So after a great deal of pondering off and on the last few days, I think I decided that season 8 holds its position as my fourth favorite season after all. For all of the oddities of the season, there are still many things I love, and those give it the edge over the negative aspects.
Tentatively I planned that the rest of the list would then go 5, 9, 3, 4, 1. But I hate plopping 3 and 4 so low, as there are many episodes I love. Really, every season has a number of gems. 3 and 4 are bumped low mainly because of the long stretches when Hamilton isn’t there. The plots, however, are consistently good, even during those times. In fact, I think some of the very best episodes without Hamilton are from 3 and 4.
I happily watched The Candy Queen on MeTV this past Tuesday. It’s one of my favorites of season 9. Hamilton is awesome, Steve is awesome, and William Boyett and H.M. Wynant are guest-stars (and are both awesome). I enjoy seeing Nancy Gates as the defendant, Claire Armstrong, too.
H.M.’s final Perry character is the manager of an illegal casino operating in the backroom of a nightclub. Very much unlike Slim Marcus from The Singing Skirt, however, Tony Earle seems to be a pretty nice fellow. And he isn’t mixed up in anything involving the murder, aside from knowing that his boss wanted the Candy Queen formula and later had it.
Oddly enough, both Slim and Tony suffer from an odd fate—neither of them receives credit at the end with their proper names! Slim is called Wilton in the cast list, even though Hamilton gives his first name as Joseph, and Tony Earle is listed as Tony Mario. Weird.
Also, I’m never quite sure what to make of Claire Armstrong and the co-owner of the Candy Queen company, Ed Purvis. It always makes me angry that Claire (off-screen) refuses to believe Ed that slimy Mark Chester is no good, and that her reaction to Ed’s news that Chester was illegally gambling is to decide to terminate his contract and have Chester take his place.
Of course, it sadly happens too often, to think the new guy is the bee’s knees and to not trust the guy who’s been faithful and loyal for years. Claire behaves very stupidly, but it’s believable.
It bothers me even more, however, that while it shows her heartbreak and devastation over later realizing that Chester really is a creep, she’s never really shown being properly regretful for the rotten way she treated Ed. She doesn’t even say she’s sorry.
She does sign the extension of his contract, when Perry brings it, but if I remember right, Perry did it without her requesting it, apparently feeling that it is what she would want. (And she was apparently alright with it, since she signed.) When Perry asks if there’s any message to go with it, she says to just give Ed the contract.
I suppose the implication is that Claire and Ed are so close, the contract extension is all that needs to be said. But after everything Claire did to him, it really feels like there should have been more. And I guess one could argue that Ed should have turned up to see Claire off on her cruise, but at that point he probably still wasn’t even sure how she felt about him or if she would want him there.
My most favorite line from the episode is still the one delivered by William Boyett, the tough detective in charge of raiding the gambling joint, when casino manager Tony Earle addresses him as “friend”: “I’m not your friend.” Ha, priceless.