'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: "Death Comes Knocking"

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It's a rare Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries not to open with murder. Instead, this episode drops viewers directly into Miss Fisher's dining room for a seance conducted by the famous psychic Mrs. Bolkonsky (Julie Forsyth). She's trying to contact Roland Claremont, who died in the Great War. Prudence wants the dead man to show up and tell his friend Freddie Ashmead (Teague Rook) not to feel guilty because he can't remember what happened. But Freddie's PTSD response to this flim-flam is extreme, to the point of collapse, suggesting perhaps there is quite a bit he feels guilty for, especially when he starts raving about gunshots after the shelling was over.

Jack: I'm impressed. You commandeered my case before I knew I had one.

Since Freddie's collapse interrupts the seance, technically, Roland's "ghost" is never dismissed. But whatever is happening in the graveyard where Roland is buried is all too human. A mysterious man breaks into the Claremont Mausoleum and murders a graveyard worker, Potts, who stumbles across him. Jack only gets as far as noting the mausoleum is undisturbed before Fisher shows up with Freddie, accompanied by his wife Maud (Kate Atkinson), and valet, Larry Dunn (John McTernan). Freddie freaks out again, claiming it's Roland's ghost seeking revenge.

Phryne explains Maud was Roland's widow before she married Freddie. Dunn was part of Maud's parents' household and raised her after they died. He became Freddie's valet after she remarried. And all are conveniently staying at Fisher's. Bolkonsky and her manager, Warwick Hamilton (Jonny Pasvolsky), claim to have helped the police solve cases before. Bolkonsky tells Jack "the spiritual channel" was left open, bad energy could have entered a person and driven them to violence. But given how triggered Freddie is, Fisher begins to wonder what did happen on that battlefield, and if Jack can get her hands on Roland's war records for her. Magically, he already has, as if he read her mind.

(Photo via Acorn TV)

The death report is signed by Perce Bishop (Nicholas Brien), who Bert and Cec round up. Perce's memories of Roland fit Phryne's memories of him as a spoiled child. They called him Roaring Rolly because he was always yelling at someone. Perce says he was taken down by a bullet to the leg. But the one that did him in was fired by an officer at close range. He admits Roland didn't die on the way to the hospital; he lied on the paperwork. Perce assumed Freddie did it -- he heard the shot, and then Freddie walked up with a dead body. But he wasn't going to make waves. No one liked Roland anyway. But was it a mercy killing or revenge for taking an entire battalion over the top to their slaughter?

Technically, Jack should report this, but he would rather not send a traumatized man through all that when he has Pott's murder to solve. With proof the killer was inside the mausoleum, it was either an expert lockpick or someone with a key. But the key turned out to stay in the cemetery office since Freddie and Maud don't live here. Meanwhile, the person came back and finished the job, this time breaking the lock. The cemetery manager, Henry (Paul DeFreitas), calls to report the grave inside was pushed open, and everything of value is missing. But the exhumation of the body turns up a discovery. Roland was shot in the back of the head with his own pistol.

Freddie demands Bolkonsky return and this time, they get answers, with Jack present. The seance does prove fruitful. Freddie was torn between saving a young man caught on the barbed wire named Basil but hesitated when Roland called out to help him, and the poor kid was shot. He admits he wanted to shoot Roland but was too cowardly. Afterward, Hamilton insists Bolkonsky's giving her heart to her job, literally. If she brings peace to those in need, why judge? Her seance has done the work of a therapist. Even if the "granting of forgiveness" with "virgin's tears" (helpfully provided by Hamilton) is ridiculous sounding, it will bring Freddie a measure of peace. 

(Photo via Acorn TV)

But it's hard not to notice while in bed, Hamilton tells Fisher his twin brother also died at Somme, and his name was Basil. They're interrupted when Maud discovers Freddie has disappeared in the night, just as Henry calls Jack that someone is in the cemetery, headed towards the Claremont tomb. Jack and Collins head towards the grave just as Fisher and Hamilton arrive looking for Freddie. They reach the grave just in time to see him drink the vial and heart give out. But it's not natural; the virgin's tears are poisoned. With Fisher's evidence tying Warwick to Roland's regiment, Jack is all too happy to arrest him. Hamilton insists he's innocent; he didn't want Freddie dead, just to remember (and tell him) about Basil's final moments. Fisher notes the vial of tears sat out for hours; anyone could have tampered with it.

But this means someone else in Fisher's house did it. When Henry discovers all the valuables from Roland's in the cemetery office garbage, save the dead man's war pistol, that suggests someone was planning to stage a shooting by a ghost.  But who? No one survived the attack save Freddie... and Roland's bagman, his valet: Larry Dunn. Dunn admits he shot Roland, a brute who abused Maud. He was the one who pushed Freddie as a hero to cover what happened. But he didn't kill Potts. Maud did, by accident, she only meant to knock him out. She broke into the tomb in a panic to cover for Dunn when she realized what was happening.

But both of them insist they didn't poison Freddie; the "heart medicine" they gave him was cod liver oil. The only person with a bad heart is Bolkonsky, the one who suggested drinking the "virgin's tears" by moonlight at the grave in the first place. Jack confronts her over a tarot card reading. She tries to drink her heart medicine rather than be arrested, but Fisher is too quick. When Hamilton asks Bolkonsky why she did it, she says she did it for his brother, who died an agonizing death because Freddie ignored him. Three deaths, three murderers. The tarot cards would be proud.