Velma – Season 1 Episode 5 “Marching Band Sleepover” Recap & Review

Marching Band Sleepover

In Velma Season 1 Episode 5, the city institutes a citywide curfew, causing the school’s marching band sleepover to be canceled.

Daphne heads off to the mines to find out where she came from. When she gets there, someone pulls her into the cave. Two people obscured by costumes introduce themselves as her parents. They claim they must hide their faces until they can trust her. They then tell her Daphne’s moms stole her from them, and advise that she look into the Crystal Mines gang if she doesn’t believe them.

Daphne does look into it, finding the gang was made up of former employees of the Ming Experience. They stayed behind when the mines closed down and conducted robberies for years to survive down there. Eventually, the Blakes caught them. At that time, there was an infant in the gang.

Meanwhile, Fred tries different tactics to make Velma like him. He even looked into her mother’s disappearance, and lets her know his house used to be owned by a woman named Dr. Edna Perdue. Perhaps that’s whom Diya was trying to see the night of her disappearance. Velma reads that Edna was a neurologist that died in the Crystal Cove Insane Asylum after conducting unethical experiments.

She goes to find Norville for help, but he and his new girlfriend Gigi decide he needs to spend less time with Velma so he can learn to stand up for himself.

Velma takes Fred with her instead, and they go to the Historical Society to look at Dr. Perdue’s journals–but they’re missing. And the last person to look at them was Velma’s mom.

When Velma has a hallucination and Fred can’t help her, she decides she needs to get Norville back by separating him from Gigi. She’ll go so far as to host the marching band sleepover herself.

Daphne tries to tell Velma about her findings, but she’s too busy trying to get Norville to help her. Gigi throws a wrench in Velma’s plans when she shows up to the sleepover. It turns out she joined the band that day–and she challenges Velma to a flute-off. If Gigi wins, she stays. If Velma wins, Norville has to do what she says.

They both play the flute terribly off-key, but Gigi manages to win. Velma begs Gigi to let Norville help her, but Gigi berates Velma for not knowing what Norville is going through right now. Velma tricks Gigi into thinking she already knows what she’s talking about–which is how she learns that Dr. Edna Perdue is Norville’s grandmother.

The band kids start ripping Velma’s house apart, so they all sneak out to get them food at Spooners. While they’re out, Velma realizes what a better person and friend Norville is compared to her. So, when the police block their way home, Velma decides she’ll make the sacrifice to distract the cops. Her reasoning is that Norville would do it for her.

Velma ends up in jail with Norville’s parents, no less. And since she now has dirt on them, she’s able to get Principal Roger’s promise to tell her everything about Edna.

When Velma gets home, she expects the house to be a mess–but Norville made sure the band students cleaned it thoroughly.

Daphne asks her parents about her adoption, but they’re obviously lying to her about finding her in a cornfield. And since Velma has been too busy to help Daphne, she decides to sneak into the sewers herself to investigate the Mining Experience.

The episode ends with Daphne’s supposed birth parents taking off their costumes and introducing themselves to her as Carroll and Darren (Fred’s former cellmate). More people in costumes then show up to meet her: It’s the Crystal Mines gang.

The Episode Review

I think feminist Fred may be the only part of this episode I laughed at, but I suppose the comedy writers are trying. What’s lacking is the ability to cleverly turn audience expectation on its head. Sure, you can make a joke about cops unexpectedly being on the receiving end of sexual harassment from the students, but just saying that’s what happened isn’t funny.

What this particular scene failed to do was present the situation, state what’s going to happen, cause us to expect things to play out in a certain way, then completely flip the scenario (the students coming onto the cops, rather than the other way around). It’s funny because a different outcome was built up to, and the actual result is unexpected. These missed opportunities happen so often. Velma’s writers consistently come up with jokes that are excellent in theory, but usually falter in their execution.

Truthfully, nothing specifically dazzled me about his episode–not even Velma’s further character growth. Her selfishness where Norville is concerned was a bit of a sudden realization for Velma. Especially considering that everything else Norville has done for her has gone over her head.

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