If you would like to read my review of last episodes, click here.
Synopsis: Dwayne testifies on the prosecution’s behalf and dismantles the timeline they established, so Lavinia pressures Josh to fire him. Dwayne redeems himself when he stumbles on a big break in the case leading to a shocking confession and Josh winning Lavinia’s case. (1) In the aftermath of winning Lavinia’s case, the town finally embraces Josh as a real Pecker. However, Josh agonizes over whether or not Lavinia may have done it and, unable to try Lavinia again for Edgar’s murder, Josh takes a big swing by trying to open an old case. (2) (Rotten Tomatoes)
Writers: Patrick Kang & Michael Levin (1), Melanie Boysaw & Nora Nolan (2)
Directors: Jeffrey Blitz (1 & 2)
Running Time: 44mins (2x22mins)
Airs: Thursdays at 9:00 pm on CTV (Canada)/NBC (United States)
“A Change in the Team” starts off with an expert witness being called to the stand by the prosecution: Dwayne Reed. Carol cross-examines Dwayne and dismantles the current timeline, even going as far as getting Dwayne to admit he believes she did it, making things look bad for Lavinia. She jumps to her own defense and pleads with the court before fainting in front of everyone.
Lavinia and Josh sit down at the office to discuss the other suspects including Amanda the old apprentice, but Lavinia demands that Dwayne is taken off the case. Josh reminiscences about his times with Dwayne and everything his first friend in East Peck has done for him, but he brings him in and reluctantly fires his friend. Anne checks in on Josh, worried that the rest of the office can be fired, but Josh gives a rousing speech that everyone’s jobs are fine.
On Nina’s next podcast, she interviews a very broken Dwayne. As Josh starts to interviews replacements, a woman walks in proclaiming she knows who killed Edgar Foster. Josh pulls up a picture of Lavinia’s disguise asking if it was that man, but the witness explains it was a man with alabaster hair. Josh visits Lavinia at Peck Gardens with the news of Dwayne’s firing and the new witness Freda Clipf (Caitlin Howden). Lavinia is over the moon and presents Josh with his own pair of slapping gloves.
In the courtroom, Josh questions Freda about what she saw and it sounds pretty promising until Carol reveals her testimony is just the script from an early episode of M-Town. Josh sits in the office with a drunk Lavinia who asks him to promise to have children to make the world a better place. Dwayne arrives at the office with a flash drive that has a video of Amanda’s questioning after she was arrested for drunk driving the night of the Gala. She proclaims she wasn’t drinking, but throws up during the video sparking an idea in Josh’s mind.
Josh and Dwayne race to the vet where they ask if Amanda was a patient there and he reveals she came in and had a positive pregnancy test that was later changed to a bad case of the flu. The team go to Amanda’s apartment where Dwayne shoots the door open and they find Amanda’s body and a suicide note explaining she killed Edgar then herself. At a special hearing, Josh admits the note as evidence and pleads the court to take this signed confession. Carol calmly walks to the bench and starts to lash out, throwing out every swear word there is and cursing Lavinia. After she is courted out of the room, the judge rules not guilty.
That evening, the team celebrates at a local bar by dancing the night away. Lavinia arrives and everyone cheers. She thanks Josh for everything he’s done and if he were a little younger he’d be wearing her like a hat that night. As Lavinia departs, Nina arrives and says now that the case is over they can finally take their relationship beyond professional for one night. Josh agrees, but she has one more interview with Lavinia. The episode ends with Josh looking at a thank you note from Lavinia and noticing that the suicide note and thank you note are written in the same cursive handwriting.
“New Case, Old Murder” starts off with Josh explaining how he will be award the highest honour in East Peck: the Bronze Pecker, but he’s been burdened by the revelation that the two notes had the same author. Mayor Hiss, still in his coma, presents the award to Josh followed by the combination to the city because the key kept getting lost. Lavinia makes a speech thanking Josh and says everything she does from now is because of him.
Josh asks Nina if she thinks Lavinia could be a murderer which ends in an awkward and abrupt exit. The team confront Josh and tell him they know he’s hiding something, but rather than it be his suspicions of Lavinia it’s his secret affair with Nina. Hook Up Board, Hook Up Board. Josh visits Carol with the notes and pleads she open a case against Lavinia for the murder of Amanda, but she doesn’t want to do double jeopardy and fall deeper down the hole.
However, there’s a break when Nina comes to the office with her tape of Lavinia’s last interview which caught her admitting she got away with murder again. They arrive at Peck Gardens to confront Lavinia who is practicing her marksmanship. She explains in detail what he believes the timeline is and he reveals his smoking gun: the recording. Lavinia quickly distracts them by shooting Dwayne with an arrow.
The team sit down at the office to try to figure out what Lavinia meant by again. They believe that she maybe framed Jesse Ray Beaumont with the murder of her brother. Suddenly, Dwayne shifts the focus to him as he’s concerned about his lung after being shot, and starts to blow up a condom like a balloon from the wound.
Josh goes to Carol and asks her to open the Jesse Ray Beaumont case and convinces her to do it so that it destroys the momentum of Atticus (Jaleel White) the prosecutor who put Jesse away. Lavinia questions why they are following her and then explains in detail how they believe she killed Amanda. As Josh and Carol work on the case, Nina arrives to say goodbye leading to an awkward situation in this love triangle and them discovering the Hook Up Board and Baby Board.
Anne and Dwayne sit outside the theatre district for Lavinia where Dwayne convinces Anne to live her dream of being a police officer and arrest someone for littering, but only after Dwayne turns off the dash cam. They arrive at the office with more information for the Hook Up Board, but through their explanation Josh realizes that the DNA tested at the crime scene in the Jesse Ray Beaumont case couldn’t have been his thanks to impotence. They open the evidence and learn that the sample is gone.
At the new trial hearing, Judge Kamiltow sides with Atticus Ditto Jr who explains that opening this case back up is an injustice to the victim. Josh brings up the missing sample and Jesse’s impotence, but Atticus explains there were also hair and skin samples. This leads to Atticus and Carol chanting their slogans for their assistant DA campaigns. Josh reveals that the assistant who collected the samples in the Jesse Ray Beaumont case was Dr. Hinkle (Decommissioned), a compulsive self-stimulator, and through testimony he urges the court to disregard any evidence he collected.
Judge Kamiltow agrees to reopen the case, but Atticus will not stand for this allowing Carol to swoop in and claim the case for her own. Rather than team up with Josh she wants to finally beat him and go straight for the death penalty with Jesse. The episode ends with Josh talking about finding justice for Jesse and giving Lavinia what she deserves, but she overhears that and threatens Josh with a bow gesture. Later he sits in his office where an arrow flies through and strikes the taxidermied bear in the chest.
New Conditions for Anne:
- Jumping Frenchmen of Maine – causes you to jump high when startled
- Localized spontaneous human combustion – triggered by Rum
- Hyperacusis – dog-level hearing when she has an ear infection
- Saint Vitus’ dance – involuntarily raise hand
Overall, this was a good set of episodes. The case continues at a good pace that sees a shift in focus midway through the season which helps keep things fresh. The conspiracy surrounding the Lavinia Peck-Foster and Jesse Ray Beaumont cases leave the story open to a lot of possibilities going into the back half of this season. The change in direction also allows some of the characters to change their personalities and it appears the actors are having a damn good time playing them. While some of the funnier running gags of the series, like Anne’s never-ending list of conditions or Dwayne’s history lessons, are absent from these episodes, it proves that this show can thrive on the charm and chemistry of the cast alone.
A Change in the Team: 8/10
New Case, Old Murder: 8/10
What did you think of these episodes? Does it have enough mystery for this murder? Let me know in the comments below!