Skip to main content

Is that a cherry pie?

Twin Peaks
3.11: There’s fire where you are going.

(SPOILERS) A damn good episode. Perhaps the lesser part of it is the still great FBI plotline, but that’s only because – despite having the most overtly weird elements – it is more linear and less inimitable than the other claims to fame: Bobby and the shooting incident, and Dougie-Dale’s encounter with the Mitchum Brothers. Yes, it’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally come around to silver fox Bobby. Or should that be Becky’s pops.


What impressed me most about this sequence was the way it develops – escalated would be the wrong word. You think the scene is about one thing but then it becomes about something else, and then it becomes about something else entirely. During the build-up to this we’ve had the ominous, Blue Velvet-esque scene in which a boy playing ball sights Miriam crawling bloodied from the woods. Followed by Shelly riding the bonnet of her car until Becky throws her off. 


There’s something very matter-of-fact procedural about the lengths Lynch goes to show Maggie at the switchboard being called (courtesy of dear old Carl Rodd) and Bobby getting back to his ex – it’s Lynch most noticeable aesthetic in this third season, slowing everything right down, but here lending an air of the ‘50s cop show to the proceedings, such that it could almost be a public information film. Most shocking is that weasely Steve is having an affair with none other than Alicia Witt (Gersten Hayward). Not that can you can blame him, but her appalling lapse of taste is frankly deplorable (I was just waiting to hear a Steve-sized body hit the floor when Becky fired those shots through the door).


Shelly: Becky, we know you’re a grown, married woman, but we’re your parents, and we love you.

Once we’re in the diner, the shifts in emphasis become downright riveting. For some reason, it simply didn’t occur to me that Bobby might be Becky’s dad, and I was completely on the side of sad-faced Briggs when Shelly skips out with her latest bad choice, Red (Norma can well look on disapprovingly, as Shelly’s surrogate ma, since he’s definitely a Hank Jennings type, just with more tricks up his sleeve, and with Becky that makes three generations of poor decisions in men).


And then we shift again, as shots are fired through the diner window, but rather than an enraged Steve, or an enraged anyone, it’s just a kid who found his dad’s gun. A disturbing kid, whose posture is exactly that of his unconcerned dad, hands in pockets while mom does the remonstrating.


And after a while of this, all to the background blare of a car horn, Bobby finally goes to ask the vehicle’s occupant to hush. He gets a hysterical meltdown in response, and you can only feel for his stunned response, as the woman announces “We have to get home! She’s sick!” while her daughter rises from the floor, spewing something bilious and looking for all the world like Linda Blair’s little sister. It’s a bizarre, brilliant series of encounters, and I’d have been just as aghast as Bobby at the final one.


Hawk: You don’t ever want to know about that.
Sheriff Truman: Really?
Hawk: Really.

Also up: the wisdom of Hawk, with his living map, and its black fire and strange bug head – which we’ve seen before on Evil Coop’s playing card – as he instructs Sheriff Truman he really doesn’t want to know about the latter, before Margaret calls and underlines matters nicely (“There’s fire where you are going. My log is afraid of fire”). The Twin Peaks-focused plotlines have gathered pace enough that they’re as intriguing as those elsewhere now, and there’s even some light relief from oblivious Deputy Holcomb (“Sheriff Truman, are you interested in seeing my new car?”)


Bushnell Mullins: Dougie, now that I’ve had time to think about this, it’s clear that your investigative work has exposed a ring of organised crime and possible police corruption flowing through this office.

There was more than enough there to be getting on with, but we’re also treated to Dougie-Coop vs the Mitchum brothers. That Dougie-Coop pulls through with absolute lack of effort on his part comes as no surprise, but the manner in which this unfolds is a delight, from the brothers’ “I can’t wait to kill this guy” to the gradual revealing of Bradley’s premonitory dream, complete with Rodney’s healed Candie-cut and Dougie-Coop carrying a box, which, rather than Gwyneth Paltrow’s head, conceals a cherry pie (it’s safe to say the cheque for $30m wasn’t part of his twinkle time). Mike was obviously aware of the magical properties of cherry pie, but how far his influence spans (Bradley’s dream is a safe bet, but Candie’s cuckoo state?) is open to debate.


Rodney Mitchum: This pie is damn good.
Dougie-Coop: Damn good.

How much longer can all the things Coop loves fail to entirely reintegrate his mental state? Coffee, now cherry pie. It’s a marvellous twist to have Dougie-Coop the new best pal of the Mitchums, and one can only wonder how long it will last, and where it will lead. Candie, in her distracted state, seems like the ideal foil for Dougie-Coop, but they’re both too distracted – by eating pie or serving it –  to pay much attention to each other. And Lady-Slot-Addict’s arrival (“I hope you realise what a special person you have dining with you”) is the perfect send-off to Coop blithely trailing light wherever he goes, like an idiot messiah.


Gordon Cole: He’s dead.

FBI-wise, we see William Hastings lose his head, or half of it, at the hands of the devil tramps who were evidently in the room (“Dirty, bearded men, in a room”) we heard about last week (rather than it being the room in Fire Walk with Me); their modus operandi being the same as the thing in the penthouse.


Gordon is further into his vision quest (again, this would have been earmarked as Coop material if he’d been compos mentis), Diane (“There’s no back up for this”) is digging herself a deeper hole as she memorises coordinates very obviously – coordinates that more than likely will lead to that intersection of FBI and local law enforcement I mooted a few weeks back – and Albert gets a pithy line (“I don’t suppose you found Major Briggs’ head anywhere?”) Curiously, no one seems willing to observe that the dirty bearded men were phasing in and out of corporeal form, but I guess that comes with the territory, or it could just lead to further suspicions.


So yeah, go Bobby Briggs. I’m rooting for ya.











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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

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…

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…

You're waterboarding me.

The Upside (2017)
(SPOILERS) The list of US remakes of foreign-language films really ought to be considered a hiding to nothing, given the ratio of flops to unqualified successes. There’s always that chance, though, of a proven property (elsewhere) hitting the jackpot, and every exec hopes, in the case of French originals, for another The Birdcage, Three Men and a Baby, True Lies or Down and Out in Beverly Hills. Even a Nine Months, Sommersby or Unfaithful will do. Rather than EdTV. Or Sorcerer. Or Eye of the Beholder. Or Brick Mansions. Or Chloe. Or Intersection (Richard Gere is clearly a Francophile). Or Just Visiting. Or The Man with One Red Shoe. Or Mixed Nuts. Or Original Sin. Or Oscar. Or Point of No Return. Or Quick Change. Or Return to Paradise. Or Under Suspicion. Or Wicker Park. Or Father’s Day.

What about the meaningless line of indifference?

The Lion King (2019)
(SPOILERS) And so the Disney “live-action” remake train thunders on regardless (I wonder how long the live-action claim would last if there was a slim hope of a Best Animated Feature Oscar nod?) I know I keep repeating myself, but the early ‘90s Disney animation renaissance didn’t mean very much to me; I found their pictures during that period fine, but none of them blew me away as they did critics and audiences generally. As such, I have scant nostalgia to bring to bear on the prospect of a remake, which I’m sure can work both ways. Aladdin proved to be a lot of fun. Beauty and the Beast entirely tepid. The Lion King, well, it isn’t a badfilm, but it’s wearying its slavish respectfulness towards the original and so diligent in doing it justice, you’d think it was some kind of religious artefact. As a result, it is, ironically, for the most part, dramatically dead in the water.

You know what I think? I think he just wants to see one cook up close.

The Green Mile (1999)
(SPOILERS) There’s something very satisfying about the unhurried confidence of the storytelling in Frank Darabont’s two prison-set Stephen King adaptations (I’m less beholden to supermarket sweep The Mist); it’s sure, measured and precise, certain that the journey you’re being take on justifies the (indulgent) time spent, without the need for flashy visuals or ornate twists (the twists there are feel entirely germane – with a notable exception – as if they could only be that way). But. The Green Mile has rightly come under scrutiny for its reliance on – or to be more precise, building its foundation on – the “Magical Negro” trope, served with a mild sprinkling of idiot savant (so in respect of the latter, a Best Supporting Actor nomination was virtually guaranteed). One might argue that Stephen King’s magical realist narrative flourishes well-worn narrative ploys and characterisations at every stage – such that John Coffey’s initials are announcement enough of his …

Would you like Smiley Sauce with that?

American Beauty (1999)
(SPOILERS) As is often the case with the Best Picture Oscar, a backlash against a deemed undeserved reward has grown steadily in the years since American Beauty’s win. The film is now often identified as symptomatic of a strain of cinematic indulgence focussing on the affluent middle classes’ first world problems. Worse, it showcases a problematic protagonist with a Lolita-fixation towards his daughter’s best friend (imagine its chances of getting made, let alone getting near the podium in the #MeToo era). Some have even suggested it “mercifully” represents a world that no longer exists (as a pre-9/11 movie), as if such hyperbole has any bearing other than as gormless clickbait; you’d have to believe its world of carefully manicured caricatures existed in the first place to swallow such a notion. American Beauty must own up to some of these charges, but they don’t prevent it from retaining a flawed allure. It’s a satirical take on Americana that, if it pulls its p…

Kindly behove me no ill behoves!

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
(SPOILERS) It’s often the case that industry-shaking flops aren’t nearly the travesties they appeared to be before the dust had settled, and so it is with The Bonfire of the Vanities. The adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s ultra-cynical bestseller is still the largely toothless, apologetically broad-brush comedy – I’d hesitate to call it a satire in its reconfigured form – it was when first savaged by critics nearly thirty years ago, but taken for what it is, that is, removed from the long shadow of Wolfe’s novel, it’s actually fairly serviceable star-stuffed affair that doesn’t seem so woefully different to any number of rather blunt-edged comedies of the era.

Is CBS Corporate telling CBS News "Do not air this story"?

The Insider (1999)
(SPOILERS) The Insider was the 1999 Best Picture Oscar nominee that didn’t. Do any business, that is. Which is, more often than not, a major mark against it getting the big prize. It can happen (2009, and there was a string of them from 2014-2016), but aside from brief, self-congratulatory “we care about art first” vibes, it generally does nothing for the ceremony’s profile, or the confidence of the industry that is its bread and butter. The Insider lacked the easy accessibility of the other nominees – supernatural affairs, wafer-thin melodramas or middle-class suburbanite satires. It didn’t even brandish a truly headlines-shattering nail-biter in its conspiracy-related true story, as earlier contenders All the President’s Men and JFK could boast. But none of those black marks prevented The Insider from being the cream of the year’s crop.

I don’t think you will see President Pierce again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(SPOILERS) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and other tall tales of the American frontier is the title of "the book" from which the Coen brothers' latest derives, and so announces itself as fiction up front as heavily as Fargo purported to be based on a true story. In the world of the portmanteau western – has there even been one before? – theme and content aren't really all that distinct from the more familiar horror collection, and as such, these six tales rely on sudden twists or reveals, most of them revolving around death. And inevitably with the anthology, some tall tales are stronger than other tall tales, the former dutifully taking up the slack.