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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We live in a twilight world.

Tenet (2020)
(SPOILERS) I’ve endured a fair few confusingly-executed action sequences in movies – more than enough, actually – but I don’t think I’ve previously had the odd experience of being on the edge of my seat during one while simultaneously failing to understand its objectives and how those objectives are being attempted. Which happened a few times during Tenet. If I stroll over to the Wiki page and read the plot synopsis, it is fairly explicable (fairly) but as a first dive into this Christopher Nolan film, I frequently found it, if not impenetrable, then most definitely opaque.

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

You can’t climb a ladder, no. But you can skip like a goat into a bar.

Juno and the Paycock (1930)
(SPOILERS) Hitchcock’s second sound feature. Such was the lustre of this technological advance that a wordy play was picked. By Sean O’Casey, upon whom Hitchcock based the prophet of doom at the end of The Birds. Juno and the Paycock, set in 1922 during the Irish Civil War, begins as a broad comedy of domestic manners, but by the end has descended into full-blown Greek (or Catholic) tragedy. As such, it’s an uneven but still watchable affair, even if Hitch does nothing to disguise its stage origins.

Anything can happen in Little Storping. Anything at all.

The Avengers 2.22: Murdersville
Brian Clemens' witty take on village life gone bad is one of the highlights of the fifth season. Inspired by Bad Day at Black Rock, one wonders how much Murdersville's premise of unsettling impulses lurking beneath an idyllic surface were set to influence both Straw Dogs and The Wicker Mana few years later (one could also suggest it premeditates the brand of backwoods horrors soon to be found in American cinema from the likes of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper).

James Bond. You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.

Moonraker (1979)
Depending upon your disposition, and quite possibly age, Moonraker is either the Bond film that finally jumped the shark or the one that is most gloriously redolent of Roger Moore’s knowing take on the character. Many Bond aficionados will no doubt utter its name with thinly disguised contempt, just as they will extol with gravity how Timothy Dalton represented a masterful return to the core values of the series. If you regard For Your Eyes Only as a refreshing return to basics after the excesses of the previous two entries, and particularly the space opera grandstanding of this one, it’s probably fair to say you don’t much like Roger Moore’s take on Bond.

Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.

Bugsy (1991)
(SPOILERS) Bugsy is very much a Warren Beatty vanity project (aren’t they all, even the ones that don’t seem that way on the surface?), to the extent of his playing a title character a decade and a half younger than him. As such, it makes sense that producer Warren’s choice of director wouldn’t be inclined to overshadow star Warren, but the effect is to end up with a movie that, for all its considerable merits (including a script from James Toback chock full of incident), never really feels quite focussed, that it’s destined to lead anywhere, even if we know where it’s going.

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…

I mean, I am just a dumb bunny, but, we are good at multiplying.

Zootropolis (2016)
(SPOILERS) The key to Zootropolis’ creative success isn’t so much the conceit of its much-vaunted allegory regarding prejudice and equality, or – conversely – the fun to be had riffing on animal stereotypes (simultaneously clever and obvious), or even the appealing central duo voiced by Ginnifier Goodwin (as first rabbit cop Judy Hopps) and Jason Bateman (fox hustler Nick Wilde). Rather, it’s coming armed with that rarity for an animation; a well-sustained plot that doesn’t devolve into overblown set pieces or rest on the easy laurels of musical numbers and montages.

When I barked, I was enormous.

Dean Spanley (2008)
(SPOILERS) There is such a profusion of average, respectable – but immaculately made – British period drama held up for instant adulation, it’s hardly surprising that, when something truly worthy of acclaim comes along, it should be singularly ignored. To be fair, Dean Spanleywas well liked by critics upon its release, but its subsequent impact has proved disappointingly slight. Based on Lord Dunsany’s 1939 novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley, our narrator relates how the titular Dean’s imbibification of a moderate quantity of Imperial Tokay (“too syrupy”, is the conclusion reached by both members of the Fisk family regarding this Hungarian wine) precludes his recollection of a past life as a dog. 

Inevitably, reviews pounced on the chance to reference Dean Spanley as a literal shaggy dog story, so I shall get that out of the way now. While the phrase is more than fitting, it serves to underrepresent how affecting the picture is when it has cause to be, as does any re…

Doctor, eh? You’re not in the best of shape yourself, though, are you?

Doctor Who  Season 26 – Worst to Best
I’m not a big Seventh Doctor fan. For me, Doctor Who pretty much ended with Season 23 (and not because it was awful: see here). Yes, there have been a few nu-Who reprieves (mostly notably Matt Smith’s first season), but the McCoy era flaunted an abundance of sins, from a lead who wasn’t up to snuff, to a script-editor messaging his social conscience wrapped in a breeze block (or bilge bag), to production values that made any given earlier era look absurdly lavish in comparison. And then there was the “masterplan” (which at least lends Season 24 a rather innocuous and relatively inoffensive quality by contrast).

Nevertheless, on the occasions I do return to the era, I’m always minded to give it a fair shake. And while that resolve inevitably crumbles within minutes, under the duress of cold harsh reality, it has, at times, led to a positive reappraisal (The Happiness Patrol, and, to an extent, perhaps unfathomably, Time and the Rani). So we’ll see ho…