Thursday, 1 August 2013

Strange Paradise Episode 4

Welcome back, supernatural soap opera from the 60's fans. If there actually are any of you. I'm not convinced I'm not talking to myself over here. Whatever, it makes me happy.

When last we visited these shores we spent most of our time with Reverend Ted McGinley and the girl he may or may not have a crush on, Holly. Holly has wandered off from a mental institute, and her mother wants her to go back, while Reverend Ted is on the fence. It was very tense.

Oh, and Raxl shouted at the ceiling. A lot.

What madness shall we encounter this week? Who can tell? Well, we can, by watching Strange Paradise Episode 4. (Click here to see it in all it's glory)

We're treated to a spectacular opening sequence here, with a big haired man in a suit directing traffic as Quinto and a couple of very dodgy looking dudes carry a metal casket jobby into the cellar and leave it there. It's thrilling stuff, to be sure, especially when Quinto gives it a bit of a rub.

It's hard to imagine how they're going to top that teaser with the actual episode, but never fear, because we're getting a scene with Jean Paul. He's pacing around the foyer in that peculiar stiff legged robot walk that he has.

After a less than reassuring conversation with Doctor Big Hair Jean Paul is looking a bit stressed. Could it be that his plan to freeze his wife's corpse won't result in her resurrection after all? Surely his literally days of planning can't all have been for naught? It's ok though, because just as he's at his lowest ebb the portrait of Bill Compton starts talking to him again; just a bit of a pep talk, you understand.

But what's this!?!

I'd know that smug grin anywhere! Jacques has taken control again. What devilment will he get up to this time?

Err, he's having lunch. Hilariously; hilarity being relative; he invites Doctor Big Hair and the two anonymous heavies to sit with him, but there's no sign of poor old Quinto. Raxl is there though, serving the food and looking disapproving. He soon cheers her up, with a little light spanking. I shit you not.

After Doctor Big hair and his cronies have wandered off, Raxl informs Jean-Paul/Jacques about his wife's sister being on her way, presumably because of the wife's death. She's shocked to learn that it isn't because of the wife's death, because Jean-Paul hasn't even told her, and hasn't yet decided whether he's going to. Poor old Raxl, the shocks just keep on coming; she'll probably go down into the cellar and scream at the ceiling for a bit now.

Over to Cafe le Garish now, where said sister of said dead wife, namely Doc Carr, is looking miserable and demanding her bill. She's not best chuffed when her good friend and former shag pal, Forrest, arrives with news that the boat over to Jean-Paul's island is being delayed. She's even more not best chuffed when he tells her that Jean-Paul knows she's here, but doesn't seem to have any intention of coming to greet her. Rude!

She gets herself in a bit of a strop about all sorts of things, but the upshot is that she intends to go to the island, get her sister and take her back to civilisation for proper medical care. Isolated islands being no place for a woman about to drop her first sprog, dontcha know. Of course, all of this is moot, since her sister is dead, but she's not to know that; nobody tells her anything!

Meanwhile, back on the island, Jean-Paul is asleep on the sofa and freaks outs out when he wakes up to find out that the cryonics folk are down in the cellar with his dead wife. Now, since we saw him interacting with them himself in the last episode, I think we're meant to assume that this means Jacques was in control at the time and Jean-Paul doesn't remember it; as it is though, this show is scripted so messily that it's just as likely the writer just forgot what he'd written the day before.

Anyway, Jean-Paul rushes down to the cellar because he wants one last necro-fumble before his wife is cryo'ed up; we get a lovely moment when the incredibly high tech sliding tube stops and one of the extras has to surreptitiously wiggle it like a stuck drawer to make it close but even with that delay Jean-Paul is too late and has to make do with a nice embrace from Doctor Big Hair.

After a scene break we come back on the foyer, Raxl is making her way downstairs; I've noticed Raxl always seems to enter scenes from upstairs, even if we saw her downstairs only moments before. I'm not sure what she has going on up there that she needs to keep rushing off to check. Maybe she's just running a bath.

Anyway, Raxl is coming downstairs and Jean-Paul and Doc Big Hair are coming up from the catacombs. Doc Big Hair offers his condolences to Jean-Paul before leaving; he says he would have done so at lunch but Jean-Paul's (actually Jacques) attitude made him check himself. Once again, Jean-Paul is shocked at the notion that he had lunch with this man. At least we have confirmation that he doesn't remember what he gets up to when he's possessed. Or maybe his mind is just trying to block out his spank play with Raxl.

It all gets a bit intense here. Once Doctor Big Hair is gone, all Jean-Paul wants to do is have a nice quiet sit down and a bit of a soliloquy about how much he loves his wife, but will anyone leave him alone? Will they eckers like! First it's Raxl screaming at him about how he needs to leave the island or they're all gonna be consumed by the eternal devil, and once he's fucked her off to whatever is behind the two big doors we haven't seen behind yet because they can't afford to extend the set he starts getting lectured on his temper by the talking portrait of Bill Compton. It's just not his day.

Jacques, for 'tis he that talks through the portrait, wants Jean-Paul to go and face Doc Carr about her sister, but 'since you won't, I will.' Cue the actor doing his 'best' deranged face to signify that he's now possessed again.

So anyway, Jean-Paul/Jacques heads off, true to his word, to deal with Doc Carr. He's taking Quinto with him because, well, why not, and Raxl reappears from standing behind the doors to nowhere to ask him if he intends to bring Doc Carr back to the house and get upset at his smarmy response. Once he's gone, she has a bit of a rant at the portrait of Bill Compton (which we have had no less than 3 zoom ins on in this scene alone) about how it hasn't won yet. Then she hitches up her skirts and... goes back upstairs. That bath is bound to be ready this time, right?

Over at the worlds most brightly coloured cafe, Jacques/Jean-Paul is meeting with Doc Carr and Forrest. So, you know, he must have teleported over there or something. He's being very cordial and friendly and I'm not sure but I think Doc Carr is calling bullshit on the whole thing. I suspect she's not used to their getting on.

Jacques/Jean-Paul assures Doc Carr that her sis is fine and dandy and couldn't be more content on the island, and invites her back to see for herself. Whisking her away, he leaves Forrest standing with a bunch of newly signed business contracts...signed, not by Jean-Paul Desmond, but by Jacques Eloi De Mondes.

Dun Dun Durrrrrrrr! Forrest be suspicious, yo!

Over at the house, cos they aren't wasting any time this episode, Doc Carr is complimenting the house and the portraits; yeah, you say that now love, but wait until they start talking to you; and then she whips out the sketch that that artist dude did of her sister, and starts trying to get Jean-Paul (really Jacques) to commission a painting. Bet you'd forgotten that little plot point hadn't you? I know I had, but then again it has been months since I watched this show.

Jacques is impressed with the sketch, but almost gives himself away by asking when it was done, because Jean-Paul would have known since he was present at the time.  Luckily for him, even in this bat-shit crazy world Doc Carr's first instinct when presented with a slip of the memory is not to assume that he's been possessed by his evil ancestor. That'll have to wait until next week.

We get a brief scene with Forrest ringing his office to tell them he can't come back until he gets a proper signature on these documents, and oh by the way, would they look into who this De Mondes fellow might be? Then we're back at the house and Jacques is offering to show Doc Carr the gardens, because she can't see her sis just yet; she's 'resting comfortably' you see. Not sure how long he thinks he can keep this up for, but whatever.

Once they leave, Raxl, who has been eavesdropping, comes downstairs (because where else would she be?), has a bit of a wander around the room for no reason other than to fill screen time, and then approaches the painting of Bill Compton to tell him that he always had bad luck and so did anyone who got too close to him. And then the episode ends. Just like that. It feels for all the world like they just cut in the middle of a scene.

I have no idea where this is going, to be honest. Will Jacques take total control of Jean-Paul? What are his plans regarding Doc Carr? And will Raxl ever get her bath? All these questions, and many more besides, won't be answered in the next episode of Strange Paradise.

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