***SlifeGoesOn is out on vacay this week, so please welcome our fantastic guest columnist World B Free!
The actual title of Episode 6, “Questions and Antlers,” says it all. This episode boils down to: some of the characters have information, and other characters want to get it out of them. Why “antlers” instead of “answers”? A deer shows up a couple times, and they were terrified of the title not being a pun.
This deer symbolizes something
The first big question of the episode—what the hell was that weird thing rooting around in Lauryn Ward’s severed hand?—gets answered right off the bat: “It was some kind of catfish.” But since nobody at the police station has ever seen a catfish like this before, all they can do is keep it in a fishbowl and wait for another character to come in and say some exposition about it. That character apparently missed the train to Hapland, because this is all you hear about the catfish for the rest of the episode.
It could also be that alien life form from the X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully go to Alaska
Over in the interrogation room, the first question-and-answer storyline unfolds. Tommy and Roger have reason to believe John is the one who kidnapped Lauryn Ward, because he was having an affair with when she disappeared. John is their best guess as to the true identity of The Magic Man! (Never mind the fact that one of The Magic Man’s victims is John’s own daughter).
But before they can put the screws to him, Mrs. Friddle arrives with theory about who killed her husband. (i.e. the dude who got the railroad spike driven into his head back in the pilot).
She believes the killer to be none other than Big Dave Duncan. Both we and Sheriff Tommy knows that this is 100 percent true, and it looks like Tommy’s goose has been cooked for protecting Dave all this time.
How did Mrs. Friddle arrive at this theory? Luckily, Mr. Friddle was keeping a diary. And even MORE luckily, Mr. Friddle spelled out in plain English how Big Dave had been stalking him for weeks, and how Big Dave literally threatened to murder him.
I bet the rest of Mr. Friddle’s diary is a fun read too, since he was a latent pedophile and all
Before I go on, the ongoing incompetence of the police is one of my favorite parts of Happy Town. We’ve seen Tommy and co. screw up the investigation before, but this is a new low. I hate to think what would happen if Tommy had to solve a crime where the victim didn’t leave a diary that literally spells out who did it.
When Mrs. Friddle asks Tommy what he’s going to do about Dave, as usual, all he can do is stare blankly at her. Later that night he has a nightmare. Flashing back to his childhood, Young Tommy and Young Dave discuss where the best place to hide would be if they ever found themselves on the run from the law. Pretty convenient that these kids had this exact conversation, and that Tommy’s subconscious remember it, right? You’ll see why!
The boys decide it would be Tommy’s grandpa’s cabin. Then Adult Dave then shows up and discusses how much he enjoyed killing Mr. Friddle.
Yeah, I did it. And I’m glad. GLAD, DO YOU HEAR ME?!
Now we shift over to the second question-and-answer story in the episode: why is Peggy so insistent on keeping Hanley in Haplin?
Turns out Merritt Greaves survived the attempted strangulation at the end of the last episode, (thanks to his turtleneck–really!). He tells Hanley he has failed to take her suitcase out of town. He blacked out during the strangulation, and his assailant must have grabbed the briefcase and run off. Also, he smelled cinnamon. Which, if you’ve been playing along at home, is what Greggy earlier talked about being obsessed with. (If you haven’t been playing along, it’s OK, because they give you a big ol’ flashback to that exact scene).
Throughout history cinnamon has been used as an aphrodisiac, an embalmer, currency, and a plot device
So Greggy stole the suitcase. Remember how he also stole the weird goat hammer? Something tells me he’s involved in this mess somehow. Just sayin’.
Next comes the third Q&A scenario. Andrew and Georgia are still trapped in Handsome Dan’s trailer, and now it comes to a stop in the middle of nowhere. Ever-brave Andrew grabs a frying pan and prepares to attack Handsome Dan, but the moment the door opens, he gets yanked out and knocked unconscious. (This is my favorite Andrew scene, second only to the time Andrew got stabbed by Georgia’s dad).
Alternate Happy Town title: The Men Who Beat Up Boys‘
After talking to Hanley, Merritt heads over to his shop, The House of Ushers, only to run into Peggy Haplin, manservant in tow. She promptly insults Merritt for opening up such a poorly conceived business. (I have to agree with her on that one. You can only sell so much high-end movie memorabilia to a town of 700 residents). They trade some playful barbs, and Merritt tells a joke, which bombs. Her reason for visiting the shop in the first place is never explained, but you can tell she’s it’s not movie memorabilia she’s shoppin’ for!
Is that a Bladerunner gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
What do you do when you discover a terrified underage girl hiding in your trailer? In the world according to Handsome Dan, you make some crepes.
I always cook when I’m holding somebody captive/horny
Handsome Dan muses about all the truth serum he’s been forced to give people these days, and then crams his crepes in Georgia’s mouth.
Sometimes a crepe is just a crepe. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, FCC?
Back at The House of Ushers, Merritt gets the hint and asks Peggy out. She accepts. And over at The Police Station, Roger asks John whether or not he killed Lauryn. And John, and says, no, he did not.
I said this episode would involve a lot of questions and answers, didn’t I?
Over at the Stiviletto’s Junkyard, the boys tear off in their pickup probably to score some meth and leave Greggy alone for an evening to himself. To Greggy’s surprise, Hanley shows up, greets him with a kiss, and then 50,000 volts.
She tased me, bro!
During the act break Hanley has chained Greggy up in his barn and proceeds to work him over with a croquet mallet. Primarily this is because she finds him to be an irritating tool who refers to himself in the third question, and only tangentially because she wants to know what he did with her suitcase and what the hell is going on with Peggy.
Handsome Dan reveals why he’s been hounding Georgia all this time. It’s not because he killed Jerry Friddle and wants to eliminate witnesses. He’s just a cop trying to find The Magic Man. When Georgia rightly questions his interrogation methods, (like for example, drugging an underage girl and chasing her around a hospital), he shouts, “I am maybe the best cop ever!!!!”
I swear to god I will rape do anything to solve this case!
Then another revelation occurs back at the station. John gives Tommy and Roger details about his relationship with Lauryn. But there’s more to their questioning. He realizes Tommy and Roger think that he not only kidnapped Lauryn, but that he’s also The Magic Man. He scoffs and tries to leave, forcing Tommy to kind of halfheartedly hold him up until Roger can intervene.
Don’t make me get somebody else to kick your ass!
And the third revelation of the act follows: Greggy is telling Hanley about all the times narrowly escaped sexual assaulted in prison when she slugs him, and he lets slip that he’s working for Peggy Haplin.
Back in Haplin, Peggy and Merritt are on their date. He’s got some game!
Merritt knows there’s only one way to console a widow
Tommy is wrapping things up with John when Roger returns with some startling news. The crime lab says those tire tracks they found where Jerry Friddle was murdered…are from John’s truck! So in addition to kidnapping and murdering Lauryn for cheating on him AND for being The Magic Man, John murdered Jerry Friddle too! (Yeah, it’s confusing, and to his credit, John points this out).
But we know John’s innocent–Big Dave killed Friddle–so either Roger is up to something, or he’s as incompetent as the rest of the Haplin Sheriff’s Department. At this point, it’s a toss up.
Well, solving a murder is really hard. Excuuuuuuse me, Mr. Perfect
Having reached a dead end with Georgia, Handsome Dan tries put his crepes into Andrew. He also asks Andrew whether HE saw anything that night at the lake. Andrew denies it. Handsome Dan believes him, but takes care to issue a death threat just in case. And not only that, but he’ll kill Andrew IN HIS DREAMS! Kreuger style.
Hanley has kept Greggy chained up for a while now, long enough for his brothers to return. As Womper Stiviletto comes in with a bag of chop suey, Hanley tasers him too. She pulls a switchblade and puts it at his throat, giving her the leverage she needs to get Greggy to talk. Whoever told Hanley to steal the hammer and deliver it to Peggy, he says, knows why the hammer is important. Peggy can’t stand this. Keeping Hanley in Haplin, Peggy thinks, will lure Hanley’s overseer to town and provide the opportunity to kill them both. Hanley is done here.
Happy Town makes another harsh indictment of the the Bush Administration’s torture policies
Merritt and Peggy wrap up their date. Things are looking good or, as Merritt says to Peggy, “You seem like a boat worth sailing.” (Ewwwwww). But all he does is give her a kiss on the hand. (Maybe Merritt was too creeped out by her manservant staring at them to make a move).
And finally, after all this time, events have forced Tommy into doing SOMETHING about Big Dave. Even though he doesn’t want to give Big Dave up, he also doesn’t want John to take the rap for a murder he didn’t commit. Tommy orders Dave to give himself up, (more like, he meekly suggests Dave should maybe give himself up, and Dave feels so sorry for him he agrees to do it).
Handsome Dan turns the kids loose. The interstate is a mile away, and they’ll have to walk. Also: they can’t tell anybody this happened. Or, if they absolutely have to, at least say it was consensual.
Roger tells Tommy he made up the whole thing about John’s tire tracks. He knows Tommy has been hiding the whole Dave thing, and the only reason why he didn’t do anything about it is because he’s loyal to Tommy’s father. But it’s time to put things right and bring Dave in. Tommy calls Dave to tell him, but of course, Dave has run away.
Oh, Tommy knows where Dave is headed: grandpa’s cabin. Because when Dave is asked the question, “where should you go when you’re on the run from the law,” he hasn’t changed his answer since he was eight years old.
His backpack only contains Matchbox Cars and Tootsie Rolls
Dave is running through the woods when he falls into a pit. He finds himself in an underground structure with seven cages. It’s pretty much your standard Prefab Kidnapper Dungeon familiar to those who have seen any horror movie ever. The Magic Man has been keeping his victims here, apparently.
You want to make sure your Kidnapper Dungeon is up to code
Hearing that Dave has fled, Tommy heads straight for the cabin, and sure enough, by the time he arrives Dave bursts through the front door with a gun and a crazy look in his eye. Seeing those cages has convinced him he can catch The Magic Man. He leads Tommy to the spot, but the pit is gone. Tommy has had enough. He pulls a blue envelope out of his pocket. Dave freaks, thinking it’s the warrant for his arrest. It’s him or Tommy, and Tommy wins the quick-draw contest. Tommy looks up from Dave’s corpse to see the sad deer looking on.
I hope this job doesn’t make me shoot any more best friends
With all of these “questions” having been “answered,” we get shots of all the characters looking thoughtful as they contemplate what’s just happened to them, ending with Tommy. Since they don’t explain what he did with Big Dave’s body, I’m going to go ahead and imagine Tommy was so distraught he ran back to town and forgot to tell anybody what happened, so it’ll look really suspicious later the corpse turns up with his bullets in it.
But they DO explain what the blue envelope was: a plane ticket to South America. “He was my friend!” he sobs to Rachel. So in the end, we learn about the power of friendship–which is so potent that a police officer would help a clearly unstable, violent, armed murderer get on a plane to a foreign country, I guess.
For an episode that revolved around questions and answers, I learned very little. In fact, the only knowledge I took away from this experience comes from a Hulu commercial break. Ladies: while Seasonique limits you to four periods a year, there might still be intermittent spotting. Talk to your doctor.
Repunctuate your life