“The longing and homesickness, which filled the school like a plague, was magically lifted with every bite, and the party began.”
– The Narrator, on Young Ned’s pie speakeasy
A lot of decisions that seem like good ideas at the time end up looking like stupid mistakes in retrospect. Take homesick Young Ned’s decision to bake pies at the Longborough School for Boys, for example. At first, it seems like a cute way for him to reconnect with happier times. But soon, other boys follow the scent of pie to the kitchen and join in on the fun. It’s not long before Young Ned is running a full-blown pie speakeasy, complete with dancing and jazz saxophone. Unfortunately, the fun is short-lived; a school administrator promptly shuts down the operation, leaving Young Ned even more homesick than he was before.
Meanwhile, in the present, Chuck is experiencing a similar situation. Keeping her father alive after Ned brought him back from the dead seemed like a good idea at the time. But now, she has to deal with the fallout.
Chuck: I guess the biggest problem in an objective sense is the dishonesty with Ned – that, and the making someone less alive part.
Emerson: “Less alive.” [scoffs] Nice euphemism, killer.
Like all decisions, Chuck’s has had consequences. For one, she has been dishonest with Ned, and that will certainly have repercussions for their relationship. But more importantly – and more urgently – keeping Charles alive has resulted in the death of another person; Chuck is effectively a murderer.
So Chuck goes to the only person she knows who can help: Emerson. Emerson isn’t known for being particularly helpful, but what Chuck doesn’t know is that he has secretly been going to great lengths to reconnect with his estranged daughter. For that reason, he can sympathize with the motivations behind Chuck’s actions, even as he’s appalled by the actions themselves.
Chuck tries all sorts of rationalizations to assuage her guilt, including suggesting that she can bring the body to a funeral home with some cash to pay for a proper burial. She doesn’t want to feel guilty for what she did, and she wants nothing more than for the universe to give her a sign that what she did was justified, but she can’t help it: she knows she’s a killer.
However, maybe the universe is giving her a sign. It turns out that Chuck’s murder victim is none other than Vivian’s gentleman caller, Dwight Dixon. He was a nasty, dangerous man, and it’s probably best for everyone’s safety if he’s dead. But does that mean Pushing Daisies is letting Chuck off the hook for what she did?
Not quite. Chuck still feels guilty for killing Dwight, even if he was a bad man. In fact, she starts hallucinating Dwight talking to her, mocking her for what she did. Chuck will never face legal consequences for Dwight’s death, but perhaps the burden of guilt will suffice. This episode’s message seems to be that the universe doesn’t conspire to punish us for our actions; the guilt we feel for doing something bad is punishment enough.
In any case, guilt won’t be the only consequence that Chuck has to face. At the end of the episode, Ned finds out that Chuck tricked him into thinking he had put her father back to death. We barely have enough time to see the shock on his face before the episode fades to black, but when we pick up in the following installment, things are sure to get interesting.
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