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

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…

Why would I turn into a filing cabinet?

Captain Marvel (2019)
(SPOILERS) All superhero movies are formulaic to a greater or lesser degree. Mostly greater. The key to an actually great one – or just a pretty good one – is making that a virtue, rather than something you’re conscious of limiting the whole exercise. The irony of the last two stand-alone MCU pictures is that, while attempting to bring somewhat down-the-line progressive cachet to the series, they’ve delivered rather pedestrian results. Of course, that didn’t dim Black Panther’s cultural cachet (and what do I know, swathes of people also profess to loving it), and Captain Marvel has hit half a billion in its first few days – it seems that, unless you’re poor unloved Ant-Man, an easy $1bn is the new $700m for the MCU – but neither’s protagonist really made that all-important iconic impact.

Stupid adult hands!

Shazam! (2019)
(SPOILERS) Shazam! is exactly the kind of movie I hoped it would be, funny, scary (for kids, at least), smart and delightfully dumb… until the final act. What takes place there isn’t a complete bummer, but right now, it does pretty much kill any interest I have in a sequel.

I have discovered the great ray that first brought life into the world.

Frankenstein (1931)
(SPOILERS) To what extent do Universal’s horror classics deserved to be labelled classics? They’re from the classical Hollywood period, certainly, but they aren’t unassailable titans that can’t be bettered – well unless you were Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan trying to fashion a Dark Universe with zero ingenuity. And except maybe for the sequel to the second feature in their lexicon. Frankenstein is revered for several classic scenes, boasts two mesmerising performances, and looks terrific thanks to Arthur Edeson’s cinematography, but there’s also sizeable streak of stodginess within its seventy minutes.

Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe.

The MCU Ranked Worst to Best

Can you float through the air when you smell a delicious pie?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
(SPOILERS) Ironically, given the source material, think I probably fell into the category of many who weren't overly disposed to give this big screen Spider-Man a go on the grounds that it was an animation. After all, if it wasn’t "good enough" for live-action, why should I give it my time? Not even Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's pedigree wholly persuaded me; they'd had their stumble of late, although admittedly in that live-action arena. As such, it was only the near-unanimous critics' approval that swayed me, suggesting I'd have been missing out. They – not always the most reliable arbiters of such populist fare, which made the vote of confidence all the more notable – were right. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only a first-rate Spider-Man movie, it's a fresh, playful and (perhaps) surprisingly heartfelt origins story.

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…

I want to see what love looks like when it’s triumphant. I haven’t had a good laugh in a week.

It Happened One Night (1934)
(SPOILERS) In any romantic comedy worth its salt, you need to be rooting for both leads to end up together. That’s why, while each has its individual pleasures – and one is an unchallenged classic in every other department – the triptych of Andie McDowell ‘90s romcoms (Green Card, Groundhog Day and Four Weddings and a Funeral) fail on that score; she doesn’t elicit any degree of investment (ironically, she’s much better as a knockabout nun doing a dolphin impression in Hudson Hawk). Even Hanks and Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle are merely likeable; you can’t get that caught up if there aren’t any sparks flying (Crystal and Ryan, though). It Happened One Night has sparks in spades, the back and forth between Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert ensuring it’s as vital and versatile today as it was 85 years ago.

Just make love to that wall, pervert!

Seinfeld 2.10: The Statue
The Premise
Jerry employs a cleaner, the boyfriend of an author whose book Elaine is editing. He leaves the apartment spotless, but Jerry is convinced he has made off with a statue.