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

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.

I just hope my death makes more cents than my life.

Joker (2019)
(SPOILERS) So the murder sprees didn’t happen, and a thousand puff pieces desperate to fan the flames of such events and then told-ya-so have fallen flat on their faces. The biggest takeaway from Joker is not that the movie is an event, when once that seemed plausible but not a given, but that any mainstream press perspective on the picture appears unable to divorce its quality from its alleged or actual politics. Joker may be zeitgeisty, but isn’t another Taxi Driver in terms of cultural import, in the sense that Taxi Driver didn’t have a Taxi Driver in mind when Paul Schrader wrote it. It is, if you like, faux-incendiary, and can only ever play out on that level. It might be more accurately described as a grubbier, grimier (but still polished and glossy) The Talented Ripley, the tale of developing psychopathy, only tailored for a cinemagoing audience with few options left outside of comic book fare.

So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman.

Casino Royale (2006)
(SPOILERS) Despite the doubts and trepidation from devotees (too blonde, uncouth etc.) that greeted Daniel Craig’s casting as Bond, and the highly cynical and low-inspiration route taken by Eon in looking to Jason Bourne's example to reboot a series that had reached a nadir with Die Another Day, Casino Royale ends up getting an enormous amount right. If anything, its failure is that it doesn’t push far enough, so successful is it in disarming itself of the overblown set pieces and perfunctory plotting that characterise the series (even at its best), elements that would resurge with unabated gusto in subsequent Craig excursions.

For the majority of its first two hours, Casino Royale is top-flight entertainment, with returning director Martin Campbell managing to exceed his excellent work reformatting Bond for the ‘90s. That the weakest sequence (still good, mind) prior to the finale is a traditional “big” (but not too big) action set piece involving an attempt to…

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…

I'm reliable, I'm a very good listener, and I'm extremely funny.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
(SPOILERS) When I wrote my 23 to see in 2019, I speculated that James Cameron might be purposefully giving his hand-me-downs to lesser talents because he hubristically didn’t want anyone making a movie that was within a spit of the proficiency we’ve come to expect from him. Certainly, Robert Rodriguez and Tim Miller are leagues beneath Kathryn Bigelow, Jimbo’s former spouse and director of his Strange Days screenplay. Miller’s no slouch when it comes to action – which is what these movies are all about, let’s face it – but neither is he a craftsman, so all those reviews attesting that Terminator: Dark Fate is the best in the franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day may be right, but there’s a considerable gulf between the first sequel (which I’m not that big a fan of) and this retcon sequel to that sequel.

They literally call themselves “Decepticons”. That doesn’t set off any red flags?

Bumblebee  (2018)
(SPOILERS) Bumblebee is by some distance the best Transformers movie, simply by dint of having a smattering of heart (one might argue the first Shia LaBeouf one also does, and it’s certainly significantly better than the others, but it’s still a soulless Michael Bay “machine”). Laika VP and director Travis Knight brings personality to a series that has traditionally consisted of shamelessly selling product, by way of a nostalgia piece that nods to the likes of Herbie (the original), The Iron Giant and even Robocop.

Look, the last time I was told the Germans had gone, it didn't end well.

1917 (2019)
(SPOILERS) When I first heard the premise of Sam Mendes’ Oscar-bait World War I movie – co-produced by Amblin Partners, as Spielberg just loves his sentimental war carnage – my first response was that it sounded highly contrived, and that I’d like to know how, precisely, the story Mendes’ granddad told him would bear any relation to the events he’d be depicting. And just why he felt it would be appropriate to honour his relative’s memory via a one-shot gimmick. None of that has gone away on seeing the film. It’s a technical marvel, and Roger Deakins’ cinematography is, as you’d expect, superlative, but that mastery rather underlines that 1917 is all technique, that when it’s over and you get a chance to draw your breath, the experience feels a little hollow, a little cynical and highly calculated, and leaves you wondering what, if anything, Mendes was really trying to achieve, beyond an edge-of-the-seat (near enough) first-person actioner.

The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

Repo Man (1984)
In fairness, I should probably check out more Alex Cox’s later works. Before I consign him to the status of one who never made good on the potential of his early success. But the bits and pieces I’ve seen don’t hold much sway. I pretty much gave up on him after Walker. It seemed as if the accessibility of Repo Man was a happy accident, and he was subsequently content to drift further and further down his own post-modern punk rabbit hole, as if affronted by the “THE MOST ASTONISHING FEATURE FILM DEBUT SINCE STEVEN SPIELBERG’S DUEL” accolade splashed over the movie’s posters (I know, I have a copy; see below).

This is one act in a vast cosmic drama. That’s all.

Audrey Rose (1977)
(SPOILERS) Robert Wise was no stranger to high-minded horror fare when he came to Audrey Rose. He was no stranger to adding a distinctly classy flavour to any genre he tackled, in fact, particularly in the tricky terrain of the musical (West Side Story, The Sound of Music) and science fiction (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain). He hadn’t had much luck since the latter, however, with neither Two People nor The Hindenburg garnering good notices or box office. In addition to which, Audrey Rose saw him returning to a genre that had been fundamentally impacted by The Exorcist four years before. One might have expected the realist principals he observed with The Andromeda Strain to be applied to this tale of reincarnation, and to an extent they are, certainly in terms of the performances of the adults, but Wise can never quite get past a hacky screenplay that wants to impart all the educational content of a serious study of continued existence in tandem w…

You guys sure like watermelon.

The Irishman aka I Heard You Paint Houses (2019)
(SPOILERS) Perhaps, if Martin Scorsese hadn’t been so opposed to the idea of Marvel movies constituting cinema, The Irishman would have been a better film. It’s a decent film, assuredly. A respectable film, definitely. But it’s very far from being classic. And a significant part of that is down to the usually assured director fumbling the execution. Or rather, the realisation. I don’t know what kind of crazy pills the ranks of revered critics have been taking so as to recite as one the mantra that you quickly get used to the de-aging effects so intrinsic to its telling – as Empire magazine put it, “you soon… fuggadaboutit” – but you don’t. There was no point during The Irishman that I was other than entirely, regrettably conscious that a 75-year-old man was playing the title character. Except when he was playing a 75-year-old man.