Ned: I don’t know where she is.
Olive: Maybe she doesn’t want you to know.
“Corpsicle” is an episode about admissions and revelations. The episode features an amusing – if slight – case about a murdered insurance adjuster and a foul-tempered boy in need of a heart transplant, but it takes a backseat to the secrets that have been incubating over the course of the season. Chuck is still reeling from Ned’s confession that he was responsible for her father’s death. But Chuck is also wrestling with a secret of her own, as are Emerson and Lily.
Ned: Been looking.
Chuck: Been hiding.
The revelation that your boyfriend accidentally killed your dad has to be a tough one to swallow. Chuck handles it pretty well, all things considered. She doesn’t blame Ned for holding onto the secret for so long; she understands how tough it must have been for Ned to wrestle with that knowledge. Instead, her desire not to be around Ned is fuelled not by the confession, but by the act itself. It’s hard for Chuck to see Ned as anything other her father’s killer, even if there’s no way in which he could be truly held responsible.
Chuck: You know a lot about bees.
Oscar: And I suspect you know a lot about death.
But the more interesting secrets are the other characters’. Oscar Vibenius, the sewer-dwelling master of the olfactory arts whom we met two episodes ago, smells death in Digby and Chuck, and he wants to know Chuck’s secret. ‘What do she and the dog have in common?’ he wonders. Chuck is on the verge of revealing that she was brought back from the dead, but in the end, she thinks better of it and takes back the sample of her hair that she gave to Oscar.
Emerson also has a revelation of his own. He tells Ned that he has a daughter from whom he’s been separated. This is interesting territory for Emerson, who’s not so good with the mushy stuff. That might explain his occasional paternal instincts, especially with regard to Olive (who, let’s face it, is pretty much a kid on the inside).
Finally, Lily has a secret of her own, and it’s a bombshell. In a drug-induced haze, Lily lets slip to Olive that she is Chuck’s biological mother. This explains why Lily took the news of Chuck’s death so harshly, compared to Vivian; she thought she had lost her own daughter.
It’s interesting to note that Chuck ends up keeping her secret, while Emerson and Lily spill theirs. That actually doesn’t say much about their personalities, but it says quite a bit about the people to whom they were speaking. Emerson trusts Ned, and though Lily’s confession was no doubt brought about in part by an overdose of homeopathic mood-enhancers,1 she actually trusts Olive too. On the other hand, despite – or perhaps because of – much wrangling on his part, Chuck doesn’t trust Oscar. Ned and Emerson are bound by friendship, as are Lily and Olive. Chuck and Oscar have no such relationship. That’s an important thing to keep in mind as the show’s first season comes to a close: it might have been Ned’s love for Chuck that started everybody on this crazy adventure, but the bonds of friendship are what have kept this makeshift family together.
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1 Is an overdose of homeopathy a regular dose of regular medicine? I think so. (This is why I’m not a physician.) ^