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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Sisterhood of the traveling Pigby

Season 2 | Episode 3 | “Bad Habits” | Aired Oct 15, 2008

There are plenty of TV characters with tangled family trees, but maybe only one who drew hers in puffy paint and glitter glue. In third grade, Chuck failed her family tree project because she didn’t have anything to go on: Her father had just died, and her mother died in childbirth. She only had her aunts—who were really step-aunts anyway, since Lily and Vivian’s mother married Chuck’s grandfather when Chuck’s dad was already in his twenties.

Or at least, that’s how Chuck sees it. Lily and Vivian have to be lying about being her step-aunts, because the only other option is that Chuck’s dad was all set to marry his stepsister before he cheated on her with Lily, his other stepsister. No wonder Olive fled to a nunnery.

Olive is in the spotlight this week, and it’s about time. She’s starting to build a life for herself as a nun, particularly when it comes to truffle harvesting. (In retrospect, I don’t see how I ever thought that nuns who wear turquoise could do anything other than harvest truffles.) Olive discovered a love for digging at a young age; when her parents denied her a stallion, she decided to dig her way to Arabia and get one herself, but what she found instead was a triceratops fossil—which she traded to a Saudi royal in exchange for a stallion. It’s good to know that Olive has always been so tenacious. Whether it’s gossip-dirt or dirt-dirt, she’s all about the digging.

olive pushing daisies 203

A nun named Sister Larue wants to nurture Olive’s talent, but that mentorship ends when Larue tumbles from the bell tower. Most in the convent assume that she killed herself, but Olive is sure that it was murder, so she sneaks out to Emerson’s office. After Emerson has laughed every laugh in his arsenal, he agrees to take the case, even though Olive’s vow of poverty means she can only pay him in prayer. As long as his daughter is missing, he’ll take all the prayer he can get.

Despite Olive’s request that Chuck and Ned be left out of this, they both come along. Emerson says that it’s because Ned is the only one who can touch dead people back to life, which is fair, but the fact that Ned looks so good as an undercover priest doesn’t hurt. When he wakes the beloved nun, she explains—colorfully, and cleverly censored by the tolling of the bells—that someone pushed her out of the tower, and now they’ve taken her diamonds. Chuck, disguised as a nun, investigates and discovers that before she entered the convent, Larue specialized in fungi. That explains her interest in truffles. She was also descended from a long line of longshoremen. That explains her language.

Chuck also takes the opportunity to investigate Olive, since her sister act comes as a bit of a surprise. She never seemed like the type to enter a nunnery—what brought this on? There aren’t any answers in her file, so Chuck questions the Mother Superior, whose suspicions are raised when Chuck isn’t up on her nun vocab. The team stumbles on a secret passageway out of the truffle cellar, which leads to the kitchen of a Swiss chef, Hansel von Getz. Von Getz and Larue had worked out an arrangement: She gave him truffles, and in exchange, he provided her with goods from the outside world. (“CDs! Magazines! TOP-SHELF FEM CARE.”) Von Getz says that he and Larue knew each other in the Biblical sense and on the very table where he’s now feeding Emerson and Ned. Emerson isn’t hungry anymore. Ned still is. The pie maker loves his gourmet food.

pushing daisies 203 made love

And how could anyone turn down a meal topped with shavings of a rare white Italian truffle? Von Getz says that the truffle was a gift from Larue, but he calls it the “diamond of the table,” so it’s likely the same “diamond” Larue claims was stolen. After Larue missed their anniversary dinner, von Getz found the passageway sealed off, with only a note to end their relationship. He assumed that she had written it, but Olive recognizes the handwriting from her daily penance lists. The note was penned by the Mother Superior. Emerson confronts her about it, but after that conversation with Chuck, the Mother Superior did some digging of her own. She knows they aren’t really members of the Vatican Police.

Secrets are coming to light all across this nunnery. Ned goes to Olive to find out what’s bothering her, and she tells him that she’s hurt by the way he brushed aside her feelings for him. Ned doesn’t do messy very well. He would rather pretend that things are fine, but they’re not, because he never gave Olive a chance to put her feelings behind her. Olive lets slip that she’s also at the nunnery to keep a secret from Chuck, so Ned badgers her to tell. Rather than break her promise, Olive just leads Ned to a photo of Lily and plays some serious charades until he figures it out. Lily is Chuck’s mother. He immediately regrets making her tell him.

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Ned finds Chuck in the midst of her own crisis. She feels stuck—not dead and gone to wherever her parents are, but not with her aunts as she was before. Chuck worries that she’s interrupted the natural order of things, and it almost seems like she wants Ned to touch her again. Ned hides out in the confessional and is joined by Father Ed, who wants to confess something but ends up hearing Ned’s confessions instead. Ned worries that he’s only ever messed up the lives of the people he cares about, and Father Ed suggests that he stop abandoning people emotionally. That was Ned’s dad’s game. Ned can do better. Father Ed then locks Ned in a room with Emerson, because they’re both terrible at pretending to be priests.

Olive notices that Father Ed’s robes are covered in bat poop, just as the bell tower is, and presumes him to be the killer, but the real killer is in the tower with Chuck. That’s where Sister Larue kept her secret truffle lab; she only joined the convent to experiment with their truffles in the first place. Larue’s relationship with von Getz was just to finance the operation, but when the Mother Superior caught them, she sent Father Ed to talk to the wayward nun. Father Ed discovered the illicit truffle operation and ordered Larue to leave, so the two of them did have a confrontation up there with the bat poop, but it didn’t end in her death. That was Pigby’s fault. He smelled the truffles and was trained to go after them, pushing Larue out of the tower as he did.

Pigby does the same to Chuck. While she clings to the edge of the wall, Ned runs to move a wagon of hay into place, and Olive runs to grab her friend’s hand. She and Pigby pull Chuck to safety, but a bell knocks Olive right back out of the tower. As she plummets, she makes peace with her life and wishes for Ned and Chuck’s happiness—because if it’s not already clear, Olive Snook is a really good person. Imagine this show without her. Imagine if she hadn’t landed in that wagon of hay. I don’t even want to.

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Ned finally, properly apologizes for the way he treated Olive, and he does it right. He doesn’t ask her to forgive him; he just wants her to know that he’s sorry. Olive accepts, because it’s time for her to come home. She’ll miss the nunnery, but she’s keeping the murderous pig. Ned, who’s clearing the air all over the place right now, tells Chuck that Aunt Lily is actually her mother. Chuck is just glad to finally be able to fill in her family tree.

Will Chuck’s optimism inspire Ned to dig into his own past? Are you glad that Olive is back at the Pie Hole? Who’s this new waitress they got to take her place? Someone terrible, probably. Until next week!

Best lines:

“I’m…I’m busy.” —Olive, with the contraband fem care

“When being chased, Olive Snook harkened back to an educational film on alligators and what to do when pursued by one.” —Narrator

“Is it now many nuns, like a number puzzle? Uh, something to do with the sacred feminine. A Freemason is involved!” —Ned

“Sister Christian is nothing but a heavy-petting power ballad.” —Mother Superior

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