October wouldn’t be the same without ghosts, now, would it? Our favorite Ghost Whisperer Melinda is back to give us our autumnal dose of the heebie-jeebies. We bid adieu to a favorite character, and welcome a newbie in this first episode of the fourth season.

Spoilers lay ahead like so many dead leaves on your front lawn. Oooo. Spooky.

Remember at the end of last season, Melinda decided to go for a baby, and there was a mysterious missing shadow? Jim and Melinda have been busy trying to get pregnant in their four months off, but no baby yet, and no one got killed over the summer. Whew.

Jim gets a late-night call that there’s a fire at the university. It’s Rick Payne’s office building, and Melinda rushes down to make sure he’s ok. After finding Rick, Melinda witnesses a near-death moment for a victim, a young woman die, and a strange ghost-woman watching the situation too. The near-death victim is Eli James (newcomer Jamie Kennedy), a psych professor with the university. In the hospital, Melinda sees him talking to a ghost. However, his eyes are bandaged due to the fire’s smoke, and he’s at first convinced he’s talking to a living person. Melinda introduces herself to him, and the ghost, Fiona (one of Eli’s students,) and tells him that she can talk to ghosts. He seems confused, and pulls the bandages from his eyes, demanding to know where Fiona is. Melinda, slightly confused too, explains that she’s dead, and that he was talking to a ghost.

The next morning, Melinda goes over the evening’s happenings to Ned and Delia. Ned continues to groove on the ghost thing, and Delia continues to roll her eyes over the ghost busting. Melinda heads to visit Eli, who is convinced he’s suffering from post-tramatic stress disorder and Melinda is a full-out whack-job. Cuckoo. After he says straight out that he hasn’t seen any other ghosts, she pinpoints that he doesn’t see them, he hears them – and she gets confirmation on that from another ghost in the room. Eli leaves the room shaken.

Melinda works with Rick to figure out who to get through to Eli, all while Rick packs up his office. Seems Rick is heading on a sabbatical to the Himalayas (read: Jay Mohr’s new CBS show ‘Gary Unmarried’), but before he leaves, he gives Melinda the low-down on near-death experiences. Sometimes, NDE victims have a connection still to the afterlife, perhaps giving him the ghost sense. He also says that there’s a large We Hate Eli fan club at the university. Nothing like a tough nut for Melinda to crack!

We flash to Eli at a downtown bar, trying desperately to ignore the screaming pleas of the surrounding ghosts. Through the din, he gets the bartender to call Melinda for help, and she swoops in to save freaking-out Eli. And the freaking-out bartender. Melinda calls off the crowd, and a shocked Eli realizes that Melinda may actually know what she’s talking about. They sit, and talk about the Rest of Eli’s Ghost-Involved Life. During their conversation, Fiona returns, and tells Eli that she doesn’t blame him. She disappears, and the moment she does, a police detective shows up to take Eli in for questioning in Fiona’s death. Dum-dum-duuuuum.

At the police station, Jim explains to Melinda that the cops think the fire was arson, and that it started right outside Eli’s office. Eli is questioned and released, and Melinda explains to him that Fiona may be his best chance at clearing him with the cops, if he starts telling the truth about his relationship with her.
Eli explains that Fiona was being treated for attachment issues with her old boyfriend. Eli doesn’t think the boyfriend would set the fire, but that he did love superstitions and cults. He admits that he did not have an inappropriate relationship with Fiona, but that she was falling for him. Eli had just told her he couldn’t treat her anymore when the fire broke out.

That night, Eli heads to his apartment, adorned with photos of Fiona (!) and Melinda heads to Fiona’s old house to question her roommates, who are president and vp of the We Hate Eli fan club. They tell her Eli came around all the time to wine and dine Fiona. They tell her that Fiona wasn’t the interested party – Eli was. Later, Eli gets not so nice visit from Fiona. Some of his papers burst into flames, and Fiona demands that Eli get Melinda to leave them alone, or she’ll make her… like she made him. 

The next morning, Eli and Melinda visit Rick, and Eli explains that Fiona had a rough childhood, and was a foster child with several other children growing up. She also had a history of arson. He is convinced she started the fire somehow, even though she was in the room with her when the fire started. He tells Melinda that Fiona threatened her as well. An episode of this show isn’t complete without Melinda getting threatened by the dead.

Eli and Melinda head to find Fiona’s foster father, to try and learn some more about the other children from Fiona’s past, but instead talk to a counselor who knew her as a child. Eli explains that the some people think Fiona set the recent fire at the university. The woman says that the fire was set by someone in the foster house, but that it may not have been Fiona – the other children were charged, until Fiona said she’d done it. They aren’t convinced.

Melinda and Eli head to Fiona’s old house to find her, and Eli explains to the roommates that he can hear ghosts. The roommates both believe that Fiona is still there, and let them into Fiona’s old room. For some reason, one of the roommates asks if he can keep one of her CDs, before "releasing" her things. Fiona is indeed there, and Melinda explains that they need to know the truth about the fire from her childhood. She admits she started that one, and the one at the university. Melinda remembers that Fiona said to leave "us" alone, and that she must be covering for someone else. Melinda is convinced Fiona is covering for one of the other foster kids from her past.

Off to the Grandview Archives, where Melinda finds records about the fire, and Fiona herself. Melinda asks who she is covering for, but their conversation is interrupted when a fire starts in the archive basement. What is Melinda going to do without the archives? Oh, wait, she still has the Internet.

Later, Rick and Eli discuss Melinda’s wonderfulness (oh, poor Rick!), Fiona’s roommates, and her stuff. Putting two and two together, Eli and Rick realize that the one roommate, Christian, was both Fiona’s roommate AND her foster brother. He was the one Fiona was trying to protect, and at that same moment, he is the one setting fire to the archives with Melinda.

As the smoke gets thicker, Christian tells Melinda that he just wanted to protect Fiona, and how he was jealous over Eli. He admits he started the fire at the university, that he just wanted to scare them. Instead, he killed Fiona, and now he can’t live with himself. Melinda sends Fiona to get Eli, oooh, handy tag-team move, better than a cell phone, but before they can get there, Melinda sees the strange ghost-woman from the beginning of the episode. Using the power of her mind, ghost-woman moves a case from our favorite tunnel under Grandview, and Melinda drags herself and Eli inside, away from the smoke.

In there, she finds the ghost-woman, along with several others. The woman says they’re watchers, and that they saved Melinda to return a favor. She tells Melinda that she doesn’t understand the ""price" of her gift, that moving between the realms of the living and the dead comes with a price. That price can be a touch of death on those around her. Double dum-dum-duuuum.

Of course, Jim rescues Melinda and Christian, who is taken to the police station. Fiona has a quick moment with Christian, and after explaining to both Eli and Melinda about her relationship with Christian, and Eli promises that he’ll use his just abilities to help Christian out during his trial. Eli also admits to Fiona that he did indeed have feelings for her. With that, she crosses over, leaving Eli with a crossing-over high.

That night, Rick heads out of town, but not before he and Melinda have a good bye moment. She tearfully admits that he’s one of her best friends, and Rick says he’ll come back safe and sound. Or at least in guest starring roles. And with that, he drives over to the other sound stage.

Thoughts and Ponderings…

  • Not too scary for Ghost Whisperer, but we needed to get all the plotlines set for the season. Exit Rick, Enter Eli.
  • Eli may be a good replacement for Rick Payne (although no one will ever totally replace Dr. Payne!) I always wanted Rick to get the Ghosty power, and be a full-fledge Ghost Whisperer, so this must be the writer’s way of giving Melinda a partner-in-whispering.
  • Does this mean the show’s title should be plural now?
  • Dude, Jamie Kennedy! I like him.
  • Ooooh. Spooky ghost-women watchers!
  • Hey, my daughter’s name is Fiona. When it starts getting used on broadcast TV, the name has jumped the shark. Sigh.

What about you? Was the baton-hand-off from Rick to Eli as obvious to you? Do you think Jim is going to survive the season? And are you willing to bet Melinda will get pregnant only if he’s the Price She Pays?

Posted by:Kiley Thompson