Woah. Claymation. A father and daughter on a camel trip in the Arabian dessert.
Cut to Young Chuck (Sammi Hanratty
) being entertained by her father, Charles Charles (Josh Randall
), as she's mid-chicken pox. And so young Chuck develops a sense of adventure.
Recap to how Chuck (Anna Friel
) ends up living with a mummy, really her daddy.
They have about 10 seconds to process before aunts Lily (Swoosie Kurtz
) and Vivian (Ellen Greene
) bust in. Chuck and Charles head for the closet, hiding from the women who think they're both dead. Dad realizes daughter knows who her mother is.
Lily is armed with a shotgun and hears a nose in the closet. But it's just a stuffed clown, soon blasted to a million bits.
Ned (Lee Pace
) isn't ready to talk about Chuck's betrayal.
Back at the apartment, she tells Ned the not-all-that-bad news of who died in her dad's place: Dwight Dixon (Stephen Root
). Chuck confesses all, including Emerson (Chi McBride
) the accomplice.
Chuck apologizes for deceiving him, but not for letting her dad live. Ned knows what it feels like. He can't be mad. Chuck picks up a tarp as protection and gives him a big protected bear hug.
They figure out what to do next with their new odd resurrected family.
Then, suddenly, up in the sky, there's a Batman-like spotlight. Nora McQuoddy (Kristin Olson) dies at a lighthouse. The killer is ID'd as her husband, Merle.
Olive (Kristin Chenoweth
) loves a good ghost story: He left his lighthouse keeper wife and young child without a trace, mariners swear his ghost haunts the sea caves by the harbor and you can hear his ghoulish moans as he cries out - BOO!
But what really happened: He did actually leave 10 years ago, but was caught in a typhoon. He was marooned. But Nora kept watch. Then, one day he came back.
Now he's a murderer at large and AHHH!! (a creepy figure in a fisherman's slicker stands in the Pie Hole doorway in the rain).
...But it's just a kid, looking for Emerson, Eliot McQuoddy. He wants to clear his father of his mother's murder and he's armed with nickels (hi, Shane from "Weeds"!).
Ned gives him pie and Olive and Chuck give him bosoms to cry in.
Emerson doesn't want to take the case, but Chuck will give back her third because she needs to take a personal day. Olive volunteers to continue her PI apprenticing.
At the morgue, Emerson tells Ned he should give Charles the old second touch of death.
"Trip over an ottoman and Dick Van Dyke that ass," Emerson suggests.
Ned pokes Nora, still smushed into the spotlight. Her face is melted. She taps Morse code, which Ned knows because Charles Charles taught it to young Chuck and Ned so they could communicate by flashlight.
She taps out PCHS.
Ned guesses "peaches," but Emerson guesses the slightly more reasonable Papen County Historical Society.
Olive surprises them in the morgue hallway, armed with raincoats (pies on Ned's, olives on Olive's and cods on Emerson Cod's). But Ned scoots.
He visits with the two undead. Charles is surprised his daughter likes pie. She used to hate it. He's a cake man.
Ned has a list of things to do with Charles, including moving him from his house. He's worried Ned will bump into him - or Chuck.
He has a counter proposal: He'll go quietly and play by Ned's rules, and Ned never sees Chuck again.
As cover, Olive has applied the Pie Hole to the historical society. A rep, Gus Pepin, comes by. Nora couldn't afford the lighthouse upkeep so he had it declared it a protected monument and appointed Nora its guardian. That leaves Eliot in charge. He suggests they talk to Annabelle Vandersloop (Mary Kay Place
). They volunteered together in the diorama exhibit.
Ned brings Charles a cake and rules for the "alive again" lifestyle, with his "corpse face" taken into consideration.
But Charles wants to cut to the chase. He knows Ned killed him.
Olive and Emerson meet with Annabelle, who was great friends with Nora. They were both widows. They commemorate their husband's notable deaths with dioramas. Glitter is involved.
She says Nora put her foot down on crazy bonding stuff, like father-son around-the-world sailing trips.
"Life, you can't make this crap up," Annabelle says.
Speaking of, Olive thinks Eliot is full of crap.
O & E visit the lighthouse, where the Realtor is peeved to find he can't sell the protected monument. And he advanced Eliot $10,000 against the sale and he and his dad split.
Emerson thinks Eliot came to him to throw suspicion off Merle. He's bumming about the downpour, it reminds him of his lost lady.
Olive has a brainstorm: Eliot is hiding in the sea caves his father's ghost supposedly roamed.
At the Pie Hole, Chuck enjoys her dad is trying to scare off her first boyfriend. They share a kiss through Saran wrap.
Chuck leaves and Ned's bliss is interrupted by a man at the counter hiding behind a newspaper: Charles.
Ned's not thrilled to see a mummy in his restaurant, so he claims gas leak and asbestos and runs off his customers.
Charles figures he'll just tell people he's a burn victim. Ned tries to talk some sense into him, but Charles comes after him. A broom fight at a distance follows, as Ned tries to keep from re-killing his girlfriend's dad.
Emerson and Olive explore the caves and in short time find Merle. They accuse him of killing his wife. But he says he was in the cave when she died.
He says she confessed she'd had an affair. He doesn't know his name, but he found a Dutch love spoon in her effects (apparently it's romantic in some cultures).
It's engraved: A.P. (hearts) N. M.
Papen is a Dutch game, but there's only one "A", Augustus: Gus Papin.
At the Pie Hole, Chuck is shocked to see Ned bruised and her dad in the pantry. She helps him out and he does his best limp. Ned tells her he's faking and Charles Charles has no problem exposing their secret to the world.
If she doesn't want his help, she can take care of it.
Back in the apartment, Dad acts as if everything's OK. He's ready for an adventure anywhere in the world. She wants to stay put. They're only freaks in Ned's world. Away from him, they can do anything, he says. Pie is simple, cake is layered and complex.
Olive tells Annabelle the Gus-affair-theory. On her way out, Annabelle gets her papier mache goop on Emerson. He's come with a copy of Gus's proposal to redevelop the lighthouse as a theme park. It'd let him prove himself to his capitalistic brothers, but he had to get Nora out of his way, Emerson theorizes.
They find a note confirming a meeting with Eliot at the lighthouse that night.
They arrive at the lighthouse in time to see Eliot hanging over the side and Gus either trying to lift him or drop him.
Turns out, Eliot was trying to raise the flags and pitched over the side.
They have a few moments to take in the fact Gus wasn't trying to do him in when another be-slickered man arrives, harpoon in hand.
But it fires a flag: "Welcome to the Papen Lighthouse Resort and Spa."
A capella begins. It's their welcoming tune for the design plans.
Eliot thinks it's wrong, but Gus says Nora was on board. He and Nora tried to put their feelings aside, but failed. Olive notices glitter on the window. He has tell-tale papier mache goop on his head. He admits Annabelle tried to put the moves on him, but they only got together once, years ago.
Downstairs, Annabelle has rigged a barrel of gunpower to blow.
She's mad Gus wouldn't leave Nora even when Merle came back. Olive speaks to her, second-choice woman to second-choice woman. The situation is diffused. Annabelle is off to jail.
Eliot and Merle set out on a father-son cruise and Emerson shares his reward money with Olive. He asks her if she was serious about her burning love for Ned, and offers her a job if she gets tired of the Pie Hole love triangle.
Chuck gently explains to Ned how her dad is trying to be the dad she always dreamed of. But she's not a little girl, and she's not going anywhere. He's waiting upstairs with an apology.
But upstairs they find he's gone, and Chuck gets to experience the trauma of losing her dad all over again.