When someone describes a piece of entertainment as “whimsical,” that piece of entertainment is generally bad. Whimsy is nearly impossible to pull off. Pushing Daisies'
success as a great, great TV show is almost completely predicated on creator Bryan Fuller and the balancing act he pulled off in the very first episode of Pushing Daisies
. The pilot set the tone for the series and, when it comes to a show as bat-crap crazy as Pushing Daisies
, creating the perfect tone is imperative. The show manages to be relentlessly dark in the brightest settings currently featured on television. The characters are now fully formed as we get the second season underway. While Daisies can be considered a procedural, it is wildly different than most in that the character development is seamlessly worked into each case, and the over-arching mythology of the series is ever-present. As evidence, all you need to do is take a look at the sheer amount of exposition that was needed to set up the second season premiere. Though it's hard for me to judge, having seen every first season episode, I imagine that the set-up was enough to bring new viewers up to speed.
As an unabashed lover of Pushing Daisies
, I can assure you that tonight's premiere was every bit as good as any season one episodes. In addition, the show might even be getting better, expanding its universe and bringing characters together in new ways. Chuck and Ned's relationship isn't as static as it logically should be, given their unique situation. Emerson has some secret personal issues that he is lovably attempting to mend, and, if the premiere's events are any indication, Chuck and Ned's pasts will both become important storylines in upcoming episodes. It's good to have you back, Pushing Daisies.
Chuck's bees have died as a result of rogue pesticides. To resolve this, Ned strips to his underwear as does Chuck, just to be fair), and Chuck drops all the bees on his bare skin. They come back to life – a gaggle of cockroaches die as a result. Meanwhile, Emerson has written a pop-up book entitled “Lil' Gum Shoe.”
A man comes in to Emerson's office, saying his wife has been murdered. Her name was Kentucky Fitz, the number one bee girl for Betty's Bees, and was supposedly killed in a “work-related incident.” She was found stung to death inside her Beemobile. Her husband thinks that Kentucky was cheating on him, and hires Emerson. Kentucky was planning on leaving Betty's Bees, he tells Emerson.
Ned, Chuck and Emerson go to the morgue, wake up Kentucky (played by Autumn Reeser). She sabotaged Betty's Bees, and she says Betty had it coming. She describes her death - the lights turned off, a terrible hum, and then a swarm came and she was dead. They decide to get an inside Bee Girl – there are open auditions. Chuck answers the call for Bee Girls. Woolsey Nichols (French Stewart) and his company took over Betty's Bees. During her bee girl interview, Woolsey tells Chuck that Kentucky Fitz was going to be the new face of Betty's Bees.
The original face of Betty's Bees, Betty herself, was hiding in Kentucky's closet while Chuck was snooping. Betty welcomes Chuck tersely to the company.
Olive, having learned that Lily is the mother of Chuck, stopped delivering the dosed pies. Upset and fiending for pies and Olive's friendship, Vivian and Lily show up to the Pie Hole. Chuck scurries off. Olive wants to tell everyone's secrets. She doesn't, but she goes off on everybody. Olive then quits. Lily has an idea of where they should go.
Olive left, wouldn't say where she was going – Ned looks after her apartment. Chuck wants to move in to Olive's vacated apartment. Ned is not happy about this because he thinks it will be less romantic.
Olive is at a nunnery somewhere in Europe. It's looks like the Sound of Music She sings in the fields, but is shushed by her fellow nuns.
Chuck got the job and shows up for her first day at Betty's Bees. She sucks up to Betty. Betty doesn't have any of it, tells her the truth - Woolsey's takeover was a hostile one. Now Betty is merely a retired mascot. It turns out that Kentucky sabotaged the company using a lot of mites. Betty is not happy with the death of her bees, obviously. Betty appears to be the mastermind behind everything. Chuck is frightened, possibly for her life.
The trio has pie and coffee with Kentucky's widower. He says that Kentucky and Betty were very close. Emerson gets hilariously mad at him as he's about to cry. As he goes to the bathroom to cry, Vivian shows up. Ned meets her outside while Chuck hides. She's craving company – she doesn't know where Lily left to. They talk about Chuck. Ned gives Vivian advice – she should move on, get rid of Chuck's things.
At the nunnery, Olive annoys the nuns. The head nun assumes that Olive is pregnant, because the nunnery is the same place that Lily gave birth to Chuck.
Ned is working at Betty's Bees. He dosed the receptionist's pie, then duped the temp agency. Betty leaves her office, Ned goes with her. When gone, Chuck snoops in Betty's office. She takes the key, looks at an old picture. When she turns around, there's a man in the office – completely covered in live bees. It is quite creepy.
Ned and Emerson enter the office, find Chuck with her own suit of bees. The Bee Man had put the Queen Bee in a plastic case. Once the Bee Man spit the queen bee into Chuck's mouth, the bees made Chuck her nest, if you will. Chuck remained calm. When Emerson opened the office door out to the porch, Chuck spit the queen bee out and the bees followed. She still has the key – it is to Betty's childhood home. They think Betty is the Bee Man.
Lily's lover, Chuck's father, was Vivian's fiance, it turns out. Lily makes it clear that it needs to be kept a secret.
Chuck, Ned and Emerson arrive at Betty's home. They wear bee suits – the home is full of bees. Betty is there. It turns out that Betty didn't do it. Betty was a co-conspirator with Kentucky. Woolsey, it turns out, was in love with Kentucky. Hence, the offer to be the new face of Betty's Bees. When he found out that Kentucky was sabotaging the bees, he killed her using bees. Also, the colony collapse was a hoax – Betty simply stole back her bees – she didn't want him profiting off of her hard-earned past.
Ned, taking advantage of his possession-purging advice to Vivian, got all of Chuck's things and set them up in her new apartment. Emerson's pop-up book, “My Lil' Gumshoe”, is actually a how-to manual for his lost daughter to come find him. The episode ends with the narrator telling us that Ned's father has returned. We don't see his face, but he stands inside The Pie Hole.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)