Skip to main content

It is happening again.

Twin Peaks
2.7: Lonely Souls

David Lynch returns as director (and, briefly, as supporting actor) in an episode that serves to bookend his season opener. Cooper’s vision has closure as his ring is returned, and Laura Palmer’s murder is revealed in an episode positively dripping with red herring.


Nadine: Are you in our class at school?
Shelly: I don’t think so.

Even Lynch can’t make it all work. The Nadine with a mental age of 17 plotline isn’t getting any better and it won’t in the foreseeable (as a signifier of what is to come, Lynch brings back Mike – the one who isn’t a killer –as Bobby’s sidekick).


Shelly: He’s alive, Bobby! He’s alive!

Still, Lynch must be doing something special for The Bobby and Shelly Show, since they’re back to being engaging characters. They’re helped by a show stopping Eric De Rae, whose zombie Leo repeats “New shoes” at every opportunity, when he’s not spitting or dribbling that is (“Quit spitting, man!”). The device of a tape concealed in his repaired boots isn’t really that much cleverer than a second diary, but it at least feels less glaring.


Mr Tojamura: Since the moment we’ve met, I’ve been strangely attracted to you.
Pete: You just better get the hell out of here.

Lynch even gives the dubious saga of Mr Tojamura a kick up the pants when “he” makes overtures to a nonplussed Pete. With this, and revelation that Harold Smith hanged himself, things are looking up.


Laura Palmer: Someday I’m going to tell the world about Benjamin Horne. Someday I’m going to tell the world who Benjamin Horne really is.

Unfortunately for Coop, but conveniently to keep the mystery chogging along a little longer, Harold badly mutilated Laura’s diary. Coop learns that Bob was a threatening presence in Laura’s life since early adolescence, and there are suggestions of her abuse and molestation on a regular basis. Mark Frost, who penned this episode, really lays on the “It’s Ben Horne, no really” misdirection with a trowel with the suggestion that the killer is “A friend of her father’s”. The clincher is that someday she’s going to tell the world who Benjamin Horne really is.


Audrey: Did you kill her?
Ben: I loved her.

All signs are leading to Ben, with Mike taken to the Great Northern (full of sailors) and crying out as Lynch Ben Horne, who has been advancing down its corridors, enters the room. Audrey confronts her father, who admits he slept with Laura and conspicuously dodges the question of whether he killed her. All eyes are on Richard Beymer, who is granted the funniest moment in the episode when Coop and the police show up at the hotel with an arrest warrant. Ben attempts to make an inept run for it, with the immortal line, “I’m going to go out for a sandwich”.


Gordon Cole: Take good care of Mike.

Lynch employs on of his regular food visual gags in the first scene. Post-consultation with Mike, everyone is lined up in the police station drinking coffee. Gordon Cole says his farewells, shaking hands with each in turn. Until he reaches Mike, of course.


The Log Lady: We don’t know what will happen, or when, but there are owls in the Roadhouse.
Agent Cooper: Something is happening, isn’t it Margaret?
The Log Lady: Yes.

Elsewhere, the funny is in short supply; it’s not that kind of episode. That’s okay, as the weird and dark is cranked up to 11. It’s a full moon, killing time. Coop, entirely failing to twig whodunit, is sat at the Roadhouse with Harry and the Log Lady when Leland/Bob is on his latest killing frenzy.


It’s a typically hypnotic sequence, with Julee Cruise on stage singing Rockin’ Back Inside My Heartas Donna and James commiserate that everybody’s hurting in side (Donna mimes Julee’s lyrics and breaks down). Again, it takes Lynch to make these two characters interesting.


Giant: It is happening again.

Mainly, though, the stage (with signature red drapes) is refashioned for Cooper such that it is inhabited by the Giant rather than Julee. He warns Coop of the murder simultaneously taking place and, as his predictions are fulfilled, so Coop gets his ring back. Just accept it. 


The decrepit waiter also makes a comeback appearance, opining, “I’m so sorry” and possibly laying the seed of a quite dreadful catchphrase in Russell T Davies’ mind. By the end of the scene, and the episode, the sadness and loss has washed through the scene; even Bobby at the bar can feel something very wrong has occurred.


The staging of Maddy’s death is terrifyingly twisted. Typically of Lynch, he introduces it incrementally. Something is going on in the Palmer house, but quite what is unclear. The record player is stuttering, it’s song finished. It’s Leland who plays records, isn’t it? There’s a shot of the stairs carpet, and then Sarah crawling down ominously calling “Leland”. The soundtrack consists of a palpable ambient dread. Sarah sees white horse in living room, and then Leland is revealed, smiling, adjusting his tie.


Bob: Leland says, you’re going back to Missoula, Montana!

We don’t even need to see Bob reflected when Leland looks in the mirror (although there’s a very clever technical bit where Leland turns and so does Bob in the reflection). What’s most potent here is that boogeyman Bob is the less disturbing aspect of events, which isn’t to say he’s not disturbing. Maddy descends the stairs, complaining of a smell (the scorched engine oil Jacobi noticed in hospital, presumably) and then sees her uncle, and Bob.


It can’t be overstated how good Sheryl Lee is in these scenes; Lynch sets up the environment, but she makes it real. For all the slow motion grappling engaged by Bob, it’s the cuts to Leland at savage work that are most shocking. Bob is hallucinatory, weird, but Leland viciously punching of his niece is horrifying. Lynch also won’t let us out of the scene, Bob’s pursuit goes round and round. It’s still bizarre to think this went out on one of the main TV networks; even now this kind of thing would be out of ABC’s comfort zone.


It’s such a cruel demise for Maddy, and a queasy twisted joke on the parts of Lynch and Frost that they bring back Shery Lee only to have her finish up the same way she was introduced. The series’ devisers may not have wanted to reveal the murderer of Laura, but the series really needed it. It was beginning to run on fumes,. While it would take a very noticeable nosedive in the aftermath, therer would be a recovery once the machinations of Windom Earle were underway. This here, and the next episode, is probably where many draw the line in the sand with the series, however. It was all about the murder of Laura Palmer, and the perpetrator has now been revealed.










Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I added sixty on, and now you’re a genius.

The Avengers 4.3: The Master Minds
The Master Minds hitches its wagon to the not uncommon Avengers trope of dark deeds done under the veil of night. We previously encountered it in The Town of No Return, but Robert Banks Stewart (best known for Bergerac, but best known genre-wise for his two Tom Baker Doctor Who stories; likewise, he also penned only two teleplays for The Avengers) makes this episode more distinctive, with its mind control and spycraft, while Peter Graham Scott, in his third contribution to the show on the trot, pulls out all the stops, particularly with a highly creative climactic fight sequence that avoids the usual issue of overly-evident stunt doubles.

Exit bear, pursued by an actor.

Paddington 2 (2017)
(SPOILERS) Paddington 2 is every bit as upbeat and well-meaning as its predecessor. It also has more money thrown at it, a much better villain (an infinitely better villain) and, in terms of plotting, is more developed, offering greater variety and a more satisfying structure. Additionally, crucially, it succeeds in offering continued emotional heft and heart to the Peruvian bear’s further adventures. It isn’t, however, quite as funny.

Even suggesting such a thing sounds curmudgeonly, given the universal applause greeting the movie, but I say that having revisited the original a couple of days prior and found myself enjoying it even more than on first viewing. Writer-director Paul King and co-writer Simon Farnaby introduce a highly impressive array of set-ups with huge potential to milk their absurdity to comic ends, but don’t so much squander as frequently leave them undertapped.

Paddington’s succession of odd jobs don’t quite escalate as uproariously as they migh…

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…

Where is the voice that said altered carbon would free us from the cells of our flesh?

Altered Carbon Season One
(SPOILERS) Well, it looks good, even if the visuals are absurdly indebted to Blade Runner. Ultimately, though, Altered Carbon is a disappointment. The adaption of Richard Morgan’s novel comes armed with a string of well-packaged concepts and futuristic vernacular (sleeves, stacks, cross-sleeves, slagged stacks, Neo-Cs), but there’s a void at its core. It singularly fails use the dependable detective story framework to explore the philosophical ramifications of its universe – except in lip service – a future where death is impermanent, and even botches the essential goal of creating interesting lead characters (the peripheral ones, however, are at least more fortunate).

He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.

Darkest Hour (2017)
(SPOILERS) Watching Joe Wright’s return to the rarefied plane of prestige – and heritage to boot – filmmaking following the execrable folly of the panned Pan, I was struck by the difference an engaged director, one who cares about his characters, makes to material. Only last week, Ridley Scott’s serviceable All the Money in the World made for a pointed illustration of strong material in the hands of someone with no such investment, unless they’re androids. Wright’s dedication to a relatable Winston Churchill ensures that, for the first hour-plus, Darkest Hour is a first-rate affair, a piece of myth-making that barely puts a foot wrong. It has that much in common with Wright’s earlier Word War II tale, Atonement. But then, like Atonement, it comes unstuck.

Like an antelope in the headlights.

Black Panther (2018)
(SPOILERS) Like last year’s Wonder Woman, the hype for what it represents has quickly become conflated with Black Panther’s perceived quality. Can 92% and 97% of critics respectively really not be wrong, per Rotten Tomatoes, or are they – Armond White aside – afraid that finding fault in either will make open them to charges of being politically regressive, insufficiently woke or all-round, ever-so-slightly objectionable? As with Wonder Woman, Black Panther’s very existence means something special, but little about the movie itself actually is. Not the acting, not the directing, and definitely not the over-emphatic, laboured screenplay. As such, the picture is a passable two-plus hours’ entertainment, but under-finessed enough that one could easily mistake it for an early entry in the Marvel cycle, rather than arriving when they’re hard-pressed to put a serious foot wrong.

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…

Yeah, keep walking, you lanky prick!

Mute (2018)
(SPOILERS) Duncan Jones was never entirely convincing when talking up his reasons for Mute’s futuristic setting, and now it’s easy to see why. What’s more difficult to discern is his passion for the project in the first place. If the picture’s first hour is torpid in pace and singularly fails to muster interest, the second is more engaging, but that’s more down to the unappetising activities of Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux’s supporting surgeons than the quest undertaken by Alex Skarsgård’s lead. Which isn’t such a compliment, really.

You’re never the same man twice.

The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
(SPOILERS) Roger Moore playing dual roles? It sounds like an unintentionally amusing prospect for audiences accustomed to the actor’s “Raise an eyebrow” method of acting. Consequently, this post-Saint pre-Bond role (in which he does offer some notable eyebrow acting) is more of a curiosity for the quality of Sir Rog’s performance than the out-there premise that can’t quite sustain the picture’s running time. It is telling that the same story was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents 15 years earlier, since the uncanny idea at its core feels like a much better fit for a trim 50 minute anthology series.

Basil Dearden directs, and co-adapted the screenplay from Anthony Armstrong’s novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham. Dearden started out with Ealing, helming several Will Hay pictures and a segment of Dead of Night (one might imagine a shortened version of this tale ending up there, or in any of the portmanteau horrors that arrived in the year…

You think I contaminated myself, you think I did that?

Silkwood (1983)
Mike Nichol’s film about union activist Karen Silkwood, who died under suspicious circumstances in a car accident in 1974, remains a powerful piece of work; even more so in the wake of Fukushima. If we transpose the microcosm of employees of a nuclear plant, who would rather look the other way in favour of a pay cheque, to the macrocosm of a world dependent on an energy source that could spell our destruction (just don’t think about it and, if you do, be reassured by the pronouncements of “experts” on how safe it all is; and if that doesn’t persuade you be under no illusion that we need this power now, future generations be damned!) it is just as relevant.