Skip to main content

You've already met Judy.

Twin Peaks
3.15: There’s some fear in letting go.

Just two episodes ago, Big Ed was nursing a solitary late night cup-a-soup and looking as if nothing could ever come right. And even here, it seems as if, having finally been finally let off the leash by Nadine, he’ll be reduced to a coffee and cyanide. So the reparatory hand on his shoulder, signalling Norma is ready to be there with him for evermore, seems too good to be true. I’m wary that Lynch and Frost won’t just pull the rug from under them, and how long Nadine, who thanks to Dr Amp shows no fear in letting go, will remain in her golden, shovelled-up state.


I particularly enjoyed Wendy Robie’s delivery of “But I’ve been a SELFISH BITCH to you all these years”, and several of the characters here – Nadine, Big Ed, Hawk – are proving much more effective in this second wind of the series than they ever did first time round. Michael Horse has a great face for stoic rumination now. But not a horse face. 


Hawk’s phone conversations – I say conversations; really, they’re monologues to which he listens attentively – with the very frail Margaret Lanterman have punctuated this season in a quietly affecting manner, and this, her final one, as the Log Lady faces death, neven more so. It’s thus a consolation to be helped along by Hawk’s studied reserve. There’s one final clue (“Watch for that one. The one I told you about. The one under the moon, on Blue Pine Mountain”), and then Margaret’s log is turning gold (nothing to do with Dr Amp).


The episode needs these spots of reflection and connection, as elsewhere Twin Peaks (the town) is in violent disarray. We see significantly more of Gersten Hayward but in the most distressing of situations. Partly because she’s with Steve Burnett, and partly because… Well no, entirely because she’s with Steve Burnett, who evidently has a mystifying lure with the ladies. It’s said that if you don’t see a body on a show, you can’t count on the person being dead, so I’ll believe Steve blew his brains out when I see them. As to what they’re discussing, barely coherently, either he’s just completely fried (which he is) or he’s also possibly done something really bad to someone. Really bad.


It was gratifying to see Freddie and his magic glove come to James’ rescue in the Bang Bang Bar. Given the latter’s forward manner, I can only assume that motorbike accident had a subtly adverse effect on his faculties, as he seems oblivious to hubby Chuck when making his introductions Renee (“I was just trying to be polite”). I’m unclear quite why he gets locked up with Freddie, though, since he didn’t render anyone senseless and foaming at the mouth with a fistful of green marigold. Still, it’s quite the gang in there; Mr Echo the Souse, Naido the Monkey Girl, Grumpy Chad, Poor Earnest James and The Green Glovelet. A sequel to The Usual Suspects could be in the works.


Charlie: Are you going to put your coat on, or are you going to talk me to death right here on the threshold?

I hadn’t hitherto paid much credence to the popular fan suggestion that Audrey is still in a coma – when exactly is she supposed to have entered this coma, with a son in the scenario? After Evil Coop raped her? – but as her prevarication over leaving her house/mind continues, the idea becomes teasingly more feasible. Which would be a shame, as I don’t want Charlie to disappear in a puff of logic. And also because, as brutally unkind as Lynch and Frost are giving us this version of Audrey, the raped, comatose one sounds even more cruelly devised.


Aside from Chantal and Hutch tying up one of their two loose ends (Todd dies in a splatter of digitally exploding head), the other non-Coop moment of note comes in the last scene as a girl (Ruby, played by Charlyne Yi) is forcibly removed from her stall at the Bang Bang Bar by bikers and proceeds to crawl across the floor before screaming in a manner reminiscent of Laura Palmer in Fire Walk With Me. Which seems about right. I’m not sure how more I could have taken of The Veils either.


I wonder a bit about Chantal and Hutch. Much as I like Roth and Leigh, their characters don’t really click; they’re kind of sub-Tarantino – intentionally? – right down to banal discussions of violence (torture) and philosophical conversations instead of pop culture ones (although they do discuss fast food). Maybe it’s just because they’re both veterans of his productions.


Evil Coop: Who is Judy? WHO IS JUDY?

So, Phillip Jefferies is a big steaming kettle (a full body suit iron lung?), puffing out numbers. It was a safe bet that Jefferies would be reincarnated, but who could have foreseen this? Or his rather lacklustre voice double (Nathan Frizzell; I particularly didn’t appreciate the overdubbing of the Fire Walk With Me scene)? Jefferies’ presence is just as mystifying to Evil Coop as it is to us by the look of it, since his confident, in-control manner is replaced by confusion and frustration. Is PJ Just fucking with Evil Coop (“Did you call me five days ago?” asks Evil Coop. “I don’t have your number” replies the kettle)? And if not, who did get him on the blower? Why does Coop want to ask Jefferies about Judy now after all these years, other than it being the first chance Lynch and Frost have had to address the subject? Apparently, Coop has already met Judy, but have we?


It’s a conversation that doesn’t reveal much. Even less how the convenience store – I’m presuming it’s the Dutchman – gets around. At least, I assumed it was dematerialising, TARDIS-like, to pop up somewhere else, but perhaps it just dwindles in and out of phase like its dirty tramp inhabitants (one of whom bears a passing resemblance to Alice Cooper circa Prince of Darkness) and remains geographically in the same place.


Janey-E: Oh, Dougie. It’s like all our dreams are coming true.

The Sky TV placeholder photo for this episode showed Coop in the Red Room, so I was a little disappointed he didn’t end up back there. Is sticking a fork in an electrical socket his ticket back there? Or will the electric charge cause him to revert to Coop in time for Chantal and Hutch’s visit? Even if he doesn’t, savant Coop will surely somehow persevere.


I’m wondering if Sunset Boulevard has any greater significance on the proceedings than an incidental character having the name Gordon Cole (it is, after all, narrated by a dead person – one theory has the entire season taking place in Audrey’s head, like Bobby Ewing on acid, which I don’t really buy, not least because it would retrospectively diminish scenes such as the Log Lady’s passing). Possibly not, any more than Chantal being able to see Mars. Or spending several minutes watching Coop eating chocolate cake. My favourite scene of the episode, though, returns us to the magnificent ineptitude of the Vegas FBI office, and Special Agent Randall Headley’s fury at Agent Wilson’s inability to locate the correct Dougie Jones (“WILSON!”)







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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Espionage isn’t a game, it’s a war.

The Avengers 3.3: The Nutshell
Philip Chambers first teleplay (of two) for the series, and Raymond Menmuir’s second (also of two) as director, The Nutshell is an effective little whodunit in which Steed (again) poses as a bad guy, and Cathy (again) appears to be at loggerheads with him. The difference here is how sustained the pretence is, though; we aren’t actually in on the details until the end, and the whole scenario is played decidedly straight.

Set mostly in a bunker (the Nutshell of the title), quarter of a mile underground and providing protection for the “all the best people” (civil servants bunk on level 43; Steed usually gets off at the 18th) in the event of a thermo-nuclear onslaught, the setting is something of a misdirection, since it is also a convenient place to store national security archives, known as Big Ben (Bilateral Infiltration Great Britain, Europe and North America). Big Ben has been stolen. Or rather, the microfilm with details of all known double agents on bot…

This is no time for puns! Even good ones.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
Perhaps I've done DreamWorks Animation (SKG, Inc., etc.) a slight injustice. The studio has been content to run an assembly line of pop culture raiding, broad-brush properties and so-so sequels almost since its inception, but the cracks in their method have begun to show more overtly in recent years. They’ve been looking tired, and too many of their movies haven’t done the business they would have liked. Yet both their 2014 deliveries, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, take their standard approach but manage to add something more. Dragon 2 has a lot of heart, which one couldn’t really say about Peabody (it’s more sincere elements feel grafted on, and largely unnecessary). Peabody, however, is witty, inventive and pacey, abounding with sight gags and clever asides while offering a time travel plotline that doesn’t talk down to its family audience.

I haven’t seen the The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, from which Mr. Peabody & Sh…

Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit, or at least half of it.

The World is Not Enough (1999)
(SPOILERS) The last Bond film of the 20th century unfortunately continues the downward trend of the Brosnan era, which had looked so promising after the reinvigorated approach to Goldeneye. The World is Not Enough’s screenplay posseses a number of strong elements (from the now ever present Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, and a sophomore Bruce Feirstein), some of which have been recycled in the Craig era, but they’ve been mashed together with ill-fitting standard Bond tropes that puncture any would-be substance (Bond’s last line before the new millennium is one Roger Moore would have relished). And while a structure that stop-starts doesn’t help the overall momentum any, nor does the listlessness of drama director Michael Apted, such that when the sporadic bursts of action do arrive there’s no disguising the joins between first and second unit, any prospect of thrills evidently unsalvageable in the edit.

Taking its cues from the curtailed media satire of Tomorr…

I know what I'm gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life is an unassailable classic, held up as an embodiment of true spirit of Christmas and a testament to all that is good and decent and indomitable in humanity. It deserves its status, even awash with unabashed sentimentality that, for once, actually seems fitting. But, with the reams of plaudits aimed at Frank Capra’s most enduring film, it is also worth playing devil’s advocate for a moment or two. One can construe a number of not nearly so life-affirming undercurrents lurking within it, both intentional and unintentional on the part of its director. And what better time to Grinch-up such a picture than when bathed in the warmth of a yuletide glow?

The film was famously not a financial success on initial release, as is the case with a number of now hallowed movies, its reputation burgeoning during television screenings throughout the 1970s. Nevertheless, It’s a Wonderful Life garnered a brace of Oscar nominations including Best Picture and…

Dude, you're embarrassing me in front of the wizards.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
(SPOILERS) The cliffhanger sequel, as a phenomenon, is a relatively recent thing. Sure, we kind of saw it with The Empire Strikes Back – one of those "old" movies Peter Parker is so fond of – a consequence of George Lucas deliberately borrowing from the Republic serials of old, but he had no guarantee of being able to complete his trilogy; it was really Back to the Future that began the trend, and promptly drew a line under it for another decade. In more recent years, really starting with The MatrixThe Lord of the Rings stands apart as, post-Weinstein's involvement, fashioned that way from the ground up – shooting the second and third instalments back-to-back has become a thing, both more cost effective and ensuring audiences don’t have to endure an interminable wait for their anticipation to be sated. The flipside of not taking this path is an Allegiant, where greed gets the better of a studio (split a novel into two movie parts assuming a…

Perhaps I am dead. Perhaps we’re both dead. And this is some kind of hell.

The Avengers 5.7: The Living Dead
The Living Dead occupies such archetypal Avengers territory that it feels like it must have been a more common plotline than it was; a small town is the cover for invasion/infiltration, with clandestine forces gathering underground. Its most obvious antecedent is The Town of No Return, and certain common elements would later resurface in Invasion of the Earthmen. This is a lot broader than Town, however, the studio-bound nature making it something of a cosy "haunted house" yarn, Scooby Doo style.

Dirty is exactly why you're here.

Sicario 2: Soldado aka Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
(SPOILERS) I wasn't among the multitude greeting the first Sicario with rapturous applause. It felt like a classic case of average material significantly lifted by the diligence of its director (and cinematographer and composer), but ultimately not all that. Any illusions that this gritty, violent, tale of cynicism and corruption – all generally signifiers of "realism" – in waging the War on Drugs had a degree of credibility well and truly went out the window when we learned that Benicio del Toro's character Alejandro Gillick wasn't just an unstoppable kickass ninja hitman; he was a grieving ex-lawyer turned unstoppable kickass ninja hitman. Sicario 2: Soldadograzes on further difficult-to-digest conceits, so in that respect is consistent, and – ironically – in some respects fares better than its predecessor through being more thoroughly genre-soaked and so avoiding the false doctrine of "revealing" …

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…

The Worm is the Spice! The Spice is the Worm!

Dune (1984)
(SPOILERS) Dune was (still is?) one of those movies that seemed to be a fixture in student houses of “a certain disposition”, frequently played and part of the furniture, but not really absorbed. Easier to stare at rather than fully engage with. Unless, I presume, you were already an aficionado of Frank Herbert’s gargantuan novels. I’ve seen it said of the Harry Potter movieverse that you really need to have read the books to get all you can from them, but the only one where I really felt that was the case was The Prisoner of Azkaban, which seemed to have some whacking great narrative holes in need of filling. David Lynch’s Dune, the source material of which I also haven’t read, most certainly suffers from such a malaise, the measures taken to impart the dense plot overwhelming the challenge of making an engaging motion picture. It’s just too stuffed, too conscious of the need to move onto the next sequence or barely-defined character, such that it ends up simultaneously sha…