Thursday, 29 August 2013

Strange Paradise Episode 6

Howdy y'all. Last time on Strange Paradise we saw Raxl explain the plot to Doc Carr who didn't believe a word of it and Jacques, while possessing Jean-Paul, came on to Doc Carr big stylee. She didn't fall for it, but it was a close run thing.

Also, Jacques and Quito murdered a dude. I mean, they said it was an accident but it wasn't an accident. Trust me, I know this stuff.

Join with me now as I embark on episode 6 of Strange Paradise, and we shall see what fresh madness awaits us.

We begin with Jean-Paul waking up on the sofa, giving his face a bit of a rub, having a vague wander round the room and then, having put on his best smouldering look...

Yeah, I be smouldering!
...he has a bit of a pop at the talking painting of Bill Compton.

Why must I endure your torment from hell? Can't I buy my Erica life in the future, without restoring your evil from the past?  Am I cursed with you?

Then he wanders off into the dining room, so that Raxl can come downstairs, in painfully slow motion that they never cut, and have a go at the painting herself...

Jacques Elois DuMonde, let my Master free! Do not bring death into this house, that you have poisoned with your unseen presence.

Then there's some thunder and she looks like this...


Because if there's one thing guaranteed to put the shits up a centuries old voodoo priestess it's a drop of rain. Anyway, cue credits.

We come back with Jean-Paul returning from whatever he was doing in the dining room to be surprised by Raxl's presence. Then be even more surprised when she tells him there's a dead doctor in the basement, and he put him there. I've said it before, but it bears repeating; possession is a bitch!

Down in the basement, Raxl gets right in his face about releasing Jacques from his magically enforced centuries long imprisonment. Jean-Paul is all, 'but how was I supposed to know that pulling the stake from the voodoo doll would fuck with the magic spell? That shit aint even real, duh!' An argument that would hold more water if we hadn't seen him being seduced by a talking fucking portrait of the aforementioned Jacques.

Yeah, he knew what he was doing.

Raxl tells the tale of how Jacques had killed his own wife, and then her younger sister. She reckons that he'll try to repeat the pattern, after a fashion, by killing the younger sister of Jean-Pauls wife. That's Doc Carr! He can fuck right off!

Jean-Paul is willing to help fight Jacques, it seems, but he can't remember where the doll and stake are, so that's that idea stuffed. I'm pretty sure they're in with the dead wife, but don't quote me on that. Then we get a shot of the portrait, followed by a quick (and sloppy) edit to show an empty frame. Which we know means that Jacques is now in control of Jean-Pauls body. Here's the thing though, and please excuse the rant, but how bloody dense were people back then that they needed these constant portrait shots? The actor does this whole, hands over the eyes and rubbing the temples' thing...

...whenever the possession kicks in, so why do we need the extra explanation? Because they think we're idiots? Or because the viewers back then actually were? Answers on a postcard to Why The Hell Do I Do This To Myself, PO Box 999.

Anyway, Raxl is still ranting about the doll, until she realises that Jacques is now present when he tells her;

Raxl, Raxl, you're too old to play with dolls. Now be quiet and mind your place.

I don't know why, but that made me laugh. Raxl looks like she's ready to shit a clay based miniature building block, and runs off. Jacques grins. Then he talks to Jean-Pauls dead wife for a bit, as you do. BUT! He insinuates that as long as she stays in her cryotube, he can roam free. So yeah, the doll is deffo in with her. I tell you what, I'm a bloody genius at this stuff.

The scene ends, and I thought this was genuinely, no joke, a fantastic touch, with Jacques pulling out a handkerchief and giving the plaque on his own coffin a little bit of a polish. Yeah, I liked that.

Ah. Ok, so I'm not sure why Jacques came out in that last scene, because the next one starts with him going back into the painting, and leaving Jean-Paul looking all confused, before going for a lie down on the sofa. So he came out for half a minute, just to monologue at a coffin? Okaaaay, Mr Writer. Whatever you say.

Doc Carr comes downstairs, still looking fetching in the same white nightie she was wearing in the last ep, and stares at the portrait for a while. (There's a loud buzzer that sounds at the start of this sequence. I was waiting for it to have relevance but nothing ever came of it, so I'm pretty sure it was just someone on set giving Doc Carr her cue to enter the scene. I love 60's TV)

Jean-Paul offers her a sleeping pill; what is it with people on TV all just keeping well stocked supplies of sleeping pills in their cupboards? Very odd; and when she refuses he insists that she have some brandy instead. This she accepts. Tsk.

He's trying to get you drunk love! Don't do it!
Doc Carr has a bit of a sob about her sister and then has a pop at Jean-Paul about the whole cryo-fuckery. She wants her sister properly interred, so her soul can return to God. And then... then things get weird.

Jean-Paul gets this odd look on his face and starts acting like Jacques. Only, there's been no face rubbing, and as you can see...

Look! There! Behind him!
...the portrait is still intact. It seems churlish to complain, after my rant earlier, but come on! Stick to your own fucking rules, people! At first I thought this was a botch, then Doc Carr started talking to him about how similar he looked to the bloke in the picture and I realised that wouldn't work if the frame was empty so they were obviously just bodging it to serve the plot. For. Shame.

Massive info dump here though because whilst defending his own honour, Jacques; in the guise of Jean-Paul talking about Jacques; relates to us all of his accomplishments including, wait for it... the fact that he'd buried a shit load of treasure in the caves beneath the house and it's never been found. Yeah, I bet that never comes up again.

Ooh, ooh, I've got it! That's why the painter dude from episode 2 wants access to the house! He's after the treasure! Him and not very convincing gangster dude! They're in it together! Fucking sussed it! Ahem...

No clue what's happening here
There is some terribly forced dialogue in this scene. Jacque (still pretending to be Jean-Paul, remember) says, 'if Jacques were here today he'd behave much as I am' and later he gives us 'history is very real to me.' Not that the writer is trying to hit us over the head or anything. For her part, Doc Carr appears for all the world to be in a trance of some sort, to the extent that I actually thought Jacques had drugged her first, but now I'm leaning toward it just being a very odd acting choice. I forgive her though, for she be lovely.

Jacques tells the tale of how his wife died (still in the guise of Jean-Paul giving a history lesson) and Doc Carr is fascinated. I'm not entirely convinced he's telling the truth about her fall from the cliffs being due to the heavy winds but maybe I'm just being overly suspicious.

Then we flashback to ye olde times. Eh?

Da Fuck Ya Doin'?
They've done this before haven't they? I don't remember which episode, it might even have been the first one; certainly long enough ago that I didn't think it was gonna be a thing. I'll go with it though, if it means we get some nice women in those old fashioned frocks.

Ooh, Doc Carr is there! In a nice frock! Er...I'm not sure why, but I'll go with it. Apparently the actress who plays her is also playing Jacques sister in law in the past? I mean, I get it, sort of, but... I don't think the Carr sisters are meant to be descended in any way from these sisters in the past. Are they? Why am I asking you?

(Bit of a Blazing Saddles reference for you there. You're welcome)

Anyway, Jacques is having dinner with his wife, her sis (Old Fashioned Doc Carr), and some random dude. Wife heads upstairs to settle their baby (they have a baby) and random dude goes to bed because he's leaving early in the morning which leaves Jacques and Old Fashioned Doc Carr alone; well, once he get's rid of Raxl. (Yes, we get final confirmation here that Raxl is immortal, or at least really bloody old)

And what does Jacques do, once he's alone with Old Fashioned Doc Carr?

Anyway, after a bit of smoochie time we get an honest to goodness wibbly wobbly scene transition to take us back to the modern day. Some time has obviously passed, because Doc Carr is asleep on the couch and Jacques is standing nearby watching her like the creepy stalker dude that he is. She's having a bit of a nightmare, the poor thing, so of course he wakes her up to comfort her (after watching her thrash about for a bit). It turns out, right, that the flashback we just saw wasn't him telling the story, it was her dream! Which I suppose explains why she was in the role of the unfaithful sister. Could she be falling for her dead sisters husband in real life? Or is he implanting these dreams in her head? Who the fuck knows?

Raxl comes in and breaks up the cosy scene, before she and Doc Carr both head to bed NOT TOGETHER and Jacques settles down to a bit of talking to himself/ telling the audience stuff.

In her dreams, and in her reality, it appears that the lovely Allison is falling into the clutches of the devil. That's little old me. Well how can I be expected to resist a lovely woman. She's so delectable, so infinitely desirable. After all, her Brother-in-Law and I are closer than... we are Brothers, under the same skin.

He's not wrong about Doc Carr's loveliness, but still... Bad 'Un! Raxl reappears, because Raxl is never more than 2 minutes from wandering up or down the stairs, and he admonishes her for eavesdropping. She scuttles off and he makes another crack, to himself,  about being the devil. The end.

Considering the tiny cast this episode, the plot is moving at a nice little clip, eh? They're flat out telling us shit loads of stuff that other shows would have hinted at and teased for months, and they're doing it while putting pretty women in nice frocks. I'm in!

We shall return to the time I watch an episode. God knows when that will be. Actually, he doesn't, because on this blog, I am God, and I haven't got a clue.

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