There aren’t really multiple plot threads to Another Period this week; everything centers around the ghost that seems to haunt Bellacourt Manor. We discover it in the cold open when Blanche turns her back on the late-night glass of milk she’s just poured herself in her kitchen and it gets drank. “My milk!” she exclaims, and I only mention that because she starts lactating inexplicably and says the same thing again.
The Bellacourts hire the finest ghost-hunter/multi-hyphenate-entertainer in the land, Harry Houdini, to investigate. Lillian is convinced it’s the ghost of her dog, Mayor Cutie, whom she killed (to be fair, she was being a bitch). Frederick is convinced that Dodo is a ghost. Beatrice’s opinion on ghosts: “One time, a ghost had sex with me in my sleep. He was spooky, and he looked liked Frederick and he smelled like Frederick, and he was solid to the touch and wasn’t translucent, and it wasn’t a ghost, it was Frederick.”
Beatrice’s husband Albert (David Wain) shows up this week; the presence of Harry Houdini has brought out his aspiring-magician side. Albert tries to get Houdini’s tutelage or at least to impress him, and fails; he begs for a spot opening for Houdini, and the latter won’t even consider it as long as Albert doesn’t even have an assistant. (“It’s a requirement for someone at your point in his career: The bottom.”) Albert begins describing a muscular, bearded eastern European, but Houdini cuts him off: It has to be a woman. “The kind you can saw in half and bang either half afterward. It’s all the same to me.” (A disturbing change in Houdini’s expression on that last sentence.)
Hamish (Brett Gelman) tells the other servants a harrowing tale about the founder of Bellacourt Manor killing his family, then himself, and now haunting the manor, before revealing it all to be bunk. Peepers makes plans to ensnare the ghost, enlisting Garfield alongside him, who tells a bizarre story about a ghostly friend named “Sticky Jonathan” that’s also pretty creepy, if this exchange means anything:
PEEPERS: Garfield, come!
FLOBELLE (snarky): That’s what was on Garfield’s stomach.
HAMISH (sarcastic): You think so?
Peepers sets out some ghost traps– paté for the ghost dog, a wire hanger for the ghost baby, macarons for Sticky Jonathan– but this whole story is pretty slight. One sequence really makes it work: Peepers reveals to Garfield that his grandfather was a ghost, which is funny enough, but what really makes it all work is Garfield asking if that’s why they call Peepers “Spirit Walker,” and Peepers explains that, no, that’s just because he walks with so much verve. Cue Michael Ian Black walking up and down the hall in deeply silly fashion that only got funnier as it went on.
Beatrice once again gets to reveal some hidden depths; since Harry won’t let Albert on without an assistant (a woman, which Albert definitely likes, with their strange necks and everything), he asks Beatrice, who’s happy to do it just for the chance to wear a vest. (“Why not let nature be your sleeves?”) She manages to demonstrate some pretty keen hiding-in-wait-and-putting-a-knife-to-someone’s-throat skills, though, and when Albert presents her to Harry, she lifts Houdini’s watch, showing some nifty magic skills of her own. Houdini agrees to let Albert have five minutes if he gives him $400– “It’s pay to play,” which prompts Beatrice to reveal a disturbing story about an encounter with an neighbor.
Albert’s opening act for the séance is to attempt to escape from a straitjacket in Houdini fashion, not only failing to do so but disregarding Beatrice’s instructions, because “women aren’t magic.” Of course, Beatrice performs some tricks of her own, and they’re great: She manages to guess the number Frederick was thinking of (even though he couldn’t remember what it was), and, hilariously, makes a table disappear and turn into Blanche, who screams like she was not expecting that at all.
Houdini attempts to “summon” Mayor Cutie– well, after Beatrice finishes pulling handkerchiefs out of her mouth– and upon seeing her, Lillian decides that, damn the risk of mixing the two worlds and killing them all, she wants her dog back. So she breaks the glass in which they are seeing the ghost dog, revealing that Houdini just got another dog and put it under there. Houdini tries to make a break for it, but trips over Albert, still struggling in the straitjacket. Ta-da!
Maybe the funniest story of the night is Frederick’s conviction that Dodo is a ghost, and Dodo’s increasing annoyance with him. It not only gives Paget Brewster the chance to plainly deliver the line “To have a bowel movement” (in response to Frederick, hiding in the bathroom: “What do you want?!”), but Frederick gets to make a Pepe Silvia board, complete with Dodo labeled as “GOST” and everyone else labeled “NOT GOST.”
After Houdini is outed as a fraud, Frederick believes once again that Dodo is a ghost and shoots at her! Impressive reaction by Dodo, who ducks– but Frederick seems to have hit someone else; they discover it’s the Commodore, who’s been living in the walls since Dodo kicked him out. “I built these walls with my hands and I can live in them if I want to!” Dodo kicks him out again. Since the Commodore wasn’t the ghost, either, Frederick asks, “Is it me?” Cue perfect expression from Dodo.
Oh, and Lillian keeps the dog. Even if it isn’t Mayor Cutie, she can pretend it is.
- Harry Houdini was played by Gil Ozeri, who’s had a handful of acting credits but is probably more noteworthy as a writer for Happy Endings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Big Mouth.
- Lillian, echoing Linda Evangelista, doesn’t get out of bed for less than ten ghosts.
- Hamish explains that the ghost of Bellacourt Manor’s founder enters victims through “the bad place,” then clarifies, “That’s their assholes.”
- Peepers’ request to Blanche: “Kill yourself so you can communicate with the spirit.”
- Houdini asks the Bellacourts what haunts them. Lillian: ‘I once pushed a blind priest off a cliff. I know it doesn’t sound it, but trust me, it was hilarious.”
- A fun bit of physical comedy when Peepers asks Garfield to help him but also not to touch anything.
- Garfield believes that when people die, they come back as daffodils.
- “Three more of these stupid gigs and Hou-die-ni gets a boat, baby!” Of course Houdini was a grifter in this episode, but the mispronunciation of his own name was a funny bit of absurdity to lend to the episode.
- Lillian reminiscing about Mayor Cutie by sniffing her gold-encrusted poop scoop is definitely a thing that happened.
- Frederick, while studying his Pepe Silvia board: “They can’t explain how Mother has always been an adult!”
- Is it just me, or has the show been going kinda heavy on the jokes related to sexual abuse so far this season? We had Frederick’s behavior with priests last week, then this week we get Garfield’s story about “Sticky Jonathan” and Beatrice’s about what “pay to play” is. I don’t know if this is because the writers think “shocking = funny” or because they’re making a point about how depressingly common this kind of thing actually is.
- The tag was just more of Peepers’ spirit walking, which was delightful.
- If we’re giving out grades, I guess this was a B+.
- Here is another still from the episode, since I accidentally uploaded two:
What did everyone else think?