buried to keep whatever data’s been recorded in them a secret.
Ned and Chuck and Emerson are unable to act on this knowledge though, as someone wearing a crash test dummy outfit tasers them into unconsciousness. The Crash Test Dummy Killer tries to murder all three by crashing an SX (already a potential death trap because of a design flaw, the big secret worth killing Bernard for) with them in it, but Emerson manages to get them free with his trusty knitting needle.
A car chase occurs, but the Crash Test Dummy Killer is caught by the cops, and Ned and company are saved from the SX exploding by none other than Olive herself, out giving Digby a walk.

Oh, and Jeanine takes her first steps to overcoming her eating disorder…

There’s a lot of stuff that’s great in this second episode (particularly the theme of secrets, and how it’s pretty evident that the three main characters of Pushing Daisies hardly know anything about each other, just as we, the audience, hardly know anything about them… yet), but what seals the deal, making the case for Pushing Daisies currently being the most amusing, inventive, and yes, moving hour of primetime television, is Olive’s Musical Moment with Digby and Manuel (Omar Avila; The Punisher and TV’s Watch Over Me). Brilliant.
What else can I say? The writing’s funny and touching, the cast is amazing, and Jim Dale’s narration is spot-on. Check it out, people.

Parting shot: ABC has given Pushing Daisies a full season pick-up, pumping up the original 13 episode order to a full 22. I say again: Brilliant.

Parting shot 2: A review of the Pushing Daisies Pilot—TV Watch 2007 (3)—can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of

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