GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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Part Twelve was...well...a little odd. From the glacial pacing of many key scenes, to some glaring discontinuities, to the inclusion of scenes that collectively mention up to ten new characters we've never seen nor heard from to date, to apparent reruns of Roadhouse bands and Dr. Amp's vlog, to bizarre manicures, Part Twelve offered us plenty of head-scratching opportunities. Just what we should expect, I guess, from an episode that has the same "red light" (upper left corner) establishing shot of the Hotel Mayfair at the beginning and right near the end.
Here are a baker's dozen of the things I found puzzling over the course of this oddball episode--twelve proper plus a bonus! What oddities did you notice?
1. Discontinuous wine consumption--To toast Special Agent Tammy Preston's joining the elite ranks of the Blue Rose Task Force, Albert pours Gordon a tiny little glass of wine which proceeds to morph into a full glass just seconds later. It's right out of the gate and pretty glaring, but not obviously meaningful in any way. Just sloppy editing, or something more?
2. Diane's weird "Let's Rock!" hand gesture--The chilling Lodge soundtrack and Diane's hardened expression were creepy enough without the addition of this inscrutable hand gesture. Have we seen it before? Not exactly, to my knowledge, but it reminds me of Red's preoccupation with hand "guns".
3. Discontinuity at the convenience store--Sarah Palmer's terrifying trip to the convenience store witnesses a chilling change of scenery behind the clerk shortly after Sarah says "The room seems different." and "Men are coming." At first, there seems to be another checkout line behind the young woman at the counter, but after Sarah's warning, just seconds later, there appears to be another wall of wine and liquor on the opposite side of the store from where Sarah picked up her Smirnoff. It could just be that the camera angles are different, but I worked pretty hard to try to find a way for that huge wine section to be behind the woman, and I couldn't imagine how it would work.
4. Two incidental turkey references in two weeks?!--Sarah Palmer freaks out about the addition of turkey jerky to the options at the checkout and asks "Is it smoked?". Just last week in Part Eleven, we saw a symbol of a turkey entering diseased corn, calling to mind Laura Palmer's bizarre claim to James Hurley that she's "Long gone, like a turkey in the corn" in Fire Walk With Me.
5. Time out-of-joint in Vegas?--In an episodes with so many early discontinuities, I had my eyes peeled for other temporal strangeness and was surprised to see Sonny Jim Jones wearing exactly the same outfit in Part Twelve (top photo) as he was wearing in Part Five (bottom photo): notice that the shirt, jeans, and shoes are the same.
6. Something in the kitchen?--What on earth was that menacing ruckus in the kitchen that prompted Hawk's concern that someone else might be in the house? As if the preternaturally loud ceiling fans weren't terrifying enough!
7. Kriscol's plasma?--Who is Kriscol and why is a scene devoted to telling him to keep his blood? I loved the scene, because I'll watch anything and everything I can get with Carl Rodd in it, but we already know from any number of amazing scenes (consoling the dead hit-and-run boy's mother, helping Shelly in the clutch, etc.) that he is a supremely good guy (so there's no need to reestablish that), and we know nothing whatsoever about Kriscol, so it just seemed a bit gratuitous somehow unless something important is going to come of it. But what?
8. Ben Horne's reticence--Why does Ben Horne neglect to tell Sheriff Truman that Richard beat up his own grandmother before going on the lam? What does he stand to gain from withholding information on Richard from the Sheriff's department? Or is he just too disoriented to keep his wits about him? He seems to recall that two-tone lime and forest green bike with the fat tires well enough.
9. Gordon Cole's French connection--Far be it from me to criticize Director Cole's late night company, but the strangeness of this scene was on a par with the "Lil" scene in Fire Walk With Me where Cole and Desmond communicate about the Teresa Banks case with the unorthodox aid of a dancer in a red dress with a blue rose on her lapel. I was thinking of Lil the entire time, but after this woman finally succeeded in making her dramatic exit to the bar, the uncanny interchange between Cole and Albert, with all the talk of mothers and daughters and turnip farms and all the blinking and intense eye communication sealed the deal: this entire scene was in code, right?
10. Pretty much everything about Audrey and Charlie but especially all the new characters!--Aside from the fact that this was not the triumphal return for Audrey that many had envisioned (though I still think Sherilyn Fenn killed it), and that her "lawfully wedded husband" Charlie is probably not the guy you'd pick to win a contest of suiters involving a head-to-head with the likes of Special Agent Dale Cooper or John Justice Wheeler, who the bloody blue blazes are "Tina," "Paul," and "Chuck?" and what is going on in this storyline that seems to be arriving just a little too late in the game? When you add these three who's-its from Audrey and Charlie's bizarre love pentagon to "Abbie," "Natalie," the less-than-fully-flourishing-but-at-least-now-free-from-house-arrest "Trick," and their pals absentee "Angela," the double-timing philanderer "Clark," and his side project "Mary," you've got a soap-opera full of brand new characters with just a third of the series to go. Not sure who all these folks are, but they're probably all super tight with Kriscol. Or maybe they're the people stiffing Kriscol for his work around the New Fat Trout. WHO KNOWS?!
11. Dr. Amp reruns already?!--There must have been a writer's strike at the ol' "Where's Your Freedom?" vlog, because virtually all of the footage from Dr. Amp's lengthy appearance was either recycled or just very modestly tweaked from previous appearances. The still below of the good Doc at his broadcast bench is from Part Twelve, but the same sequence appears more or less verbatim in Part Five. Initially, I thought that the Nadine footage was from the same take as well, but double checked to find that she's wearing a different outfit and drinking a different flavor dinner shake in Part Five.
12. Diane's left thumbnail--We've borne witness to a fair number of odd things happening on the left lately, but what in the world is going on with Diane's left thumbnail? Is that a covert camera lens? Or some sort of gem-implant? Brrrrrrr. Chilly.
BONUS: Chromatics (again) playing instrumental covers? I can't get enough of Chromatics ("Shadow" is basically still the soundtrack of my life two months later) so I ain't exactly complaining, but it is a little weird that in this particular outing, the band is not even playing one of their own songs, but rather an instrumental cover of one of Chromatics' bassist and producer Johnny Jewel's other bands' songs, namely "Saturday" by Desire. The lyrics of the song they aren't singing, though, certainly would have added to the chill if they had sung them. Among the more ominous lines are "Baby, someone is stealing you at night." and "I've got a bad feeling about Saturday."