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

Lieutenant, you run this station like chicken night in Turkey.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) (SPOILERS) You can’t read a review of Assault on Precinct 13 with stumbling over references to its indebtedness – mostly to Howard Hawks – and that was a preface for me when I first caught it on Season Three of BBC2’s Moviedrome (I later picked up the 4Front VHS). In Precinct 13 ’s case, it can feel almost like an attempt to undercut it, to suggest it isn’t quite that original, actually, because: look. On the other hand, John Carpenter was entirely upfront about his influences (not least Hawks), and that he originally envisaged it as an outright siege western (rather than an, you know, urban one). There are times when influences can truly bog a movie down, if it doesn’t have enough going for it in its own right. That’s never the case with Assault on Precinct 13 . Halloween may have sparked Carpenter’s fame and maximised his opportunities, but it’s this picture that really evidences his style, his potential and his masterful facility with music.

The wolves are running. Perhaps you would do something to stop their bite?

The Box of Delights (1984) If you were at a formative age when it was first broadcast, a festive viewing of The Box of Delights  may well have become an annual ritual. The BBC adaptation of John Masefield’s 1935 novel is perhaps the ultimate cosy yuletide treat. On a TV screen, at any rate. To an extent, this is exactly the kind of unashamedly middle class-orientated bread-and-butter period production the corporation now thinks twice about; ever so posh kids having jolly adventures in a nostalgic netherworld of Interwar Britannia. Fortunately, there’s more to it than that. There is something genuinely evocative about Box ’s mythic landscape, a place where dream and reality and time and place are unfixed and where Christmas is guaranteed a blanket of thick snow. Key to this is the atmosphere instilled by director Renny Rye. Most BBC fantasy fare doe not age well but The Box of Delights is blessed with a sinister-yet-familiar charm, such that even the creakier production decisi

White nights getting to you?

Insomnia (2002) (SPOILERS) I’ve never been mad keen on Insomnia . It’s well made, well-acted, the screenplay is solid and it fits in neatly with Christopher Nolan’s abiding thematic interests, but it’s… There’s something entirely adequateabout it. It isn’t pushing any kind of envelope. It’s happy to be the genre-bound crime study it is and nothing more, something emphasised by Pacino’s umpteenth turn as an under-pressure cop.

We got two honkies out there dressed like Hassidic diamond merchants.

The Blues Brothers (1980) (SPOILERS) I had limited awareness of John Belushi’s immense mythos before  The Blues Brothers arrived on retail video in the UK (so 1991?) My familiarity with SNL performers really began with Ghostbusters ’ release, which meant picking up the trail of Jake and Elwood was very much a retrospective deal. I knew Animal House , knew Belushi’s impact there, knew 1941 (the Jaws parody was the best bit), knew Wired was a biopic better avoided. But the minor renaissance he, and they, underwent in the UK in the early ’90s seemed to have been initiated by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, of all things; Everybody Needs Somebody was part of their That Sounds Good to Me medley, the first of their hits not to make No.1, and Everybody ’s subsequent single release then just missed the Top Ten. Perhaps it was this that hastened CIC/Universal to putting the comedy out on video. Had the movie done the rounds on UK TV in the 80s? If so, it managed to pass me by. Even bef

I dreamed about a guy in a dirty red and green sweater.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (SPOILERS) I first saw A Nightmare on Elm Street a little under a decade after its release, and I was distinctly underwhelmed five or so sequels and all the hype. Not that it didn’t have its moments, but there was an “It’ll do” quality that reflects most of the Wes Craven movies I’ve seen. Aside from the postmodern tease of A New Nightmare – like Last Action Hero , unfairly maligned – I’d never bothered with the rest of the series, in part because I’m just not that big a horror buff, but also because the rule that the first is usually the best in any series, irrespective of genre, tends to hold out more often than not. So now I’m finally getting round to them, and it seemed only fair to start by giving Freddy’s first another shot. My initial reaction holds true.

Maybe he had one too many peanut butter and fried banana sandwiches.

3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) (SPOILERS) The kind of movie that makes your average Tarantino knockoff look classy, 3000 Miles to Graceland is both aggressively unpleasant and acutely absent any virtues, either as a script or a stylistic exercise. The most baffling thing about it is how it attracted Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell, particularly since both ought to have been extra choosy at this point, having toplined expensive bombs in the previous half decade that made them significantly less bankable names. And if you’re wondering how this managed to cost the $62m reported on Wiki, it didn’t; Franchise Pictures, one of the backers, was in the business of fraudulently inflating budgets .

He must have eaten a whole rhino horn!

Fierce Creatures (1997) (SPOILERS) “ I wouldn’t have married Alyce Faye Eicheberger and I wouldn’t have made Fierce Creatures.” So said John Cleese , when industrial-sized, now-ex gourmand Michael Winner, of Winner’s Dinners , Death Wish II and You Must Be Joking! fame (one of those is a legitimate treasure, but only one) asked him what he would do differently if he could live his life again. One of the regrets identified in the response being Cleese’s one-time wife (one-time of two other one-time wives, with the present one mercifully, for John’s sake, ongoing) and the other being the much-anticipated Death Fish II , the sequel to monster hit A Fish Called Wanda. Wanda was a movie that proved all Cleese’s meticulous, focus-group-tested honing and analysis of comedy was justified. Fierce Creatures proved the reverse.

How do you melt somebody’s lug wrench?

Starman (1984) (SPOILERS) John Carpenter’s unlikely SF romance. Unlikely, because the director has done nothing before or since suggesting an affinity for the romantic fairy tale, and yet he proves surprisingly attuned to Starman ’s general vibes. As do his stars and Jack Nitzsche, furnishing the score in a rare non-showing from the director-composer. Indeed, if there’s a bum note here, it’s the fairly ho-hum screenplay; the lustre of Starman isn’t exactly that of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear, but it’s very nearly stitching together something special from resolutely average source material.

You absolute horror of a human being.

As Good as it Gets (1997) (SPOILERS) James L Brooks’ third Best Picture Oscar nomination goes to reconfirm every jaundiced notion you had of the writer-director-producer’s capacity for the facile and highly consumable, low-cal, fast-food melodramatic fix with added romcom lustre. Of course, As Good as it Gets was a monster hit, parading as it does Jack in a crackerjack, attention-grabbing part. But it’s a mechanical, suffocatingly artificial affair, ponderously paced (a frankly absurd 139 minutes) and infused with glib affirmations and affections. Naturally, the Academy lapped that shit up, because it reflects their own lack of depth and perception (no further comment is needed than Titanic winning the big prize for that year).

Remember. Decision. Consequence.

Day Break (2006) (SPOILERS) Day Break is the rare series that was lucky to get cancelled. And not in a mercy-killing way. It got to tell its story. Sure, apparently there were other stories. Other days to break. But would it have justified going there? Or would it have proved tantalising/reticent about the elusive reason its protagonist has to keep stirring and repeating? You bet it would. Offering occasional crumbs, and then, when it finally comes time to wrap things up, giving an explanation that satisfies no one/is a cop out/offers a hint at some nebulous existential mission better left to the viewer to conjure up on their own. Best that it didn’t even try to go there.