As I wrote in my previous post, I am watching the ABC reality series Whodunnit? as a writing exercise. Here’s some text for the premise of the show before I get into specifics (just in case you don’t want to be spoiled). If you’d like to listen to Liam and Regan’s podcast about episode 1, you can find it here. If you’re watching along, you can find Episode 2 here.
You’ve all been personally selected to play my diabolical game of life and death. Your job: stay alive long enough to discover who I am. You can only do that by being the best at solving the crimes I put before you. Fail, and you may be the next to die.. here are the rules. Following each murder, I will offer you the opportunity to investigate one and only one of the following areas: the crime scene, the victim’s last known whereabouts, or… the morgue, where you can examine the corpse in a more private setting. Take a moment to decide which of the three areas you wish to investigate. Give careful consideration to your choice. Take a look around. The killer, I’m afraid, is among us.
Alas, poor Dontae, we hardly knew you. At the end of the premiere, Dontae was running out of the house aflame and into the pool. At the start of this episode, Giles confirms to the rest of the house that Dontae is dead, and they need to figure out what happened to him, if they want to make it out of the mansion. Giles then reveals a tracking device around his ankle, and tells the guests that none of them are able to leave.
We then get a note from the killer (via a Twitter chyron, which pops up a few times in the episode) saying that Adrianna, Ronnie and Ulysses had all guessed that Dontae was the killer last week, which doesn’t really mean anything at this point because there aren’t any clues as to the killer’s identity (which I explore further in my case notes).
Last Known Whereabouts: Dontae’s Room
Melina, Lindsey, Ronnie and Geno go to Dontae’s room. They quickly discover scorch marks on the door, which indicates that’s where the fire started. They also see that part of the lampshade has melted, and speculate that perhaps that’s the fire starter, but there’s no indication that that’s the case. On the bedside table they find an empty jewellery box which appears to have held a medallion. Next to the box is a card that mentions protection from Saint Agatha, the patron saint of fire.
The Crime Scene
Sasha, Kam and Adrianna go to the crime scene this week. Sasha is a little annoyed that Adrianna is there, but she ignores it. They find Dontae’s socks floating in the pool, which they’re able to lift out with a pole. Then they see something glimmering at the bottom of the pool, which is the medallion with Saint Agatha engraving. Kam has already jumped into the pool to retrieve the medallion at this point, so Adrianna asks him to get a piece of cloth that’s floated down there as well. This is when they discover that Dontae was wearing different pyjamas to everyone else.
Don, Cris, Dana and Ulysses go down to the morgue. It seems that everyone has stopped worrying about Don’s real occupation, and Don tells the audience that he specialised in homicide as it related to arson, so he knows what he’s looking for. He quickly discovers that Dontae’s hand is the most burnt part of his body, so that’s where the fire must have started. Then they have a closer look at Dontae’s pyjamas, and sees that they’re different to the ones they’re still wearing (they wear them for most of the episode).
The pyjama brunch (it wasn’t cancelled because of the murder) is when people get to share the information they’ve learned. The morgue group asks about giving up information, and Don suggests they trade it. Meanwhile the group from Dontae’s room decide to give the Saint Agnes or Augustine as the name of the saint. It gets to the point that Geno can’t remember who is the real patron saint of fire. Meanwhile Kam has decided that Lindsey will be the person on his team with Ulysses to replace Geno, and Lindsey has nothing to lose so she goes for it. Melina’s strategy is to play dumb to seem unthreatening, and she gives the wrong information about the medallion, until Sasha pulls her aside to tell her what the medallion said. Melina confirms that Sasha is right, but they’re giving out false information on purpose.
Giles comes into the room with a white flag, saying that “The killer asked me to flag you down.” I started transcribing the riddle before they captured the entire thing on screen, so I have a screenshot! I just felt I couldn’t do justice to that fantastic font. The contestants are all given cardboard flags to take with them on their search. My immediate guess upon seeing the riddle is that it was the laundry – a washing machine has cycles, and there are bottles with labels.
The contestants are going to fireplaces, the kitchen, the outdoor barbecue and lamps, but nothing. Melina has the idea of the laundry, so she rushes down there. Unfortunately Ronnie learned last week that it’s a way to get followed, and Melina brings Cris, Ulysses and Kam with her. There’s a bottle of benzene above the cupboard with another riddle on the label:
Instructions for Use: Spray your flag and find the same, then turn the knob to help make your claim. The time is now to drag your feet, for those who die cannot compete.
The four guests in the laundry spray their flags with benzene, which reveals a pink stripe down the middle. They then go running around the house looking for a pink stripe. Cris mentions to Kam that she saw a stripe like that on the crest, and they find a cupboard door on the second floor, bearing the crest with a pink stripe down the middle. Kam goes to open the door and gets shocked, which is our fire starter.
The strategising begins after the bell rings, indicating that the riddle has been solved. Kam brings Cris into his ‘team’ with Ulysses and Lindsey, and they pretty much leave everyone else out of their discussion. Sasha thought she had an agreement with Kam because they both went to the pool together, but he wasn’t willing to leave the group. Adrianna goes up and is also rebuffed, but she’s a little more annoying about it, and Kam is quite rude. Sasha, Dana and Melina group together, and Dana’s convinced that she has an understanding with Ulysses. She urges Sasha and Melina to break up the group so she can talk to Kam.
Meanwhile, Ronnie and Geno go up to the cupboard to try and figure out what happened. They mention that they heard Kam yell, and suspect that he got a shock when he touched the doorknob. They realise that the socks on the carpet would have built up static electricity, which would have made the handle the fire starter. After Dana tells Melina to break up the group, she runs into Ronnie and they share their information, so Melina at least knows how the fire got started. Dana’s unable to steal Ulysses away, and she doesn’t have any other baskets for her eggs.
This is what Liam and Regan call the segment of their podcast where they guess who the killer is. This is where I’ll write down my guess of what happened, and who the killer is (Ronnie and Geno’s investigation helped with this, a bit, and I have information that some of the guests don’t):
The Crime: Dontae locked all the doors and windows to his room, but it didn’t matter. The killer sprayed his pyjamas with benzene and left them in there, before pulling the fire alarm in the middle of the night. When Dontae woke up to the fire alarm, he ran across the carpet in his socks, building up static electricity (thanks Ronnie and Geno). When he reached for the doorknob, it gave him an electric shock, igniting the pyjamas, and he ran down to the pool, but he burned to death. The killer had time to run down to the laundry and place the benzene in the cupboard before meeting everyone outside.
The Killer: Don is the most suspicious, because he was late making it down to the pool – could he have been in the laundry? That is the guess for this week – perhaps he’s getting the riddles wrong on purpose (he admits he’s not good at them) and getting Scared cards on purpose. After all, eliminations are based on a written test (like in The Mole), and if Don has all the answers he can deflect suspicion onto someone else.
It’s accusation parlour time, and we get a montage. Since I’ve already given my own version of events, I’ll go through who was accused: Cris, Adrianna (who once again got the most votes), Ulysses, Kam and Geno. Some contestants get the fire starter wrong, while others suggested that he died by drowning.
Giles decides to flambé some food in front of the contestants, and it’s all a bit much. During dinner Kam, Ulysses, Cris and Lindsey reveal what they knew, and the group gets into an argument about how withholding they were (very, and they were also kind of dicks). Giles then comes into the room and tells everyone that Ulysses got the most right. At this point Ulysses is my least favourite contestant, closely followed by Kam. Adrianna’s annoying, but she’s not smug the way the lawyer bros are. Giles takes everyone through the crime, which was almost exactly as I said it except I forgot about the medallion, which was a bit of a small piece of gallows humour.
Unsurprisingly Kam, Cris and Lindsey are spared because they’re on the same ‘team’ as Ulysses (what happens when the group gets too small? Dana is the first person to get a Scared card, while Don, Sasha, Geno and Ronnie are all Spared. The two people left are Adrianna and Melina. Giles says that two or more people could be Scared, and Melina is terrified. Adrianna opens her card first, which says Scared, while Melina is Spared. At least next week I won’t keep getting Adrianna and Dana confused.
Giles then tells them to “Sleep well. Or should I say… RIP.” The contestants go to their rooms, and Dana can’t sleep. She’s convinced that Adrianna is the killer, so she must be the next victim. Adrianna is eating her cereal at 7:13 am the next morning when she sees something outside, drops her cereal and runs towards it. We see a golf cart. Adrianna gets in and turns the key before it goes… boom. I guess the killer could still be Don. None of the other guests are onto him at this point.
After the preview, we see Dontae! He said he didn’t want to die so early, but it was fun going up in flames. He’s right, that was fun. I also got a really good gif out of it.
- I missed the feet dragging part of the second riddle because I didn’t transcribe it until after I’d written most of this recap.
- The production values for this show are excellent. I still want to read up on all the special effects when this is over, but let’s have a look at how production needed to put Dontae’s death together: special effects, costumes, directing and editing had to figure out how it would work.
- I’m guessing Dontae had fire retardant spray on his pyjamas based on a season 3 episode of iZombie. Although that doesn’t explain why the curtains didn’t catch fire.
- Adrianna died because she wasn’t able to form relationships with any of the other contestants. Dana was in trouble because she was relying on Ulysses after the riddle, while Melina conferred with Ronnie and Sasha looked for information elsewhere. Your network is important.
- That being said, Adrianna did well with the eavesdropping last week.
- Adrianna had the highest number of votes to be the killer, so a few people’s theories have been shut down.
- I can’t help but compare this show to The Mole, where the elimination process is completely different. The contestants on The Mole are asked questions about the identity of the mole, and are eliminated based on how correct they are. Meanwhile on Whodunnit?, the guests are asked about the details of the crime. They accuse another guest at the end of the pitch, but there aren’t any clues as to who the killer is. Does it matter?
- Following on: Production has to have picked someone as the killer. Where the mole is trying to sabotage the team’s chances of getting more money, while as far as we know, the guests all have the same information. Does the killer know how each crime was committed?
- More importantly, why do they need the written test as well as the accusation parlour?
- It could still be Don, but I’m keeping my mind open.
- Images courtesy of ABC and WikiHow. Gif made with GifCam.