Episode 78, "Pub Crawlers"
Oct. 12, 1966
Before we get started, I'd like to point out that a new song has found it's way to the jukebox at The Blue Whale in this episode. A trivial point? I guess so, but jukeboxes and I have a troubled history. If you grew up in a small town, odds are you were tortured by the same 40 songs at whatever restaurant/skating rink/hangout was proactive enough to lease a jukebox. For me, the Four Horsemen of the Musical Apocalypse were "Do the Bartman," "Achey Breaky Heart," BILLY IDOL's cover of "L.A. Woman" and "Civil War" by Guns and Roses. In a fit of frustration, I once punched Satan's own jukebox so hard that the needle skipped the entirety of "Achey Breaky Heart." The rednecks who'd paid to hear the song were violently upset and, in retrospect, it was an assholish thing for me to do.
So, it was sweet relief to hear a new song playing at the Blue Whale. I'm sure we'll get back to the usual tracks sometime in the near future, and I promise I'll keep my temper under control. I can't make any promises for Joe Haskell, though, who gets all punchy near the end of this episode ...
Social gatherings at Collinsport never end well, and this episode is fairly typical. Roger shoots his mouth off, insulting both Joe and Maggie by making a snide comment about the two chatting about "the price of hash and fish." Joe responds by threatening to kick his ass. They manage to part ways without any punches being thrown, which was lucky for them both. Joe would clearly have won the fight, but Roger is well-known for being a bad loser. Right or wrong, it's unlikely he'd keep an employee around the cannery who'd once beat him up.
The reason Roger's at the Blue Whale in the first place is rather convoluted. Sam Evans is anxious to discuss the standing of Bill Malloy "accidental" death, and the two agree to meet at the pub to avoid suspicion. Or something. I didn't fully understand how meeting in a public place was LESS conspicuous than meeting at one of their homes, but whatever. Both men suck at subterfuge, so the questionable decision is in character for them both.
Roger takes Victoria to the Blue Whale, while Sam is having a drink with his daughter, Maggie. The episode takes place over an hour or so, but I couldn't get a grasp on what time of day it was supposed to be. At the start, we see Roger and Victoria wearing costumes so odd that I can only assumed they were bed clothes, which suggested it was early morning (see picture.) It's not unlikely that Sam would be having a breakfast whiskey at the Blue Whale, but along comes Joe all sad and forlorn. Off camera, Carolyn pulled another of her "If you really love me, you'll take an unpaid day off from work and hang out with me at the beach" stunts. Joe has no choice but to pass, and appears to be stopping by the bar after his shift at work has ended. So, color me confused as to what time of day it is. (Plus, Maggie's there, and she's not the sort to share a Tony Stark breakfast with her father.)
Roger and Sam privately talk about nothing much of importance, but we're reminded of The Incriminating Letter that Sam penned as an insurance policy against any accidents that might happen to him on or around Widow's Hill ("Pulling a Bill Malloy" is how insurance salesmen refer to it.) As usual, they part company in foul moods.
The most important moment of the entire episode is the blossoming romance between Joe and Maggie. It happens very quickly, but still manages to feel organic. Maggie makes it very plain that she fancies Joe, while Joe seems to be mostly unaware of their chemistry. For a few minutes in this episode he actually seems happy, and it's probably a moment he's going to be reminded of when next he meets Chemical Imbalance Carolyn.