Ghosts Boss Breaks Down Hetty's 'Baby Steps' In The Halloween Episode, Plus The Liam Neeson And Pickle Guy Running Joke

Hetty and Molly in CBS' Ghosts Halloween episode
(Image credit: Bertrand Calmeau/CBS)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Ghosts Season 2, called “Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty’s Past.”

Ghosts celebrated the spooky season in a way that only this CBS sitcom can: with a séance that brought back Hetty’s nemesis, a near-death experience for Sam in Woodstone’s secret vault, Liam Neeson’s exclusive Halloween party, and a pickle guy who was essential to the plot. Co-showrunner Joe Wiseman spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, and shed some light on what the end means for Hetty… and how exactly Liam Neeson’s name came up with the pickle guy. 

“Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty’s Past” started innocently enough, with Jay telling June and Ally that he and Sam were hosting their own party, so it didn’t matter that they weren’t also invited to Liam Neeson’s secret Halloween shindig at his country house. Unfortunately, the two said that they would stop by Woodstone before heading to Liam Neeson’s, and the last-minute guest list pretty much consisted of Sam and Jay, June and Ally, the ghosts, and Randy the pickle guy who latched on to Jay at the market. 

One séance to spice up the festivities later, and the living had accidentally summoned the spirit of the former maid who’d had an affair with Hetty’s husband, and Hetty was not happy to be reunited with Molly… especially in light of Molly getting to move on from death while she was still stuck at Woodstone. With a time crunch to find a way to send Molly back to where she came from, the two ghosts came to terms with each other and how Elias was really the one they should blame. 

Forgiving Molly was a big deal for Hetty, and she even followed up by dropping the news on the former maid that Elias had been sent to Hell, which they were both pretty happy about. When co-showrunner Joe Wiseman spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, he weighed in on whether or not she’d be changed permanently after the ordeal:

It's always baby steps. These characters are who they are, and we don't want to change them wholesale, but we do want them to grow [and] learn lessons. So I think it's a tiny baby step forward. It's hard for Hetty to forgive, and I think part of it is sort of more realizing that it wasn't necessarily Molly's fault. Both of them were products of their time, and both of them were sort of victims of Elias. So I think rather than maybe growth, it's just more of like a realization that Hetty goes through in this episode.

Sitcoms aren’t known for serialization that changes characters in big ways, but Hetty had an important realization in the Halloween episode that won’t necessarily just go away. It’s also a sign of how far Hetty has come since she was alive. Sure, she still made some comments about the Irish and might have wanted Molly to join the cholera ghosts in the basement if she’d stuck around, but she’s not as dismissive of feminism as she once was! And her adventure with the washing machine earlier this season proved that she has a much more open mind circa 2022 than she did in the 19th century. 

Of course, she might have been stuck with Molly (and maybe even Sam’s ghost if she wasn’t rescued from the vault in time) if Jay hadn’t found the way to send the former maid back. It involved retrieving an antique feather duster that he’d given June as part of her Halloween costume, which meant crashing Liam Neeson’s party. Although the actor didn’t appear himself, his secret Halloween party became a running joke of the episode, and when I asked Joe Wiseman why the Taken star was the celebrity of choice, he shared: 

I don't know that I have an answer to that! He was one of the first names pitched and it just seemed kind of like, 'Sure, why not?' A lot of celebrities have houses in that area. I don't know if he does or not, but it just seemed sort of believable. And then it just seemed funny when we came up with the connection of the pickle guy would know where he lives because he's a big pickle guy. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It just seemed to fit.

So, Liam Neeson was not chosen because of his own ghostly experience playing a Force ghost in Obi-Wan Kenobi, and he wasn’t the only running joke of the episode. The pickle guy – a.k.a. Randy – seemed like he was present just for jokes about all of the things that can be pickled, but turned out to be the key to saving the day as the guy who usually delivers all of Liam Neeson’s pickles. Randy was one of the highlights of the episode for me, and Wiseman agreed:

One of my favorite moments is when the pickle guy realizes that one of the cornichons at Liam Neeson's house is not his, and this is the betrayal. He's like, 'This is how I learned.'

Based on Randy’s reaction, the sting of betrayal hurts even worse when it involves pickles. He came through for his new BFF, however, and they wouldn’t have been able to send Molly back to the great beyond without him. In fact, the pickle guy being so essential to the Halloween story is such a twist that even Joe Wiseman had to comment on it:

Darrin Baker plays Randy, the pickle guy who's sort of like an odd local guy that they meet at the farmers market. And he [gets] his way into the party that Jay and Sam are throwing and then he actually becomes integral to the plot. He's the only one who knows where Liam Neeson’s house is when they need to go to Liam Neeson's house to retrieve the feather duster that was present for the seance. I can't believe I'm saying these sentences.

Sometimes a Halloween mishap is as simple as a pumpkin carving fail, and sometimes it’s accidentally lending an important feather duster to a neighbor before they go to a movie star’s secret Halloween party! In the Ghosts cinematic universe, anyway. Randy the pickle guy saved the day, and left me with many questions. What is the wildest thing that he’s ever pickled? Why did he rollerblade to the Halloween party? Why is Jay already his best friend? Is this a good thing for Jay, after his other friends turned out to be cult members and he still can’t see the spirits?

“Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty’s Past” didn’t have all the answers about Randy, so I made sure to ask the co-showrunner if perhaps he and his pickles could return. Joe Wiseman responded:

That's a great idea. I would love to, I'd love to. We're still writing the back quarter of the season, so I would love to see him again. Yeah, he was fun.

Only time will tell how much this story affects (or doesn’t affect) Hetty moving forward and whether we will indeed see Randy the pickle guy again, but keep tuning in to CBS on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET for new episodes of Ghosts (opens in new tab). The episode that airs on November 3 looks like it will be a big one for the eternally-pantsless Trevor. If you want to revisit some earlier episodes of CBS’ spookiest sitcom, you can do so streaming with a Paramount+ subscription!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.