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Trial & Error - The Suitcase & The Timeline - Double Review: Welcome Back, Peckers!



Welcome back to East Peck, ya Peckers! I don't know about you, but it feels like far too long since we found out Margaret Henderson was killed by an owl instead of her husband Larry. Things have changed in the seven months since then, such as Josh buying a house in East Peck, Carol Anne Keane being seven months pregnant (with Josh's baby?) and a mysterious new murder case opening up for our team to solve. Everyone, please welcome the wonderful Kristin Chenoweth as our wealthy murder suspect, Lavinia Peck-Foster. That's right, our suspect is a member of East Peck's founding family, and she is very loved in this odd little town.

Even though I do think East Peck can feel like a rip-off of Pawnee at times (of Parks & Rec, but if you don't know that then what the heck), I still love it and am happy to spend more time with its residents. Like most of NBC's beautiful sitcoms, this one flew under the radar last year but still managed to get itself a second season due to critical acclaim (and probably lowered licensing fees from Warner Bros and moving it to summer but WHATEVER). I'm thrilled to see these characters again, and I'm so pleased that they nabbed Kristin Chenoweth to follow in John Lithgow's footsteps. The first two episodes of the season were delightful, so let's discuss!


Lady, Killer begins with Lavinia driving home late one night when a police officer finds the body of her husband Edgar in the trunk of her car. She's a wealthy woman that has the town wrapped around her finger, mostly because her family bought everything from the police uniforms to the courthouse. The judge even set her bail at $10 and paid for it himself. I come from a small town and I can assure you this is very normal for small town courts (I'm lying we didn't have a court in our town).

Our original crew of Josh, Anne and Dwayne are put on the case and feel good about clearing Lavinia's name, despite how guilty she looks. Carol Anne is the opposing attorney again, determined to win this case and put East Peck's hottest socialite behind bars to make up for losing the Larry Henderson case last year. Pregnancy isn't slowing her down whatsoever, and even turns out to be an asset in the court.

The first episode ends with Dwayne and Anne finding more dead bodies in the maze behind Lavinia's mansion. This left me dreaming about the things I could hide in a maze behind my mansion, like extra snacks and boxes of wine. Anyway it turns out Lavinia had no knowledge of the bodies, so I guess that's that.

The second episode leaves the gang trying to solidify their timeline and prove Lavinia didn't have time to go down to the river and drown her husband. Carol Anne successfully had the entire jury dismissed since they're all so closely connected to the Peck family, which leaves the timeline as Josh's best chance at victory. Dwayne realizes the marks on Edgar's forehead are clock hands, which originally seems like nothing but becomes very important after a history on East Peck time versus North Peck time. NORTH PECK TIME IS ONE HOUR AHEAD. They go meet with Jesse Ray Beaumont, Edgar's first clock apprentice who murdered Lavinia's brother Chet nine years prior. He confirms Edgar was struck by an East Peck clock and their timeline is set. As a side note, don't ever ask Lavinia to talk to Jesse Ray Beaumont unless you want a bunch of plates thrown at you. But do ask her to talk to Jesse Ray Beaumont if you want to see Kristin Chenoweth scream profanities while searching for fancy china to throw at people (I always want to see this).

Another important development in the second episode is M-Towne, a podcast inspired by Serial/S-Town led by reporter Nina Rudolph who has arrived in East Peck to report on the murders. The writers waste no time setting up a love triangle with her arrival, writing in sparks between Josh and Nina as they bond over their city origins. But wait, just scenes later a heated exchange between Josh and Carol Anne leads to another passionate hook up! I smell drama, and I'm firmly #TeamCarolAnne.

Flipping the formula from the first season and giving Josh the upper hand is a solid way to change up the dynamics of the show, though one thing this premiere really made me realize was how irrelevant the outcome of the case is. Lavinia is either innocent or guilty (obviously), and after Larry's innocence the year before it seems likely she'll be guilty in some way. But 50+ seasons of the Law & Order franchise proves that the case isn't the most important part, and luckily this show is filled with incredible characters that we've all come to love.

And going off this first episode, that hasn't changed. East Peck and its oddball characters remain just as humorous as season one and Kristin Chenoweth's Lavinia is already a delightful addition to the ensemble and perfectly shows off her comedy chops. There are few shows on TV with such flawless comedic timing in the writing and performances and we're lucky to have it.

Count me in for season two's Murder Board Baby Board.


EXTRA THOUGHTS:
-The Lady Laws were hilarious, and I hope the Flag Boy continues to run around all season
-Anne and her bizarre disorders remain a highlight, though I didn't love her jumping-super-high-when-startled bit. That felt significantly more cartoonish than usual
-I'm totally on board for the baby to be Josh's
-Didn't Josh change up his hair style at the end of last season? Why is the gel back?
-Let's all hope and pray that Dwayne's East Peck history lessons continue all season
-The gag with the judge we can't understand is going to get old very fast
-I hope Lavinia only refers to Josh as Lawyer for the rest of the season, it's very Karen Walker and I love it
-"I'm not on trial for murdering etiquette!"
-Episode two ends with security footage of Lavinia stealing food while dressed as a man, which I assume is because she enjoys the tickle of a mustache


Okay, I'm off to memorize the Lady Laws. See you next week!



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