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…

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…

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…

What ho, Brinkley. So, do you think we’re going to get along, what?

Jeeves and Wooster 2.4: Jeeves in the Country  (aka Chuffy)
The plundering of Thank You, Jeeves elicits two more of the series’ best episodes, the first of which finds Bertie retiring to the country with a new valet, the insolent, incompetent and inebriate Brinkley (a wonderfully sour, sullen performance from Fred Evans, who would receive an encore in the final season), owing to Jeeves being forced to resign over his master’s refusal to give up the trumpet (“not an instrument for a gentleman”; in the book, it’s a banjulele).

Chuffnall Hall is the setting (filmed at Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire), although the best of the action takes place around Bertie’s digs in Chuffnall Regis (Clovelly, Devon), which old pal Reginald “Chuffy” Chuffnell (Marmaduke Lord Chuffnell) has obligingly rented him, much to the grievance of the villagers, who have to endure his trumpeting disrupting the beatific beach (it’s a lovely spot, one of the most evocative in the series).

Jeeves is snapped up into the e…

What I have tried to show you is the inevitability of history. What must be, must be.

The Avengers 2.24: A Sense of History
Another gem, A Sense of History features one of the series’ very best villains in Patrick Mower’s belligerent, sneering student Duboys. Steed and Mrs Peel arrive at St Bode’s College investigating murder most cloistered, and the author of a politically sensitive theoretical document, in Martin Woodhouse’s final, and best, teleplay for the show (other notables include Mr. Teddy Bear and The Wringer).

Don't give me any of that intelligent life crap, just give me something I can blow up.

Dark Star (1974)
(SPOILERS) Is Dark Star more a John Carpenter film or more a Dan O’Bannon one? Until the mid ‘80s it might have seemed atypical of either of them, since they had both subsequently eschewed comedy in favour of horror (or thriller). And then they made Big Trouble in Little China and Return of the Living Dead respectively, and you’d have been none-the-wiser again. I think it’s probably fair to suggest it was a more personal film to O’Bannon, who took its commercial failure harder, and Carpenter certainly didn’t relish the tension their creative collaboration brought (“a duel of control” as he put it), as he elected not to work with his co-writer/ actor/ editor/ production designer/ special effects supervisor again. Which is a shame, as, while no one is ever going to label Dark Star a masterpiece, their meeting of minds resulted in one of the decade’s most enduring cult classics, and for all that they may have dismissed it/ seen only its negatives since, one of the best mo…

Ruination to all men!

The Avengers 24: How to Succeed…. At Murder
On the one hand, this episode has a distinctly reactionary whiff about it, pricking the bubble of the feminist movement, with Steed putting a female assassin over his knee and tickling her into submission. On the other, it has Steed putting a female assassin over his knee and tickling her into submission. How to Succeed… At Murder (a title play on How to Succeed at Business Without Really Trying, perhaps) is often very funny, even if you’re more than a little aware of the “wacky” formula that has been steadily honed over the course of the fourth season.

You just keep on drilling, sir, and we'll keep on killing.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)
(SPOILERS) The drubbing Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk received really wasn’t unfair. I can’t even offer it the “brave experiment” consolation on the basis of its use of a different frame rate – not evident in itself on 24fps Blu ray, but the neutering effect of the actual compositions is, and quite tellingly in places – since the material itself is so lacking. It’s yet another misguided (to be generous to its motives) War on Terror movie, and one that manages to be both formulaic and at times fatuous in its presentation.

The irony is that Ang Lee, who wanted Billy Lynn to feel immersive and realistic, has made a movie where nothing seems real. Jean-Christophe Castelli’s adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel is careful to tread heavily on every war movie cliché it can muster – and Vietnam War movie cliché at that – as it follows Billy Lynn (British actor Joe Alwyn) and his unit (“Bravo Squad”) on a media blitz celebrating their heroism in 2004 Iraq …

This here's a bottomless pit, baby. Two-and-a-half miles straight down.

The Abyss (1989)
(SPOILERS) By the time The Abyss was released in late summer ’89, I was a card carrying James Cameron fanboy (not a term was in such common use then, thankfully). Such devotion would only truly fade once True Lies revealed the stark, unadulterated truth of his filmmaking foibles. Consequently, I was an ardent Abyss apologist, railing at suggestions of its flaws. I loved the action, found the love story affecting, and admired the general conceit. So, when the Special Edition arrived in 1993, with its Day the Earth Stood Still-invoking global tsunami reinserted, I was more than happy to embrace it as a now-fully-revealed masterpiece.

I still see the Special Edition as significantly better than the release version (whatever quality concerns swore Cameron off the effects initially, CGI had advanced sufficiently by that point;certainly, the only underwhelming aspect is the surfaced alien craft, which was deemed suitable for the theatrical release), both dramatically and them…

Never compare me to the mayor in Jaws! Never!

Ghostbusters (2016)
(SPOILERS) Paul Feig is a better director than Ivan Reitman, or at very least he’s savvy enough to gather technicians around him who make his films look good, but that hasn’t helped make his Ghostbusters remake (or reboot) a better movie than the original, and that’s even with the original not even being that great a movie in the first place.

Along which lines, I’d lay no claims to the 1984 movie being some kind of auteurist gem, but it does make some capital from the polarising forces of Aykroyd’s ultra-geekiness on the subject of spooks and Murray’s “I’m just here for the asides” irreverence. In contrast, Feig’s picture is all about treating the subject as he does any other genre, be it cop, or spy, or romcom. There’s no great affection, merely a reliably professional approach, one minded to ensure that a generous quota of gags (on-topic not required) can be pumped out via abundant improv sessions.

So there’s nothing terribly wrong with Ghostbusters, but aside from …