Series 2, Episode 1 - "Danse Macabre"
Amusingly, because I'd set the episode up whilst Paul was out having a cigarette, he missed the title from the episode menu and asked me what this one was called. When I responded he thought I was being facetious and naming the theme music. :P
Anyway, this one involves the murder of a horror novellist named Emma Lazarus by a man in a skeleton costume, who becomes cornered in a garage and subsequently disappears...
The opening of this one is hilarious: Maddy is not a morning person. Her method of counteracting this is brilliant - two alarm clocks, a ringing phone, and a casette playing of herself banging saucepan lids. Awesome. Her slumber is then further disturbed by the arrival of Rev. Stephen Claithorne, the son-in-law of Emma Lazarus, who has heard about Maddy's reputation as a "collector of mysteries" and wants her assistance in figuring it out.
So of course, she rings Jonathan, who is at Adam's place thanks to having an imminent TV special to organise.
I got a picture of that specifically because of my post-ALTAF Millennium Eve story, and am disappointed to note there are no balconies. Shame on you, Adam Klaus. (Henceforth I will pretend he has balconies.)
Jonathan has had a very late night and is definitely not interested in Maddy's disappearing skeleton.
Here, have a sleepy Jonathan.
I shall mention this now, for a lack of anywhere else to put it: in this series (and only this series) Maddy appears to be living in a house. For series 1 and series 3 she's in the flat. No explanation is ever provided for this (in reality I assume it's some kind of location-related hassle at the BBC) but it's forever irked me and personally, I prefer the flat. Anyway, it's probably irrelevant, I just thought I'd mention it.
At Adam's, Jonathan ends up sharing a bath with Bridget, the singing stripper, whom Adam has brought home - not expecting his (presumably long-term?) stewardess girlfriend to come home early. Shame on you again, Adam Klaus. ;)
(Oh yes, and of course from this point we have Stuart Milligan as Adam, in every episode - his absence is not quite so pronounced in series 1 because he's mentioned quite a lot, so Milligan's appearance doesn't jar like it normally would.)
Maddy goes to visit Stephen Claithorne and his wife, Lorna, as well as Emma's husband and bodyguard, to attempt to figure out the mystery. In the absence of Jonathan, she tries her hand at his method of examining the garage, resulting in a shelf of empty paint cans falling on her head. There's a screencap on Tumblr that adequately sums up her interview with Lorna Claithorne (played by the inimitible Pippa Haywood), which I couldn't possibly attempt to recreate in mere words. Suitably unenlightened, Maddy goes off to visit Jonathan.
Jonathan lightly berates her for not being able to "think around corners" and demonstrates an illusion to prove his point.
I am a little confused as to Maddy's indignance that the "audience member" being an Armenian gynmast is a "cheat" - by this point you'd hope she might have twigged that's how everything works. Also I'm guessing it's not the reaction Jonathan is hoping for - especially if we think back to "The Wrestler's Tomb" and his elaborate model demonstration, and her befuddlement afterwards. Having said that, once she's over her initial gripes, she does look quite impressed by the mechanics of it.
"What's this, the cabinet where she miraculously reappears?"
"No, that's my tea, thank you."
Yes, Jonathan eats Wheatabix for his tea. :D Cue an amusing discussion about bowel movements. The gap between series 1 and series 2 is fairly indeterminate (in terms of episode canon, rather than the time between broadcasts) and their interaction seems more comfortable now than in series 1, which implies their friendship (or whatever you want to define it as) has developed 'behind the scenes', either with or without the precursor of an Impossible Mystery. Good to know.
Getting down to business, Jonathan studies the photograph Maddy has half-inched from the Claithorne household and begins to piece things together...
Maddy agrees to meet him at the theatre the next day after her visit to Gary Lobo, a past life hypnotist who knew Emma Lazarus; Jonathan warns her not to get conned because it's "prime girly material, reincarnation" (I bet he hates cold readers, too - some day I want to write a story where he meets Derren Brown, because it would be EPIC). Maddy asks him to credit her with some common sense, then obviously gets conned anyway.
Then she has to eat a poached octopus. What else?
The next scene at the theatre has always been one of my favourites, but until I was screencapping I actually hadn't realised why - apart from the obvious fact that they're sitting quite close together (honestly, sometimes that's the best you can hope for in this show).
Jonathan has been going over the facts and has basically already worked it out. Maddy is seriously impressed considering he hasn't even been there, and as this conversation progresses it becomes more than obvious where it might be leading - the actual words themselves are inconsequential, but the body language most definitely is not...
They are interrupted by Bridget (the singing stripper, remember?) and as Jonathan turns around, he looks almost guilty/embarrassed.
I'm absolutely convinced there was nearly a kiss there. Whatever has happened in the interim, clearly they've continued dancing around the events of "House of Monkeys". As Bridget reminds Jonathan who she is (no, he hasn't forgotten, he just doesn't want to talk about it in front of Maddy - grrrr, Bridget), I think Maddy's expression says it all...
Yes, there's definitely something else happening here, even if neither of them are ready to admit it yet. Jonathan's immediate instinct is to explain himself, but obviously, Maddy never gives him the chance...
Anyway, at some point he does manage to explain because Maddy confronts him about it later - he counters what could be a potentially awkward conversation by returning to the issue of bowel movements. Smooth, Jonathan. (Also, I absolutely had to get a cap of this - Maddy counting off days when her back is turned. Perfect comedy timing.)
In the meantime, someone has stolen the head of Emma Lazarus's corpse. Nice! Jonathan and Maddy also visit Lorna Claithorne at the home of one of the parishoners (Mr Snetterton), who has very recently passed away but apparently saw a skeleton running away from the Claithornes' home on the night of the murder...
There's also this exchange just before they sit down to discuss the facts:-
Maddy: Let's get on with it - the bit you enjoy, treating me like a moron.
Jonathan: No. The bit where you enjoy making me feel like I'm treating you like a moron.
I think that sums up their relationship scarily well - Maddy always thinking the worst, and Jonathan trying his best to achieve precisely the opposite. He quite emphatically does not think she's stupid - we know full well Jonathan (and Maddy, for that matter) has no time for the idiots of the world, and if he thought that about her we wouldn't have a show. He just approaches her non-lateral thinking in the world-weary tones of a teacher with a stubborn pupil - if anything, he's trying to get her to think it through for herself, not helped by the fact she gets frustrated quickly with not being able to see what isn't there; becuase of course, if she can think it through for herself, she has no need of his assistance and there's the remotest possibility they might spend time together outside of the confines of locked-room murders.
The lack of communication is terrifying; once again I'm reminded of that phone conversation in "The Wrestler's Tomb" where she accuses him of being too honest. She's correct, of course - yet she still never listens to what he's saying, just constantly tries to second-guess all the time, always assuming there's some kind of hidden agenda or message.
No, Maddy: Jonathan is honest. You just have to pay attention. And Jonathan, one of these days you just need to give her a shake and make her realise that. :P
Ugh, these two are so frustrating sometimes. I want to bash their heads together.
This episode has another convoluted but nonetheless satisfactory reveal, wherein the relevance of empty paint tins becomes more than apparent. As for Emma Lazarus's head...? Well, you may not want to know. :)
It ends with Jonathan and Maddy having lunch with Adam, who suggests turning their adventures into a movie (he has contacts), a concept which does not appeal. Then Bridget turns up again and Maddy deals with her by telling her not to bother with Adam because he's a "slimeball" - a fact which Adam finds incredibly amusing because, obviously, Maddy is such a good liar. The little knowing glance to Jonathan is awesome. I get the impression the three of them having lunch together is not a particularly regular occurrence and that this is only the second or third time Adam and Maddy have met - he still hasn't quite got the measure of her sarcasm.
Next week will be "Time Waits for Norman" - I don't have many pictures for that one, for reasons which will become apparent... Once we get past the halfway point of series 2, however, I anticipate things will start to get very interesting indeed...
Click here for "Time Waits for Norman"...