Agent Cooper finally sees Audrey’s note while in his morning headstand. Yeah, Coop, don’t do that. I take some pretty rigorous yoga classes, and even so, the headstands come at the end of class when you’re really, really warmed up. First thing in the morning, when your blood pressure hasn’t stabilized and your hair has morning wood? That’s a good way to end up back on the floor. Anyway, he finally rescues Audrey and lets her sleep off a drug overdose at the fishing cabin (instead of a hospital or… no, really, hospital’s the only sensible option here). Ben is much more relieved that his money is also rescued, especially after Audrey confronts him about attempted sexual assault. She also asks him if he had sex with Laura, remembering how he used to sing to her. He looks at Laura’s picture on his desk (no family photos that we can see) and admits yes, because he was in love with her. Audrey is appropriately squicked out and goes straight to Agent Cooper, who had found parts of Laura’s “diary” where she says she’s going to reveal to the world who Ben Horne is and decides immediately that Ben is their killer.
Ugh, this Leo thing. Okay, so Dumb Bobby got it into his head that social security pays a lot of money, so Shelly should bring brain-damaged Leo home to care for him. The people who gave him this idea, of course, are scam artists who sell sub-par medical equipment after you have your checks sent to them and then they’ll give you your “cut,” but Bobby’s still sure it will work. It’s certainly working for Leo, who was on life support at the hospital but is perfectly capable of breathing, swallowing, sitting up, and even uttering short phrases at home. So that bodes well for Shelly. There’s an actual hearing to determine whether Leo will be charged with murder, but since the pros are “convicting people is fun” and the cons are “he is incapable of understanding right from wrong, making a plea, or defending himself, plus Agent Cooper doesn’t think he did it” the judge decides the prosecutor is being a dick. When Bobby and Shelly finally get their monthly check, it turns out to be about 1/7 of what they’d expected because of “state and local taxes, administrative fees, the high cost of healthcare,” and a bunch of other stuff that is not how it works at all. Bobby decides that Leo must have had a stash of cash somewhere so he turns everything into a treasure hunt, because he’s had to skip a lot of classes for this scheme.
Donna decides to cure the vampire by stealing Laura’s diary and running into the sunshine so he’ll follow her. It goes about as well as you’d expect, which is only slightly better than plan B, in which the vampire kills himself. Donna’s totally going to be a psychologist, you guys.
Catherine shows up dressed up in the most unconvincing Japanese Man costume ever to convince Ben to give her his land investment and cancel on the Icelandic contingent so she can back out at the last minute and he’ll be screwed. He falls for this immediately because he is only two degrees of separation from Leo. Also, he’s racist.
Poor Lucy has decided to go visit “Aunt Gwen.” (If “Aunt Flo” is your period, “Aunt Gwen” is your abortion.) The Sheriff rushes her out the door, convinced they don’t actually need her at all, but when the temp doesn’t show up Deputy Droopy tries to pick up the slack, but he doesn’t know how to use post-it notes and apparently Lucy didn’t make a desk binder. (As a former temp, ALWAYS MAKE A DESK BINDER. A useful one. I was once sitting at a desk where the assistant figured he’d never be gone for more than a day or two, so everything said “just leave it until I get back.” He was out for two months.) Deputy Droopy finds out he’s actually super-fertile, so he calls Lucy (presumably to apologize?) which is how he finds out what Aunt Gwen is code for. Poor Deputy Droopy. Poor Lucy.
The producers have decided to switch things up, so instead of starting episode 7 with Agent Cooper recapping the events so far to his imaginary friend, everyone at the police station stands in a line, drinking coffee and explaining to each other. It’s not really an improvement, but in these days before DVDs and internet recaps, they had to do something to encourage people to start watching late. And it is only one scene.
Remember in The O.C., there was a whole thing where Marissa was supposed to be going off someplace so they threw her a big going-away party and then she died in a car accident? And some recappers made the point that they had already written her off, so what was the point of also killing the character? I’ve seen comments from people who stopped watching after Maddie died, and I can see the point where she had already said good-bye to everyone. But ultimately, I think her death is still moving the story forward. Admittedly, her death is pretty brutal. She’s strangled and then punched in the face so her nose breaks and she chokes on the blood until Leland/Bob smashes her head into the wall. None of it is off-screen. Some of it is in slow-motion. Despite everything else we’ve seen, I can see people thinking that this was not the show they’d signed up for. And just like how everyone seemed to know instinctively that Laura was dead, everyone who knew Maddie even peripherally starts crying.
And yet, the next morning, everyone’s fine. Downright chipper, even. Sarah’s no longer crawling desperately on the floor as if she’d already been mortally wounded and Donna and Emo-Boy skip by to wish Maddie farewell. Leland tells them Maddie was very sad they didn’t stop by last night, before she left, because he needs to rub a little salt in. The act of which leaves him so happy that he stops by the lodge to do a dance routine. When the Sheriff tells him they’ve arrested Ben for Laura’s murder (but not charged him, oddly), Leland can barely contain his raucous joy long enough to get out of the Sheriff and Agent Cooper’s hearing range.
Ben is feeling less chipper, still locked in a jail cell. (Side note: I was researching a script once and found out there’s a difference between jail and prison. Did you know that? Jail is where the police hold you before and possibly during your trial, and prison is where you go after you’ve been convicted.) Jerry stops by to be his legal representative and segue into an extended flashback of the boys when they were very young watching their babysitter dance in their bedroom. It actually looks totally innocent and age-appropriate except for how the boys are ogling. I think it’s supposed to explain why they’re so awful about women except it’s only creepy because they are already awful about women. Then Jerry tells Ben, in a worried voice, “your blood might have Laura’s fingerprints on it.” Anyone want to explain it to him? He (mostly) solves the problem himself by advising Ben to get another lawyer. Then Catherine blackmails him (by tape! People! Don’t leave physical evidence!) saying that she’ll come back from the dead and be his alibi if he signs the mill over to her. He still has not figured out that he was talking with her yesterday.
And then Maddie’s body is found, exactly the way Laura’s was. (I bet the actress was real glad for another chance at the death makeup and laying in a bag for a few hours.) The thing is, the show started with the discovery of Laura’s body. All of the other characters grieved for her, but we only knew her as a dead body (with a LOT of time on her hands). This is like showing the pilot again, except now we know the character and we can grieve too. Which is how the show starts all over, almost exactly halfway through its total run. It is both “Murder, She Wrote” AND “Columbo”; we have both figured out who the killer was AND seen the act before the cops know what happened.