Tuesday, 17 May 2011
I think it's finally time we put this one to bed. So here it is: our final look at that venerable old Saved by the Bell classic, "Mystery Weekend." When we left off, Mr. Jamison, host of our gleefully eventful murder mystery weekend, had vanished without a trace, and Zack, being the last person to see the man alive, had been blamed for the crime. No one seems to have questioned the fact that Zack had apparently turned into a cold-blooded killer for no other reason than to swipe the event's $500 cash prize.
But I suppose this is California. People have been bumped off (and beat up) for less.
As we return to the festivites following the commercial break, Zack is sweating bullets as two police detectives — a short, portly, bespectacled man and a tall woman with horrendous fashion sense — grill him over the details of the alleged crime. Zack still professes his innocence, and directs the two cops over to his trusted group of friends for a little character background. Surely, they'll come to his rescue? They'll make the police see that Zack never could become a stone-cold killer. Right?
The litany of offenses that come to air range from minor transgressions to utter criminal depravity; fake I.D.s, stolen property, kidnapping, and other such misdemeanours our pal Zack has been merrily getting away with since the first season of the show. To cap it all off, Screech reminds us all of the time, back in '86, that Zack tied him...To the rollercoaster tracks?
Jesus. No wonder there's always been an undercurrent of animosity between these two. Not a bad idea, though. And while he was at it, couldn't Zack have tied Miss Bliss and that doofus Milo to the tracks, too? And that criminally unfunny magician that ran The Max for an entire season? Man, that would've been a great episode.
At this point, Screech mentions Lisa and the load of dirt she must have on Zack. After all, she's the only one to have survived Good Morning, Miss Bliss and make it to high school with our blond beau. (Whatever happened to those other kids? Were they, too, victims of Zack's psychopathic childhood tendencies?)
Zack jumps. Finally! Lisa will clear his name! Mr. Jamison told her about the vouchers, too, and she's still locked up in the bedroom where Zack left her before the break. Zack, the two detectives, and the rest of the guests rush upstairs...
Where Lisa is nowhere to be found. Zack is dumbfounded, and by the look of it, getting a little fed up with all these accusations of foul play. The sexy maid — there has to be one of those in every haunted mansion, right? — breaks out the offensive French accent again. "Oh, so poof, she just vanished?"
And here comes the moment we've all been waiting for. Zack, virtually swimming in indignation and royally pissed off at the fact that not one of his friends has said a kind word about him since being accused, raises his voice an octave or two and lays a whopper. "Oooh, so poof, I don't know!"
At this point the intelligent members of the audience, if any are left after the egregious offenses made on their self-respect up to this point, smile and nod in quiet approval. God! Finally, someone's drawn attention to this royal pain in the ass and the unfathomably bad faux French accent she's been spewing from those pursed lips all damn night. Finally!
The male detective, with his thick Boston accent, searches Zack's suitcase and comes up with Mr. Banquette's stolen necklace. A quick pat down also nets a thin, bejewelled bracelet that happens to belong to the missing member of the group. Yep, we've got a pickle on our hands here.
The two cops order everyone to stay put for the time being and, amazingly, exit the room without another word, leaving Screech and Slater alone in an upstairs bedroom with an accused murderer. These two aren't exactly painting a flattering picture of California policework. Damn.
With a few short minutes to go before Zack's hauled off to Guantanamo, the three men try to figure out exactly how Lisa managed to exit the room while both the door and the windows were locked tight. Before you can say grand jury, Screech stumbles upon a trick candleholder that opens up a secret passage within the fireplace. Well, hell, no time like the present to do a little subterranean scavenging, right?
The path, it turns out, leads directly to Jamison's office. What could this possibly mean, aside from the obvious; that Jamison must make frequent, err, 'visits' to his houseguests while they're shacked up, unsuspecting, in their bedrooms? What, indeed.
The guys scour the room. In the foreground, conveniently placed one next to the other on a small table, are a couple of glasses and a cigarette. And all three of the items possess quite conspicuous lipstick stains. What could all this possibly mean? The path, the drinks, the cigarette...And Mr. Jamison's suit, hanging up on the wall, cold and wrinkled. WHAT COULD THIS ALL MEAN?
A sly smile has worked its way onto Zack's lips and, if we didn't know any better, we'd swear he'd just stumbled onto the final clue that had put all the pieces together in his mind. But surely, someone accused of murder and facing an impending jail term couldn't possibly have the wits about him to solve a mystery of this magnitude? Could he?
...Could he really?
Crossfade! Now we're all assembled in the living room again, where the first victim, the piano player, met his demise. The scene, as they say, has been set. And with a scant two and a half minutes of runtime left, most likely the last one. (If this is a two-parter, you're on your own for the second half. I swear.)
Zack is given the chance to speak. And his explanation of the night's various doings and dealings promises to tie up all the loose ends, piece together the various clues, and bring the mystery — finally! — to a close. This denouement has been a long time coming. And I won't dare paraphrase it.
Mr. Morris's glorious statement figures at 2:50 of the following video.
That's it? It was Jamison? And Bart? And Lisa?
Note to self: never spend six hours reviewing an old Saved by the Bell episode without first watching the ending. Goddammit.