October 24th, 2007
With its third episode, Pushing Daisies proved itself worthy of the praise lauded onto its pilot. And, after seeing its ratings, ABC rewarded the series with a full season order earlier this week. As a result, tonight’s episode is the first airing while we know that there is no longer any fear: Pushing Daisies will be getting a full 22-episode order.
The fourth episode, meanwhile, is a charming and engaging affair which never really clicked for me. While last week used the fantastic pilot to build on the relationship between Chuck and Ned, this week was our first episode that combined a stand-alone murder mystery with the loss of director-producer Barry Sonnenfeld. While the show’s charm was mostly intact, it just didn’t feel the same.
I’ve yet to really figure out what went wrong with the episode: it started with a fabulous prologue starring the adorable Digby, it features a charming appearance by Jayma Mays (Heroes, Ugly Betty), and the dialogue remained generally sharp.
I think that something just felt disconnected in regards to the murder mystery of the week, a crashed plane and the prisoner who hitched a ride. It ended up being this esoteric, generational story of love, carrier pigeons and inmates that never reached a conclusion worth waiting for. The show’s two threads (Ned/Chuck/Emerson and Olive/Lily/Vivian) came together in a contrived fashion, and the result was…uneventful.
But, the episode does prove that the show’s charm is capable of overcoming its murder mystery faults: even without the visual artistry of Sonnenfeld, this story still felt like it was part of this environment. The special effects were a bit weak with the windmills and the rooftop, but the show still felt like something positively different from anything else on television. In the end, I think that this is a good weekly standard for the show to set. The hope is that it can be sustained for another 18 episodes.
- This week’s singing wasn’t really the same as week two’s: it was short, it was natural, and it was disliked by one of its characters. Me? I liked it.
- Ned/Chuck got a little repetitive this week: two weeks in a row with a charming endnote to the episode is a bit much. I feel like a studio note said “More of the love birds”.
- The bird sequence at the beginning of the episode was a great moment (“Miracles, not disease!”) and a good sign off what the series can do in the future.
- Last week’s Olive storyline felt new and interesting, but her pairing with Lily and Vivian didn’t quite click as much as I wish it would this week. Their storyline just didn’t resonate, despite some very nice individual moments.