George Crabtree and John Brackenreid transport a convicted axe murderer to prison but trouble is afoot when she escapes, to exact revenge on those who testified against her, in Annabella Cinderella.
The episode opens at Station House No. 4, and Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) asks John (Charles Vandervaart) and George (Jonny Harris) to find convicted murderer Annabella Maloney (Rachel Van Duzer), who has escaped. They chase the woman down an alleyway and John captures her.
Back at the station, both John and Detective Watts (Daniel Maslany) admit they followed the case in the newspaper and express their sympathy for Annabella. Like Lizzie Borden before her, Annabella took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. Well not exactly 40 whacks – she plunged an axe into her mother once, although the woman wasn’t actually her mother, she was her guardian.
It turns out Annabella is a Home Child. More than 100,000 British children immigrated into Canada as a source of cheap labour in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Some were lucky enough to be placed in loving and caring homes, but many were treated badly and abused by their caregivers. As an aside, my own great-grandfather was a Barnardo Boy who arrived in Quebec on July 30, 1898.
Murdoch then asks John and George to transport Annabella to prison. They have to share a hotel room with the convicted murderer, and after several flirty conversations, it begins to look like John is falling for her.
Annabella Cinderella Escapes!
Annabella tells John she has to use the privy and escapes out the window. It turns out she had picked his pocket and retrieved the handcuff key. What will George and John do to get her back?
They follow her to her hometown of Claremont. Hoping to keep the information that Annabella has escaped from Detective Murdoch, George calls Detective Watts for help.
Eventually Detective Watts and Annabella’s lawyer, Mr. Daniels, arrive in Claremont. Mr. Daniels tells them that Annabella had vowed she would kill anyone who had helped convict her, including him.
As John interviews some of the residents of Claremont, including Annabella’s “sister”, he finds out the murder victim, Harriett Rawlins, was a horrible woman. “The things she did to those children would turn your stomach,” one resident tells him.
He begins to wonder if Annabella is innocent, until they find the dead body of the doctor who testified against her. “Do you still think she’s innocent?” Watts asks him.
One of the best lines in the episode is when Watts tells John he must take the temperature of the doctor’s body to determine the time of death. John’s face when Watts tells him “not in the mouth,” is priceless.
John still hopes he can prove Annabella is innocent of the murder, but is she innocent or guilty?
William and Julia (Hélène Joy) don’t get a lot of screen time on Monday, but they do have an entertaining plot involving police manuals and publishing.
Watts lends Murdoch The Police Investigative Handbook, a book he and Julia pore over and tear apart. They are insulted that none of their own findings are included. “Public money has been wasted on this,” Julia says.
They go so far as to call the publisher of the book to Station House No. 4, telling him it’s urgent.
“This handbook should represent the latest in investigative techniques,” Murdoch tells him. He gives him a list of techniques that he and Julia have written. Pleased, the publisher offers them a book contract and even an advance on royalties. But will Julia and William take the publisher up on his offer?
So far, season 12 of Murdoch Mysteries has been immensely intriguing, downright comical at times and even extremely heartbreaking. Although it had its moments, episode 11 just didn’t do it for me. This could be due to the minimal scenes with William and Julia, George being underutilized and the absence of Inspector Brackenreid. Someone on Twitter quipped that Annabella Cinderella was Murdoch Mysteries: The Next Generation. If so, I think I’ll stick with the original.
Murdoch Mysteries airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC. You can watch Annabella Cinderella here.
What do you think? Did you enjoy this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments section and feel free to share this review on Twitter and Facebook.