Here’s what went down on Battle Creek episode 12, appropriately titled “Homecoming.”
Russ comes in to work in a great mood after the events in the evidence locker with Holly. Alas, the mood doesn’t last. They literally run into each other in the hallway, and she apologizes for practically attacking him. Russ doesn’t mind, but Holly shrugs it off claiming it was “no big deal.”
In the precinct office, Font has returned to duty after his run in with a piece of shrapnel in his brain. He’s also caught a messy John Doe case – some dude walked in front of a train. He tries to pass it off on Jacocks but she calls him on the fact that he Font’s only giving her the case because he doesn’t want to miss Friday’s Valley High rivalry football game. Guziewicz breaks the news that their might not be a game…. The football coach was found murdered in his office. Russ offers to take the case, but Milt is already on it – the mayor called him specifically.
At the coach’s office, Milt observes that the coach likely knew his killer considering he was still at his desk in a pool of his own blood. Milt congratulates Russ for finally hooking up with Holly, and good-naturedly ribs him about it, but Russ is in no mood after his morning let down. Russ notices that a trophy is missing from the shelf behind the desk; the likely murder weapon.
Milt and Russ hit the stadium following up, when they run into the Principal, Lydia, who warns Russ to go easy on Phil, the new head coach. Milt realizes that Russ and the principal had a thing as well.
Funk and Font are walking to Zaransky’s house to talk to his wife. Funk is dying to know what it was like to be close to death, but Font insists that he was just in a coma, not dead, and nothing happened. This does not satisfy Funk.
Russ and Milt talk to coach Dunnaway, right away it’s clear that there’s a bit of bad blood between he and Russ. Dunnaway has no reason to kill the coach who would retire in a couple years and besides, he loved the old man. He does point the finger at one “TDED” aka, Touchdown Eddie Duncan. Duncan was emotionally unstable, prone to yelling in the coaches windows in the wee hours of the morning. He was the best player at Valley High but had flunked out of college, came back with mental issues. He was recently fired from his job as equipment manager, due to instability.
Back at HQ Holly is getting the business from Jacocks about Russ but Holly insists, again, it’s no big deal. Jacocks accidentally caught them in the act, but Holly insists she was just blowing off steam.
In the car, Milt asks Russ why he was so hard on Dunnaway, so Russ tells him about the time when, in high school, he confronted Dunnaway for being a bully and punched him out. Russ got suspended for a week while Phil walked because he was the star QB and those guys, kinda like Milt, are the golden boys. Nothing ever changes.
Font and Funk are chatting with Eddie Duncan’s father, Larry, who confirms Mrs. Zaransky’s story, that Eddie’s behavior had changed since college when he was cut from the football team his Freshman year. The kid would disappear for days, but he would always end up at Gilroy’s, a local watering hole.
The waitress at Gilroy’s confirms that Eddie was there the night of the murder, and he was agitated. A train rattles the room as they’re talking, causing Font to realize that Gilroy’s is walking distance away from the railroad crossing where his John Doe committed suicide. Maybe his DB is also coach Zaransky’s killer.
Font lays out his theory to the ME, Meredith, that Eddie, agitated and guilt-ridden over murdering the Coach, walked in front of the train. While Meredith likes his theory (not as much as she like Milt’s butt) there is a problem: Eddie committed suicide hours before the coach was killed.
The following day, Holly comes forward with a new suspect, Wally Stanton, the star QB. Holly was at the game, last week, when the coach benched him for throwing three interceptions. Considering there were scouts in the stands, there would be good reason to believe Wally would be angry. Milt, with his golden boy wisdom should go talk to the kid.
Milt has a chat with Wally in the locker room. Wally, not only isn’t mad at the coach, he threw the three interceptions on purpose. He doesn’t want to play football in college. His dad wants him to go to his alma mater, but Wally doesn’t want to because they don’t have a pre-med program. He’s never told this to his dad who would “kill” him.
Milt has a chat with Wally’s father, Jack Stanton, at the mattress shop he owns. Milt confronts the man with footage taken in the parking lot of the Mr. Stanton having heated words with the Coach. He admits to being upset, he would never murder the coach. The Coach made him what he is today, he loved and respected the old man. Jack was the biggest donor to the football program, and he never cared what the coach did with the money.
Back at the station Jacocks encourages Russ to stop being an idiot, and talk to Holly. She’s trying to let him off the hook, but he shouldn’t let her. He takes Jacock’s advice and asks Holly out. She admits that she would like to, but can’t because she just got accepted to law school in Indiana and she doesn’t want to make leaving any harder.
Milt is going over the facts of the case with the detectives: that the Coach never used the booster funds, but there were withdrawls of a decent amount of money. Russ comes in bearing cake, which everyone is excited about until he springs Holly’s “good news” on everyone and sulks around, making a scene which obviously upsets Holly and ruins the mood. Milt suggests another trip to see Mrs. Zaransky.
Milt and Russ are enjoying lemonade during their followup chat. When questioned about the missing booster money, she has no idea where it would go, certainly not to mistresses, fun stuff or gambling. We also learn that she used to teach English at the high school and Russ was one of her star pupils. He was a sensitive boy who wrote poetry. Before Milt can hear more and before Mrs. Zaransky can fetch some samples, Milt gets a text that some money has been recently withdrawn from Coach’s booster account.
Meanwhile Funk is getting nowhere with Font in regards to the events of the afterlife. But they do have a suspect to eliminate. Wally’s dad was caught on camera at his mattress store, sleeping, at the time of the murder.
Milt and Russ are at the bank where the Booster funds were withdrawn, Milt ribbing Russ about his high school romance with the principal while the bank manager retrieves the footage from the ATM. Just as Russ suspected, coach Dunnaway is the guilty party. They question Phil at the station, and he to taking the money, he was allowed to, but he was only using the money to buy higher grades for his players. Embarrassing and scandalous, yes, but not quite illegal. Seems Coach Zaransky was a hardass and was benching kids for poor grades, while Dunnaway just wants to win by getting some Ds up to Cs. Hardly something worth killing over.
Russ shows up at the pre-game memorial for Eddie and Coach Zaransky. He pulls the principal aside to give her the bad news that the new coach is a cheater and the system is corrupt, and tries to hand her the proof. She tells Russ to hang on to it until after the game, right now the kids, and the town, need a win, more than they need the truth. She also reminds him that their relationship didn’t end because of distance, it ended because they were both fighting for something other than each other. As he’s about to leave, Russ catches a phrase in Larry Duncan’s speech, something that leads Russ to believe that Duncan knew about his son’s death before Font told him about it.
At the station, Font confirms Russ’ suspicions when he show him the police dash-cam video from the night of Eddie’s suicide. Larry is right there on the scene. They bring Larry in for questioning. At first Duncan denies it until they mention his well-known hatred of the coach and the dash-cam footage. Larry explains that he hated the coach because he kept Eddie in games after multiple concussions. He tried to get coach to give Eddie a rest, but the coach wasn’t concerned despite the kid showing signs of brain trauma even back then. He also tried to get Eddie to quit, but Eddie was too concerned about disappointing the coach and threatened to move out if he couldn’t play. Larry relented.
Font asks Larry what happened that night. Larry explains that he’d done what he always did, pick up Eddie from Gilroy’s, but Eddie had already left. When Larry saw the flashing lights at the train intersection, he knew what had happened, that his boy was dead, and that Zaransky had killed his son. Larry reaches for the pad of paper to write his confession.
The following morning, everyone but Russ is happy that Valley High won the game. Russ is still in a foul mood. Russ confronts Holly in the hallway as she’s delivering Milt’s mail, while holding a large paper sack. He apologizes for being an ass with the cake stunt, and admits that he’s hurt about her dating and wants to have a go at a long distance relationship – he wants them to fight for it. The bag splits open spilling lobsters all over the floor, lobsters that Niblet was going to help her boil. Russ offers to help since Niblet can’t make it. They smooch and everyone is happy.
The series finale of Battle Creek premieres Sunday, May 24 at 10/9CT on CBS.