Pushing Daisies Review: "The Legend of Merle McQuoddy" (Episode 209) and "The Norwegians" (Episode 210)
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With precious few episodes left, Pushing Daisies is really picking up momentum in its story arcs. In "The Legend of Merle McQuoddy," Olive proved her investigating worth to Emerson, which could lead to a world outside of the pie hole, for good. And Chuck's dad (understandably) proved to be so protective of his daughter he advocated for her to remove the biggest threat to her safety: Ned.
The show's four characters were again divided this episode, with Olive and Emerson investigating the water-logged murder of lighthouse attendant Nora McQuoddy, who in death resembled something like an egg, sunny side up. A sunny side up egg that knew Morse code, that is. The mystery involved some vaguely recognizable faces (Alexander Gould from Weeds and Mary Kay Place from Big Love), but was notable for the interplay between the established P.I. Emerson and his budding sidekick, Olive. The two had genuine chemistry, bouncing ideas (and chests) off each other. Olive's speech to put out the disastrous potential fire was quite moving, admitting the fire she feels for Ned is just as hot as ever, however irrational it may be. Emerson nobly came to her rescue by suggesting she'd have a place to work at his office should she need a reprieve from the Pie Hole.
Emerson, in turn, was surprisingly candid with Olive too, in talking about how the rain reminds him of his ex and everything he once had but now lost. His exasperated sarcastic quips were at a minimum with Olive, and I think the "Merle McQuoddy" episode subtly developed both characters and set them up for new paths in their respective storylines. I just hope we'll get an idea of where they're heading in the handful of episodes remaining.
In Chuck and Ned land, the two resolved to make the dad situation work the best they could. That meant having Charles Charles move in with Ned. Needless to say, it was a disaster, resulting in the two fencing with broomsticks in an awkward sequence in the Pie Hole. Charles was resolute in his desire to make up for lost time with his daughter, and that means going on the adventures they never had. He presents her with a dilemma: Ned or him. As a father, he cannot let her be around Ned because that means his daughter would be in constant danger of death. For himself, he cannot stay either because it means life as a complete and total shut-in, and it's clear that it is not in his disposition to let his life be dictated by others or any set of rules.
By the end of the episode, Chuck chose Ned and Charles Charles bolted in a car. I have to say, I am a bit stumped as to where this story heads from here. They wouldn't introduce Chuck's dad and drive him away (so to speak) so quickly, would they? Whatever the case, Charles Charles was the catalyst to prove Chuck and Ned's relationship is stronger than ever. The sight of the two finding every way possible to touch still has its magic and sweetness, and the same can be said for the show. After a couple of just okay episodes at the start of the season, Pushing Daisies has amassed a string of episodes that have been consistently well-acted, well-written, and immensely satisfying. If the series has got to end, then at least it is ending in top form.