Skip to main content

Cooper flew the coop!

Twin Peaks
3.9: This is the chair.

(SPOILERS) If this is what an “average” episode of Twin Peaks Season Three looks like, I’m completely fine with that. We’re halfway through the season now, and I’m not holding my breath for the fully reintegrated Coop to materialise anytime soon, although I am enjoying the positioning of threads that will lead to Gordon et al discovering his whereabouts.


Detective Fusco: It’s like talking to a dog.

And with regard to Dougie-Dale, he isn’t doing much this time, apart from having his fingerprints lifted and staring at an American flag in the corner of a waiting room. It isn’t the strangest moment in the episode (that belongs to Jerry Horne), but it seems pretty damn normal compared to much that we’ve seen in this run. Nothing short of the flag uttering “Gronda gronda” could have really sent the scene into truly mental territory.


David Koechner’s Detective D Fusco and particularly Eric Edelstein’s Detective “Smiley” Fusco make this scene, though, the latter’s easily-amused giggling hitting just the right unrehearsed Lynchian note, be it D’s “Must be a beauty” in response to the cost of (Larry Clarke’s) Detective T Fusco’s tail light repair or the capture of Ike “The Spike” Stadtler as D announces they have his fingerprints; “As a matter of fact, we have your whole palm”. Ah, poor wee murderous psychotic Ike.


Gordon Cole: I don’t appreciate your language one bit, colonel… Oh, a place. Buckingham, South Dakota.

It’s a testament to Lynch’s timing that he can make old ones like that land. Timing that’s in full effect during the snail-like scene where Gordon and Tammy watch Diane smoke for what seems like forever before he cadges a puff. Dern is marvellously splenetic as Diane (“It’s a fucking morgue!” she screams when told she can’t smoke on the premises).


And, shockingly, it appears she is receiving texts from Evil Coop (“AROUND THE DINNER TABLE, THE CONVERSATION IS LIVELY”), in which case, it must be via someone else (because she receives the message in caps, and he sends them lowercase: Phillip Jeffries?) But colour me surprised, as I completely didn’t get a vibe of complicity from their meeting in prison. And are her colleagues aware something is suss about her? Is that why Tammy wanted to keep her conversation with Gordon dialled down? Great as Diane venting is, my favourite line of the episode is easily the one at the end of this exchange, though:

Detective Macklay: William Hastings was having an affair with the local librarian, Ruth Davenport. Davenport’s head was found atop the headless body of your Major Briggs. Once we took Hastings into custody, his wife was murdered in their house, apparently by their lawyer, a man named George Banner, who is now also in custody. And the next day, Hasting’s secretary died in a car explosion.
Albert: What happens in Season Two?


Nice too that Albert instantly takes to acerbic Constance. Could it be romance? The actual revelations regarding Briggs are, more-or-less, fairly linear join the dots, even though their substance is bizarre.


I rated Matthew Lillard early in the season, but I found his hysterical Hastings rather wearing here, reducing what might have been an eerie scene, given the content of a “strange little blog about some alternate dimension” that can actually be found if you go to http://thesearchforthezone.com (“Today we finally entered what we call the Zone, and we met the Major”), to one-note exposition. His recollection of events has some considerable gaps (it was beautiful, we are told, when the Major floated up, looking for coordinates that Ruth had written on her hand, up, and then Ruth was dead), so maybe we’ll have more on this (“there was so many people there” sounds a wee bit like Phillip Jeffries’ experience of the Black Lodge in Fire Walk With Me).


William Hastings: I wanna go scuba-diving!
Albert: Fruitcake, anyone?

Reasonably, Gordon and Albert connect the decapitation to Evil Coop, who has been in the area, but that may not exactly be the case (fellow lodge members are surely involved, though). The Dougie/Janey-E ring will doubtless provide another vital link in the trail to Dougie-Coop, what with his fingerprints circulating, TV footage broadcast relating to the Ike “The Spike” attack, and Hutch and Chantal likely having him on their hit list.


Betty Briggs: He said that one day you would come and ask me about Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Similarly deductive feats are occurring in Twin Peaks, also to do with Major Briggs, and also unfolding in remarkably straightforward, connective fashion. Nice to have the return of Charlotte Stewart as Betty Briggs, and her comforting words to Bobby (“Somehow, he knew that it would all turn out well. Your father never lost faith in you”). Clearly, Windom Earle kyboshing Bobby with a log did him the power of good in the long run. I have to admit, though, Dana Ashbrook isn’t nearly as compelling as a nice guy as he was as a wild child, but to be fair, he hasn’t been given an awful lot to chew on (his greatest moments in the original show all came opposite the sadly missed Don S Davis).


Hawk on the other hand, just needs to see the message from the stars from the original (COOPER COOPER) to deduce “Two Coopers”. He should be in the FBI, since theyre progressing at a comparative snail’s pace in comparison. That this appears to be about 10 days after the events in FBI land might suggest a lot needs to happen in that timeline before a convergence in two days’ time in this, at Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Or maybe not.


Also: Johnny’s back (but played by a stunt guy)! Tim Roth appears as a seedy heel not-such-a-shock! Jennifer Jason-Leigh’s back, but not nearly enough of her (Evil Coop does very little of note here apart from giving her a wet one)! Chad stinks out the conference room with his lunch (Hawk is hilarious not helping him with the door)! A girl, Ella (Sky Ferreira), in the Roadhouse has a nasty underarm rash she keeps scratching, shades of Teresa Banks (“You let zebras out again?” as well as penguins, black and white creatures, just like lodges)! Ben Horne demurs from smooching Beverley to the serenade of that sound (“Almost like the ring out of a monastery bell”)! Lucy and Andy choose furniture! And, my favourite: Jerry’s foot tells him “I am not your foot”! I think that says everything.













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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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 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.

Like an antelope in the headlights.

Black Panther (2018)
(SPOILERS) Like last year’s Wonder Woman, the hype for what it represents has quickly become conflated with Black Panther’s perceived quality. Can 92% and 97% of critics respectively really not be wrong, per Rotten Tomatoes, or are they – Armond White aside – afraid that finding fault in either will make open them to charges of being politically regressive, insufficiently woke or all-round, ever-so-slightly objectionable? As with Wonder Woman, Black Panther’s very existence means something special, but little about the movie itself actually is. Not the acting, not the directing, and definitely not the over-emphatic, laboured screenplay. As such, the picture is a passable two-plus hours’ entertainment, but under-finessed enough that one could easily mistake it for an early entry in the Marvel cycle, rather than arriving when they’re hard-pressed to put a serious foot wrong.

Yeah, keep walking, you lanky prick!

Mute (2018)
(SPOILERS) Duncan Jones was never entirely convincing when talking up his reasons for Mute’s futuristic setting, and now it’s easy to see why. What’s more difficult to discern is his passion for the project in the first place. If the picture’s first hour is torpid in pace and singularly fails to muster interest, the second is more engaging, but that’s more down to the unappetising activities of Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux’s supporting surgeons than the quest undertaken by Alex Skarsgård’s lead. Which isn’t such a compliment, really.

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…

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…

You think I contaminated myself, you think I did that?

Silkwood (1983)
Mike Nichol’s film about union activist Karen Silkwood, who died under suspicious circumstances in a car accident in 1974, remains a powerful piece of work; even more so in the wake of Fukushima. If we transpose the microcosm of employees of a nuclear plant, who would rather look the other way in favour of a pay cheque, to the macrocosm of a world dependent on an energy source that could spell our destruction (just don’t think about it and, if you do, be reassured by the pronouncements of “experts” on how safe it all is; and if that doesn’t persuade you be under no illusion that we need this power now, future generations be damned!) it is just as relevant.