Skip to main content

The head is missing... and... he's the wrong age.

Twin Peaks
3.7: There’s a body all right.

(SPOILERS) First things first: my suggestion that everyone’s favourite diminutive hitman, Ike “The Spike” Stadtler, had been hired by the Mitchum brothers was clearly erroneous in the extreme, although the logistics of how evil Coop had the contingency plan in place to off Lorraine and Dougie-Coop remains a little unclear right now. As is how he was banged up with the apparent foresight to have on hand ready blackmail tools to ensure the warden would get him out (and why did he wait so long about it, if he could do it off the bat?)


Launching right in with no preamble seems appropriate for his episode, since its chock-a-block with exposition and (linear) progression, almost an icy blast of what settles for reality in Twin Peaks after most of what has gone before this season, the odd arm-tree aside. Which might please James Dyer, who in the latest Empire “The Debate”, took the antagonistic stance to the show coming back and dismissed it as “gibbering nonsense” (of Lynch, “He’s like a self-published author, in need of a good edit but lost to self-indulgence”). It can be gibbering nonsense, lost to self-indulgence and great, of course.


Witness: Victim? Oh no, not that guy. He didn’t act like any victim. Douglas Jones, he moved like a cobra. All I saw was a blur.

I have to admit, what were seemingly random elements (the dog leg, gibbering nonsense regarding a “Mr Strawberry”) revealing themselves as fundamental to the plot threw me slightly, as I think I preferred them when they were surreal non-sequiturs. It’s notable too, that 3.7’s standout sequence also includes the weirdest, most hitherto de rigueur bit in the episode: the aforementioned brain tree urging Coop to “Squeeze his hand off. Squeeze his hand off” (something nasty is left on the gun, part of his hand squeezed off by the look of it, peeled off by forensics) as Dale lays the smackdown/ double karate chop on wee Icke, whimpering pathetically, (to add insult to injury to the poor petite psycho, whose assassination bid might not have been the best planned, but I guess he isn’t the most subtle of killers, we learn that “He smelled funny”). Lynch really uses sound to ominous effect in this one; we’re aurally informed something is about to happen before we see it, and Dougie turning into action-Cooper (what’s the spur, to protect Janey-E? Or simply his reasserting FBI instincts?)


Janey-E: There’s more than life to cars.

And how much praise is due Watts in the run up to this scene, as verbally dynamic as MacLachlan is introverted, sending the police packing and making it clear his boss will have to speak to him in the morning? Will a news report of Coop in action somehow be seen by someone who knows him? Maybe?


I’d previously mulled to myself the misfit of Major Briggs being too old to be the headless Major Briggs, so it’s something that this is identified as anomalous by Cynthia Knox (was he abducted by aliens, or Black Lodgers?). It’s almost as if crazy things are actually being introduced that have properly-worked-out whys and wherefores…


Albert: Say please.
Gordon: What?
Albert: You heard me.
Gordon: Please.

Diane has a strong showing, after last week’s cameo, given to drinking, smoking, and swearing at all-comers, most amusingly Tammy Preston (jealousy?), and nursing secrets of her own, from Cole’s “and that’s enough said about that” to the last time she and Coop saw each other.


It’s a cryptic scene – “I’ll always remember that night” – that left me wondering whether this was with real Coop – a love thing – or a stop-off of evil Coop; either would explain her wish not to see him again. Maybe an encounter with real Coop is more likely, as she would otherwise surely have noticed then what she notices now, that “That isn’t the Dale Cooper that I know. It isn’t time passing, or how he’s changed, or the way he looks. It’s something here, or something that definitely isn’t here”. At any rate, life has turned her into a booze hound, and she and Gordon will have a talk at some point. 


Gordon: I’m very, very happy to see you again old friend.

I liked Gordon bringing in palmistry (“This is the spirit mound. The spirit finger. You think about that, Tammy”), the flipping done in prison to make Coop’s prints match representing an inverting of his essence, and immediately wondered if this was one of Lynch’s pet subjects (whistling evidently is). 


The opening is one long stream of catch-up, touching on elements mentioned already, and in The Secret History of Twin Peaks. It’s the sort of material that you’d probably have expected a “straight” return to deal with about six episodes ago. So we have Hawk telling us what Annie told Laura in Fire Walk with Me (with an unfinessed but “Yeah, I guess that’ll work” explanation for just how the pages got there), more frankly bizarre phone calls to Harry –Lynch must think this is a great gag to play, one with no chance of a pay-off – and a call to Doc Hayward.


I hadn’t even realised Warren Frost was still alive at that point, and initially thought it might be a tricky voice match on the phone, before it switched to skype. It’s interesting having these little cameos, like the Log Lady, the bits that make the return feel like more the straight reunion it might have been, rather than the bat shit Lynchy journey most of it is. There’s no indication of what happened to Annie, but Audrey gets mentioned, and a nearly-Groucho Marx joke.


Jerry Horne: I think I’m high!

What else? More of Jerry in the woods (who stole his car? Richard maybe, since he dumped the poor sap’s he used to kill a kid in. The poor sap who isn’t going to be meeting Andy for a quiet chat). We see Ashley Judd’s Beverly again, apparently up for a liaison with Ben, who seems to be refraining from such carnality these days. Her hubby, Tom (Hugh Dillon), incapacitated in some way, clearly expects her to be up to no good. 


The most interesting development in this plot strand is the strange sound in the Great Northern, which leads to (emanates from? Unless it has something to do with Josie) a discussion about Coop’s key that arrived in the mail that day. Although, Ben appears to be uninspired to go and tell anyone about it. 


Apparently, the Renaults have owned the Bang Bang Bar for 50 years. This is the first episode without a band playing over the end credits; we’re instead, prior to this, treated to a snatch of jazz during an end-of-shift sweeping up (EDIT: Episode Five didn't have a band, and One, which I saw in omnibus form, didn't either). 


The eeriest moment: when the charred-looking guy from the jail cell a few episodes back – presumably – is wandering the police station behind Knox. I was just glad he was too tall to be Ike. There seemed to be a concerted push in There’s a body all right to get plots moving on an intercept course, but who knows? We might be back at leisurely central again next week.



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

Popular posts from this blog

Ziggy smokes a lot of weed.

Moonfall (2022) (SPOILERS) For a while there, it looked as if Moonfall , the latest and least-welcomed – so it seems – piece of apocalyptic programming from Roland Emmerich, might be sending mixed messages. Fortunately, we need not have feared, as it turns out to be the same pedigree of disaster porn we’ve come to expect from the director, one of the Elite’s most dutiful mass-entertainment stooges, even if his lustre has rather dimmed since the glory days of 2012.

The Illumi-what-i?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) (SPOILERS) In which Sam Raimi proves that he can stand proudly with the best – or worst – of them as a good little foot soldier of the woke apocalypse. You’d expect the wilfully anarchic – and Republican – Raimi to choke on the woke, but instead, he’s sucked it up, grinned and bore it. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so slavishly a production-line Marvel movie, both in plotting and character, and in nu-Feige progressive sensibilities, there was no chance of Sam staggering out from beneath its suffocating demands with anything more than a few scraps of stylistic flourish intact.

What’s so bad about being small? You’re not going to be small forever.

Innerspace (1987) There’s no doubt that Innerspace is a flawed movie. Joe Dante finds himself pulling in different directions, his instincts for comic subversion tempered by the need to play the romance plot straight. He tacitly acknowledges this on the DVD commentary for the film, where he notes Pauline Kael’s criticism that he was attempting to make a mainstream movie; and he was. But, as ever with Dante, it never quite turns out that way. Whereas his kids’ movies treat their protagonists earnestly, this doesn’t come so naturally with adults. I’m a bona fide devotee of Innerspace , but I can’t help but be conscious of its problems. For the most part Dante papers over the cracks; the movie hits certain keynotes of standard Hollywood prescription scripting. But his sensibility inevitably suffuses it. That, and human cartoon Martin Short (an ideal “leading man” for the director) ensure what is, at first glance just another “ Steven Spielberg Presents ” sci-fi/fantas

All I saw was an old man with a funky hand, that’s all I saw.

The Blob (1988) (SPOILERS) The 1980s effects-laden remake of a ’50s B-movie that couldn’t. That is, couldn’t persuade an audience to see it and couldn’t muster critical acclaim. The Fly was a hit. The Thing wasn’t, but its reputation has since soared. Like Invaders from Mars , no such fate awaited The Blob , despite effects that, in many respects, are comparable in quality to the John Carpenter classic – and are certainly indebted to Rob Bottin for bodily grue – and surehanded direction from Chuck Russell. I suspect the reason is simply this: it lacks that extra layer that would ensure longevity.

Are you telling me that I should take my daughter to a witch doctor?

The Exorcist (1973) (SPOILERS) Vast swathes have been written on The Exorcist , duly reflective of its cultural impact. In a significant respect, it’s the first blockbuster – forget Jaws – and also the first of a new kind of special-effects movie. It provoked controversy across all levels of the socio-political spectrum, for explicit content and religious content, both hailed and denounced for the same. William Friedkin, director of William Peter Blatty’s screenplay based on Blatty’s 1971 novel, would have us believe The Exorcist is “ a film about the mystery of faith ”, but it’s evidently much more – and less – than that. There’s a strong argument to be made that movies having the kind of seismic shock on the landscape this one did aren’t simply designed to provoke rumination (or exultation); they’re there to profoundly influence society, even if largely by osmosis, and when one looks at this picture’s architects, such an assessment only gains in credibility.

I work for the guys that pay me to watch the guys that pay you. And then there are, I imagine, some guys that are paid to watch me.

The Day of the Dolphin (1973) (SPOILERS) Perhaps the most bizarre thing out of all the bizarre things about The Day of the Dolphin is that one of its posters scrupulously sets out its entire dastardly plot, something the movie itself doesn’t outline until fifteen minutes before the end. Mike Nichols reputedly made this – formerly earmarked for Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson and Sharon Tate, although I’m dubious a specific link can be construed between its conspiracy content and the Manson murders - to fulfil a contract with The Graduate producer Joseph Levine. It would explain the, for him, atypical science-fiction element, something he seems as comfortable with as having a hairy Jack leaping about the place in Wolf .

You ever heard the saying, “Don’t rob the bank across from the diner that has the best donuts in three counties”?

2 Guns (2013) (SPOILERS) Denzel Washington is such a reliable performer, that it can get a bit boring. You end up knowing every gesture or inflection in advance, whether he’s playing a good guy or a bad guy. And his films are generally at least half decent, so you end up seeing them. Even in Flight (or perhaps especially in Flight ; just watch him chugging down that vodka) where he’s giving it his Oscar-nominatable best, he seems too familiar. I think it may be because he’s an actor who is more effective the less he does. In 2 Guns he’s not doing less, but sometimes it seems like it. That’s because the last person I’d ever expect blows him off the screen; Mark Wahlberg.

This risotto is shmackin’, dude.

Stranger Things Season 4: Part I (SPOILERS) I haven’t had cause, or the urge, to revisit earlier seasons of Stranger Things , but I’m fairly certain my (relatively) positive takes on the first two sequel seasons would adjust down somewhat if I did (a Soviet base under Hawkins? DUMB soft disclosure or not, it’s pretty dumb). In my Season Three review, I called the show “ Netflix’s best-packaged junk food. It knows not to outstay its welcome, doesn’t cause bloat and is disposable in mostly good ways ” I fairly certain the Duffer’s weren’t reading, but it’s as if they decided, as a rebuke, that bloat was the only way to go for Season Four. Hence episodes approaching (or exceeding) twice the standard length. So while the other points – that it wouldn’t stray from its cosy identity and seasons tend to merge in the memory – hold fast, you can feel the ambition of an expansive canvas faltering at the hurdle of Stranger Things ’ essential, curated, nostalgia-appeal inconsequentiality.

That, my lad, was a dragon.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) (SPOILERS) It’s alarming how quickly Peter Jackson sabotaged all the goodwill he amassed in the wake of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A guy who started out directing deliciously deranged homemade horror movies ended up taking home the Oscar for a fantasy movie, of all genres. And then he blew it. He went from a filmmaker whose naysayers were the exception to one whose remaining cheerleaders are considered slightly maladjusted. The Desolation of Smaug recovers some of the territory Jackson has lost over the last decade, but he may be too far-gone to ever regain his crown. Perhaps in years to come The Lord of the Rings trilogy will be seen as an aberration in his filmography. There’s a cartoonishness to the gleeful, twisted anarchy on display in his earlierr work that may be more attuned to the less verimilitudinous aspects of King Kong and The Hobbit s. The exceptions are his female-centric character dramas, Heavenly Creat

Gizmo caca!

Gremlins (1984) I didn’t get to see Gremlins at the cinema. I wanted to, as I had worked myself into a state of great anticipation. There was a six-month gap between its (unseasonal) US release and arrival in the UK, so I had plenty of time to devour clips of cute Gizmo on Film ’84 (the only reason ever to catch Barry Norman was a tantalising glimpse of a much awaited movie, rather than his drab, colourless, reviews) and Gremlins trading cards that came with bubble gum attached (or was it the other way round?). But Gremlins ’ immediate fate for many an eager youngster in Britain was sealed when, after much deliberation, the BBFC granted it a 15 certificate. I had just turned 12, and at that time an attempt to sneak in to see it wouldn’t even have crossed my mind. I’d just have to wait for the video. I didn’t realise it then (because I didn’t know who he was as a filmmaker), but Joe Dante’s irrepressible anarchic wit would have a far stronger effect on me than the un