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.








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

He’s probably paranoid, high-strung, doesn’t like daylight. You know, has a lot of crumbs in his beard, if he has a beard.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) (SPOILERS) I’d like to report I had a blast with Godzilla vs. Kong . It’s lighter on its oversized, city-stomping feet than its slog of a MonsterVerse predecessor, Godzilla: King of the Monsters , and there are flashes of visual inspiration along with several engaging core ideas (which, to be fair, the series had already laid the seeds for). But this sequel still stumbles in its chief task: assembling an engaging, lively story that successfully integrates both tiny humans and towering titans.

It's Dark Age, by Jupiter!

The Dig (2021) (SPOILERS) An account of the greatest archaeological find Britain would know until Professor Horner opened the barrow at Devil’s End. And should you scoff at such “ fiction ”, that’s nothing on this adaptation of John Preston’s 2007 novel concerning the Sutton Hoo excavations of the late 1930s. The Dig , as is the onus of any compelling fictional account, takes liberties with the source material, but the erring from the straight and narrow in this case is less an issue than the shift in focus from characters and elements successfully established during the first hour.

You stink, my friend.

Mulan (2020) (SPOILERS) Let that be a lesson to Disney. It’s a fool’s errand to try and beat the Chinese at their own game, no matter how painstakingly respectful – or rather, pandering – you are. Indeed, Mulan ’s abysmal $40m box office take in the country – where it did get a proper release, so no plandemic excuses can be cited – feels like a direct rebuke; don’t try and tell us how to suck eggs. There’s an additional explanation too, of course. That Mulan sucks.

Our "Bullshit!" team has unearthed spectacular new evidence, which suggests, that Jack the Ripper was, in fact, the Loch Ness Monster.

Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) Cheeseburger Film Sandwich . Apparently, that’s what the French call Amazon Women on the Moon . Except that it probably sounds a little more elegant, since they’d be saying it in French (I hope so, anyway). Given the title, it should be no surprise that it is regarded as a sequel to Kentucky Fried Movie . Which, in some respects, it is. John Landis originally planned to direct the whole of Amazon Women himself, but brought in other directors due to scheduling issues. The finished film is as much of a mess as Kentucky Fried Movie , arrayed with more miss sketches than hit ones, although it’s decidedly less crude and haphazard than the earlier picture. Some have attempted to reclaim Amazon Women as a dazzling satire on TV’s takeover of our lives, but that’s stretching it. There is a fair bit of satire in there, but the filmmakers were just trying to be funny; there’s no polemic or express commentary. But even on such moderate t

Roswell was a smokescreen, we've had a half a dozen better salvage operations.

The X-Files 1.24: The Erlenmeyer Flask The Erlenmeyer Flask makes for a fast-paced, tense and eventful ride, but does it make any sense? That less than mattered at the time, but revisiting the mythology arc (for probably the fourth or fifth time) reveals increasingly tenuous internal coherence as the various conspiracy elements begin to pile up and the situations become ever-more convoluted. This will become the Chris Carter’s signature: don’t examine the details too closely, go with the flow. Trust Chris implicitly.

UFO IN MOSSINGHAM?

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2020) (SPOILERS) One might reasonably suggest the recourse of the ailing or desperate franchise is to resort, seemingly out of nowhere, to space aliens. Even Police Academy didn’t go that far (to Moscow, yes, but not to space). Perhaps animators think kids have no skills of discernment and will swallow any old sugar-coated crap. Perhaps they don’t, and they will. Ice Age had been enjoying absurd success until Collision Course sent Scrat spinning into the cosmos and grosses tumbled. Shaun the Sheep has been around for a quarter of a century, but this is only his second movie outing and already he’s pulling an E.T. on us. Of course, this may all be part of the grand scheme, and Nick Park is simply doing his bit to familiarise the tots in time for Project Blue Beam.

Wow. Asteroids are made of farts. Okay. I got it.

Greenland (2020) (SPOILERS) Global terror porn for overpopulation adherents as Gerard Butler and his family do their darnedest to reach the safety of a bunker in the titular country in the face of an imminent comet impact. Basically, what if 2012 were played straight? These things come to test cinemas in cycles, of course. Sean Connery struggled with a duff rug and a stack of mud in Meteor , while Deep Impact plumbed for another dread comet and Armageddon an asteroid. The former, owing to the combined forces of Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin, was a – relatively – more meditative fare. The latter was directed by Michael Bay. And then there’s Roland Emmerich, who having hoisted a big freeze on us in The Day After Tomorrow then wreaked a relatively original source of devastation in the form of 2012 ’s overheating Earth’s core. Greenland , meanwhile, is pretty much what you’d expect from the director of Angel Has Fallen .

Careful how much boat you’re eating.

Onward (2020) (SPOILERS) Pixar’s Bright , or thereabouts. The interesting thing – perhaps the only interesting thing – about Onward is that it’s almost indiscernible from a DreamWorks Animation effort, where once they cocked a snook at such cheap-seats fare, seeing themselves as better class of animation house altogether. Just about everything in Onward is shamelessly derivative, from the Harry Potter /fantasy genre cash-in to the use of the standard Pixar formula whereby any scenario remotely eccentric or exotic is buried beneath the banal signifiers of modern society: because anything you can imagine must be dragged down to tangible everyday reference points or kids won’t be able to assimilate it. And then there’s the choice of lead voices, in-Disney star-slaves Chris Pratt and Tom Holland.

By heaven, I’d thrash the life out of you… if I didn’t have to read the Nine O’Clock News.

The Green Man (1956) (SPOILERS) The Green movie from Launder and Gilliat starring Alastair Sim that isn’t Green for Danger. Which is to say, The Green Man can’t quite scale the heady heights of that decade-earlier murder mystery triumph, but neither is it any slouch. Sim is the antagonist this time – albeit a very affable, Sim-ish one – and his sometime protégée, a young George Cole, the hero. If the plot is entirely absurd, Robert Day’s movie wastes no time probing such insufficiencies, ensuring it is very funny, lively and beautifully performed.

Well, I’ll be damned. It’s the gentleman guppy.

Waterworld (1995) (SPOILERS) The production and budgetary woes of “ Kevin’s Gate ” will forever overshadow the movie’s content (and while it may have been the most expensive movie ever to that point – adjusted for inflation, it seems only Cleopatra came close – it has since turned a profit). However, should you somehow manage to avoid the distraction of those legendary problems, the real qualitative concerns are sure to come sailing over the cognitive horizon eventually; Waterworld is just so damned derivative. It’s a seafaring Mad Max. Peter Rader, who first came up with the idea in 1986, admitted as much. David Twohy, who later came aboard, also cited Mad Max 2 ; that kind of rip-off aspect – Jaws birthing Piranha – makes it unsurprising Waterworld was once under consideration by Roger Corman (he couldn’t cost it cheaply enough). Ultimately, there’s never a sufficient sense the movie has managed to become its own thing. Which is a bummer, because it’s frequently quite good fun.