The Cursed Tuba Contingency - Recap

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Wendy wakes up at 5:30 in the afternoon after a late night, and heads out for a new mission. Lacey wonders why there’s green cockroach gore on the boots that Wendy borrowed from her. Wendy tries to explain and is forced to flee.

At Middleman HQ, the Middleman has Wendy clean up the car from cockroach gore while he heads out to a Western revival of Ride Lonesome with Randolph Scott. On the way he hears someone following him. He ducks into the theater and confronts his pursuer: Lacey. She admits she was going to the movie as well and working on a project about heroic males. They chat and prepare to watch the movie, and Lacey tries to find out what the Middleman does. He spins her a story of being international consultants, but is interrupted by a call from HQ. Wendy informs him that they got a call about a man who drowned in his bed.

They go to the murders scene where the CSI tech, Cecil Rogers, determines that the victim, Artie Atkins, has impossibly died with water in his lungs from the North Atlantic. Even the Middleman is impressed by his efficiency. Rogers leaves and the duo are interrupted when CSI Metro arrives and says they’ve never heard of Cecil Rogers. The Middleman tries to track down Rogers, while Ida reveals that Artie was a fence. They find out his current partner was Johnny John, and interrupt him with a woman at his apartment. He begs for five minutes with the woman and the Middleman grants it. Wendy thinks Johnny John is heading out the window. They wait… until Johnny John screams. They run in and find Johnny John in the grip of a succubus. The duo separates them and force Johnny John to reveal that he and his partner stole a tuba from a bank vault, and the succubus works for Roxy Wasserman.

The Middleman goes to Roxy’s fashion house and accuses Roxy of breaking her deal not to steal or collect magical artifacts. The other succubi move in for the kill but the Middleman refuses to back down and threatens to blow everyone up with a bomb. Roxy orders her minions out and notes the tuba changes everything: it’s the only musical instrument to survive the Titanic. Whoever hears its music drowns in the water of the North Atlantic. Roxy explains that when she heard the tuba was stolen, she launched an investigation of her own. She suggests they call a truce and if the Middleman fails to find the tuba, her succubus will terrorize criminals until they find it.

Back at Middleman HQ, Ida scans the world database network to monitor occurrences of the word tuba. It takes a while, and Wendy heads back to the sublet where she notices Lacey is dressed for a date. Lacey says they’ll do something tomorrow night and heads out to the revival theater to meet the Middleman. However, his pager goes off and he has to leave, but notes he’s never seen the end of Ride Lonesome. Lacey promises to stay to the end and tell him the ending.

Back at HQ, Ida has found a blog from a 15 year old, Arturo Arroyo, whose father owns the hotel where Arnie drowned and is boasting on the Internet that he got a new tuba and plans to play it at the high school that night. They get to the high school and see Rogers grab the tuba and run. Johnny John shows up and shoots Rogers, takes the tuba, and escapes in a car. Rogers glows with an unearthly gold light and his wound heals.

They take Cecil to Middleman HQ and determine he has a number of aliases dating back decades. The trail leads back to the Titanic, which shows that he was a penniless musician with a tuba. He explains that he played with the ship’s orchestra. Cecil wrapped the tuba in a blanket and claimed it was his child so he could escape. Now Cecil is cursed to live forever until the tuba is destroyed, his health tied to the tuba’s. He put the tuba in a bank in the 1950s and has been doing well, but Arthur Mendelson, a collector of Titanic memorabilia, wants the tuba and is holding a party aboard his ocean liner. He’ll be recreating the band from the Titanic, and everyone will die when they hear the tuba. Cecil refuses to go with them, since if he is trapped and drowns he’ll drown for all eternity.

Wendy heads back to the sublet to prepare for the party and Lacey is interested in what she’ll be doing with the Middleman. They arrive… and Lacey and Noser are there as well, as Lacey knows Mendelson through her mother. Wendy goes to try and get them to leave and Lacey starts to give in… just as the liner leaves.

Wendy and the Middleman search the liner for the tuba and Johnny John and his henchmen hold them at gunpoint. They escape and find the tuba, but an unseen figure tasers them unconscious and takes the tuba. They wake up tied to pipes in the hold and Mendelson reveals that he hired Johnny John to steal the tuba. Mendelson doesn’t believe in the curse and leaves. As he goes, Cecil is hiding behind the door and reveals that he set up Mendelson to steal the tuba. Cecil convinced Mendelson he was a great-great-great-great-grandson of himself and now he can kill everyone who knows about him in one fell swoop.

Lacey and Noser wonder where Wendy is, and Noser wonders if Wendy might be jealous of Lacey’s feelings for the Middleman. Lacey ends up going to look for them with Noser in tow. Meanwhile, the Middleman text messages Lacey’s cell phone and Wendy forces him to admit that they went to a movie together… both times. Lacey and Noser find them and use the Middleman’s universe key to free them. He gives Lacey and Noser earplugs and tells them to get as far away from the ballroom as possible.

Mendelson addresses the audience, introducing the band, and the entire ship is wired for sound. He introduces Cecil who comes in with the tuba and prepares to play… and the Middleman knocks him unconscious while Wendy escapes with the tuba. The Middleman fights off Mendelson’s men while Cecil chases after Wendy. He goes to the sound system and tells her to throw it over the side so the pressure can destroy it. Cecil arrives and knocks her off the railing, while Cecil escapes with the tuba. The Middleman arrives and Wendy finally gets his attention so he can pull her up. Cecil goes back to the audience and prepares to play, but Wendy shoots him with a harpoon gun, pinning the tuba to his chest and sending him plunging into the depths.

Mendelson apologizes to his guests, noting he’ll be arrested when they docked. The rest of the band plays and Noser and Lacey dance. The Middleman realizes Lacey could have died and he can’t risk her by becoming romantically involved. He cuts in and as they dance, she tells him about the end of Ride Lonesome and how Randolph Scott is just like the Middleman. He says he admires her as well but he can’t see her because she’s Wendy’s roommate. As he starts to leave, she insists on telling him that in the movie, no other ending was possible then the ending you don’t expect. They dance one more time while Wendy looks on.