Earlier when we first met Bert, we learned how Bert and Agnes had some initial conflicts. Here we learn how competitive Agnes fees toward him getting to do case work and her having to do administrative work. So she wants to prove something and backdoors the agency to take this case. But Bert comes to help her out and we get to watch the initial blossoming of their friendship soon to be romance.
I think that Agnes feels competitive toward Bert because in her eyes she feels she is the most valuable employee to Maddie and David and she gets jeolous if she thinks someone else might be usurping that importance.
Yet, I know I have worked as an admin. Asst before and sometimes you really do feel like your bosses take you for granted and dump all the grunt work on you. So maybe she has a bit of a point here.
This is a fun episode which tells us a little more about the changing way of thinking between our junior birdmen, Agnes and Bert.
Agnes throws a fit when she figures out Bert's been getting more work, when Dipesto's been there "for five years." (Given that this was in the third season, 1986/87, that would mean she started working there in 1981/82--I love details like that! Always did want to know when precisely the agency actually opened its doors.)
Anyhoo. Back to the story.
Agnes is stunned when Maddie and David say they won't take a case about a 'haunted' house because they "don't have enough manpower." She thinks they could use her, and feels slighted again. She spins Bert some little lie and dashes out of the office. He correctly deduces what she's really up to and runs after. Agnes, however, won't be denied.
Agnes goes to the house, owned by the Renbourns, and claims she has the agency's approval to work on the case. She doesn't. And despite her enthusiasm, it becomes apparent that maybe she isn't quite sure where to start, after all. She tries to back out and say she'll go to a library. Whereupon she is told they have a nice one in the house.
Nothing for it, then, but to actually try and do what she planned.
I like the scene where she reads from those books. "All manner of animals came to drink from nearby streams..." and then she panics when she gets to the parts that are really violent. ;D
Bert shows up! Agnes, surprisingly, is very relieved. "Don't say anything, just hold me!" And she, er, doesn't exactly give him a lot of time to decide.
Bert tells her she will ruin the good name of the agency. Agnes shoots back that he's just a temp. Bert then reveals he's been hired full-time. And he has a company credit card! Something Agnes didn't get, even after five years' toil. This is gettin' a tad peculiar.
Dipesto is humiliated, but tries to deny it. Although she does tell Bert she thinks of his actions as rather bossy and dismissive of her, she then puts a flat face on it and vows to continue.
Why does he think it's okay for him to take part in the case, when actually the bosses said they wanted no one to do it? Credit card or no credit card, in point of fact Bert isn't a licensed detective yet at this time in the story, so what he's doing is just as much breaking the rules and bad for the agency name as what Agnes did. What gives?
Although Agnes and Bert are supposed to be mirror images of Maddie and David, in a way they are actually more blunt than the other two. They say directly what they feel. Could be it's an Italian trait, a mixture of being very outspoken, and deeply romantic as well. It's an interesting dimension to the characters... ;D And it could be a key to why Agnes and Bert were able to take their relationship places the other couple did not.
Back to the plot.
Bert does not find it as easy as he thought to get in good with the man of the house. He tries to invite himself to share some brandy, but no dice. Dave probably would have gotten the man drunk and broken into every safe, secret room, attic door, cabinet and junk drawer in the building before you could say 'knock it off already.'
Bert is not Dave.
The butler is the one to show him downstairs, where he promptly screws up the electrical system and gets himself blasted Inspector Clouseau-style clear across the room.
Agnes is upstairs talking to the people in the hall. Bert and the butler come back up, only to see the woman of the house, startled, fire on whom she realized all too late was her husband turning the corner.
After they talk to the police, Agnes drives away. She is understandably shocked and terrified. Bert says she wasn't at fault, and couldn't have prevented what happened. Bert also lets on that he isn't what he was cracked up to be--the credit card is his own, he just had the agency name put on to make himself feel better, and what he said before was a bit of a lie and a brag. Agnes sure isn't happy about this. Still, they can't give up.
They go back to the house together, and continue asking questions.
Ludwig is still in bed. He takes a little waking up. In fact, more than a little.
He's a goner.
Dr. Beddows shows up, syringe in hand. He was the one 'haunting' the house, using taped ghost noises, so he could scare everyone else off--the place is sitting on a vast lake of oil. He was trying to drive poor Margaret crazy, to steal her estate.
Bert manages to fight off the needle-wielder and runs down the hall with Agnes. They tumble down the stairs together-- --and although it looks like this could kill them, it actually cushions them. Beddows continues the chase. They throw books at him, then wind up getting stuck in a secret room. He follows after; but they are saved by a stroke of luck when the lights go out and he tumbles on an oil slick in the middle of the floor.
Back to headquarters. Although the understudies managed to catch a nice paycheck for their efforts, it still wasn't quite legal under the eyes of the bosses, and they get a verbal good swift kick for it. They had endangered the reputation of the company, plus nearly gotten themselves killed, and the fact that they came home having earned $2,500 only makes it a little better. The bosses forgive them (Maddie: "I'm impressed--kinda!") and order the two back to battle stations. Agnes and Bert do get commissions, however. ;D
Notice it's when they put aside their differences and try to work together that things get better, on the case and personally as well.
If only the two who have their own offices could figure that out!... ;D
Agnes was thinking it's unfair that Herbert was thought of as "one of the guys" and given more responsibility when he had only just been a temp for a few months. Here she is, answering the phones since apparently the day Mr. Addison walked in, and no one credits her with being clever enough to handle big-time work. Thinking work, detective stuff! You do have to feel for her. She has put in a lot more time than Mr. Viola, yet people seem to feel perfectly comfortable going right over her head and giving him more work to do (even though it seems to be just a lot of typing--most of which, quite notably, he actually needs Agnes to help him with!). Now, Agnes isn't trained or licensed to be a p.i. either, which is just a matter of fact, but I can see how she feels slighted. I've worked in administration and as an accounting temp, and let me tell you, at times the only difference between you and some of the higher-ups is not burden of work, but pay and level of respect.
This may be a second-string episode, but for what it is, it works quite well. ;D
I hadn't watched this episode in some time. I usually just watch the eps over and over that have a lot of David and Maddie interaction. But when I watched this ep. again on the DVDs I really enjoyed it. Agnes and Bert were so much fun to watch and Agnes had some great lines.
Agnes: "Journal entry 17, I think I just wet my pants." ;D
"You're not the only one with potential around here Mr. Smartyboots." (to Bert)
Loved the part where she can't pronounce her own last name, then says "it's Agnes" or something like that. ;D
Anyway, it's a very fun episode even though there isn't much of Dave and Maddie.