This episode has a mysterious start, and—spoiler alert—it’s the best episode of the season so far. We start with Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen) in the back of a cab. She’s on the phone with Gemma, explaining that she’s not running away—she just has a family crisis. The taxi drives past a woman in a caravan who notices the car and proceeds to flip over a tarot card.
When Agatha gets out of the cab at her destination, it’s a beautiful castle. Things get even more mysterious when we see she’s wearing a red wig. Lest you think she’s just changed her hair color, she adjusts the wig on her head, showing us she’s clearly in disguise.
There is a haunted house-type atmosphere as Agatha checks in with the creepy hotel manager Claude Martin (Peter De Jersey). She explains she’s there for a four-day visit and has booked a spa retreat. Creepy hotel manager explains that she has actually booked the S.P.A. retreat, which is the Special Paranormal Activity package. Agatha is not pleased.
She’s taken to meet the suspects…I mean guests. Our lineup includes: Daisy Jones (Amber Aga), who visits the castle quite frequently since the death of her husband; Colonel Lyche (Jonathan Guy Lewis), who says he is a retired MI5 agent and lives at the hotel; Jennifer Stobbs (Elizabeth Moynihan) from Cleveland, Ohio; and Mabel Dulsey (Sarah Flind), Jennifer’s friend and shopping buddy. To supplement our hotel staff—and provide more suspects—we also have an extremely rude waitress with blue hair who hates her job so much she is prone to slamming things down and stalking off in a huff to sulk.
Our first mystery is solved right away, but don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler, it’s more of a setup for the locale. Agatha, in the privacy of her room, takes off her wig and her hair is all stringy and falling out. We now understand that she’s faked a family emergency to hide out so that no one sees her bad hair before she can get it fixed.
Just when poor Aggie is at her wit's end as to what to do about her hair, someone sends her to the local witch for help. She goes to the caravan, and the witch is the same woman we saw in the opening scene. After a little bit of tarot card play, Agatha parts with a wad of cash and leaves with a tonic for her ruined head of hair.
When she applies it back at the hotel, the bottle falls over and spills, burning a hole in the surface it spills on. Agatha is understandably upset, and even though it’s the middle of the night, she stalks back through the field to give the witch a piece of her mind. She finds the woman dead in her caravan, holding the tarot card for justice.
Enter Inspector Jessup (Steven Brand), who is not nearly as nice as the DC Bill Wong (Matt McCooey) and DCI Wilkes (Jason Barnett) team—a team we don’t get to enjoy during this episode. Agatha explains to Jessup, “I’ll have you know that where I come from I don’t commit murders, I solve them.” He is clearly not impressed and dismisses her. When the local press takes her photo—she did find the body after all—she makes the front page of the paper, as a suspect.
Meanwhile, back in Carsley, Gemma (Katy Wix) and Bill Wong see the photo and call Roy Silver (Mathew Horne). Upon seeing the cover story, James Lacey (Jamie Glover) proclaims, “Agatha wouldn’t commit murder.” To which Gemma replies, “Not without us.” Since we need all of our sidekick characters to make this a great episode, the group arrives at the castle with cover stories, prepared to help solve the crime and clear Agatha’s name.
I’m a big fan of mysteries that take place in a sort of closed universe. Whether it’s snowed in at a castle or aboard a cruise ship on the ocean, these types of stories are great because they take the characters out of their element and throw them into an unknown situation to solve the crime. Even though they are very much outside their comfort zone, our crew uses their signature murder board. They just have to commandeer a room in the mansion for it.
In our spooky setting, we are treated to a séance on a dark night, we find out that some of the guests are not who they say they are (no surprise there), and there is a very tense and theatrical—and funny—scene revolving around a game of Scrabble. The mansion allows for all kinds of interactions to play out in each room.
On the relationship front, we see James confide to Roy that Agatha has gotten under his skin and has been on his mind. He explains that with a woman like Agatha, it wouldn’t be a casual dating scenario, it would be all or nothing. I won’t give anything away that you can’t find on IMDB, I will just point out that the final episode of the season is called “Murderous Marriage.” Draw your own conclusions.