The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Pushing Daisies” episode “Corpsicle.”
The facts are these: Since bringing his childhood love, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel), back from the grave, the Pie-maker (Lee Pace) has been tormented. While his heart may be overjoyed to have Chuck back in his life, his mind is overcome with guilt for the same extraordinary ability responsible for her restored life is also the same reason that she grew up without a father.
After wrestling with his feelings of blame and remorse (and against the advice of his associate Emerson Cod), Ned chose to share his knowledge on the mysterious and unidentified cause of Charles Charlesdeath and in doing so drove his love away from him.
So as Chuck continues to hide out from her beloved Pie-maker, Ned must put his feelings to one side to track down a chilling serial killer whose victims were all smothered with kindness.
As usual, the opening moments of the episode are by far the most fun. Each week we are treated to a snapshot of young Neds life before his time as a Pie-maker and the first time he lost Chuck. This time, this included a very ordinary and amusing day in Play-Doh land where the Play-Doh residents were confronted by gargantuan monsters Ned and Chuck.
The sad part is that this sunny, enjoyable day was ruined by the death of Chucks father and later Neds mother – the death of both Ned and Chucks parents are integral to the Pushing Daisies story and revealing the truth about the mysterious circumstances of Charles Charlesdeath is something that has been swirling since day one.
Pace is fantastic as the conflicted pie-maker and Jim Dales narration once again conveyed the necessary weighty seriousness the events demanded and also embodied the same humor that is now expected from the series.
Thanks to their lost childhood, Ned and Chuck have a star-crossed appeal and theres nothing like a bit of honesty to mix things up a little.
The enchanting musical styling carries on the whimsical and fairytale feel of the show and as usual the dialogue rattles along as speeds that prevent anything from going stale.
In some shows, this can be too much to handle by on Pushing Daisies this is one of the many joys of the show because each line of dialogue is so wonderfully and carefully crafted that it is as much fun to listen to as the magical world is to look at.
Again, Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) is the comic relief (Does a series like this need comic relief?) with his sarcastic wit and oddly insightful vision of the murders taking place before him.
More unusually, however, we are treated to a more vulnerable and open Emerson than before as he reveals that he in fact has a daughter and potentially a whole family.
In the final moments, Corpsicle offers a shocking twist that will have to gasp, shriek and shout at the screen – it may have been a last minute re-write to send the series out on a high due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, but it certainly throws a lot of balls up in the air and will surely mix the series up a little when they finally land.
What Didnt Work
The overall wackiness of the entire series is very Burton-esque (Whoever heard of dumping bodies in a snowman?), which happens to be the shows greatest charm.
Unfortunately, being so wild, and unpredictable, there is a very fine line between surrealist fun and unbelievable shenanigans. The shattering of the third corpsicle was just a few paces over that line.
There is also the sick kid in need of a heart who is so annoying and ungrateful you cant help but ask the question of whether or not he really deserved a second chance.
Similarly, was there really a point to including Oscar Vibenius (Paul Reubens) in the episode? He may have an interesting part to play in the Pushing Daisies story, but in an episode that is primarily focused on the conflict between Chuck and Ned, his part seems to be diminished considerably.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Corpsicle” was written by Lisa Joy and directed by Brian Dannelly. The show stars stars Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride and Kristin Chenowith.
Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha and its sister site Rabid Doll, contributing from his home country of Scotland. He is currently studying for his diploma in freelance journalism and feature writing as a distance student at the London School of Journalism. He can be reached at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.