In Manus Dei Recap

At a revival tent performance, Elias Downey exhorts the attendees in the healing power of God. Elias talks about how he healed his little sister of pneumonia Jane when he was 11, and calls her up on the stage. A girl suffering from a heart condition comes up and Elias offers to heal her. She accepts and Elias casts the demons of sickness from her body. The woman screams and collapses, but then says that her pain is gone and climbs back to her feet. A man, Frederick Batch, ignores his wife and calls out that the woman isn’t even sick. Eliot calls up a blind man and Frederick starts coughing and then collapses, vomiting blood.

The Past

Arthur is dressing for dinner and his wife Touie assures him that he can make polite conversation for a few hours. He kisses her on the shoulder and Touie warns him that distracting her won’t work. Touie kisses him once to get him through dinner.


Alone in their bedroom, Arthur packs away Touie’s things. Mary comes in and insists that her mother will come home and her father shouldn’t pack them away.

At Merring’s office, the trio discusses the case in the newspapers. The article says that God stuck down Frederick, and Harry dismisses it as Frederick being sick when he went there. Arthur figures that Elias played a trick, and insists that the reverend is a quack. Adelaide agrees with Harry, insisting that not just anyone can channel the Hand of God. Arthur insists that Elias is different and doesn’t charge for admissions, and Harry says that they should save lives by proving Elias is a fraud. Both he and Adelaide say that the y should perform an autopsy to determine how Frederick died, but Merring refuses to authorize an autopsy without evidence that a crime committed. Undeterred, the trio goes to investigate.

At Frederick’s funeral service, his wife Anne tells the investigators that Frederick had a mild case of the flu. They went to the show because she wanted a child, and Anne knew nothing was wrong. Frederick went to the show to appease her, and she believes that her husband invoked the wrath of god.

Elias and Jane arrive to offer their condolences, and Elias assures Anne that God will reward the strength of her faith. He recognizes Harry, who comments on how expensive Elias’ suit is. Elias quietly warns him that it’s unwise to insult a servant of God in a church. Unimpressed, Harry invites everyone to watch Elias strike him down. Elias says that it is up to God to decide punishment, and draws everyone’s attention while Arthur and Adelaide examine Frederick’s corpse. Arthur finds a tan line on Frederick’s wrist and figures that he didn’t get it in London. The doctor also finds a rash, and figures that he had dengue fever. Adelaide wonders why Anne didn’t mention the rash, and says that she’ll ask around at Frederick’s place of work. Meanwhile, Elias tells Harry that god knows what is truly in his heart. Once he sees that his friends are done, Harry offers his condolences to Anne and leaves.

Later at the station, Adelaide tells Harry and Arthur that other unbelievers have been apparently stricken down in accidents, hours after they disparaged Elias. Harry suggests that Elias was responsible and insists that they have to shut Elias down before someone else dies.

The trio go to another of Elias’ shows. One of Elias’ bodyguards, Joseph, spots them and warns Harry that it’s not a good idea for him to be there given what happens to doubters. Jane overhears them and comes over, and apologizes for Joseph’s behavior. She says that she’s alive because of Elias and his abilities are real. The trio takes seats, and Elias points out that the tent is full of people who want to believe in miracles. A man next to Harry complains about his stomach, and Harry removes what he claims is a tumor. There’s no sign of a cut in the man’s stomach. Once he runs off, praising Harry, Harry admits that it’s sleight of hand done with a chicken gizzard.

Elias continues healing people, and Harry suddenly starts vomiting. Meanwhile, Adelaide’ s neighbor discovers that she can walk again thanks to Elias’ touch. Arthur asks Jane to let him talk to Elias about.

That night, Elias visits a comatose Touie and prays for her to be healed. As Arthur looks on, Elias tells him that he has faith. When Arthur insists that he does, Elias tells him to prove it and leaves. The writer sits down with Touie and prays to God, saying that he can’t go through life without hearing Touie’s voice again. Touie wakes up and says that Arthur needs a haircut, and confirms how long she’s been in a coma.

Dr. Perlow visits Touie and is surprised at her recovery. He warns that she needs plenty of rest and mustn’t be upset. Harry gets Arthur’s message and comes to offer his congratulations, and Arthur insists that Elias healed Touie. The magician insists that there must be a rational explanation, but Arthur says thatsomething wonderful happened.

Later, Harry meets with Adelaide and she says that Frederick hasn’t been anywhere tropical in months. As they talk, Harry suggests that they have dinner again and Adelaide insists that they focus on the investigation. That night, the trio goes to the cemetery and have the workers dig up Frederick’s body. Arthur and Harry realize that Adelaide didn’t get Merring’s permission. As they wait, Harry says that he pulled Touie’s medical records. He points out that Arthur didn’t mention that Touie went an experimental procedure that had healed several patients in France. Arthur points out that the treatment was administered several weeks ago, but Harry insists that the treatment took time to work. He complains about his back and Arthur insists on looking at it. There are boils on it.

The next day, Dr. Kasad clears Harry’s clogged sweat glands. He drains the boils and admits that there could be an underlying infection that caused the vomiting. Adelaide points out that every time that Harry expresses doubt about Elias’ abilities, Harry is sure that the autopsy will explain Frederick’s death.

Arthur prepares to perform Frederick’s autopsy, and notices that the corpse’s lips are moving. A beetle crawls out, and Arthur goes to work. He cuts open the corpse’s chest and gas is released, causing Arthur to collapse. Harry and Adelaide arrive and wake Arthur up, He says that they have to clear the room immediately. Once they do, he explains that Frederick was poisoned. The gas was cyanide reacting with gastric acid. They tell Merring, who is furious that Adelaide went behind his back. Arthur agrees with Merring, but points out that the Chief Inspector will come up with an explanation for how he determined that Frederick was murdered. Harry wants an arrest warrant issued for Elias, but Arthur points out that Elias needn’t have used poison when he has miraculous abilities. Merring points out that the hecklers’ deaths were accidental, and Harry leaves for his matinee. The chief inspector suggests that the obvious suspect is Anne.

Arthur and Adelaide speak with Anne at her home, and Adelaide points out that the couple had violent arguments according to the neighbors. Arthur points out that Anne has an expensive gramophone, and Adelaide notes that Anne received a large life insurance payment. Arthur asks to use Anne’s bathroom. When he goes there, he sniffs at the contents of the bottles. He finds a notebook and uses a pencil to bring out the writing on the next page, and then takes it with him. Outside, Arthur shows Adelaide the page and points out that one of the words is “apple”: the seeds are used to make cyanide. Adelaide points out that other words are “flour” and “eggs”, and concludes that it’s a recipe for apple fritters. They agree that Anne had motive and opportunity, and at the funeral she wasn’t upset over Frederick’s death. Adelaide says that she knows from her mother’s experience at her husband’s funeral how someone reacts. Arthur also shows Adelaide a pencil from a local hotel that he found in Anne’s bedroom.

Harry is performing the Chinese Water Torture Cell escape. The curtain rises after four minutes, revealing Harry trapped inside. Florrie shatters the glass.

At the sanatorium, Arthur brings Mary and Kingsley to see their mother. Touie has them tell her everything that she’s missed in the last six months. Meanwhile, a nurse gives Arthur a note. He reads it and frowns, and then goes to see Harry in a hospital bed. He explains that Harry’s fever caused a seizure during his performance, and is amused that Adelaide won’t go out with Harry again. Arthur suggests that Harry visit Elias, but Harry asks if Arthur believes his faith of evidence led to Touie’s TB. He insists that he’s going to beat the illness using medicine, but Arthur warns that he’ll die if his fever continues. Adelaide arrives and says that Anne was at the hotel the night before she was murdered, and was with someone.

Later, the trio meets Elias at a restaurant. They explain that they found cyanide in Frederick’s body, and they know Elias met with Anne the night before Frederick died. Elias admits that Anne did come to see him for prayer and to warn him that Frederick might create a stir at the revival. He admits that he warned Anne there might be repercussions. Elias points out that he doesn’t need poison when he has the powers of God, and Harry offers a vial of cyanide. He suggests that Elias drink it and prove his divine powers. After a moment, Elias does so and nothing happens.

Afterward, Arthur realizes that Harry didn’t give Harry cyanide and the entire thing was a bluff. Harry readily agrees and figures that Elias is crazy enough to think that his powers are real. He also thinks that it eliminates Elias as a suspect. Adelaide wants to try and link the cyanide to Anne, and Arthur says that some pharmacies stock it for wound treatment.

That night at the sanatorium, Arthur and Touie play cribbage. She suggests that they sneak out, have dinner, and go for a walk. Dr. Perlow comes in and warns her that she still has a long road to complete recovery. Once Perlow leaves, Arthur suggests that they have dinner there. Touie wants to dress the part and wear her black evening frock. Her husband finally admits that he gave up on her, and Touie assures him that his faith brought her back as they kiss.

At his flat, Harry is suffering from fever and has a nightmare of ripping open one of his boils. Cecilia comes in and tells him to get back to bed, she assures him that he can escape anything... even death. Harry assures his mother that he’ll be okay.

The next day, Adelaide receives a report that a pharmacy near Elias’ hotel was robbed the night before Frederick was murdered. A long dark hair was recovered from the broken window, confirming that the thief was a woman. A box of goa powder was the other item stolen, and Arthur says that he knows who the killer is.

Adelaide and Arthur go to the tent and accuse Jane of murder. Arthur points out that she has psoriasis, which is treated with goa powder. Jane denies it but Arthur points out the other symptoms she has that confirm his diagnosis. Adelaide points out that Jane is wearing a scarf and was wearing a scarf on the day they met her. Jane points out that Elias could heal her, just as he did as a child, and Arthur says that she knows he has no healing powers. Elias insists that he’s healed hundreds of people, and Arthur says that it’s because they believe. Jane made an example of the ones that didn’t. Adelaide figures that Jane poisoned Frederick when she handed out refreshments during the show.

Jane insists that it’s a lie, and Elias tells her to remove her scarf. When she refuses, Elias takes a gun from Joseph and says that he can heal her if he shoots her. Jane, crying, says that he’ll kill her. After a moment, Elias removes the scarf to reveal the psoriasis on her shoulder. She insists that Elias healed people because they made them believe in Elias. Jane tells Elias that his faith gave people hope and made them better, and Frederick and the others had to give their lives so that the others would believe. Harry limps in and tells Elias that if he shoots his sister then he’s no better than she is. After a moment, Elias lowers the gun and Adelaide places Jane under arrest for murder. Harry passes out as the others look on.

Later, Harry wakes up and finds Arthur and Adelaide with him at the hospital. Adelaide says that his fever has broken and the boils are gone. She suggests that Harry subconsciously believe din Elias’ powers, but Harry says that he owes it all to Cecelia’s chicken soup. Arthur figures that Harry went there to ask Elias to heal him. Harry claims that he lost a cufflink at the earlier show, but Arthur clearly doesn’t believe hm.

Arthur goes to the sanatorium with a picnic lunch, and discovers that Touie slipped into a coma again.

That night, Arthur is sitting alone in his room crying. Mary sees him and puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. She then puts her mother’s dresses in the wardrobe and Arthur helps her.

Written by Gadfly on Apr 17, 2016