Ken Tucker
June 07, 2009 AT 07:54 AM EDT

Pushing Daisies‘ penultimate episode offered a Penny for your thoughts: Emerson’s long-lost daughter — whom he’s spent the series looking for, yearning for, and writing for (his pop-up book about his missing child, Lil’ Gum Shoe, has now been accepted for publication, we learned) — was within his grasp.

This Daisies featured action-hero Fred Williamson as a wealthy but murdered dam-builder. One of the chief suspects was the woman who bore Emerson’s child, Lila Robinson (Gina Torres), a grifter who pushed this episode into a hardboiled-detective story parody. Given Daisies‘ love of wordplay, the private-eye plot was filled with Chandleresque similies such as “a ruby that he flaunted like a trophy-wife at a high school reunion.” 

The mechanics of the mystery in this episode entitled “Water and Power” borrowed liberally from the plot of Chinatown, but the tone was pure Daisies, and it was certainly high time for Chi McBride to get an Emer-centric episode. That brief glimpse of pretty Penny was a heart-breaker, wasn’t it?

Nonetheless, there was also a nice continuation of last week’s Olive-Randy romance, with David Arquette returning to the Pie Hole to be “the rebound guy” for Olive as she weans herself from Ned. Ah, yes, Ned: This was probably the one episode of Daisies that did not center primarily around Ned and Chuck, but I hardly noticed, so swift and clever was its pacing.

So: what did you think? I must say, for a show that prides itself on its adroit language, I was dismayed to see the dust jacket of Emerson’s manuscript read “gum shoe” instead of the correct “gumshoe.” Well, maybe now that a publisher has bought it, a copyeditor will sort that out.

But just the fact that I’m talking about the use of clever slang proves how valuable Pushing Daisies is. There’s no other show on ABC that approaches its wordplay. I mean, I happened to catch the last few minutes of the show that preceded Daisies this night: Here Come The Newlyweds — more crappy, cheap “reality” programming! And yet there’s only one more new episode of Pushing Daisies to savor.

Isn’t it maddening that ABC took so long to release these last three Daisies, building up our fondness for the show again, only to make it disappear forever after next week? 

Let your frustration flow below, friends. 

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