Skip to main content

Cooper, you remind me today of a small, Mexican Chihuahua.

Twin Peaks
2.6: Demons

David Lynch starred in five episodes of Twin Peaks and directed six. Would that he had ditched the acting gig altogether, swapping it for his appearances for megaphone duties. Gordon Cole is a likeable but one-joke character, a pratfall when set against the rapier wit of Albert, whom he ostensibly replaces. 2.6 is merely so-so, following the trend of the previous few episodes, but it does come together for the final scene in which, yes, Mike finally, and after much running on the spot, makes his presence felt.


Harold Smith: You lie, and then you betray, and then you laugh about it. You are unclean, contaminated.

Before that, however, we have to contend with yet more of Harold Smith. Fortunately for us all, this is his final appearance in the show. Harold will endure an off screen suicide between this and 2.7. Yay us.


His meltdown in the opening scene is laughable, and it’s a testament to how useless Donna is that she singularly fails to claim the diary even when dozy James turns up to help.


Meanwhile, Maddy, in her penultimate living appearance, gets to go slightly meta as she says farewell to James. “For a while I got to be somebody different, but now I’m just me again”. Back to being Laura? Which means she must surely die.


Pete: Do you like musicals?
Mr Tojamura: No.
Pete: Not even Fiddler on the Roof?

Director Leslie Linka Glatter adds some winning humorous touches, even into some of the more pedestrian subplots. Particularly amusing is the exchange between Pete and his Asian husband; Fiddler on the Roof is the classic musical to like for those don’t like musicals.


There’s also a lovely moment where Leland comes back to work for Ben and is distracted by a stuffed fox staring into the back of his head, before firing off a series of red tape manoeuvres. Ben’s delight at this legal acumen is unbridled; he’s less pleased later when Leland launches into Getting to Know You in the bar. The fox bit not only works as a sight gag, it becomes a crucial clue later, as Leland puts some of its hair in his pocket.


There’s a cute exchange between Ben and Josie when both counter-threaten the other with the dirt they hold. The mention of the fascinating dossier he holds on her late husband’s boat that went boom is a reminder that David Warner will be making a welcome appearance in a few episodes time.


This is a good episode for Richard Beymer, who not only has attention rather crudely shifted towards him as a murder suspect (more on that in 2.7) but is reunited with his beloved daughter. The manner in which Ben oozes insincerity and hugs Coop, who would clearly rather be anywhere else, is marvellous. It’s then topped as he exits with the suitcase full of returned cash clutched lovingly to his bosom.


Harry: You’re the best lawman I’ve ever seen, but sometimes, you think too much.

Audrey is full of threatening intimations towards her father (“I saw SO much”) but won’t be back on proper form until next week. She sings the praises of Coop (“I prayed, I prayed that you would come”), who is filled with remorse for his actions (“I violated my professional code, and now Audrey is paying the price”). Fortunately, Harry is on hand to speak some good earthy rustic sense to him; Coop’s self-recriminations are rather overdone, and it’s a sign that even the captain can lose his touch if the boat isn’t kept moving.


Gordon Cole: Cooper, you remind me today of a small, Mexican Chihuahua.

Gordon Cole delivers a couple of good lines amid Lynch's frantic mugging, his cryptic comparison of Coop to a dog (he never divulges why) and recognition of the arrival of Gerard (“There’s the one-armer now!”) is a more endearing stating of the bleeding obvious than his quickly-becoming-tiresome repetition of what the previous person said deafness. Of course, Cole also brings tidings of Windom Earle, poised to become the show’s next big bad (“P to K-4”).


Shelly: This is too creepy.

I continue to be impressed by Eric de Rae, since Leo as other than a brute rather passed me by previously. There’s something rather genius about his minimalist performance, playing the long game for laughs by just sitting there. Inevitably, Bobby’s scheme for insurance money turns sour when he and Shelly get a fraction of what’s expected. They still throw a coming home party, however, complete with Leo blowing a kazoo and toppling face first into his cake. Bobby has very much gotten over his flirtation with being a decent guy, making out with Shelly in front of Leo and too late claiming he “doesn’t want to exploit him or anything”.


Agent Cooper: Who are you?
Philip Gerard: My name is Mike.
Agent Cooper: What are you?
Philip Gerard: I am an inhabiting spirit.

The scenes with Mike don’t add much to what we already know, and knew since the European pilot, but they areatmospheric, and set the tone for the high drama of the next episode. Al Strobel is great, inhabiting the heightened language of Mike with eerie calm. There is enough avoidance to keep things mysterious; Bob was Mike’s familiar, but “That cannot be revealed” is the response when Coop asks where Bob came from. Some of the language too, has the tenor of a twisted nursery rhyme.


Agent Cooper: What does Bob want?
Philip Gerard: He is Bob, eager for fun. He wants a soul. Everybody run.

We learn that Bob is a parasite who requires a human host; he feeds on fear and the pleasures. They are his children. Particularly effective is Mike and Coop repeating the “Fire Walk With Me” verse in incantatory unison, and the revelation that Bob has been with them in Twin Peaks for nearly 40 years. Mike then describes what can only be the Great Northern Hotel as his current location (where, of course, we have seen Leland singing in the lounge, even though the proprietor is Ben Horne).


2.6 represents a slight uptick on its predecessors, thanks to the concluding sequence, but the leap next week is marked. Glatter effectively imbues the final scene with an atmosphere of expectancy but it’s clear Lynch is at the helm as soon as 2.7 opens, marbling the screen with queasy dread.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

You can’t climb a ladder, no. But you can skip like a goat into a bar.

Juno and the Paycock (1930)
(SPOILERS) Hitchcock’s second sound feature. Such was the lustre of this technological advance that a wordy play was picked. By Sean O’Casey, upon whom Hitchcock based the prophet of doom at the end of The Birds. Juno and the Paycock, set in 1922 during the Irish Civil War, begins as a broad comedy of domestic manners, but by the end has descended into full-blown Greek (or Catholic) tragedy. As such, it’s an uneven but still watchable affair, even if Hitch does nothing to disguise its stage origins.

We live in a twilight world.

Tenet (2020)
(SPOILERS) I’ve endured a fair few confusingly-executed action sequences in movies – more than enough, actually – but I don’t think I’ve previously had the odd experience of being on the edge of my seat during one while simultaneously failing to understand its objectives and how those objectives are being attempted. Which happened a few times during Tenet. If I stroll over to the Wiki page and read the plot synopsis, it is fairly explicable (fairly) but as a first dive into this Christopher Nolan film, I frequently found it, if not impenetrable, then most definitely opaque.

The protocol actually says that most Tersies will say this has to be a dream.

Jupiter Ascending (2015)
(SPOILERS) The Wachowski siblings’ wildly patchy career continues apace. They bespoiled a great thing with The Matrix sequels (I liked the first, not the second), misfired with Speed Racer (bubble-gum visuals aside, hijinks and comedy ain’t their forte) and recently delivered the Marmite Sense8 for Netflix (I was somewhere in between on it). Their only slam-dunk since The Matrix put them on the movie map is Cloud Atlas, and even that’s a case of rising above its limitations (mostly prosthetic-based). Jupiter Ascending, their latest cinema outing and first stab at space opera, elevates their lesser works by default, however. It manages to be tone deaf in all the areas that count, and sadly fetches up at the bottom of their filmography pile.

This is a case where the roundly damning verdicts have sadly been largely on the ball. What’s most baffling about the picture is that, after a reasonably engaging set-up, it determinedly bores the pants off you. I haven’t enco…

Seems silly, doesn't it? A wedding. Given everything that's going on.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (2010)
(SPOILERS) What’s good in the first part of the dubiously split (of course it was done for the art) final instalment in the Harry Potter saga is very good, let down somewhat by decisions to include material that would otherwise have been rightly excised and the sometimes-meandering travelogue. Even there, aspects of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I can be quite rewarding, taking on the tone of an apocalyptic ‘70s aftermath movie or episode of Survivors (the original version), as our teenage heroes (some now twentysomethings) sleep rough, squabble, and try to salvage a plan. The main problem is that the frequently strong material requires a robust structure to get the best from it.

You know what I think? I think he just wants to see one cook up close.

The Green Mile (1999)
(SPOILERS) There’s something very satisfying about the unhurried confidence of the storytelling in Frank Darabont’s two prison-set Stephen King adaptations (I’m less beholden to supermarket sweep The Mist); it’s sure, measured and precise, certain that the journey you’re being take on justifies the (indulgent) time spent, without the need for flashy visuals or ornate twists (the twists there are feel entirely germane – with a notable exception – as if they could only be that way). But. The Green Mile has rightly come under scrutiny for its reliance on – or to be more precise, building its foundation on – the “Magical Negro” trope, served with a mild sprinkling of idiot savant (so in respect of the latter, a Best Supporting Actor nomination was virtually guaranteed). One might argue that Stephen King’s magical realist narrative flourishes well-worn narrative ploys and characterisations at every stage – such that John Coffey’s initials are announcement enough of his…

When I barked, I was enormous.

Dean Spanley (2008)
(SPOILERS) There is such a profusion of average, respectable – but immaculately made – British period drama held up for instant adulation, it’s hardly surprising that, when something truly worthy of acclaim comes along, it should be singularly ignored. To be fair, Dean Spanleywas well liked by critics upon its release, but its subsequent impact has proved disappointingly slight. Based on Lord Dunsany’s 1939 novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley, our narrator relates how the titular Dean’s imbibification of a moderate quantity of Imperial Tokay (“too syrupy”, is the conclusion reached by both members of the Fisk family regarding this Hungarian wine) precludes his recollection of a past life as a dog. 

Inevitably, reviews pounced on the chance to reference Dean Spanley as a literal shaggy dog story, so I shall get that out of the way now. While the phrase is more than fitting, it serves to underrepresent how affecting the picture is when it has cause to be, as does any re…

Haven’t you ever heard of the healing power of laughter?

Batman (1989)
(SPOILERS) There’s Jaws, there’s Star Wars, and then there’s Batman in terms of defining the modern blockbuster. Jaws’ success was so profound, it changed the way movies were made and marketed. Batman’s marketing was so profound, it changed the way tentpoles would be perceived: as cash cows. Disney tried to reproduce the effect the following year with Dick Tracy, to markedly less enthusiastic response. None of this places Batman in the company of Jaws as a classic movie sold well, far from it. It just so happened to hit the spot. As Tim Burton put it, it was “more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie”. It’s difficult to disagree with his verdict that the finished product (for that is what it is) is “mainly boring”.

Now, of course, the Burton bat has been usurped by the Nolan incarnation (and soon the Snyder). They have some things in common. Both take the character seriously and favour a sombre tone, which was much more of shock to the system when Burton did it (even…

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
(SPOILERS) I don’t love Star Trek, but I do love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That probably isn’t just me, but a common refrain of many a non-devotee of the series. Although, it used to apply to The Voyage Home (the funny one, with the whales, the Star Trek even the target audience for Three Men and a Baby could enjoy). Unfortunately, its high regard has also become the desperate, self-destructive, song-and-verse, be-all-and-end-all of the overlords of the franchise itself, in whichever iteration, it seems. This is understandable to an extent, as Khan is that rare movie sequel made to transcendent effect on almost every level, and one that stands the test of time every bit as well (better, even) as when it was first unveiled.

Anything can happen in Little Storping. Anything at all.

The Avengers 2.22: Murdersville
Brian Clemens' witty take on village life gone bad is one of the highlights of the fifth season. Inspired by Bad Day at Black Rock, one wonders how much Murdersville's premise of unsettling impulses lurking beneath an idyllic surface were set to influence both Straw Dogs and The Wicker Mana few years later (one could also suggest it premeditates the brand of backwoods horrors soon to be found in American cinema from the likes of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper).