Episode 9, ladies and gents!
A velvet-jacket-wearing guy in bar with some bip-boppity-do jazz music going on in the background would like to buy these two lovely ladies a drink. Bartender monetarily cock-blocks him, saying Mr. Velvet owes him anyway, so no dice. Velvet is apparently the laugh of the jazz club. After giving an older man some lip, he heads to his car to chill out a bit. Suddenly from the back seat two hands and rope wrap around Velvet's neck... and we have our Tuesday night victim!
Abe stops Henry from being all morose, listening to opera. He switches it to some badass big-band music, which Henry refers to this 'new popular music' and then says he doesn't want to 'put his thing down, flip it and reverse it.' There is something about Ioan Gruffudd speaking Missy Elliott lyrics that just makes my heart leap. Abe turns the music up, channeling his rebellious side. Henry basically goes all 'turn down that infernal racket' and what does Abe reply with "Yeah, whatever... dad." I LOVE THIS.
At the crime scene we see Velvet's car is charred. Henry, Jo and Hanson are checking out the smoldering remains and then Hanson says "Better to burn out than fade away." Henry doesn't get it at all, calling it poetic. Please, can someone hook Henry up with a History Of Rock N Roll class, because while opera is great, The Rolling Stones are better. Also, please let this be a musically inclined episode... I'm dying to know what Lucas jams to.
Velvet is inside the car, resembling a burnt mummy. There's no fire damage in his mouth or nose so it's clearly a murder (duh, Hanson, wouldn't you know that by now?!).
In the lab, Henry is taking a freaking tree branch trimmer to Velvet. I still can't get use to seeing a body split open on TV, which is odd. For all the police dramas that have existed I can't think of one that was on network television and had this much blood and guts... but in a tasteful way. Lucas and Henry figure out that Velvet was strangled and find a reed used in a instrument in the dead man's mouth. A piano wire was used to strangle him - it was a treble G. Henry and Lucas literally stand there and try to have perfect pitch, humming as Jo and Hanson walk in like 'what in the musical crap is going on?' Cue me hyperventilating from the absolute cuteness that is the future 1/2 of the Forever Morgue And Lab Quartet.
Lucas finds old film stock, which was the accelerant used in the car fire. Jo wonders who on Earth still uses film. The impeccable Lucas chimes in: "Ah, nobody, ya know. Just Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson... myself." Lucas apparently dabbled in horror erotica and sweet jebus my interest is oddly perked.
Velvet's sister looks at some photos of items found on Velvet, including the reed... which she confirms to be from a saxophone. Their father is Pepper Evans, 'the best jazz musician you've never heard of.' Velvet's real name is actually Isiah and the last time she spoke to him was last night, so go find daddio at 125th and Broadway.
We find Pepper playing the sax on a subway station platform. Jo and Henry break the news that Isiah is dead but Pepper explains he wasn't 'no boy scout'. Pepper gave his son some of his reel-to-reel audiotapes (VOILA - ACCELERANT), which had the old recordings Isiah loved. Pepper suggests to visit "Dutchess", a jazz club, to maybe pick up the pieces of the trail.
Abe goes bonkers knowing that Henry met Mr. Pepper Evans, listing off his favorite jazz musicians. Abe pokes the bear by saying "Jazz is our classical music." Henry is all AW HELL NO... and flashes back to young Abe. He's on a piano, which apparently Henry can play pretty well. The next door neighbors are having a itty bitty fight that can be heard through the walls; there is a banging at the door. The neighbor wants patched up by the immortal doc, as he's got a gig to attend to. This is the man who introduced Abe to jazz. Well done writers; while I love knowing Henry's history, seeing how Abe has evolved is just as wonderful.
Henry figures out that the right club to be at now is "Rudy's", thanks to his jazzy son. Jo and Henry talk to the bartender who gave Isiah shit. He plays difficult until Jo puts on her verbal brass knuckles, to which he complies. Henry goes all ninja-like and steals a briefcase with 'PE' on it... Pepper Evans. Well gee wiz, bartender, what are you doing with this!? Bartender stumbles over his words but finally spits out that he took it because of money. It had some reel tapes in the briefcase as well. Henry, the eternal child, goes and plays with a bass that is about a foot taller than he is. On the bass... a new string. And not only is it a new string, it's the right note - G.
Jo puts on tough cop face (I adore her in so many ways, I cannot list them all, but one is how she's both stern and yet snarky), interrogating the bartender; Hanson for the assist! They tell the bartender that there's like, a bajillion witnesses, so how about you tell us the truth. Apparently a man named Lionel Hubbard cheated Pepper out of a song; it was THE track to end all jazz tracks. So Isiah was up in the club throwing his money around, pissing someone off. The Lieutenant apparently is a hardcore jazz fan, showing a side of her we've yet to see (thank you for this, seriously). Henry confronts her about the passion she showed and she's already back onto the path, asking why she doesn't have a time of death yet. Lucas busts in with the perfect answer: it took about a half an hour. Bartender didn't do it - he was still on the clock as the body burnt.
Jo and Henry take off to visit Al Ranney, the man who owns the rights to "6 AM", the song that Lionel Hubbard stole from Pepper. He says yeah, he saw Isiah there (viewers get to see this is the man that Isiah sassed). You better believe Al because he was there as the song was recorded, he swears by it! He doesn't have the master copy any more, it's all digital. Jo takes off with Al to listen to some recordings while Henry stays back to watch a live recording. He has a flashback to when Abe and the neighbor were on the piano, jamming away with some delicious jazz tones emanating through the house. Back in the present time, Henry notices that Al has no arm hairs... almost like he was near a fire. Oh, don't worry, it's just from having a bbq. Sure. Yep. I believe you. Henry reminds Jo that fire is a good way to find evidence that has been preserved by the heat... and that it's maybe time to perform an 'autotopsy'. HA. Oh, my. I can't even right now. #InHysterics
They get in the charred car; Henry is the killer and Lucas is the victim. Henry takes his tie and uses it as a fake string around Lucas' neck. Lucas TOTALLY gets into this, as he's such a method actor. Like, an actor playing a method actor. Actception. Jo watches frick and frack recreate the scene with a glorious 'do I really know these two?' look plastered on her face. Alana De La Garza is queen of facial cues and she cracks me the hell up with the looks that don't need to accompany words. They dig under the seat of the car and find a cufflink with the initials 'db'... Dovebird Records. I guess it's time to talk with Al again!
At the station the Lieutenant (who looks like she's about to open a can of whoop-ass) and Jo speak with Al. They think he did it, and have 6 witnesses saying he exited the club after Isiah did. Al has a lot of money to lose if people were to believe that it was Pepper, not Lionel Hubbard, who made "6 AM". Not only that, but they've got a cufflink with his record company's initials. He lawyers up, who shows up all douchey at just the right time.
Hanson and Henry dig through 30 years of Dovebird Records files... Henry finds a photo... and it's the man who used to be his neighbor. Funny how time works, how old faces reappear. He recalls that the man had everything he ever needed inside his saxophone case. Back to reality, Henry digs through Pepper's case... finding the master tape of "6 AM". Hello, solid proof. The record plays - the voice heard on it: non-existent. Nothing is there. Nada.
Pepper shows up to the station and he explains that he did indeed write it, he was just written out of it. Pepper sees the photo of the cufflink, recognizing it immediately but pretending he has no clue about it.
Lucas checks out the audio tape, apparently more of a musical master than Henry, which Lucas definitely takes delight in. The tape is super duper old, and there isn't any way to recover it... they're antiques after all.
Cut to Abe taking the freaking tape OUT OF THE OVEN. Baking the tape puts it back together again; a musical Humpty Dumpty. Henry runs into the station like the kid who found the last Easter egg. Jo again stares at him... did you REALLY just take evidence home... and COOK IT? Hanson is impressed. On the tape you hear some men, including Pepper and Hubbard, discussing why the song is called "6 AM" - it's when Pepper's little girl was born. The Lieutenant is frothing at the mouth for the chance to take Ranney down (can you blame her - Ranney screwed her son over as well), but Jo stops her to explain that Pepper played dumb earlier but knew the cufflink. What if 'db' isn't for Dovebird Records... but for 'Doughboy'... which Pepper called Hubbard on the tape.
But Hubbard has been dead for years!
But... Hubbard had a son. A son who has musical talent. Bud Grey, the man who was at Ranney's studio... on the bass.
Back at the club we find Pepper taking a shot, one that is sure to give him some liquid courage. He has a gun in his pocket. Please don't do this, Pepper.
Jo and Henry show up to scope the place. Pepper goes back stage and aims at Bud Grey... and luckily Henry stops him. You have a daughter, don't forget about her! The band stops as Bud realizes he's in deep shit. Pepper is distraught, wishing he could turn back the clock.
Bud Grey came clean and explained that Ranney did indeed know that Pepper was the proper man behind "6 AM". Pepper's daughter shows up at the station and Jo gives her the record. Initially she doesn't want it but Jo explains that the title of the song was for her. And my heart grew three sizes.
Henry and Abe have a nice little moment over jazz. They take fun, subtle jabs at each other's musical tastes; they're just too damn cute. Henry asks Abe to play him some jazz, and away he goes. Henry joins in and oh my goodness please, I will buy this record right now, ABC. RIGHT NOW. MAKE IT HAPPEN. You can even call it "10 PM", as you clearly own that time slot on Tuesdays.
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