EPISODE 27: Burke's banker, Stuart Bronson (sorry, they couldn't afford Charles), gives him a report on the Collins family finances.
Vicki comes downstairs. She's not only looking for David, but also for Liz, who was with her at the end of the last episode, but has unaccountably disappeared. Carolyn enters and offers to help look for David, as long as she doesn't have to look too hard. Carolyn offers to search all the department stores in town for David, especially Penney's, which is having a sale today.
Carolyn asks Vicki if she was serious about finding the bleeder valve in David's room. Liz says it didn't happen, and swears that she was there when Vicki didn't find it. As much as Carolyn would love to find something that would get Burke off the hook, she can't believe that a 9 year old boy could suffer from homicidal mania. Usually they're just carriers. Carolyn asks if Vicki is sure David did it? Is she really sure? Is she absolutely, positively, 100% sure? Vicki says she's not even that sure that her name is Vicki.
Meanwhile, in Bangor... a town that actually exists in the real world for a change, Burke meets the highly touted "Bronson", who turns out to be a 98 pound accountant with an iron liver (Wah-wah-wah-waaaaaaaaah). Burke came to Bangor for the meeting so that no one in Collinsport would see Bronson and connect him with Burke. Bronson says there's not much chance of that. He's usually on Guiding Light.
Bronson has written a report, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About the Collins Family Finances, But Weren't Rich Enough To Ask, which outlines everything (and everyone) that the Collins family owns, as well as everything they owe. Burke goes through the report, but Bronson is more interested in examining the hotel's liquid assets (if you know what I mean, and I think you do.)
Bronson offers Burke a drink... while there's still some left. Burke tells Bronson that the offer is in very bad taste, considering that he once went to jail for a DWI manslaughter. "What do you think of that, huh?" Bronson says it would be a shame to go to jail for a drink, and then not have the drink! Burke accepts the offer, but by this time it's too late. Bronson has not only cleaned out the mini-fridge, but even finished off the rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet, and the turpentine in the supply closet.
Back at Collinwood, Vicki thinks she heard a noise behind a locked door in the upstairs hall. Carolyn says nobody could be in there. That's the West Wing, and it's been closed up since 1897. In fact, ever since Judith Collins Trask sealed it off and kicked out Quentin Collins, the only person living there at the time. Funny thing, Judith's husband, Mr. Trask disappeared that same day. In fact, the whole story is oddly similar to the way Liz's husband, Paul Stoddard disappeared the day after Liz locked the room in the basement. Vicki thinks this is a very strange family. Every time they redecorate, a husband walks out!
Vicki still insists that she had the bleedin' bleeder valve locked in her drawer, but it's disappeared, almost as if it were a g-g-g-ghost valve!! Carolyn says not to be silly. All the bureaus at Collinwood have identical locks, so David could have opened Vicki's bureau by stealing a key from Carolyn or anyone else. Vicki is a little disappointed. Sure, she was certain there was a logical explanation, but actually hearing it is kind of a letdown.
Liz isn't convinced that this valve existed anywhere except in Vicki's fertile imagination. There's no evidence David stole anything, there's just an empty drawer. Vicki says she definitely locked up something in her bureau, and there's nothing there now. She might have mistaken something else for the bleeder valve, but she's not silly enough to have mistaken nothing at all for the valve, is she? Liz says no, of course not, but that's probably not what she's thinking.
Carolyn asks to snoop through Vicki's drawers to find out more about her. Vicki offers to tell Carolyn anything she wants to know, but Carolyn says no, it's more fun this way. Rummaging through the drawers, Carolyn finds David's copy of Mechano and notices the "How to Remove a Bleeder Valve" cover story, which Vicki had also noticed in Episode 25, but forgotten to mention.
Carolyn thinks this implicates David, but Liz thinks (or pretends to think) that it implicates Vicki. After all, the magazine was found in her room, and so was the valve. Oh, wait a minute. The valve wasn't found, was it? Liz decides that she believes Vicki had it after all. As Liz says this, Vicki very nearly uses her very first swear word.
Back in Bangor, Burke is still reading, while Bronson is still drinking. Room service ran out of the stuff, but they sent out to another hotel for more.
Bronson mentions that due to this and that, the Collins family has extended its finances rather precariously, by setting up a Trust Fund for David. They've been on a shoestring budget for the last few months, and if things get any worse, they'll be on a shoestring potato budget.
According to Bronson, by buying up the family's outstanding demand notes from various banks and calling them all in simultaneously, Burke could ruin the Collins family. Burke says he knows all this, it's his plan, and wants to know why Bronson is telling him his own plan. Bronson says it's called Exposition. "You know it and I know it, but the audience doesn't know it unless one of us says it."
There's another cannery in Logansport that Burke was interested in buying, but the report on it seems to be missing. Bronson says maybe his secretary mailed it to Burke at the Collinsport Inn. Burke is furious, and says she'd better not have done that, because if anyone associates Bronson with Burke, their plan is ruined! Just in case this is what's happened, Bronson has another drink, to weather the shock.
Back at Collinwood, Liz calls Roger to come home, and says that David's safety depends on his getting there quickly. Roger says he'll be home as fast as he can. As fast as he can travelling via Timbuktu, that is.
Meanwhile, Burke calls the Collinsport Inn to try to put a stop payment on his mail... or something, only to learn that both David Collins and the Sheriff searched his room while he was out. At this point, it's locking the barn door after the horse has escaped, but Burke asks Mr. Wells to hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign.