Impressions: Murder, She Wrote- A Christmas Secret

We are back in Cabot Cove again (one day, I might give my Impressions on a non-Cabot Cove episode) this time for a Christmas episode, A Christmas Secret. This episode can actually get a little confusing as it has a relatively large cast of new characters, but it is a good one. It also has that nice “Christmas episode,” so everything is a bit more cheerful. So with that –

The episode focuses mainly on Elizabeth, the daughter of a friend of Jessica and a former student of hers, her fiance Charlie, and Wanda. Wanda does not exactly fit into Cabot Cove as she is a bit of a maneater and hasn’t exactly worked out the “small town” atmosphere the fictional town claims to boast. She is rather put out to see how well Elizabeth is treated vs. herself. At one point, Jessica attempts to try and guide her a bit so she might find a spot in the town.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is concerned because Charlie seems to be moving rather quickly. Jessica believes it is because he is so in love, but Elizabeth has doubts. When Charlie gets a tape informing him that they (Wanda) have information he’d like to keep private, it seems to the audience as if Elizabeth’s concerns are well-founded. Elizabeth follows Charlie and believes he is having an affair.

At a Christmas party for the town (with some lovely singing by Metzger, lol), Wanda is shot, and Charlie is believed to be the number one suspect. Jessica does not think it was him, nor does she believe that Charlie is cheating and looks into the case.

I won’t spoil the attempted killer; that’s right, this is a rare episode with no murder, only that Charlie was not Wanda’s intended blackmail victim. In fact, it turns out that Charlie got a girl pregnant when they were young, and she, unfortunately, died during childbirth. The other woman in question is his sister, who is watching his daughter while Charlie works up the courage to tell Elizabeth and her parents. Between his girlfriend dying, losing his parents at a young age, and being separated from his sister at times after losing their parents, Charlie has some major abandonment issues. He is worried Elizabeth and/or her in-laws will not want to welcome his daughter, thus ending things with them. He is wrong. Elizabeth is upset by his deception but relieved to find out the truth, and her parents welcome their new “step” granddaughter with open arms. That Charlie had a secret was totally incidental to Wanda’s plans, and she had no intention of blackmailing him.

And speaking of… while Wanda is not innocent, it turns out she is less guilty than all those involved in the plot (watch the episode) that got her shot. Seth also says her intrepid nature will help her recover, and there are hints of people coming around with her. Wanda is never revisited, but I like to think that she finally manages to settle into the town in the made-up canon of my mind.

In the background of all of this is Seth’s dislike of Christmas. He tells Jessica early in the episode that as a child, he was let down when his father used Christmas to force the concept of maturity on him (giving him socks instead of a toy because he was too old, he was not). He hasn’t been able to let go of the memory even though he knows it seems silly. Christmas to him represents disappointment, not joy. However, saving Wanda’s life and watching everything unfold has helped Seth to regain the joy of the season, and of course, Jessica gifts him with a toy train, the toy he was too old for.

The reason I chose to focus on giving only these plot points for this Impressions is that to me, this is what the episode is about. It’s about Charlie’s love for Elizabeth and learning that loving doesn’t always mean losing. It’s about Wanda, a seemingly not great person who is more complicated than that and her resilience (and the potential for a better life after all of this). And importantly it’s about the good parts of the holiday.

A lot of Christmas episodes can get pretty preachy, and I know they can get a bit old, but honestly, the message is ultimately good, and it’s really about the package. There is love, there is a chance for acceptance, and there are things other than disappointment to be found. The three stories unfold so that they are all connected, and all help push each other forward to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Christmas is a time to share joy and love. Jessica also says that her late husband said the season should make us think about what could be and not what is. I think this a good thing and something we need reminding of, not only during this season but at all times.

I rather enjoy Christmas, and I like my Christmas episodes. Murder, She Wrote, managed to deliver a joyful message in a fun mystery. If you are looking for more to add to your “holiday viewing” list, then I would highly recommend this episode.

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I am a writer and streamer by trade. A gamer, reader, and all around nerd by hobby ;)

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