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…

I added sixty on, and now you’re a genius.

The Avengers 4.3: The Master Minds
The Master Minds hitches its wagon to the not uncommon Avengers trope of dark deeds done under the veil of night. We previously encountered it in The Town of No Return, but Robert Banks Stewart (best known for Bergerac, but best known genre-wise for his two Tom Baker Doctor Who stories; likewise, he also penned only two teleplays for The Avengers) makes this episode more distinctive, with its mind control and spycraft, while Peter Graham Scott, in his third contribution to the show on the trot, pulls out all the stops, particularly with a highly creative climactic fight sequence that avoids the usual issue of overly-evident stunt doubles.

Exit bear, pursued by an actor.

Paddington 2 (2017)
(SPOILERS) Paddington 2 is every bit as upbeat and well-meaning as its predecessor. It also has more money thrown at it, a much better villain (an infinitely better villain) and, in terms of plotting, is more developed, offering greater variety and a more satisfying structure. Additionally, crucially, it succeeds in offering continued emotional heft and heart to the Peruvian bear’s further adventures. It isn’t, however, quite as funny.

Even suggesting such a thing sounds curmudgeonly, given the universal applause greeting the movie, but I say that having revisited the original a couple of days prior and found myself enjoying it even more than on first viewing. Writer-director Paul King and co-writer Simon Farnaby introduce a highly impressive array of set-ups with huge potential to milk their absurdity to comic ends, but don’t so much squander as frequently leave them undertapped.

Paddington’s succession of odd jobs don’t quite escalate as uproariously as they migh…

Where is the voice that said altered carbon would free us from the cells of our flesh?

Altered Carbon Season One
(SPOILERS) Well, it looks good, even if the visuals are absurdly indebted to Blade Runner. Ultimately, though, Altered Carbon is a disappointment. The adaption of Richard Morgan’s novel comes armed with a string of well-packaged concepts and futuristic vernacular (sleeves, stacks, cross-sleeves, slagged stacks, Neo-Cs), but there’s a void at its core. It singularly fails use the dependable detective story framework to explore the philosophical ramifications of its universe – except in lip service – a future where death is impermanent, and even botches the essential goal of creating interesting lead characters (the peripheral ones, however, are at least more fortunate).

He's going to emasculate our nuclear deterrent and bring the whole damn country to its knees… because of his dreams.

Dreamscape (1984)
(SPOILERS) I wasn’t really au fait with movies’ box office performance until the end of the ‘80s, so I think I had an idea that Dennis Quaid (along with Jeff Bridges) was a much bigger star than he was, just on the basis of the procession of cool movies he showed up in (The Right Stuff, Enemy Mine, Innerspace, D.O.A.) The truth was, the public resisted all attempts to make him The Next Big Thing, not that his sly-grinned, cocky persona throughout the decade would lead you to believe his dogged lack of success had any adverse effect on his mood. Dreamscape was one of his early leading-man roles, and if it’s been largely forgotten, it also inherits a welcome cult status, not only through being pulpy and inventive on a fairly meagre budget, but by being pretty good to boot. It holds up.

He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.

Darkest Hour (2017)
(SPOILERS) Watching Joe Wright’s return to the rarefied plane of prestige – and heritage to boot – filmmaking following the execrable folly of the panned Pan, I was struck by the difference an engaged director, one who cares about his characters, makes to material. Only last week, Ridley Scott’s serviceable All the Money in the World made for a pointed illustration of strong material in the hands of someone with no such investment, unless they’re androids. Wright’s dedication to a relatable Winston Churchill ensures that, for the first hour-plus, Darkest Hour is a first-rate affair, a piece of myth-making that barely puts a foot wrong. It has that much in common with Wright’s earlier Word War II tale, Atonement. But then, like Atonement, it comes unstuck.

The aliens are not coming, just so you know.

The X-Files 11.1: My Struggle III
(SPOILERS) Good grief. Have things become so terminal for Chris Carter that he has to retcon his own crap from the previous season, rather than the (what he perceived as) crap written by others? Carter, of course, infamously pretended the apocalyptic ending of Millennium Season Two never happened, upset by the path Glen Morgan and James Wong, left to their own devices, took with his baby. Their episode was one of the greats of that often-ho-hum series, so the comedown was all the unkinder as a result. In My Struggle III, at least, Carter’s rewriting something that wasn’t very good in the first place. Only, he replaces it with something that is even worse in the second.

I'm going to open an X-file on this bran muffin.

The X-Files 11.2: This
(SPOILERS) Glen Morgan returns with a really good idea, certainly one with much more potential than his homelessness tract Home Again in Season 10, but seems to give up on its eerier implications, and worse has to bash it round the head to fit the season’s “arc”. Nevertheless, he’s on very comfortable ground with the Mulder-Scully dynamic in This, who get to spend almost the entire episode in each other’s company and might be on the best form here since the show came back, give or take a Darin.

He's a wild creature. We can't ask him to be anything else.

The Shape of Water (2017)
(SPOILERS) The faithful would have you believe it never went away, but it’s been a good decade since Guillermo del Toro’s mojo was in full effect, and his output since (or lack thereof: see the torturous wilderness years of At the Mountains of Madness and The Hobbit), reflected through the prism of his peak work Pan’s Labyrinth, bears the hallmarks of a serious qualitative tumble. He put his name to stinker TV show The Strain, returned to movies with the soulless Pacific Rim and fashioned flashy but empty gothic romance Crimson Peak (together his weakest pictures, and I’m not forgetting Mimic). The Shape of Water only seems to underline what everyone has been saying for years, albeit previously confined to his Spanish language pictures: that the smaller and more personal they are, the better. If his latest is at times a little too wilfully idiosyncratic, it’s also a movie where you can nevertheless witness it’s creator’s creativity flowing untrammelled once mo…

You’re never the same man twice.

The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
(SPOILERS) Roger Moore playing dual roles? It sounds like an unintentionally amusing prospect for audiences accustomed to the actor’s “Raise an eyebrow” method of acting. Consequently, this post-Saint pre-Bond role (in which he does offer some notable eyebrow acting) is more of a curiosity for the quality of Sir Rog’s performance than the out-there premise that can’t quite sustain the picture’s running time. It is telling that the same story was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents 15 years earlier, since the uncanny idea at its core feels like a much better fit for a trim 50 minute anthology series.

Basil Dearden directs, and co-adapted the screenplay from Anthony Armstrong’s novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham. Dearden started out with Ealing, helming several Will Hay pictures and a segment of Dead of Night (one might imagine a shortened version of this tale ending up there, or in any of the portmanteau horrors that arrived in the year…