Aquarius – Season 1, Episode 2: “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 1, Episode 2: “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by John McNamara

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 premiere, “Everybody’s Been Burned” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Never Say Never to Always” – click here
IMG_0244Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) gives his wife Grace (Michaela McManus) and Dt. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) a load of bullshit, about nearly being mugged at knifepoint. He won’t tell them about Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) almost raping him. Nor the fact he knows Charlie, and well. The other two are curious, as to why he’s hiding things. But Ken shuts it all down with his talk of knowing those in high places. Our detective is relentless, though. He’ll figure things out.
Up at the hippy ranch, Emma (Emma Dumont) is falling more and more for the persona of Manson. Although she’s hungry, they’ve got no food. He certainly isn’t working. He’s hypnotising them all into working “for the dream.” And what’s the dream? His career in music.
Dt. Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) is trying to get things done with Mike Vickery (Jason Ralph), but he’s also helping Hodiak, distracting him. The pair of detectives are unlikely, an interesting relationship. They’re parts of two different generations, vastly different, as Shafe has a bit of hippy in him. They end up heading down to a minority neighbourhood, where a woman’s been killed; blunt force trauma to the head. The victim’s husband is a racist, upset by the police not coming down there when they ought to; not liking “darkest monkeyville” where he’s living, in the “Congo.” His disgusting talk seems to really upset Dt. Shafe, too.
IMG_0245Ken meets with Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett), who’s also aware of Charlie. He advises to take care of Charlie, get rid of the detective. It’s clear they’ve got mutual interests. And with political season around the corner, they can’t afford any big messes boiling over.
In a store, Emma gets caught trying to steal a jacket. This puts the store owner in the line of Charlie’s fire. He gets the jacket for them, not without some blood on his blade. “Do what needs to be done,” he tells Emma.
While the police force as a whole in America, particularly during the late ’60s, is a racist institution, Hodiak seems to have an actual relationship with black people, store owners, so on. Even more so with Shafe, he’s got a rapport with the people in the neighbourhood where they’re investigating the murder.
At least until Bunchy Carter (Gaius Charles) from the Nation of Islam arrives, shutting down the cops and their questioning; he chastises the “occupying force” of the LAPD, only concerned with white murders. All the while Sam is figuring out the murdered woman might’ve been done in by her husband. He uses Bunchy as a decoy, though. An opportunity to make the husband feel at ease? I’d bet on it.
Through Vickery and his man Art Gladner, Hodiak and Shafe make certain there’s no confusion about the latter being cool, not being an undercover cop. Clearing the path for more of their mission.
IMG_0246At a Young Republicans bash, Ken runs into Manson. He’s dropped by to give thanks for being connected to some music industry folk. The father also wants his daughter back. Except it isn’t something Charlie will grant, not without cash for a demo to shop his music around. So, it’s either cough up the money or face some “ugly ass genies” popping out their bottles to see the light of day.
Emma’s doing more for the hippy clan, she’s found them plenty food to feed on. This prompts Charlie to rename his girl Cherry Pop. Only more sinister because his hooks are in deep, too deep for her to escape.
A surprise shows up at Hodiak’s place: his son Walt (Chris Sheffield). He’s back from military duty, though his dad thinks there’s something strange about his apparent leave. Hmm. Sam’s got more to do down at the station, interrogating Bunchy as the husband of the murdered woman kicks around outside. All part of the plan. He orchestrates things to pull a confession out. A method to what previously seemed like madness.
We also see that there’s a good deal of tension beginning to bubble between Hodiak and Bunchy, something we’ll surely see more of play out soon enough.
Hodiak: “Wives can be a lot of things, but we dont get to beat them to death.”
IMG_0247Sam discovers why Shafe feels for the black community – his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) is black. Discovering things about each other all the time. The pair of detectives do jive, even if there’s a generational gap. Because it feels to me that the worst parts of Hodiak are the fact he’s a cop. It’s that side of him which draws out the primitive parts of himself, the badness.
He goes to see his ex-wife Opal (Jodi Harris), she’s been part of their son going AWOL from the army. Shit. Now there’s also the side of Sam which deals with duty, honour. He’s a military man himself and he’s disappointed in the fact his son has deserted his duty.
Grace dug up phone records on her husband and Manson’s conversations. Likewise, she brings up more. That, to her, Ken is like “a sphinx” and he’s a mystery. They only got married because she was pregnant.
And at the very same time, Ken is with Charlie giving him money for the demo. Half upfront, half later. Before they kiss. Such a psycho-sexual bond between these two men. Ultra strange.
IMG_0249What a whopper of a follow-up episode from the premiere. Things have gotten twisted, they already were at the start. But this episode truly gets things pumping, the deeper we watch these character open up, fall, and move through a dark world.
“Never Say Never to Always” is next and will bring up even more madness to chew on.

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Aquarius – Season 1, Episode 1: “Everybody’s Been Burned”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 1, Episode 1: “Everybody’s Been Burned”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by John McNamara

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” – click here
IMG_02281967, in Los Angeles. Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) is sick of her parents Grace (Michaela McManus) and Ken (Brian F. O’Byrne) fighting. She heads off in the night with Rick Zondervan (Beau Mirchoff) to escape to a party, a place of free love, fun, weed, drinks, music. What any young person the late ’60s hoped to enjoy. Except at that party, taking a shine to Emma, is a man named Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). The manipulation he employs in order to meet her immediately shows his character, how eerie and possessive he is as a person. He speaks of the city, its lights as a “snake” which they’ll eat before it eats them. His hypnotism already at work.
Charlie: “I know how much it hurts, like a body, soul screaming to be heard.”
We meet Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny), a local cop. He’s friends with Grace Karn, she calls about her daughter going missing. They need help. So, Sam is the man to get shit done. There’s a quick introduction to his character that serves him well, seeing him miss his keys, forced to hotwire his own car to leave. At the Karn place, he meets the parents and gets more information on their daughter. It’s revealed Ken is in politics, wanting to keep his wayward daughter out of the papers, unofficially. A point of contention in the marriage. Turns out Grace and Sam, they’ve got a romantic past, too.
IMG_0230Sam starts by talking to Rick, who threatens him with daddy going to court. Quickly, we see more of Hodiak, that he isn’t one to worry about such things. He’s a renegade cop, the type that still exist but ran absolutely rampant back in the ’60s, strong arming and doing whatever necessary during an investigation.
Up at the camp with Charlie, Emma is falling in with their little roving family. He’s charismatic, interesting, he plays guitar and sings, write songs. She seems to be enjoying this new adventure in life. She hears about Charlie’s “vision” of being “bigger than the Beatles.” Thus starts the psychosis of it all.
The streets are on fire with protests. At a diner, Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) is buying drugs from Mike Vickery (Jason Ralph). In fact he’s a cop, undercover. We also see that he’s not your typical officer of the law, even gets taken down by one of his own while trying to calm down a forceful cop agitating protesters. And this fighting spirit when he’s taken to the precinct impresses Hodiak, who wants a less clean, rugged type helping him on his latest case.
Shafe (re: other cops): “If its somethinyou dont understand you wanna hit it, fuck it, or shoot it.”
Fun to see Hodiak adjusting to the new rules for cops, concerning Miranda rights. They’ve actually got cards to remember them. Just a glimpse into the times changing, and whether he likes it or not the detective has to change. Or else be left behind, or worse. The detectives do wind up finding out a bit of info on Charlie, his biker friend Roy Kovic (David Meunier), so it’s something to go on.
IMG_0231Sadie (Ambyr Childers) is one of Manson’s ladies, she reels Emma in with romantic talk about their cult-like leader. She paints him as a new age philosopher, a psychic magician. All of which makes the girl feel that this is a place where she belongs, even if she’s being cruelly indoctrinated into a place of worship.
The rest of the work is done by the silken tongue of the devilish Charlie, hauling Emma further in by speaking what she wants to hear, playing on her broken spirit. Because he’s broken, too. He talks of her mother, what she did to him as a child, a brief glimpse into his wretched soul. Then they have ritualistic sex, as the other women come in to join the pleasure.
Charlie: “I dont look at you. I see you.”
Shafe enlists Sam to help with his recent drug deal and upcoming bust involving Mike. The two partners are getting closer. They also ask a young officer named Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) in order to infiltrate a party. There, Brian finds out more about Manson, and then meets Kovic, a member of the Straight Satans biker gang. Only it gets tense when Charmain thinks she might have to fuck Kovic. More than she expected out of this little mission. So Shafe topples the biker down the stairs, beating up his leg to get them out of there fast. Further than that we see that our young detective isn’t afraid to dip into the buzz while undercover. Might this come back to haunt him?
They start digging through Manson’s history, everything from assault to robbery to anything else under the sun. They visit his parole officer, finding out the guy likes to pimp women. He’s also connected to politicians – possibly why he knows so much about Emma, connected to her dad – and movie stars, so on. Yes, Ken knows Charlie because he’s a big time lawyer, one with political weight. Should be interesting to watch the Karn family’s story play out.
IMG_0232Manson soon confronts his old pal Ken, about what he remembers; and he’s got a looong memory, good one, too. Now he needs to be put in touch with some musicians, some big names. He’s trying to move on up in the world. Then he explains about Emma being with him, taunting with nastiness. Before starting to rape Ken at the end of a blade, nearly getting the job done before a car interrupts. This is the most vicious we’ve seen in the opening episode. Not the most vicious we’ll see later on.
IMG_0235Such a good start to this series. Always liked reading about Charles Manson, a truly despicable character in the history of modern America. “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” is next, starting to unfold more about Charlie and more of Dt. Hodiak’s personal story.

Bellevue – Season 1 Finale: “You Don’t Understand Me at All”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 8: “You Don’t Understand Me at All”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Man Behind the Curtain” – click here
Pic 1On the lonely road in the woods, Brady’s been run down; dead. Annie (Anna Paquin) is left relatively unscathed. The driver of the other vehicle? Adam (Patrick Labbé), of course. He’s saved his estranged sister, keeping her safe from near death. He says he wanted to “end the cycle.” But what does this mean? He still isn’t satisfied, and he’s off running into the woods once more, away from her. The mystery still churning.
Welland (Shawn Doyle) and the others arrive not long after, carting away the body, left with the aftermath of Brady’s revelations concerning his incestuous feelings for his sister Briana (Amber Goldfarb), which eventually led to him killing Jesse. Afterwards, Eddie (Allen Leech) begs Annie to walk away from the job, if only for their daughter Daisy (Madison Ferguson). But we know there’s too much obsession in her veins for that. Especially now with her brother’s mysteries still floating in the air.
Pic 1APoor Briana, having to deal with her brother before and now with his death. All upsetting, despite the circumstances. She tells Annie about their abusive father, that Brady came to bring the worst of it on himself to save her from it. A troubled past, no doubt. Doesn’t change the ugliness which came later.
Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc) gets a call about his daughter in trouble. He rushes into the woods, calling for her. His leg winds up caught in a bear trap. The police get there and hear the calls of a girl; it’s a recording, tied to a tree. They also see SANDY carved bloody across Tom’s chest. Ah, this is the heart of the whole thing.
They find more info from Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez), about the shack in the woods around New Horizons, about Tom when they were younger, all sorts of things. Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) was involved, too. As was Lily (Janine Theriault). Some more cruel than others, such as the priest. He “had a habit of humiliating.” Suddenly Welland and Annie decipher the LION clue from in front of the church, which leads them to find Jameson strung up, though not dead; SANDY carved into his forehead.
All those years ago, they tortured Sandy, locking her in the shack. Because Lily wanted the part of Mary in the school pageant. And one question remains: where’s Lily? They’ve found the other two. She must be out there, somewhere.
Pic 2Answers lie with Adam, his few clues that he left Annie. What’s driving him? What is the ultimate goal? Go back to the beginning, with the murder of Sandy. Immaculate conception, without sin, Mary. Did he help Sandy die because she wanted to be free? Was it “mercy“? Maybe something darker.
The idea of mercy leads them to a street of the same name, an old brewery. They find a lily on the floor. Further on are boot prints. Welland the rest dig out a pile of dirt and locate Lily in a coffin underneath. Each of the three culprits of Sandy’s humiliation not killed yet tortured to a great extent.
Adam turns up to see his niece Daisy. She opens the door for him bravely. “Youre the one who leaves the riddles,” she says without fear. They sit and talk about their family, their shared history, dear ole grandpa, and certainly mom. He speaks of Jesse, how he was treated like Sandy and driven to bad places by the bullies in their lives. Only I worry about his intentions with Daisy, I hope he’s not playing any dangerous games.
When Eddie and Annie can’t find their daughter, they’re frantic. Looking for clues anywhere possible. They see cutout paper people holding hands, posted on the trees. This leads her out into the woods alone, just as Sandy Driver once ran through the same path being tormented by the three torturers. Annie finds Adam, sending Daisy back to her father.
That day long ago, Adam found Sandy locked in the shack. He broke her free. They bonded instantly. Both of them feeling cast out by the world, their families, their friends. She pulled off the bloody fingernails loosened from scratching at the shack’s walls, then put his hands around her throat. A terrifying and subtle moment, it’s actually so powerful. Dark, but powerful.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1.04.32 AMAdam (to Annie): “I am you. You are me. Dont you get it?”
The brother and sister confront their past, all those ugly pieces of their life that fell in whatever place they were able to fall. Adam embraces Annie, feeling somehow elated by all the confession and the revelation. But she laments him, the fact their father is dead because of him. Then he puts his hands around her throat, the same as he did Sandy. She puts a shot through him just before Eddie and Welland and the rest track them down.
Once things settle down, Annie’s planning on leaving. She needs to move on. Although Welland doesn’t think she’s okay, that she needs time to heal and grieve. Eddie wants to get his family out of Bellevue, for all their sake, particularly that of his daughter. There’s a lot of history, though. Welland is like a second father to Annie, he feels responsible for her after Clarence killed himself. Maybe feels more, confirmed by the conversation in the confessional which he had with Adam, one we see again briefly. Wow.
Regardless, nothing is easy. Definitely not goodbyes. Yet it’s a new beginning, as well. For everyone. No matter how tough.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1.17.31 AMWhat a fucking show. I’m so sad this has been cancelled, it would’ve been nice to see a Season 2 and find out where Welland ends up, where Annie and Eddie do and if they last, if Bellevue would keep calling to Ms. Ryder. Even so, Season 1(and only) ended with a bittersweet note that does feel of finality.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 7: “The Man Behind the Curtain”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 7: “The Man Behind the Curtain”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Morwyn Brebner

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Problem with the Truth” – click here
* For a recap & review of the season finale, “You Don’t Understand Me at All” – click here
Pic 1Annie (Anna Paquin) and Eddie (Allen Leech) aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. She actually takes a spill in the road chasing his car because he won’t say a word. She apologises for the previous night, his run-in with Brady (Billy MacLellan), though her ex isn’t totally in the right, either. She tells him about having a brother, named Adam (Patrick Labbé), that he’s lost, “messed up” and such. So, is her long lost older brother her Riddler? All these years?
Meanwhile, Virginia (Sharon Taylor) has poked holes in the alibi of Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc). She and Annie interrogate him. Although he’s a bit drunk. They probed further about the night Jesse was murdered. Turns out he DID pick the kid up, and others were involved. Lily (Janine Theriault) and Father Jameson (Joe Cobden), to be exact. Welland (Shawn Doyle) asks his detectives to bring the priest and the mayor in for questioning.
And what about Adam out there in the wilderness? He gets a call on his radio from… Brady (Billy MacLellan), or is that someone else’s voice? Then at the station, Dt. Holt interrogates Father J, as Annie and Welland are in a room with Lily, and Victoria stays with the coach.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.58.03 PMThe three were “worried about” Jesse, supposedly. They wanted to convince her to play the game, not rock the boat in their little town; that’s all it was, not some altruistic intent on their behalf. Only problem is that Jesse took off from the church, not leaving with either of the three. They lied to save themselves the embarrassment, to not look weak in front of their town. Bunch of dummies. And why go to the church, simply to talk? Suspicious, if you ask me.
Furthermore, Annie goes to the church, determining someone else was there lurking behind the three and Jesse that fateful night. Afterwards when they’re alone together, she and Welland discuss Clarence possibly having another child. There’s no record of an Adam Ryder in the system, as if he’s invisible; or he does not exist. A ghost. But he’s very real. He’s keeping an eye on the mayor, the coach, and the priest. Was he the one in that church? If so, what is the ultimate connection? WHY Adam?
Annie and Welland are searching for their mystery man. Nobody seems to have seen him around Bellevue. Suddenly, Welland remembers a clue about “this mess” from Sid hearing the man talk. It was in fact a man called Bobby Storms, a military school boy; this is the mystery man, Adam. Psychological issues abound, sent away at a young age.
The two cops together go into the forest, they find Adam’s makeshift lodge. Annie sees relics of her youth, the clown statue, the doll. She remembers lost memories of her and Adam. He was strangely possessive about her: “Youre mine.” Such an eerie moment.
Pic 4A bit of a break comes when Daisy falls in the lake where Jesse washed up. She gets an antibiotic because of bacteria in the water. Thus, the killer might very well have some kind of infection requiring medication.
Annie and Eddie connect again, a little, as she tells him about Adam and what she can remember about their past. “Maybe he just wanted me all for himself,” she rationalises. Even if it wasn’t a paedophilic thing, it was still unsettling. A dangerous thing, possibly. It’s no wonder Clarence reacted by sending him away, I don’t exactly blame him. Either way, through the prism of Adam we watch Annie discover things about herself, her own possessive tendencies towards love. I’d like to think she can change.
With a clue from a note in the woods, Welland goes to the church where he sees Adam in the flesh. They casually sit in the confessional – a great little piece of symbolism – talking about the past, Peter saying he wants to take him in the woods and shoot him in the face. So the long lost brother has a few final things to say before running off. Only we don’t hear the words ourselves.
Virginia and Annie come across new information about Brady, his confidential informants. He’s also acting strangely. This sets Annie off, and she finds an empty bottle of antibiotics in his bathroom. Holy shit. There’s a white truck in the garage outside, too. Now he’s on the run from her, off into the night. Or maybe not. He pulls a gun on her from out of nowhere before she can contact Welland. He threatens that if she doesn’t play along, he’ll kill her daughter.
Pic 5Dt. Holt was there that night, watching in the church. The three pressured Jesse, not to tell the police, to serve his community. They effectively blamed him for “freak urges” inside. What exactly drove him further? Why has it affected Brady so deeply? He has feelings for his sister Briana (Amber Goldfarb), he loves her more than a man should love a sibling. An improper, taboo love. And that’s what drove him to it. When he tried to reach out to Jesse, equating his feelings of incest with the transgender issues Jesse faced, the kid called him “sick” and it drove him over the edge. Oh, god. Such devastating things we could’ve never seen coming.
Then, as he’s about to shoot Annie in the woods, someone hits him in their vehicle. Knocking his body bloody and lifeless onto the windshield in front of her.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 12.22.50 AMHOLY CHRIST! What an episode, I never saw any of this coming personally. Such intense, deep revelations. Just spectacularly dark writing, and comes together in a neat little package. Although there are still things to uncover.
“You Don’t Understand Me at All” is next, the final episode of the season and series as a whole.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Problem with the Truth”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 6: “The Problem with the Truth”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Waneta Storms

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “How Do I Remember?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Man Behind the Curtain” – click here
Pic 1If it wasn’t obvious by now, Annie (Anna Paquin) is obsessed. She’s whittling away at the similarities between the deaths of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver. Eddie (Allen Leech) grew up with Jesse’s mother Maggie, so he gives his two cents. Even young Daisy (Madison Ferguson) has opinions.
There are no clear answers, though. Everybody has some sort of dark secret in Bellevue. There’s a muddy past behind every door. Welland (Shawn Doyle) has his big secrets, some of which our lead detective has already figured out, resenting him for, obviously.
Moreover, Annie wants to see her father Clarence’s (Patrick Labbé) notes from before he died, concerning the case of Sandy’s murder. She starts digging into the details, starting with Randy Oldring (Kent McQuaid) whose entire life has been shaped negatively due to finding the girl’s corpse, fingernails missing, all that. Something we don’t often see, aside from the murder victim – the people who’ve seen the remnants of brutal murder, corpses left in the woods like garbage, they must go through difficult psychological issues. Still, they weren’t murdered, and no matter how bad Randy seems he’s alive; unlike Sandy.
Pic 1AWe see that young Ms. Driver was Mary in the school play, same as Bethany Mansfield (Emelia Hellman) is now. Mayor Mother Mansfield (Janine Theriault) is in a photo, also in the play. What’s her connection to Sandy, I wonder?
Annie finds a cut out page in her father’s notes. Something involving a 9-11 call and Lily Mansfield. When she listens to the call on a tape, Annie discovers mentions of an intruder at the house who left “fingernails.” Yikes.
She comes across VHS tapes, as well. Trusty ole Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan) has a VCR at home, she heads over to watch the tapes with a few beer. They bond, chat. And on the tapes they find Lily as a girl, her answers to questions about Sandy. Lily says she’s an “old soul” and she clearly comes on to Clarence. Uh oh, I am seeing this heading someplace problematic. Starting to become apparent why dad tore out those pages.
Or is it? Part of why I love Bellevue – tragically, seeing as how it’s cancelled now – is that the mystery is always deep, incredibly palpable. In that, at times, you can never decipher whether things are headed where it seems. Although it looks as if maybe Clarence knocked up Lily, who on the hush-hush supposedly had an abortion years ago.
Annie goes to see the Mayor of Bellevue. The woman is less than forthcoming, acting like a real jerk. “I have a fucking alibi,” she crows through gritted teeth. No information coming out of this one, that’s for sure. When Annie brings it all to Welland, he confirms part of his trying to protect her was to avoid any awkward revelations about her father. Except, why did Clarence not file anything about the fingernails, the 9-11 call, everything else? WHY?
Pic 2Later, Welland gets a call from Sid Oak (Raphael Grosz-Harvey), saying he’s heard the voice of the Riddler again, down at the bar. Ah, a lead, and Peter actually invites Brady to go along, so it looks legit. Just another way to make himself look genuine? Hard to tell.
Meanwhile, Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor) is running down leads of her own to connect all the dots. She’s starting to wonder about their boss, what he’s investigating. He might’ve included Brady in helping round up men at the bar, but he certainly didn’t say much else.
A code of numbers written on Clarence’s notebook corresponding to his pager and the symbols on it lead Annie to another clue, leading back to previous pieces: New Horizons. She requests a patient list for the old mental hospital. At the same time, she’s becoming more and more suspicious of Welland, that it was possibly him involved with Sandy, not her father.
We see a flashback to young Lily, a younger Peter responding to her call and collecting the fingernails. She flushed the evidence down a toilet, not wanting the grief. Followed by seduction. Welland took the 9-11 call that night, prompting everything else. So it’s less a sinister act on his part, more the fact he’s a liar who made a mistake and let things snowball into a fucking avalanche. Now he’s lost the trust of Annie, too. In a massive way.
She has other problems aside from that. With Eddie. She wants them to be together, to finish all the nonsense between them. Yet he worries about her, constantly, about things going crazy. He can’t do that anymore. He wants a “calm, simple” life, one that doesn’t jive with her, so he says.
Eddie: “You dont have to feel pain to be with someone
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.06.07 PMWelland goes to see Lily, demanding to know more about the man who left the fingernails. He’s very serious. He’s pissed, and lashes out in anger. The guilt of Clarence killing himself over the case tears him to pieces. And Lily, she feels that Welland brings out the best in her, that she can’t be real with anyone else. It’s a dark thing they have together.
Virginia’s finding out more about Coach Tom. That his wife wasn’t home the night of Jesse’s murder, which then means she can’t alibi her husband. Hmm, curious, no?
In the woods at the cabin, Annie stumbles into a man as she rages in a drunk stupor. Who is he? Is it the Riddler? She almost believes it’s her father, at first. Then, back in the cabin, she finds another clue, about someone named Adam; his height etched into the door frame above her own.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.10.33 PMAnother solid chapter, unravelling a bit of the mystery while still retaining the core, the darkness which makes the atmosphere of the series so interesting. “The Man Behind the Curtain” is the penultimate finisher. I hope that, despite its cancellation, this sole season can end on a good note story-wise. We’ll see!

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Jane Maggs & Thomas Pound

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Problem with The Truth” – click here
Pic 1Talking through the surveillance system, Annie (Anna Paquin) talks to the Riddler, the mystery man. She thanks him, for helping with her father’s death. He helped give her purpose, in a strange way. He tells her now to “trust her instincts” about his identity. She asks him more about the murders of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver, how they’re connected. It’s a strange relationship she has with the Riddler. To keep it going any further, she asks more of him. Although he doesn’t give her much more than before, only cryptic references and no promise of any concrete answers.
Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) goes to talk with Danny (Cameron Roberts), about how to remember Jesse at the funeral, what do for him; he replies only with the word “she“. At the same time, Annie’s figuring out more about Rainmaker Jed (Neil Napier), whose further information about his drug distribution sends the detectives in other directions. The package in Jesse’s room wasn’t done up like how Jed and his operation do things. So, there’s somebody else in the mix. Someone dangerous.
Not only that there’s trouble with Eddie (Allen Leech). Annie sees him punching his truck window, looking very angry. She knows’s something is up. Moreover, she starts believing he is caught in a bad place, possibly trafficking drugs. All the more troubling for the fact Daisy (Madison Ferguson) is around him. Could make for nastiness. Simultaneously, Annie believes the mystery man is suggesting things about her estranged boyfriend. He responds by telling her to wear Neil Driver’s watch during the funeral for Jesse. Hmm, why?
I dropped a stone, but youre not seeing the ripples.”
Pic 1AAt the funeral, tensions run through the crowd. Particularly when Danny comes in. But Bethany (Emelia Hellman) and others embrace him as a big part of Jesse’s life. Maggie talks about her boy, mourning his death; more importantly, she refers to Jesse as “my daughter.” Suddenly, Mr. Driver (Andreas Apergis) barges in saying she deserves everything that’s come to her family before cops pull him outside.
What’s the full history between Maggie and Sandy Driver?
Down by the lake, being morbid, Daisy hears a woman’s voice calling out in the woods. She runs into Bethany and Danny and Max (Ryan Doherty). They call out in grief to the woods, saying they loved Jesse, that it hurts having lost her. Finally they’re able to grieve, out in the open. A sad, tragic openness.
Eddie is tasked with doing something by the people for whom he’s working. While he’s doing that Annie finds their daughter’s dog in his freeze. Weird. He admits to her about owing money, but denies planting any drugs at Jesse’s place. He says the drugs were stolen from him. The dog was killed in retaliation for his debt, obviously. In way over his head.
Welland wants him to testify the drugs belong to him; they were stolen AFTER Jesse’s death. These two have history, the cop doesn’t exactly like him. Except he knows that Eddie, at heart, is a good man. So with it being a first time offence, a self-professed “one time thing” Peter is willing to give him a chance. Afterwards, he leads Annie on with more lies about the burning of the shack and the fire at his house Still playing towards something dark, unknown.
Pic 2Such a strange connection between the Riddler and Annie, like two strange souls linked together in the night. She’s starting to realise that, too. She believes he’s getting his kicks from watching her scramble, listening to his clues. Yet I can’t help wondering who he is, why he’s doing all this to her. She gets a trace on his line and finally something’s come back. Annie follows the signal out to the grave of Sandy Driver, where she finds a phone and a text message reading YOU’RE NOT CRAZY.
But she wants this relationship done, sickened by the manipulation she’s allowed.
Cali (Catherine Kidd) has ties to the drugs, whether she’s top dog I don’t know. Regardless of that, Eddie goes to her, he wants to be relinquished of their ties; it’s clear she wants Annie taken out of the equation. This requires he take a beating instead, which he does willingly.
Maggie tells Annie about the “retribution” she’s faced, for what she did to Sandy back then. Before she can tell her story, though… she passes out, having binged deliberately hard by herself on pills. No telling if she’ll survive, but the chances are good with Annie being there at the right place, the right time. We at least know there’s a strong connection between Maggie and the death of Sandy.
Annie goes back to talk with Neil, about the night his daughter die and where he was supposedly working. He kept the receipts of being on the road, all these years. In order to remember that he actually did not kill her. He gives them over to our detective, providing another bit of evidence from which she can work.
And later at home, Annie falls back to the relationship with the Riddler. Trusting in him more than she does herself, or anyone else for that matter.
Pic 3The building of character is as good as the plot development, all the backstory. Bellevue deserved better in terms of viewership. I think because of it being a Canadian show and done by the CBC, it might not have been eagerly watched by too many. Certain viewers likely didn’t expect the gritty, deep, mysterious (and weird) take on the typical crime-mystery series that we received here.
“The Problem with The Truth” is next, I’m looking forward to seeing further things about Eddie and his situation, and again – what is Welland up to? Need to know.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 4: “Hello Little Light”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 4: “Hello Little Light”
Directed by April Mullen
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “How Do I Remember?” – click here
Pic 1Annie (Anna Paquin) is setting her place up for surveillance, in light of recent events. And she’s not giving up on the case of Jesse’s death, either. Even though it’s all clearly weighing on her heavy. So many things surrounding the case, her own life, it’s a wonder she’s keeping her head above water.
She and Welland (Shawn Doyle) and the other cops go check out a house belonging to Rainmaker Jed. He’s a drug dealer, apparently. Brady (Billy MacLelland) comments that Jed is “so white” and that it’s a surprise he’s allowed to live on the reservation. Virginia replies that he’s married to a woman from the tribe, she doesn’t spend much time there. They find Jesse’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts) kicking around, he looks after the place from time to time. Inside they find fake eyelashes and size 13 platform boots. This leaves Welland and his crew wondering if he has a “sexual proclivity for young boys.” Moreover, we see that the boss man is slipping a bit in front of his detectives, he’s got his own issues going on. Still curious about what exactly he’s into, his secrets.
Virginia and Annie go to the Rattlesnake Bar, talking with Jed. He’s a sly one. They also run into Eddie (Allen Leech), his latest fling Briana (Amber Goldfarb) – sister to Detective Holt. To that Virginia replies: “Fuck him. Girl power.” LOVE THIS WOMAN! God, I hate that they’ve cancelled this already. I wanted more of her, more of the queer Native perspective through her character, among other good things about the series. Still, at this point in time in Canada we deserve more roles like this for Native actors, specifically women.
Pic 1ASo the question is now, what’s Jed got to do with Danny, Jesse, et cetera? They’ve found a pink Eiffel Tower earring on the man’s property. Belonging to the dead boy; buried. Virginia further digs up info on his past, that he was sexually abused as a kid and has anger issues. She and Annie interrogate Jed, whether drugs were stolen by Jesse, if there was a sexual relationship, a three-way thing between the two of them and Danny. Or, was it something more forcible? Was the earring a trophy of a murderer? Rainmaker Jed lawyers up, either way. And he says that all he was trying to do was help. Hard to tell. Suspicious and eerie nonetheless.
Annie presses Welland about the mystery man’s riddles, asking if he’s found out anything more. She further wonders about the fire at his place, knowing there’s something more to it than coincidence. Oh, my. Dig the dark tension that’s always lingering, the show has impressive atmosphere. Welland does some pressing of his own, talking with Sid Oak (Raphael Grosz-Harvey), the local sex offender. He wants to know about the Riddler, if he’s heard from him since, so on. Threatens to put false charges on him if things don’t go his way.
Part of a crime-mystery show like Bellevue, this dark and dreary-type stuff is the fact that we see the grey areas of the law. Where things aren’t always black or white, which they aren’t in life. Part of the intrigue is seeing how characters cope with being on either side. Annie isn’t perfect, far from it. But she’s miles from Welland, whose character is obviously a deep, scary kind of his own sort.
Pic 2Meanwhile, Annie is diving into the past of her father Clarence (Patrick Labbé), the psychiatric records and tapes of his sessions with a doctor, things she’s never heard before. It’s tough for her to hear, though necessary. It helps us come to understand her past. Also, it’s leading Annie to wonder if Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis) is her Riddler. He is, indeed.
Or, is he dissociating, and taking on the personality of the mystery man?
A man named Anthony Greene (Karl Graboshas) who works for Jed is in the interrogation chair now. Brady and Virginia ask him about Jed, using his sister as a bit of leverage. Anthony burned the white truck belonging to Rainmaker Jed. He’s officially the prime suspect in the murder.
Mayor Mansfield (Janine Theriault) has borderline psychotic tendencies, slapping herself in the face to stop a crying jag; her daughter Bethany (Emelia Hellman) sees it, though has her own issues with everyone at school texting her WHORE. And the small town itself seems at odds with Annie, who isn’t wholly sold on Jed’s guilt. She finds comfort drinking with Brady, talking about his sister and Eddie, the case; even if there’s an awkward moment before she leaves where things feel sexually charged.
But she heads out to sneak into the home of Mr Driver, seeing an almost shrine-like kitchen table with words carved into the wood, a paper with a front page concerning the death of Annie’s father, her name circled in the newspapers paragraph. And at her place later, she hears someone speaking through the surveillance system outside: “Hello, little light.” Was someone out there, or did they hack in? Becomes clearer Neil isn’t the Riddler. Poor guy thinks Annie is his daughter Sandy.
This means someone else is creeping about.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 2.42.46 AMWhat’s the ultimate connection between Jesse and Sandy? Could the latter’s father have killed her, then years later killed the boy? Welland doesn’t think so, and Annie’s father never believed Neil murdered his daughter. Our fearless detective finds a note on a nearby swing, about a bracelet. This leads her to call up Daisy (Madison Ferguson), about the hospital bracelet  she found belonging to her grandfather. This and the watch together, the time of 12:13, adds up to more mystery.
When Neil is let out of the hospital, he finds Annie at his place. She’s asking about the references to 12:13, the time with links to his daughter’s death. We see a flashback of him yelling at her, fighting physically. His watch broke on that particular time. We find out more about someone being there with Sandy that day – Jesse’s mother, Maggie (Victoria Sanchez). Our detective goes to talk with the grieving mom, suggesting Jed may not be her son’s killer.
But the evidence stacks up against the guy. He acts as if he knew the real Jesse, as if he cared. It’s so difficult to cut through to the truth. At least, for Jed, he’s got Annie semi-rooting for him. She judges his character by him knowing Jesse and Danny were planning on running away, and that he didn’t tell anybody. This is a caring gesture, deeper than most anyone in town offered the kid.
Jed: “She was a good kid
Annie: “Jesse referred to himself as she?”
Jed: “She did at my house
Pic 4Solid episode that builds on the case itself, in favour of leaving some of the Riddler stuff as secondary. Not that I don’t dig Annie’s personal little mystery, I do. It’s just nice to see the development in Jesse’s case, seeing more of him as a character instead of him just being a trans victim. “How Do I Remember?” is next. Hoping to see more of the Riddler story this time, as well as how Welland ties in. He’s a sneaky one, that Peter.

Twin Peaks- Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 6, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
Pic 1Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) is in the woods, a bewildered look on his face. More than just a good bake on from his killer bud. It’s like he knows there’s something bad in that forest. He calls his brother Ben (Richard Beymer). Seems as if he’s had his car stolen. Turns out he’s actually just high. Too high.
Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) finds pages of Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) diary, from the previous episode, and shows Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster). These are the pages torn from the diary, connecting not only to the TV series, but also to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. They talk about who Bob was possessing, as well as relay the message from Annie – about the “good” Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) being stuck in the Black Lodge. Hawk susses out that whoever it was came out of the lodge  those 25 years ago was the “bad Cooper.”
Afterwards, Frank calls his brother Harry to talk about the whole thing. What I’d like to know is where is our former sheriff? Is he ill? Sounds like it. A little later the new sheriff calls Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost) about the night he went to the Great Northern, to check on Agent Cooper. The doc remembers it, very well. Seeing the agent and that “strange face again.” Moreover, we hear our first rumblings about Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), how she was in a coma after the bank exploded.
Pic 1AOut on the road Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) talks with a very nervous, paranoid man. They’re set to meet at 4:30. This guy seems like he’s up to no good, but I don’t see Andy as being the type to be up to anything shady. So what’s the deal?
One of the cops with the case concerning the decapitated head, the body in bed receives a military visit. About the prints they’ve found, what seems likely to be the corpse of Major Garland Briggs. Only there’s a bit of an age discrepancy. Briggs would be much older by now, the body’s less than a week old. How can it be him? Oh, I have a few ideas. Involving space and time. Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) gets a call about the prints, the body, and now there’s so much more afoot.
Gordon Cole (Lynch) sees Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) at his office, reporting on going to see Diane (Laura Dern), who wasn’t exactly forthcoming. Their relationship is hilarious and perfect. They go speak with Diane, she tells them both to go fuck themselves. She and Coop apparently didn’t leave things on good terms. They want somebody close to him to go talk with the Coop sitting in federal lockup, to gauge what’s happening. Eventually she agrees and they’re on the plane. Then Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) shows them a slight problem with the fingerprints, tedious, almost unnoticeable to untrained eyes. Like someone did a bit of doctoring. Or perhaps, Coop slightly changed.
At the prison, Diane comes face to face with her old pal. He’s clearly different, his voice is unsettling and deep. He wonders why she’s so upset. She asks about the last time they saw one another. “At your house,” he replies (almost like the Mystery Man from Lost Highway; eerily reminiscent). A night they’ll both never forget, apparently. She can see a different person sitting behind those eyes, someone she doesn’t know inside his skin.
Diane: “That isnt the Dale Cooper that I knew
Armed with this affirmation from her which he trusts in wholly, what’s Gordon to do next? Back in his cell, the bad Coop asks to speak with the warden “about a strawberry.” Uh oh.
Pic 2On a lonely road, Andy waits for the paranoid man with whom he met earlier. At the guy’s house, we get the feeling of something ominous behind his open front door. Only Lynch could make a simple shot of a door like that feel creepy. One of the many reasons the man is a master filmmaker.
Coop and the warden meet. The bad man speaks in cryptic fashion, as usual. About “dog legs” and other bits. He mentions Joe McClusk, the late “Mr. Strawberry” and this puts the warden in his chair. Bad Coop requests a car for himself and Ray Monroe. Gun in the glove compartment.
At the Lucky 7 offices, Dougie (MacLachlan) goes about his infant-like day, Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) snooping around wanting to know more about what he’s been up to lately. Of course he gets no answers, nobody does. Then the police come to speak with Mr. Jones about his car. They mention deaths during the explosion of his car, gang members and such.
Outside the office, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Dougie are attacked by the small hitman, wielding a gun now. Instinctively Dougie moves “like a cobra” wrestling him to the ground, chopping him in the throat. In the pavement he sees the Man from Another Place, in his newest form, that brain on a tree. It commands him to “squeeze his hand off.” So Dougie chops the guy in the throat one more time, freeing the gun from his grip. SO INTENSE! The sound design in this scene is so foreboding, you can feel something coming
At the Great Northern, Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) shows Ben a strange hum emanating from one of the rooms. They can’t pinpoint where it’s coming from, or what’s making it. They follow it around awhile, but still can’t figure it out. At the same time they’ve received the key from Cooper’s old room, from all those years ago. A slice of strange nostalgia for Mr. Horne. Beverly has her own difficult life; a very ill husband named Tom (Hugh Dillon) to look after, being cared for in hospice. They also don’t have a great relationship, it seems. He makes her feel guilty, or she perceives it that way.
Pic 3I love Lynch because he intrigues us, and he also gives us slices of anticipation where we see a long shot of the Bang Bang being swept, Jean-Michel Renault (Walter Olkewicz) at the bar working silently. And nothing happens, for so long. Because Lynch knows we’re paying attention. He doesn’t do this for shits, he does it to make sure we haven’t fallen off.
Then a call comes in, Jean-Michel running his greasy business as it always was, like 25 years ago. Trouble, too. I wonder who owes him, and what this will mean for the plot in coming episodes.
In jail, the bad Coop is released from his cell, as is Ray. They’re let out the back quietly, given a phone, keys to a vehicle. Off again, jiggity jig. Wonder where they’re heading first? Meanwhile at the diner in Twin Peaks, life goes on as usual. I love the way Lynch intertwines the mystery and the everyday, going from such a dark, mysterious moment into one of comfort, one of familiarity. And even underneath the beautiful music, the old 50s and 60s guitar swooning in the background, there’s an undercurrent of that threatening, foreboding sound design, building and festering. Perfect atmosphere.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 12.38.08 AMAnother good episode, this one a bit less heavy on the surrealism and the absurd, more a classic episode of Twin Peaks we’ve come to know. I’m excited because with 18 episodes, Lynch and Frost have the opportunity to take their time a bit, which they do with relish. All the same it’s good, it isn’t frustrating for those of us Peakheads who love the mystery, the intrigue, the surreal. Can’t wait for the next episode already.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 3: “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes”
Directed by April Mullen
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “He’s Back” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
Pic 1Now that Annie’s (Anna Paquin) found the body of Jesse Sweetland, and Virginia (Sharon Taylor) found out about the boy’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts), among other things, there’s so much going on in Bellevue. Welland (Shawn Doyle) isn’t particularly impressed that Annie has been running around investigating on her own, not telling him things. All the same she’s found some intense, very possible connections to the Sandy Driver murder. The relationship between Annie and Welland is not doing well. Still, he knows she’s good at her job, he’s just worried.
Welland: “So tell me that you understand that you may be talking to a killer right now
What we have now is Annie reverting to the old games she played with the mysterious man in her past, leaving notes in the mailbox at the tree in the woods. Christ, it makes my skin crawl. In the best sort of way.
Pic 1ABellevue’s been rocked with the death of Jesse. Even Dt. Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan), usually a bit of a hard man, seems to feel it. However, they’re police, and they’ve got to keep on investigating, to figure out who killed the young man. He was killed with blunt force trauma, then tossed into the water.
Biggest clue so far? Danny’s mention of a white truck.
At church, Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez) mourns her son, as Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) tries comforting her. She laments in the belief of God, that he’s only about “punishment” and nothing more. Then they’re shocked to discover one of the paintings on the church walls has been defaced. More religious iconography, a hand with a knife drawn on in red paint.
Young Daisy Ryder (Madison Ferguson) has a fixation on Sandy Driver. She’s actually doing weird rituals in the attic, cutting her hand to drawl blood. Afterwards, she sees a man yelling through the darkness: “Theres no point in coming back to life. Well just kill you again.” Real? Or is she seeing things? It was Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis), scaring the shit out of her.
Possibilities become real when Annie sees a picture of coach Tom Edmonds (Vincent Leclerc) with Jesse, and his white truck. Hmm. There’s definitely more to this guy. He wanted more for Jesse, wanting him to focus on hockey instead of his identity. Not realising that for so many who struggle with gender identity, wondering if they’re transgender, identity is everything.
Pic 2After Daisy gets in trouble for her little seance, Eddie (Allen Leech) is pissed with Annie. He feels she’s starting to become “obsessive” as her father started out, apparently. Did the mystery of Sandy Driver’s murder all those years ago drive him mad? It’s all certainly threatening to push his daughter over the edge in present day.
Someone I find a bit repulsive is Mayor Lily Mansfield (Janine Theriault). Very opportunistic, a cold person. She worries more about investors than the killing of a boy. Don’t think she’s guilty of any crimes. Just of being a terrible human.
In the woods, Tom has his boys fighting over beefs. Jacob (Robert Naylor) and Max (Ryan Doherty) are called into the middle of a circle where they beat the shit out of each other. Primal and nasty, hypermasculinity in its ugly glory. But what’s most apparent is that Tom is a bit insane.
Annie finds out that the coach was destined for an NHL career, sidelined by an accident. Ah, broken dreams. Surely has something to do with his aggressive way of handling the team. The story familiar to many who’ve played sports when they were young, myself included.
Most creepy is the continuing game between the mystery man and Annie. She comes across Welland on the road, they then run into Tom and the the team, smearing their faces with some “Lord of the Flies blood shit.” Certainly does not help the case for the coach. At the same time, I wonder about Welland. I’m not sure if he’s got his own secrets, or if he’s mainly just angry with Annie. Either way he goes overboard chastising her for being like her father.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.29.16 PMThe relationship between her and Eddie isn’t good, either. They get in a fight, she runs out to a bar dancing with another man, and he goes straight for her. They’ve got a love-hate thing going on, exacerbated by the fact she’s wildly unpredictable. So is he, though. No shortage of issues between these two, from emotional to drugs and alcohol. Also doesn’t help that Annie is obsessed with her job, the past, all of it mixed in a mess together.
AND WHAT THE HELL IS WELLAND DOING? He’s tossing the fingernails into a bonfire he sets in the shed on the old New Horizons grounds. What the fuck? This is beyond suspicious. Does he have a connection to Sandy Driver? Shit.
Annie and Victoria chat with Danny, hoping to find out more about Jesse. There’s connections to the reservation, so Victoria takes the lead. Danny talks more with Annie about coach Tom, how the relationship changed between him and Jesse. They went to a motel somewhere to meet a scout. After that, hatred. Doesn’t sound good, at all. Tom’s wife further confirms questionable behaviour.
Tom sees a prostitute, where he brought Jesse to have sex with her, as well. At the motel. He wanted to make Jesse into a star hockey player, seeing his identity as a barrier to that. But, is it motive? Did he feel it wasn’t panning out? Annie thinks he’s got “motives buried deep” and he’s one of those quiet types, capable of snapping loose.
Annie and Welland question Tom, about the hooker and everything else. His masculinity is incredibly fragile. He thinks men are meant for “another world” like we’re cavemen. He’s definitely insane, in his own way. Did he kill Jesse? Tough to say.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.38.09 PMSomething else to add into the investigation: a large quantity of MDMA, half a pound, in Jesse’s closet. Perhaps a distributor for a local drug dealer. More clues to lead them in other directions. Good, especially for the fact they can’t pin anything on Tom as of yet.
Then the working girl Tom sees lets slip more information: he may have “walked into traffic” suggesting his long ago accident was not so. And only days after the death of Sandy Driver. He keeps a sign in the arena basement, a Bellevue sign with his name on it. The boys… like to see it.
So this connects to the latest riddle about a hero’s fall from glory. Annie goes to the arena, she finds a picture of Tom as Joseph in a pageant back then. More religious symbolism and iconography combining, in regards to the pageant with Sandy back then.
And Annie’s been locked in the basement. Someone pours gasoline into the room. Ready to light the place on fire. She pleads for her life, to be trusted again. Such twisted shit.
Dont trust the guy with fire in his eyes,” says the man with the riddles. Is he speaking of Welland, who himself recently lit a fire? Indeed. Plus his house is on fire, as he looks on. What exactly is his secret?
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.49.57 PMSo many things to ponder. I already know that Bellevue won’t return for another season; I hope they finish on a good note at the end of this one. Pity, because I’m really into it. Lots of mystery, intrigue, so many characters with their own lives and deep secrets. Great stuff from CBC. A true shame this won’t be renewed, I guess it didn’t impact others as it did me.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 2: “He’s Back”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 2: “He’s Back”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the Pilot episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes” – click here
Pic 1At the old church, Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) brings Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle) back to see the bleeding mural she found. She has pictures, from the one sending her riddles, and luckily because it’s gone now. As if it were never there. She also shows Welland the UR MY LIGHT message written on her back windshield.
Welland doesn’t want her going down the old path she went as a younger woman, when the mystery man and his riddles drove her to the brink of insanity. He wants to take care of it himself.
Annie’s whole life is in a mess. Her daughter Daisy (Madison Ferguson) isn’t feeling so great about her, and Welland’s constantly worrying about her psychological state. The two of them and Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor) and other police are investigating the scrapyard where the items belonging to Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) were found. Not much to go on, but bits and pieces; such as a tooth and some skin.
Jesse’s mom Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) is keeping a keen eye on the other people in her town, to “look in their eyes” and see if she can figure out if someone’s done something to her boy. At the same time, she hears people disparage Jesse for wearing women’s clothes. The poor woman misses Jesse, and some people couldn’t care any less. It’s tragic to see.
Maggie: “Evil looks just like you and me
Pic 1AMaggie flips out on Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) about his relationship with Jesse, so of course Annie talks with him more. Wondering if someone connected to the church conducted a “violent form of conversion therapy.” With all the religious iconography and imagery connected, it has to be somebody of faith, right?
At the school, Annie and Virginia probe friends and acquaintances about Jesse, his problems, so on. Some girls suggest talking to people on the reservation, where he hung out. Welland talks to coach Tom Edmonds (Vincent Leclerc) and the rest of the hockey team, only digging up very surface-type things. Nothing too concrete thus far.
Note: Loving Virginia’s character, I hope they don’t bury her. She seems like a straight up, honest cop. Interested to see exactly how her relationship with the reservation and her people works.
Bethany: “Dont native people like wear dresses and dance around a fire?”
Virginia: “Yeah and every year we sacrifice a privileged white girl
When she sneaks around at night, Annie catches the Mayor’s daughter Bethany (Emelia Hellman) snooping in the scrapyard. Looking for something. The young girl plays it off with legal threats, clearly she knows more than she’s willing to let out.
Annie’s got bigger things to worry about, like who planted the creepy doll in back of her car. It’s one her father Clarence (Patrick Labbé) gave to her years before, to protect her when he’s not around. Moreover, the doll’s been dressed as the Virgin Mary.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 1.55.27 PMAt the church, Maggie talks to Father Jameson and tells him that she knows Jesse is “who he is.” She doesn’t need him to be fixed. She kisses Jameson, saying: “When you put on your dress, I thought it was a phase, too.” Such a STELLAR line! I love that. Because religion is a fluid as identity, if you want it to be. To those of us who don’t believe. A way for Maggie to sort of say fuck you without having to actually say those words.
So, what does Bethany Mansfield have to do with Jesse’s disappearance? What was she looking for up there? Annie wants to find out. She tells her about finding the tooth, his skin on the fence. Bethany calls him “sick” and that Jesse didn’t want to be the way he was anymore. Except he did, it was his friends who wouldn’t accept him. They were holding the pictures of women’s bodies in front of the fence; he reached out and the photos were pulled away, giving him the shock, those cross-like burns.
Jesse later told Bethany he was leaving, that he cared about her deeply. She’s too repressed to feel anything for him, causing a scary confrontation between him and Bethany’s boyfriend, Jacob (Robert Naylor). When Annie susses things out, the boyfriends turns on his buddies who in turn start telling the truth. She and Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan) press Jacob, taunting about Bethany being with Jesse. Picking at his fragile, young masculinity. Until finally the kid says he saw his friend get into a white truck headed for the reservation.
Bullshit? Or no?
Virginia meets with Danny Debessage (Cameron Roberts), Jesse’s boyfriend; he isn’t honest about their relationship totally at first, before she shows him a picture of her wife. Ah, see, she’s even more interesting than I even thought before!
Meanwhile, Annie goes to see Eddie, feeling lost in the world. “These are my arms,” she says. They’re not together, yet there is a huge connection. Something’s been keeping them apart as a couple. They’re still very close. I think she lets her job and her past lead her life too much. Not easy NOT to do, but it’s obviously something driving a wedge into the relationship between her and Eddie.
Her mind is consumed, entirely. The past is everywhere. In the road Annie comes across a truck that backs away quickly, something between the vehicles. It’s an animal carcass, in its side is carved REMEMBER ME. She thinks about the memories of the past, the riddles, the doll. So she checks inside the doll and finds nasty fingernails wrapped in plastic stuffed in one of the legs. Disgusting, and so compelling.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.02.37 PMThis all relates back to the death of Sandy Driver, those many years ago. He fingernails were never recovered. Bringing her back to those memories, that place in the forest. Where there hangs a mailbox, taking us back to the opening scene where she sees her own mailbox at home, hanging crooked. Great imagery.
Annie starts figuring out a riddle, connecting to an old mental hospital named New Horizons. A place in the woods now only a wreck, barely anything remaining. When she goes up to have a look, to “find a fish out of water” like the riddle says, there are scratches, blood. Is it from when Sandy died? One thing’s certain, it’s all fucking with Annie’s head.
Not long and she finds the corpse of Jesse, lying face down floating in the water close by. So goddamn sad.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.14.40 PMClear now there’s a big connection between Sandy’s death and the tragic death of Jesse. But what is it? “The Man with Fire in His Eyes” is next, I’m hoping we’ll see a few more weird, exciting developments. Bellevue has got me hooked now, two episodes in.

Bellevue – Pilot

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “He’s Back” – click here
Pic 1In the town of Bellevue, Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) stumbles to her car out of a bar. She breaks a man’s car window, before the two of them head back to a motel to have sex. This guy’s Dwayne (Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles), he’s a bit crazy, plus he’s got good drugs. They have some fun, they snort a little coke. Then the cops bust in – Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan), Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor), and Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle). Seems that Annie’s a cop, working undercover. Except she’s a bit… deep undercover.
She’s also a mom to a young girl named Daisy (Madison Ferguson). They live in Bellevue, Annie’s hometown, where she’s stayed to raise her own family. It’s a town like any other, it has all the bitchy neighbours, the drug issues, all of what you’d expect from a tiny community. We also find out about an old murder victim, whose death was being investigated by Annie’s father; it’s also the anniversary of his death.
Out at a scrapyard, Annie meets Welland and the others in relation to a missing kid from town. They have a bit of evidence, they’ve recovered a cellphone and a few other items belonging to Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil), the local star hockey player. He’s also contemplating his “gender identity” – in a small place, nothing is secret.
And there’s a spooky feeling in the air, as we simultaneously hear Daisy’s class presentation about the death of Sandy Driver. This show already has great atmosphere. Might not hold up every episode, but definitely intriguing from the get-go.
Pic 1AI like that they’re tackling a sensitive issue, including ideas of transgender identity, gender fluidity, so on. Don’t like that the trans community is often relegated to victimhood. However, we’ll see where Bellevue takes us in that regard. It’s nice to see some inclusion, and particularly from CBC here in my country.
The cops get a tip on a sex offender; a paedophile recently moved in near the reservation. Out at the bar, Annie confronts the man, made a bit more complicated when the bartender outs her as police. Then the guy hands over a note addressed to her. What the fuck? This is a creepy twist. He up and disappears before she can ask him anything further.
We get a glimpse of her past, after her father died. Young Annie (Habree Larratt) spent quite a bit of time in the woods by herself, a private getaway. Where she starts to find notes written by her father, little riddles left for her to solve. As if he was still alive. This caused problems between her and her mother, a lot of emotional issues for her, too. This story’s just become infinitely weird and just as unsettling.
Annie mentions the riddles to Welland, wondering if he knows anything more than he’s told her. He says he doesn’t, worrying more about her focus on the latest case. But she IS having a hard time. Mainly due to the anniversary of her dad’s death. Moreover, we see she and her estranged boyfriend-not quite husband Eddie (Allen Leech) clearly both have dependency issues, on drugs and alcohol. It’s a thing they share together. Deep history between them, obviously.
Pic 2During a conversation with her daughter Annie figures out one of her father’s riddles. She goes to an old, rundown church. There she finds a statue painted half man, half woman. A cellphone goes off nearby: Nature is calling, apparently. The sound echoes around her everywhere. Terrifying.
Who gave that paedophile the note? She goes to confront him, he says it was anonymously passed in the bathroom. Annie calls in an anonymous tip about what she’s found, then Welland and the others check out the church; it’s a hangout for teens. They find the statue. Clearly a message. Is Jesse “caught in the middle” of someone’s religious obsession clashing with the idea of trans identity? Or his own?
We start seeing the various opinions in town about Jesse, the trans aspect of his life. Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) believes he was a confused boy, as do the Bible thumpers. Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez) talks about her husband’s death, then about what she noticed in the days before her son disappearing. He recently, supposedly, stopped dressing feminine as of late. Only we know different, having seen him in the opening moments of the episode. Likewise, we saw a cross-like symbol on his hand. Like a burn.
Annie and Welland comb over the evidence they’ve uncovered so far. Nothing obvious, yet. She remembers seeing the statue as a child. Part of the nativity scene. Meanwhile, the town acts like they’re all hoping for the safe return of Jesse, everybody acting as if their hearts are bleeding when under the surface it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 11.01.10 AMLater, Annie gets a call about Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis) out at the old church. Off his meds again. When she arrives she finds streaks of blood. From a wall hangs bags of it – red paint, not blood – leaking over a painting covered in barbed wire and a rosary. Spooky religious imagery. And that cross on Jesse’s hand? It’s a mark from an electric fence. Perhaps someone is trying to shock the femininity out of the young man wanting to transition? Either way, something connected to Annie is happening. She finds one of her childhood toys in the building. While her daughter sees someone crawling around on the car outside. He’s left a note, too: UR MY LIGHT on the back windshield.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 11.09.45 AMThis opening episode did it for me! I’m in, Bellevue. Take me for a ride. It’s obvious there are many things swirling around Annie, now including the fact her daughter is nearly traumatised and I know it’ll get worse. I love the idea of imperfect parents, and she is definitely one. She’s an interesting character, as is the story compelling.
“He’s Back” is the next episode. Will be exciting to watch these characters and this gritty plot expand in the coming chapters.

Unpacking the Puzzle of TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME + MISSING PIECES

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. 1992. Directed by David Lynch. Screenplay by Lynch & Robert Engels.
Starring Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, David Bowie, Miguel Ferrer, Pamela Gidley, Heather Graham, Chris Isaak, Moira Kelly, David Lynch, James Marshall, Harry Dean Stanton, Kiefer Sutherland, Grace Zabriskie, Kyle MacLachlan, Frances Bay, Michael J. Anderson, Frank Silva, Al Strobel, Calvin Lockhart, & Carlton Lee Russell.
New Line Cinema/CiBy 2000/Twin Peaks Productions
Rated R. 135 minutes.
Drama/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Thriller

★★★★★
PosterTwin Peaks as a series was, at the core, about very human issues; no matter the dreamy qualities. David Lynch has spent his entire career mainly dealing in surrealism. His aim is the human mind. Far out in the stratosphere as his imagery can get there’s always that humanity. I’ve attributed it to the spiritual nature of his filmmaking. Not religious: spiritual.
Lynch’s interest in things like transcendental meditation and other abstract concepts shows us how he thinks within his creative works. In this vein, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With MeMissing Pieces, and the various surreal scenes throughout the series – continuing now in “The Return” – are a way to understand how Lynch sees the concepts of good and evil particularly amongst human beings.
What Fire Walk With MeMissing Pieces does is serve as the sort of thesis for the entire world of Twin Peaks as a whole. Even though it comes later in non-linear fashion, when considering the film and its previously unreleased scenes this thesis becomes clear in the mind and then you can go back watching the two seasons – now blessed with another 18 episodes – to connect the dots which Lynch allows.
At the middle of the mysticism, mythology, its quirky and surreal esoteric nature, is the story of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). We venture into a tortured world – HER tortured world – in which the spiritual plays a large part. Specifically, we see how evil influence plays a macabre role in the corruption of goodness, of everything that is sweet and innocent.
IMG_0039I get that people feel the film is disjointed. It’s disjointed in a purposeful sense. Lynch and co-writer Robert Engels begin with groundwork. Literally, we start with the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) – this is the case similar to Laura’s which Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) mentions in the initial Twin Peaks episode. Through this, as we catch the story of Agent Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak), we come across several of the basic concepts that come together throughout the series.
Electricity as an outside influence is constructed as corrupting. Within the Douglas fir-infested world of the town, all the beautiful and isolated nature, electricity comes to symbolise an evil seeping into the natural world. Lynch presents this literally with the inhabiting spirits, such as the nasty, murderous Bob (Frank Silva).
The most significant scene concerning this is twofold. First, we see the electrical pole in the trailer park with the sound of the electricity whooping through its wires. Not long after, we see the Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson) explain he is “the Arm” and his sound is that of the electricity; not just that, the sound is similar to a Native American call which suggests further connection to the Earth.
The first instance of electricity? When Cooper initially looks at the body of Laura in the morgue, where he realises the similarities with the murder of Ms. Banks. A light overhead flickers constantly.
RingIn addition there’s other moments which add up to show us how electricity is the major concept concerning spiritual beings in the Black Lodge. For instance, the owl ring we see Laura and Teresa wear is connected to electricity. The Man from Another Place says: “This is a formica table. Green is its colour.” Well, formica insulates from electricity. The owl ring is cut from that very table, which can be seen during both Fire Walk With Me and Missing Pieces when Lynch treats us to a lengthy sequence above the fabled convenience store, where the beings have their meetings (see table below).
Formica Table #2 - Ring Piece MissingSo, wearing the ring is a kind of double-edged sword. It’s a marker to the evil beings, like Bob, and at the same time it’s able to keep the evil from entering them. We see this when Laura wears the ring. Bob lusts after her, wanting to “taste” through her. But he can’t because the formica owl ring pushes him back, insulating Laura’s soul from being inhabited by Bob. This makes it further clear that the spiritual beings – this includes all those above the convenience store, including the Man from Another Place, Mrs. Tremond(/Chalfont) and her grandson, the electrician, the two lumberjacks (one of whom may likely be the Log Lady’s husband) – they don’t only travel through electricity, in a sense they consist of electricity. Which is why Bob cannot enter those who bear the owl ring.
Now, on to the specifically evil beings a bit more. There’s a passage from the Bible, Ephesians 6:12, which references “spiritual wickedness in high places” and this is better understood in consideration of Greek origins . Mainly I’m interested in the fact evil spirits and the devil come from the air, if we go by the Greeks. All spirits come from the air, though the higher air is where the good sit and the lower air is where the evil lurk. This all comes to bear on the lines from the Man from Another Place, once more: “Descended from pure air. Intercourse between the two worlds.”
Furthermore, we know from seeing the various spiritual beings not all of them are evil. Above all it’s Bob who is for certain an evil spirit, as well as the Jumping Man (Carlton Lee Russell) – whom I will discuss later. So the distinctions of the Greeks in seeing evil v. good spirits in the air (this air, I should note, is that directly below Heaven) is clear by the evil and good spiritual beings who frequent the Black Lodge and the room above the convenience store.
Jumping Man FWWMThe good v. evil spiritual beings isn’t only evident in Fire Walk With Me. During the series, Coop comes in contact with the One Armed Man, Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel). He admits to having been corrupted by Bob – “I too had been touched by the devilish one” – though coming to his senses and to the light of God, which changes him. He becomes an agent of good.
However, Mrs. Tremond and her grandson can be seen as at least a neutral force. They come in contact with Laura, and the boy warns her about “the man behind the mask.” Now this is a larger connection, which I believe involves the aforementioned Jumping Man. We have to unpack this, could take a minute.
Masks. Masks. Masks. Don’t forget, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) leaves a mask for Coop in his hotel room in Season 2, Episode 15. This now relates incredibly to the first episode of the new Twin Peaks where Laura removes her face exactly like the way the mask opens in a flash of light for Coop.
So, the man behind the mask young Tremond speaks of is Bob, because we know he was the one “under the fan” – a reference to the staircase and hallway in the Palmer household. This is where Laura feels Bob pull at her, wanting to taste through her mouth. The Jumping Man connects because he has a similar face to the mask young Tremond wears, only his isn’t so much a mask, rather a face; or at least a painted face. Either way it’s as if the Jumping Man is an entirely demonic influence. Whether he’s connected to Bob, I don’t know. The Jumping Man appears dressed similarly to the Man from Another Place, suggesting a doppelganger-type issue.
Also, the Log Lady has a connection to the Jumping Man and the lumberjacks, at least possibly. She mentions in the series how her husband “met the devil” and she continues: “Fire is the devil like a coward hiding in the smoke.” We see the Jumping Man who jumps off and onto a box, partly obscured in clouds of smoke. Likewise, the Log Lady’s husband, a logging man, supposedly met the devil. Not far fetched to imagine that one of the lumberjacks, likely the one played by Jürgen Prochnow, is now a spiritual being up there. Maybe.
Man Behind the Mask FWWMFinally, we come to the human core. Even before we fall into the morbid story of Laura Palmer, Lynch shows us how even the heaviest mythology of Twin Peaks involves humanity. The convenience store is perhaps the best example. While Lynch explores these expansive concepts, existential thinking at the highest level, he remains connected to the real world, rooted in it – these spiritual beings not only look just like humans, they meet in a shabby room situated over a convenience store. In the real world Mrs. Tremond(/Chalfont) and her grandson live in a trailer park. These are ways in which Lynch says that the spiritual and the corporeal are interconnected, by barely a hair’s width. Living right alongside one another, on top of each other.
So it all winds up, all the mythology and the symbolism, into a tale about abuse in a small town, in an otherwise happy family. That outside influence of the unnatural, the evil influence, the electricity, infects the Palmers and eventually drives Leland (Ray Wise) to commit a horrible atrocity.
Part of the disturbing genius in Fire Walk With Me is Lynch makes us sit through Laura’s episode of, for better or worse, mental illness. It’s maybe the most harrowing, intense vision of such an experience in any film I know. Because it is genuine torture, watching Laura bounce back and forth between friends, family, foes, strangers. Never able to explain to anyone exactly what is going on, and even when she does it’s passed off as “not real” by those who couldn’t possibly comprehend her level of spiritual strife.
Laura Palmer Dead FaceAnd this is the bottom line, the chief concern of the film’s thesis statement: spiritual, existential pain.
Lynch’s own interests in transcendental meditation belie his interests on film. Through the story of Laura Palmer, her eventual murder and the forces surrounding the town of Twin Peaks, Lynch is able to address the concept of existential/spiritual pain, how the outside world infects the natural world around us – even inside us.
On one hand, Twin Peaks as a series bounces around joyfully from soap opera romance to 1950s throwback to horror to science fiction and fantasy, and almost every stop in between. For me, it’s exciting and fresh. When I first saw the series 16 years ago it enthralled me and I never let it go from my heart or my mind. On the other hand, Fire Walk With Me and its Missing Pieces are an exercise in dark surrealism and Greek tragedy. This is a macabre, gruelling piece of cinema. One which holds so much more than even casual fans of the series are likely to appreciate.
Soon enough I’ll come back to discuss the original series and its two seasons. If anyone has any further theories, please comment below! For now these stand as my clearest thoughts on the film. But Twin Peaks in all its forms is never far from my mind.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 4”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 4”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
Pic 1In Las Vegas we find Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) winning jackpots all over the casino, fresh off his transition back into the real world since spending all those years in the Black Lodge. He sees that strange little vision of the lodge’s curtains and patterned floor all over the place, each one indicating a jackpot. Like a second sight.
Then a man named Bill Shaker (Ethan Suplee) and his wife Candy (Sara Paxton) think they’ve spotted Dougie Jones, chatting him up. Poor Dougie just wants to go home. Such a comically absurd scene, so perfect.
Thank you, Mr. Jackpots.”
The casino’s manager (Brett Gelman) and his pit boss Warrack (David Dastmalchian) wonder why Coop’s headed off without all his winnings. All he can say, again, is “call for help.” They get him a limo home, but not actual home – Dougie’s place. His wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts) is waiting, worried sick; he’s been gone three days. Now he’s back, much quieter, and with a ton of cash. Seems that the Jones’ have been worried about paying somebody back. This can solve all their troubles.
Pic 1AFBI Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) is meeting with Bill Kennedy (Richard Chamberlain) and Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), who’s obviously in a much higher position than last we left her – Chief of Staff at the bureau. Seems that Cole is taking an agent named Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) with him on his latest excursion to find Coop. Absolutely love this exchange between these two. It’s funny, kind of heartwarming at moments.
Back in Twin Peaks, Lucy Brennan (Kimmy Robertson) is worrying over the thermostat. Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) arrives and scares the life out of her; she’s got trouble with understanding cellphones, apparently. And there are various other little things going on while the boss was away fishing. Not only that, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) is now on the side of the law.
Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) fills Truman in on everything that’s happening, what the Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) prophesied. One of the newer men at the station doesn’t particularly dig how things are done in their town. Not used to all the mysticism the locals understand as important and very real. Afterwards, Bobby winds up seeing the picture of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in all the evidence and has a minor breakdown. When he calms down he mentions Coop was the last person to see his father Major Garland Briggs before he died in a fire.
At the station arrives Wally Brando (Michael Cera) – son of Andy and Lucy – wishing to “pay respects” to the sheriff, about his brother Harry’s recovery. A weird kid, though no surprise there with those two with his parents. He dresses like Brando in The Wild One. He’s a traveller, too: “I think about Lewis and his friend Clark…” – I mean, he fits right in. Frank Truman is much like his brother, in that he’s a normal fish in a pond with a whole lot of strange fish.
Pic 2Coop’s still stuck as Dougie, for now. He remembers bits of the Black Lodge, where the One Armed Man, Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) searches for him. He sees that other world just barely below the real one, superimposed below everything he sees. “Now one of you must die,” Gerard explains. Pretty tall orders for a guy who can’t even properly take a piss yet.
It’s as if coming back into the world Coop is once more like a child. Then he looks into the mirror, touching his reflection. There is no other face but his own; the chrome does not reflect any other image, like in the finale of Season 2 where Bob existed in the bad Coop behind his face. He can’t take a leak, he can’t wear a tie, he can barely eat on his own. When a coffee’s placed in front of him a familiar light brightens in his eyes, then he almost scalds himself to death. Too funny.
Gordon, along with Agents Preston and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), arrive from the airport and head towards their destination. Their banter is so perfect, and I think even after 25 years the hearing problems of Director Cole are still as funny as ever, maybe even better with Albert’s intolerance after decades of the same shit. They’re looking into what was found in the car, where bad Coop crashed. And then they get to have a chat.
Pic 3They ask Coop where he’s been, it’s clear there’s something not right. He tells Gordon he’s been working with Phillip Jeffries. He continues repeating himself. His voice is low and unsettling unlike before. Gordon especially sees that this is not the same man who’s been his close friend all these years. Not a bit.
When they’ve left Gordon also questions Albert, about his reaction to their mutual friend. Albert says he authorised Jeffries to give over information to Coop years ago; he told him about a contact in Colombia, who wound up murdered the day after. So, was it the doppelganger of Jeffries? Were he and the bad Coop working in unison? Seems the two older FBI men are now concerned there are dark things at play. They’re just as much confused as they are sure of something sinister coming.
Then they come to the decision there’s a woman who needs in on the Coop situation, a fresh perspective. Could it be Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn)? Could it be Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie)? We’ll see.
Albert: “Blue Rose
Gordon: “It doesnt get any bluer
Pic 4Another beautiful, dark, mysterious episode. So much going on, and so much to look forward to over the next 14 parts of this new Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 3”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 3”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Parts 1 & 2, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 4, click here.
Pic 1Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) falls through that space of darkness. Amazingly strange visuals here, love the new evolution of what Lynch is doing here. Soon, Dale falls to a balcony overlooking black ocean waves. One thing I’ve always loved, that plays through into these surreal sequences, is the calmness of our faithful FBI agent. His mind is so open he’s willing to experience these often terrifying things with a grace and poise not many would have, I’m sure. This whole scene is unnerving. Like Coop’s lost in a wasteland of some kind, the building he enters is a nightmare. He finds a lady with no eyes – almost resembling Josie Packard – sitting inside by a fireplace. She mumbles, touching his face. Then a loud pounding on the walls.
Coop notices a safe-type contraption on the back wall with a visible number 15 on it. He goes toward it but the thing repels him, and the eyeless woman urges him to leave. He follows her up through a trap door and onto an odd structure, in the middle of a starry sky, on top of which is a lever the woman pulls. Electricity throbs and then sends her flying out into space while Coop watches helplessly. Through the sky floats a face that says “Blue Rose” – remember, Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and his Blue Rose Cases? Ah, I love that more of the pieces are beginning to fit now in the series’ return.
Pic 1ABack inside the structure, Coop discovers a woman, dressed similarly to the eyeless woman. But she does have eyes, and a watch with no face. On the wall, the safe-like contraption now has the number 3 above it. Cut to bad Coop in his car, as the time approaches 3 PM. We move back and forth between these places, as the good Cop somewhere further than the Black Lodge is trying to find a way to get himself back to the world. As he moves closer to the thing with the 3, bad Coop feels himself get weak, and good Coop is slowly sucked through its middle, leaving his shoes behind. The doppelganger proceeds in flipping his car, as the empty cigarette lighter’s electricity crackles, threatening to haul him inward. And outside the car appear the curtains of the Black Lodge.
When you get there, you will already be there.”
Elsewhere, a guy named Doug (MacLachlan) is with a prostitute, he feels his left arm going numb. He’s also wearing the owl ring on the same hand. The guy has terrible pains in his gut, falling to the floor. He vomits brutally before being pulled into nowhere; the Black Lodge curtains again appear. Bad Coop vomits what looks similar to creamed corn – garmonbozia – everywhere then passes out.
Doug, however, is in the lodge. There, he finds Phillip Gerard, the One Armed Man (Al Strobel) watching him. “Someone manufactured you,” he tells Doug: “For a purpose.” And now the purpose is done. Gradually the guy’s hand starts shrinking, the ring falls off, and his head disappears in a smoky black shadow. An orb rises from him then he disintegrates into a fleshy pod and further vanishes. Whooooa.
Thus, Gerard puts the owl ring back in its place on the marble table. More electricity in the mythology now, as Agent Cooper shows up through the electrical sockets in the house where Doug and the prostitute were shacking up. He’s got no shoes, either. He isn’t exactly feeling himself. Still has a key to the Great Norther Hotel in Twin Peaks in his pocket, too.
In the meantime someone’s watching them. They’re near Sycamore Street, in fact; wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Someone’s looking for Doug, though when Coop drops his Great Northern key it looks like he isn’t in the car, and the men watching are thwarted. For now.
Pic 2A junkie in a nearby house screams “one one nine” over and over. I wonder, does she deal with spirits from the Black Lodge? Are these numbers connected to those Coop’s been told by both the Arm and the Giant?
Bad Coop’s car is found by officers on highway patrol. They smell something disgusting inside and can’t even open the door, so they call in reinforcement with gas masks. I imagine he’s basically a puddle of skin and blood and creamed corn.
At the police station in Twin Peaks, Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), Andy and Lucy Brennan (Harry Goaz & Kimmy Robertson) look through a mountain of various evidence. The typically quirky, hilarious dialogue ensues between our old favourites. Andy’s not AS goofy as he was, though still foolish in the best sort of sense. Hawk keeps pressing himself to figure out the clues left by the Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) even if his two pals aren’t overly helpful.
And what about ole Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn)? He’s out at that camper, spray painting shovels. I’m endlessly curious about this, because the doc was always an odd duck. Right from the first episode of the original Twin Peaks run he was a weirdo, and I can only imagine what he’s up to now.
Cooper connects words from Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in his newest Black Lodge experience to the prostitute, as she urges him to go. He walks spaced out into a casino’s revolving door, still not adjusted to life back in the real world anymore. LOVE seeing Meg Foster at the cash dispensary, she’s awesome! Poor Coop wanders the casino floor, he sees a flash of the Black Lodge’s curtains and the patterned floor. So he sits at a slot machine and hits a big win. He goes from one machine to the next, hitting jackpots. Yet all he can say is “call for help.” He continues seeing machines lit up with the tiny vision of the Black Lodge. Jackpots everywhere. Even helps a dirty old woman hit it big!
Pic 3At FBI HQ in Philly, Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), Director Gordon Cole, and others look over a murder case involving young women, a boy, an automatic weapon, some pliers, and a jar of beans or something similar. They’ve also got a few things about New York to discuss. Mutilated bodies in an apartment complex; yes, that one we saw in Parts 1 and 2. They have evidence of the glass box, and a recording of the eerie apparition in the darkness.
Then Cole receives a call about Agent Cooper after all these years.
Albert: “The absurd mystery of the strange forces of existence.”
Pic 4Amazing. Just spectacularly weird, wild stuff. It’ll only continue.
Now with Agent Cooper back in the real world with Gordon and Albert on their way to meet him, there’s bound to be a deepening sense of the surreal working its way farther and farther into these next episodes. And that’s saying something!
A new case, a new world. Bring it on.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Parts 1 & 2”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Parts 1 & 2”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
Pic 1Welcome back!
We start in that old dream with Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan): “Ill see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile.” And thus begins our walk down those familiar trails, through the town we knew so well. Revisiting the heartbreak surrounding Laura’s own murder.
Cut to Cooper in another dream with the Giant (Carel Struycken). Telling him to listen to the sounds, which come from an old gramophone record player. “It is in our house now,” he says. “Remember 430.” Is it a time? Or something else? Well, we’ll see how Cooper pieces together all the cryptic messages, y’know – when he does his thing.
Pic 1AAt a camper in the woods is Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), the one and only. He gets a shipment of shovels. Not at all strange. The doc’s got a bit of digging to do. Meanwhile, in New York City, a young man (Ben Rosenfield) sits in a strange room with a glass box setup in the middle, lights and cameras trained on it. I’ve got a couple ideas about this – could he possibly be trying to contain a spirit from the Black Lodge? Too early to guess, even. It’s a genuine facility, security guards and cameras all over the place. A girl named Tracy (Madeline Zima) shows up with coffee, but the work is very secretive, so she’s sent off fast. The young gentleman has work to do watching the glass box, the porthole in the building’s wall. Hmm.
Back in Twin Peaks, Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer) is business as usual with a new secretary Beverly (Ashley Judd), and you know brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) is kicking around like a hippy as usual. In fact he’s growing weed these days. They’re hilarious as ever. Then there’s sweet Lucy Moran now Brennan (Kimmy Robertson), still at the police station running the show in her unique way.
More of those dark roads we know well. Ominous music playing over top. Headlights lead us to a house where Agent Cooper pulls up and goes inside to see a man named Otis. Coop’s looking… tough, different. Is it possible this is the bad Coop? The one who came back possessed from the Black Lodge? No matter for now, he’s there to get a pair named Ray and Daria.
Back at the NYC, our watcher receives another visit from Stacy while the guards seem to be off on a break. He explains it’s a “job to help with school.” The place belongs to an anonymous billionaire. That’s curious. He has to watch and see if anything appears in the box. Oh yes, they’re looking for spirits from the Black Lodge. I know it! While they’re meant to be watching the box, they have sex. And of course something happens. The box fills with darkness. Then something inside becomes more visible, an odd corpse-like figure; it breaks out. Then dices the two lovers to bloody bits. Jesus. Terrifying.
Pic 2In an apartment building Marjorie Green and her dog come across something foul in a nearby room. The woman who lives there, Ruth Davenport, hasn’t been seen in three days. Police arrive promptly to check on things, though with not much help from Marjorie. Nor any of the other people in the building. When they get into Ruth’s apartment they discover her corpse in bed, a hole in her face. Not just that – her head is cut off, her body posed and twisted in a ritualistic fashion. It’s happening again.
The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) calls to speak with Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse). “Something is missing, and you have to find it.” She also tells him it’s to do with Agent Cooper, as well as his own heritage. Now this is interesting! I’m hoping this time around Lynch and Frost give us more Hawk, I love him. Hawk, Lucy, and Andy (Harry Goaz) are starting to look into the Log Lady’s clues. We find out Coop’s actually been missing for nearly 25 years. Did Bob infect Coop all those years ago then take him on a joy ride?
A fingerprint match comes up from the crime scene at the apartment building: William Hastings (Matthew Lillard), a local Buckhorn boy. The principal of a school. Ah, in proper Twin Peaks fashion things are about to get fucked up. But they’re never all they seem, ever. Hastings is naturally picked up by the cops. He’s questioned about Ms. Davenport, denying any relationship with her or being at her apartment. Soon he’s asking for a lawyer. Things aren’t looking too good, though he doesn’t exactly seem like the murderer. Surely there’s an evil lurking somewhere behind all this. Feels like something we’ve seen before, too.
When the cops have a look at the Hastings home they open his trunk and find themselves a torn patch of skin. No bail for ole Bill. More interesting is that he says he wasn’t there, except he had a dream that he was there.
Pic 3Oh, this is absolutely where Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) found himself a couple decades ago. As night falls a strange figure appears in one of the cells, quite unsettling. At home Bill’s wife gets shot in the face by a mysterious stranger in the dark.
Those Black Lodge spirits are still swarming, and the town of Twin Peaks was only a start. Just look at Agent Jeffries (David Bowie) and all that he went through, it isn’t a confined problem. This is one of the excellent parts about the series comeback, so far we’ve already seen it branch out to NYC, Buckhorn. Delicious!
In the city of Las Vegas, a man named Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler) is being extorted. He sends an employee named Roger with a wad of bills for a payoff. He’s being forced to hire someone.
We go back to Coop, in a diner, with Ray and Daria. There’s definitely something quite different about Agent Dale, he isn’t the same guy we left back in Season 2. Although he does still drink coffee, still looks at it the same way; he’s there underneath it all. And there is a connection between their little crew + Hastings. Uh oh.
Pic 4Hawk is out in the woods, worried of what will happen next. He gets another prophetic call from the Log Lady herself. She cautions him to watch carefully. Hawk can almost feel the divide between the two worlds in those woods, the red light shining dim around the trees.
And just like that we’re back in the Black Lodge. Cooper is there, too. Along with Phillip Gerard, the One Armed Man (Al Strobel) repeating the words of his counterpart, The Man from Another Place: “Is it futureor is it past?” He disappears after a moment. Then Laura Palmer returns! She and Dale, back there again 25 years later. Or did he ever leave, really? I don’t think so, I think he’s been stuck in the Black Lodge all these years.
Laura also removes her face, like a mask. Remember the masks on the little boy and the Jumping Man in Fire Walk With Me? Significant imagery/symbolism. More of which we’ll explore surely as these new episodes play out.
And what does Laura whisper this time to Dale? Surely it’s not about her murder, the whole thing’s solved. So, it’s something new. By the look on his face it’s something shocking. Followed by rippling curtains and Laura is ripped into nowhere, screaming. Cooper sees a white horse in the distance – death? – and then Gerard asks him to follow through the curtains. We see the “evolution of the Arm” and he’s no longer the tiny man, rather a fleshy head on a tree. The Arm reminds Coop of his doppelganger who escaped; he has to come back before Coop can leave.
Pic 5Out in the world the doppelganger Coop goes about his business. That hair noticeably longer, sort of like the way Bob wore his hair. At the motel with Daria he lurks around in the dark, only concerned seemingly with the next act of violence or whatever it is he has planned. He’s also uncovered the betrayal of Daria and Ray, they were contracted by somebody, which doesn’t bode well for her alone with him. We know of what this dark spirit is capable. And he’s ready for whatever his other half good Coop brings, not willing to be pulled back into the Black Lodge.
Bad Coop gets in contact with someone he thinks if Phillip Jeffries. There’s also mention of Major Briggs. There’s so much juicy stuff going on I’m beyond excited. Afterwards he checks out info on Yankton Federal Prison. He then goes to see a woman in a nearby room (Jennifer Jason Leigh) about his plan, they’re pretty intimate.
In the Black Lodge, Cooper receives other cryptic clues from the Arm. Now it’s up to him to escape, to draw Bob back in so he can leave. First he has to navigate the various rooms, where he runs into Leland Palmer once more who urges the agent to find his daughter. In another room he sees the place blur, and the Arm mentions his own doppelganger, which attacks Coop in one of the halls as the floor tears apart and he falls inside under black waves.
The Arm: “253. Time and time again.”
Pic 5ACoop appears in the glass box in NYC, he floats on through the side of the building and finds an empty room. Immediately we’re back before the young man and Tracy get busy. The box rattles, then it expands before closing in on itself. Then Coop is in a terrifying black hole of sorts, falling through space.
In her home Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) watches television and smokes cigarettes, as usual. And in Twin Peaks at the bar (as The Chromatics play), things go on as they have for so long, including the lives of those we knew years ago like James Hurley (James Marshall) and Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick) and more.
I suspect that’ll change soon enough, though. The town’s about to experience something like it did 25 years before. Maybe worse this time around.
Pic 6The Return Parts 1 and 2 have been an amazing experience. I first saw Twin Peaks about 16 years ago, ever since I’ve been enthralled. Lynch and Frost, for me, are doing fans right. 18 episodes is plenty to open up the mythology they began 25 years ago. This time, the Black Lodge, the White Lodge, all these things will come full circle, I believe. We’re bound to see much more wildness.

American Gods – Season 1, Episode 1: “The Bone Orchard”

Starz’ American Gods
Season 1, Episode 1: “The Bone Orchard”
Directed by David Slade
Written by Bryan Fuller & Michael Green

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Secret of Spoons” – click here
Pic 1Right from the opening credits, American Gods pulses with energy with music from Brian Reitzell (music supervisor on Hannibal and composer for 39 episodes, among other credits). Dig it already.
We watch as Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes) writes of a ship on the ocean, full of Vikings headed for land. They touch shore and head inland, noticing nothing but insects, snakes, all the nastiness. Then dozens of arrows tear down one man, as the others watch the woods in anger and fright. “They did not yet have a word in their language for miserable,” Ibis tells us. They reached out to their old gods for protection, for salvation. In order to get their god’s attention, many men sacrifice one eye (Odin, I imagine) for him. But nothing comes. So they burn men alive, and still… nothing. After that they went to war against one another to summon their war god. Blood flows thick and hideous and savage.
And their god, he does not rear his head. So they go back to their homes, and never speak of “that New World again” for fear of its being out of their god’s reach. What would become America lives somewhere other than under the eye of any god. Poignant, no?


Present day in America. We watch a man named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) pumping iron in a jail yard, listening to a wiry little white dude named Low Key Lyesmith (Jonathan Tucker). They talk about prison, how it changes a man and his mind, his actions. He spends his time thinking of how much he loves his wife, Laura (Emily Browning); when he isn’t working out, that is. He teaches himself coin tricks, whittling through the hours.
Most of all, we see that Shadow is different. Something about him is intriguing, he sees and smells and interprets the world differently than those around him. In dreams he walks through a terrifying orchard full of bones, the trees alive like a malevolent vision of The Wizard of Oz, and in the distance he sees a noose of jagged bones drop from a tree’s branch. Ominous, particularly with white boys in the yard around him threatening death. He’s actually being released early, though. Because his wife died in a car crash. A bittersweetness that could never be undone.
So Shadow goes back out into the world he once knew, now a free man and a widowed one. “Do not piss of those bitches in airports,” Low Key tells him while remembering a conversation they had woodworking in jail. Lots of free man v. prisoner talk; you must learn to adapt to your environment, inside or outside. With Shadow unable to get home right away he sits in an airport and waits for his flight, lost in his head. He witnesses a man (Ian McShane) at the check-in looking rather dishevelled and sort of insane who gets himself bumped into First Class. And once Shadow finds trouble with seats on the plane, he’s bumped up, too. There he meets the raving gentleman: his name is Mr. Wednesday, and he is one crafty character. He knows quite a bit about Shadow, just from looking at him, so they get to talking and discover they’re fellow grifters. Perhaps a job opportunity, who knows until thy get where they’re headed.
In the meantime, Shadow has terrifying dreams. Of a massive tree, from underneath a buffalo-like creature with horns, breathing fire walks towards him. Then he wakes up and the plane’s landed. He decides to get driving for the rest of his trip instead, stopping along the way to scream into the sky as “Torture” by The Everly Brothers plays on.


Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) is in a bar where she meets a man named Paunch (Joel Murray). They’re dipping into the online dating, or at least online something. She brings him back to a luscious bedroom drapped in velvety, red curtains, blankets, pillows; candles for the mood. They get down to business, she tells him: “Im not what I once was.” And then she asks him to pray to her, as if she’s a goddess. Something possesses him, he speaks to her like a man kneeling before a deity. She pushes him between her legs, and then he is no more. Like she swallowed him whole. A new life in her eyes glowing.
At a bar, Shadow gets himself a bit of food. He also runs into Mr. Wednesday all over again. He isn’t happy, either. Doesn’t much want to hear of this job the guy talks about, until Wednesday appears to know more than he should about his life. Worse still, Laura died in a car crash with Robbie. Nobody to which he can go home now. And so, the job prospects are suddenly looking better.
Out of nowhere, Shadow meets Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), the tall “leprechaun” from Ireland. They’ve got a link: Wednesday. A big, happy, working family. Sorta. Either way, the just released prisoner sees an opportunity in front of him; a sketchy one, all the same. Reluctantly, he puts himself at the service of the mysterious man, albeit with conditions and terms of employment. We likewise see Sweeney is even better at the coin tricks than his new buddy. He also likes to fight. And I mean he LIKES(/LOVES) to fight.
Wednesday: “Youre my man now


Heading back to Eagle Point, Shadow goes to pay respects to his deceased wife. Furthermore, he discovers the truth about his wife and Robbie. She was giving him a blowjob, according to Robbie’s wife Audrey (Betty Gilpin). Ouch. What a way to find out, at Laura’s funeral no less. He says goodbye, in another taste of the bittersweet; mostly bitter.
Later on the road at night, Shadow experiences something strange. He hears fireflies buzzing in a clearing by the road, though they disappear as he comes close. He finds a strange little device out there and it leaps at him, enclosing his head inside like a helmet.
Then we dive into an eerie, dream-like state. Like a simulation. He meets Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) – who smokes synthetic toad skins – and his boys. Shadow must produce answers about his work for Wednesday, or else face the wrath, which could mean death. The kid wants to know about Wednesday’s plans.
We’re seeing the Old Gods v. the New Gods (a.k.a technology, in this case). This is the beginning of war. And Shadow is caught in the middle. He’s beaten by the faceless henchmen, then dragged into a field and hung from his neck. Until the rope breaks and the henchmen are cut down bloodily around him in a field of gore.
Technical Boy: “Were not just going to kill you, Shadow. Were going to delete you.”


An amazing, fascinating adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, one I’m currently reading. Next episode is titled “The Secret of Spoon” and already they’re doing interesting things. Not that I ever doubted they would, with Bryan Fuller in the mix.
So much more to come!

You’ve Got Horror for Days? THE VOID’s Got Cosmic Dread for Weeks

The Void. 2017. Directed and Written by Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski.
Starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Won, Mik Byskov, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, James Millington, Evan Stern, & Grace Munro.
Cave Painting Pictures/JoBro Productions & Film Finance
Rated R. 90 minutes.
Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi

★★★★1/2
POSTEREveryone goes on and on about how this movie’s influenced by The Thing, which I’m sure is definitely true. I’d argue it’s more Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness than any of the master’s works. Others go on that it’s Lovecraftian, though I don’t agree totally; the filmmakers say it was their influence, and that’s fine. As I often preach, artistic intent doesn’t always have to equal concrete meaning to the audience.
Most of all, this is an original bit of sci-fi-ish horror on its own. Sure, it draws bits of heart from films co-writers Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski likely grew up watching. It throws back to the 1980s. To give their influences too much credit is to do a disservice to their horrific originality.
Many movies post-2010 seem to feel like throwback means an ’80s-type electronic score and a dark yet vibrant look. The Void has a wicked score, the sound is perfect. Best is the fact the team behind the film went with expert practical effects for the various creatures and abominations. Add these technical aspects to solid performances from one of my latest genre favourites Aaron Poole, as well as the great Kenneth Welsh (Windom Earle from Twin Peaks). This makes for one fine ride into the heart of darkness.
TheVoid1The Lovecraftian influence, the Carpenter roots, they’re fine. Gillespie and Kostanski are what matters. Their story, particularly how it’s told, works wonders on the suspense and tension which builds so dreadfully over the course of the first third of the film. Their directorial work is startling, with grim delight. We start out with an act of violence that’s inexplicable; at the time. From there, the writing-directing team unravel a tale of a cult offering sacrifices to an otherworldly entity called from the cosmos.
Production design on this one all around is fantastic. The location of the hospital is like they found a facility in the middle of nowhere, cultivating a mood all of its own. In addition, the costumes for the cult add to that atmosphere by sort of crashing down on top of the audience. When we first see them it’s a shocking moment, oh so excellent.
Not to mention the cinematography of Samy Inayeh (The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh; another great flick with Poole starring) makes everything feel hazy, terrifying, like a feverish nightmare even before the descent into utter madness and hell. The visual style is most definitely part of what gives it a throwback feel. The biggest part of that essence is the practical effects work, up there with some of the best in the genre.
TheVoid2Kostanski has an extensive background in makeup effects. He’s doing stuff on the new It, he worked on ClownGirlHouseHannibal, and even worked as an uncredited prosthetics shop assistant for 2005’s Capote. Point being, he knows his shit. He uses his chops here, alongside Gillespie, whose resume is as impressive having worked on It and Suicide Squad as assistant art director (both of which his co-director and writer worked on). He was a graphic designer on Hannibal, too. He served as assistant art director on Atom Egoyan’s The Captive, and the underrated found footage 388 Arletta Avenue is his first art directing credit. These two artists together did something on this film which amazes, in the best horror kind of way.
The creatures involved in the descent to hell, as the characters of The Void explore the hospital basement, are totally wild! Some of the best stuff out there, truly. I can see why The Thing is used as comparison. Particularly when it comes to the final monster we witness birthed; like a combination of pieces of living things. A vicious finale creation. That isn’t it, though. Throughout the movie we see various creatures, and you can’t forget the other practical effects like the blood, et cetera. That seemingly simple stuff can often get lost in the shuffle for other, lesser horrors. Not these guys. The attention to detail is what drives this whole effort home.
TheVoid3Above anything else, the end and what the film builds to from the start is the payoff. I won’t spoil it. Just to say that I love the vision these guys brought to the visuals. There’s something wholly original in the way they presented the other world, where Dr. Powell (Welsh) intends on going. Those last shots are perfection, impressing upon us without words the tiny speck that is humanity on the entirety of the universe. Gorgeous, if not also disturbing.
I gave this film a 4 and 1/2 star rating (out of 5) because The Void does what two other similar movies, Baskin and Last Shift, didn’t do despite their awesomeness: it shows us an end result. What I mean is that those other two films, kick ass as they are, sort of end in a place where there’s ultimately no traction. Not saying nothing happens, if you check my reviews of them both I’m actually a huge fan (I’ve seen Baskin at least a dozen times).
The Void goes a step further, not only in its inventiveness and practical effects monster work, it also opts to go full-on cosmic. In this way, I concede that they touch on Lovecraft and his rightful idea about man’s insignificance to other much greater, larger, non-human entities out there in the universe; gods, if you will.
Again, I don’t like to lean so heavily only on influence. Gillespie and Kostanski deserve what’s due – praise, for a breathtaking wave of pure terror, start to finish. They’ll live on with this film, though I cannot wait to see their next project. These guys are the real fucking deal.

Lynch’s BLUE VELVET is Like Disturbing(ly Good) Literature

Blue Velvet. 1986. Directed & Written by David Lynch.
Starring Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Brad Dourif, & Jack Nance.
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)
Rated R. 120 minutes.
Drama/Mystery/Thriller

★★★★★
Pic 1David Lynch is one of my favourite filmmakers, his directing and writing equally fantastic. My dad told me about Twin Peaks when I was young (it was on TV when I was about five years old), so in my teenage years I discovered its magic. This lead to seeing Eraserhead with a few friends in a dim lit basement, which blew my mind. On and on through Lynch’s catalogue of work I went, eventually watching his early short films opening up a whole other door into his mind as an artist.
Blue Velvet is a surreal film. Not as steeped in it as much as his other work, though full of surrealism nonetheless. It’s through the absurd Lynch taps into this element, alongside his modern noir-ish plot that digs deep into the underbelly of idyllic American life. What makes the movie so exciting is the dangerous story, looking at this darker side of suburbia in a small logging town, fittingly named Lumberton.
Lynch has said this film inspired Twin Peaks; the way in which he blends the darkness with the absurdism is strangely compelling. There’s an explicit scene or two, depravity taking the reins in violent fashion. Mostly, Blue Velvet takes place in a space where violence is always possible, never far; its threat is debilitating to the progression of everything from innocence to love. The central character Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) finds himself pitted against the psychotic, Freudian villain Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), faced with either accepting his role in a hierarchy of violent men or rejecting the male violence which underpins the light and goodness of Lumberton.
Pic 2The now iconic opening of the film is perfect, designed like the meticulous opening sentence of a piece of great literature. Lynch starts with those typical images of American life, things he remembers from the 1950s: white picket fence, bright red firetruck with waving firemen followed by the bright red roses of a luscious garden, the beautiful houses like boxes in a row.
He immediately smashes the gorgeous, American Dream-type feeling with Mr. Beaumont, Jeffrey’s father, having a stroke while watering the garden. As if innocence is starting to shatter with it, a child in a diaper wanders up while the man seizes on the lawn. The hose spurts water, and Lynch goes into a slow motion shot, the sound likewise slowed – the dog snaps at the water’s stream, his face looking vicious and snarling, his sounds become sinister. What a perfectly thematic opener. I honestly don’t know how this could’ve been improved; because it couldn’t.
This first sequence is a thesis for Blue Velvet, ending in its statement where we zoom in and the camera takes us into the grass, into the dirt, right to the insects crawling in the earth. An image that sticks with us, coming up again in the end. But it effectively shows us what Lynch is doing, and plans to do throughout the plot – put a microscope over the lives of those in a quaint town. In this story, that involves a young man under threat of violence invading his life, maybe even his very soul.
Pic 2AIts a strange world, isnt it?”
Jeffrey’s dropped into a Freudian nightmare of a world, perhaps one to which Oedipus could relate; in a symbolic sense, anyways. He is lured into the dark side of his town by a sliced off ear, yet more importantly the story begins with his father’s brutal stroke. He loses the male influence in his life, falling prey to corruption.
Frank’s arrival is surreal in itself. He switches between two personas – Daddy and Baby. He treats Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) as Mother. At the sight of her vagina, and with a gas mask dose of amyl nitrite, he goes from Daddy to Baby, then back again. Likewise, after there’s a change in Jeffrey. Without his actual father around he adopts Frank, albeit subconsciously (perfect for a Freudian analysis), as Daddy. And where his family didn’t introduce him to the darker side of Lumberton, Dorothy and Frank become his surrogate parents, leading him down the garden path to the truth; no matter how disturbing.
This is quickly evident when he leaves Dorothy’s apartment following the first time we meet Frank in his erotic rage. We’re whisked directly to a dream sequence of Jeffrey remembering the events, then he wakes and there’s a strange moment where he seems relieved, touching the wall near a figure: the figure may be, to him, something else entirely but it looks like a vagina dentata sort of image. The influence of Daddy is transforming Jeffrey’s image of women into something dangerous; tying into one of the film’s themes being his journey, as a young man, trying to reject the violence of the male gender through the lens of how his surrogate Daddy treats the surrogate Mother.


Jeffrey walks to and from the hospital during the day and everything is bright, beautiful, positive. In the evening this changes, suddenly even the normal things don’t feel right. For instance, a moment many never catch when the first night scene sees Jeffrey out for a walk in his neighbourhood: a man stands in the grass as his dog on a leash stands on the sidewalk, a reverse of what you’d see like he’s being walked, you almost expect him to squat, drop a coil. One early indication of the surrealism Lynch employs.
Part of the surrealism is that idea of the twisted, half-Freudian and half-Oedipal journey on which Jeffrey goes. Because not only does the story dive into the underbelly of Lumberton, the story itself dives into the subconscious mind. This is best represented in the shot from Lynch after Jeffrey’s discovery of the ear – the camera closes in, further and further, right into the ear canal; figuratively, and literally because the orifice is an ear, into the mind. So, our trusty director dips us into that subconscious, in every way. Once you begin peeling back the layers they shed like skin.
The other surreal moments, the best, involve Frank most of all. First, there’s his amyl nitrite through the gas mask. On the surface that’s absurd alone, but coupled with the whole Daddy idea, you see that Jeffrey’s father has to breathe through a tube while Frank uses the surgical gas mask to inhale his drugs; a weird double image. The doubling continues, too. Frank is captivated with music, in particular the song “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton and Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” – the doubles return here, with Dorothy singing Vinton, suave Ben (Dean Stockwell) singing Orbison. And Stockwell’s little performance is so unnervingly odd. Strangely enough, the scene that weirds me out most. We see him singing, holding an electrical cord lamp lighting his face, and Frank stares at him, mouthing Orbison’s words, almost in a trance. An addition to the psychosis of Frank, suggesting something behind his fixation that we don’t need to know to find terrifying.


The violence is likely the most surreal of all: the Man in Yellow is dead on his feet, in literal fashion; Lynch shows us a close-up of Dorothy’s chipped tooth in her red lipstick-ed mouth then a little later Frank paints Jeffrey with lipstick and slaps him around, too; Frank’s crew stands by watching in complacence as he commits various unpredictable acts in a violent rage. Just as surreal as the absurdist situations in which Jeffrey finds himself throughout the film, from finding an ear in a field (the ants call to mind an image from 1929’s silent short film Un Chien Andalou) to witnessing the ritualistic sexual assault by Frank on Dorothy.
One of the reasons Lynch’s film acts as an excellent piece of visual literature is how he ties off the imagery. Whereas in the first couple scenes we go into the dead ear’s canal, the camera takes us back out of the ear later, except it’s Jeffrey’s ear, alive and in the sun; a transformative journey, from darkness into the light (a visual motif we see in the use of light Lynch employs in many scenes). In addition, the rightful Mother and Daddy are restored once Frank is dead; Mr. Beaumont is recovering well, the sun is shining, the backyards of suburbia are back to their dreamy quality again. Finally, while the darkness still exists – the robins feed on the bugs, the extent of Frank’s connections and the bad people in Lumberton remain unknown – a lightness is restored.
These elements help Lynch suture together his masterpiece of neo-noir surrealism. One of the greatest films made in the 20th century, a work of dangerous art.

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 9: “Visiting Hours”

A&E’s Bates Motel
Season 5, Episode 9: “Visiting Hours”
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by Scott Kosar

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Body” – click here
* For a recap & review of the series finale, “The Cord” – click here
Pic 1Norman (Freddie Highmore) is being booked into the police station, going through processing. Well, Mother (Vera Farmiga) is there, too. Love the excellent use of the idea of the double personality. How we see both Mother and Norman in the frame at once, as others only see the latter. Mother’s not happy to hear about the next steps, that her boy is likely headed to jail. Sweet, young Norman wouldn’t do well behind bars.
Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Dylan (Max Thieriot) are finally back together. She didn’t want him to be alone dealing with all the madness. Now, she also discovers her mother is dead, dredged from the lake. Murdered. And Dylan knows “it was Norman.” It’s not just the fact her mom is dead. It’s the fact Emma lived there in White Pine Bay, being around Norman and Mother so long, and she had no idea that this budding psychopath lurked in his skin. That one day he would do something so horrible. Such a feeling of deception, a truly deep betrayal.
Pic 1AThe Bates Motel is a scene of massive interest, various law enforcement teams searching the grounds, metal detectors, crime scene investigation. Sheriff Jane Greene (Brooke Smith) and a team are inside the eerie house, where Mother’s room remains untouched, and obviously her son’s been sleeping in her bed like a creep. A veritable house of horrors, if there ever were one. Outside they find luggage belonging to Audrey Decody, Emma’s mother. Downstairs, there’s poor Chick (Ryan Hurst), shot in the head by the still fleeing jailbird former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell).
Speaking of Alex, he’s like a man with nothing at all whatsoever to lose. No telling what his next move is, part of the fun.
Meanwhile, Emma reels from the news about her mother, about Norman. I also feel bad for Dylan because, despite his own troubles and mistakes, he never wanted any of this, for himself or Emma. “You didnt bring Norman into my life,” she tells him. Things between the two of them aren’t easy, and she isn’t sure what this means for their relationship.
Lawyer Julia Ramos (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) visits with Norman/Mother. They speak of the coming trial, what he/she ought to expect. They have to discuss their “approach.” Y’know, keeping Norman alive. She wants to go for an insanity plea. Love this sequence, too. The editing cuts us from Mother speaking to Norman taking over. There’s a real battle happening inside that one body.
Norman: “Everyone has multiple personalities, Julia. We pull out what we need when we have to.”


The trouble between Dylan and Emma is compounded by the fact Julia wants him in court to sit behind Norman, to support his brother. It’s very difficult for him to turn his back. Not that a serial killer deserves sympathy. But this is the enjoyable part of this Psycho adaptation, is that Norman isn’t only this disturbed killer, we’ve seen a much more expanded, complex vision of who Norman Bates is and how he reached this destination. Because slashers are great, I personally love them.
But Bates has always been a more interesting character than a slasher; Hitchcock’s film and Peeping Tom from Michael Powell gave birth to the genre. He’s had more to him even in the little we get to see his psychosis through Hitchcock. Which is why I think Bates Motel is a worthy piece in the makeup of Norman Bates as a character, as it doesn’t squander the prequel. It does the story and the characters justice.
Alex is still out on the run. He gets gas and runs into a man interested in the late ’60s-era car he’s driving. Just a friendly thing, but enough to fuel more paranoia for a man escaping the law. And everywhere he goes he’s still reminded of Norma, the fact that Norman is a killer, so on.
In court, Dylan shows up to support his brother regardless of the trouble it causes; hard to turn your back on family, particularly the crazy ones. A preliminary hearing. First up is Sheriff Greene on the stand, who talks about the murder of Blackwell, as well as Sam Loomis and Emma’s mother. To see Norman listen to the recounting of his crimes along with others, probably the first time he’s actually faced them, it’s chilling. Now we’re seeing people heap blame on Dylan, for knowing there was something deeply wrong with his brother and not doing something about it. That’s unfair as a judgement.


Emma says goodbye to her mother in a quick cremation ceremony. She brings the ashes out to the woods and scatters them on the open air. Sort of a fitting tribute for a woman who so obviously lived a travelling lifestyle, away from her family. Sweet, but definitely simultaneously bitter. She and Dylan keep putting their best foot forward together, though it’s unclear how well that’ll work in the long run.
Before leaving Emma goes to visit Norman. It’s a painful thing, as he puts on his best act. Although it’s all but clear Mother is operating the controls for that conversation. Not accepting the blame, the best defence. And Emma knows, she asks: “Wheres Norman?” Then the conversation shifts with Mother talking directly to her. Ah, the psychosis is so very evident, in full view for the first time for her.
Not long later Alex puts a gun to Julia in the parking lot, pushing his way inside the station. Closer to Norman. He puts everyone at gunpoint, making the officers hug the floor. He takes things slow, being careful, disarming them. Another officer shows up and gets a bullet to the shoulder.
Romero gets to the cell, then Norman is taken out as the officers are locked inside. He almost chokes the young man to death before letting go. He piles himself, Norman, and Regina into a car, then they’re headed to wherever the son put Mother’s body. Shiiiit.


What a spectacular penultimate episode to this series! Wow. I’m consistently amazed by this series, and now and then it really takes me for a perfect ride. I think Season 5’s been my favourite of all, honestly. They’re swinging for the fences and producing the best Norman Bates prequel that they could have done. Last episode is “The Cord” and I believe that’ll be in reference to the cord connecting Mother and Norman, the figurative umbilical cord still attaching the boy to his mom? Maybe. We’ll see.

Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 8: “The Body”

A&E’s Bates Motel
Season 5, Episode 8: “The Body”
Directed by Freddie Highmore
Written by Erica Lipez

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Inseparable” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Visiting Hours” – click here
Pic 1Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) has turned himself in, as Dylan (Max Thieriot) was nearly consumed whole by his psychosis. Now Sheriff Jane Greene (Brooke Smith) is at the house, asking questions, while Norman begs for his medication, to be taken away from that place where Mother (Vera Farmiga) lurks in the shadows. He is all but literally screaming out for help. This is another reason why I love the adaptation of Hitchcock and Bloch’s Psycho(s), because it’s twisted into something very familiar yet wholly unique. Whereas the Norman we saw in Hitchcock was utterly insane, his life as Mother basically hidden from his own view, Highmore’s Norman is one who recognises he is crazy and wants that to change, or at the least be contained.
So on he goes to the station where Sheriff Greene interrogates him about Blackwell and an unidentified corpse of a woman. The young man’s mind is fractured into so many pieces it could take years before all of it comes as a proper puzzle. But right now, he can’t even get help. The sheriff thinks he’s a “child” who adopted an “adult affect” and that this story’s a made-up, tall tale.
And what a microcosm of modern mental health! The guy is calling for someone to aid him in combating his own thoughts, his own dark mind. All she can do is believe it’s a cry for attention. Norman knows, though; he knows that he has killed, more than once.
Pic 1AThey lock him in a cell for the night. He gets his medication, thankfully. I only wonder, how will even a night play out stuck in such a tiny space with Mother yapping? Well, she antes up and sticks her fingers down her boy’s throat to make him spew the pill. Can’t have him being medicated, away from her influence. Then, as Mother, he bashes himself unconscious; or at least that part
Note: Highmore directed this episode, and right away in this scene he does this interesting shot where Norma cradles Norman, and they’re framed through the upright toilet seat, as if the world is enclosed with the frame itself, a world where only the two of them exist.
At the diner, Dylan talks with an attorney, Julia Ramos (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), about his brother. He mentions that Emma’s (Olivia Cooke) mother showed up at the motel, then suddenly disappeared. Highly suspicious, to any eyes.
With Mother calling the shots she’s out demanding to leave the station. Using all her powers to persuade Sheriff Greene. This doesn’t work. The sheriff puts Norman under arrest, and Mother’s LIVID!


Ah, my man – Charles ‘Chick’ Hogan (Ryan Hurst). He’s back and listening to John Denver. He sees that the Bates Motel is awash in law enforcement of all kinds: “Oh, deary, deary me,” laments the big guy. He was there to bring over a bit of taxidermy, only to find the place in upheaval. He’s glad to hear Norman isn’t dead, that’s one good thing.
Julia goes to speak with Norman, hired by Dylan. Things are difficult due to his apparent confession. Compounded by the fact he gave them places to look specifically for bodies. Norma’s still operating the controls, hoping to figure out how she and her boy can weasel out of the confession; you can see the wheels turning, as Mother smiles back through Norman’s eyes.
And Dylan; oh, Dylan! I want him to get back home to Emma and the baby. It scares me the longer he’s in White Pine Bay, away from his family… too close to Norman, and Mother.
So we’ve got Julia doing her best to represent Norman. He’s so different when in his Mother persona, even Sheriff Greene sees that but just can’t explain it. Norman talks a good game about being in love with Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally), then seeing Sam cheating behind her back. He says Madeleine came to her one night, telling him Sam was dead, out in the woods. WOW! Mother’s actually trying to pin this on the innocent wife, shedding tears through Norman and everything. What manipulation.


The sheriff goes to speak with Madeleine about her husband. To investigate the bizarre claims of Norman. Things are about to get quite interesting, especially once the cops go looking around at the old well in the forest.
Dylan gets a visit from Sheriff Greene. They’ve identified the corpse of the woman in the lake – Audrey Ellis, Emma’s mother. His worst suspicions confirmed. “I understand loyalty,” the sheriff tells him, advising that families can be destroyed by far less than the darkness that’s swallowing his whole currently.
In other news, Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is leaving Maggie’s (Jillian Fargey) place. He found his gun. Only, what’s next for him? What is his endgame? He’s already back at the motel, staring up at that creepy house. He goes inside, seeing the ghost of Norma on the stairs, the painful memories everywhere.
When he goes downstairs he finds Chick, typing away working on his book, listening to the tapes he made of Norman. Alex demands to know why he’s there, so Chick explains the friendship he had with young Bates. After their talk, Romero’s curious where Norman put Mother’s body. Then he puts a bullet in Chick’s brain.
Police have come across the well Norman/Mother spoke of, where he says Madeleine rambled about putting her husband’s dead body. Sure enough, there it is, right where they left the thing. Too many weird pieces for Sheriff Greene to understand yet. She goes back for another chat with Norman; only brief, to say he’s been charged with killing Blackwell and Emma’s mother, as well.
Shit. Mother’s plans didn’t work out like she expected.


This was a fantastic episode directed by Highmore! A talented young gentleman, I hope he directs some films eventually. Lots of promise in the direction here, a good eye.
Up next is “Visiting Hours” and we’re getting so close to the grim finale. I can’t even imagine how it’ll play out at the end.