Quillsville Cold Case: The Prom from Hell
|"Quillsville Cold Case: The Prom From Hell"|
|Queen of the Willis episode|
|Episode no.||Season 13|
|Directed by||Season Atkins|
|Featured music||(see article)|
|Original air date||September 6, 2024|
"Quillsville Cold Case: The Prom From Hell" is the fourth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series Queen of the Willis. It originally aired in broadcast syndication in the United States on September 6, 2024 as a two-hour movie. In the episode, QMPD will have to decode the clues given by a twisted killer in order to save the life of a young boy who has been left to die alone. But first they must find the boy and for that they need to dig a little deeper into their own pasts.
The episode begins where "Meet the Pamhousers" left off as Ava and Angie discuss how Angie asked Ava to marry her in 1986 and the episode flashes from 2009 to the present as Ava reveals that she is one of the few students in America to attend a high school prom in the eighth grade and throughout high school (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991). Angie then tells Mandy, Deanna, Brittany, Rhonda, Suzanne, Emilie, Hillary, Luanne, Brynn, Tabby, Shushu, Pheobe, Alaina, and Heather that for Angie's senior prom, she attened Quillsville Central High School (now Lee Kelso High School) that she and Ava were invited by Debbie Gibson as she was a senior at Quillsville Central invited Ava while Debbie's boyfriend at the time invited Angie to the 1989 Quillsville 600 (aka Quillsville Central's high school prom) and the fact Debbie personally paid for Ava and Angie's tickets as well as performing at the prom. The doorbell rings and it is Sgt. Rush, who had just returned from a Debbie Gibson concert that featured Alisan, Avril, and Karly at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. After leaving the concert, Debbie gave Lilly information on a boy buried alive in 1989: Stewart Jolkowski.
Flash back to 1989, 17-year-old Stewart is getting ready to leave for his senior prom. Before he makes it out the door his father manages to snap a picture of him and his mother and offers him the keys to the car. Stewart is thrilled to be given the keys to the Caddie and leaves the house as it is starting to rain. In the pouring rain, Stewart is trying to replace a flat tire when he manages to flag down a car that is passing by. By morning, the police find him in a wooden box that had been buried nearby a playground. Down in the vault, a detective files away Stewart’s cold case box.
In the present day, just before Lily leaves the QMPD headquarters the day after the Debbie Gibson concert, a stranger appears and asks if she is a detective. He has information on Stewart Jolkowski. When Lily asks if the stranger has any information, the man produces a shovel. He buried him with it.
Lily, Ava, Melissa, Kendra, Pamhouser and Captain Brad Hunter are debating over whether or not the man is for real, but lab results on the shovel won’t be available for a few hours. Lily went through the box and found that the killer had made the boy write out his own will and sent it to his parents. In the will, Stewart assures his parents he will be okay and apologizes to his father for the car. The "John Doe" assures Lily that he feels terrible for the murder. Brad knows that Lily probably doesn’t believe him because he looks like such an honest and simple man: that’s why Stewart didn’t believe him either. Ava then informs Lilly that Angie probably knows this "John Doe".
Flashback to 1989: As the car pulls up in the pouring rain, Stewart rushes inside and eagerly accepts the ride, pointing John Doe to a nearby gas station. John notices Stewart’s formal wear and concludes that he must be 17. Since he is almost legal, John offers Stewart a beer and assures him that it isn’t poisoned in any way. After some initial hesitation, Stewart accepts the drink. John informs Stewart that he is going to die tonight, and wants to know how Stewart feels with that information. At first Stewart refuses to believe John, but becomes more panicky as he realizes the door handle is missing. He tries to throw a punch at John, but John is quicker and knocks Stewart unconscious.
Flashback to Present: Now John remembers where he heard the names Angela Donaldson and Lilly Rush before. He knew Angie and Debbie were really good friends in Quillsville and Lilly got involved with the standoff with that serial killer in 2008 in Philadelphia and the standoff with a husband beater in 2011. Lilly still refuses to believe that John is the killer until he recites the last few lines of Stewart’s Last Will and Testament, word for word. Captain Hunter knocks on the door and presents Lilly with new information. The lab found fresh dirt on the shovel. John has done it again, but time may not have run out: Stewart lasted 6 hours in the ground, maybe this boy will too. Captain Hunter tries to bargain with John, but John isn’t interested in that. John insists that knowing who he is and his background isn’t going to help them find the new boy. When Lt. Jeffries starts to get angry, John informs him that anger is stage #2 of the dying process. And Stewart did get angry.
Flashback to 1989: In the car, Stewart regains consciousness to find his hands have been bound. He begs John to turn around and go back to the Caddie, he got his grades up and spent weekends working on the yard to gain his father’s trust. If they don’t go back, his father will think he messed up again. He tries punching and kicking his way out of the car, but no luck.
Flashback to Present: John explains to the detectives that there are five stages of dying. First is denial, then anger, Depression and acceptance are the next two, Jeffries is familiar with that. The biggest surprise comes when John wants to meet with Stewart’s parents to tell them he’s sorry. John tells Mrs. Jolkowski that Stewart chose to be buried in that playground because that was where he hit his first home run when he was 10. That was the only time in his life that Stewart knew his parents were proud of him. Mrs. Jolkowski asks John what it was like for Stewart at the end: she needs to know.
Flashback to 1989: Pulling up to the park in the pouring rain, Stewart is still trying to bargain with John. His dad is a lawyer, and his parents would pay anything to get him back. But John just hands him a pad of paper and a pen and asks Stewart to think how he’d like to say goodbye. But Stewart is still bargaining. He’ll do anything John wants as long as John promises not to hurt him. Unable to hold back any longer, Stewart breaks down in tears, calling for his mother.
Flashback to Present: In a fit of rage, Mrs. Jolkowski tries to hurt John, but is held back by her husband. John tries to tell her that Stewart was lucky, he had a warm home and a loving family to say goodbye to, while some boys just have a locker and a heating vent to call home. Captain Hunter and Lt. Jeffries realize that John is talking about a train station. Down at the station, the police are asking everyone there but nobody has seen anything.
Officers Jarrett Dailey are Ramona Battishill are becoming frustrated; John might be leading them on a wild goose chase. But Jarrett looks past Ramona and sees that John didn’t lead them astray: there is an envelope taped to the locker labelled ”Last Will and Testament.” Lilly rushes down to the station to read the will. The boy’s name is Brad Bradley and he leaves everything in his locker (sneakers, a sweatshirt and a box of tickets) to a guy named Brian. Elaine Reed and Ramona Battishill manage to find Brian hooking outside the train station. Brian is hesitant to tell them any information, until Officer Reed mentions the horses in the field and shows him Brad’s will. Yes, he did see John Doe two hours ago.
Flashback to 1989: Brad and Brian are standing outside the train station. Brad tells Brian he has a dream, to jack the next car that comes along and ride off into the sunset. He knows of this other place where his mom brought him once, where there were horses in a field. He asks Brian if he wants to come. There is a honk and Brad gets into the car.
Flashback to Present: All Brian knows about Brad was that he was a runaway who was sick of foster homes and had been on his own since forever. By a stroke of luck, Brian remembers part of the license plate number. Back in the interrogation room, Officer Dailey asks John if he likes seventeen year old boys. But Officer Dailey's way off base, John picks seventeen year old boys because they think they’ll live forever. In the end, even those boys gave up too.
Flashback to 1989: John leads Brad out into a field, asking him why Brad would want to die here. Brad evades the question for as long as he can, but John refuses to push on any further until Brad tells him the reason behind the choice. Brad and his mother rode the horses in this field once before she got into the car accident. He was ten; she was all he had in the world.
Flashback to Present: John laments over the fact that Brad is so alone out there in the rain. His hands start to shake, and before Officer Dailey can say another word, there is a knock at the door. Because Brian remembered the license plate, John Doe now has a name: John Cole, 69, divorced, retired high school teacher.
Lilly and Lt. Jeffries track down John’s ex-wife who admits she got a call from John this morning telling her the tremors had started, that this was the beginning of the end for him. Turns out John has MS, Multiple Sclerosis and is dying. Captain Hunter finally understands why John buries his victims alive; he wants to see them die, slowly. Exactly how he’s dying now. They now know he was diagnosed the same year Stewart Jolkowski went missing. He must have gone into remission for 35 years until the tremors started up again. John admits he never told his ex-wife about his MS, she didn’t find out until their first son was born. Officer Dailey knows his ex-wife probably stayed and put up John because of his disease. Stewart was just like John back then, on top of the world. And Brian is who John is now, alone in the world. John wonders what it’s like to be alone in the ground, and having to accept his death.
Flashback to 1989: Shivering, Brad slowly finishes his will and asks John to make sure Brian gets this. Brad seems a bit relieved to hear that it won’t hurt. Still, there are a lot of things he wishes he could have said and done, like ask Brian once again if he wanted to go to the horses in the field. He can only hope that his mom will remember him in heaven. Standing up, Brad can see the horses in the field, and the music playing. He’s ready now.
Flashback to Present: Captain Hunter and Officer Dailey want to know where that field is, but John tells them that it is too late, for the both of them. Frustrated, the team discuss what they know so far. Horses in a field, music, tickets, Captain Hunter knows Brad is talking about a merry-go-round, and there are 20 fairgrounds in the county. Lilly realizes John has gone through all the stages of dying, except for one. Acceptance. And he needs to do one more thing before that can happen. Lilly enters the room and begins to tell John about her and Ava Willis' standoff with Julie Crawford. That is why she hates the rain, the quietness it brings because that was what it was like inside of her head before she pulled the trigger. He was angry with boys like Stewart and Brad because they believed they would live forever while John has been dying for 36 years and he never believed. Lilly also laments the regret she has of that standoff, because now she no longer believes she’ll live forever. John finally remembers a time when he believed he would live forever: he was 17.
Flashback: Standing on top of a bridge looking into the rough waters below, all of John’s friends are daring him to jump. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, John steps off the bridge and freefalls into the water. It is dark and quiet until he re-emerges from the water, triumphant.
Flashback to Present: Lilly knows that John believed when he jumped. And so did Stewart and Brad. Lilly rushes over to crime scene to find that Brad is still alive. Lt. Jeffries escorts John into a jail cell. Officer Kymberly Millspaugh brings Brian the crime scene. He rushes over and embraces the tearful Brad. Mr. and Mrs. Jolkowski look over Stewart’s will one last time before giving it to Captain Hunter to file away. The two of them look at the picture of Stewart that was taken before he left for the prom. As Lilly leaves the crime scene, she sees Stewart give her one last smile before he walks away.
Production and development
Six songs in this episode are performed by Deborah Gibson.
|1.||"Only in My Dreams" (Used in the opening scene as Gibson is performing at the Quillsville Central High prom known as "The Quillsville 600")||Deborah Gibson||3:55|
|2.||"Foolish Beat" (Used in the intro)||Deborah Gibson||4:25|
|3.||"One Moment in Time"||Whitney Houston||4:44|
|4.||"After All"||Peter Cetera & Cher||4:03|
|5.||"One More Try"||George Michael||5:52|
|6.||"No More Rhyme"||Deborah Gibson||4:13|
|7.||"Staying Together"||Deborah Gibson||4:15|
|8.||"Out of the Blue"||Deborah Gibson||3:55|
|9.||"Eternal Flame"||The Bangles||3:56|
|10.||"Right Here Waiting For You" (Performed by Ava Zinn, used in the finale)||Richard Marx||4:14|
|11.||"Lost in Your Eyes" (Used in the closing credits and is playing during Ava and Angie's 1989 wedding)||Deborah Gibson||3:34|