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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Penny for your thoughts

Season 2 | Episode 12 | “Water & Power” | Aired June 6, 2009

The latest—and, as it turns out, last—episode to focus on Emerson Cod goes a long way toward clarifying his backstory, particularly where his daughter is concerned. Emerson met the mother of his child when a famous dam builder named Roland Stingwell hired him to tail his fiancée, Emily von Alastair. Emily and Emerson struck up a romance, and she told him the truth: Her real name was Lila Robinson, and she was running a con on Roland in order to steal a rare jewel called the Dam Ruby.

When Lila got pregnant, she broke it off with Roland and promised Emerson that she’d clean up her act, but the pull of the ruby was too strong. She couldn’t find it, so she stole his money and fled town, taking their daughter, Penny, with her. Roland channeled his frustration into building the Papen County Dam and running the city water system, until he turned up dead. Now, Roland’s sister has hired Emerson to find out what happened. The twist (aside from the one in Roland’s neck) is this: Roland names Lila as his killer.

Emerson tries to explain it all to Simone, who shows up at his office unannounced, but Lila is a step ahead. She emerges from the shadows and insists that she did not kill Roland. If Emerson can prove as much without getting the cops involved, she’ll let him see Penny. Otherwise, she’s out. Simone doesn’t trust her, so she goes to Chuck and Ned, who decide that even if Emerson is chasing the wrong leads, they have to help him.


Chuck, Ned, and Emerson spend the day interviewing local farmers whose water supply was affected by the dam, then look into a claim made by Roland’s secretary, who believed that a local factory was dumping toxic waste into the water. She was right, and a bevy of reluctantly honest Mennonite lawyers admit it. They dumped glow-in-the-dark chemicals in the water one time, but they promise to pay the fines. Lila is still the best suspect here. Nonetheless, Emerson can’t give up even on the faintest chance that he’ll see his daughter. Love makes you do crazy things.

Olive should know, given that she went to live in a nunnery for a while just to get over Ned. She’s still not over him, so she breaks up with Randy, but when Ned pushes her to make it work, she realizes that she can use Randy as a rebound. This was not Ned’s intention. Olive invites Randy back to the Pie Hole; he’s suspicious, but he accepts her offer for a date.

That night, Olive goes to Emerson’s office, where she finds that Simone has hung a red lantern in the window as a signal to Lila. When Lila arrives, Simone pulls a gun on her and accuses her of using Penny as bait, but Lila says that Penny is her conscience. (She also says that her conscience is currently watching TV and eating string cheese at the hotel, which I think is true of a lot of consciences.) She only came back to town to return Roland’s money and make amends.

Lila struggles for the gun and makes a break for it, which turns out to have been the plan all along. Ned and Chuck are hiding in the trunk of her car, but they haven’t mastered the art of quiet conversation. Lila hears them, takes their clothes, and leaves them to walk back to the Pie Hole, where Olive and Randy are having a heart-to-heart. Randy tells Olive that he’ll take a chance on being her rebound in the hopes that she’ll forget she ever bounced. They kiss.


Ned and Chuck join Randy and Olive and get ready to go after Emerson, but when Ned turns off the light, he’s met by the sight of glowing flowers. Farmer Michael Brunt gifted them to Chuck, but clearly his water was tainted by the toxic runoff. Another glowing bouquet sits on Roland’s desk; Brunt delivered the flowers when he came to kill Roland for damaging his livelihood. When he overheard Roland talking to Lila, he decided to frame her; in disguise as Lila, he turned on the water, which pushed Roland out of the dam, to his death. He then deliberately passed security cameras on his way out.

Roland hid the Dam Ruby in the pipes, which is where Brunt finds Simone and Emerson. He turns on the water to flood them out as he did Roland, but Simone finds a small ledge on the dam, where she and Emerson wait it out until the coast is clear. Ned and Chuck arrive in time to capture Brunt, and Emerson collects his money from Roland’s sister. His real reward waits with Lila.

Emerson wants more than a few minutes with his daughter; he wants to raise her for a while. Lila agrees, but she’s broke, and her car is terrible. Because love makes you do stupid things, Emerson gives her his keys. He finds that Penny is not in Lila’s car as promised, but she does drive away in the backseat of his, waving as she goes. Emerson still has hope; his daughter is smiling and happy, and his pop-up book is finally being published. If anything can call his daughter back to him, Li’l Gumshoe can.

Will Emerson see his daughter again? Is the cost of love worth it for two people who can’t even touch? And is anyone else not ready for this to be over? See you next week for the finale!

Best Lines

“Wednesday saw the return of young Emerson to the big couch for the crime of inappropriate intentional double entendre during the science fair.” —Narrator

“I’m that girl in high school who’s afraid of real relationships, so she’s always attracted to guys in college. Or Canada.” —Olive

“Being ajar doesn’t change the fact it was a door before it was ajar, which would indicate to most people to a-knock before a-entering.” —Emerson

“How could you not tell me that you had a daughter? We have buried bodies together.” —Chuck

“She’s lied so damn much in her life, her eyes look like that permanently.” —Emerson

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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