Answers in a World of Blue.

15 08 2014

imageJust days before her death, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) stepped inside the Twin Peaks watering hole, The Roadhouse. Immediately, viewers of Fire Walk With Me were swept up in the ethereal vocals of the bar’s staple singer, Julee Cruise, as she sang about questions in a world of blue.

Questions.

In relation to Twin Peaks, questions can be compared to the mythological hydra. For every answer that viewers were given, two more questions grew in its place. The continuous barrage of questions, mysteries, and secrets that swirled amongst the colorful (and oftentimes odd) cast of characters was what kept viewers tuned in each week.

And then, along came Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the prequel film that chronicled the murder investigation of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) and the events leading up to Laura Palmer’s demise. Originally compiling over five hours of footage, David Lynch was faced with the task of trimming it down to roughly two hours and fifteen minutes. The celluloid that ended up on the editing room floor not only included further exploration of newly established characters like Teresa Banks, Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak), and Philip Jeffries (David Bowie), it also featured the only scenes with Twin Peaks alumni Josie Packard (Joan Chen), Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie), and others.

Questions.

When would the studio and Mr. Lynch share these highly coveted scenes with fans?

Little did we know, it would be over twenty years before this question would be answered. This year’s Blu-ray release, on July 29th, of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery  included not only the entire series and the Fire Walk With Me prequel, it also delivered over 90 minutes of deleted scenes from the film.

Chet Desmond, Sam Stanley, and Irene outside of Hap's Diner.

Chet Desmond, Sam Stanley, and Irene outside of Hap’s Diner.

Presented in chronological order to act as a perfect companion piece to Fire Walk With Me, the newly remastered footage (appropriately labeled as The Missing Pieces) begins with further exploration of the FBI’s investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks. The scenes with Irene (Sandra Kinder) and Jack (C.H. Evans) at Hap’s Diner are fleshed out with some additional dialog and we are also treated to the infamous scene where Special Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) gets into fisticuffs with Sheriff Cable (Gary Bullock) over relocating Teresa’s body to Portland.

No, she hasn't changed her hair, but there's definitely something different in Diane's office.

No, she hasn’t changed her hair, but there’s definitely something different in Diane’s office.

Those familiar with the film know that Desmond disappears shortly after securing Teresa’s remains. The focus then briefly shifts to the FBI offices in Philadelphia where, in a “missing piece”, we see Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) playfully interacting with Diane for the first time (although she is offscreen and inaudible). Quirky scenes like this, while regularly present in the series, were mostly absent from the film, allowing for a continuous dark and foreboding tone.

"February... 1989?"

“February… 1989?”

Following an additional scene where Cooper visits with Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) to gather information about Desmond’s disappearance, viewers are finally treated to some further exploration of the mysterious Philip Jeffries (David Bowie). While no further information is given as to who Judy is (although rumors had already been present that, had the series continued, she would’ve turned out to be an identical twin to Josie Packard), “missing pieces” showing Jeffries checking into his hotel in Buenos Aires are present along with additional footage of his inexplicable reappearance in Gordon Cole’s (David Lynch) office where he discusses his time with the inhabitants of the Black Lodge with his colleagues.

The real “meat and potatoes” (or “coffee and cherry pie”, if you will) of The Missing Pieces is, inarguably, everything that builds on Laura Palmer and the pre-established characters and situations within the town Twin Peaks.

Leland teaches the Palmer ladies some basic Norwegian  over dinner.

Leland teaches the Palmer ladies some basic Norwegian over dinner.

There are several scenes that show Laura and her family doing things that normal families do… laugh, bicker, etc. A moment that ties in nicely with the pilot episode sees Leland (Ray Wise) teaching Laura and Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) how to introduce themselves in Norwegian. Fans will remember that a large Norwegian investment group was present at the Great Northern Hotel regarding the Benjamin Horne’s Ghostwood project.

One of the major problems that many “Peaks Freaks” had with Fire Walk With Me was the absence of memorable characters that were prominently featured in the television series. Save for the scenes with the Horne family (which were allegedly never filmed for various reasons), most of the footage that featured these folks has been restored. Yes, many of these scenes do little to move the narrative of the film forward. However, they are almost integral in helping to establish a connection between the film and the rest of the Twin Peaks mythos.

"I wanted a 2x4!"

“I wanted a 2×4!”

Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and Pete Martell (Jack Nance) deal with an irate Dell Mibbler (Ed Wright) over the size of some lumber that he had ordered while, back at the RR Diner, Ed (Everett McGill) and Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) pay a brief visit to Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton).

In Fire Walk With Me, there’s a moment where Laura first makes the connection between her father and BOB. She

"I changed my mind. I don't want any coffee, Eddie!"

“I changed my mind. I don’t want any coffee, Eddie!”

then flees to her best friend, Donna Hayward’s (Moira Kelly) house where The Missing Pieces shares some wonderful interaction between Laura and Donna’s parents Will (Warren Frost) and Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel). The scene culminates with Leland calling the Hayward house, looking for his daughter. As a reluctant Laura leaves, the expressions on the faces of Will and Eileen echo back to accusations at Laura’s funeral that everyone in the town knew she was in trouble.

"This is where we live, Shelly!"

“This is where we live, Shelly!”

In addition to an extended scene where Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) is ragging on his wife, Shelly (Mädchen Amick) about cleaning the house, the footage of Laura and Donna’s night on the town with Jacques Renault’s (Walter Olkewicz) trucker friends is also extended. Before The Missing Pieces, it was never explicitly clear that the group travels across the Canadian border to meet up with Jacques and Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) at the Pink Room.

"Hey, handsome. It's your little party girl."

“Hey, handsome. It’s your little party girl.”

A series of flashbacks to Leland Palmer’s interactions with Teresa Banks are also shown… from first date to blackmail. It is here that a viable motive for her murder is shown.

Additional “missing pieces” tie directly into the first season of Twin Peaks. A meeting at the police station between Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean), Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz), and Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) takes place to discuss the drug trafficking of Jacques’ brother, the moment when Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) gives Laura the $10,000 to stash in her safety deposit box, and a telephone therapy session between Laura and Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) are among them.

"Sheriff Truman! How did you get up here?!"

“Sheriff Truman! How did you get up here?!”

Just prior to Laura meeting up with Leo, Jacques, and Ronette at the cabin, Lucy Moran (Kimmy Robertson) receives a telephone call from Josie Packard about a possible prowler on the property and Sheriff Truman is quick to respond. The scenes that follow in the film are enough to provide whiplash due to the light and fluffy nature of this moment at the police station.

The owls were flying...

The owls were flying…

It was known that Margaret, the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson), lived near the location where Laura and Ronette were assaulted and kidnapped. A powerful, albeit brief, “missing piece” shows the woman’s reaction to hearing the desperate cries for help from the girls as they are taken to the train car.

"The good Dale is in the Lodge and he can't leave. Write it in your diary."

“The good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave. Write it in your diary.”

The final moments of The Missing Pieces are, perhaps, the closest things that fans will ever get to a continuation of the series.Following the events of the Miss Twin Peaks contest in season two, Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) is released from the Black Lodge and warns the hospital staff that Cooper is still trapped there. While the staff tends to Annie, Cooper’s doppelgänger seems to have Sheriff Truman and Dr. Hayward fooled at the Great Northern Hotel.

The style of Fire Walk With Me remains truly polarizing among fans. It is inarguably a David Lynch film but lacks the quirky weirdness of the television series. In the end, the movie chronicles the last days of a troubled girl who was plagued with drug addiction and abuse. Perhaps the best way to watch Fire Walk With Me is to imagine that you are witnessing the events through her eyes… and these events would be nothing short of surreal, nonsensical, and morbid.





Credence: A Family at the End of the World.

17 07 2014

20140624060626-Screen_Shot_2014-06-24_at_12_42_58On July 13th, an IndieGogo was launched to assist in the funding of Credence, “the first sci-fi to challenge LGBT portrayal in film”. As of today, five days later, the project has amassed 133% of its goal… with donations still being accepted through August 12th. To say this was an incredible feat would be an understatement.

Click here to visit Geeks OUT for the full article.





Batwoman: Happily Never After.

15 07 2014

September 2013: The longtime Batwoman creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman part ways with the title due to “editorial decisions [that] came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting.” Fans of the book and those familiar with the ensuing drama are more than aware that these “editorial decisions” mainly surrounded the now-scrapped plans to have Kate Kane marry her longtime partner, Maggie Sawyer.

Sorry, Kate. It's a life of misery and solitude for you.

Sorry, Kate. It’s a life of misery and solitude for you.

As the backlash and outcry began to spiral into a public relations nightmare for DC, Dan DiDio took the opportunity, during a panel at the Baltimore Comic-Con, to address the situation.

“Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives,” he said. “They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.” He then went on to point out members of the Bat family specifically. “People in the Bat family, their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace—oops shouldn’t have said that,—Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”

In addition to not knowing the current Batwoman’s name (Kathy?), DiDio essentially issued a blanket statement that forbade the cowled heroes from indulging in anything that might bring them happiness. Their personal lives were doomed to forever reflect the depressing and crumbling facade of the city they have sworn to protect.

Since then, everything has been going according to plan. Current scribe, Marc Andreyko, is in the midst of squaring Batwoman off against the vampiric Nocturna and Maggie is battling her ex-husband for custody of their child. The relationship between Kate and Mags? Shaky, at best.

Barbara Gordon's nemesis, The Ventrilquist, is the stuff of nightmares.

Barbara Gordon’s nemesis, The Ventriloquist, is the stuff of nightmares.

Gail Simone has certainly had her hands full bringing forth the “doom and gloom” edict in the pages of Batgirl. Not only has the titular character faced the likes of demented villains like Ragdoll and the Ventriloquist, she’s also had to deal with the return of the Joker and her mother’s disfigurement at the hands of the madman. To top things off, a wealthy socialite, who moonlights as a morally ambiguous villainess, seems hellbent on destroying Gotham in order to prevent its further corruption.

July 2014: Roughly ten months have passed since DiDio spoke at the Baltimore convention and Batgirl is about to receive a drastic shift in tone. With Simone leaving the title and Cameron Stewart set to take the helm, Barbara Gordon will be relocating to the hipsterish Gotham borough of Burnside in order to tackle grad school.

In a recent interview with MTV, Stewart said, with regards to Barbara, “Just prior to the start of our story she’s pushed to the breaking point and decides that she’s had it with misery and darkness and wants a change. She wants the opportunity to have some fun and live the life of a young, single girl in the city, so she packs up and moves to Burnside.” Artist, Babs Tarr, added, “I am excited to bring some flirt, fun, and fashion to the title!”

"TOTES gonna go fight some crime, but first..." (you know the rest)

“TOTES gonna go fight some crime, but first…” (you know the rest)

Hold the presses! What happened to the destitute and lonely lives that the caped crusaders were being forced to endure for the sake of the mission? It couldn’t have just been a feeble attempt at damage control following fan rage over what appeared to be a blatant slap in the face to the LGBT community and a character that they’ve come to care about! That’s just unspeakable and would never happen in this day and age. </end sarcasm>

Does this mean that fans can expect a light at the end of a very dark tunnel to shine on Kate and Maggie? If solicits for future issues of Batwoman are to be believed, it might not be advisable to hold ones breath.

While it’s true that this doesn’t necessarily prove that there was any underlying homophobia with relation to the 86ed wedding of Kate and Maggie, it also doesn’t help add credence to DiDio’s insistence that there wasn’t.

At the same Baltimore convention, he emphasized the company’s support for their gay characters, “Name one other publisher out there who stands behind their gay characters the way we do.” Mr. DiDio, let’s get you introduced to Marvel Comics. Have the two of you met? Marjorie Liu’s Astonishing X-Men #51 might be a great place to start getting acquainted.





Cloning Around: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings.

31 05 2014

Orphan-Black-S02E06-promo-image-2Welcome to “Cloning Around”, your weekly recap source for BBC America’s (Space sci-fi/drama, Orphan Black. If your search for “swan man” has taken over all of your spare time, jog your memory with regards to the previous episode.

Click here to visit Geeks OUT for the full article.





Cloning Around: Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est.

24 05 2014

10353495_661165637252298_1606376168299289132_oWelcome to “Cloning Around”, your weekly recap source for BBC America’s (Space sci-fi/drama, Orphan Black. If you’ve been on the run from religious cult members and missed the last episode, get yourself caught up.

Click here to visit Geeks OUT for the full article.





Days of Future Past: Mystique Without a Destiny.

23 05 2014

imageFor as long as they have been in print, the plight of Marvel’s mutants has stood as a metaphor for oppressed minorities dealing with prejudice, bigotry, and hatred. The Civil Rights Movement, the Stonewall riots, the current fight for LGBT rights. Parallels to these real-life events can be found sprinkled throughout the 50+ years of X-Men history.

The X-Men, themselves, are not without their own LGBT representation. A minority within a minority, if you will. Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar), Xi’an Coy Manh (Karma), Victor Borkowski (Anole), Roxy Washington (Bling!), Shatterstar, Cessily Kincaid (Mercury), and David Alleyne (Prodigy) are just a few.

Perhaps the most notable bisexual character on Marvel’s LGBT roster, Raven Darkholme (Mystique) made her debut within the pages of Ms. Marvel in the 1970s. From there, she would eventually go on to lead an incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and become one of the X-Men’s most infamous adversaries. Ever morally ambiguous, the shapeshifter would also rear an adopted daughter (the future X-Man, Rogue) with her lover, the blind precognitive, Irene Adler (Destiny).

Created by Chris Claremont in 1981 and first appearing in Uncanny X-Men #141, Destiny was intended, from the beginning, to be an intimate companion for Mystique. At that time, however, probibitions against gay/lesbian depictions in comic books were in place by the Comics Code Authority and the villains’ relationship had to be presented in a very subtle manner, often labeled only as “friends”. The original plans to have Nightcrawler be a biological child to both women (with Mystique shapeshifting into a man for the conception) had to be scrapped.

tumblr_lo2r5zFj1K1qj1ajtIt wasn’t until long after Irene’s death on Muir Island, at the hands of Legion, that the true nature of her relationship with Mystique was fleshed out and fully awknowledged. At Northstar’s wedding, Rogue would even make it a point to wonder if her childhood would’ve been different had her mothers been allowed to marry.

To date, Mystique has appeared in five of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men films, portrayed by both Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence. While her questionable allegiances and motives are fairly true to her comic book counterpart, her sexuality has barely been touched upon (it was implied that she and Magneto had been schtupping).

X-Men: Days of Future Past is Bryan Singer’s return to mutant cinematic universe. Loosely based on the two-part Uncanny X-Men story of the same name, the basic premise sees Wolverine time-traveling back to the 1970s to prevent the birth of the Sentinel program by stopping the assassination of Bolivar Trask at the hands of Mystique. A glaring difference between the two depictions is that, while Mystique works alone in her attempts to murder Trask in the film, her entire Brotherhood, including Destiny, aims for the target (Sen. Robert Kelly) in the original storyline. In fact, Irene is the last member of the team to make an attempt on the Senator’s life.

While this may not seem like an enormous deal to most viewers, some fans could be left questioning whether or not Fox just fumbled a perfect opportunity to include LGBT representation into the X-Men cinematic universe.

Mystique scatters Destiny's ashes at sea. Destiny still gets the last word.

Mystique scatters Destiny’s ashes at sea. Destiny still gets the last word.

With the size of the cast already busting at the seams, it was quite clear that adding an entire Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was highly improbable from the start. Focusing on Mystique as an antagonist is not necessarily a bad idea. It helps establish a distinct development that was necessary to show how the character evolved, following the events of First Class, to become the woman we remember from X2.

With that in mind, including Irene Adler could still have easily worked in a different capacity and, with the amount of time that passed between First Class and Days of Future Past, the organic development of a relationship between Raven and Irene is not beyond the realm of plausibility. Not only would this have humanized the character of Mystique and allowed the audience to view her as more than just a mutant terrorist, it would have also added an extra layer to the motives behind her contentious actions throughout the series.

In essence, Days of Future Past, is a film about the “butterfly effect”. The slightest interactions by Wolverine and co. with the past can drastically and continuously alter the events of the future. The character of Destiny would have been an interesting liaison, of sorts, to the changes befalling the future timeline, randomly updating the characters as to their actions’ repercussions on the time stream.

1678700-brotherhood_of_evil_mutants_02Fox and the X-Men film franchise are not alone when it comes to lacking in LGBT representation. Despite a handful of gay/lesbian characters in its ranks, the Avengers have yet to really venture into that territory within their cinematic universe. Lesbian H.A.M.M.E.R./S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Victoria Hand, who was featured during Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure on Dark Avengers, appeared briefly in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series before being killed off after four episodes. Little development of the character was done before her subsequent demise and viewers would have no knowledge of her sexuality if they were unfamiliar with her comic book appearances.

With the number of LGBT comic book characters increasing, it seems, by the year, one can’t help but wonder how long it will be before the respective cinematic universes begin to follow suit. Including gay/lesbian diversity in these films is not a recipe for box office disaster and the throngs of queer fans at any number of comic book conventions can attest to that.

 





Cloning Around: Governed as It Were by Chance.

15 05 2014

OrphanBlack_S2Ep4_13-596x335Welcome to “Cloning Around”, your weekly recap source for BBC America’s (Space) sci-fi/drama, Orphan Black. If you’re still lagging behind, catch up with a rundown of last week’s episode.

Click here to visit Geeks OUT for the full article.








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