A lot of people kick the bucket on this week’s Lizzie Borden Chronicles episode, “Welcome to Maplecroft,” and shockingly — shockingly! — not all of them are done in by the divine Miss B. Our pint-sized psychopath does get the most creative kill, however, in yet another ep that mixes gore with arch, arch dialogue.
Last week’s episode was so awesomely ridiculous, with Lizzie orchestrating yet another double murder (offing her foe of the moment, gangster Mr. Flowers, and Adele, the Ex-Hooker Who Knew Too Much, in one fell swoop) and staging the scene for the local cops, who she assumes will take everything at face value. But by now, they’re starting to catch on: “That’s two multiple killings where the victims have solved the crime for us,” Marshall Hillard points out as he surveys the gory crime scene, remembering the recent deaths of Mr. Almy and William Borden.
That doesn’t bode well for the wily Lizzie, but she’s got even bigger problems at the moment. Nance awakens, groggily, after the big housewarming party, not remembering anything after “the drummer punched the man in the horse suit.” Ha! There’s a nice bit of art direction in which blonde Nance, bathed in sunlight in a pastel-decorated bedroom, converses with Lizzie, who’s dressed in snappy, all-black menace (hat included). Speaking of the party, Emma wonders why Adele, Lizzie’s BFF, didn’t show up. Lizzie’s explanation: freaked out by Flowers’ intimidation, she’s “left town.” Again. This time, she tells Emma, she “helped her along with something of Daddy’s.” Emma: “I hope you didn’t give her too much!” Lizzie: “Oh no! Just enough.” (Yeah ... STRAIGHT RAZOR TO THE THROAT ENOUGH!)
Meanwhile, in the grungy bar that serves as hangout for Fall River’s shifty-eyed crooks, Skipworth, who has Spencer “Surprise, Nance Is My Sister!” Cavanaugh’s ring in his possession, declares himself the new kingpin, now that Flowers is gone. “Business is gonna continue as usual,” he announces, not realizing the fact that he’s plotting against Lizzie means he probably won’t make it through the episode. Especially after they share an awkward moment in the town real estate office, of all places, where his Flowers-inspired extortion tactics cast a damper on Lizzie’s scheme to buy up all the land around her home. (She really, really hates her neighbors.)
Most of the action in “Maplecroft” (so named for Lizzie’s new mansion) centers around Siringo — who somehow survived being dumped half-conscious by Skipworth and co. in front of an oncoming train — and Nance as they team up, sorta, to take down Lizzie. Isabel is in on it too, of course, though her husband has gotten suspicious about her (screamingly obvious) feelings for Siringo. Still, she helps out, despite her disapproval of Siringo’s tactics (“I’m not avenging anything, just killing what needs killing,” he explains as he packs up an arsenal for some Skipworth-aimed payback), and her general disapproval of Nance (“I think you like being Lizzie’s friend because it makes you conspicuously scandalous,” she says, not inaccurately).
When Nance mentions that she’ll be dining with Lizzie in the hotel restaurant, Siringo cautions her not to leave the murderess alone with her food ... or to go with her to the barn behind her pre-Maplecroft house: “It’s her killing ground!” Nance is all, “Why would she bring me there?” (and honestly, we kinda wonder that too), but dangit, Lizzie does manage to work in an invite. Oh, Nance hasn’t read the missing Spencer’s latest play? Well, guess who has a copy ... stashed in the barn at the old house, where they were rehearsing!
Wisely, Nance doesn’t make the trip with her ... but neither does she tell Siringo that Lizzie tried to lure her to the Barn O’ Death. Instead, she tells him they talked about “travel and clothes,” and sneaks some knockout drops into his whisky. Nance is gonna do some avenging of her own, you see, and she’s gonna make full use of her acting skills and her feminine wiles. Sleazy Skipworth’s eating out of her hand in no time ... until she reveals her true intentions at the end of a blade. Bleeding and feeling pretty sheepish, one assumes, he gives up Lizzie’s name as the person behind the orders to kill Spencer. Uh oh!
Meanwhile, Siringo’s come to and realized Nance has outwitted him, but that doesn’t stop him from going down to outlaw town and shooting first, asking questions next. Maplecroft is his obvious next stop.
But before the episode’s bonkers climax on the mansion’s Psycho-like central staircase, we have to backtrack a minute and address the episode’s most poignant subplot. Lonely Emma, so good-hearted she hired a Pinkerton to prove her sister’s innocence once and for all, finally has a suitor in the form of Officer Trotwood (“My first name is Leslie!”) But Lizzie ain’t about to give up her sister, reminding Emma that the baby she had out of wedlock (the infant skeleton that William found!) might be a turn-off to the wholesome cop. Coming from Lizzie, friendly advice sounds like a threat, so Emma breaks it off — but not before Leslie manages to witness Lizzie and Nance fighting to the death on Maplecroft’s staircase. Alas, Nance loses this round when she takes a fatal tumble, and Lizzie, with a police officer as an eyewitness, gets off yet again — while Siringo, who bursts in a moment too late, is arrested for “asking questions.”
Oh, and remember how Lizzie hates her neighbors? Particularly nasty Mrs. Kenny, who abuses her cute little dog? Well, buying up land is one tactic to get ‘em to move away. But if they’re particularly hellbent on staying put, another way around it is to break into their house in your nightgown, dump water on the floor until it pools around their feet ... then launch a lamp into it. As Lizzie shows, it’ll send a “shocking” final message. Zing!
TL; DR: Lizzie gets a new dog!