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

Who’s got the Figgy Port?

Loki (2021) (SPOILERS) Can something be of redeemable value and shot through with woke (the answer is: Mad Max: Fury Road )? The two attributes certainly sound essentially irreconcilable, and Loki ’s tendencies – obviously, with new improved super-progressive Kevin Feige touting Disney’s uber-agenda – undeniably get in the way of what might have been a top-tier MCU entry from realising its full potential. But there are nevertheless solid bursts of highly engaging storytelling in the mix here, for all its less cherishable motivations. It also boasts an effortlessly commanding lead performance from Tom Hiddleston; that alone puts Loki head and shoulders above the other limited series thus far.

Here’s Bloody Justice for you.

Laughter in Paradise (1951) (SPOILERS) The beginning of a comedic run for director-producer Mario Zampa that spanned much of the 1950s, invariably aided by writers Michael Pertwee and Jack Davies (the latter went on to pen a spate of Norman Wisdom pictures including The Early Bird , and also comedy rally classic Monte Carlo or Bust! ) As usual with these Pertwee jaunts, Laughter in Paradise boasts a sparky premise – renowned practical joker bequeaths a fortune to four relatives, on condition they complete selected tasks that tickle him – and more than enough resultant situational humour.

Damn prairie dog burrow!

Tremors (1990) (SPOILERS) I suspect the reason the horror comedy – or the sci-fi comedy, come to that – doesn’t tend to be the slam-dunk goldmine many assume it must be, is because it takes a certain sensibility to do it right. Everyone isn’t a Joe Dante or Sam Raimi, or a John Landis, John Carpenter, Edgar Wright, Christopher Landon or even a Peter Jackson or Tim Burton, and the genre is littered with financial failures, some of them very good failures (and a good number of them from the names mentioned). Tremors was one, only proving a hit on video (hence six sequels at last count). It also failed to make Ron Underwood a directing legend.

You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) The final finale of the Twilight saga, in which pig-boy Jacob tells Bella that, “No, it's not like that at all!” after she accuses him of being a paedo. But then she comes around to his viewpoint, doubtless displaying the kind of denial many parents did who let their kids spend time with Jimmy Savile or Gary Glitter during the ‘70s. It's lucky little Renesmee will be an adult by the age of seven, right? Right... Jacob even jokes that he should start calling Edward, “Dad”. And all the while they smile and smile.

I’m just glad Will Smith isn’t alive to see this.

The Tomorrow War (2021) (SPOILERS). Not so much tomorrow as yesterday. There’s a strong sense of déjà vu watching The Tomorrow War , so doggedly derivative is it of every time-travel/alien war/apocalyptic sci-fi movie of the past forty years. Not helping it stand out from the pack are doughy lead Chris Pratt, damned to look forever on the beefy side no matter how ripped he is and lacking the chops or gravitas for straight roles, and debut live-action director Chris McKay, who manages to deliver the goods in a serviceably anonymous fashion.

Why don't we go on a picnic, up the hill?

Invaders from Mars (1986) (SPOILERS) One can wax thematical over the number of remakes of ’50s movies in the ’80s – and ’50s SF movies in particular – and of how they represent ever-present Cold War and nuclear threats, and steadily increasing social and familial paranoias and disintegrating values. Really, though, it’s mostly down to the nostalgia of filmmakers for whom such pictures were formative influences (and studios hoping to make an easy buck on a library property). Tobe Hooper’s version of nostalgia, however, is not so readily discernible as a John Carpenter or a David Cronenberg (not that Cronenberg could foment such vibes, any more than a trip to the dental hygienist). Because his directorial qualities are not so readily discernible. Tobe Hooper movies tend to be a bit shit. Which makes it unsurprising that Invaders from Mars is a bit shit.

What's a movie star need a rocket for anyway?

The Rocketeer (1991) (SPOILERS) The Rocketeer has a fantastic poster. One of the best of the last thirty years (and while that may seem like faint praise, what with poster design being a dying art – I’m looking at you Marvel, or Amazon and the recent The Tomorrow War – it isn’t meant to be). The movie itself, however, tends towards stodge. Unremarkable pictures with a wide/cult fanbase, conditioned by childhood nostalgia, are ten-a-penny – Willow for example – and in this case, there was also a reasonably warm critical reception. But such an embrace can’t alter that Joe Johnston makes an inveterately bland, tepid movie director. His “feel” for period here got him The First Avenger: Captain America gig, a bland, tepid movie tending towards stodge. So at least he’s consistent.

I'm offering you a half-share in the universe.

Doctor Who Season 8 – Worst to Best I’m not sure I’d watched Season Eight chronologically before. While I have no hesitation in placing it as the second-best Pertwee season, based on its stories, I’m not sure it pays the same dividends watched as a unit. Simply, there’s too much Master, even as Roger Delgado never gets boring to watch and the stories themselves offer sufficient variety. His presence, turning up like clockwork, is inevitably repetitive. There were no particular revelatory reassessments resulting from this visit, then, except that, taken together – and as The Directing Route extra on the Blu-ray set highlights – it’s often much more visually inventive than what would follow. And that Michael Ferguson should probably have been on permanent attachment throughout this era.

As in the hokey kids’ show guy?

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) (SPOILERS) I don’t think Mr Rogers could have been any creepier had Kevin Spacey played him. It isn’t just the baggage Tom Hanks brings, and whether or not he’s the adrenochrome lord to the stars and/or in Guantanamo and/or dead and/or going to make a perfectly dreadful Colonel Tom Parker and an equally awful Geppetto; it’s that his performance is so constipated and mannered an imitation of Mr Rogers’ genuineness that this “biopic” takes on a fundamentally sinister turn. His every scene with a youngster isn’t so much exuding benevolent empathy as suggestive of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ’s Child Catcher let loose in a TV studio (and again, this bodes well for Geppetto). Extend that to A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood ’s conceit, that Mr Rogers’ life is one of a sociopathic shrink milking angst from his victims/patients in order to get some kind of satiating high – a bit like a rejuvenating drug, on that score – and you have a deeply unsettli

Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun.

The Sound of Music (1965) (SPOILERS) One of the most successful movies ever made – and the most successful musical – The Sound of Music has earned probably quite enough unfiltered adulation over the years to drown out the dissenting voices, those that denounce it as an inveterately saccharine, hollow confection warranting no truck. It’s certainly true that there are impossibly nice and wholesome elements here, from Julie Andrews’ career-dooming stereotype governess to the seven sonorous children more than willing to dress up in old curtains and join her gallivanting troupe. Whether the consequence is something insidious in its infectious spirit is debatable, but I’ll admit that it manages to ensnare me. I don’t think I’d seen the movie in its entirety since I was a kid, and maybe that formativeness is a key brainwashing facet of its appeal, but it retains its essential lustre just the same.