Skip to main content

Ladies and gentlemen, Audrey’s dance.

Twin Peaks
3.16: No knock, no doorbell.

(SPOILERS) Well, he’s back. Finally (Mike was speaking for the entire viewing audience there). And he’s 100%! That Lynch faded in the Twin Peaks theme to announce the fully restored Special Agent Dale Cooper is indication enough that Coop’s the show’s emotional anchor, its comfort and strength, and without him, however good the show is – and it has been very, very good – there’s something missing. Not that the show should be mired in formula, but Coop-free, the Twin Peaks-verse is a starker, more forbidding place. The other event of the episode – and No knock, no doorbell is brimming with them, so maybe that’s being a little subjective – is the insight into what is going on with Audrey.


I admitted in the last review that I was coming around to the idea of Audrey in a coma, but the flash we receive here suggests something else, something equally traumatic but not yet entirely discernible. My first thought was a variant on this, that she’s quite in a mental institution, hence the apparently white surroundings and her patient-type garb. One would presume as a result of the actions of habitual rapist Evil Coop (“Goodbye, my son” is the most succinct, no-nonsense version of Darth Vader conceivable). But then, how would Billy factor into this, since it appears he is a real character (perhaps he has been in and out of the same facility, currently residing, or rather drooling, in a prison cell?) And who knows how long Audrey has been in there, if indeed that is what has befallen her? And if it is, what’s the betting Charley’s actually an orderly?


But that reading would be to discount the parallels between Audrey and Diane, and Lynch and Frost are surely presenting them in a manner that is non-coincidental. We now know the Diane we’ve seen this season isn’t real, and yet there appears to be a bleed-through of her real self – wherever she may be – to the Tulpa. So maybe the Audrey we’ve been watching is experiencing something similar. She is Tulpa Audrey, trapped in the Black Lodge like Diane (or the gas station), trying to get out, and as she does so reverberating around the Great Northern. Certainly, the band playing backwards against red drapes over the end credits leaves little room for interpretation. And just as Tulpa Dougie has Janey-E, so Tulpa Audrey has Charlie.


Agent Tammy Preston: They’re real. That was a real tulpa.

Lynch isn’t pulling any punches with Evil Coop’s diabolical behaviour, that much is evident, but the qualities of his thought-form facsimiles are less transparent. The precise nature of the “tulpa” relationships to the original self become more speculative, not clearer, here. Coop appears fully cognisant of everything that occurred to him as Dougie Coop when restored, perhaps even more so, perhaps even from when Tulpa Dougie was still knocking around. At least, he seems entirely conscious of the bond Tulpa Dougie has with his family and the necessity of Dougie, an unnatural being, meriting a place in the world, hence requesting that Mike fashion another body.


With Tulpa Diane, the fate of her original is unclear (the pointers may tend towards her being Naido – “I’m in the sheriff’s station because, because I’m not me” – but maybe Naido’s Judy since she’s the one making monkey noises. Hell, maybe Diane’s also Judy; that would explain why Evil Coop has met her but doesn’t realise it). She remembers the night Evil Coop came by (four years after actual Diane had last seen him: “As soon as his lips locked mine something went wrong, and I felt afraid”), and it seems the message sent by Evil Coop, ostensibly an instruction ­– to kill Gordon Cole, one assumes, making her sending the co-ordinates immediately after (“I hope this works” – the correct coordinates this time?) an attempt to placate him? – triggers her in some way (“I remember. I remember”).


So it seems Tulpa Diane was communicating directly with Evil Coop all along, not via Phillip Jeffries (unless she was working for both). While one can readily see why he’d want an “in” at the FBI, what he’d want Audrey for is less discernible. Unless disposable progeny were on his mind. Whatever the reason, the parallels between but Tulpa Diane’s disclaimers of “I’m not me. I’m not me” before she’s retired to the Red Room and the existential angst Audrey was giving voice to two episodes ago (“Like I’m somewhere else and I’m someone else”) are unavoidable.


Mike: Someone manufactured you.
Tulpa Diane: I know. Fuck you.

Evidently, the tulpa seeds are recyclable (“I need you to make another one”, Coop asks Mike). I’m not sure what Tulpa Diane’s would be used for, following her zany, Gilliam-by-way-of-South Park cartoonish collapse. Mike seems happy to state the bleeding obvious, but presumably there are others about given to tulpa-manufacture since he doesn’t instantly pin it on Evil Coop.


Murkier in this sequence is establishing who provided the wrong co-ordinates and who proffered the right. Two people gave the incorrect ones, and one might reasonably assume Diane was one (meaning she already sent them to Evil Coop prior to this episode). Meaning either she had been fed the wrong info by Albert and Gordon (and text, a kill instruction, was issued as a consequence) or she hadn’t sent ALL the coordinates (and so Evil Coop realises her info was correct, but incomplete). Certainly, it would make more sense if Philip “I’m a teapot” Jeffries and Ray were both being deceptive; Ray was working for Jeffries, so you might reasonably assume they were on the same page. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if Tulpa Diane sent Coop there, since this is evidently some kind of trap, and the only person who could reliably set such a trap is Phillip Jeffries (why would both Jeffries’ and Tulpa Diane have matching false coordinates?)


It isn’t too much of a stretch to assume, however else Season Three concludes, that Tulpa Dougie will be restored as head of household and Mullins’ prime insurance salesman (and friend of the Mitchums?). Possibly a new and improved Dougie at that, more resembling our Coop. If this conjures queasy memories of the final of nu-Doctor Who Season Two, that’s entirely understandable, but fortunately for us, this is not that show.


Bradley Mitchum: What the fuck kind of neighbourhood is this?
Rodney Mitchum: People are under a lot of stress, Bradley.

Lynch loves his random incidents, particularly when it comes to undercutting expectation… I’m assuming this is a random incident, mind, which is probably unwise. So the much-anticipated hit on Dougie Coop by Hutch and Chantal never comes to pass. Chiefly because Coop is in the hospital, but more immediately because of the string of interruptions that cause them increasing bewilderment. First the FBI, and then the procession led by the Mitchum brothers.


And then, entirely excessively, the Polish accountant (Zaraski, if his car is anything to go by, played by Johnny Coyne), who takes exception to the duo parking in his drive, attempting to forcibly manoeuvre their van from the spot when Chantal, hopped up on junk food and E-numbers, becomes abusive (“Go fuck yourself”). When she then pulls out a gun and fires at him, he escalates the proceedings in a manner neither could have anticipated, removing an Uzi from his car boot and first winging her before putting a decisive end to their hit person antics in the style of an action movie set piece.


Agent Wilson: It looks like nobody’s home.
Special Agent Randall Headley: Oh, and how did you deduce that, Sherlock?

A word about my new favourite FBI guy, Special Agent Randall Headley. Seeing as, sadly, Albert Rosenfeld won’t be in any third season, would it be too much to ask that the dyspeptic Randall becomes a new regular? And, of course, faithful Agent Wilson, so he has someone to yell at.


Sonny Jim Jones: Dad sure is talking a lot.
Janey-E Jones: Yeah, he sure is.

Jerry Horne sort of (you can only see so much through the wrong end of binoculyars) witnesses the death of his grandnephew, who decidedly does not end up in an alternative dimension when he is zapped by a bolt of electricity. It’s electricity that sends Richard to his maker and which brings Coop back (“It was like, what? Electricity?” – there was also a now-familiar humming sound before Coop returns).


McLachlan slips back into the cadence of Coop with consummate ease, and Lynch and Frost write him as if he’s never been away, that balance of genuineness, assuredness and formality (“You’re a fine man, Bushnell Mullins. I will not soon forget your kindness and decency”; “I want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with both of you. You’ve made my heart so full”). It’s curious that only now does Janey-E work out that Coop is not Dougie, though (“Whoever you are, thank you”). Mind you, she is the sort of person who would marry Dougie in the first place.


Bushnell Mullins: What about the FBI?
Special Agent Dale Cooper: I AM the FBI.

Coop is also heading for the sheriff’s station, to which end he enlists the Mitchum brothers, who are understandably a little uneasy about going where they’re “not traditionally welcome”. Coop’s response is an absolute classic (“Friends, that’s about to change. I am witness to the fact that you both have hearts of gold”), readily verified by Candie (“They do, they really do”), and Knepper and Belushi are marvellous playing hard guys buoyed by admitting to their soft centres.


MC: Ladies and gentlemen, Audrey’s dance.

So, what will be the repercussions of Audrey’s state of affairs? Will Jerry ever make it back to civilisation? Will there be a farewell spate of shit-shovelling? Will Sarah Palmer show up at the police station? After all, everyone else is going there, with Coop in pole position. It’s good to have him back.








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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I just hope my death makes more cents than my life.

Joker (2019)
(SPOILERS) So the murder sprees didn’t happen, and a thousand puff pieces desperate to fan the flames of such events and then told-ya-so have fallen flat on their faces. The biggest takeaway from Joker is not that the movie is an event, when once that seemed plausible but not a given, but that any mainstream press perspective on the picture appears unable to divorce its quality from its alleged or actual politics. Joker may be zeitgeisty, but isn’t another Taxi Driver in terms of cultural import, in the sense that Taxi Driver didn’t have a Taxi Driver in mind when Paul Schrader wrote it. It is, if you like, faux-incendiary, and can only ever play out on that level. It might be more accurately described as a grubbier, grimier (but still polished and glossy) The Talented Ripley, the tale of developing psychopathy, only tailored for a cinemagoing audience with few options left outside of comic book fare.

You guys sure like watermelon.

The Irishman aka I Heard You Paint Houses (2019)
(SPOILERS) Perhaps, if Martin Scorsese hadn’t been so opposed to the idea of Marvel movies constituting cinema, The Irishman would have been a better film. It’s a decent film, assuredly. A respectable film, definitely. But it’s very far from being classic. And a significant part of that is down to the usually assured director fumbling the execution. Or rather, the realisation. I don’t know what kind of crazy pills the ranks of revered critics have been taking so as to recite as one the mantra that you quickly get used to the de-aging effects so intrinsic to its telling – as Empire magazine put it, “you soon… fuggadaboutit” – but you don’t. There was no point during The Irishman that I was other than entirely, regrettably conscious that a 75-year-old man was playing the title character. Except when he was playing a 75-year-old man.

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.

The guy practically lives in a Clue board.

Knives Out (2019)
(SPOILERS) “If Agatha Christie were writing today, she’d have a character who’s an Internet troll.” There’s a slew of ifs and buts in that assertion, but it tells you a lot about where Rian Johnson is coming from with Knives Out. As in, Christie might – I mean, who can really say? – but it’s fair to suggest she wouldn’t be angling her material the way Johnson does, who for all his pronouncement that “This isn’t a message movie” is very clearly making one. He probably warrants a hesitant pass on that statement, though, to the extent that Knives Out’s commentary doesn’t ultimately overpower the whodunnit side of the plot. On the other hand, when Daniel Craig’s eccentrically accented sleuth Benoit Blanc is asked “You’re not much of a detective, are you?” the only fair response is vigorous agreement.

You're skipping Christmas! Isn't that against the law?

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
Ex-coke dealer Tim Allen’s underwhelming box office career is, like Vince Vaughn’s, regularly in need of a boost from an indiscriminate public willing to see any old turkey posing as a prize Christmas comedy.  He made three Santa Clauses, and here is joined by Jamie Lee Curtis as a couple planning to forgo the usual neighbourhood festivities for a cruise.

Do forgive me for butting in, but I have a bet with my daughter that you are Hercules Porridge, the famous French sleuth.

Death on the Nile (1978)
(SPOILERS) Peak movie Poirot, as the peerless Peter Ustinov takes over duties from Albert Finney, who variously was unavailable for Death on the Nile, didn’t want to repeat himself or didn’t fancy suffering through all that make up in the desert heat. Ustinov, like Rutherford, is never the professional Christie fan’s favourite incarnation, but he’s surely the most approachable and engaging. Because, well, he’s Peter Ustinov. And if some of his later appearances were of the budget-conscious, TV movie variety (or of the Michael Winner variety), here we get to luxuriate in a sumptuously cast, glossy extravaganza.

I am constantly surprised that women’s hats do not provoke more murders.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
(SPOILERS) Was Joe Eszterhas a big fan of Witness for the Prosecution? He was surely a big fan of any courtroom drama turning on a “Did the accused actually do it?” only for it to turn out they did, since he repeatedly used it as a template. Interviewed about his Agatha Christie adaptation (of the 1925 play), writer-director Billy Wilder said of the author that “She constructs like an angel, but her language is flat; no dialogue, no people”. It’s not an uncommon charge, one her devotees may take issue with, that her characters are mere pieces to be moved around a chess board, rather than offering any emotional or empathetic interest to the viewer. It’s curious then that, while Wilder is able to remedy the people and dialogue, doing so rather draws attention to a plot that, on this occasion, turns on a rather too daft ruse.

I’m the famous comedian, Arnold Braunschweiger.

Last Action Hero (1993)
(SPOILERS) Make no mistake, Last Action Hero is a mess. But even as a mess, it might be more interesting than any other movie Arnie made during that decade, perhaps even in his entire career. Hellzapoppin’ (after the 1941 picture, itself based on a Broadway revue) has virtually become an adjective to describe films that comment upon their own artifice, break the fourth wall, and generally disrespect the convention of suspending disbelief in the fictions we see parading across the screen. It was fairly audacious, some would say foolish, of Arnie to attempt something of that nature at this point in his career, which was at its peak, rather than playing it safe. That he stumbled profoundly, emphatically so since he went up against the behemoth that is Jurassic Park (slotted in after the fact to open first), should not blind one to the considerable merits of his ultimate, and final, really, attempt to experiment with the limits of his screen persona.

Of course, one m…

So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman.

Casino Royale (2006)
(SPOILERS) Despite the doubts and trepidation from devotees (too blonde, uncouth etc.) that greeted Daniel Craig’s casting as Bond, and the highly cynical and low-inspiration route taken by Eon in looking to Jason Bourne's example to reboot a series that had reached a nadir with Die Another Day, Casino Royale ends up getting an enormous amount right. If anything, its failure is that it doesn’t push far enough, so successful is it in disarming itself of the overblown set pieces and perfunctory plotting that characterise the series (even at its best), elements that would resurge with unabated gusto in subsequent Craig excursions.

For the majority of its first two hours, Casino Royale is top-flight entertainment, with returning director Martin Campbell managing to exceed his excellent work reformatting Bond for the ‘90s. That the weakest sequence (still good, mind) prior to the finale is a traditional “big” (but not too big) action set piece involving an attempt to…

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…