Skip to main content

Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir.

Twin Peaks
2.4: Laura’s Secret Diary

Todd Holland, who would mostly go on to comedy work (including The Larry Sanders Show and short-lived Wonderfalls), starts this episode in a highly Lynchian manner, with a macro-shot pulling out of a ceiling tile. It’s a move that promises the unattainable, as rather too much in the way of humdrum plot mechanics will follow.


Four writers are credited on 2.4, suggesting some fairly extensive surgery and overhauling were required to get it in workable shape. As with the previous episode, overly soapy elements arise without a sufficient spin to allow them to operate successfully inPeaks land.


There’s the mistaken identity with Hank and Norma and the travel writer/restaurant critic (he’s actually the D.A.) There’s the return of Josie, whom Harry desperately wants to believe is innocent, the big lug (he also gets down to some hot and steamy dress-tearing rump with her).


There’s also the return of Catherine, buried in a ‘90s equivalent of yellow face make-up as Mr Tojamura. A character coming back in disguise is as potty as a dead character coming back as a twin sibling. If there was any fun to be had with this plotline it might get a vague pass, but its not only dubious in conception, the idea that no one would see through it in about five seconds flat is absurd. Josie’s associate Jonathan (Mak Takano), who has been staring at Coop over a newspaper for several weeks, finally gets to speak and have a fight with Hank, but it wasn’t worth the wait.


Harold Smith is as highly strung as previously, and there’s nothing in his scenes to make them sufferable. Not his desire to create “a sort of living novel” from those he knows, or Donna’s quest to get hold of Laura’s diary.


Lucy: He never exercises, he never washes his car, and he doesn’t even own a sports coat.

Andy and Lucy are provided a series of wank gags, as he is caught with a copy of Flesh World en route to muster up a sperm sample. Later Andy loses the bottle behind a chair in the waiting room. This material is well played, but in the service of a filler subplot.


Richard/Dick features too, of course, offering to pay for Lucy’s abortion. Lucy’s airhead comparison of the qualities of Andy versus Dick is mildly amusing (“He had lot of coats and keeps himself and his car in great shape. Most of his behaviour was asinine but at least he was different”), and Harry commiserates with Coop over failing to help Lucy out (“Well it was a good thought, but its like trying to fix those potholes on Highway Nine. First heavy rain and Thwweeettt”).


Jean Renault: I want this man to bring me the ransom.

The introduction of Jean Renault continues to pay dividends, however. He delivers a business proposition to Ben, in which the latter is put on the back foot and has little choice but to agree. This involves Coop delivering Audrey’s ransom. She’s still riding the tiger, and Holland shoots a rather good scene where she witnesses the demise of Emory Battis, on the end of one of Jacques’ bullets. Audrey is high, and Holland makes effective use of point of view. The scene also suggests that, as much Jacques is a ruthless rotter (he’s going to have Audrey killed, after all) he at least posses a certain villain’s code Emory, who has hit Audrey, lacks.


Codes of honour play a significant role throughout. Coop asks Harry for the services of a Bookhouse Boy for a dangerous mission; of course, as if anyone but Coop couldn’t guess, it’s Harry who shows up.


Leland Palmer: He killed my Laura. Have you ever experienced absolute loss?

In the aftermath of Leland’s arrest, much is concerned with reactions to the murder charge. There are some nice touches, most notably Dr Hayward expressing sympathy for his old friend. He comments sadly that parents should not have to bury their children. Coop rounds on him harshly, having none of it; “Do you approve of murder, Dr Hayward?


Clinton Sternwood: Just let me just say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage, we’ll meet and raise a glass again together, in Valhalla.
Leland Palmer: Would that it were so.

Ray Wise makes the most of his time in the spotlight, with Leland admitting to murder outright, but explaining how he was compelled to act, because, “deep down, every cell screams”. Judge Clinton Sternwood (Royal Dano) also comes out testifying  for Leland, saying he knows him to be a fine, decent man and a capable attorney.


Western legend Dano is a quirky presence, and the judge is treated as a plum guest star part, given interactions with all the main regulars. He doesn’t really blend in as a Peakscharacter, though, more the type you’d find in a straight soap or drama. He does have a suitably irreverent tone, however (“Who do you have to grease to get some coffee round here?”)


Agent Cooper: Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir.

Coop repeats his affection for the town to the judge, comparing Twin Peaks to heaven, despite the “arson, multiple homicides and the attempt on the life of a federal agent”. Harry’s promise “You two should have a lot in common” isn’t really lived up to, however (although there is a line or two in the next episode explaining this).


2.4 also appears to be a bit of a dead end for investigations; Hawk reports that no one called Robertson ever lived next door to the Palmers, and there’s still no sign of Gerrard (although Andy bought a pair of his boots from him). This is a middling episode of Twin Peaks, its sobriety indicative of the direction the show shouldn’t be headed. Perhaps the best that can be said of Laura's Secret Diary is the latter part is set on an atmospherically stormy night.



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're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
I’ve seen comments suggesting that John Sturges’ thriller hasn’t aged well, which I find rather mystifying. Sure, some of the characterisations border on the cardboard, but the director imbues the story with a taut, economical backbone. 

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

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.

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…

All the way up! We’ll make it cold like winter used to be.

Soylent Green (1973)
(SPOILERS) The final entry in Chuck Heston’s mid-career sci-fi trilogy (I’m not counting his Beneath the Planet of the Apes extended cameo). He hadn’t so much as sniffed at the genre prior to 1967, but over the space of the next half decade or so, he blazed a trail for dystopian futures. Perhaps the bleakest of these came in Soylent Green. And it’s only a couple of years away. 2022 is just around the corner.

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…

Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window.

Black Hawk Down (2001)
(SPOILERS) Black Hawk Down completed a trilogy of hits for Ridley Scott, a run of consistency he’d not seen even a glimmer of hitherto. He was now a brazenly commercial filmmaker, one who could boast big box office under his belt where previously such overt forays had seen mixed results (Black Rain, G.I. Jane). It also saw him strip away the last vestiges of artistic leanings from his persona, leaving behind, it seemed, only technical virtuosity. Scott was now given to the increasingly thick-headed soundbite (“every war movie is an anti-war movie”) in justification for whatever his latest carry-on carried in terms of controversial elements, and more than happy to bed down with the Pentagon (long-standing collaborators with producer Jerry Bruckheimer) to make a movie that, while depictinga less than auspicious intervention by the US military (“Based on an Actual Event” is a marvellous catch-all for wanton fabrication), managed to turn it into a parade of heroes pe…

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.

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…