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"Of Freedom and Pleasure" is the third episode of season one of the 2020 Hulu original series The Hardy Boys.

Premise

Official episode premise for "Of Freedom and Pleasure" from Hulu:

Joe finds a strange golden idol hidden in his room, but when he accidentally breaks it, inside is a strange piece of broken stone that he stashes in his pocket. Later that day at the Bridgeport Fair Joe gets lucky, but he also draws the attention of the Tall Man. Meanwhile, Frank discovers some information about an old mining expedition that ended in tragedy and the boys start to wonder what their Mom was investigating.

Plot summary

Frank and Joe briefly discuss Ern and Shawna’s disappearance while Joe makes breakfast. They likely skipped town, the boys surmise. Trudy enters the kitchen, and Frank leaves for work.

Frank arrives at Wilt’s for his first day at work, complete with an apron and hat. Wilt tells him to suit up and put on a fresh pot of coffee, but Frank doesn’t know how to make coffee.

Joe enters his room and finds a screw of the ground. He looks to his left and sees a vent. Inside, JB has hidden the gold idol he stole from the Tall Man.

Callie and Chet enter Wilt's to find Frank working the front counter. Frank asks if they know how to operate the coffee machine. He then asks them about Demon’s Paw, which is the name of the hill next to Chet’s farm. Frank shows them the book he found and how his mother tore a chapter out. “The Tragedy of Demon’s Paw,” written by Anya Kowalski. Callie and Chet inform Frank that Anya is a tarot card reader who often has a booth set up at the carnival. Callie jokes that the carnival is cursed, but if Frank is looking for answers, she's there best chance of finding any.

Joe drops the idol and it breaks into three pieces. Inside the idol he finds what appears to be a fraction of a broken artifact. Joe repairs the idol but without putting the stone back inside. Trudy enters his room to tell him that it’s time to leave for the carnival. She finds the idol and presumes he made it. As Joe exits his room, JB comes up to his window, but it’s locked. So he waits for Joe to leave with his Aunt Trudy before breaking into the house.

Joe and Trudy meet with Biff and Jesse at the carnival. Joe and Biff take off on their own to play games while Trudy and Jesse go looking for something to eat.

Joe and Biff stop at the coin toss booth. Biff advises him against playing but Joe disregards her advice and wins the game three times in a row, claiming the big pink giraffe as his prize.

Frank arrives at the carnival

Frank, Callie, and Chet arrive at the carnival to meet with Anya. She charges them $5 for a reading. She explains that the tarot tells them of their travels. Each card represents a state of their being. She then instructs Frank to draw three cards. His first card is Death. Anya explains that it represents metamorphosis rather than literal death. His second card is the world inverted, which means lack of closure. The final card is two of cups, meaning a connection formed. She tells him that it is good that the two of cups is upright. An inverted two of cups means tension and the world out of balance. Callie then asks Anya about her chapter in the book. Anya tells them to leave as she believes that they’ve come to mock her as the people of Bridgeport have done for years. She warns them that the ground they walk on is cursed.

JB breaks into the Hardy’s house to retrieve the idol. But he is interrupted as the Tall Man enters just a few moments after. JB hides in the closet while the Tall Man searches the room for the idol. He uses a radiation detector, which is how he discovers that the stone is no longer inside the idol. He realizes that Joe has taken the stone and proceeds to hunt the boy down.

Having gotten nowhere with Anya, Frank decides to sit in on the live performance of Demon’s Paw, which supposedly tells the story of its origin. The story began with a group of brave men in 1915, before Bridgeport was found and the land was dirt and hill. A group of miners saw potential in the land. The expedition was led by Anya’s father, Jan Kowalski. As they dug deeper into the land, they found themselves against a solid wall. They smashed the barrier and awakened a demon, which caused the mines to cave in on them. Jan Kowalski was fatally injured and died in his daughter’s arms. His final words were: “It was... a demon.”

Biff and Joe play games

Joe decides to test his luck at another game — the balloon bust. He must hit all three red balloons to win the big prize. Biff warns him that the balloons are under inflated and that the darts are dull but Joe decides to play nonetheless. He bursts the first balloon and then the second. If he gets the third balloon he’ll be the first in Bridgeport history to do so. A crowd has gathered and Joe decides to throw the final dart without even looking. He wins the game and gifts Biff the giant frog. A bully named Curtis approaches and accuses Joe of somehow cheating to win.

The Tall Man arrives at the carnival and asks around for Joe, showing his picture to the other carnival goers. Biff warns Joe that the Tall Man is looking for him and the pair run off. Joe and Biff get separated as they run for safety. Joe runs into Curtis, who steals his giraffe.

Frank reveals to Callie and Chet that the head miner at the Demon’s Paw was Jan Kowalski, Anya’s father. So, the three of them decide to return to Anya’s booth to apologize. Frank wasn’t aware that she lost her father in the accident. He reveals that he recently lost his mother and that he missed her all the time. Anya accepts Frank’s apology and tells them to sit.

The Tall Man spots Curtis with the pink Giraffe and mistakes him for Joe. He then catches sight of Joe running into the Wacky Shack.

Anya explains to Frank, Callie, and Chet that the story goes further than a group of miners looking for gold. When Anya was ten years old, her father led an expedition of three men to dig the ground right where the carnival stands. They found something down there, but it wasn’t a demon they unearthed. Anya saw the explosion. Her father emerged from the cave with three other men and collapsed onto the ground. She rushed over and held him in her arms. And with his dying breath he told her they found a box. And when they opened it, the ground shook and the tunnel collapsed. As for the miners that survived, they went on to become rich and powerful.

The Tall Man follows Joe into the Wacky Shack. Joe frantically searches for a way out. He finds a back door but it is locked. The Tall Man grabs him and demands the stone back. JB intervenes and distracts him long enough for Joe to escape.

Frank asks why the hill is called Demon’s Paw. Callie explains that the hill resemble a gnarled claw from up above. They can see it from the top of the Ferris wheel. Given that he’s afraid of heights, Chet stays behind and tells Frank and Callie to go by themselves. After getting a better look at Demon’s Paw, Callie shares with Frank that her mom is gone too. She left them when Callie was younger.

JB attacks the Tall Man with a pipe wrench but he is still no match. He disarms JB before throwing him to the ground. The Tall Man picks up the wrench and charges towards JB, who uses the carnival's power mains to shock the Tall Man, nearly killing him and depowering the carnival as well. Before fleeing, JB steals his radiation detector.

The blackout is brief, if only for a couple minutes at most. The lights cut back on and Frank and Callie exit the Ferris wheel. Biff and Chet approach and tell Frank that Joe is in trouble. Biff leads them to Joe, who is standing with a crowd, just a few feet away from the Tall Man. Joe tells Frank that the Tall Man was looking for something. Trudy arrives with Jesse and asks if they’re okay.

Frank finds Joe in the attic and asks how he knows that the Tall Man was looking for something. Joe reveals how he met JB on the beach a few days ago and did him a favor. Joe thought that would be it but then JB broke into the house and hid a gold idol in a vent in Joe’s room. However, it’s not the idol that he wants. It’s the ancient artifact that Joe found inside. He believes it’s magic. Frank then recognizes the symbol on the stone as the same one their mom drew.

While collecting her tarot cards, Anya drops one on the ground. She picks it up and fears the worst has yet to come after discovering that it’s the two of cups, inverted.

Appearances

Cast and characters

Starring

Co-starring

Locations and organizations

Other

  • Gold idol, an object uncovered at sea by crew aboard the Astghik, which Joe finds an ancient stone inside.

Quotes

  • Anya to Frank, Callie, and Chet: Death. Don't be afraid. Death is the most misunderstood card in the deck. It does not mean a literal death. It represents metamorphosis. A big change has happened. Yes?
  • Anya to Frank, Callie, and Chet: Two of cups means a connection. A new partnership. A new friend. It is good that it is upright. An inverted two of cups is very bad.
  • Anya to Frank, Callie, and Chet: The people of this town have mocked me for years. They do so at their peril.
  • Anya to Frank, Callie, and Chet: I will tell you one thing. The ground you walk on is cursed. Now, if you're not careful, your lives will be, too. That is all I have to say. I saw the explosion. My father emerged with three other men. He was bleeding, and coughing with the smoke. He collapsed on the ground. I broke through the other men. I ran to him. I held him in my arms. And with the last of the strength, he told me... He told me... they found a box. And when they opened it, the ground shook, and the tunnel collapsed. And then he...
  • Frank to Anya: I miss her. You know, a lot. All the time. I keep waiting for her to come home. I wake up every day expecting her to be there, and she's not.

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References

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