Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Gilded Lily

So last night I watched The Tell-Tale Tap. And, as what usually happens when I watch an episode where an actor I love plays a character who dies, I start wondering if there’s any way to save the character. Sometimes it takes a very long time before I can arrive at a solution, as it did with Captain Caldwell. This time, I figured out a way to do it in a shorter amount of time.

Another factor in deciding to try it is because of my tinkering with that Decadent Dean-related piece. If I’m going to explore the possibility of Tobin Wade ever regretting what he did, the slimeball, it seems I should definitely do something with rescuing and redeeming Glen Holman, since his crimes are nowhere near as horrific.

(I also actually did break down and fiddle with something about Slim Marcus from The Singing Skirt, exploring my idea that maybe he and his partner-in-crime struggled over the gun, which she pulled on him instead of vice versa, and it just went off. There’s so little actually said in the episode about “how he killed her” that it is possible it could have happened that way. That piece, however, is very short unless I find a way to continue it, and it’s currently not posted anywhere at all.)

The final factor in deciding to go ahead with the Tell-Tale Tap piece was that I laid down for a nap after Perry and ended up having the most off-the-wall dream involving something about me meeting Glen Holman and us going together to talk to someone in a building about some sort of business deal we were both interested in, and then me wandering around the building visiting connecting stores and looking for Holman. Weird. Holman was very charming, as he was in the episode, but I couldn't tell whether or not he had changed his crooked ways.

While working out the details of my idea with Glen Holman, I tried something a bit different. Paul found his way into the piece when I was looking for a way to get a regular character involved. It gives me a chance to write serious detective Paul, something I love seeing on the show, and provides some interesting interaction. Paul and Glen Holman never interacted in the episode, but it would have been fun.

I thought I was going to be done with the piece soon enough that I could stick a link in here, but I decided I might want to do one other scene. So I’ll hold off on that for now.

Last week I wanted to watch a Perry episode I haven’t seen in a very long time. So I got out my season 1 part 2 set and looked through the possibilities. I thought I remembered especially liking The Gilded Lily, so I slipped it in.

It is definitely one of my most favorite season 1 ventures. Not only do we meet the man who owns the Brent building, we see several other unique and positive features.

There’s an ex-con successfully managing to go straight. Usually if a protagonist has been convicted on the show (even if said conviction happened before the episode opened), they’re later shown to have been innocent all along, so an actually guilty party is something very rare. It’s kind of a breath of fresh air, too, considering both that she was really guilty and that she’s trying to be a better person now.

Said ex-con has also managed to find true happiness by marrying Mr. Brent. Their relationship is truly lovely and endures, instead of breaking to pieces like so many marriages on the series.

Mr. Brent’s secretary, who is so grief-stricken about him marrying that she overdoses on sleeping pills and later decides she’ll keep fighting for him anyway, actually ends up becoming genuine friends with his new wife. It’s understated but beautifully depicted throughout the episode, from Enid’s initial reluctance to so much as talk with the friendly Mrs. Brent to their quiet bonding over time (I love the scene of one of them laying her hand over the other’s as a comforting gesture) and finally, Enid actively worrying about Mrs. Brent after Mr. Brent is accused of murder. Enid proclaims that Mrs. Brent is a wonderful person and knows she truly loves Mr. Brent. Presumably, Enid abandons her idea of fighting for him and just decides to be happy for them both.

Tragg gets to be awesome all the way along. He makes some of his classic comments and has some fun scenes, especially when he realizes that there’s evidence hidden in his car due to a mysterious girl pretending to be his niece and wanting to put a present in his car. (It was really Enid, hoping to get the evidence out of the car that Mr. Brent hid there so it wouldn’t be found on him when he was searched.)

I think that bit was part of my inspiration when I created Lucy to be Tragg’s niece. I decided he should really have a niece and that it would be interesting interaction.

Unusual for a season 1 episode, there aren’t any wildly untrue accusations flying around at Perry. (Nor does Perry do anything that would justify wild accusations.) Like Tragg, Hamilton is also awesome all the way along.

We even get a rare glimpse into seeing something from Hamilton’s point of view, as he is the first person to make it clear to the audience that the fact of all the women being blondes is noticed and possibly important. He leans over the table, staring at each woman in turn on the other side of the gallery. We then see the close-ups of them, followed by the judge calling to Hamilton and Hamilton starting back to the situation at hand.

On that note, it’s interesting how it’s definitely set up so it seems one of the women must be involved. It’s not really disguised that Enid’s roommate Sheila has something to do with things, since she is the only one to wear her hair in a certain way and it’s very visible even when she has on a scarf and the camera doesn’t show her face.

I’m guessing, however, that Sheila is meant to be a red herring. Yes, it’s finally found out that she was partners with the murder victim in the blackmail scheme that threatened to smear Mrs. Brent’s name, but she isn’t the killer, either.

Then Mrs. Brent becomes one last red herring, as she goes to confront the only other person who could have committed the murder—the hotel desk clerk. During that scene, it looks like she’s somehow mixed up in the mess too, but then the creep is arrested and it’s revealed Mrs. Brent was just trying to get him to confess. She and Mr. Brent joyously reunite.

I love the very last bit of the episode, as Perry and Tragg link arms and walk off to allow the Brents to enjoy their time together. Perry and Tragg seem very friendly in the episode and this scene, and the ending is the icing on the cake.

All in all, The Gilded Lily is such a fun, feel-good episode of the series that ends with everything right.

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