That Time Murder, She Wrote Took the Bus


Hey everyone, PushingUpRoses here and today
I am talking about one of the wildest episodes of Murder, She Wrote. And I when I say wild, I mean that in a good
way, not like when the show goes completely off the rails in later seasons. It’s called Murder Takes the Bus, season
one, episode 20, and I think it’s one of the best episodes in the series. Murder, She Wrote has always had this cheesy
nature to it and that’s what I like about it; in most cosy murder mysteries, there’s
always some element of humor and goofiness because the murders themselves take a backseat
to the characters and settings. This show has always fallen somewhere in between
the cosy genre, which was made popular by Agatha Christie, and a television sitcom. For example, when I reviewed Something Borrowed,
Someone Blue from season five, that came across as a slapstick comedy, whereas the episode
I am reviewing today hits every trope you read in a Christie novel. In fact, her influence can be found all over
this show, but this particular episode is a little more on point than most. It also has an impressive guest star list,
including but not limited to Rue McClanahan of Golden Girls fame, and Linda Blair who
we of course ALL know from her most acclaimed film…. Roller Boogie. If I may digress slightly, whose idea was
it to put an ugly white vignette around the intro in these early seasons? Are they trying to make it look like a dream
or what? It’s more like a nightmare. Awful. As we begin we join Jessica and Sheriff Tupper,
who are on their way to Portland Maine for the Sheriff’s Association Dinner. As usual, Tupper is more interested in the
food than anything else. Tupper: “Probably miss the hors d’oeuvres.” There’s also a drawing for a big screen
TV, which by 80s standards means 30 inches and built into a heavy wooden frame. Hope you like where you put it because you
won’t be moving it ever again Sadly, Tupper’s car broke down so they will
be taking the bus. While Jess is waiting for him to come back
with the tickets, a man who is clearly copying her beige trench coat ensemble approaches
her to ask where she’s going, then discuss the weather. Cyrus: “Smell that air. Be rain in 20 minutes, you watch.” Oh really, was it the thunder that tipped
you off? They take their seats among the small group
of people, one who expresses great interest in Jessica as she recognizes her as a writer. Miriam: “Her Kent, she writes WONDERFUL
whodunnits.” I don’t know how nobody heard her because
she’s whispering at 90 decibels. “OMG DO YOU SEE HER SHE IS THE GREATEST. Ahhh, an hours long bus ride with Amos Tupper…can
you imagine what that would be like? What are they gonna talk about, PIE? As the storm starts to rage they pick up someone
in front of a state prison, a man who seems to see someone on the bus that frightens him. While the bus is stopped briefly, Miriam hops
over to express her admiration. Miriam: “I think you are a wonderful writer.” Oh god, I am getting Misery vibes. Annie Wilkes: “I’m your number one fan.” Miriam: “In fact, you’re in the top 10
of my “most stolen list.” I’m writing a YouTube listicle about it! Jess: “I’m very flattered… I think.” It should be noted that this is one of the
best build ups in any of the Murder, She Wrote episodes, it’s very cinematic and it sets
a creepy, foreboding tone. The dangerous weather adds to the suspense,
as does this new guy they picked up from the road. He’s packing heat AND a very loud tie! Unrelated, but I love how Sheriff Tupper is
just dead asleep while Jessica is observing everything and everyone around her. Classic Amos. The bus comes to a quick stop, conveniently
in front of an all night diner, and the driver makes an announcement. Ben: “Uh, sorry folks, we seem to be having
a bit of engine trouble.” Everyone unloads and heads into the cafe,
which looks like it was designed by David Lynch. Lynch: “No no no no it’s not that!” Tupper decides that the best thing to do in
this situation is get some food.Jess: “I couldn’t help but notice that apple pie
over there, it looks homemade. Chef: “My own recipe!” Tupper: “Would you make that two with a
slice of cheddar…” Eeewwwwww. Tupper: “Sure had my heart set on that TV
set.” But I’ll take the pie. Jess goes to retrieve something from the bus,
and finds that THIS guy is DEAD. This is the man they picked up from the state
prison. Death by screwdriver. Even though Tupper can’t do much in this
situation because it’s not in his jurisdiction, he and Jess take a moment to examine the body
and come up with a plan. Jess: “But, I mean, the situation’s obvious.” This man has a screw loose. They find his prison release papers on the
floor and identify him as Gilbert Stoner. Miriam gets a bit restless and also returns
to the bus. She sees the corpse and moans, and for once,
it’s not a pleasuresome one. This situation is called closed circle, where
something happens in a specific location because circumstances have prohibited them from leaving. In this case, it’s the rain and addition
of the murder. This is a VERY common murder mystery trope
that is still being used today, though to a lesser extent due to our ever advancing
technology. Speaking of: Tupper: “What about you?” Steve: “Steve Pascal, computer engineer,
this is my wife Jane, we were on our way to Portland.” Really. Your name’s Pascal, and you’re a computer
engineer. Clever. Through conversation they figure out that
Stoner was involved in a bank robbery with two other men – one was killed, one got away,
and an innocent bystander was killed during the chaos, a young woman. Stoner obviously went to prison. Everyone then starts introducing themselves,
while telling Sheriff Tupper where they were during the murder. Jess confronts Steve, saying she him talking
to Stoner in private, and it looked like a heated conversation. “We just exchanged a few words, that’s
all.” Were those words, “I will kill you?” Not everybody has something valuable to contribute
to the conversation. Cyrus: “This is a fearsome storm.” Dude, there’s a murderer on the loose. Nobody cares about the weather. Actually, that is ALL this man has talked
about so far. Cyrus: “Many a night I’ve been trapped
in a storm ridden airport. Never bothered me.” “Last year I took my vacation in Hawaii. It rained.” “Never had much use for camels” …What?? Jessica notices the resemblance between Steve
and one of the men in the photo she collected from Stoner’s wallet. He refuses to answer any questions, but his
wife admits that the man is his father, who was also killed during the robbery. Aha, a motive! This guy said he was playing the arcade game
in the back while the murder was happening, so Jess goes to check the machine and play
a quick round of… Road Hog. Jess: “Road Hog?” Kent: “Road Hog?” Not a real game, by the way. I had to know what this cabinet was so I did
some research, and a quick search claims the machine itself was Spy Hunter, but the cabinet
art you see here is from Omega Race. Awesome, now that we know that… wait, rewind. Druze??? Jess and Tupper also decide it might be a
good idea to check out the bus, as the driver said he was working on it during the murder. Jess: “Excuse me Amos.” I’ve always wanted to do this. Tupper notices the damper switch is on, and
because he has bus driving experience, which was only mentioned RIGHT now, he runs off
to check on something. Jess starts investigating around the restaurant
and finds a scattered suitcase, and an ominous looking Steve. Don’t worry, he just has resting ominous
face. He helps Jess bring the suitcase inside. Steve admits he was following Stoner here
with intent to confront him about the death of his father, and Tupper is like “How did
you know he was getting out?” Turns out it was in the papers, so a lot of
people knew about it. Tupper reads the article and discovers the
woman killed during the robbery was named Julie Gibbons… hmmm… sounds familiar. *pop* Ah yes, the bus driver! Aha! ANOTHER motive! With that, Tupper makes a most shocking statement:
“I knew who our killer was a half hour ago.” Oh Amos, you try… but yeah. This look on Jessica’s face is not one of
confidence. Tupper accuses Ben, the bus driver, of killing
Stoner, claiming that the damper switch was thrown on purpose so he would have to stop
the bus. While he was pretending to fix the engine,
that’s when snuck back to stab him. Bizarrely and without much resistance, he
then ADMITS to stabbing him, saying he found him sleeping and wanted revenge for his daughter’s
death. Jessica is of course like NOPE! Oh yes, he stabbed him, but he was already
dead. She noticed earlier that the murder weapon
had virtually no blood on it, caused by postmortem lividity. That’s the fourth stage of death, you know. There were also bruises around Stoner’s
neck, so she believes somebody strangled him. Jess is so smart, I love hearing her talk
about hypostasis. Jess: “Well thank you!” The guy with the loud tie tries the CB radio
with no success. Jessica takes this opportunity to call him
out as well, as he was hiding his identity. He is ALSO there because of Stoner, he’s
a private investigator hoping to find the stolen bank robbery loot. I just love how many insane coincidences there
are and how many of these characters are connected. Kind of reminds me of Clue, where the characters
are also in a closed circle situation and all have ties to the murder victims. Jessica makes another trip to the bus and
finds the book Stoner was seen carrying earlier, hoping to find a clue. Jess: Strange, the dust jackets is in tatters. Rolling Stones: I’ve been SHATTERED” Then
suddenly, the lights go out! Jane: “This reminds me of camp when I was
a little girl, sitting around in the dark telling ghost stories.” Cyrus: “Only this time the monsters are
real.” Sir… this is an Arby’s. The killer runs into the CB room, shoots the
P.I .in the arm, and smashes the radio. Oh, now we’re going for The Shining vibes
I see. Good, can someone ask Linda Blair if she can
talk to her finger? Grayson doesn’t recall who shot him but
don’t worry, he’s fine. The sailor even ties a real pretty bow with
his bandages! *ding!* As we near the end of the episode, things
get even weirder. That old tattered book suddenly goes missing,
but why would anyone want it? Jess: “Amos, Mr. Stoner’s book has disappeared!” People start speculating that the killer took
it because it is the key to the missing money, but actually it was Miriam who took it simply
because she knew it was a very rare book and needed the money. It’s a good thing that Jess deduced that
she took it because there was indeed something hidden in the torn up binding. See? I told you it was the key to the missing money. Badumtish. She then turns to the captain and asked if
this was what he was looking for and I am like “What?? THIS guy? He’s hardly spoken a word this entire time. Though… the camera DID zoom in on him slowly
earlier..hmmmm. See, he can’t be a sailor. Because a sailor wouldn’t tie a granny knot
like this. *ding!* No way, he would tie a square knot. I have no idea how Jess gets to this completely
obscure revelation, but it turned out to be true. He was the accomplice who got away; he was
ALSO following Stoner, hoping to find the loot. But he’s not the killer either, so who is? Who could it be… Well… the killer is…. Shyrea, yeah right! I’m not telling. That’s right folks, for this video, I’m
not going to reveal the conclusion because I thought this episode was so enjoyable that
I want you to watch it for yourselves. Especially if you are a fan of cosy murder
mysteries, the works of Agatha Christie, or even the 1985 comedy movie Clue. Even though this story is clearly inspired
by other works, there’s something a lot less contrived about it than say, these goofier
episodes from some of the later seasons. I enjoyed the homage to the murder mystery
genre, I think the tropes were used well, I think the lead up to the murder was really
exciting and well done, and I loved how it concluded. Jess is especially stellar here as it shows
off her deduction skills; there are many episodes in Murder, She Wrote where she takes a back
seat, but not here. She’s clearly in the driver’s seat the
entire time. The only disappointment I really have is that
Linda Blair hardly got any lines, kind of a waste of a cameo. But I do understand that there were a lot
of characters involved in this mystery so I imagine it was hard to split up the screen
time, especially with so many big names involved. The important thing is that we got to see
Road Hog. Jess: “Road Hog?” Murder Takes the Bus – season one, episode
20. HIGHLY recommended. If there is an episode of Murder, She Wrote
you are just DYING to see me cover, then please leave a suggestion in the comments. It might just turn into one of these videos. Until then, happy Sleuthing. Hey everyone, thanks for watching my video
on Murder Takes the Bus; I really do hope you watch this one. If you’re interested in more murder mystery
related content then you should check out my channel, but first! First… Patreooooon. Yes, Patreon, where you can donate to me in
a strictly business sense. Don’t like leaving comments? Don’t like sharing videos? More of a transaction type of person? Then consider donating to me so I can keep
the show going. If you can’t or just don’t want to, no
worries – likes and shares also help. Before you subscribe, and I just KNOW you
will, here’s a few other videos to consider. On the left we have another review of Murder,
She Wrote, and on the right we have a comprehensive video on the history of Clue. Haven’t you always wanted to know how that
board game came about? Sure you do. Thanks again and as always, I’ll see you
in the next one.

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