Skip to main content

A man who doesn't love easily loves too much.

Twin Peaks
2.17: Wounds and Scars

The real problem with the last half of the second season, now it has the engine of Windom Earle running things, is that there isn’t really anything else that’s much cop. Last week, Audrey’s love interest was introduced: your friend Billy Zane (he’s a cool dude). This week, Coop’s arrives: Annie Blackburn. On top of that, the desperation that is the Miss Twin Peaks Contest makes itself known.


I probably don’t mind the Contest as much as some, however. It’s undoubtedly lame, but it at least projects the season towards some kind of climax. If nothing else, it resolutely highlights Lynch’s abiding fascination with pretty girls, as if that needed any further attention drawn to it.


Special Agent Cooper: You made it just right, Annie.

I also like Heather Graham’s Annie. Whatever the behind the scenes wrangles that led to the disintegration of the Coop-Audrey romance (and it will be rather unceremoniously deconstructed in later Coop comments), it’s certainly the case that Coop’s attraction to Annie feels more germane to his character and less the Special Agent as a lusty Lynch stand-in (complete with books on Tibet). The only real problem with it is that, like about 80% of the show at this point, the writers don’t really know where they’re heading. So Coop and Annie woo in circles for the next five or six episodes (she attempted suicide you know, and Coop continually tries to get her to talk about it by telling her she really doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to).


Audrey: Did you come here for the fashion show?
John Justice Wheeler: No, I came here for you.

The real loser in all this is Audrey. Whether that’s a consequence of Sherilyn Fenn being allegedly difficult, again, I don’t know. By this point the initial tight-sweatered lustre of the character has well and truly worn off, though. Billy Zane serenading her and swooping her in his arms is incredibly boring. It elicits pretty much the same level of interest as anything involving the now wholly exited James (anyone missing him?)


The “Ben is Donna’s dad” plotline is also lacking much in the way of enticement although it’s nice to see Mary Jo Deschanel wheeled back on. While Richard Beymer is never less than great, the well has finally run dry for his plotlines so they’re struggling to make the straight soapy idea of a dodgy businessman rediscovering his conscience work. There’s only really a pay-off to this when Lynch returns for the finale.


The character who really shouldn’t work, Dick Tremayne, continues to be an oozing, smarmy bright spot in the unfailingly tiresome Lucy/Andy “Who’s the daddy?” saga. In aid of Ben’s plot to stop Ghostwood, there’s a fashion show supporting the pine weasel. Complete with the return of David L Lander (2.5) as Tim Pinkle.  He needs to be told representing the creature with a stuffed exhibit at an ecological event is inappropriate (there is also a picture of one that’s a stuffed toy, which is even funnier), and Dick gets bitten on the nose when he is encouraged to kiss the weasel. The show descends into chaos when the critter gets loose, complete with weasel cam. It’s filler, but Ian Buchanan is unfailingly good value throughout, and keeps the proceedings watchable. The interaction with Lander is consistently funny too.


Special Agent Cooper: A man who doesn’t love easily loves too much.

Presumably this episode was Michael Ontkean’s reward for all that hitherto responsible acting, since Harry’s allowed to meltdown following Josie’s death. Which entails getting hammered, smashing up the Bookhouse and getting succubied by Eckhardt’s ex-assistant Jones. It’s quite tiresome, with the only point of interest coming from the revelation that Josie’s body was 65 pounds at autopsy (“Maybe I just better whistle when we walk past the graveyard”).


Special Agent Cooper: Windom Earle, Bob, the Midget. Do these events foretell the return of Bob? I hope not, for all our sakes.

Coop has announced Bob will be back, and what lifts this is the Lodge related business. Pete is conscious that even his best game of chess will lead to at least six people dying (“He doesn’t want odds, he wants royalty”); it’s symptomatic of the show that this should be abandoned before the finale.  Meanwhile, Andy doesn’t get the rules (“The knight has to do the little hook thing”).


Windom Earle: This isn’t a move. This is a trick. He’s playing a stalemate game. Cooper doesn’t know the meaning of stalemate. He’s getting help!

Still, Windom’s onto Coop’s tactics, and after a limited showing in 2.16 Welsh is back in force. His “master of disguise” routine finds him posing as Dr Gerald Craig (an old pal of Dr Hayward’s who died many years before, we later discover), and most amusingly sitting in the diner dressed as a biker. His repartee towards succinct Leo is ever amusing (“Tacit agreement is acceptable, Leo. Your silence speaks volumes”).


There’s also the link of Lodge tattoos. The Log Lady reveals that like Briggs she has a strange – but different – symbol, on the back of her leg. She disappeared (wasn’t abducted by aliens) for a day when she was seven. She saw lights and heard the cry of an owl: and again, just before her husband died.


So while Wounds and Scars is an improvement on the lows of Wallies, it’s far from the series firing on all cylinders. By this time it’s just got too much dead wood to reach its once glorious peaks. I think when I first watched it, I found the Windom Earle plotline enough to compensate for the deficiencies elsewhere. His is still good stuff, but can’t distract so persuasively now.








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…

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.

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.

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.

Tippy-toe! Tippy-toe!

Seinfeld 2.7: The Phone Message The Premise George and Jerry both have dates on the same night. Neither goes quite as planned, and in George’s case it results in him leaving an abusive message on his girlfriend’s answerphone. The only solution is to steal the tape before she plays it. Observational Further evidence of the gaping chasm between George and Jerry’s approaches to the world. George neurotically attacks his problems and makes them worse, while Jerry shrugs and lets them go. It’s nice to see the latter’s anal qualities announcing themselves, however; he’s so bothered that his girlfriend likes a terrible TV advert that he’s mostly relieved when she breaks things off (“ To me the dialogue rings true ”). Neither Gretchen German (as Donna, Jerry’s date) nor Tory Polone (as Carol, George’s) make a huge impression, but German has more screen time and better dialogue. The main attraction is Jerry’s reactions, which include trying to impress her with hi