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

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…

Well, we took a vote. Predator’s cooler, right?

The Predator (2018)
(SPOILERS) Is The Predator everything you’d want from a Shane Black movie featuring a Predator (or Yautja, or Hish-Qu-Ten, apparently)? Emphatically not. We've already had a Shane Black movie featuring a Predator – or the other way around, at least – and that was on another level. The problem – aside from the enforced reshoots, and the not-altogether-there casting, and the possibility that full-on action extravaganzas, while delivered competently, may not be his best foot forward – is that I don't think Black's really a science-fiction guy, game as he clearly was to take on the permanently beleaguered franchise. He makes The Predator very funny, quite goofy, very gory, often entertaining, but ultimately lacking a coherent sense of what it is, something you couldn't say of his three prior directorial efforts.

Right! Let’s restore some bloody logic!

It Couldn't Happen Here (1987)
(SPOILERS) "I think our film is arguably better than Spiceworld" said Neil Tennant of his and Chris Lowe's much-maligned It Couldn't Happen Here, a quasi-musical, quasi-surrealist journey through the English landscape via the Pet shop Boys' "own" history as envisaged by co-writer-director Jack Bond. Of course, Spiceworld could boast the presence of the illustrious Richard E Grant, while It Couldn't Happen Here had to settle for Gareth Hunt. Is its reputation deserved? It's arguably not very successful at being a coherent film (even thematically), but I have to admit that I rather like it, ramshackle and studiously aloof though it is.

Never compare me to the mayor in Jaws! Never!

Ghostbusters (2016)
(SPOILERS) Paul Feig is a better director than Ivan Reitman, or at very least he’s savvy enough to gather technicians around him who make his films look good, but that hasn’t helped make his Ghostbusters remake (or reboot) a better movie than the original, and that’s even with the original not even being that great a movie in the first place.

Along which lines, I’d lay no claims to the 1984 movie being some kind of auteurist gem, but it does make some capital from the polarising forces of Aykroyd’s ultra-geekiness on the subject of spooks and Murray’s “I’m just here for the asides” irreverence. In contrast, Feig’s picture is all about treating the subject as he does any other genre, be it cop, or spy, or romcom. There’s no great affection, merely a reliably professional approach, one minded to ensure that a generous quota of gags (on-topic not required) can be pumped out via abundant improv sessions.

So there’s nothing terribly wrong with Ghostbusters, but aside from …

Dude, you're embarrassing me in front of the wizards.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
(SPOILERS) The cliffhanger sequel, as a phenomenon, is a relatively recent thing. Sure, we kind of saw it with The Empire Strikes Back – one of those "old" movies Peter Parker is so fond of – a consequence of George Lucas deliberately borrowing from the Republic serials of old, but he had no guarantee of being able to complete his trilogy; it was really Back to the Future that began the trend, and promptly drew a line under it for another decade. In more recent years, really starting with The MatrixThe Lord of the Rings stands apart as, post-Weinstein's involvement, fashioned that way from the ground up – shooting the second and third instalments back-to-back has become a thing, both more cost effective and ensuring audiences don’t have to endure an interminable wait for their anticipation to be sated. The flipside of not taking this path is an Allegiant, where greed gets the better of a studio (split a novel into two movie parts assuming a…

My pectorals may leave much to be desired, Mrs Peel, but I’m the most powerful man you’ve ever run into.

The Avengers 2.23: The Positive-Negative Man
If there was a lesson to be learned from Season Five, it was not to include "man" in your title, unless it involves his treasure. The See-Through Man may be the season's stinker, but The Positive-Negative Man isn't far behind, a bog-standard "guy with a magical science device uses it to kill" plot. A bit like The Cybernauts, but with Michael Latimer painted green and a conspicuous absence of a cool hat.

The possibilities are gigantic. In a very small way, of course.

The Avengers 5.24: Mission… Highly Improbable
With a title riffing on a then-riding-high US spy show, just as the previous season's The Girl from Auntie riffed on a then-riding-high US spy show, it's to their credit that neither have even the remotest connection to their "inspirations" besides the cheap gags (in this case, the episode was based on a teleplay submitted back in 1964). Mission… Highly Improbable follows in the increasing tradition (certainly with the advent of Season Five and colour) of SF plotlines, but is also, in its particular problem with shrinkage, informed by other recent adventurers into that area.

I think World War II was my favourite war.

Small Soldiers (1998)
An off-peak Joe Dante movie is still one chock-a-block full of satirical nuggets and comic inspiration, far beyond the facility of most filmmakers. Small Soldiers finds him back after a six-year big screen absence, taking delirious swipes at the veneration of the military, war movies, the toy industry, conglomerates and privatised defence forces. Dante’s take is so gleefully skewed, he even has big business win! The only problem with the picture (aside from an indistinct lead, surprising from a director with a strong track record for casting juveniles) is that this is all very familiar.

Dante acknowledged Small Soldiers was basically a riff on Gremlins, and it is. Something innocuous and playful turns mad, bad and dangerous. On one level it has something in common with Gremlins 2: The New Batch, in that the asides carry the picture. But Gremlins 2 was all about the asides, happy to wander off in any direction that suited it oblivious to whether the audience was on …

Bring home the mother lode, Barry.

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

If Panos Cosmatos’ debut had continued with the slow-paced, tripped-out psychedelia of the first hour or so I would probably have been fully on board with it, but the decision to devolve into an ‘80s slasher flick in the final act lost me.

The director is the son of George Pan Cosmatos (he of The Cassandra Crossing and Cobra, and in name alone of Tombstone, apparently) and it appears that his inspiration was what happened to the baby boomers in the ‘80s, his parents’ generation. That element translates effectively, expressed through the extreme of having a science institute engaging in Crowley/Jack Parsons/Leary occult quests for enlightenment in the ‘60s and the survivors having become burnt out refugees or psychotics by the ‘80s. Depending upon your sensibilities, the torturously slow pace and the synth soundtrack are positives, while the cinematography managed to evoke both lurid early ‘80s cinema and ‘60s experimental fare. 

Ultimately the film takes a …

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).