“You know, now that I’m out of dead-waking and back to just pie-baking and no longer touching dead fruit, I can eat my own pie.”
Ned is adjusting to life as a normal person who doesn’t use his superpowers. Meanwhile, Olive is wrestling with her feelings for Ned once again, after Ned’s admission that he could have imagined being with her. These two character journeys are set to collide, and the result might not be pleasant.
Olive is the subject of this episode’s introductory flashback, showing how she was neglected by her family and just wanted someone to pay attention to her and show her affection. (The ironic narration over footage that clearly demonstrated how much Olive enjoyed the “kidnapping” is a clever touch.) This has left her somewhat needy as an adult; Olive needs know that people care about her, because she knows her parents didn’t. But that sometimes blinds her to the fact that there are different types of caring. Ned cares about her as a friend, while she remains oblivious to the fact that Randy is actually in love with her.
Olive tries to extract the answer she wants out of Ned – that he’s in love with her too – but she doesn’t succeed – not only because Ned doesn’t love her in a romantic way, but also because Olive’s childhood “kidnappers” have escaped from prison and arrive at the Pie Hole to see her, interrupting her efforts. Olive has been writing them letters for years, telling them of her supposed romantic relationship with Ned. So Ned dutifully plays the role of fake boyfriend.
Ned actually enjoys the fake relationship. He sees it as “trying on” normalcy, and since he’s trying to become more normal now, he might as well play along. For Olive, however, the emotional stakes are much higher. This isn’t just a lark for her; Olive’s heart is on the line. This leads to a confrontation, where Ned realizes that he can’t pretend to be normal anymore, and Olive realizes that she has to stop holding on to false hope that she and Ned will ever be anything more than friends.
Chuck: I mean, what happens if Olive holds his hand without gloves or kisses him without using plastic food wrap? He’ll know what he was missing with me.
Emerson: The only thing Pie-Man’s gonna be missing is you.
With Ned no longer in the crime-solving business, Emerson is left to solve crimes the old-fashioned way, with Chuck (the Alive-Again Avenger) at his side, which brings the always-welcome (and in this case, guilty) Willie Garson, playing department store proprietor Dick Dicker, into our crime-solvers’ orbit. It also gives Chuck an opportunity to voice her worries about Ned’s fake relationship to a trusted confidant. Of course, Emerson reassures her that Ned is love with her, not Olive.
By the end of the episode, Ned has realized that normalcy kind of sucks; he’s got superpowers, and he might as well use them for good – and also because otherwise, the premise of the show would kind of go out the window.
For more information on the Pushing Daisies rewatch project, please click here.