First of all, ain't nothing funny about a tiny baby crashing into a mailbox and flying through the air... and yet... there kind of is. We learn from this sadly hilarious opening scene that Emerson began his life as a detective at a very young age -- birth, to be exact. His mother, Calista Cod, taught him everything he knows! He gets to put all that to use in this week's case -- a "frescort" (friend-escort) has been weirdly stabbed and prematurely embalmed (!), possibly in relation to his job as a fake friend for hire. Emerson and Ned interview the former-jerk CEO of the frescort agency, while Olive and Chuck go undercover as faux pals.
Meanwhile, Ned is feeling kind of sad (again), as Olive and Chuck are becoming new BFFs (as are Pigby and Digby!) and roommates. He's so upset, he decides to befriend the dead guy of the week's (DGotW) old roommate, Randy. They drown each other's sorrows by cooking meat pies, ew, while Emerson breaks into the roommate's place to find all sorts of taxidermied and embalmed animal and DGotW parts. Back at the frescort place, Olive and Chuck make a mess of it and end up locked up in a locker by the DGotW's girlfriend... who then ends up dead. With multiple suspects on his mind, Emerson is ill-prepared for the mamadrama being perpetrated back in his office -- his mother has found out about "L'il Gumshoe," the book and the daughter, neither of which she was yet aware. Hurt that Emerson would keep the secret of his child from her, she swears to change her relationship with him, and be a more supportive parent. Come to find? The murderer of the frescorts is none other than the CEO, who wasn't a BMoC, as he claimed, but just another nerd in need of friends who started a company that went horribly wrong. The gang solves the case, and Ned decides that though he misses Chuck terribly, it wouldn't hurt him to grow up, just a little.
Hey, hey, everybody. Thanks so much to my fast-acting subs who filled in for me during recent assorted personal crises. It's been a hard month. Aaaaand, today's my birthday -- such is my devotion to you people. Enough, however, about me. Without question, this week's opening set a new standard of greatness for Pushing Daisies. Emerson Cod was five months, three days and four hours old when his mother planned his death. What I'm saying is, Emerson was a baby -- A VERY CUTE BABY, in a spotted suitie and matching beanie when his mom put him in a pram and kicked him down the steps of the courthouse (reminding me not a little of the Eisenstein/de Palma treatment). Down clatters the buggy while the mother screams, until it crashes into a postbox, discharging tiny Emerson like a missile. He is caught by a man who leaps up from a wheelchair, allegedly broken-armed and -legged. Ah, accept, this dude ain't broken, AND that baby ain't a baby! It's a doll, and the wheelchair guy is totally busted as an insurance fraud by Calista Cod, private investigator, who had sneakily strapped the real baby Emerson to herself before launching the fateful stroller. The accusing look the baby gives the criminal almost broke my Tivo, such were the number of rewinds I had to commit in order to watch it again and again. Thereafter, Jim Dale explains, the firm of Cod & Cod dedicated itself to the pursuit of truth at all costs, "a pursuit young Emerson found... badass."
Indeed, the adolescent Emerson -- who picked up a penchant for snappy dressing (and baldness) early in life -- faced with scoundrels and cheats, learned early that truth is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. We see him now reliving his childhood through his masterwork, L'il Gumshoe, in which he has rewritten his own history (of being lowered by his ankles off roofs to spy on adulterers and the like) to be played by a little girl. In this way, he hopes his young daughter -- his own l'il gumshoe -- will one day find it and be inspired to, in turn, find him. The thing is, this won't happen if he can't get the thing published. "'Child endangerment,'" he reads in the latest publisher's rejection letter. "Man, that's cold."
Meanwhile, back at the Pie Hole, Olive, Chuck and Ned are scared of their newest customer. "She just rolled in like a moody, mean thundercloud," Chuck says of the lady in booth 1, reading the paper and smoking a cigar. Trepidatiously, Olive asks for her order. "Nothin'," the lady says, "with a side of buzz off." Ned girds up his loins to point out that the Pie Hole is, in fact, an eating establishment not, say, a park bench "where one can loiter and smoke and not consume food to their heart's content." Just as the mean lady threatens to take it outside, Emerson arrives. "Oh, good," Olive says, not really relieved. "Someone with a gun." But Emerson is clearly in no mood to play bouncer. Morosely thinking of his book rejection, he orders his standard rhubarb: "The whole pie'll do." Ah, but what's this? Sniffing the air he smells a familiar odor. Literally. "Mama," he says, without even having to look. "When are you gon' treat yourself and spring for a decent stogie?" Aw. The grouchy old broad is Ms. Cod, all grown up and in town to track a fraud case. She and Emerson share a cackling laugh and Emerson introduces her around as the P.I. who taught him everything he knows. "She's my best bud and my mama to boot," he says, bringing a real tear to my eye as they haul off to a nearby bar. I have to pause here to say how geeeeeeeenius a move it was casting Debra Mooney as Calista Cod. I don't know how Emerson has a white mom, and they don't explain it, and I don't care. This show is so awesome in that way -- saturated with color, yet color blind. It doesn't ask and it doesn't tell, and one day I hope TWoP lands an interview with Bryan Fuller, but I can't be the one who conducts it because it would be two hours of me being like, "remember when you created this awesome show that I hate to recap because there's nothing to say about it but how great it is?" and just repeating it over and over like Chris Farley.