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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Kiss her or keep her

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “The Fun in Funeral” | Aired Oct 17, 2007

Ned’s life is all about consequence. That might seem surprisingly grounded in reality for a man who bakes pies and wakes the dead, but fairy tales all have morals in the end. When he first touches his dog back to life, Ned doesn’t ask any questions, but after the death of Chuck’s dad and eventual re-death (only in this show) of Ned’s mother, he has to understand everything about the cost of his gift. We open on young Ned at boarding school, experimenting on fireflies to test his grace period. He gets 60 seconds, and not one more. Consequences come quickly on this show, so it’s really no surprise that it would only take three episodes for the big secrets to start coming out.

Ned and Chuck already have a happy routine going at the Pie Hole, complete with plastic wrap for kissing. Given that Chuck can touch the fruit as much as she wants, she probably makes the baking routine more efficient, but Olive still isn’t happy to have her around, and Emerson is even less so. He’s still bitter that Chuck’s life could have cost him his. Instead, it cost the life of grave-robbing funeral home director Lawrence Schatz, whose brother Louis hires Emerson to investigate. As far as Louis knows, all of that thievery may have led to murder.

Emerson takes the case, hoping to draw out a little honesty between Ned and Chuck, which Ned makes even easier by refusing to do anything without Chuck by his side. He takes her to the morgue, but he panics the minute he sees Lawrence and rushes out without touching the body. Chuck doesn’t understand the problem, and when Ned tries to lie about it, he ends up coming clean. Every minute Chuck has been celebrating technically belongs to someone else.

pushing daisies 103 chuck yellow

Ned insists that he’s not a murderer, and he’s not going back to talk to Lawrence, but Chuck wants to thank the man who died in her place, and she wants Ned to apologize. The pie maker is putty in her hands, so it’s off to Lawrence’s funeral. After exchanging the necessary pleasantries with their “human sacrifice,” Emerson just wants to know what Lawrence did with everything he stole. As it turns out, Louis hasn’t been particularly honest — he was in on the grave-robbing scheme from the start.

After a close call in which Chuck snatches her dad’s pocket watch from Lawrence and slams the coffin lid, trapping him alive as the seconds tick down (what was she thinking?), Chuck begs Ned again to let her see her aunts. Lily and Vivian are back in a dark place after getting a postcard from Chuck’s last port of call, but Ned can’t risk letting them see her. People always seem to end up in coffins when he gets involved.

Back at the Pie Hole, Chuck meets traveling salesman Alfredo Aldarisio, who’s been peddling his homeopathic mood enhancers to Olive all day. Olive wants nothing to do with it, but Chuck is intrigued, baking samples into a pie for her aunts. Not knowing who baked the pie or the significance of its recipients, Olive delivers it to Lily and Vivian out in Coeur d’Coeurs. They chat about their niece, Lonely Tourist Charlotte Charles, and the neighbor boy who gave her T-shirts with beavers on them and grew up to bake pies. Just like that, Olive knows exactly who Chuck is.

pushing daisies 103 oliveThis is sure to complicate things later, but right now, Chuck and Ned are more concerned with the corpse in their freezer. Louis Schatz is dead, and someone stashed his body at the Pie Hole, presumably to frame Ned. Ned wakes Louis long enough to usher him out to a waiting convertible — definitely a good car for toting frozen corpses in the front seat — and learn that he died choking on his dinner, in the middle of a confrontation with an angry relative whose family’s Civil War sword was stolen.

From the angry letters sent to the Schatz brothers, Ned realizes that the witness to Louis’ death must be Wilfred Woodruff VI, who signed his letter, “Looking forward to killing you.” In the basement of the funeral home, Ned finds Woodruff with his family’s sword, and the descendent of the Confederate Civil War hero duels with the boy who wanted to be a Jedi. (Guess which one Ned is.) Thanks to a swift kick from Emerson, Woodruff is knocked unconscious and taken into custody.

While wrapping the stolen items to return them to their rightful owners, Ned admits to Chuck that he did deliberately choose to let someone die for her, and he would make the same choice every time. Chuck accepts that he basically stormed a castle for her, and she thinks it’s sweet. Time to get more plastic wrap.

pushing daisies 103 plastic wrap

That’s one secret taken care of, and another just unearthed by Olive. How will Chuck explain why she isn’t dead? Do you agree with Ned that it’s too risky for her to see her aunts? And can Olive get in on the crime-solving soon? Let’s talk about it.

Best lines:

“Musing on the idea of setting someone on fire doesn’t mean you REALLY want to set them on fire — it’s just the thought of it that makes you happy. But only for a second; then you feel bad. But that second could be a lot of fun!”

“You seem decidedly unhappy.”
“I haven’t decided that!”

“Lawrence Schatz wasn’t murdered. He was accidentally involuntarily manslaughtered.”
“I appreciate that.”

“Everything we do is a choice. Oatmeal or cereal, highways or side streets, kiss her or keep her. We make choices and we live with the consequences. If someone gets hurt along the way, we ask for forgiveness. It’s the best anyone can do.”