episode 11calvacade
GRADE: B-

 

…and we’ve already got a new winner for the “Worst Episode Yet” prize. Worst being a relative term – this isn’t horrible.

 

First-time series director Todd Holland tries so hard to ape David Lynch here that it’s distracting. Lynch signifiers are haphazardly sprinkled throughout the episode – tree branches blowing in the wind, stoplights, and right at the start, a show-offy composite shot that makes it look like we’re coming out of a hole that turns out to be part of a wall tile pattern. What Holland doesn’t seem to grasp is that Lynch uses these types of details to create a mood. They should be part of a vision, not random weirdness.

 

Add to this the veritable calvacade of characters introduced this episode (pictured at top of review), and the whole enterprise takes on the stink of desperation. Five new faces appear, and they’re not a promising lot, aside from the mysterious Mr. Tojamura. Harry says Cooper and the judge probably have a lot in common, but it feels like the show clumsily trying to get us to like the judge. I wasn’t sold on this character who speaks in speeches and aphorisms.

 
Bellina Logan

The worst addition, though, is easily the annoyingly mugging Great Northern desk clerk (above). Bellina Logan seems to think she’s in some broad sitcom. However, she shares the blame with the writers, who created the character, and the director, who didn’t rein her in. She’s not the only failed attempt at humour here. Andy’s sperm adventures, and wacky antics at the Double R are all woefully unfunny.

 

There are a few redeeming aspects. The episode starts off fairly compelling, with Leland confessing to Jacques’ murder. I liked Doctor Hayward’s amusingly matter-of-fact attitude regarding Andy’s sperm sample. Harold reads a tantalizing entry from Laura’s diary. Kimmy Robertson has one of her best moments reacting to Dick suggesting an abortion. Her distress feels real. And it must be said that Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean continue to have an easy rapport, no matter the quality of the episode.

 
Stray observations:
 

  • While creating some screen captures, I saw for the first time that there’s a barely visible owl in the hole from that opening scene. If you have trouble spotting it, look for the eyes.

 owl in the hole

  • “Babe, we’re gonna trick this place out like Christmas on the fourth of July.” – One of the show’s least interesting characters using a phrase that’s always annoyed me.
  • I didn’t buy that Harry would fall for Josie’s too-obvious womanly wiles. I noted when Josie is speaking with her “cousin” that Joan Chen is much more believable when she isn’t playing the innocent.
  • I just noticed for the first time that Cooper arranged the peanuts on the bar in a pattern:

 arranged peanuts

  • “Next time, I take your head off.” What? That’s a thing people say? And it’s next time Hank does what? And I didn’t really get the point of Jonathan beating up Hank. The episode ends on this underwhelming scene.

 
 

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