This episode starts on a bummer of a note, with little Ned (and his little hobo sack) trying to do a good deed but killing a whole class project in the meantime. No wonder Ned hates new beginnings; thanks to his power, "starting fresh means that something else is ending stale."
Present-day Ned isn't having an easy go of things either, not with Chuck living next door — so close, yet so far. I love the scene in the Pie Hole with Ned constantly checking over his shoulder. Is Olive back? Are the aunts? Either of those things would be bad, but they'd also mean Chuck has to retreat to living with him.
Emerson, meanwhile, finds special meaning in the case of a teenage girl who's run away. I love Rachael Harris, and she's deadpan-perfect here, talking flatly about wearing her emotions like a shiny brooch.
Speaking of which, it's so wonderful to see Chuck contribute to an investigation. She really is good at getting people to say things they shouldn't be saying, and that interrogation scene is a great parallel to the one between Olive and Lily later on.
So, A Circus of Fun is pretty much the worst circus ever, no? It's got jugglers and one occasionally murderous human cannonball, but it's also got labor disputes and smells like "sawdust and underarms."
I wonder how many times it took Anna Friel to perfect the dive over the Pie Hole counter. It was pretty obvious that as soon as she was left alone, Vivian would show up, but their scene together was so sweet, with Chuck hiding but still managing to produce a tear-seasoned triple-berry pie.
Anytime I get sad from now on, I'm just going to think about the clown with the looooooooooooooong legs. (Second-best sight gag of the night: Ned getting cut off mid-vulgar tirade by a fire blower.)
Thank you, Emerson: "It's a traveling circus, not a 'wait around for the two of you to work all your junk out' circus."
Also, Ned to Emerson: "Generally speaking, you don't even have a glass. You have a wet ring on the coffee table where the glass used to be."
I couldn't stop laughing at all of the scenes with the newly found Nikki wearing that stuffed animal costume: "You won me a prize!"
Emerson has a good message for us all: "Love what's there. Love it."
Line of the night: a close call between "Pigby enjoyed the warbling sounds that the nice-smelling thing that fed him made" and "I could throw up in my mouth a little and not even know the difference."
So, Ned and Chuck are starting fresh by pretending they just met cute in the hall, Lily's stashing liquor at the nunnery, and Chuck's family tree is still way confusing.