Neil Finn sings over our intro to Episode 4, as Men In Trees continues its campaign to make me fall totally in love with it. Marin and Patrick appear to be wrapping up First Things Frist as Marin throws to Patrick for an announcement: Elmo's lost its oldest resident, Franklin Cook having died. As we hear him on the radio, we see Patrick at the "Welcome To Elmo, Alaska" sign at the edge of town, sadly changing the population from 233 to 232. A flag is moved to half-mast, and then we're back in the studio as Patrick says they'll miss Franklin most of all at the New Moon Festival, during the Polar Bear Swim. Marin exposits that this involves swimming in a body of freezing-cold water, and Patrick fondly says that Franklin always went commando. Maybe he died from having his testicles shrink so far away from the cold that they ended up in his windpipe. That can so happen! Marin decides that the late Franklin's had enough of a eulogy, and announces that, as a New York girl, she won't go in the water without a tetanus shot. Um, did I miss the scene where anyone asked her to? Patrick says that the festival will be in Franklin's honour this year, and that the residents of Elmo shouldn't miss the town meeting: "Pakuma's coming to help plan the festivities." Marin thinks Pakuma is a party planner -- because she's from New York, people, where people pay for such fripperies as professional event planners -- allowing Patrick to exposit that Pakuma is Elmo's sister city, and that they often collaborate on cutesy town events of this sort. Patrick invites anyone who's upset about Franklin to call in for Marin's help, and when she protests that she's a relationship coach, and not a good one...I mean, "not a grief counselor," Patrick rejoins that there can be a lot of grief in relationships. Marin decides to roll with it, telling Elmo that she's sorry for their loss, and then kicks it thesis statement-style: "Losing someone can make you feel like you have a huge hole in your life -- make you wonder who you are without them [sic]." In his office, Jack listens intently as Marin goes on: "Sounds like Franklin had a big impact on everyone; it'll take some time to get over it." Jack reaches for a framed photo on his desk, depicting himself at the dock with a shrunken old dude we can reasonably assume is Franklin, who possibly should have paid more attention to his calcium intake before he kicked the chum bucket.
Marin Marins into some kind of multi-purpose building that houses, among other things, the Elmo post office. When she gets to the door, there's a hand-lettered sign that promises, "BE BACK SOON." Marin groans, apparently not placated by the slightly creepy happy face the postal worker's thoughtfully used to decorate the sign. I think it's that the eyes are circles, not dots, and that there's a little dot nose; it suggests that the PO might possibly be managed by Jack Skellington. Marin asks Jerome, who's sitting right beside the door unwrapping a sandwich, whether he knows when the post office will be open. Let's save some time: Jerome is the postal employee, and he evidently doesn't take a lot of pride in his work, preferring to enjoy a little Jerome time with his lunch rather than opening back up so that Marin can pick up a parcel of her winter clothes that have been sent from New York. "What's wrong with the clothes we have here, fancy-pants?" mutters Jerome. She bitches at him; he tells her that if she's unhappy with the hours he keeps, she can raise it at the town meeting; she sasses that she will. Quirky residents, a big public celebration, and a town meeting? I was thinking of it as British Colaska, but maybe it's actually more like Stars Holmo.