Thursday, 22 June 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 7

I've finally cracked open my bag of David Lynch coffee to get me through the early Monday morning viewings of Twin Peaks. I have a lot of admiration for you UK Peakies who stay up until 2am to watch but my work schedule simply won't allow it. I highly recommend Lynch's coffee - it feels like a much needed inner hug and is both rich and smooth. Aside from my coffee, Part 7 gave rather a lot of fuel and the plot is certainly heating up rapidly (with the exception of a hypnotic floor sweeping to Green Onions sequence).

Part 7 opened in the luscious green woods where Jerry Horne, who looks like a quintessential hipster one would see drinking craft beer in East London, is having a drug fuelled freak out and calls his brother Ben in a state of panic. Just like Agent Cooper, he doesn't know where he is or what he is.

Elsewhere in Twin Peaks, Hawk shows Sherriff Truman three of the four missing pages to Laura Palmer's diary which explicitly state that the Good Cooper is trapped in The Lodge and can't escape. This prompts the Sherriff to Skype Doctor Hayward to ask for his memories of the last time he saw Agent Cooper. This was a really touching scene with the late Warren Frost who I hope is now somewhere fishing for trout in a beautiful location and eating lovely breakfasts (read my tribute to him here). I also have a lot of appreciation for the Sherriff's incredible wooden, pop-up computer monitor and one fingered dad typing. Doc Hayward reveals that he believes Agent Cooper visited a comatose Audrey Horne in intensive care before he disappeared. We know this was in fact Cooper's Evil Doppelganger and the implications here have lead some fans to consider the origins of the maniac Richard Horne. It is a truly sickening thought that Richard Horne could be the son of Audrey and Evil Cooper following a rape.

Sherriff Truman also continues to check in on his sick brother Harry over the phone, which he has done I think in every episode so far. We've been told that Michael Ontkean who played Harry is in retirement somewhere in Hawaii but the constant reference to his character, which could have been left alone, is leading me to wonder if we will see Harry at some point in The Return. Lynch is adored by the actors who work with him and I highly doubt he wouldn't be able to get someone to put their retirement on hold for a month...

Deputy Andy Brennan is investigating the tragic hit and run of Part 6 and has located the vehicle Richard Horne was driving. He politely and meekly interrogates a Farmer who begs him to meet elsewhere. The meeting spot: the infamous Sparkwood & 21. But he, unsurprisingly, doesn't show up. Who is The Farmer and why was he so spooked? And how does Andy afford a Rolex watch? Perhaps living in a small town means one doesn't burn their wages on exorbitant rent and avocado toast brunches.

Speaking of Rolex, we need to talk about product placement. There has been a noticeable amount of brand logos flashing up in The Return and I've found it puzzling due to Lynch's stance on product placement as "total bullshit":

We've seen Apple, Ford, Blackberry, Mercedes Benz, Skype and I'm sure more. One eagle eyed viewer noticed that some of the brand logos being used were dated and not reflective of the year the scenes are set in which could be a clue to timelines. But maybe the branding is simply funding this lavish Return to Twin Peaks.

At The Great Northern Hotel Ben Horne and his assistant Beverly flirtatiously attempt to find the source of a pretty little humming sound that has appeared in the last week. She also gives Agent Cooper's returned Room 315 key to Ben which he ponders over and pockets. I sure hope Ben will do the sensible thing and report this to the Sherriff's station but Ben hasn't ever been on the right side of the law himself. The humming noise marks a shift in the energy around Twin Peaks provoked by Agent Cooper's release from The Black Lodge - hopefully it will call him back there eventually.

Agent Cooper (it's not fucking Dougie - thank you Benjamin Louche of The Double R Club for promoting this) is interrogated by some lousy looking Cops at the Lucky 7 offices and thankfully Janey-E comes to his rescue. This lady is super woman - she gets shit done and she stands by her man. So much so, that when the vicious little hitman Ike The Spike storms Cooper with a gun she immediately jumps on his back and starts strangling him. Go Janey-E! Muscle memory serves Cooper well and he superbly knocks Spike back and disarms him (with some cheerleading from The Extension of The Arm who hilariously appears out of the ground screeching "squeeze off his hand"). This was a really exciting scene - Coop has still got it!

In Buckhorn, South Dakota, Lt. Knox visits the body of who we now presume has to be Major Briggs. But there is something very odd going on. The headless corpse has his finger prints but is not the correct age from the time Briggs died in the fire and the time of death which is recorded as 5-6 days prior. The biggest indication that this reeks of 'the blue rose' is the malevolent appearance of the blackened figure who we've seen once before floating away in the prison cell. He stalks the corridor by the body and is a most ominous presence.

In Philadelphia we are treated to another dynamite scene between Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield who have the best chemistry and lines. Together they visit Diane whose elegant style does not match her balshy personality. But just as I was beginning to think Diane makes Albert appear incredibly charming, it becomes apparent that there is just reason for Diane's 'fuck you, and fuck the world' attitude. When she visits Evil Cooper in prison their meeting is filled with emotional turmoil on her behalf. It transpires that after escaping The Black Lodge, Cooper's Evil Doppelganger visited Diane at home and we can only imagine the nightmarish evening that followed. The memories of that night have clearly left a hate filled void in Diane and she knows that something cannot possibly be right with 'Cooper'. It sickens me to think that it may be possible Evil Cooper has sexually assaulted both Audrey Horne and Diane but then, BOB is still with him and that is exactly what the premise of Twin Peaks has always been about. It was horrifying then with Laura and Leland and it's horrifying now with Diane and Cooper's Doppelganger. Laura Dern is extraordinary in this heart breaking scene. As she asks Evil Coop "who are you" it reminded me immediately of the scene in Fire Walk With Me when Laura asks BOB the same question, finally discovering the truth.

In a troubling finale, Evil Cooper manipulates Warden Murphy into allowing him to escape prison with his associate Ray. Please allow me a moment to gloat - I just knew that Mr Strawberry was a threat towards Warden Murphy and it isn't often I work anything out on my own! I hate to think about the three dog legs travelling in the post to whoever the recipients are. What's worse is the thought that Evil Cooper is free to reak havoc in the world. Could he be travelling to Buenos Aires, the last known location of Agent Jeffries? Or maybe he knows exactly where Agent Cooper is and is heading to Vegas for a showdown...

Lynch has left us with a lot to think about as the credits roll over The Double R Diner. Did anyone notice the sudden change in diner customers when the man looking for Bing burst in? I was too busy debating the meaning of 'dramatic irony' with an academic friend who is visiting as well as if Twin Peaks: The Return is the first programme to leave so many clues in its credits. But it's worth going back to see the sneaky little trick at the end. Until next week, hang loose Howies!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Laura In London

Every day on my way home from work I change lines at Waterloo station and walk along the platform for the Southbound Northern line to see this glorious sight. I still can't believe that Twin Peaks is back and everywhere!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Chrysta Bell at The Borderline

Usually on a Sunday evening you can find me on my blue velvet sofa watching a film with one last glass of wine before the weekend is over but last Sunday I did something exceptionally more interesting. I had the great pleasure of seeing Lynch protogée and muse Chrysta Bell perform her music at The Borderline near Tottenham Court Road in London as part of her We Dissolve tour.

As soon as I saw the statuesque beauty singing dreamily and swaying up on stage I understood David Lynch's description of Chrysta Bell as "the most beautiful alien ever." She is absolutely stunning in an other worldly way and has an incredibly captivating presence. Her music, described as "dream pop" is moody and sensual and Chrysta Bell's vocal arrange is seriously impressive. I particularly loved the creative lighting used during the set which really set the tone and made the venue feel very 'Roadhouse'. It's a shame that Chrysta Bell will presumably never be a Roadhouse singer in Twin Peaks The Return due to the fact that she is playing the role of Special Agent Tammy Preston, unless Tammy is revealed to have a side talent!

The Borderline is an intimate venue with a 300 person capacity, which meant there was fabulous interaction with the band and the opportunity to meet Chrysta Bell afterwards. We lined up patiently for the chance to say hello and as we waited one of her band mates chatted to us about his experiences touring. They all hail from Texas and are travelling across Europe to promote Chrysta Bell's new album We Dissolve which was released on the 9th of June.

Chrysta Bell: beautiful alien. Me: excited dwarf.
Meeting Chrysta Bell was a truly wonderful experience. She exudes positivity and took so much time to chat and take photos. It's made me very excited to see more of her in Twin Peaks The Return and I must admit I am truly a real fan of hers now and hope her involvement in Twin Peaks leads to great success with her music. If you're a Twin Peaks fan based in Italy, Belgium or Germany I really recommend that you go to see her. Tickets and tour info can be found on her official website.

Chrysta Bell signed this amazing photo of her with David Lynch for me.
My friends and I travelled home absolutely thrilled by our experience seeing and meeting Chrysta Bell. Hopefully there will be many more new Twin Peaks alumni to meet in the future. Thank you to my gorgeous friend Laura for organising the night and to Will who took the photos!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 6

We have now seen exactly one third of Twin Peaks The Return and it's been utterly wonderful and strange so far. I am delighted that it's being drip fed to us week to week. Can you imagine if all 18 parts had been uploaded to a streaming service and we all binge watched it? This is definitely a show which needs time to percolate, to be re-watched and endlessly discussed. It's fascinating how many different takes on the same scenes people have, the details that mean a lot to one person but can be overlooked by someone else and the myriad of clues the sharp minded are honing in on.

We follow Coop/Dougie for the first 20 minutes of Part 6 as he ever so slowly bumbles through the life of Dougie Jones with the much needed assistance of everyone around him. Still nobody questions his odd behaviour. I have to admit I am a big fan of the Coop/Dougie story line. Many fans are getting frustrated by the slow pace and lack of Special Agent Cooper as we know him but I find Coop/Dougie so adorable and hilarious. The slow pacing ensures that every time we get a glimmer of the real Cooper peeking through the lime green suit I feel completely elated. It just wouldn't be the same if a few parts in he simply snapped out of it and imagine the pay off that will come if he does.

It also makes me wonder if there is more at play here then meets the eye. The One Armed Man contacts Dougie from The Black Lodge and urges him to "wake up". Could it be that Cooper is in a coma and the experiences he is having as Dougie will provide him with the clues and tools needed when he awakes to track down and defeat his evil Doppelganger? Ever so subtly signs that he is finding himself emerge. He ends Part 6 dressed flawlessly in his classic black suit and the guiding lights and symbols he is able to see are pointing him in the direction he needs to go in. Rather than get fired by his boss for scribbling ladders, stairs and circles all over the insurance claims he was asked to investigate, he has made sense of it all and I presume his colleague has been rumbled for foul play.

I'm unsure how anyone can complain about the pacing of The Return when in the following scene one of the most significant reveals of Twin Peaks is gifted to us when Albert heads to a bar in the pouring rain ("fuck Gene Kelly you motherfucker" has to be my favourite line yet) to find, who other, than DIANE herself! As he approaches a glamorous and mysterious figure at the bar, martini glass in one hand, cigarette in the other, she turns and we finally find out that the utterly brilliant and long time Lynch muse Laura Dern is playing this pivotal role. The faceless tape recipient is faceless no more and wow is she not at all what I expected. I'm really feeling her platinum blonde hair, multi-coloured manicure and Cleopatra eyeliner - she definitely isn't a typical FBI administrative employee, even judging by the cocktail bar she drinks at where I cannot imagine Gordon Cole would frequent for a glass of Bordeaux. I am so excited to see more or her and learn who the lady on the other side of the tape recorder is.

The following scene has to be one of my absolute favourites so far. We meet Red played by the divine Balthazar Getty. He sure is a guy that makes you wish you spoke a little HellooOoooOooo! The dweeby Richard Horne discusses drug dealing for Red in Twin Peaks and Red certainly puts him in his place with a concoction of intimidation, charm, karate moves and magic tricks. The coin trick he performs is utterly eerie and reminded me of Mrs Tremond's magician in training grandson who can vanish creamed corn. It's an impressive trick but threateningly inauspicious. "I will saw your head off and eat your brains" Red warns Richard but it's the fact that he called him a kid that causes Richard to throw a snivelling tantrum.

Just when I thought that Richard is actually a lot more pathetic and a lot less dangerous than The Roadhouse scene in Part 5 suggested, he commits an atrocity so horrific it's still playing over continuously in my mind. In the most heart wrenching and traumatic scene of The Return so far, Richard ploughs down a small boy who had been innocently playing with his mother before crossing the road. His lifeless, bloodied body is scooped up into his shocked mother's arms and Richard speeds off without a second thought. There are plenty of witnesses to the scene, specifically a school teacher with a penchant for pie who locks eyes with him as he speeds passed. Hopefully Richard will receive his comeuppance in an appropriately miserable way.

This scene holds so much more weight than tragic melodrama. The crossing where it takes place is the same crossing where in Fire Walk With Me, Leland and Laura Palmer were confronted in by The One Armed Man. We also see the same electricity pylon shown in the prequel film and many of the shots include the presence of pylons and electric wires. Electricity has been a strong, recurring motif in the Twin Peaks series since the beginning and arguably provides a pathway into The Black Lodge and other dimensions. Cooper did arrive in Rancho Rosa through the electric socket and when Phillip Jeffries visited the FBI HQ in Fire Walk With Me his dialogue was interrupted heavily by electrical static.

The tragic hit and run is witnessed by Carl Rodd, owner of The New Fat Trout Trailer Park - many have been confused by the location move from Deer Meadow to Twin Peaks but the sign suggests a relocation. Carl, played by the tremendous Harry Dean Stanton, was the last man to have seen Agent Desmond alive before he disappeared in Fire Walk With Me. He's a man who has seen things, "I've already gone places, I just want to stay where I am." he tells the FBI Agents who visited him 25 years previously. Now, Carl rides into town every day to enjoy a coffee and a smoke and get out of the dingy trailer park. When he sees the horrific accident on the crossing, he witnesses the boy's soul float upwards into the atmosphere and unlike all of the bystanders, is urged to be with the grieving mother, staring deeply into her eyes during her distress. This scene has left my brain in meltdown - the heightened emotion, terrible acting from the extras, mythical reference to Fire Walk With Me and Carl's role in this horrible disaster leaves a lot to ponder...

Lynch and Frost are really taking advantage of having no censorship constraints this time around. The hit and run is gruesome but it gets worse when a hitman known as Ike 'The Spike' storms into an office in broad daylight and stabs to death the woman who was attempting to arrange a hit on Dougie Jones. The juxtaposition of a mundane office, hip hop beats playing on the soundtrack and the bloodthirsty ice pick murder is truly disturbing. Next on The Spike's hit list is Dougie Jones so I really hope Cooper listens to The One Armed Man and wakes up before it's too late.

Part 6 ends with another magic coin trick, leading Hawk to discover what I can only assume are the missing pages of Laura Palmer's secret diary. If Laura did what Annie told her to do in her dream and wrote down that "the good Dale is in The Lodge and he can't leave" then maybe Hawk is the man who will find him. I feel that we have been left hovering on a gigantic precipice and events are about to turn really insane. Janey-E was right when she said "this is a dark, dark age we're living in". 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 5

I had a terrible dilemma regarding Part 5: do I take my laptop on holiday with me to Italy and hope the Wi-Fi in rural Sardinia will be good enough to view it while I'm away or do I wait until I return to the UK and watch it days later than everyone else? Ultimately I decided to leave life behind in London and wait it out and I really appreciated the social media ban that came with this. When I finally got home to London it was 1am and the sensible side of me knowing I had work the following morning said 'go to bed' but of course I stayed up and watched it!

I'm still experiencing sublime chills when the opening titles roll and even though we are now almost a third of the way into The Return it feels very much that we are only at the tip of the iceberg with an enormous amount of unravelling to take place.

Opening over a sprawling night skyline, I cannot get enough of the lavish aerial shots of Vegas and the other incredible new destinations in the show. I hate to admit it but I don't feel too sad that Twin Peaks the town isn't as big a feature this time around. It's so exciting that the world has expanded in such a dynamic way.

Mr C + BOB = no sleep.

The scene from Part 5 which has stuck in my mind the most is when we visit Mr C (this name is the most heavily adopted by fans to reference Cooper's evil doppelganger) in his prison cell. Mr C is absolutely terrifying. Talk about black as midnight on a moonless night - those soulless eyes with the deep, penetrating stare are so creepy and these powers he has to manipulate the environment, know what people are thinking and still see BOB in his reflection has been playing on my mind in the most troublesome way. Last night I imagined him standing in the darkness of my hallway as I rounded the corner to visit the bathroom - he gives me the absolute creeps. Back when I watched Twin Peaks for the first time I was terrified by BOB but having spent years obsessing over Twin Peaks, BOB almost lost his terrifying appeal (I even have an action figure of the evil dude). Seeing BOB in his newest form has totally reminded me of how viciously evil and scary he is. When Mr C goes to make his phone call and does everything he can to intimidate and terrorise the prison wardens and guards he references a Mr Strawberry. This particularly shocks Warden Murphy and I believe means something personal to him that nobody, especially Mr C, could know about. I remember how eerily upsetting it was when Leland under BOB's possession in the original series mentions Pittsburgh to Cooper - Cooper witnessed his wife's murder in Pittsburgh and there's no way Leland could know this but BOB is everywhere and seriously spooky. We have to commend Kyle Maclachlan for his tremendous performance. In comparison to Agent Cooper as a dumb 'Dougie' it's easy to forget this is the same actor.

Speaking of dumb Dougie - why does absolutely nobody think that something is seriously up with him? Which leads me to question whether this truly is reality (albeit in a Twin Peaks realistic sense)... I also find it bemusing that everyone who encounters him constantly uses his name - they repeat his name nearly every time they speak to him which is completely unnatural. It's beginning to feel utterly uncanny to spend so much time in the mundane shoes of an insurance salesman. And there is definitely something of the blue rose about his son, Sonny Jim. Cooper shed a tear staring at him and I am absolutely 100% certain that the boy blinked backwards. And if I'm right about that please allow me some gloating time because I'm not usually one to spot the subtle clues. There's absolutely more happening here than meets the eye. And how did Dougie's wedding ring end up inside the John Doe corpse in South Dakota? I remember Dougie wore the Owl Cave ring so they must have been switched some how. I have a feeling this has something to do with Mr C.

Dougie loves covfefe.
I'm glad that coffee continues to be the elixir of choice but our special agent will need more than caffeine to return to us. I saw him eyeing up a donut in the boardroom scene and wondered if the heavenly trinity of coffee, donuts and cherry pie could do the trick. I am patiently waiting and hoping that Cooper will return to us in full force eventually. But I'm now concerned that all those years in The Black Lodge has literally turned Cooper insane with no going back.

There are now a great deal of locations, characters and threads weaving, presumably at the same time but it's hard to be sure. The scrappy wee kid with the drug addict mother at Rancho Rosa nearly gets blown up by the bomb attached to Dougie's car. Returning to him and his mother has proven for me that no scene we see is insignificant for a 'Lynchian' effect alone - everything will lead somewhere. We also see Jade again who finds Cooper's key to The Great Northern Hotel. The keyring is adorned with the immortal words 'A Clean Place Reasonably Priced' and some fans are outraged that the quote Cooper uses can't possibly be the tagline for the hotel but come on... you desperately seek reference to the old but then go up in arms if a little tribute doesn't entirely make sense. I buy it as pure frivolous homage.

We do get a healthy dose of nostalgia with a visit to the Double R Diner where history is repeating itself. Shelly's daughter Becky visits the diner where Shelly, Norma, Heidi and Toad (played by Marv Rosand who died shortly after filming) all still work. Becky, played by Amanda Seyfried, is a Lynchian beauty - angelic looking with a troubled dark side. She's dating a loser drug addict and asking her mother to bail her out with some cash. As the young couple sit in the car and take coke it reminded me of the first time we see Bobby and Shelly get it on in the same car park in the Pilot episode. They had the most electric chemistry and so do these two but their predicament doesn't seem as innocent. We receive a perfectly Lynch moment as Becky knocks her head back in a blissful high and the romantic song I Love How You Love Me plays on the car radio. The mysteries we are left with from this scene - who is Becky's father and what is a charbroiled burger?

Becky and Steven Burnett. The new Shelly and Bobby?
Finally we find out what Dr Jacoby has been intending with his spray painted gold shovels. Dr Amps as he now goes by is preaching his frustration with the state of the world in an online broadcast complete with wacky props and sound effects. But despite his arguably accurate world view the real motivation behind his broadcast is a money making scam. His spray painted gold shit shovelers aren't so reasonably priced. I loved seeing Nadine blissfully watching with a serene smile of agreement across her face and I'm sure that was a protein shake she was drinking.

Dr Amps and the golden shit shoveller.

This week Trouble play at The Roadhouse with David Lynch's son Riley on guitar and Lynch's sound man Dean Hurley on drums. A total prick smokes nonchalantly next to a no smoking sign and bribes a heck of a lot of money to an off duty cop to allow him to continue. The code of The Bookhouse Boys must have diminished over the years as this cop does not have the same moral fibre the good old boys did. We're treated to yet another scene of brutal violence towards a woman when this prick assaults a young girl in a Frank Booth of Blue Velvet maniac way. He's a nasty piece of work. I was perplexed by the non-reaction of her friends who just watch blankly. Which makes me hope in the next scene with Agent Tammy Preston studying Cooper's finger prints that Tammy will come through as a bad ass female hero that I feel the show lacks the majority of the time. She discovers that Mr C and Agent Cooper's fingerprints are identical but reversed.

Just when you thought there weren't enough violent molesters in this town...

I will end with a public service announcement: study the closing credits as they often have some interesting pieces of information. The total prick in the Roadhouse's surname is Richard Horne. Could this mean he's Audrey's son? And Sheryl Lee was credited as Laura Palmer but I do not remember seeing her in this part at all. Is her credit included merely because her image appears in the opening titles? Or is Laura lurking in disguise? My brain is turning to mush trying to decipher all of this but it's proving to be one hell of a ride along the way.