American Gothic (1995) s01e06 Episode Script

Meet the Beetles

You sure you know where you're going? I ought to.
My daddy says, "You should leave well enough alone.
" My daddy says, "Let the chips fall where they may.
" How can he say anything? He's dead.
There it is.
My old house.
Come on.
Sorry I said that about your daddy.
Living room was over there.
Here's the kitchen.
And over there that was me and Merlyn's room.
Now what are you looking for? Merly's doll.
What do you know.
I think we should go now.
We should go.
Caleb! Help me! Caleb! Help me, please! Caleb! Caleb! My editor's got a homicide he wants me to cover.
It's got sex, violence, political intrigue, even a possible Mob hit.
Sounds like a hell of a story.
Yeah.
It is.
So why aren't you on your way to Charleston? That's a good question.
Besides, Caleb needs me.
Caleb's doing fine.
Thanks a lot.
I'm sure that he and I can find another beautiful young reporter to keep us company at the old boarding house.
Stop it.
Besides, I'm not finished with our friend yet.
Well, Lucas Buck will be here when you get back.
Unfortunately.
Yeah.
Well.
Whether I stay or I go, he's going to answer to my parents' death.
Even if it kills me.
Miss Holt! Matt! Caleb? What Honey, sit.
He grabbed me.
What? Boone was there and he was scared and he ran away.
What did you do? I thought it was an animal, but it was a human.
Something bit you? No, I fell in and he grabbed me.
He was under some timbers where my house fell down.
Caleb, you ever hear of anyone buried under your house? No, sir.
My daddy leased this land so I can't rightly say who all used to live here.
Anyway, he was under here.
And I stepped on these boards and they broke and my leg fell in his ribcage.
And every time I'd shake, his mouth would just chop up and down like he was eating.
"Love forever.
" Selena.
Forget your bathing suit? Fred.
Forget that you're a married, middle-aged loser? I never gave it a thought.
I just came by to get a key to the pool.
I already gave you a key.
I lost it.
Well, now that is tough.
When I gave you a key to the pool area I assumed that you and I might You assumed wrong.
Did I? You do bring it out in men, Selena.
As you've pointed out before, it's my nature.
Back to the showers, Fred.
And the way you turn heads, I have to ask myself where can all this lead to? Meaning what? I've had an extremely unpleasant morning listening to Hack Weller's hysterical wife on the phone.
What's her problem? She says Hack's disappeared.
She fears the worst.
Really.
Am I a suspect? I haven't thought it out that far.
How thrilling.
It's impressive to see you doing your job, Lucas.
It's no secret Hack Weller had a thing for you.
Well, so do you, when the mood strikes.
You should be flattered.
I make the effort.
So when some man doesn't come home to his little wife he must've been with me.
Is that it? In a world of possibilities, it's a short reach.
Well, then the next time that mood strikes I suggest you reach for yourself.
I usually deal with corpses, Miss Emory, not skeletons.
Dr.
Webb, why don't you just take a look at the bones and see if you can determine a cause of death? I can check for poisons and such, but it may take a while.
You take all the time you want, Curtis.
I'll make sure no one disturbs you.
You holding a press conference, Mr.
Coroner? I was just explaining the situation, Lucas.
Yeah? Maybe you'd like to explain it to me.
Last night, a couple of kids were poking around at the old Temple place.
What kids? Just some kids.
Well, you tell them to stay off the old Temple place because it's now the new Buck place.
Since when? Caleb's daddy needed a loan, I took over the first and now that sorry old farm's in my name.
Guess I'll have to put up a fence to keep the vandals out while I build my dream house.
Well, what's the big mystery? A bunch of old Indian bones? You into archeology now, Harvard? Or witch doctoring.
These aren't old Indian bones, Sheriff.
They're from someone recently deceased and dumped out at the old Temple place.
Excuse me, the new Buck place.
And who do you two geniuses think that someone is? Here, Lucas.
Read it and weep.
"Haskell and Betty.
Love forever.
" Isn't that romantic.
So what? It's Hack Weller, Lucas.
Son of a gun used to start every day with a couple of cherry colas and it shows.
Look at them molars.
So your official cause of death is tooth decay? Good work, Curtis.
These are Hack Weller's bones, Lucas.
It's a conclusive ID.
The problem is I played golf with him Friday.
You Buck? Do I know you? Name's Drey.
Lt.
Drey.
That's with an "E.
" State Police.
My sister called me.
Your sister? Yeah, Mrs.
Haskell Weller.
Ring a bell? Guess it does.
Just a little concerned about a conflict of interest.
What conflict? What interest? And get your feet off my desk.
My sister believes that old Hack was having an affair with your girlfriend.
I don't have a girlfriend.
Selena Coombs.
School teacher and what, close personal friend? I've already talked to Miss Coombs.
Well, then we're right in sync.
You just go about your business and I'll do mine and together I'm sure we can get to the bottom of this.
If your sister's anything like you Hack probably ran off with his secretary.
That could be.
But if it's not and you're involved I'll end your very life here in Trinity Buck.
Floyd! Yes, sir? Who am I, Floyd? Why, you're Lucas Buck, Lucas.
Have you ever doubted that? Never dared to, Sheriff.
Hi.
Hi.
What's up? Just thinking.
Our families have always been full of big thinkers.
You got relatives you never heard of? Maybe.
But if I haven't heard of them, I wouldn't know, right? Right.
Why do you ask? I just need to know about my history.
That's why you went back to the house.
I need to know who I am.
I know, Caleb.
I do.
That's why I came back here.
To find out the truth about my family.
Our family history.
Well, that's right.
That's why I need to know.
Was I named after someone? Someone who died before? Are we talking about the skeleton? I'm talking about me.
I can't say for sure, Caleb.
But I don't think so.
There's got to be someone.
A Caleb Temple who's been here before, ain't there? Caleb, I There's got to be someone come and gone.
Come and gone.
Selena Coombs.
We spoke on the phone.
I'm Lt.
Drey.
Are you gonna ask me about Hack Weller? Because the subject's already gotten boring.
I'll try and keep it lively.
You knew him? Basically.
He had eyes for you? Whatever that means.
Well? Well, what? Men hit on me.
Sometimes I hit back.
Hi, Selena.
Hi, Ossie.
Bye, Ossie.
You were saying? Are you bored with your marriage, Lieutenant? I thought I was asking the questions.
Why is it you're supposed to stick it out forever with some guy you picked up in a bar just because you had one too many or happened to like his green necktie? And then after you're married, you realize oh, my God it was the guy with the blue necktie that I really liked.
Then it's too late.
Your take on the sanctity of marriage is about the same as my late brother-in-law's.
Hack Weller used to waddle out of his way to see me on the street.
The only thing I remember about him, frankly is how he'd flip that one long strand of hair over his bald spot.
A totally, utterly useless attempt.
But still enough to cause a jealous boyfriend to kill him.
I hate that word.
Kill? Boyfriend.
Another martini? Miss Emory.
I am so pleased to finally have a reporter covering the museum.
This season we are featuring I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood my message, Mrs.
Constantine.
How so? I want to ask you about Hack Weller.
Mr.
Weller.
Well, he is a typical homo sapien late 20th century North American.
But hardly of any real anthropological interest.
I thought you would have heard by now.
His remains were found in a shallow grave.
No, I hadn't heard.
Mr.
Weller's body wasn't completely found.
Just bones.
No flesh.
No skin.
And he's only been dead three days.
I know you're a paleontologist, and I was hoping that maybe you could shed some light on how this could happen so quickly.
This way.
Let me try to explain.
When an animal comes to us recently deceased let us say, from the zoo our flenser prepares the carcass for the Bug Chamber.
The Bug Chamber.
That's where our beetles do their work.
They're remarkable creatures.
In what way? Why, they can strip a carcass to the bone in a matter of hours.
They're the piranhas of the insect family.
Lovely.
They hide from the light, Miss Emory.
But I assure you they are in there.
Thousands of dermestid beetles, munching away.
Would you like to see them? No, thanks.
Just one more question, Mrs.
Constantine.
Where are these beetles from? Why, they're local, dear.
They're everywhere.
Caleb.
What are you looking for? Me.
Well, you're right here, silly.
No.
I've seen my own grave, Merly.
My name on the stone.
You're going to be here for a long time to come, Caleb.
How do you know? You can't see the future, you're living in the past.
That doesn't sound like you, Caleb.
It's true.
You're dead, and now it's gonna be my turn.
What's the matter with you, Caleb? What's the matter with our family? That's what I want to know.
Everybody's dead and gone, Merly.
That's not exactly my fault.
I didn't ask to be killed.
Merly? Hello? God.
Come on now, Selena, I'm just trying to check up on you.
No harm, no foul, right? I came here to be alone.
Well, we are alone.
I thought you might like a swimming lesson.
Not interested, Fred.
Hey, now, you and the Sheriff, you're not so tight anymore.
So if there's a void in The void's between your ears.
Go home to your wife.
Now come on, Selena.
What am I supposed to do here by myself? Stroke.
I know you I know you want me, baby 'Cause I'm your baby Merly? Merly? I knew it was just a matter of time before curiosity got the better of you.
You're wondering what's in there, aren't you? Your past.
Or your future.
Ain't that why you're here? Yeah.
Well, I'll tell you, son.
This is what happens to a man who makes nothing of his life.
He just ends up rotting and alone.
And a boy like you with no family no one to show him the finer things you may be doomed to come back here, time and again.
Till you decide to stay for good.
Go on.
Take a look.
See what's in there.
Well, look at that.
Money.
$30,000.
Pick it up.
Now, what do you think this means, Caleb? I don't know.
Hell, it means you're rich, boy.
It's mine? That's right.
Little present from me to you.
But in order to make it work you gotta have the vision.
Come on.
Imagine a big old estate home, right here.
Filled with parlors and powder rooms and staircases going every which way.
Can you see it? Sort of.
Look hard.
It's got lawns that stretch all the way to the creek.
With a whole staff of people mowing them for you.
Mowing them for Mr.
Temple.
Me? That's right.
You can't live in a boarding house all your life.
That money's just the beginning.
Little nest egg.
And with me to advise you, the sky's the limit.
Meet the future, son.
Who am I, Floyd? You're Lucas Buck, Lucas.
Damn right.
Can I get you two anything? Cocktails? Refreshments? We needed some privacy.
I can see that.
Don't mind me.
I'll just find myself another private office.
Lucas.
Having a nice chat? Coach Bender's missing.
Is that a plus or a minus? He didn't come home last night.
Well, Lieutenant, maybe I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box here but if I had to give a nickel for every man that didn't come home to his wife I'd be minting them.
So where do you suppose he is? He's probably sleeping it off somewhere.
Lounging around the old swimming pool.
I understand you gave him a bit of a choke hold yesterday around the old swimming pool.
Yeah.
It was quite a choke hold.
The mother of all choke holds.
Your witness tell you that? Miss Coombs isn't a witness.
She's in my protective custody, matter of fact.
She does enjoy her handcuffs.
Bender approached Miss Coombs last night.
She was the last person to see him.
Well.
Surprise, surprise.
Hack Weller's after her.
And bang, he's a drumstick.
Coach makes a pass now he's missing in action.
Do I smell a trend here? Could we be looking at a woman with a serious man problem? I've had enough of you.
That mean I'm next? She's not a suspect, Sheriff.
But you are.
You got a warrant to that effect? There's a warrant on your desk granting me access to your property.
Miss Coombs? Merly? Merly, how would you like a new house of our own? A real home.
Sheriff Buck says we can have acres of lawn with a whole army of men on riding mowers.
Says we wouldn't have nothing to do except swing in the hammock and swap stories.
Sound good to you, Merly? Merly? Miss Coombs? Miss Coombs? Hello? Hello? Miss Coombs, it's Gail Emory.
You wouldn't take Miss Coombs for a big dried-flower arranger, would you? Who are you? Lt.
Drey.
State Police.
You a friend of Miss Coombs? Not really.
Then what are you doing? Just leaving.
What are you doing here? I came to pick her up.
Well, good luck.
Poor Coach Bender.
He had a chance to go to Gainesville as an assistant coach to the Gators.
But he elected to stay here.
Ordinarily a wise decision, Miss Coombs.
But nowadays, seems people aren't safe anywhere.
Even in Trinity.
You always disturb evidence with such impunity, Buck? You always go around barking up the wrong tree, Drey? We've already been through this, Buck.
You're a suspect.
This is a crime scene.
I could arrest you.
Go ahead.
You got yourself in the middle of a big whodunit, Lieutenant and I'm the last one to want to piss on your hydrant.
So go ahead, do your thing.
Here.
Here's some evidence for you.
What's the matter with you, man? Nothing.
Well, I'll tell you what in the spirit of mutual cooperation between our law enforcement agencies let me give you a solid lead.
Mrs.
Constantine? Because of the constant threat of predators most herbivores of the woodlands are protected by Lt.
Drey, I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting.
Welcome to the Trinity Museum of Natural History.
What, there's a museum of unnatural history? Lieutenant, only when dealing with the human element.
So what makes you think that my museum is connected to a murder? Just some goofy notion of mine.
And it's two murders.
Sheriff Buck told me quite a bit about your experience with skeletal remains, so naturally You'll want to go right through that door to the Flensing Room.
Thank you.
Scientists have noted that a predator will return to its original hunting ground Excuse me its prey have grown to a level that supports hunting.
Ground-based predators usually hunt in a smaller area than birds of prey What the hell's a Flensing Room? or other flight based predators.
Consequently, ground-based I need to see Sheriff Buck.
He ain't in, ma'am.
So where is he? Sheriff Buck doesn't exactly sign in and out.
He went into the field.
The field? Yes, ma'am.
To assist Lt.
Drey in his investigation.
So where's Drey? I believe he went over to the museum on official business.
Lt.
Drey? Hello? My God.
Please, let me help you.
You're Ossie Spichtig.
Yes.
Director of Flensing Services.
I'm sorry about this situation.
But he had it coming.
I hated the thought of them touching her.
I know.
You have such fine features.
Not as soft as Selena's but beautiful all the same.
Thanks.
You're wondering if you open that lid, if he can save you.
Or if you can save him.
But you're afraid of what you're going to see, aren't you? Don't be.
I couldn't let them soil her with their lascivious little come-ons.
Cheating on their wives.
Their locker-room jokes and innuendoes.
That's no reason to kill somebody.
I mean, come on.
Let the poor guy go.
I'm not gonna tell Sheriff Buck.
Buck! It's me he wants, ain't that right, Ossie? You wanted me chewed clean like Hack Weller and Coach Bender.
Like I said, they deserved it.
You've probably got enough for your story, Miss Emory.
Why don't you run along and I'll give you some good quotes later on? You're bugging me.
He bugging you? I do believe I owe you an apology.
On several counts.
I didn't know there was more than one.
You tried to set me up on all those terrible crimes.
You had me going, darling.
I asked myself, is sweet Selena really capable of it? Well, tell the truth, I was disappointed that State policeman didn't take me seriously as a suspect.
I certainly did.
The only thing those men had in common was an infatuation with you.
That's another thing.
Just because I'm free with you doesn't make me easy.
I did question your conduct with Hack Weller, which was brutally insensitive of me.
I was deeply offended.
Some retribution was only fair.
And it was amusing how you let me twist in the wind with old Drey there.
By God, he thought he had me.
And you just let my suspicious nature go on and cloud my thinking, letting Drey come onto you and all.
It was good sport, I will say that.
Then let's make up.
My congratulations.
For what? For pursuing the truth, Miss Emory.
Isn't that why you were looking for me last night? Or did you have a more social activity in mind? Now, the only social activity that I'd have in mind is to testify against you at the grand jury.
Well, maybe someday, Miss Emory.
But just keep something in mind, will you? What's that? The illusion of free will.
And what's that supposed to mean? Whether you stay here in Trinity, or scoot on back to Charleston makes no difference.
You only think it's your decision.
You're dreaming.
Am I? Seems to me, you're the one who's troubled by dreams.
Are you Sheriff Buck? I'm Betty Weller, Hack's widow.
I'm so sorry.
I just wanted to thank you personally.
For what? For being so generous, to have given each one of us Coach Bender's wife and myself, $15,000 apiece.
Why, you have no idea what that means.
I believe I do.
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die If I die before I wake Merly? I thought if I gave that money away everything would be okay.
I'm sorry the way I doubted you.
Sorry I trusted Sheriff Buck.
I'm sorry, Merly.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, Merly.