Skip to main content

24-hour room service must be one of the premier achievements of modern civilization.

Twin Peaks
1.8: The Last Evening

The Season One finale was written and directed by Mark Frost. He’s rarely strayed into the latter camp, with only two other credits to his name (one being 1992’s Peaks-lite Storyville). Frost has clearly been studying some of cinema’s greats at times, and he throws some nice flourishes in the mix, but the episode as a whole continues the trend of the last half of this first run in being solid but unspectacular.


The first show of visual pizazz occurs near the beginning. Jacoby gets boshed on the head and lies prone. Frost tracks into his eyeball, which dissolves into the roulette wheel at One Eyed Jacks.


Coop’s undercover confidence and control over the situation speaks to his credentials as a smooth operator. He can Bond it with the best of them, is a master of Blackjack (“Mother always said I was born lucky”), and his pretence that he’s Mr Big (“I’m the bank”) enables him to ask Jacques about the chipped chip. We learn that Leo was “doing a number” on Laura and made her bite it (“Bite the bullet, baby. Bite the bullet”). Frost invokes Leone, offering a slow motion close up of Jacque’s lascivious mouth as he repeats the words.


Events at the casino culminate in Andy proving he’s a man after all when he shoots Jacques. It’s a tiresome development on a par with Al Powell in Die Hard, and we also have to contend with Lucy revealing she is pregnant.


Laura: Isn’t sex weird? This guy can really light my F-I-R-E… Here comes momma with milk and cookies.

As a result of trigger-happy Andy, it’s only later that Coop finishes up with Jacques.  As it turns out, he isn’t much help. Jacques got boshed on the head with a whisky bottle by Leo (a lot of boshing going on), so Coop assumes Leo took the girls to the train car alone (as Fire Walk With Meshows, this was not the case). This plays into the revelations about Laura’s mystery man on the tape James and Donna have retrieved from Jacoby’s house. We have James sulking at hearing that Laura thinks he’s dumb. The truth hurts, which is why they only now realise Jacoby didn’t kill her he was trying to help her. Something we established three or four episodes ago.


The retrospective queasiness, knowing Leland’s involvement, includes an additional signposting in the one of the concluding elements of the episode. Audrey, bedecked as the Queen of Diamonds in some tasty lingerie (the playing card is sewn on by a hunchback!), is to be the new girl ripe for her father’s sampling. 


Speaking of Leland, he sets up one of the main subplots of the first half of the next season when he smothers Jacques with a pillow, believing him responsible for Laura’s murder.


There are effective scenes, such as that one, dotted throughout. Another is the confrontation between Leo and Bobby. It concludes with Hank (who sports antlers at one point) shooting Leo through the window (very obliging of him). A bloody Leo is left slumped watching Invitation to Love on TV. In which the bullying biker is shot. The result is both tense and offbeat and the episode needed more of this sort of warped humour. Frost is less sure of himself at other times; the burning of the mill, where Catherine rescues Shelley, isn’t nearly as effectve.


It is at least preceded by an engaging sliver of backstory relating how Catherine and Pete first met. She tempers her nostalgia of “the lumberjack who could scamper up the tree like a cat” with the cold rebuke that it was a summer’s indiscretion, and designed to infuriate her father. There’s a nice thematic meeting point when Pete ventures into the mill to rescue her, however (“She’s still my wife!”). It’s a counterpoint to Leo’s wrathful attempts to her immolate his unfaithful spouse (“You broke my heart!”)


Still, too much of the episode is preoccupied with minor cliffhangers relating to matters about which we don’t much care. Ed finding Nadine having OD’d on pills, the discovery of drugs in James’ bike (“James, what kind of dangerous game have you been playing?”) Fortunately, the climax properis worth it. Coop returns to his hotel room, then answers a knock at the door. At which point he takes three in the chest.


It’s been said that the relationship between Lynch and Frost grew strained during the course of the second season. It would probably be an exaggeration to posit Frost as the series’ George Markstein to Lynch’s Patrick McGoohan, but it is certainly the case up to this point (and with the season two opener also) that the more outré elements of the show have derived from Lynch’s input. Ideally, the show boasts a fine balance between the two, but one of the complaints cast members made of the second run was that the leading lights weren’t around nearly enough. At this point though, the show is still pregnant with potential, and it will start its second innings strongly.











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

I don’t think you will see President Pierce again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(SPOILERS) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and other tall tales of the American frontier is the title of "the book" from which the Coen brothers' latest derives, and so announces itself as fiction up front as heavily as Fargo purported to be based on a true story. In the world of the portmanteau western – has there even been one before? – theme and content aren't really all that distinct from the more familiar horror collection, and as such, these six tales rely on sudden twists or reveals, most of them revolving around death. And inevitably with the anthology, some tall tales are stronger than other tall tales, the former dutifully taking up the slack.

One day you will speak and the jungle will listen.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)
(SPOILERS) The unloved and neglected Jungle Book movie that wasn't Disney’s, Jungle Book: Origins was originally pegged for a 2016 release, before being pushed to last year, then this, and then offloaded by Warner Bros onto Netflix. During which time the title changed to Mowgli: Tales from the Jungle Book, then Mowgli, and finally Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. The assumption is usually that the loser out of vying projects – and going from competing with a near $1bn grossing box office titan to effectively straight-to-video is the definition of a loser – is by its nature inferior, but Andy Serkis' movie is a much more interesting, nuanced affair than the Disney flick, which tried to serve too many masters and floundered with a finale that saw Mowgli celebrated for scorching the jungle. And yes, it’s darker too. But not grimdarker.

You look like an angry lizard!

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
(SPOILERS) I can quite see a Queen fan begrudging this latest musical biopic for failing to adhere to the facts of their illustrious career – but then, what biopic does steer a straight and true course? – making it ironic that they're the main fuel for Bohemian Rhapsody's box office success. Most other criticisms – and they're legitimate, on the whole – fall away in the face of a hugely charismatic star turn from Rami Malek as the band's frontman. He's the difference between a standard-issue, episodic, join-the-dots narrative and one that occasionally touches greatness, and most importantly, carries emotional heft.

Don’t you break into like, a billion homes a year?

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
(SPOILERS) Tis the season to be schmaltzy. Except, perhaps not as insufferably so as you might think. The Christmas Chronicles feels very much like a John Hughes production, which is appropriate since it's produced by Chris Columbus, who was given his start as a director by Hughes. Think Uncle Buck, but instead of John Candy improving his nieces and nephew's lives, you've got Kurt Russell's Santa Claus bringing good cheer to the kids of the Pierce household. The latter are an indifferent duo, but they key here is Santa, and Russell brings the movie that all important irrepressible spark and then some.

A steed is not praised for its might, but for its thoroughbred qualities.

The Avengers Season 3 Ranked - Worst to Best
Season Three is where The Avengers settles into its best-known form – okay, The Grandeur that was Rome aside, there’s nothing really pushing it towards the eccentric heights it would reach in the Rigg era – in no small part due to the permanent partnering of Honor Blackman with Patrick Macnee. It may not be as polished as the subsequent incarnations, but it has the appeal of actively exploring its boundaries, and probably edges out Season Five in the rankings, which rather started to believe its own hype.

There's something wrong with the sky.

Hold the Dark (2018)
(SPOILERS) Hold the Dark, an adaptation of William Giraldi's 2014 novel, is big on atmosphere, as you'd expect from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room) and actor-now-director (I Don’t Want to Live in This World Anymore) pal Macon Blair (furnishing the screenplay and appearing in one scene), but contrastingly low on satisfying resolutions. Being wilfully oblique can be a winner if you’re entirely sure what you're trying to achieve, but the effect here is rather that it’s "for the sake of it" than purposeful.

You counselled him and then he shot himself.

First Reformed (2017)
(SPOILERS) This uneven at best Roman Catholic – I know, it concerns a protestant church, but who are we trying to kid? – eco-guilt picture from Paul Schrader that has been hailed as his best in years, which it probably is, but these things are relative. Schrader has made, for the first hour or so, an engrossing study of faith, doubt and despair, but his choices after that, particularly during the last half hour, undo much of the effort.

Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

Split (2016)
(SPOILERS) M Night Shyamalan went from the toast of twist-based filmmaking to a one-trick pony to the object of abject ridicule in the space of only a couple of pictures: quite a feat. Along the way, I’ve managed to miss several of his pictures, including his last, The Visit, regarded as something of a re-locating of his footing in the low budget horror arena. Split continues that genre readjustment, another Blumhouse production, one that also manages to bridge the gap with the fare that made him famous. But it’s a thematically uneasy film, marrying shlock and serious subject matter in ways that don’t always quite gel.

Shyamalan has seized on a horror staple – nubile teenage girls in peril, prey to a psychotic antagonist – and, no doubt with the best intentions, attempted to warp it. But, in so doing, he has dragged in themes and threads from other, more meritable fare, with the consequence that, in the end, the conflicting positions rather subvert his attempts at subversion…