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Pushing Daisies season two episode reviews

Pushing Daisies

Season 2, Episode 1. "Bzzzzzzz!" Strong case-of-the-week? Check! Endearing character moments? Check! Unique visual style? Hmm, looks like critical-darling Pushing Daisies has weathered the long break very well and returns to the airwaves without missing a beat. Yes! To be honest, I wasn't worried. Once they got from the pilot to the regular series and sustained the vision, I was confident. So, what to say about this episode? It was cool and very funny. And Kristin Chenoweth stole the show. With Chi McBride coming a close second.

Season 2, Episode 2. "Circus Circus" Chi McBride gets all the best lines and his character is more pivotal to the story than usual because there is a parallel between the case he has taken and his own missing daughter. No dead body to kick start the story this time, which makes you wonder why he bothers to bring The Pie Maker along. But, with PD, it's best to stay away from questions. I mean, why exactly is Olive hiding in a convent? Best to just sit back and enjoy the spectacle as the PD gang head to a circus. It turns out to be a quirky circus and - before long - there are dead bodies piling up. Clown dead bodies, by the way!

I'm not really enjoying the whole Chuck has moved out storyline, but I like the bits where she dives over the counter every time an aunt walks into Ned's place. Goofy fun.

Season 2, Episode 3. "Bad Habits" Bees, clowns and now nuns! All getting the Pushing Daisies treatment. Olive gets lots of screentime (to make up for leaving her out of the first two episodes, I guess) and the ending (where Ned tells Chuck who her mother is) is unexpected and wonderful.

Season 2, Episode 4. "Frescorts" Another wonderful episode. All the stories have something to do with friends and friendship and it's quite a rewarding episode. The fight between Chuck and Olive (while locked in the locker) is probably the funniest/best part, but Ned's speech to his new friend at the very end is almost as good. The guest cast are fantastic, but Dana Davis really stood out for me as the fast-taking receptionist at the place that rents friends. A company that rents friends? I love it! Only on Pushing Daisies

Season 2, Episode 5. "Dim Sum Lose Some" Another wonderful case for Emerson Cod (one of TV's coolest detectives). Chi McBride is so funny. He's got the comic timing of Oliver Hardy and pairing him with Christine Adams makes for some great comedy. McBride and Kristin Chenoweth are the reason I watch this show. If Cod or Olive were written out the show would suffer, but you could nix Ned and Chuck and you'd still have a cool show. Funny how things work out. I'd never have predicted that at the start.

Season 2, Episode 6. "Oh Oh Oh...It's Magic" Delightful from start to finish. Ned is rather grumpy for the duration of this episode and Lee Pace has a field day with the role. He's hilarious. Anna Friel gets to shine, too, when Chuck tries out various accents and constantly bombards her real mother with phone calls from 'strangers'. With a storyline closely tied to Ned's family background this episode feels less like a case-of-the-week and is all the better for it.

Season 2, Episode 7. "Robbing Hood" Another delightful visit to the fairy tale world of Pushing Daisies. For the second week in a row, there is a balance between the case-of-the-week and the backstory of all the characters. And the result is fantastic.

Why, oh why, did they have to waste time sending Olive away to that convent? They should have come back swinging (with Stephen Root and this storyline) and maybe they would not have been cancelled. Seriously. These last two episodes have been two of the very best. Ever.

That intro alone (Ned and his friends two pets) was one of the very best. I was laughing out loud within a minute of sitting down to watch. That can't be bad. And the show delivered another great laugh later on (when we heard the bear come back to life).

But humour was not the big hook this week. Neither was the case-of-the-week. No, this was was all about the regular characters and their stories. I'm so hooked.

Season 2, Episode 8. "Comfort Food" The best episode so far. Delightful from start to finish. The case-of-the-week (while certainly a lot of fun) is wisely relegated to b-story status, and the main thrust of this week's tale concerns Charlotte 'Chuck' Charles and various members of her family (living and dead). The Chuck storyline (and her pairing with Emerson Cod) is wonderful beyond belief.

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth has never looked more beautiful and Lee Pace is - once again - hilarious as an uncomfortable/unhappy Ned. Whenever they make Ned unhappy it pays huge comedic dividends.

Season 2, Episode 9. "The Legend of Merle McQuoddy" This time out the case-of-the-week is as strong and interesting as the ongoing storyline.

Emerson Cod and Olive Snook team up to investigate a murder in a lighthouse. They make a great team and provide one of the episode's highlights (at the end, when Emerson told Olive she could come work with him anytime). Olive is even more cute, and adorable, than usual as a tough-talking pi.

Meanwhile, Chuck's dad proves to be a real jerk. There's a great fight scene between him and Ned and lots of conflict for the young lovers: Ned and Chuck. They weather the storm very nicely and provide another one the episode's highlights (up on the roof, when Chuck grabs the plastic sheeting and kisses Ned passionately).

This current run of episodes has been the highlight of the series so far.

Season 2, Episode 10. "The Norwegians" Even more than usual, this episode hits the ground running at frantic pace. The first twenty minutes are mesmerising: the dialogue and cast are on fire. Seriously, this is some of the best PD stuff ever screened and some of the best TV screened all year.

Things slow a bit when The Norwegians show up, but this does not spoil enjoyment one little bit. As all the running plots converge upon one another it makes for one of the best episodes. You feel that it's all been building to stuff like this.

Orlando Jones, Michael Weaver and Ivana Milicevic are three of my favourite performers (particularly Ivana Milicevic, from her Mind Of The Married Man days) but they are swamped by the material and the excellence of the regular cast. This was an episode that needed no guests.

And that's about my only complaint about this episode of PD. There was too much goodness!!

Season 2, Episode 11. "Window Dressed to Kill" Two of Olive's friends escape prison and she helps them, while pretending to be engaged to Ned.

Wonderful Olive-centric episode. Kristin Chenoweth sings again and I love her just a little bit more than I already did. They need to have her sing in every episode.

It's another goofy story of murders in odd professions, and it pairs Chuck with Emerson very successfully, but what makes this episode/show wonderful is all the dead-on things it has to say about love, loneliness, heartache and longing. It's crazy, way-out there fantasy but the emotions are real.

Season 2, Episode 12. "Water and Power" Cod's ex is a suspect in a murder.

David Arquette continues to be a worthwhile addition to the regular cast, as Gina Torres proves (as ever) to be a great guest star. And a perfect match for Christine Adams. Cod has great taste in women, it must be said.

Season 2, Episode 13. "Kerplunk" Murder in the world of synchronised swimming.

Lily and Vivian return to the show, and return to the water, in the last-ever episode of this adorable series. The Ned/Chuck romance gets several solid scenes, and the Cod/Snook partnership yields many hilarious moments. The guest cast are terrific, too. Wendie Malick and Wilson Cruz are two of my favourites and both are completely on-form here, but the real revelation is Josh Hopkins, who is unrecognisable (and wonderful) as a himbo.

The final two minutes are remarkable. With nothing more than heartfelt narration (kudos to Jim Dale) and a long FX shot, the producers are able to bring the saga to an almost satisfying conclusion. I thought I would be gutted by the abrupt ending of Pushing Daisies (and I am) but the ending was sweet and upbeat and hopeful and... it helped me cope.

2 comments:

Lyn said...

Thanks for finally a blog mentioning Olive, my favorite character. My blog is set off of Pushing Daisies.
pieaweek.blogspot.com

RikerDonegal said...

I love Olive.

Just checking out your blog... You make a pie a week?! What a crazy/wonderful idea! I love it.

Ignoring Friday Night Lights renders the Emmy's meaningless.

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