Skip to main content

Their motivation in search of the White Lodge is not ideologically pure.

Twin Peaks 
2.14: Double Play

The first in a brief run of name directors, as Uli Edel gets on board. This would be the shape of things to come for the director. He made the acclaimed slog Last Exit Brooklynprior to this, but next came the ridiculed Body of Evidence. TV heaven beckoned after that. Mark’s brother Scott handles scripting duties for the second and final time. There’s a definite uptick here; much dead wood prevails, but you can feel a re-ignition of drama and engagement.


Special Agent Cooper: Windom Earle is a genius. And he’s taken his first pawn in a very sick game.

Finally then, we meet Windom Earle. He’ll be a constant until series’ end but I’ll save comment on Kenneth Welsh’s uproariously demented performance until the next episode. Here he functions as little more than a reveal. One wonders how much the deathly seriousness with which Coop takes him is intended as misdirection, since when we do see him he’s the most welcoming of loons. Coop is full of dire warnings and over the onset of his evil (“Windom Earle has been in this room. I can still feel his presence”).


Special Agent Cooper: Windom Earle and I played a game everyday for three years.

Coop has been cleared of all criminal charges, but his suspension still stands. He unloads a swampful of exposition on Harry, including how he never beat his nemesis at chess, and“He felt that all of life could be found in the patterns and conflicts in the board”. Most particular is Coop laying bare what could be deduced already; Coop and Caroline, Earle’s wife, fell in love, she died at Earle’s hand.


Special Agent Cooper: I think he killed her and I think he committed the crime she originally witnessed. Windom Earle’s mind is like a diamond. It’s cold and hard and brilliant. I think he feigned the insanity that sent him away but at some point he lost the ability to distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong.

It’s curious that Coop proffers “You don’t know what he’s capable of, Harry. You don’t know”. My recollection is that we don’t learn exactly what Earle did to earn such dread on Coop’s part. Surely most of this would be speculation on Coop’s part, Earle didn’t embark on a slaughter spree before ending up in the nut house.


Audrey: From now on Bobby, I’m the one you suck up to.
Bobby: What about Shelly?
Audrey: What about Shelly?

The Audrey-Bobby camaraderie is beginning to loose its initial flair, with her suggesting he should tag along if he wants to get rich. Far better when Bobby finally gets his arse into gear and (attempts to) comes to Shelly’s rescue. This scene has a tension not seen since Leland’s reveal, and there’s more than a touch of the slasher film villain to Leo rampaging through the window, stuck in the leg by Shelly (she ends up rescuing Bobby). Or Frankenstein’s monster, as Bobby succinctly notes next week. It’s after this that Leo finds Windom’s cabin in the woods (“It’s all right. I’m a friend. Come sit”).


Major Briggs: Their motivation in search of the White Lodge is not ideologically pure.

Major Briggs will feature in Windom’s personal mission, as the quests for lodge secrets dovetail. Here, we discover that Briggs has become disillusioned with his bosses, who are exhibiting “a degree of suspicion and control bordering on paranoia”. It’s nice to see the military man with a conscience decide his personal code takes priority over orders (even when “That’s classified”). Briggs believes he was taken to the White Lodge during his disappearance. Like Coop he is full of portents of doom, warning of much trouble ahead, and that he will return “But Until that time, I will be in the shadows if you need me”. He also, with Coop and Harry, drinks down a long glass of water.


Andy: We think Nicky murdered his parents.

The little Nicky plot continues to be second only to the Adam Sandler movie in edginess. Lucy announces Andy and Dick are “not fit to be fathers to a chimpanzee”. On the upside, Dr Hayward’s account of Nicky’s entrance into the world has an appealing air of over baked pulp fiction. His mother was a poor itinerant chambermaid and Nicky was conceived in an assault in a back alley. Even worse, she died giving birth to Nicky! The humanity.


Norma: People will find out.
Big Ed: Let ‘em.

A few of the other less than stellar plotlines also show a flicker of enthusiasm this week. It’s rather nice to have Ed and Norma find happiness, with the news that Hank has been booked for parole violation (he makes one more appearance in the show). Dr Hayward gets another humour-laced scene discussing Nadine’s sexual dynamism; Ed Wakes up every morning and feel like “I’ve been hit by a timber truck”. The doc’s advice to Ed is to “Be patient and have her home by 9 o’clock on school nights” which is perfectly useless advice but quite funny. Talking of timber, Hank claimed a tree fell on him (rather than Nadine).


Dr Jacobi: What he needs right now is both your understanding, and a Confederate victory.

As for the Ben/American Civil War saga, it could amount to dynamite viewing but with the arrival of Jerry and Dr Jacobi (sitting on a perch, taking notes), it actually has a bit of zest. Jacobi, in his only-in-the-movies manner, suggests Ben can regain his faculties through enacting a Confederate win, which requires the pitching in of his nearest and dearest.


Jacobi’s also on hand with Lana Budding Miflord, a subplot so slender they must have been really desperate to approve it. The mayor turns up at the police station with a gun, and refers to Jacobi, who has spent the last 24 hours with her and noted her heightened sexual drive, as a hippy. Rather satisfyingly, Coop plays clever cupid and shuts the mayor and the widow in a room together to talk things through. Presto, they are engaged and “We decided to adopt a child”.


Edel does his best, but he can’t inject drama into dozy James realising he has been set up for the murder of Evelyn’s hubby (brake failure). Luckily, Donna is on hand to help him escape (that wet, but curiously catchy song with a high pitched James singing is also on tap). No more electrifying is Pete reacquainting with Andrew, or the arrival of Thomas Eckhardt, coming to Twin Peaks “like a rat to cheese”.  The metaphor is as basic as they get and, despite the welcome appearance of David Warner, this plotline has some heavy lifting to do if it’s going to become engaging (that I can’t remember if it does suggests otherwise, although I readily recall Warner).


Next week makes good on the promise here and then some, as unlikely special guest director Diane Keaton throws everything into an episode brimming with pleasurable little asides. Even if no one else bother, she clearly took note of Lynch’s predilections and strange fascinations.



Popular posts from this blog

If I do nothing else, I will convince them that Herbert Stempel knows what won the goddam Academy Award for Best goddam Picture of 1955. That’s what I’m going to accomplish.

Quiz Show (1994) (SPOILERS) Quiz Show perfectly encapsulates a certain brand of Best Picture nominee: the staid, respectable, diligent historical episode, a morality tale in response to which the Academy can nod their heads approvingly and discerningly, feeding as it does their own vainglorious self-image about how times and attitudes have changed, in part thanks to their own virtuousness. Robert Redford’s film about the 1950s Twenty-One quiz show scandals is immaculately made, boasts a notable cast and is guided by a strong screenplay from Paul Attanasio (who, on television, had just created the seminal Homicide: Life on the Streets ), but it lacks that something extra that pushes it into truly memorable territory.

Your Mickey Mouse is one big stupid dope!

Enemy Mine (1985) (SPOILERS) The essential dynamic of Enemy Mine – sworn enemies overcome their differences to become firm friends – was a well-ploughed one when it was made, such that it led to TV Tropes assuming, since edited, that it took its title from an existing phrase (Barry Longyear, author of the 1979 novella, made it up, inspired by the 1961 David Niven film The Best of Enemies ). The Film Yearbook Volume 5 opined that that Wolfgang Petersen’s picture “ lacks the gritty sauciness of Hell in the Pacific”; John Boorman’s WWII film stranded Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune on a desert island and had them first duking it out before becoming reluctant bedfellows. Perhaps germanely, both movies were box office flops.

Piece by piece, the camel enters the couscous.

The Forgiven (2021) (SPOILERS) By this point, the differences between filmmaker John Michael McDonagh and his younger brother, filmmaker and playwright Martin McDonagh, are fairly clearly established. Both wear badges of irreverence and provocation in their writing, and a willingness to tackle – or take pot-shots – at bigger issues, ones that may find them dangling their toes in hot water. But Martin receives the lion’s share of the critical attention, while John is generally recognised as the slightly lesser light. Sure, some might mistake Seven Psychopaths for a John movie, and Calvary for a Martin one, but there’s a more flagrant sense of attention seeking in John’s work, and concomitantly less substance. The Forgiven is clearly aiming more in the expressly substantial vein of John’s earlier Calvary, but it ultimately bears the same kind of issues in delivery.

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

Say hello to the Scream Extractor.

Monsters, Inc. (2001) (SPOILERS) I was never the greatest fan of Monsters, Inc. , even before charges began to be levelled regarding its “true” subtext. I didn’t much care for the characters, and I particularly didn’t like the way Pixar’s directors injected their own parenting/ childhood nostalgia into their plots. Something that just seems to go on with their fare ad infinitum. Which means the Pixars I preferred tended to be the Brad Bird ones. You know, the alleged objectivist. Now, though, we learn Pixar has always been about the adrenochrome, so there’s no going back…

No one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

The Matrix  (1999) (SPOILERS) Twenty years on, and the articles are on the defining nature of The Matrix are piling up, most of them touching on how its world has become a reality, or maybe always was one. At the time, its premise was engaging enough, but it was the sum total of the package that cast a spell – the bullet time, the fashions, the soundtrack, the comic book-as-live-action framing and styling – not to mention it being probably the first movie to embrace and reflect the burgeoning Internet ( Hackers doesn’t really count), and subsequently to really ride the crest of the DVD boom wave. And now? Now it’s still really, really good.

I’m just the balloon man.

Copshop (2021) (SPOILERS) A consistent problem with Joe Carnahan’s oeuvre is that, no matter how confidently his movies begin, or how strong his premise, or how adept his direction or compelling the performances he extracts, he ends up blowing it. He blows it with Copshop , a ’70s-inspired variant on Assault on Precinct 13 that is pretty damn good during the first hour, before devolving into his standard mode of sado-nihilistic mayhem.

Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.

Bugsy (1991) (SPOILERS) Bugsy is very much a Warren Beatty vanity project (aren’t they all, even the ones that don’t seem that way on the surface?), to the extent of his playing a title character a decade and a half younger than him. As such, it makes sense that producer Warren’s choice of director wouldn’t be inclined to overshadow star Warren, but the effect is to end up with a movie that, for all its considerable merits (including a script from James Toback chock full of incident), never really feels quite focussed, that it’s destined to lead anywhere, even if we know where it’s going.

When we have been subtle, then can I kill him?

The Avengers 6.16. Legacy of Death There’s scarcely any crediting the Terry Nation of Noon-Doomsday as the same Terry Nation that wrote this, let alone the Terry Nation churning out a no-frills Dalek story a season for the latter stages of the Jon Pertwee era. Of course, Nation had started out as a comedy writer (for Hancock), and it may be that the kick Brian Clemens gave him up the pants in reaction to the quality of Noon-Doomsday loosened a whole load of gags. Admittedly, a lot of them are well worn, but they come so thick and fast in Legacy of Death , accompanied by an assuredly giddy pace from director Don Chaffey (of Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts ) and a fine ensemble of supporting players, that it would be churlish to complain.

You ever heard the saying, “Don’t rob the bank across from the diner that has the best donuts in three counties”?

2 Guns (2013) (SPOILERS) Denzel Washington is such a reliable performer, that it can get a bit boring. You end up knowing every gesture or inflection in advance, whether he’s playing a good guy or a bad guy. And his films are generally at least half decent, so you end up seeing them. Even in Flight (or perhaps especially in Flight ; just watch him chugging down that vodka) where he’s giving it his Oscar-nominatable best, he seems too familiar. I think it may be because he’s an actor who is more effective the less he does. In 2 Guns he’s not doing less, but sometimes it seems like it. That’s because the last person I’d ever expect blows him off the screen; Mark Wahlberg.