Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders season 1, episode 2 recap


Previously, Poirot’s past was brought under suspicion as Scotland Yard issued a warrant to confiscate all evidence withheld regarding the ABC Murders. The episode opens with a flashback to 1914 as Poirot first comes to England as a refugee. When they ask him what his profession is, he hesitates. There’s a commotion behind him as a policeman helps a distressed woman. Inspired, Poirot says he’s a policeman.

On The ABC Murders, Poirot is rather put out by the police involvement in his affairs and a constable wonders why he’s acting so “twitchy.” Poirot responds that twitchy is the appropriate response when the police have ransacked your home. The constable asks if he can use the toilet before he leaves and Poirot says no. The policeman scoffs, saying “You don’t do yourself any favors, do you?” I would counter that being polite didn’t do him any good either. Poirot seems to have a theory about the brand of women’s stockings worn by the victims.

In Churston, Thora makes a misstep and tries to seduce Carmichael Clarke. He’s a good and faithful man who loves his wife, despite her mortal illness. He fires Thora immediately. Cust is there on the road outside the house, watching and eating a sandwich. Later, Car goes for a late night stroll with his dog and gets killed with a shovel. Almost at the same time, Poirot’s fascist neighbor brings him a letter that was accidentally delivered to her. The letter tells him the location is Churston, and knowing the Clarkes personally, he calls the house to warn them. But of course, it’s too late.

Crome visits Churston and has a theory that the killer was actually after Thora because he’s a deranged sexual pervert to kills women. Thora points out that her name is Grey. Undeterred, Crome says that maybe he thought her name was Cray. But there is a maid in the household named Capstick, wouldn’t he be after her? Crome is just floundering at this point. Lady Hermione, who is under quite a lot of morphine, fancies that she saw Poirot at the house the same day Car was killed.

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Poirot attends church but does not take communion. He struggles with traumatic memories of soldiers invading and shots being fired. Poirot is hounded by the public who believes from the newspapers that he withheld evidence that could have prevented a murder. Franklin Clarke comes to his rescue and ushers him into his car. He doesn’t believe that Crome knows what he’s doing, so he hires Poirot to solve his brother’s murder. Poirot is not convinced that the killer is a man because there’s a layer of artifice in the letters as if the writer is pretending to be something they aren’t. He also believes there might be a connection in the places chosen as places that have a connection to him, although he’s never been to Andover on The ABC Murders.

Poirot visits Andover and finds a scrap of paper in the fireplace that he believes might be part of the packaging from the stockings. He also discovers a framed newspaper article about a gift of clothing Mrs. Asher had given to a refugee baby born on a train some years ago. Poirot was the man who delivered the baby and had no idea he had been in Andover. Crome confronts Poirot at his home about working for Clarke. They squabble a bit, but Poirot offers him a drink because Japp said he was a good man, which pleases and confounds Crome. They sit together and Poirot explains the connection between the locations. They make a list of all the “D” locations to which Poirot has visited. Now that they’re starting to work together they might get somewhere.

Cust suffers from terrible seizures and headaches. When he hires Lily he doesn’t have sex with her, she steps on his back with her broken heels and punctures the skin. He says it has to hurt, that it lets out the darkness. Lily sees his initials and jokes about him being the killer.

Poirot visits Megan Barnard and asks her if she recognizes the scrap of packaging, but she doesn’t. She tells him the story of the night Betty died, telling him about how she and Donald used to be engaged but then dumped her for Betty. When Donald came around for his dinner – because he always had dinner made for him at their house whether Betty was there or not – he made some comments about how if Megan had tried harder with her hair and clothes that he might never have taken up with Betty, so it was really her fault. So Megan told Donald that Betty was out at the club with some men and Donald went to confront her.

She wanted to rub his nose in Betty’s infidelity, which Poirot says is completely understandable. She seems surprised by his sympathy. Despite everything, Megan defends Donald to Poirot, saying he shouldn’t think badly of him. “He is eating cake with your mother, while you, mademoiselle, grieving and alone, are peeling potatoes. So I will think what I please,” answers Poirot. What a sweetheart. Seeing Poirot carefully put on his hat, she suddenly remembers seeing Cust at the club dressed the same way.

With this information in mind, Poirot visits Churston to speak with Lady Hermione, who believed she had seen him the day her husband was killed. Some years ago Poirot appeared at Lady Hermione’s birthday party and lead the guests in a game of murder. The man she thought was Poirot was just a salesman dressed in a similar hat and coat. Thora spoke to him at the door but had absolutely no helpful details to give Poirot on The ABC Murders.

Poirot has a conversation with the priest of his church who wants him to confess so that he can find peace and take communion. Poirot says he doesn’t deserve peace, that he’s not good enough, and that he’s afraid of failing again. He doubts himself and God. The priest tells him that God forgives all, but Poirot replies, “But I do not.”

Poirot receives a letter from A.B.C. naming Doncaster as the next location on the 15th of April. The letter says “giddy-up,” leading them to the races, but Poirot has a hunch that it may be a ventriloquist named Dexter Dooley at the music hall. Cust stands outside trying to sell stockings to the showgirls. The man Dooley shares a dressing room with his killed by mistake and his name is Benny Grew. Poirot believes that this kind of mistake will drive the killer mad and that they must prepare a storm.

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Poirot gets off the train and sees a person at the other end of the platform wearing clothes like his. He follows him, the mysterious figure obviously leading Poirot to somewhere intentionally. He loses him, but a public phone rings. When Poirot answers, he only hears breathing on the other end before they hang up. A note is left for him in the booth, saying “Who are you, Hercule? Who are you really?” Poirot thinks again about his traumatic past, the advancing soldiers and the gunshots, and the terrified citizens.

What did you think of this episode of The ABC Murders? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!