I managed to get home in time to watch another Candle Cove episode today. They're still on the story arc where Pirate Percy is searching for Janice and he's getting more worried than ever. There's a scene early in the episode where he's so stressed out he's chewing his fingernails. Whoever had the idea to put red paint or ink or whatever that was on the end of the puppets fingers to make it look like he'd chewed his fingers bloody went too far though, I mean this is supposed to be for kids. Today he says he's going to go visit the Bird Man and ask if he knows where to find Janice. Wasn't the Bird Man who Kelly said she saw in the woods on our field trip? Maybe he was in an earlier episode I missed and he frightened her, I guess that explains why she might see him lurking in the shadows in an unfamiliar place.
Anyway the Laughingstock pulls into a port where the water is stagnant and brown, considering that the "water" looks like what came up in my basement when the sewer backed up I don't want to think about what that is floating in it. The Laughingstock's facial expression tells me more than I needed to know about how the water tastes and smells too. Dead alewives line the shore where they're picked at by vultures and rats. You know, I don't blame Percy for putting on a hospital mask before stepping off the boat, this place doesn't seem very sanitary. As soon as he steps off the boat Candle Cove's calliope music is replaced by the buzzing of flies. In the distance is a crumbling castle, it looks a bit like Count von Count's castle but with the dial turned from Sesame Street to Nightmare on Elm street. As he heads towards the castle he starts to shake. At first I thought he was shaking with fear, as we all know Percy isn't exactly the bravest of souls, but when I saw that he looked like he was sweating (How do you make a puppet sweat? Did they spritz him with a spray bottle or something?) I realized he seemed to have a fever. By the time he was about half way to the castle he seemed to be getting delirious. He kept saying the strangest things, "But Mommy, I was playing pirate. I had to bury a treasure!" or "No, mistress, I'll be good. Don't send me to the Tower again!" but the one that creeped me out the most was "No Janice, you have to do what She says. You're one of us now. You can't be Charlotte anymore." What the hell was that all about?
After that last statement he kind of shook himself (again, I'm impressed what his puppeteer can do without tangling up his strings), reached up and slapped himself, and marched determinedly to the castle. When he got to the gate he reached up and knocked and the man who answered the door . . . well he looked almost exactly like Kelly's drawing. I was right he must have been in an earlier episode. He was on the tall side, dressed in a black robe with an odd, almost medieval looking, hat and a white bird like mask with a long beak and carried a slim cane in one hand. I'm not sure how or why but I got the impression that he was smiling under that mask. Percy visibly steeled himself and asked "D-do you know where Janice went, Mr. Bird Man?" the Bird Man looked at Percy and slowly shook his head. I thought maybe the Bird Man was mute but as Percy's shoulders slumped and he turned to walk away he spoke up in a firm, calm tone. "Percy. Tell your mistress that if she sends you or that pile of bones and the walking mustache here again without my permission I will personally give her Dutch Elm disease. And termites." Wow, that was an odd threat. Percy turned towards him again. "Th-the Skin-Taker was here? He was asking abou-about Janice too?"
"Yes Percy, he was here yesterday. He said that he would have to try Mr. Smiles next and if he did not know, perhaps the Birch King would." Percy paled (seriously, do they just have different heads they swap in and out or something?) and took off for the Laughingstock at a dead run.
Wow, for Janice's sake I hope the Skin-Taker doesn't get to her first, but I'm starting to wonder if Percy finding her would be good either. I think the show's even creepier than it was when I was a kid.