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Recap / Central Park S1E5 "Dog Spray Afternoon"

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Original release date: June 19, 2020

Written by: Annie Levine & Jonathan Emerson
Directed by: Joel Moser

♫ There's a method to this madness, more behind this
A larger plan, an evil twist we missed
If we map out every spot marked by our vandal
We could conclude this lewd graffiti scandal ♫
Owen, "Method to This Madness"

Birdie reveals there are rules to being a narrator. Bitsy hires a tagger to tag Central Park and Owen and Molly team up to find the tagger. Helen has to walk Shampagne in the park and Cole volunteers to help. Paige is getting close to figuring out the Mayor's action.

  • Spoiler Alert - Birdie
    Lyrics by: Glenn Slater
    Music by: Alan Menken
    Performed by: Josh Gad
  • If There's A Will - Helen & Cole
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Daveed Diggs & Tituss Burgess
  • Method to This Madness - Owen, Molly & the Park Staff
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr., Kristen Bell, Rory O'Malley, Janelle James, Phil LaMarr, & Kelvin Yu
  • If There's a Will (Reprise) - Helen
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Daveed Diggs


  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Cole shows Helen a new trick he taught Shampagne, placing a stick on his nose to make it look like he has a mustache, Helen almost smiles at it until she goes back to being serious. This moment is what changed her mind about killing Shampagne.
  • Angrish: When Bitsy learns that her graffiti plan has been stopped, we hear her yelling angrily offscreen at her hotel.
  • Character Tics: Owen has a habit of rubbing his hands on his shorts when he's anxious, and, coincidentally, the tagger has a habit of doing the exact same thing too, which is how Molly is able to identify the tagger.
  • Chekhov's Gag: When Owen is anxious, he has a habit of rubbing his hands on his shorts, which Molly makes fun of. When Owen and Molly are planning their stakeout at the location where the tagger will show up, a unknown guy comes by and starts rubbing his pants after Owen and Molly tells him what they're doing. After their stakeout failed, when Molly sees Owen rubbing his hands on his shorts again, he figures out who the tagger is and will return to the location.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with another busker revealing he's the new narrator since Birdie broke the narrator rule of revealing details to the main characters.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Bitsy's dog therapist gives her a dog collar with a GPS on it for Shampagne so she can see where Shampagne is on her phone. But Bitsy thought the therapist was talking about a landline phone and tells Helen she can't figure out how to see Shampagne on it, until Helen clarifies the therapist means her cell phone. After which, Betsy claims that the therapist never told her that.
  • Connect the Deaths: A non-murder example. Owen, the park staff, and Molly sings "Method to This Madness", where they sing about finding a pattern on the Central Park map to predict where the "Shart" tagger will strike next. Molly is able to figure out the pattern when she connects to dots on the map and sees that he's trying to spell a giant "SHART" on the park.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: According to what Molly and Elwood remark about but the audience does not see, Owen has a noticeable vein popping out of his head when he sees graffiti is starting to appear on trees.
  • Dark Reprise: While "If There's a Will" already dealt with Helen's grievances and desire to kill Shampagne for the will, the reprise has Helen even angrier and more focused on killing Shampagne.
  • Daydream Surprise: When Helen is trying to kill Shampagne, she purposely damages the dog leash so he can easily break free. Helen throws a stick into a busy street and Shampagne chases after it, breaking free from the leash. The camera zooms in on Helen's face as we hear Shampagne gets run out, but the camera quickly zooms out to reveal that Helen was just imagining it.
  • Description Cut: After Owen and Molly stops the "Shart" tagger, Birdie tells the audience that Bitsy was surprisingly cool about it, until we cut to the outside of Bitsy's balcony and we hear Bitsy yelling incoherently.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Helen brings in Shampagne's worm medicine and Bitsy's heart pill on a silver tray, but their pills look identical to each other and she can't tell them apart. She even questions herself why would she place the pills on the tray in a way that she can't distinguish them apart. She was planning on doing "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe" on to decide which pills goes to who, but Bitsy tells Helen to save the pills for later.
    • After Owen and Molly figures out the "Shart" tagger's next location, they decide to do a stakeout at the location while they wear ghillie suits at night, but they screwed it up with the following: 1) They told a random person what they were doing, despite telling that person it's supposed to be a secret, and that random person just happens to be the "Shart" tagger, 2) They don't bother to remain silent during the stakeout, 3) They leave their supplies right next to them in the open, and 4) They turn their flashlight on so they can see in the dark. Paige and Cole easily found them and calls them out on this.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: The tagger that Bitsy hires is called "The One-Man Tag Team", which makes Bitsy chuckle. Helen doesn't get it, and Bitsy has to explain that tag can also mean graffiti tag.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Owen meets with his tagger informant, Gooch, on who's leaving the "SHART" graffiti all over Central Park, Gooch tells him the other taggers are just as shocked at the graffiti, since there are certain spots even they wouldn't go near and they don't appreciate their tags being tagged over.
  • Evil Laugh: Helen does one during "If There's a Will (Reprise)", but gets exhausted from it.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: When Bitsy tells Helen to leave the room so she and her lawyer can work on estate planning with Shampagne, Helen thinks Bitsy is putting Shampagne in her will so she makes a Throat-Slitting Gesture at Shampagne while the door closes, but Shampagne wasn't even paying attention to her.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: After Birdie tells the audience there's probably no consequences for accidentally revealing a spoiler to the main characters, he walks by a guy who's playing a guitar and the camera stops following Birdie and focuses on the guy. The guy reveals he's Griffin and he's the new narrator now.
  • Flashback Cut:
    • When Molly wants to join Owen to see the graffiti on the fountain, Owen tells Molly to not take an interest in graffiti, but Molly tells him she only has a passing interest. Then we get a quick flashback of her saying cool when sees graffiti in the park and even drawing her own in her notebook.
    • When Helen has to take Shampagne on a walk again, she tells Bitsy that the good dog leash is at the cleaners and she has to use an "old" one. A flashback to five minutes ago reveals that Helen dropped the "old" dog leash in a sink garbage disposal to damage it so it can be loose enough for Shampagne to break free.
  • Foreshadowing: The guy who tags the park actually passes Birdie when he's singing about "the guy with the paints". Birdie even notices him. The tagger also rubs his hands on his pants when he's nervous just like Owen.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Birdie displays a long list of rules for being a narrator that goes by far too quickly to read normally. These rules consist of...
Stick to the facts.
Don't embellish.
Don't talk over those you're narrating.
Always be closing.
See something, Say something.
No wagering.
No fake accents.
Pants are mandatory.
Have fun with it.
Operate from a place of joy.
Don't make it about you.
Don't smile too much, it's creepy.
No gum.
No Spoilers.
  • How Much Did You Hear?: While Cole is taking Shampagne out for a walk for Helen, Helen is sitting on a park bench and is about to take her shoes off, but changes her mind when she gets something on her stocking. When she looks back up, she sees Cole is already back and asks him how long has he been standing there, he tells her long enough to be uncomfortable.
  • The Informant: Owen reveals he has a tag informant named Gooch who informs him of any graffiti in the park.
  • Internal Reveal: Both Birdie and the audience know what Bitsy is up to, but Birdie explains he can not tell Owen or Paige cause there are rules to being the narrator. He, however, gets impatient and blurts out to Paige that Bitsy is the one money laundering for the mayor.
  • Long Game: Helen sings about this during her song, "If There's a Will".
  • Meaningful Echo: Back in "Hat Luncheon", Judy, a former maid who inherited everything from her previous employer, tells Helen "where there's a will, there's a way" and to make sure she gets in the will. We hear the phrase again but as "If there's a will" and Helen sings about it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Birdie reacts this way when he realizes he just revealed a spoiler to Paige, which is against the narrator rules.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Shart tagging a tree causes Owen, who usually never raises his voice, to yell out in anger. He also leaves the park, something he tries not to do, to buy stuff for a stakeout to catch the tagger.
  • Pet the Dog: When Helen thought Bitsy put Shampagne in the will (which wasn't the case), she seriously contemplated offing the competition. But after seeing how much Cole cares for the dog, she couldn't go through with it, even saving both Cole and Shampagne when the two run into traffic.
  • Rule of Three: When Paige realizes that someone is giving the mayor a huge sum of money by disguising it through buying real estate from the mayor himself, she investigates three real estates to see if it's worth the money and during her investigation she spills her coffee on herself. The third and final real estate she investigates looks completely run down which is proof enough to see it's a real estate scam, and instead of spilling her coffee on herself, she drinks it and finds it cold.
  • Saying Too Much: Birdie admits he could tell Owen and Paige that Bitsy is behind ruining the park, but he's forbidden due to being the narrator. After he gets impatient when Paige still hasn't figured out Bitsy is behind laundering money to the mayor, he reveals it to Paige and tries to play it off as him as a busker overhearing business talk in the park. At the end of the episode, Birdie is confident that there's no consequences for revealing this information until another busker appears to reveal he's the new narrator now, with Birdie unaware of this.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Because Shampagne's mood hasn't improved, Bitsy's dog therapist suggest Shampagne should try a radical new treatment called "outdoor movement therapy", which Helen sums it up as walks.
  • Sherlock Scan: Molly is able to deduce the tagger was waiting for her and Owen to leave the stakeout location to finish the job because she remembers him earlier rubbing his hands on his pants due to being anxious, which is something her father also does, and she knows that he couldn't leave a job undone.
  • Shout-Out: One of the rules of the narrator is: "Always Be Closing".
  • Spoiler: Birdie explains, as the narrator, he can not reveal information to the other characters. He then proceeds to sing a song about Spoilers, bleeping himself from reveling the details of the episode.
  • Solo Duet: When Helen sings the first part of "If There's a Will", she does a duet with herself by imitating Bitsy ordering her around while she calmly obliges to it.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Cole is about to take Shampagne from Helen for a walk, Helen decides that she and Shampagne are going somewhere else and no kids are allowed, which makes Cole suspicious. Helen was planning to kill Shampagne by tricking him to run into a busy street, but changes her mind when she thinks about Cole. When Cole confronts her, he believes she ditched him because he walks too slow and Helen accepts that's the reason.
  • Swiss Bank Account: Paige discovers that the companies that are buying the mayor's real estate is actually just one company and they originated in Panama. Marvin tells her that it's impossible to find out who owns a Panamanian shell corporation because it's a very long process to have the information revealed. Paige would have waited six months to have a vague idea on who's behind it if it wasn't for Birdie blurting out that Bitsy is the one who owns the corporation.
  • Tempting Fate: After Birdie reveals Bitsy is the one giving the mayor money, a spoiler that Birdie should not have revealed, Birdie reassures himself and the audience there's probably no consequence for his action, until he walked past another busker who reveals he's the new narrator now.
  • This Means War!: Owen was mad when the tagger tag "SHART" all over the park, but he gets furious when he starts tagging on trees. He gets fed up and goes to a store to buy equipment to have a stakeout to find the tagger and tries to discover the tagger's next location.
  • Throat-Slitting Gesture: Helen does this gesture to Shampagne to let him know she plans on killing him, but Shampagne wasn't even paying attention to her, making it ineffective.
  • Tired After the Song: At the end of "If There's a Will", Helen ends the song by repeating "way" several times, but she starts to lose her breath and then declares she's done.
  • Verbal Backspace: After Molly discovers where the tagger will make his next tag:
    Owen: Looks like we're doing a stakeout.
    Elwood: You mean we all get overtime?
    Owen: Looks like I'm doing a stakeout with Molly.
  • Villain Song: "If There's a Will", a song where Helen sings about the struggles of being Bitsy's assistant and about playing the Long Game in order to gain Bitsy's fortune.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: When Helen asks Cole if they can meet again so he can walk Shampagne again, Cole happily accepts and hugs Helen, which makes her uncomfortable and confuses her. When Cole tells her he was hugging her, she thought he was attacking her really gently.

♫ (Money in my monkey bank)
Willy, willy-nilly, hey
Gonna shake that money in my monkey bank
Gonna shake it
Willy, willy-nilly, hey
Gonna shake that money in my monkey bank
(Money in my monkey bank)
Woah, woah
Shake it willy-nilly, shake it willy-nilly
Woah, woah
Shake it willy-nilly
(Money in my monkey bank)
Woah, woah
Woah, woah
If there's a will, there's a way, there's a way
If there's a will, there's a willy-nilly way-ay ♫
Helen, "If There's a Will (End Credit)"


If There's a Will Reprise

While "If There's A Will" already dealt with Helen's grievances and desire to kill Shampagne for the will, the reprise has Helen even angrier and more focused on killing Shampagne.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / InheritanceMurder

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