When we last left our intrepid heroes (and how happy are we to see them again? Say it with me: SQUEE!), Ned had determined never to mess with the Touch of Life again, not to engage in crime fighting, and instead to endure life as a peaceful piemaker, plain and simple. While this leaves an open field for Chuck to live her dream as Emerson's sidekick, the Re-alive Avenger, it also gives Olive a lot more time to obsess over Ned and his cryptic remarks on the cliff. As a matter of fact, her long-term love for Ned comes to bear when she is visited by Bruce and Jerry, the two sweet men who accidentally kidnapped her as a child, and to whom she has written of her love for the piemaker. They have stayed in touch through their time in prison, and have now escaped and returned to town to seek help in their life on the run. Randy Mann has also reappeared on the scene, his crush on Olive having only grown with time, and he becomes ensnared in the escape attempt as well, as have the aunts who Ned, Olive and Randy turn to for help in disguising the escapees. Awesomely, Randy's part includes fashioning wigs from taxidermied animals, and until you have seen the legendary George Segal in skunk sideburns, you have not lived. When the police show up at the aunts' house to arrest Bruce and Jerry, Ned is only too happy to once again embrace his true role as a superman-of-sorts and thwart the po-po by awakening a rhino in the back of Randy Mann's van. Who else is back? The turquoise nuns! They come to the rescue in the classic comedic nun fashion and disguise the kidnappers as nuns to aid their escape.
Speaking of fashion, Chuck and Emerson are on the case of two department store window dressers who have been summarily, but artfully, dispatched. When Ned realizes that his destiny lies not only in pies but in crime fighting, he returns to our beloved morgue to do his thing, effectively solving the crime. The killer is none other than the store's owner, and… who cares, because get this: to fool Bruce and Jerry into thinking their beloved Olive was happily in love, Ned pretended to be engaged to her. When the ruse became too painful, however, Olive admitted the truth and the jig was up, leaving Ned to happily return to Chuck, who admitted that she had been jealous of the fake relationship, since she can never be with Ned in public to declare their love. Olive, meanwhile, sees the nobility in the quirky taxidermist, Randy Mann, and is allowing herself to feel for him when who else should feel the twinges of jealousy? Ned. For Olive.
OH, HELLO. Long time, no see. Y'all never write and never call, but here we are, reunited with this show and it feels so good! Except, it sort of also feels bad because 1) we know these are the last three episodes that ABC, the evil overlords, are trying to just burn off (not that we're not grateful); 2) this episode, though much anticipated, was only so-so; and 3) there is not even the mildest acknowledgment that we have not seen these people in forever and will soon never see them again. I mean, I know this was probably shot a year ago, but a little note of "here's the deal" tacked on to the front might have been helpful. I don't know what that would have looked like, actually, so... maybe don't listen to me. Too bad there's not some website I could have visited and boned up on the plotlines. Oh... wait a minute.
So, young Olive was nine years, whatever weeks/days/minutes old and dressed to the nines when she was kidnapped from a party being thrown by her folks. Jim Dale's melodious voice is filled with sad compassion as he describes poor little Olive's life as the well-dressed but ignored child of her fashionable party parents. All she wanted, he says, was to be actively loved and only occasionally ignored. "As happens often with Olive Snook, her dreams came true," JD points out, "just not quite for she intended." For, as her parents later testified, young Olive was kidnapped by two dangerous car thieves and held for one day, one hour and eleven minutes before the men, Jerry Holmes and Buster Bustamante, made the first ransom call. Her parents agreed to pay and the police set a trap for Jerry and Buster which results in their arrest and Olive's safe return. Jerry and Buster were sentenced to 25-years in prison. Ah, but 8,264 hash marks on a wall later (that would be 22-ish years), Jerry and Buster bust out of jail with only one person on their mind: Olive.
JD reminds us that Olive, however, has been a bit busy lately, hanging off cliffs and whatnot, receiving confusing almost-declarations of maybe-love from Ned. His less than direct statement has been causing her no end of anguish back at the Pie Hole, where she has been trying to read up on sentence structure and the use of the double negative. Mulling over a copy of Double Negative: What You Shouldn't Not Know, she continues to ponder Ned's "I wouldn't say never" comment on the possibility that he might (or might not) occasionally (maybe) think of her fondly.
Using passive-aggressive panache, Jim Dale tells us, Olive tries to figure out what Ned might (or might not) have meant. Across the gorgeous two-tiered Lazy Susan filled with GORGEOUS fruit pies, they stare at one another in confusion. Ned wants to know if she likes his latest creation. "I definitely don't hate it," Olive answers slowly, gauging his reaction. "What does that mean?" he asks, exasperated. Olive: "You tell me." Frustrated Ned asks if she's saying it was more or less tasty than the Kick in the Kumquat or the Rock Me Amadequince and cringes. "I don't like giving funny names to the pies," he says, and wow, I really do not like it, either. "Does it not seem a little disrespectful?" he adds, and Olive kneejerks to his awkward structure. "There you go!" she says, waving her fork. "You did it again!" Ned is forced to point out that she's been acting a little more crazy than normal lately, and Olive sighs, saying she must have PTSD from their cliff-hanging moment. Ned is less than sympathetic, but Olive is insistent. "The whole thing keeps repeating on me over and over like a broken record," she says, "or Mexican food." As Ned wanders back into the kitchen, she stares up at the cherry light fixtures above the bar and continues. "You know, they say the more you face your trauma, the less power it has over you!" she says, and launches herself up to the light to hang on in simulation of their near death experience. "Oh, no! I'm slipping and can't hold on much longer!" she cries as Ned looks on, appalled. "If there's anything you'd like to say to me, now would be the time. And if you could speak in the declarative only, using affirmative or declarative modifiers..." Ned interrupts to growl that "people are eating pieeeee" (oh, shut up, Ned) and as Emerson and Chuck enter through the front, Olive reluctantly drops to the counter.