EPISODE 6: In the basement, Sinister Caretaker ™ Matthew Morgan warns Vicki that it don't pay to go askin' too many fool questions.
The next morning, Vicki makes a trek down to the Collinwood basement, looking for David. Instead, she runs into a man who introduces himself as Matthew, the sinister caretaker who warns people that it don't pay to go 'round askin' too many fool questions. True to form, Matthew warns Vicki not to ask too many fool questions. Matthew asks Vicki where are those other meddling kids and their Great Dane, which isn't exactly a MENSA level question either.
Before things can get too unpleasant, Liz intervenes. Matthew tells Liz he caught this young lady snoopin' round the basement. Liz says to leave things to her. If Vicki needs killing, she'll see to it.
Liz asks why Vicki is there. Vicki says she was looking for David, while Matthew claims that she was trying to get into the Locked Room! Liz sends Vicki upstairs while she checks the basement herself. The mysterious Locked Room is still locked, with no sign that the lock has been tampered with. However, the "Do Not Open On Pain of Death and Dismemberment" sign has fallen behind a box.
Liz finds David hiding behind a box. Maybe Vicki really was looking for him. David says he was hiding from Vicki because she's a big meanie. She got mad at him for packing her dumb old suitcase before she'd even found out about the big stuff he'd done. David wishes Vicki would go away and his mother would come back. Liz has a heart-to-heart (no, not literally) with David, to get him to accept Vicki. Liz tells David about how Vicki grew up in a Foundling Home, and how, if David doesn't start bonding with her, Liz is going to make him listen to all of her stories about the place. Liz tells David to forget about these childish pranks of his, and read a book or something. She's got some Rover Boys books down here, maybe even some Tom Swift Senior books, too. David says he'd rather read The Anarchist Cookbook.
Upstairs, Vicki is dutifully standing in the corner, waiting for Liz's arrival. Matthew opines that she deserves more than standing in a corner. She'd be better off buried in some shallow grave and covered with quicklime. Er, not that that ever happens around here, of course.
Vicki tries to schmooze a bit with Matthew. Why did he accuse her of trying to "git" Mrs. Stoddard? And what does "git" mean? Vicki gets Matthew to talk about himself instead. She succeeds in learning that Matthew was hired the day after Liz fired all the smarter servants, which happened the day the Locked Room was locked, which happened the day after Paul Stoddard mysteriously disappeared, which... lay in the house that Jack built. (Or something like that.)
Matthew makes it clear that he's not only stupid, but totally devoted to Liz. He used to work in the Collins cannery until he got his frontal lobes trapped in the tuna canning machine. A lot of people have given the Collins family a piece of their mind metaphorically, but Matthew is the only one to do it literally. After the lobotomy, Liz gave him a job as the Collinwood Caretaker. See that cottage over there in the trees? Liz gave him that to live in rent free. She gave him his own personal entrance. Maybe Vicki saw that little flapping door in the kitchen, with the vertical hinge.
Down in the basement, Liz is giving David an ultimatum. He can either read the Tom Swift Senior books, or her old Nancy Drews. And if it's Nancy Drew, Liz is going to pick out all the most femmy titles for David, like The Case of the Pink Satin Ballgown, The Polka Dot Pom-Pom Mystery and Murder in the Home Ec Lab. David agrees to read the Tom Swift books. At least they're science-fiction titles... Even though some of the originals are pretty dated by now. I mean, look at this one. Tom Swift Senior And His Blunderbuss??
Upstairs, Carolyn is telling Vicki to just ask Liz if what happened 18 years ago has any bearing on finding her real parents? What's the worst thing that could happen? Well, it probably won't be that bad. Vicki takes a phone call, and hands it off to Carolyn. It's a heavy breather, those are usually for her, aren't they? Carolyn says no, but she'll take it anyway.
Liz comes in. She tells Vicki that, of course, she did nothing wrong by going to the basement, and to never do it again. And especially to stay away from that Locked Room in the corner, as it's the most innocent spot in the entire basement. Liz frisks Vicki, and finds no key, no hacksaw, and no lockpick set. It looks like Vicki is clean. But, wait a minute! What's this hairpin for?? Vicki claims it's for holding her hair up. Liz agrees to accept that explanation. This time.
Vicki takes Carolyn's advice, and asks Liz if her never leaving Collinwood for 18 years has anything to do with the monthly stipends she received at the Foundling Home. Naturally, Liz says no. (Also "The Heck???"). Vicki asks Liz why David hates her so. Liz explains that it's just because David is afraid that Vicki is there to replace his mother. It's silly, of course. Vicki could never replace David's mother... Not unless she's an institutionalized drunk, that is.
When Liz leaves, Vicki asks to borrow Carolyn's
car to go into town. On the face of it, this doesn't seem like much of a
cliffhanger, but on the other hand, we haven't seen Vicki behind the wheel yet.