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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 3 E 10 Night Of The Headless Horseman

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When a young friend, Dorian Beecher, sends her an emergency telegram, Jessica finds herself unwittingly pulled into a ruse as the young teacher has already told everyone she's his mother. However, this soon becomes the least of her worries when Dorian winds up the primary suspect in the death of Nate Findley, with whom he had fought the previous night. To wrap up all loose ends, Jessica will have to sort through everything from pranks to cold-blooded murder.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Chekhov's Gun: When a waitress, Bobbie, comes over wearing a distinctive gold necklace, "Doc" Walker takes an interest in it. Jessica eventually finds out it belonged to his dead fiancée, Gretchen, and the fact that Nate Findley had given it to the waitress told him that he had been involved with Gretchen before her death.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: In the beginning, "Doc" Walker tells Jessica he makes jewelry as a hobby. He turns out to have made a necklace for his dead fiancée that ends up cluing him in to the "other man."
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Jessica confronts him and digs a confession out of him, Walker tells her that his dead fiancée Gretchen had been the highlight of his life and since her death, he had just been living robotically.
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  • Did Not Get the Girl: Eventually, Sarah tells Dorian he's inspired her to live life free of her father and she plans to go to New York. She does kiss his cheek and promise to send him a postcard from somewhere on the road, but neither sign promises a future relationship.
  • Gratuitous German: Mr. van Stotter tends to drop "ja" into sentences.
  • Headless Horseman: Dorian gets harassed by a figure dressed like the Headless Horseman. He suspects it's Nate Findley, who also has an interest in Sarah and has ready access to horses. Actually, the time the figure was carrying a pumpkin, the "Horseman" was a schoolboy playing a prank, and the second time, when it was simply a hatted figure in black, it was "Doc" Walker, who had taken Nick's horse Gunshot to throw off people's suspicions.
  • The Lost Lenore: Gretchen, the dead fiancée of the local dentist, "Doc" Walker, lies behind the murder of the week. Nate Findley and she had had a relationship while "Doc" was away in Europe, and he had drunkenly crashed a car off a bridge and left her to drown. When he made the mistake of laughing about this to Walker, the dentist stabbed him.
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  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: When Jessica protests that Dorian didn't kill Nate Findley, the sheriff dismisses her by saying that of course his mother would say that. Jessica then tells him she isn't Dorian's mother.
  • Red Herring: A student catches Mr. van Stotter burying something in the middle of the night and he definitely disliked Nate Findley. However, he turns out to have embezzled money to pay a detective and didn't kill anyone.
  • Shout-Out: When Dorian asks Sarah what will happen to their romance, she tells him they'll "always have Wenton."
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