Tuesday, 19 September 2017

RIP Harry Dean Stanton

I was incredibly sorry to hear that the wonderful Harry Dean Stanton had passed away in hospital last Friday. Although he had reached the ripe old age of 91 it doesn't make it any less sad to say goodbye to the legendary character actor who I took great delight in seeing in absolutely anything he did on screen.

Without a doubt my favourite Harry Dean Stanton film is Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas which I implore you watch if you haven’t ever seen it. Harry Dean plays Travis who had gone missing in the desert but turns up unexpectedly attempting to reconnect with his brother and son. It is beautifully shot and has a wonderfully haunting soundtrack composed by Ry Cooder. No matter how many times I watch this film, Harry Dean’s monologue to his ex-wife makes me blub like a baby. His talents as an actor are incredible, especially in Paris, Texas which is one of my utter favourite films. But my most favourite film of all time is Wild At Heart in which Harry Dean plays Jonnie Farragut who is hopelessly in love with and manipulated by Diane Ladd’s supreme villainous Marietta Fortune. Together they make a hilarious couple and I love the scene when Jonnie is lying on his hotel room bed barking at the hyenas on the television.

It was an utter joy to see him reprise the role of Carl Rodd owner of The Fat Trout Trailer Park in the new series of Twin Peaks. I always found his scenes in Fire Walk With Me very funny and also quite disturbing. When he utters the words, “I’ve already been places, I’d like to stay where I am” you just know he’s seen some freaky stuff in his lifetime. Mark Frost confirmed that Carl was an original Bookhouse Boy which didn’t come as a surprise. His character was reliable, loyal, charming and kind. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Harry Dean on screen again with Lynch soon in the just released film Lucky and will be sure to review it here when I do.

Lynch said of the passing of his long-time friend and collaborator, "The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us. There went a great one. There's nobody like Harry Dean. Everyone loved him. And with good reason. He was a great actor (actually beyond great) - and a great human being - so great to be around him. You are really going to be missed Harry Dean."

Another loved member of the Twin Peaks family has moved on but how lucky were we to see so much great work and especially to have him included in Twin Peaks Season 3? 91 is a very great age to reach and especially leaving the legacy behind that he has. A great man of wit and wisdom, he will be missed.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Parts 17 & 18

It’s been over a week since Twin Peaks: The Return came to an end and I am still feeling utterly baffled and at times as if someone is deliberately wishing me sleepless nights. I’m not exaggerating. When my head hits the pillow and I close my eyes I either cannot get Laura Palmer/Carrie Paige’s shrill and horrifying scream out of my mind or I find myself endlessly remembering random scenes and puzzling over their greater meaning (and if there really was any greater meaning at all). This isn’t to say I’m displeased with The Return or the finale but it is causing some distress. I don’t think there is much use in re-capping Parts 17 & 18 in a traditional way so what I will do instead is let you know what I am currently thinking about the end of Twin Peaks: The Return.

To set the scene for you, I didn’t watch the finale until about 11pm on the Monday night as I was flying home from a long weekend in Barcelona. It was very strange to be lying by a swimming pool in the sunshine thinking that all of you would have by then experienced it whilst I remained ignorant. Especially since I got up every Monday at 6am all Summer long to watch the new episodes before going to work. My phone was strictly in flight mode and I didn’t once check social media as I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid spoilers if I did. I raced home from the airport at break neck speed to finally sit down to watch and had the most wonderful surprise waiting for me: my flatmate had set up a little Twin Peaks finale shrine complete with blue roses, a pine cone and donuts to eat. We also drank some fine Bordeaux red wine and I was utterly delighted when the opening of Part 17 saw the FBI doing the same thing.

I was not expecting Part 17 to take off in such a linear and action packed manner. I don’t think we were half way through when Cooper had arrived in Twin Peaks, Mr C had been shot down by Lucy and Freddie has fulfilled his destiny by punching BOB into oblivion. I was fist pumping the air throughout and thrilled to see everyone come together for this epic take down in the Sherriff’s station. It was a joy to get such a big pay off and I was elated but I couldn’t believe that all of that action took place so soon into Part 17 and couldn’t imagine what was yet to come.

So all of those clever people who saw the connections between Naido and Diane were absolutely right and I stand corrected for dismissing them. The real Diane appeared and I was delighted to see the romantic connection between the once faceless Diane and Special Agent Dale Cooper. I have to admit I am still pondering over this one and cannot quite work out what on earth happened to Diane in the first place and why she would have taken on the appearance of Naido... But it was a very cool reveal. When Cooper steps through the shadows flanked by Gordon and Diane it felt like a very special moment harking back to the trios work on Blue Velvet. I was also delighted to see Mike The One Armed Man once again acting as concierge of The Black Lodge for Cooper. I know how much Al Strobel adores working with Lynch and being part of Twin Peaks so to hear his gravelly, grand voice chanting the Fire Walk With Me poem once more was a treat.

Dougie Comes Home
I was delighted that Janey-E and Sonny Jim got their Dougie. I loved Cooper/Dougie with all my heart. He was so funny and adorable. His vacant expression and the way he sat silently eating his chocolate cake was just the sweetest. Janey-E is a ball buster but any woman who can negotiate so confidently with casino debt collectors is okay by me. And she loves her Dougie dearly. I was very pleased to see the new Tulpa delivered straight to her red door.

Wizard of Oz Connections
The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favourite films. Many people pointed out the array of red shoes worn by characters throughout The Return and I quite agree with the Twin Peaks Unwrapped Podcast who theorised that The Return’s most important theme was that of returning home. A bit like Dorothy who realises at the very end that there is no place like home. Dorothy had dreamt her time in Oz all along… or had she? The appearance of Cooper’s disembodied head superimposed over a large section of Part 17 and the utterance of the phrase “we live inside a dream” has made me consider that maybe Cooper, who was told specifically that he couldn’t leave The Black Lodge until The Doppelganger returned to it, dreamt or meditated or used his subconscious to get Mr C back into The Black Lodge and all of the events of The Return didn’t really happen… or maybe they did? There is a strong argument, largely led by the appearance or absence of a pin on Cooper's lapel, that Cooper only left The Lodge for real when he steps out of the curtains and into Glastonbury Grove to meet Diane in Part 17. To understand more about this theory watch this Youtube video.

Laura Is The One
As Cooper and The One Armed Man approached Phillip Jeffries I held my breath in hope that maybe we would see David Bowie make a surprise appearance but alas, a percolator he remains. Yet, I couldn’t be disappointed because my one wish was to see Sheryl Lee in the finale and for Laura Palmer to still prove significant and thankfully that is exactly what I was granted. The black and white footage taken from Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces worked seamlessly slotted into The Return and to think that the reason Laura shrieked into the dark forest was because she spotted Cooper watching from a distance was a wonderful idea. The trickery of the filmmakers into making Sheryl Lee appear a teenage Laura Palmer once more worked brilliantly for me – I completely bought it and this is possibly one of my favourite Twin Peaks moments of all time now. Seeing Cooper get to her, to try to save her, taking her hand and trying to lead that poor girl out of the dark forest and away from her brutal murder was an emotional and stunning moment to behold. But then, a glitch, and Laura disappeared and the woods seemed darker than ever…

Tulpas, Doubles and Doppelgangers
When Cooper knocked on the door and Laura Palmer answered only to say that she was not Laura and her name is Carrie Paige I just laughed in exasperation. Of course Lynch would turn the entire plot upside down with mere minutes to spare in the final episode. Lynch’s work is littered with actors playing multiple roles and characters inexplicably changing identities (see Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks Season 1) so this should never have been too surprising. When the two took to the road and we experienced long periods of driving in the darkness with little dialogue, I checked the time and realised then that the plot was going to go to strange places and none of this would be tied up neatly with a bow. And of course it wouldn’t. In true Twin Peaks style I knew The Return would end on an almighty cliff-hanger. It is a shame that some of the plots didn't get any kind of completion (the box in Buenos Aires, Becky and Stephen, the sick girl in the car who Bobby saw) and that there were a lot of strong characters who appeared only fleetingly (I was mesmerised by Red who we saw three times in total and who I hoped would become a much more significant character) but it is what it is and you never know what the future may bring.

Garmonbozia (Pain and Suffering)
When the credits rolled over Part 18 with Angelo Badalmenti’s sombre music playing, I was left feeling sad and hollow. I knew I would never find out what Laura whispered into Cooper’s ear and why it made him look so disturbed. None of us will ever know and that’s okay because life is one big mystery. David Lynch said himself that life doesn’t make sense so he doesn’t understand why people expect art to make sense. The mystery has well and truly been kept alive.

I really must go back and re-watch The Return in its entirety having now seen it all. I’m looking forward to many years of debate, theorising and exploration. In all I am completely satisfied with the magnificent return of Twin Peaks even if a little nostalgic for the old episodes. What a wonderful gift to have been given and thank you all of you who have been reading my blog throughout. I really appreciate it and love hearing from you. I apologise for the above as I know it is highly inconclusive but I think, in a strange way, that’s exactly as it is meant. I’ll see you in the trees…

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 16

David Lynch and Mark Frost have often cited the demise of Twin Peaks in the 90s down to the interfering studio executives who forced them to reveal who killed Laura Palmer prematurely in the early episodes of Season 2, thus killing the mystery and ultimately leading to cancellation. This is what Lynch has to say on the matter:

"I had very little to do with Season 2, and I'm not happy with it. Up until 'Who killed Laura Palmer?" I was with it 100 percent, and then it drifted away. We had a little goose that was laying golden eggs, and they told us to snip its head off."

Now, with The Return, and having just viewed glorious Part 16, it’s clear that the little goose took the form of Dougie and boy did he lay a lot of golden eggs. We waited and we waited and we waited 15 hours for the return of our hero Special Agent Dale Cooper and when he finally woke up it was proven well worth waiting for. Would the mystery have been kept alive if Coop had snapped out of his slumber in the first few hours? Although it was frustrating, we wouldn’t have had The Return with its many mysterious eggs waiting to hatch along the way. Cooper’s return is certain to contribute to an explosive finale this coming Sunday/Monday.

Part 16 opened with Mr C driving along the dark and dangerous highway at night with Richard Horne, who we now know is the son of Audrey Horne and Mr C after he visited Audrey in hospital and raped her when she was in a coma. No wonder Richard turned out a sadistic, evil git. In the words of Sailor Ripley, growing up he “didn’t have much parental guidance”. Unfortunately for Richard, there isn’t much time for father/son bonding during their 25 year reunion. Mr C sends Richard to the exact position of the coordinates he’s been given and Richard goes out like a firework. The only other witness to this violent act is a still very stoned and lost Jerry Horne who, unbeknown to him, has just seen the death of his own great-nephew. This is also an indication that Mr C is very close to Twin Peaks and I assume that is the next destination on his road trip as he’ll next be inspecting the alternative coordinates given to him. Before he sets off he sends Diane a message: a smiley face (why doesn’t he use emojis?!) and the word ALL.

In Las Vegas Cooper lies in hospital in a coma surrounded by his biggest fans: Janey-E, Sonny Jim, Bushnell Mullins and of course The Mitchum Brothers with Sandie, Mandie and Candie in tow with finger sandwiches. His ‘home’ is being watched by the FBI as well as Mr C’s henchmen Chantalle and Hutch who soon meet their demise in an altercation with an enraged neighbour who has a machine gun in the back of his car. They go out in true Bonnie and Clyde fashion and I must admit I’ll miss the criminal couple.

In the hospital, Cooper is left alone as that mysterious tinkling hum returns and Bushnell follows it out into the corridor as if under a trance. And suddenly he wakes up! Cooper finally returns to us in full speed caffeinated and ready to go Agent Cooper style. He knows exactly what is going on, who he is, where he is and why he is. The One Armed Man speaks for all of us when he says “You’re awake… finally!”. Without a moment’s hesitation Cooper gets suited and booted in his black FBI suit and politely but assertively orders everyone around him to help him out. The Twin Peaks theme began to play and I sobbed with utter joy. I’ll miss dumb Dougie Coop as he was so adorable and hilarious but nothing in the world compares to our Special Agent who finally woke up just in time. I am absolutely thrilled that Cooper has recruited the Mitchum crew to escort him to Twin Peaks, their unquestionable loyalty is wonderful and I adored the moment they agreed to fire up the private jet without a moment of hesitation.

It seems Cooper’s heart is always going to have a special place in it for his adopted family and I have a feeling The One Armed Man will be manufacturing a Cooper look-alike to stand in for them in both Cooper and Dougie’s absence. All of this manufacturing and seed business is getting a little complicated for my minute brain… Another incredible scene revealed that Diane wasn’t really Diane after all, but another manufactured Doppelganger like Dougie, or a ‘tulpa’ as Tammy described. Twin Peaks continues to deal with the trauma of sexual assault as Diane breaks down upon revealing to Gordon, Albert and Tammy that when Mr C visited her unannounced 4 years after Cooper’s disappearance, he raped her and took her to what sounds to be The Convenience Store. Laura Dern’s performance was heart breaking. But is she Diane? She seemed to be fighting with herself to be herself whilst the evil doppelganger side of her aimed to shoot at the FBI. I determined that Mr C’s ‘ALL’ message was giving Diane the direction to kill them all. But the FBI struck first and Diane, upon being shot, disappeared into the atmosphere and landed in The Black Lodge where she too, like Dougie, turned back into a ‘seed’ in the form of a golden marble. Is the real Diane out there? Or was she murdered by Mr C/BOB?

The oddest thing about this dramatic scene had to be Gordon’s unperturbed reaction. Whilst Albert and Tammy seemed shaken by Diane's dramatic exit, Gordon, who had been listening keenly to the beeps and blips of the techy FBI machines set-up in their temporary HQ, simply remarked “Sheriff's station?!”. I’m certain Cole was onto Diane all along. But why did she say she’s in the Sheriff's station? We know that’s where the coordinates will lead Mr C and thankfully Agent Cooper is also on his way there. Some fans are speculating that Diane is actually Naido – the woman with scars for eyes who is currently locked up at The Sheriff's Station. Naido backwards looks like, O-Dian. And Diane dresses in Asian style clothing but I’m not convinced and I sincerely hope we don’t have another racist Tojamura type of disguise on our hands…

Audrey Horne finally arrives at The Roadhouse with the reluctant Charlie. They order dirty martinis and listen to Eddie Vedder crooning about time running out and never being the same again until the superb Roadhouse Announcer invites Audrey to the floor for ‘Audrey’s Dance’. I couldn’t believe they were recreating her iconic dreamy dancing in such a dramatic way – the floor cleared and when the music started she entered into a trance. The discovery that followed, where Audrey appears to be either trapped in a psychiatric ward or maybe still in a coma, was shocking. 

Part 16 was extremely satisfying but my mind is now tied in knots trying to make sense of tulpas and doppelgangers. We are racing rapidly towards the last two hours and it is sure to be extraordinary. My bet is that Julee Cruise may make an appearance in The Roadhouse and that the entire Return will be left on the most frustrating cliff-hanger imaginable. I cannot wait to see Cooper riding into Twin Peaks with the Mitchum Crew to back him up. A friend suggested maybe Lucy will take Sandie, Mandie and Candie on a tour of The Sheriff's Station and will show them all of the phones! This plus an appearance of Laura Palmer herself would make me a very happy Peakie.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 14

We are racing towards the end of The Return at tremendous speed but are things beginning to make sense or are we being lulled into a false sense of understanding? In Part 14 the FBI begins making moves towards the real Agent Cooper whilst The Fireman chooses the least expected with super strength and knowledge.

FBI Chief Gordon Cole makes contact with Twin Peaks and is pleasantly surprised to find Lucy is still working on the reception desk after all the years gone by. Sherriff Truman informs Gordon about the missing diary pages which indicate that there are two Coopers. Gordon isn’t startled by this information and we learn that this is by no means the first encounter he has experienced with Doppelgangers. It was a joy to hear some more of the origin of the Blue Rose as Albert relays a creepy true story to Tammy about an encounter by Gordon and Agent Phillip Jeffries in 1975 with a woman named Lois Duffy. She was shot in a hotel room and her dying words were “I’m like the blue rose” before her body disappeared. The woman who shot her was also Lois Duffy, but not a twin. The significance of the blue rose is that it is not something natural and Tammy mentions Tulpas. A Tulpa derives from Tibetan mythology (remember Agent Cooper’s Tibetan rock throwing methods in Season 1?). They are the creation of ‘extra bodies’ created from a person’s mind in order to travel to other realms. Sounds about right…

It’s suggested that Major Briggs also had a doppelganger on the loose since he died in a fire two decades before but also wound up dead in Buckhorn recently. The inscribed ring found in his stomach leads to the shocking revelation that Diane is the estranged half-sister of Janey-E, the wife of Dougie Jones. Which smoothly leads the FBI on the trail of Agent Cooper in Las Vegas. He’s now a wanted man and the FBI over there are tasked with bringing him in immediately. Finally, our FBI agents have made contact with both Twin Peaks and Las Vegas and the stars appear to be aligning.

I’m glad that dreams still hold significant importance in the FBI’s methods of cracking cases. Gordon recalls the Monica Bellucci dream he had in which she speaks the ancient words, “We are like the dreamer who dreams and lives inside the dream, but who is the dreamer?”. How charming to see Paris in the mythology of Twin Peaks. I am absolutely going for a croissant and a coffee at that café when I visit in October! Gordon then sees his younger self and remembers the time Agent Phillip Jeffries, played by the late great David Bowie, arrived in the Philadelphia Offices in Fire Walk With Me, pointing at Cooper and declaring, “Who do you think that is there?”. Did Jeffries know that Cooper would soon have a doppelganger on the loose? Gordon and Albert had forgotten the event entirely until Monica Bellucci reminded him and they ponder over the significance. What a delight it was to see Bowie in Twin Peaks once more, even if the footage is archival. It was very sad but wonderful to see the episode dedicated to his memory. We all hoped perhaps he would appear but it seems unlikely that any new footage was shot. However, there was a man credited as ‘Voice’ who dubbed Bowie’s dialogue which is strange because the audio already exists. This makes me believe that Phillip Jeffries may have more to say in the episodes to come.

In Twin Peaks the bad seed of the Sherriff’s Department, Chad, is arrested by the good guys, Andy, Hawk, Truman and Bobby. Then they head off into Ghostwood to locate Jack Rabbit’s Palace under order of Major Briggs. This scene was a Twin Peaks fan’s dream. It recalled the time Hawk, Cooper, Harry Truman and Doc Hayward made a trek into the woods to visit the Log Lady and find Jacque’s cabin and the uncanny and beautiful image of the naked woman lying in the glade surrounded by smoke as electricity hums was a surrealist painting brought to life. The Major had sent them to this location at the exact time a vortex was due to open and, to my great surprise, lovely Andy gets sucked in. It was incredible to see Andy sitting across from The Giant, now revealed to be named The Fireman, in that plush, black and white world. The Fireman shows Andy a series of significant images which summarise the legend so far. He sees the Mother figure, ‘The Experiment’ that killed the couple in New York, BOB’s creation, the woodsmen and the convenience store. He then sees Laura smiling flanked by angels and then it looks like the future. Worryingly, he sees himself showing something to Lucy in the sheriff’s department and I sincerely hope it doesn’t mean peril ahead for Andy. He returns to Jack Rabbit’s Palace with Naido in his arms. She is the woman with scars for eyes who was last scene with Agent Cooper before he arrived in Vegas. The others can’t remember a thing but Andy knows exactly what to do. He calmly states that she is fine physically but there are people who want her dead and they must protect her.

Back at the Sherriff’s station Lucy sweetly wraps Naido up in a fuzzy pink dressing gown, not at all phased by her mutated appearance and raspy barking noises for words. Chad and a drunk are Naido’s only cell mates and between the three of them they make an awful lot of noise. The barking and howling reminded me of the time Bobby and Mike barked at James Hurley in Season 1.
I assume the drunk man with blood pooling at his feet in the cell could be Billy. The same Billy who Audrey is desperate to find. At the end of Part 14 two women (one of which is played by Lynch’s wife, Emily Stofle) at the Roadhouse discuss the last sighting of Billy by Tina and describe blood gushing from his mouth. Billy’s irate behaviour sounds like it would warrant an arrest. Tina’s daughter, who is relaying the story of Billy, is very confused as she can’t remember if her uncle was there or not. This sounds like a strong indicator of the supernatural as those who experience these blue rosey events often find themselves unable to remember what has happened.

At The Great Northern Hotel James Hurley works a security shift on his birthday and his cockney colleague Freddie treats him to the story of how he came to wear a green gardening glove on his right hand which has given him the power of super strength. I am delighted that London (where I live) has now become part of Twin Peaks mythology! You know I’ll be hopping onto piles of boxes for fun and looking out for packets with single right hand gloves in everywhere I go in old London town now. Freddie, like Andy, was sucked into a vortex and met The Fireman who instructed him to buy the glove and travel to Twin Peaks to fulfil his destiny. The Fireman is definitely good at picking pawns to play the chess game against evil. Will he succeed with the assistance of Freddie and Andy? Two unlikely but capable heroes. James, looking a little bewildered by Freddie’s story, leaves to inspect the furnaces inside the hotel and seems to find the source of the mysterious tinkling hum that has been ringing out in The Great Northern but of course we’ll have to wait to see what’s behind the door.

Sarah Palmer visits a local bar for a Bloody Mary and a disgustingly aggressive trucker pesters her, refusing to move away when she asks him to and insulting her in the most degrading way. He picked the wrong woman to mess with and after warning him, Sarah removes her face to reveal a hollowed-out darkness inside of her – a black and white Cheshire cat grin is revealed (which some have speculated is the grin of Laura Palmer enlarged). “Do you really want to fuck with this?” she asks and then takes a gruesome bite out of the trucker’s neck leaving him dead on the floor. Sarah tries (half-heartedly) to pretend she has no idea what happened to him when the bartender questions her about the very dead and mauled man lying on his floor. Although this was a really disturbing scene I found myself whooping for Sarah. At last some vengeance for the enormous number of women who have suffered from violence and abuse from men in the show. And in life! There are so many creeps out there and if I could remove my own face to intimidate them, I would. It was particularly pertinent that Sarah felt she had to add a please onto her requests he leave her alone. From unpleasant experiences in the past I now find myself too often being extra nice and polite to men who I owe absolutely nothing to in fear that if I’m blunt with them they will release a tirade of abuse and horrible insults because the rejection is more than they can handle. Sarah’s evil inner grin is the exact smile I would like to give to every man who has insisted I cheer up when walking past on the street.

If any of you are prepared to jump at me for relishing in the above so much go ahead. I’m just feeling extra pissed off today after reading that Jeremy Lindholm who briefly appeared in a scene with Carl Rodd at The Fat Trout Trailer Park is facing a second-degree murder charge for beating his girlfriend close to death with a baseball bat and for writing this fuckboy post in a Twin Peaks singles group. 

I’m disgusted that someone who was accepted into our sacred Twin Peaks family quickly turned out to be a violent, abusive pig who was willing to use the briefest, fleeting fame to take advantage of fans. So, thanks to Sarah Palmer I’m feeling extra confident today and more than willing to share my honest opinion on the subject whether it results in trolling or not. I will eat you too.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 13

13 parts into The Return and I’m worried I’m taking weekly episodes of new Twin Peaks for granted and when I think about this it brings on a sense of panic – how will I cope with life after The Return? If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way. The Return of Twin Peaks has truly been the greatest gift to me. I fear that once it is all over I will be burdened with withdrawal symptoms and my heart will be heavy with loss. Similarly, Part 13 brought a lot of heartbreak and emotional turmoil. As well as the best example of trolling fans in television history.

Part 13 opens in Las Vegas with some frenetic party jazz music playing and the fabulous Mitchum Brothers and crew doing a conga through Lucky 7 Insurance’s offices to present Dougie’s boss, Bushnell Mullins, with some lavish gifts as a sign of gratitude for their multi-million insurance pay-out. Cooper the marshmallow man is happy to join in the festivities and his ‘wife’ Janey-E is even more delighted when she receives a jungle gym set and fancy new car. Things are taking a turn for the worse for Dougie’s colleague Anthony Sinclaire who was supposed to be arranging Dougie’s demise. When he informs the mysterious and intimidating Mr Todd that he has failed and ‘Dougie’ is still alive and well, responsibility moves directly to Sinclaire who is given one day to carry out the deathly deed.

Luckily for Cooper, who continues to be pushed in more or less the right direction by those around him or the smell of a damn good coffee and cherry pie, some dandruff littering Sinclaire’s suit saves him yet again as Sinclaire takes his prodding at the flaky white spots as an odd massage which pushes him to breaking point. He pours the poisoned coffee (if Cooper had been killed by coffee it would have truly broken my heart) into a urinal and confesses the hellish trouble he’s gotten himself into to Bushnell who agrees to help him if he will testify against Mr Todd. Cooper’s been lucky so far and I don’t think he’s going to get out of this identity crisis alone. The FBI were sadly absent in Part 13 and I presume still drinking fine red wine in South Dakota. Will they ever reach Las Vegas and find the real Agent Cooper?

Meanwhile, Mr C is creeping closer to Twin Peaks, arriving in Western Montana at a criminal lair run by a big, hairless boss who is the undefeated arm wrestling champion of the gang. Compared to Mr C, these boys are merely playing at baddies. Ray has been holed up here after trying to kill Mr C on orders of Phillip Jeffries and is fear stricken at the sight of the cold and deadly Mr C’s arrival. In a truly arm bending backwards showdown, Mr C mercilessly toys with the boss man before defeating him with ease and killing him with one lethal smash in the face. The group of baddies quickly retreat - except for a nerdy looking creep who appears to be the gang accountant loyally checking if Mr C needs any cash before returning, presumably, to a cup of tea and some spreadsheets. Ray is powerless to Mr C who after extracting all the information he needs from him (that Phillip Jeffries can be found at The Dutchman’s) shoots him dead. Richard Horne, who could be the spawn of Evil Coop, watches with the rest of the bad guys. Interestingly, Ray had acquired the spooky Owl Cave ring when a prison guard he hadn’t seen before gave it to him before he broke out. Mr C knowingly instructs him to place the ring on the ring finger of his left hand causing Ray to enter The Black Lodge upon his death, the owl cave ring returning to its plinth. Someone needs to get that damned ring on Mr C’s finger before killing him and maybe that would banish him back to The Lodge?

This episode’s time in Twin Peaks is tainted with sorrow and misery, besides a glimmer of golden hope when drapes meet shovels in the form of Dr Jacoby aka Dr Amp and Nadine’s beautiful reunion. Nadine is still a giddy high school girl inside and the two appear a perfect match for one another. Unfortunately, it looks as though Big Ed Hurley is still married to Nadine due to the wedding ring on his finger and the unfortunate knowledge that Norma is still not willing to run off into the sunset with him. Instead, Norma is seeing a slimy business associate whose main interest is turning big profits on her famous cherry pies. She’s never been wise when it comes to the men she chooses to be with and poor Ed looks miserable and lonely without her as his lady. It was such a delight to see Ed again if bittersweet. He’s another original cast member who is looking damn fine after all these years.

Becky, the daughter of Shelly and Bobby, calls her mum with teary eyes because her husband Steven hasn’t been home in two days. We now know that he’s cheating on her just as Leo Johnson cheated on her mother all those years ago, leaving Becky at home alone in their miserable trailer. It’s so sad that Shelly’s unfortunate start in adult life has repeated itself for her own daughter.

Sarah Palmer vegetates at home in the dark with only vodka and cigarettes for company. She watches an old boxing match on the television which repeats the same sequence on a loop. She doesn’t notice or doesn’t care and it looks as though her life at this point has zero joy or purpose.

Even worse is the realisation that something is horribly amiss for Audrey Horne. Sherilyn Fenn really steps up the acting in this heart wrenching and troubling scene in which she tries desperately to remember who she is and what she is. She is completely broken and crumbling before our very eyes. Charlie watches her and there is something very sinister about it all when he asks her, “Are you going to stop playing games or do I have to end your story too?”. Whatever is going on here, it just isn’t right. Audrey appears trapped in her own mind as well as wherever she and Charlie reside and without her Special Agent to come and save her. It was desperately creepy when she asked Charlie if she was in Ghostwood, the dark forest of Twin Peaks where BOB lured Laura.

If all this trauma, misery and heartache wasn’t enough for one episode, Part 13 concludes in The Roadhouse with a melody that I know will make some viewers mute the volume in despair. I howled with laughter when the announcer welcomed the James Hurley to the stage and immediately knew  which Twin Peaks classic we would be treated to. For years fans have scorned and stomped their feet atsickly 50s love song ‘Just You and I’ first sang by James with the assistance of Maddy and Donna 25 years ago. Now he’s back, having not developed the already flawless ditty in any way since its premiere, and has recruited two doll eyed Donna look-a-likes for backing vocals. It actually made me miss Donna so much! She was a really central character back in the original and the sight of Renée (yes that is Vanessa from Gossip Girl) weeping and gushing in her booth at the sight of the musical legend was just the cherry in the pie for me. Utter ridiculous, soapy, Twin Peaks silliness and I loved it. Well done Lynch and Frost - you win this round.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 12

Forget remembering Richard and Linda – Part 12 has presented us with Billy, Tina, Paul, Chuck, Angela, Clark and Mary… It provided some wonderful moments, and some creepy. There was a lot of time spent in Twin Peaks with beautiful use of the old music us fans love so much but it was also frustrating, confusing and repetitive. Interestingly, it only contained one tiny, short scene with Cooper/Dougie Jones – the character who has caused the most amount of frustration and divide amongst viewers. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t ‘wake up’ because now we have a whole lot more to exacerbate over.

The episode opened in South Dakota where the FBI remain stationed at a hotel in Buckhorn. Gordon, Albert and Tammy share some Bordeaux (fine red wine has become a Twin Peaks staple drink in The Return which I am thrilled to add to the menu at all upcoming Twin Peaks events) and they ask Tammy if she would like to join Project Blue Book. She immediately agrees despite knowing how dangerous it could be. The red curtains surrounding the room make the scene feel extra significant and especially when Diane joins them. Stepping through the red curtains, she looks as if she is creeping straight out of The Black Lodge. Gordon offers to make Diane a temporary Deputy to assist them further in the Major Briggs/Ruth Davenport/Agent Cooper conundrum. Music from Fire Walk With Me kicks in, sending a chill through me and she agrees with a “Let’s rock”, infamous words last heard uttered by The Man From Another Place. Diane isn’t just suspicious anymore, she’s downright eerie.

Diane visits the hotel bar on two occasions in Part 12 and both times is wearing a different costume. If we are to rely on continuity to indicate time this reinforces my idea that the timelines we are presented with each week, cannot be assumed to be linear. In one scene she wears the same red top she wore when Gordon made her a Deputy and receives an incoming txt message which I assume could be from Mr C saying, ‘Las Vegas?’ and she replies, ‘They haven’t asked yet’.

In the next bar scene Diane wears the green top she wore after the FBI team visited the portal and found Ruth Davenport’s corpse with the co-ordinates written on her arm. Diane types the co-ordinates into a map on her phone and of course they lead to Twin Peaks. One thing that has annoyed me about this scene is Diane’s dodgy manicure. In the close-up shot of her phone, her left thumbnail has some weird mark on it. It can’t be nail art and it looks really odd… I don’t know what to make of it but as someone who gets very regular manicures I can’t help but be mystified. Maybe now I definitely am reading into this too much? I think at this point all of us are reading too much into everything.

Albert continues to monitor Diane’s phone and goes to relay the information to a lusty Gordon who is in the middle of a romantic drink with a saucy French lady. It takes a very long time for his French fox to vogue her way out of the hotel room and many viewers have likened her to ‘Lil The Dancer’ who Gordon used in Fire Walk With Me to relay a coded message to Agents Chester Desmond and Sam Stanley. The comparisons are many – both women wear red dresses, move in a choreographed fashion and Gordon refers to them using convoluted descriptions such as (Lil) “my mother’s sister’s girl” and (Frenchie) “a friend of her mother’s daughter”. Gordon also blinks in an exaggerated way after delivering his amazing turnip farm pun. Is he just being amusing? Is he communicating with Albert in code? Is this simply a lovely tribute to Lil as a gift to the hardcore fans? Or am I again, reading way too much into this?

Part 12 spends a comparatively large amount of time in Twin Peaks which is such a delight after the early episodes when the presence of the town itself was being drip fed to us in the most teasing manner. The only other scene in the episode away from the town shows Mr C’s crew brutally bumping off Warden Murphy on his front door step, in front of his son. They contemplate torturing him but are too hungry to bother. Mr C’s crew are totally remorseless, and they’re not even evil spirits from The Black Lodge!

In Twin Peaks, the lonely and troubled Sarah Palmer stocks up on vodka and cigarettes and then has a meltdown at the till due to some new Turkey Jerky on display. More music from Fire Walk With Me is present and in this truly disturbing moment spooky Sarah’s voice drops as she starts to ramble. She is completely distressed and her words “somethings happening, I don’t feel good” sound like she could be channelling the distress of her late daughter Laura. One of the cashiers, Oscar, kindly suggests to his colleague that he could deliver Sarah’s abandoned groceries to her home. Later, Hawk sweetly pays Sarah a visit at home to check on her. Seeing the Palmer home, with Laura’s music playing and close-ups of the ceiling fan is positively unnerving. The house seems forever shrouded in darkness, suffering and distress. Hawk hears a clatter come from inside the house and Sarah denies anyone being present saying, “No, just something in the kitchen”. I wondered if it could be Oscar dropping off the vodka, but then why would Sarah lie about it being there? Something is happening in that house and whatever it is, it cannot be good.

Carl Rodd of The Fat Trout Trailer Park demonstrates yet again what an undercover angel he is by paying a resident for his help around the trailer park and asking him to stop giving blood as a means to eat. He is such a kind and decent man and Mark Frost confirmed on Twitter recently that of course Carl is one of the original Bookhouse Boys.

Miriam lies in her hospital bed unconscious and looking worse for wear. The familiar slow pan down the hospital corridor looked as though the footage could easily have been taken directly from the old seasons. I hope Miriam wakes up and recovers soon and doesn’t get suffocated by pillow in her sleep Leland style by Richard whose whereabouts are currently unknown.

Frank Truman visits Ben Horne to deliver the bad news of his grandson Richard’s involvement in the fatal hit and run. Ben neither mentions Richard’s mother (Audrey) or that Richard violently harassed his ex-wife and son and robbed them in their own home. But this isn’t too surprising since Ben has always been on the shady side and kept many secrets from the local authorities. He kindly passes on Agent Cooper’s hotel room key to Frank to offer to Harry as a memento of that crazy time. And Ben agrees to pay for Miriam’s hospital bills. He is being rinsed dry these days – I wonder if One Eyed Jack’s is still bringing in the big bucks for him?

Now the episode descends into frustration central. We see the same Doctor Jacoby shit digging golden shovel footage, cut with new footage of Nadine watching at home. She seems to be a mega fan of Doctor Amp so is probably watching on repeat. Having spent the last two decades watching Twin Peaks on repeat, I can completely relate to and accept this behaviour.

And then it happens, finally, for all those Audrey obsessives, she is brought back to life on screen in a completely unexpected way. She hasn’t been disfigured in the bank blast like some people theorised. In fact she looks lovely, if almost like a cartoonish Betty Boop (I did admire her beautiful red coat). In this dialogue heavy scene, Audrey swears and shouts at her husband Charlie about looking for Billy (is this a hark back to Billy Zane who played handsome John Justice Wheeler, the man who took Audrey’s virginity in a plane?) who has been missing for two days. She mentions that Tina was the last person to have seen him and brings up a Paul and a Chuck. Charlie calls Tina and seems to be given a lot of juicy information which doesn’t give us or Audrey any clarity as he refuses to relay it. Charlie seems a hardworking and reasonable husband but not the man who I would have pictured Audrey to be with. He mentions a contract between the two suggesting that their marriage is by arrangement. The acting is melodramatic and exaggerated giving serious telenovela soap opera vibes, enhanced by the awkward distance between the two characters who don’t move from their positions and the stilted opening of the scene in which they look at each other in silence before the arguing begins. I’m sure the Audrey army are thrilled to have their queen back on screen but was this the satisfying appearance expected? Most certainly not.

Part 12 ends at The Roadhouse where The Chromatics who closed the season premiere play yet again. More new characters gossip about people we have never heard of: Angela, Clark and Mary. A man called Trick shows up complaining about nearly being run off the road by a maniac driver. My bets are on Mr C rolling into town at speed. By the end of Part 12 I felt deliberate mind games are being played to confuse and frustrate viewers. That’s not to say I am either complaining or dissing this Part as a bad one. The moments with Sarah Palmer were exceptionally good and I am delighted that we are getting so much time in Twin Peaks itself.

David Lynch once said “I don’t know why people expect art to make sense. They accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense.” And Part 12 couldn’t be more true to this statement. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 11

When watching Twin Peaks in the UK on Sky Atlantic, before the episode begins, a lady announces warnings about the content of the following programme. Flashing images, scenes of a sexual nature and strong language don't bother me but when she announces "scenes which some viewers may find disturbing" I am worryingly thrilled. I think it's the thought that what I am about to watch will be challenging and quintessentially Lynchian due to the presence of unsettling imagery. This is likely also why I remain single.

The announcement from Sky Atlantic had me on edge so when Part 11 opened with three young boys innocently playing ball, I assumed they were about to be ploughed down by a speeding truck. Thankfully this wasn't the case but instead the disturbing scene took the form of a bloodied Miriam crawling like a zombie through the undergrowth. I was amazed she escaped her trailer where Richard Horne had left her in a pool of blood and with a burning candle and the gas on. She sure is a survivor.

After the disturbing discovery of Miriam alive and crawling, Part 11 continued on a kinetic trajectory. Becky, the daughter of Double R waitress Shelly, shrieks at the top of her lungs and begs her mother to drive over to The New Fat Trout Trailer Park so she can use her car. It's clear that Shelly will do anything for her distressed daughter but in an act of madness Becky screeches away in her mother's car with Shelly thrown across the windshield. I found myself nearly tearing up, my heart racing, at the thought of something nasty happening to Shelly. I really hold the old characters close to my heart and it was just too much to consider only 5 minutes into the episode. The scene was loaded with manic energy and reminded me of the screaming, car revving, furiously frenzied scene in Fire Walk With Me when The One Armed Man confronts Leland and Laura as they drive by. I could almost smell the burnt engine oil.

Shelly's red heels go flying into the air but Shelly lands like a cat with 9 lives and the wonderful Carl comes to her rescue. With one toot on his whistle, his van (complete with radio link to the Sheriff's department) arrives. It came as no surprise that although Shelly and Bobby are no longer together, Becky is their daughter and the two had been or still are married. Bobby seems such a well adjusted and brilliant man now, it's a great shame their relationship together ended.

Becky storms into the apartment building where her no-good husband Stephen is doing the dirty with none other than supper club goody two shoes Gersten Hayward played by Alicia Witt. The two hide down stairs whilst Becky fires shots into Gersten's apartment door in a rage. I'm not sure what the women of Twin Peaks find appealing about drug addled Stephen but perhaps being such a small town there are slim pickings in the eligible bachelor department (although still an abundance of beautiful women).

Later at a beautifully neon lit Double R Diner Becky sits with her parents who hope to find a solution to her ongoing relationship problems. Bobby proves that he really has changed his ways and matured into a fair, hard working and caring individual who his father would have been proud of. He's got to be the most desirable man in town but Shelly's lustful heart now belongs to the coin tossing smoothy Red. As soon as Shelly sees him at the diner window she ditches the family crisis meeting without a word and dashes off to make out with her beau, leaving Bobby to demonstrate those puppy dog eyes to full effect. Bobby has changed but Shelly is still as boy crazy as ever.

The diner scene dissolves into chaos when a gunshot is fired right into the diner and Deputy Bobby Briggs dashes outside to investigate. A little boy found the gun in the back of his parents car and let it off accidentally, although he stares down Bobby as if he is the spawn of Satan. Bobby is perplexed by the punk attitude of the child and his colleague Jesse turns up to assist with the ensuing chaos. A ridiculously outraged woman who has absolutely no chill will not stop honking her car horn and is outraged by the hold up the scene has caused. She babbles on about how she is visiting a relative and someone being sick when suddenly a hideously vile girl lurks into the shot from the passenger seat, green bile leaking from her mouth. It was a "I hate to admit this, but I don't understand this situation at all" moment and all I can think is that the Sparkle drug doing the rounds, causing itchy armpit rashes, may be the cause...???

Elsewhere in Twin Peaks, Hawk and Frank observe an old and beautiful map of the area, littered with symbols and which Hawk describes as a living thing. The funny little black bob with ears hovers above the Twin Peaks mountains and Hawk warns Frank that he should never want to know what it represents. We know this is what Mr C is looking for and The Log Lady calls Hawk to warn him "There's fire where you are going". I don't think it will be too long before Mr C and his crew show up in Twin Peaks and I hope Hawk, who seems to be making the most investigative progress, will be ready for the perils that loom ahead.

Their meeting is interrupted by Jesse who wants to show off his new car to the Sheriff. Jesse's appearance at both the crime scene outside the Double R Diner, and at the Sheriff's department leads me to conclude that we cannot presume that anything we see is on the same timeline. It makes no sense for Jesse to appear in both scenes and seemed a clear indication that events are not occurring simultaneously.

In Buckhorn, South Dakota, the FBI take Bill Hastings to 2240 Sycamore, the destination where he saw Major Briggs. This desolate spot is a hotbed of other worldly activity. Both Gordon and Albert spot a shadowy woodsmen lurking nearby who creeps up on Bill and crushes his head into a bloody mess. Unlike Miriam, I think it's safe to say that he is 100% dead (thanks to Gordon for the confirmation) and I will be terribly sorry not to see him again. Matthew Lillard has been a wonderful addition to the Twin Peaks family. Bill's partner, Ruth Davenport's headless corpse lies decomposing nearby. A sad fate for the curious couple who took their hobby too far.

Gordon ventures the furthest forward and witnesses a vortex in the sky. Through the vortex he sees three shadowy woodsmen standing on a staircase staring at him. The staircase somewhat resembles the staircase in Laura Palmer's home and the wallpaper looks like the murky floral pattern of the walls in the nightmare Laura has in Fire Walk With Me. Gordon is nearly sucked in but Albert grabs him back just in time. Without doubt, this long shot that shows Gordon waving his arms in the air at the vortex which can only be seen by him, is my favourite shot of The Return so far:

Back at the police station the FBI crew indulge in the "policeman's dream" combination of coffee and donuts. Gordon's hand is shaking just like the townsfolk's hands shook in Season 2 when BOB's spirit was on the loose. And Diane is certainly proving to be suspicious. She says nothing when she sees the woodsman stalking Bill Hastings and can be seen taking notes of the co-ordinates written on Ruth Davenport's arm when Albert shows them to Cole. These are very important co-ordinates - they were given to Bill and Ruth by Major Briggs before he floated up into the air saying the words "Cooper, Cooper". I suspect they will lead the team closer to Twin Peaks and The Black Lodge entrance but I presume Mr C, who likely killed Ruth Davenport, might already be on his way.

Part 11 ends with a show down in the dessert. The Mitchum Brothers begin their day leisurely in the middle of the afternoon. They take their coffee and breakfast in silk pyjamas and discuss the murder they are soon to commit at 5.30pm when they will finally meet Dougie Jones, the man who has been declared their enemy. Cooper is gormlessly sent in the right direction for his meeting by his boss Bud Mullins who sticks a $30 million insurance pay out cheque for the brothers into Cooper's suit pocket. Bud isn't the only one looking out for Coop, The One Armed Man beckons him to collect a mysterious box to bring along with him.

As the brothers wait for the arrival of their so called enemy, Bradley obsesses over a dream he had. In his dream Rodney's cut from Candie's remote control slap had miraculously healed and low and behold so it has in reality. Rodney is sceptical but when Bradley sees 'Dougie' carrying a brown box he pleads with him to listen - if a CHERRY PIE is in that box then Dougie Jones is not their enemy. This was a wonderful scene - Bradley and Rodney are fantastic together. They are the epiphany of those charismatic yet deadly gangsters I have loved from Scorsese films yet utterly hilarious in the strange story lines Lynch and Frost put them in. When it is revealed to be iconic cherry pie in the box I squealed with delight.

To celebrate their new found $30 million fortune and friendship with the slow but pleasant 'Dougie Jones', the Mitchum Brothers take him out to a swanky restaurant to drink champagne and eat more damn fine cherry pie. A pianist plays in the corner and one note in particular stirs some familiarity in Cooper who for just a split second looks like he might be about to snap out of his Dougie coma. But nope, we'll have to wait. Someone else has had a transformation though, the mad old lady from the Casino who gave Coop the Mr Jackpots nickname returns dripping in jewels and dressed up like a Hollywood star. It looks to me like money probably can buy you happiness, and so can cherry pie.