Skip to main content

I haven’t been this excited since I punctured Caroline’s aorta.

Twin Peaks
2.21: Miss Twin Peaks

The penultimate episode, and appropriately Tim Hunter (relied on to deal with Leland’s demise), gives it some welly for the inglorious Miss Twin Peaks contest. The contest may not be the greatest of climactic ideas, but Barry Pullman (in his last of four credits) ensures it services raising the tension.


Indeed, very little is actually distractingly slack here, although you couldn’t exactly call anything galvanising either. The contest judges, except for the mayor, are shown to be on the side of the angels. Norma hopes it will be a good day for healing, and Dick redeems himself while being mirthfully dismissive of Lucy’s revelation that she has decided Andy is the father of her child (pretty much mirroring the audience reaction, then).


Audrey is wearing a red dress, as a now un-virginal woman. Subtle that. She’s conspicuously absent from the leg-revelling and revealing dance number staged by sleazy Pinkle (he gets about, that’s for sure). Apparently Fenn demurred from appearing. Honestly, who can blame her, as fascinating as it is to watch?


Big Ed: Norma and I plan on getting married.

On the Norma front, Ed announces they are to wed, which results in Nadine claiming she and Mike are to do so too (Nadine is hit on the head at the climax, which bodes ill for happily ever afters). Donna issues an ultimatum to her parents, then has Ben reveal the truth at the contest, in not so many words (“You’re my father?”) Andrew shoots open the last remaining puzzle box to reveal a key (“And where there’s a key, there’s a lock”). All these pay off in arresting ways in the finale, which is something. There’s also a jolly bit where a labourer appears to be taking a plastic deer from behind.


Richard Tremayne: She gave a beautiful speech. Inherent in her message were words even the most craven of us could ill afford to ignore.

During the pageant, there’s some weird business where Pinkle is either getting over-excited or fresh with the Log Lady. Quite disconcerting either way.  And Lucy showcases her dance moves (Wendy Robie getting to show she’s not just a squeaky voice). Lana’s “contortionistic jazz erotica” isn’t really all that, truth be told. But neither is Annie’s Coop-scripted, Sioux-quoting paean to saving the Earth.


At least Coop is in full Zen mode again, informing Diane he has been “struck again by the realisation that all of us on this great big planet Earth live in only a fraction of our potential” and how Annie is “a completely original human being”. There follows an innuendo-stoked scene where Coop tells Annie “Your forest is beautiful and peaceful”, leading her to comment, “I don’t want to talk about trees any more”. As if that’s what they were doing.


Windom Earle: Fear Leo, that’s the key. My favourite emotional state.

Windom Earle is, as last week, the life and soul, although less vocally so this time. His curious arrival back at his shack reveals him with an ashen face and blackened mouth, no doubt having prepared himself in some manner for his entrance to the Black Lodge (working up enough fear?) Does he also have a death bag? Well, he has a bag. Leo, a very late-hour hero, ensures Major Briggs’ escape so as to save Shelly. Very touching. I’m not convinced of Windom’s leaving Leo tied to a box of spiders, however. A hand grenade might have been more convincing.


Windom Earle: I haven’t been this excited since I punctured Caroline’s aorta.

Earle’s disguise as the Log Lady is a stroke of absurd genius. Not only for the sheer spectacle, but for the subsequent moment where he beats a deserving Bobby over the head with his wooden companion (“So what? Did you bring the whole family?” Bobby inquires, assuming several of her log wielding clan are present, the clod). He makes off with the Queen of the Pageant of course, at which point, amid the dry ice and strobe effects, Coop has his first glimpse of his former partner during the show’s run.


Andy: I know where it’s telling us to go, it’s not a puzzle at all. It’s a map.

The investigative side is a little less self-assured. It’s a nice touch to have Andy diligently inspecting the petroglyph throughout, and being key to deductions, but the actual conversations and connections don’t flow as tidily as they ought. We go over what we already know about the door to the Black Lodge opening when Jupiter and Saturn are conjunct, and how fear and love open the doors (“Two doors, two lodges”). The donor of the bonsai is also revealed when Andy accidentally knocks it over. Coop is basically concluding what Windom Earle already knows, and filling Harry in on Josie’s death. It’s necessary, but none too elegant.


Special Agent Cooper: I think the Black Lodge is what you have referred to in the past as “the evil in these woods”.


Davis is on great form once again as Briggs, shaking his hands and uttering gibberish about the King of Romania. With Lynch back to helm the finale (scripted by Frost, Engels and Peyton, but with more than enough peculiarity to evidence the additional input from Jimmy Stewart from Mars), the weirdness is impressively upped but for whatever reason the involvement of Windom Earle is negligible. So it’s worth saying here that Kenneth Welsh is crucial to the success of the last half of Season Two, providing an irresistible energy in his every scene. And, as far as cross-dressing goes, he gives Duchovny a run for his money. Possibly even Michael Caine in Dressed to Kill.













Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
I’ve seen comments suggesting that John Sturges’ thriller hasn’t aged well, which I find rather mystifying. Sure, some of the characterisations border on the cardboard, but the director imbues the story with a taut, economical backbone. 

You can’t climb a ladder, no. But you can skip like a goat into a bar.

Juno and the Paycock (1930)
(SPOILERS) Hitchcock’s second sound feature. Such was the lustre of this technological advance that a wordy play was picked. By Sean O’Casey, upon whom Hitchcock based the prophet of doom at the end of The Birds. Juno and the Paycock, set in 1922 during the Irish Civil War, begins as a broad comedy of domestic manners, but by the end has descended into full-blown Greek (or Catholic) tragedy. As such, it’s an uneven but still watchable affair, even if Hitch does nothing to disguise its stage origins.

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
(SPOILERS) I don’t love Star Trek, but I do love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That probably isn’t just me, but a common refrain of many a non-devotee of the series. Although, it used to apply to The Voyage Home (the funny one, with the whales, the Star Trek even the target audience for Three Men and a Baby could enjoy). Unfortunately, its high regard has also become the desperate, self-destructive, song-and-verse, be-all-and-end-all of the overlords of the franchise itself, in whichever iteration, it seems. This is understandable to an extent, as Khan is that rare movie sequel made to transcendent effect on almost every level, and one that stands the test of time every bit as well (better, even) as when it was first unveiled.

To defeat the darkness out there, you must defeat the darkness inside yourself.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Easily the best of the Narnia films, which is maybe damning it with faint praise. 

Michael Apted does a competent job directing (certainly compared to his Bond film - maybe he talked to his second unit this time), Dante Spinotti's cinematography is stunning and the CGI mostly well-integrated with the action. 

Performance-wise, Will Poulter is a stand-out as a tremendously obnoxious little toff, so charismatic you're almost rooting for him. Simon Pegg replaces Eddie Izzard as the voice of Reepicheep and delivers a touching performance.
***

When I barked, I was enormous.

Dean Spanley (2008)
(SPOILERS) There is such a profusion of average, respectable – but immaculately made – British period drama held up for instant adulation, it’s hardly surprising that, when something truly worthy of acclaim comes along, it should be singularly ignored. To be fair, Dean Spanleywas well liked by critics upon its release, but its subsequent impact has proved disappointingly slight. Based on Lord Dunsany’s 1939 novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley, our narrator relates how the titular Dean’s imbibification of a moderate quantity of Imperial Tokay (“too syrupy”, is the conclusion reached by both members of the Fisk family regarding this Hungarian wine) precludes his recollection of a past life as a dog. 

Inevitably, reviews pounced on the chance to reference Dean Spanley as a literal shaggy dog story, so I shall get that out of the way now. While the phrase is more than fitting, it serves to underrepresent how affecting the picture is when it has cause to be, as does any re…

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…

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

That Freud stuff’s a bunch of hooey.

Spellbound (1945)
Spellbound is something of a stumbling follow-up to Rebecca, producer David O Selznick’s previous collaboration with Hitchcock. Selznick was a devotee of psychoanalysis, and the idea of basing a film on the subject was already in the mind of the director. To that end, the producer’s own therapist, May Romm, was brought in as a technical advisor (resulting in Hitchcock’s famous response when she pointed out an inaccuracy, “My dear, it’s only a movie”).

So long, sky trash!

Star Wars The Saga Ranked
This is an update of my 2018 ranking, with the addition of highly-acclaimed The Rise of Skywalker along with revisits to the two preceding parts of the trilogy. If you want to be generous and call it that, since the term it makes it sound a whole lot more coherent than it plays.