It’s kind of a Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) episode. At least more of a Dot episode than the show’s ever had before. Not only does she get a real subplot with beau Hugo Johnstone-Burt, who’s very taken with the outfits he sees around a fancy dressmaker’s (at least the ones modeled on half-French model Freya Stafford), but she also gets a personal style arc. And she gets to be dotted on in the dressmaker’s salon; not just champagne but an evening gown of her own.
The mystery involves the investor of the saloon turning up dead and pretty much everyone there being a suspect. Cummings and Essie Davis are there shopping, which makes it convenient when Davis has to get investigating. Nathan Page and Johnstone-Burt show up quick and the initial investigation is Page and Davis together. Lots of flirting on the crime scene this episode. Quite delightful.
So the victim, Heather Lythe, has a philandering, much younger husband, Mark Leonard Winter, who’s a suspect and appears to be carrying on with Sibylla Budd, who designs for the salon but sister Heather Mitchell has the final word on everything. Then there’s seamstress Tessa Lind who might also be carrying on with Winter or doing something else entirely. Lots of fashion, lots of intrigue.
There’s also a bit of fun for Travis McMahon and Anthony J. Sharpe, who find themselves tasked with intercepting Lind’s something else entirely in an amusing sequence.
Davis has a lot of fun shopping for the clothes and selling Cummings on the idea of caring about clothes, which writer Kristen Dunphy is able to turn into a rather nice C plot. There’s so much mystery, so many avenues Davis and Page end up investigating before they get to the right one. Everyone’s trying to pull something over on everyone else as it turns out. Or they’re confused about what someone else is pulling over on them.
The final resolution is one of the better reveals the show’s had in a while, particularly because it gives Davis a worthy adversary. You actually worry about her in the suspense sequences instead of being sure she’ll be able to prevail. There’s an X factor to the villain here and it takes a while for all the be revealed. Along the way, lots of danger.
It’s a particularly interesting investigation episode, with Cummings getting something more a big plus.