OK, I have to get this gripe out of the way – why the hell didn’t Ambrose and Grevil do anything when Victorique grabbed Kujo after the bridge collapsed? Why are two grown men leaving it to a tiny little girl to keep Kujo from falling – and how exactly did she support someone who obviously weighs twice as much as she does?
There. That aside, it was another pretty solid episode. Not as good as last week’s, but a satisfying way to wrap up the Horvitz arc. As this show does very well, it mixed plot and judiciously allocated revelations about the main characters’ past. It helps if the mysteries are interesting, of course – and this one was fairly interesting – but they’re really the sideshow here. What matters is the characters, and their story advances just a little bit further with every arc.
As so often seems to be the case with this show, there were two more or less unrelated mysteries unfolding simultaneously here. The whole business with the murdered guests was a red herring to the larger plot – with the three guys turning out to be a trio of thieves. A squabble amongst them led Derek to kill his cohorts and set it up to look like accidents or unrelated foul play. It was feasible enough, if a bit of an anticlimax. The most interesting thing to come out of that kerfuffle was the revelation that Horvitz is not in fact a village, but a country – at least in the Elder’s eyes. Apparently it’s a tiny nation called “Seyrun”, named for a gang of fictional forest tribes that dominated Eastern Europe in the middle ages with their short height and fierce intelligence (sound familiar?).
Of course the main mystery here was the issue of Cordelia Gallo, Victorique’s Mum. That one needed to have a good resolution for the arc to feel satisfying, and fortunately it did. Herminia the maid, of course – the crazy eyes gave her away. She was hiding in the grandfather clock, which neatly explains all the oddities of the case – the disagreements over timing, the gold coins (that’s where Elder Theodore hid them), the powerful trust of the dagger. A cleverly disguised Kujo sets off the confession, which sets of Herminia on a loony rampage of burning and spear thrusting, which sets off the Kujo falling into the gorge bit which I won’t re-hash. The only part of that resolution that didn’t hit with me was Herminia’s motive – she was pissed at Theodore for telling her she’d die at 26. Hey – don’t stab the messenger, Girlfriend!
Kujo is emerging as a nice foil for Victorique. I wish he’d be a little quicker on the uptake, it’s true – but he’s very much a soldier’s son. For all that Victorique lives in a world of subtlety and hidden meanings, Kujo is completely straightforward. He doesn’t get the joke on the first try, but he always charges straight ahead bravely, even if the odds are hopeless – especially where Victorique is concerned. Obviously these two are officially an item now – the way she cried over him was a tell if ever I saw one, and he – incapable of deception as he is – tips his hand with every other word out of his mouth. It was nice to know what her real question to the elder was – and it says a lot about Victorique that she wouldn’t admit it.
Oh, and by the way – Cordelia Gallo is apparently alive and well. That should set up some very interesting moments down the road.