Skip to main content

Coop, what happened to dead Josie?

Twin Peaks
2.16: The Condemned Woman

I was a little premature to mark out Season Two’s upward path as consistent from 2.14 onwards. This and the next episode are a bit of slip back. Tricia Block pens her second episode, but despite a few strong moments Lesli Link Glatter is unable to fashion gold from it. The Condemned Woman is most notable for closing off the underwhelming Josie saga (Harry’s long dark weekend of the soul aside), and doing so in the most deranged manner.


Special Agent Cooper: Why did you shoot me, Josie?
Josie: Because you came here. I knew this day was going to come. I’m not going to jail.

Josie was never most scintillating of characters, set up as a femme fatale but lacking the storylines to justify that status. Now, when we find out why she shot Coop… it’s nonsense. She’s not mad, or wasn’t, and she was quite a cool customer around the time Coop was shot, so the decision to pin the attempted on murder on her cries foul.


Special Agent Cooper: Albert, I don’t take it personally.

The lead up to her demise isn’t especially rewarding either. Coop tries to delay the inevitable for Harry’s sake, but in the meantime Catherine lets Josie have a gun so she can toodle off to see Eckhardt. Albert, in his least noteworthy appearance, doesn’t even get a good line. He’s hell-bent on nailing Josie (“Bust this bitch”) and absent his customary acid wit. The worst of it is, this is the last we see of him.


I have to admit, I hadn’t realised how small David Warner’s role in the show was. A little of him has a lot of impact, clearly. He gets a decent death scene, but he’d been doing those with aplomb for a good 20 years by this point. There’s also a nice scene between him and Dan O’Herlihy in a lift where the latter exclaims, “I’m aliiiiivve!” with some vim. Andrew also has a good guffaw when Pete makes a face out of his breakfast bacon and eggs, leading to Catherine making a Hardy Boys comparison.


Bob: Coop, what happened to dead Josie?

The reason this ep gets a just above mediocre rating is the ending. It’s downright weird. Mostly in random way, but still. Coop and then Harry confront Josie. She’s armed, having just shot Eckhardt. And then, just like that, she drops dead. Rather melodramatic and a bit convenient (Harry doesn’t have to kill her). And then Bob appears by the bed quizzing Coop on her fate, followed by the Man from Another Place doing a shoe shuffle across the covers.


It isn’t as if Josie’s world would intersect with the Lodges for any good reason, except for the expediency of sending the series generally in that direction. Weirdest of all, rightat the end we see her face trapped in a wooden drawer nob, screaming and twisting and then freezing (the effect hold up very well, actually). What’s it all about?


We learn next episode that she weighed only 65 pounds at her autopsy, the suggestion being her soul was sucked into the fabric of the hotel. Why her in particular? Maybe her fear made good fodder for Bob and the Man from Another Place? It was apparently intended that she be glimpsed in the Black Lodge during the season finale. Effective as the scene is, I’m not convinced it was a plotline that merited merging with the main mythology of the show.


Of which, Windom Earle is on a bit of a back burner, requesting Coop makes a move “Or I will make it for you”. I hadn’t realised the mask on the bed was Caroline’s death mask. Aside from laying out his (rather redundant really; it leads to no real consequences, almost as the writers dropped something they had planned) meet for Donna, Audrey and Shelly (“Please attend a gathering of the angels”) with their pieces of poem, and dressing as a lumberjack, Windom has Leo sharpening sticks for arrows (to be used in an episode or three). It occurs to me that by this point Leo has spent comparable time in a dirty old dressing gown to Arthur Dent in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


Elsewhere, we see more owls (one in the jar in the first scene), Coop practices his casting in his hotel room, there’s the first mention of Norma’s sister Annie (the lovely Heather Graham) and James and Donna have a picnic (exactly as riveting as that sounds). It’s also the last appearance of Hank. One might have expected him to be shot by Harry. Instead, he screams at Norma from his cell that she’s a whore (“I’d rather be his whore than your wife”) as yet again Ed and Nadine agree to break up (we went through this last week).


There’s an increasing focus on Ben Horne, so it’s as well Richard Beymer is so watchable. He’s taken up prop eating. This week its celery, but carrots will become his Bugs Bunny food of choice. This is the point, post madness, where he decides to lead a righteous life/screw over Catherine (take your pick) and devote himself to saving “the little pine weasel” which will just happen to hamper Catherine’s plans to develop Ghostwood (he may also run for senate). Jerry’s on hand to make some off-colour remarks (“They’re incredible roasted” he comments of the pine weasel) and, in an unseen incident, “The Chef just tried to stab Jerry”.


Which just leaves saying that this episode’s major new character is your friend Billy Zane. He’s a cool dude. At this point McLachlan had nixed the Audrey relationship (because she was too young for Coop, or because Boyle had dictated how things had to be for BF Kyle), so Audrey gets paired with Zane’s John Justice Wheeler. He’s kind of a dullard, frankly. More lively than James Hurley, but who isn’t? It’s also slightly creepy that he should wax lyrical about Audrey at 10 years old dressed as Heidi, but I guess we should forgive him since he’s Billy Zane. As for Audrey, all that Season One promise seems to have ebbed away, as she is forced into a corporate straight jacket (and snarled at by a concierge).






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…

We’re not owners here, Karen. We’re just passing through.

Out of Africa (1985)
I did not warm to Out of Africa on my initial viewing, which would probably have been a few years after its theatrical release. It was exactly as the publicity warned, said my cynical side; a shallow-yet-bloated, awards-baiting epic romance. This was little more than a well-dressed period chick flick, the allure of which was easily explained by its lovingly photographed exotic vistas and Robert Redford rehearsing a soothing Timotei advert on Meryl Streep’s distressed locks. That it took Best Picture only seemed like confirmation of it as all-surface and no substance. So, on revisiting the film, I was curious to see if my tastes had “matured” or if it deserved that dismissal. 

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

Split (2016)
(SPOILERS) M Night Shyamalan went from the toast of twist-based filmmaking to a one-trick pony to the object of abject ridicule in the space of only a couple of pictures: quite a feat. Along the way, I’ve managed to miss several of his pictures, including his last, The Visit, regarded as something of a re-locating of his footing in the low budget horror arena. Split continues that genre readjustment, another Blumhouse production, one that also manages to bridge the gap with the fare that made him famous. But it’s a thematically uneasy film, marrying shlock and serious subject matter in ways that don’t always quite gel.

Shyamalan has seized on a horror staple – nubile teenage girls in peril, prey to a psychotic antagonist – and, no doubt with the best intentions, attempted to warp it. But, in so doing, he has dragged in themes and threads from other, more meritable fare, with the consequence that, in the end, the conflicting positions rather subvert his attempts at subversion…

If you could just tell me what those eyes have seen.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
(SPOILERS) Robert Rodriguez’ film of James Cameron’s at-one-stage-planned film of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm on the one hand doesn’t feel overly like a Rodriguez film, in that it’s quite polished, so certainly not of the sort he’s been making of late – definitely a plus – but on the other, it doesn’t feel particularly like a Jimbo flick either. What it does well, it mostly does very well – the action, despite being as thoroughly steeped in CGI as Avatar – but many of its other elements, from plotting to character to romance, are patchy or generic at best. Despite that, there’s something likeable about the whole ludicrously expensive enterprise that is Alita: Battle Angel, a willingness to be its own kind of distinctive misfit misfire.

Mountains are old, but they're still green.

Roma (2018)
(SPOILERS) Roma is a critics' darling and a shoe-in for Best Foreign Film Oscar, with the potential to take the big prize to boot, but it left me profoundly indifferent, its elusive majesty remaining determinedly out of reach. Perhaps that's down to generally spurning autobiographical nostalgia fests – complete with 65mm widescreen black and white, so it's quite clear to viewers that the director’s childhood reverie equates to the classics of old – or maybe the elliptical characterisation just didn't grab me, but Alfonso Cuarón's latest amounts to little more than a sliver of substance beneath all that style.

Life is like a box of timelines. You feel me?

Russian Doll Season One
(SPOILERS) It feels like loading the dice to proclaim something necessarily better because it’s female-driven, but that’s the tack The Hollywood Reporter took with its effusive review of Russian Doll, suggesting “although Nadia goes on a similar journey of self-discovery to Bill Murray’s hackneyed reporter in Groundhog Day, the fact that the show was created, written by and stars women means that it offers up a different, less exploitative and far more thoughtful angle” (than the predominately male-centric entries in the sub-genre). Which rather sounds like Rosie Knight changing the facts to fit her argument. And ironic, given star Natasha Lyonne has gone out of her way to stress the show’s inclusive message. Russian Dollis good, but the suggestion that “unlike its predecessors (it) provides a thoughtfulness, authenticity and honesty which makes it inevitable end (sic) all the more powerful” is cobblers.

We’re looking for a bug no one’s seen before. Some kind of smart bug.

Starship Troopers (1997)
(SPOILERS) Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi trio of Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers are frequently claimed to be unrivalled in their genre, but it’s really only the first of them that entirely attains that rarefied level. Discussion and praise of Starship Troopers is generally prefaced by noting that great swathes of people – including critics and cast members – were too stupid to realise it was a satire. This is a bit of a Fight Club one, certainly for anyone from the UK (Verhoeven commented “The English got it though. I remember coming out of Heathrow and seeing the posters, which were great. They were just stupid lines about war from the movie. I thought, ‘Finally someone knows how to promote this.’”) who needed no kind of steer to recognise what the director was doing. And what he does, he does splendidly, even if, at times, I’m not sure he entirely sustains a 129-minute movie, since, while both camp and OTT, Starship Troopers is simultaneously required t…

Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest.

Prediction 2019 Oscars
Shockingly, as in I’m usually much further behind, I’ve missed out on only one of this year’s Best Picture nominees– Vice isn’t yet my vice, it seems – in what is being suggested, with some justification, as a difficult year to call. That might make for must-see appeal, if anyone actually cared about the movies jostling for pole position. If it were between Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody (if they were even sufficiently up to snuff to deserve a nod in the first place), there might be a strange fascination, but Joe Public don’t care about Roma, underlined by it being on Netflix and stillconspicuously avoided by subscribers (if it were otherwise, they’d be crowing about viewing figures; it’s no Bird Box, that’s for sure).

You use a scalpel. I prefer a hammer.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
(SPOILERS) The latest instalment of the impossibly consistent in quality Mission: Impossible franchise has been hailed as the best yet, and with but a single dud among the sextet that’s a considerable accolade. I’m not sure it's entirely deserved – there’s a particular repeated thematic blunder designed to add some weight in a "hero's validation" sense that not only falls flat, but also actively detracts from the whole – but as a piece of action filmmaking, returning director Christopher McQuarrie has done it again. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an incredible accomplishment, the best of its ilk this side of Mad Max: Fury Road.