Now I’m confused. I thought the difference this episode—when all of Ebony Vagulans’s jokes at Lucy Lawless’s expense land instead of miss—was because of director Katie Wolfe. But she also did the previous episode, where they all flopped. Must be writer Claire Tonkin.
There are a handful of good ones for Vagulans, who otherwise spends the episode in reduced support because they’ve got a name guest star to center. And this time, the guest star’s actually in the episode, not just Zooming in a performance.
The guest star is Bill Bailey, who’s not in a comedy role, just a sympathetic oddball one. He’s a potential witness and possibly a potential murder suspect in Lawless’s latest case. Though his tall tales and endlessly annoying presence might make him another victim by the end.
This time it’s a straightforward murder mystery, no questions about the cause of death; it’s just a jewelry robbery gone wrong, with no suspects, no motives, no opportunities, and copper Rawiri Jobe needs some help. Or maybe he just wants an excuse to hang out with Lawless. The first scene, where Jobe always gives Lawless the cases, is particularly rife with chemistry this episode, which is nice because Lawless has got a lot of frustrations.
In addition to the case itself being a stumper, Bailey’s an underachieving rich kid who’s desperate to be relevant and keeps getting in her way. Plus, she’s got brother-in-prison Martin Henderson pestering her about bonding. Plus, some third act reveals.
A lot is going on, and it’s all pretty great. Like, Bailey’s a lot of fun, the other guest stars—Antonia Prebble and Cian Elyse White—are good. And then the character development moments all connect. It took the show eighteen episodes to realize it can keep details about Lawless’s present obscured for dramatic effect instead of just ignoring everything about her past. So maybe it is Tonkin’s script.
The script is definitely the winner for the case; no questions there. The resolution is perfectly threaded throughout the episode, with some great visuals on top of Lawless’s expository dump. It feels a little too forcefully centering Bailey the guest star; the finale more than makes up for it. And there are a lot worse things than more Bill Bailey than you actually need.