Sneed and Gwyneth are still looking for Grandma Redpath. Gwyneth screws up by mentioning the strange and fantastical: "She's vanished into the ether, sir! Where can she be?" He stops the hearse and is like, "Oh snap, I totally forgot you were psychic!" Gwyneth plays dumb, but finally admits that she's psychic, like he already knew she was, and he tells her to psychically find the old lady, or else he will fire her. She immediately psychically finds the old lady, because this job is so fucking awesome that she can't lose it: "She's lost, sir. She's so alone. Oh, my lord. So many strange things in her head." Gwyneth feels that the old lady was really excited about going to see something tonight, a performance, and that she's gone ahead to do it: "A great man. All the way from London. The great, great man..."
...who is getting dressed in the Taliesin Lodge, which I'm just guessing is on that same street where everything else happens on in this entire episode. The great man's got a headache and looks ridiculous, with this Van Dyke happening, and the Stage Manager knocks, and he looks even more ridiculous, like he's on Deadwood: "Mr. Dickens! Mr. Dickens! Excuse me, sir, Mr. Dickens -- this is your call." Dickens totally ignores him, so the Stage Manager enters the room and asks if Dickens is okay. This is the kind of shit that Dickens says: "Absolutely. I was just...brooding. Christmas Eve. Not the best of times to be alone." The Stage Manager asks if Dickens doesn't have somebody waiting for him -- maybe a wife or something -- and, learning that he doesn't, the Manager offers Dickens his own. Dickens's intense aversion to irony raises its head twice in as many seconds: "Oh, I wouldn't dare." Like he meant it! Dickens continues: "I've been rather, let's say clumsy, with family matters. By God, I'm too old to cause any more trouble." Manager's like, "Dude? I was kidding?" But he's being respectful, so he hmms comfortingly: "You speak as though it's all over, sir!" God forbid Dickens drop the drama for five seconds -- he just takes it in a new direction: "Oh, no, it's never over. On and on I go. The same old show." They stare at the same old poster advertising the same old show. Is this, in fact, actually Charles Dickens? Not Jean-Paul Sartre? Emily the Strange? I don't know much about Dickens, but I figured he was kind of normal. You couldn't write Little Dorrit without having a great sense of humor. "I'm like a ghost, condemned to repeat myself...for all eternity." He stands like the weight of the world is on his shoulders, but I think you'll find that's his self-importance. I like this version of Dickens. I mean, I would like to punch him in the nuts, but it's pretty clever. This episode is wildly clever, but so understated that you really have to slow down and take it in. Manager continues to pet the rabid monkey: "It's never too late, sir. You could always think up some new turns." Dickens moans about how "even [his] imagination grows stale." That's not what you're smelling, Chuck. He takes a long drink: "...Still! The lure of the limelight! As potent as a pipe, what?" How could you ever stand to be around this guy? I hope he meets a fan who gets brutally disappointed by the drama-queen act, and then fucks with his head. The guy helps him with his jacket, and then Dickens cowboys up. Or at least he does the Dickens version of cowboying up, which involves sighing and effetely massaging the temples while staring at your coming death in the mirror.