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Perry Mason Episode Seven: The Sister Alice Episode

Perry Mason episode seven certainly does not lack surprises. To a more curious and speculative mind (such as my own), this episode gives enough clues to the main mysteries from episode one.

Like episodes five and six, episode seven of Perry Mason doesn’t suffer from the perilous speed and needless character dramas of the first half of the season. The sluggish aimlessness of the series is fully gone now as each scene is pushing the story forward. Furthermore, our protagonist, Perry, finds himself betrayed and stranded by many fast friends he had.

In the first episode review, I spoke of the endless potential a series like Perry Mason had. The noirish feel was a breath of fresh air from the usual crap we generally see these days. However, the series entered a phase of slow death in the forthcoming episodes.

However, episode seven of Perry Mason is a continuation of the quiet resurgence of the series. It contains convincing plot twists and a big revelation at the end.

In a previous review, I said that Sister Alice and her church could either elevate or crash this whole story. From the evidence presented in episode seven, it seems we are headed in a very interesting direction for the season finale in a few days’ time.

Without much ado, here’s what happened in Perry Mason episode seven.

What Happened in Episode Seven of Perry Mason?

A lot of things happened to our main characters in the seventh episode. Here’s a complete breakdown.

Perry

Unlike many previous episodes, Perry is not the only force driving the plot. However, he still plays a crucial role in bringing light to the circumstances leading up to the death of the infant Charlie Dodson.

Through the help of John Hicks, Perry is able to prove that Sister Alice’s Church was in dire straits. The debt was mounting and the ceiling was about to cave.

The total amount of debt? $100,000. If this figure sounds familiar, it is the same amount of money the kidnappers extorted out of the Dodson family. We all know it was Baggerly who gave the amount.

Perry later calls Baggerly to the witness stand. The old man reveals that the Church had asked him for a donation. However, Baggerly at the time refused. Three weeks later, the Dodson infant was kidnapped and Baggerly had to end up paying the ransom money.

Thus, there are clear indications that the church could have had a hand in authorizing the kidnapping of Charlie Dodson.

Perry also later learns how the Dodson boy died. After kidnapping him, Ennis and the gang stayed in a motel out of town. There, Ennis bought a Chinese escort from the brothel in town. He bought her to breastfeed the baby. The baby ended up dying because the Chinese escort was a junkie. Feeding the boy ended up killing him.

It was nice seeing Perry teaming up with Drake. It is Drake who leads Perry to learn about the death of the boy.

Sister Alice

The star of this episode is Sister Alice. All eyes are on her as she’s expected to bring back young Charlie from the dead. The first scene of the episode gives us a glimpse of the Sister and her mother’s past. At its heart, it reveals a lot about her mother and her morally bankrupt survival instincts.

Through the course of the episode, Sister Alice is challenged by ex-members of the church who continue to deride her. Her inane belief in miracles and god is only matched by the extremely off-putting dogma of the ex-Elders of the church.

Despite these obstacles, the Sister remains firm. She turns up at the cemetery as promised to raise Charlie from the dead on Easter Sunday. Perry tries to stop her from opening the coffin back up. He knows these shenanigans will only drive the jury into finding Emily Dodson contemptible.

 Sister Alice defies him as well. As a massive gathering watches, she chants fanatically as the coffin of Charlie Dodson is pulled out. After some build up, the coffin is opened and found empty.

The crowd goes nuts, attacking Sister Alice, her mother, and Emily Dodson. Perry and Della are able to save Emily. Sister Alice and her mother also escape with a few bruises. As they drive away, the Sister’s mother tells her not to panic and put out a different story in the public. The car then stops as a crowd of people surround a crying infant. Alice’s mother cries out, saying the child is Charlie Dodson.

Sister Alice doesn’t give the child a glance and runs away.

Setting up Perry and Sister Alice

Perry’s isolation in this episode deepens. His love interest betrays him to steal his ancestral home. Frustrated, Perry loses his temper on Strickland, his partner. In defiance, Strickland leaves and Perry is not all alone.

Drake swoops in to fill the void, but it’s clear that Perry’s only motivation now is Emily Dodson. His cynicism is not apparent anymore as he’s looking for redemption after the death of EB.  

Episode seven of Perry Mason also sets up the church as the perpetrator in the kidnapping of Charlie Dodson. In a bid to extort money out of Herman Baggerly, someone in the church hatched a kidnapping scheme. However, things went bad when the Chinese escort breast fed the kidnapped Charlie Dodson.

Another important part of the episode is the split between Sister Alice and her mother. The very first scene of the episode makes it clear that Sister Alice’s mother has been using her for a long time. The final scene showing Sister Alice running away is a symbolic change in the relationship. The Sister finally wants to break free from her mother’s controlling grasp.

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