Skip to main content

No, it’s not about the bunny.

Twin Peaks
3.3: Call for help

If the first two episodes tend to the weird/dark, then the second couple are more in favour of the weird/light, once we get past the Eraserhead stuff with the girl in the radiator, I mean Naido (Nae), who is replaced by Teresa Palmer doppelganger American Girl (Phoebe Augustine). The proceedings come complete with staggered editing that’s enough to give you rolling vision and detached retinas, if you’re lucky, as we continue Cooper’s extended mission to return to the real world, or something approximating it.


American Girl: When you get there, you will already be here.

Some of this material is impenetrable and will surely remain so, as he and Naido go up to the roof, which is floating amid the stars, to connect circuitry that will allow Coop to journey back via the mains, and she is thrown off, only for him to now encounter American Girl down below (“You better hurry. My mother’s coming”). The device(s) that sucks Cooper in alternately displays the numbers 3 and 15 on it (315 of the Great Northern being Cooper’s room number) and he sees an enormous face of Major Briggs floating by in the starscape, intoning “Blue rose” (as Briggs is essential to The Secret History of Twin Peaks, there’ll surely be more in respect of his investigations, Don S Davis’s shuffling off to buffalo not withstanding).


It’s worth mentioning the quality of the effects at this point, as they’re often overtly rudimentary. Your mileage on this may vary, but it seems to me entirely in keeping with Lynch’s uncanny, altered imaginings; in many cases, they might be deemed laughable (as I noted in the review of the first two parts, some of them are very redolent of the intentionally scrappy, cartoonish work in On the Air), if it wasn’t that they’re in the service of content that’s played straight for its strangeness, and thus merely underscores that sense.


Phillip Gerard: Someone manufactured you for a purpose but I think now that’s been fulfilled.

The Evil Cooper plotline doesn’t (yet) in any way follow the trajectory we might have expected, as a further Coop doppelganger, Dougie, is introduced, only to promptly throw up (as has Evil Cooper) and be sucked into the Black Lodge. All the vomit (I want to call it garmonbozia, but I don’t recall mention of it smelling bad; perhaps it does when it’s regurgitated) needs is Wild at Heart’s flies to be truly repulsive (“There is something bad in this vehicle” warns a trooper at Evil Cooper’s crash site). How Evil Cooper fashioned Dougie is anyone’s guess (although the latter appears to reduce to a ball bearing), but the chance for MacLachlan to play up is a riot, first as passive idiot man-child Dougie (I’m relieved we don’t have to suffer his and Noami Watts’ home life) and then as Rain Man Cooper, disorientated in the face of the real world once more when he takes Dougie’s place and, Leo-like, is given new shoes.


Cooper: Call for help.

I was completely on board with Lynch in full whack job mode here, from Coop bending down in the car at just the right moment, such that Dougie’s assassin doesn’t see him, to his visit to the casino where he sees glowing signs inviting him to win at each successive slot machine, entirely bewildered, not paying any heed to the money, and exclaiming “He-llo!” each time, because that’s what the man he first observed playing shouted.


Hawk: If it’s not here, then how do you know it’s missing?
Lucy: But if it is here, then it isn’t missing?
Andy: This is here.
Hawk: Something is missing and I need to find it.

The scenes between an exasperated Hawk and exasperating Andy and Lucy are every bit as enjoyable, as, having retrieved the Laura Palmer file, they don’t know where to start. Other than the Log Lady’s advice about Hawk’s heritage.

Lucy: You’re an Indian.
Hawk: Yes, Lucy. Apparently, that’s the way I’m going to find what’s missing.

This surreal conversation reaches its apex when Lucy reveals she ate some evidence (a chocolate bunny) and wonders if this could have been what was missing. “Do you use chocolate as a remedy for gas?” she asks Hawk of Native American medicine:

Hawk: It’s not about the bunny!... Is it about the bunny?... No, it’s not about the bunny.


And finally, we’re reintroduced to FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole (Lynch) and FBI Agent Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer). And introduced to FBI Agent Tamara Preston (annotator of The Secret History of Twin Peaks). Chrysta Bell’s performance is as odd and strangely emphatic as you’d expect from a Lynch lady (even more offbeat than early Audrey Horne). Lynch meanwhile is giving a markedly more graded showing than he was in the original run, while I initially thought Ferrer, who unsurprisingly doesn’t look at all well, wasn’t up to it at all, but thankfully 3.4 indicated otherwise.


Gordon: Albert, we’re heading for the black hills of South Dakota.
Albert: Good, I’ve been dying to see Mount Rushmore.

But they’re finding their rhythms here; by the following episode (I hasten to add, I don’t know how much of this was filmed sequentially, so I may be talking arse) they’re on a roll. And I love the little touches, like a huge poster of an atom bomb cloud behind Cole’s desk. There’s very definitely a ramshackle, undisciplined quality to this third season, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No matter how innocent you are, or how hard you try, they’ll find you guilty.

The Wrong Man (1956) (SPOILERS) I hate to say it, but old Truffaut called it right on this one. More often than not showing obeisance to the might of Hitchcock during his career-spanning interview, the French critic turned director was surprisingly blunt when it came to The Wrong Man . He told Hitch “ your style, which has found its perfection in the fiction area, happens to be in total conflict with the aesthetics of the documentary and that contradiction is apparent throughout the picture ”. There’s also another, connected issue with this, one Hitch acknowledged: too much fidelity to the true story upon which the film is based.

He’s so persistent! He always gets his man.

Speed (1994) (SPOILERS) It must have been a couple of decades since I last viewed Speed all the way through, so it’s pleasing to confirm that it holds up. Sure, Jan de Bont’s debut as a director can’t compete with the work of John McTiernan, for whom he acted as cinematographer and who recommended de Bont when he passed on the picture, but he nevertheless does a more than competent work. Which makes his later turkeys all the more tragic. And Keanu and Sandra Bullock display the kind of effortless chemistry you can’t put a price tag on. And then there’s Dennis Hopper, having a great old sober-but-still-looning time.

Another case of the screaming oopizootics.

Doctor Who Season 14 – Worst to Best The best Doctor Who season? In terms of general recognition and unadulterated celebration, there’s certainly a strong case to be made for Fourteen. The zenith of Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe’s plans for the series finds it relinquishing the cosy rapport of the Doctor and Sarah in favour of the less-trodden terrain of a solo adventure and underlying conflict with new companion Leela. More especially, it finds the production team finally stretching themselves conceptually after thoroughly exploring their “gothic horror” template over the course of the previous two seasons (well, mostly the previous one).

He is a brigand and a lout. Pay him no serious mention.

The Wind and the Lion (1975) (SPOILERS) John Milius called his second feature a boy’s-own adventure, on the basis of the not-so-terrified responses of one of those kidnapped by Sean Connery’s Arab Raisuli. Really, he could have been referring to himself, in all his cigar-chomping, gun-toting reactionary glory, dreaming of the days of real heroes. The Wind and the Lion rather had its thunder stolen by Jaws on release, and it’s easy to see why. As polished as the picture is, and simultaneously broad-stroke and self-aware in its politics, it’s very definitely a throwback to the pictures of yesteryear. Only without the finger-on-the-pulse contemporaneity of execution that would make Spielberg and Lucas’ genre dives so memorable in a few short years’ time.

But everything is wonderful. We are in Paris.

Cold War (2018) (SPOILERS) Pawel Pawlikowski’s elliptical tale – you can’t discuss Cold War without saying “elliptical” at least once – of frustrated love charts a course that almost seems to be a caricature of a certain brand of self-congratulatorily tragic European cinema. It was, it seems “ loosely inspired ” by his parents (I suspect I see where the looseness comes in), but there’s a sense of calculation to the progression of this love story against an inescapable political backdrop that rather diminishes it.

The game is rigged, and it does not reward people who play by the rules.

Hustlers (2019) (SPOILERS) Sold as a female Goodfellas – to the extent that the producers had Scorsese in mind – this strippers-and-crime tale is actually a big, glossy puff piece, closer to Todd Phillips as fashioned by Lorene Scarfia. There are some attractive performances in Hustlers, notably from Constance Wu, but for all its “progressive” women work male objectification to their advantage posturing, it’s incredibly traditional and conservative deep down.

What do they do, sing madrigals?

The Singing Detective (2003) Icon’s remake of the 1986 BBC serial, from a screenplay by Dennis Potter himself. The Singing Detective fares less well than Icon’s later adaptation of Edge of Darkness , even though it’s probably more faithful to Potter’s original. Perhaps the fault lies in the compression of six episodes into a feature running a quarter of that time, but the noir fantasy and childhood flashbacks fail to engage, and if the hospital reality scans better, it too suffers eventually.

They literally call themselves “Decepticons”. That doesn’t set off any red flags?

Bumblebee  (2018) (SPOILERS) Bumblebee is by some distance the best Transformers movie, simply by dint of having a smattering of heart (one might argue the first Shia LaBeouf one also does, and it’s certainly significantly better than the others, but it’s still a soulless Michael Bay “machine”). Laika VP and director Travis Knight brings personality to a series that has traditionally consisted of shamelessly selling product, by way of a nostalgia piece that nods to the likes of Herbie (the original), The Iron Giant and even Robocop .

How would Horatio Alger have handled this situation?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) (SPOILERS) Gilliam’s last great movie – The Zero Theorem (2013) is definitely underrated, but I don’t think it’s that underrated – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas could easily have been too much. At times it is, but in such instances, intentionally so. The combination of a visual stylist and Hunter S Thompson’s embellished, propulsive turn of phrase turns out, for the most part, to be a cosmically aligned affair, embracing the anarchic abandon of Raoul Duke and Doctor Gonzo’s Las Vegas debauch while contriving to pull back at crucial junctures in order to engender a perspective on all this hedonism. Would Alex Cox, who exited stage left, making way for the Python, have produced something interesting? I suspect, ironically, he would have diluted Thompson in favour of whatever commentary preoccupied him at the time (indeed, Johnny Depp said as much: “ Cox had this great material to work with and he took it and he added his own stuff to it ”). Plus

That’s what people call necromancer’s weather.

The Changes (1975) This adaptation of Peter Dickinson’s novel trilogy carries a degree of cult nostalgia cachet due to it being one of those more “adult” 1970s children’s serials (see also The Children of the Stones , The Owl Service ). I was too young to see it on its initial screening – or at any rate, too young to remember it – but it’s easy to see why it lingered in the minds of those who did. Well, the first episode, anyway. Not for nothing is The Changes seen as a precursor to The Survivors in the rural apocalypse sub-genre – see also the decidedly nastier No Blade of Grass – as following a fairly gripping opener, it drifts off into the realm of plodding travelogue.