Friday, 13 December 2013

Strange Paradise Episode 8


Last time on Strange Paradise, Holly showed up at Day Glo Cafe to be told by Tarot Lady that her life was in danger, Reverend Ted McGinley set out to track her down, Doc Carr suddenly became massively freaked out for no reason whilst at the same time developing some sort of rapid onset sleep disorder and of course, because it wouldn't be Strange Paradise otherwise, Raxl went up and down the stairs A LOT.

What does episode 8 have in store for us? Only one way to find out.

We open on Jean-Paul watching the worlds fuzziest surveillance monitor, trained on his dead wife's cryo-chamber/coffin before starting to record himself on the worlds largest tape deck;

My Darling Erica, until the day comes when I can talk to you in person once again, I will record these tapes as our journal of events. Without you my darling the loneliness is unbearable, but my will to go on is strengthened only by the hope that some day you will be back in my arms again.

Your Sister, Allison, seems to doubt the practicality of the cryonic procedure, but I assure you...

This is the first time they've done this but I reckon they're setting these 'tapes' up as their version of Dark Shadows' Vicky W monologues; a crafty way to get the audience up to speed with the plot. Could be worse I suppose.

Anyway, he's interrupted at that point by Doc Carr, the aforementioned Sister, appearing on the monitor and starting to talk to the dead wife. Being a far more personable person than Jean-Paul, she chooses to do it face to coffin, rather than onto tape. She's nice like that.

Nice, but possibly not entirely sane, because she starts asking her for help to convince Jean-Paul that his cryo plans are pointless. Yes, ask the corpse to help prove that the corpse can't be revived, that's logical! Doc Carr is my favourite, I don't like this dumbing down of her character! Stop it! Jean-Paul, meanwhile, is not best chuffed that she's gone behind his back to talk to CryoWife.

Not Best Chuffed
After the titles play their spooky selves out in our eyeholes we get Jean-Paul casually stalking Doc Carr. I mean, walking into the room she's in. But totally stalking her too, you can just tell. He tries to be all casual and friendly like, but she's having none of it and starts going on at him about the dead Doctor (the guy he, or possibly Jacques) and Quinto cold murderised. He's all, 'But he fell, honest Guv!', and she's all, 'Buuuullshit, Motherfucker!' and she's looking at him like this...

Run dude!
and if I was him I'd be shitting  myself. Not Jean-Paul though, he cool. First he sticks to his story that the guy fell and then, without outright saying it, starts to imply that maybe he jumped; maybe he was guilty about CryoWife dying. Suddenly Doc Carr is all Medical Expert Character again and is saying the Doctor had nothing to feel guilty about and it wasn't his fault Erica, sorry, CryoWife didn't make it. That, apparently, was Gods will. Obviously. That's elementary 1st year med school stuff to be fair.

In the space of a few sentences Jean-Paul has made her stop accusing him of murder and completely changed the subject back to his wifes death and potential not-death, thanks to his cryo-fuckery plan. This is good for him on two fronts; firstly because it deflects suspicion and secondly because that cryobulllshit plan to save his wife is all he ever wants to talk about.

And then, just as suddenly as it happened last episode, she's gone from gutsy intelligent heroine mode to freaked out panicky mode for no apparent reason in the space of about 5seconds. I'd love to say that I think they're setting something up but I really, honestly just think this is a fucking terrible script. Sorry. The scene ends with a truly hilarious line of dialogue from Jean-Paul;

Oh now, surely you don't take that tale of Jacque Eloise DesMonde seriously...huge dramatic pause...Or Do You!?!

Ok, it loses something when I type it down but the way the actor reads that 'Or Do You?' and the forbidding 'dun dun durrr' music kicks in and the camera zooms in on her face... I soiled myself, it's so fantastically terrible.

When we come back from the act break it's to a huge close up of the painting of Jacques, so I'll just drop this here, cos it's been a while

It's Bill Compton, yo!
Then Doc Carr comments how alike he is to Jean-Paul, Jean-Paul talks about CryoWife being 'temporarily gone' and they bring up the possibility of his being possessed; so basically they just recap the story so far to kill a minute; and then we head on over to Cafe Le DayGlo where some funky young cats are getting jiggy with it.

We're here to see Dan Forrest, he of 'Doc Carr's Fuck Buddy' fame, who I had completely forgotten was even on this show. He's having a drink with Tarot Lady, because he can't leave on account of the wind having grounded his plane.

After a bit of idle (and torturous) banter, he asks her what she knows about Jacque Elois DesMonde. Her reply is to tell him to drink up and get ready for a trip. A trip where, you might ask; Dan certainly does; and he gets the reply I think we were all expecting;

Back. About 300 years.

I don't know why that answer sent him to his sad place
Ok, maybe we weren't expecting that answer.

Anyway, off they trot... to a table, where they sit down and start chatting about legal documents. What the fuck is this? Seriously, they made it out for all the world like they were about to introduce time travel, or at least some kind of vision quest bullshit, and now they're sitting around chatting about fucking signatures. Colour me pissed off, Strange Paradise Writer!

Tarot Lady tells Forrest that if he hangs around a while Quinto will be along and he can hitch a ride out to Jean-Paul's house

Forrest: I'm promised a 300 year trip and it turns out to be a half hour journey across the channel. Some Magic!

My thoughts exactly mate! We've been fucking robbed!

Over at the house, Doc Carr is back to interrogating Jean-Paul again; I guess her terrified phase has passed for another episode; and he's trying to convince her that all that supernatural bobbins that Raxl has been filling her head with is nonsense. Suddenly though, he looks like this

He's baaaaaaackk
and he's bounding around the room and laughing and pointing out all the ridiculousness in the very idea and pretty much just taking the piss out of Raxl; that 'idiotic old woman'; and Doc Carr's flip flopping; Oh really Allison, you must be consistent!; and just proving once again that Jacques (for tis he) is way more fun to watch than Jean-Paul.

Jacques sticks around long enough to hear Doc Carr rant about how he is like two different people, then fucks off again and leaves Jean-Paul to deal with her demands that she be allowed to take CryoWife to the mainland and give her a decent burial. Which I would have thought would have sent him into a rampage, but it just turns him into a stammering wreck

You see, I don't consider Erica to be dead, and because of that I suppose I have been wrong to deny her Gods protection. But you see, if I return her to him, then she is lost to me, forever.

There's a lot of weird religious stuff in this show, I'm not gonna lie. I don't know how well the Christianity, Voodoo, and CryoFuckery science is gonna mesh going forward.

It's at this point that the painting of Bill Compton starts talking to Jean-Paul again, which I'd forgotten it did, cos it's been a while. This prompts him to declare that he has a headache, and he trudges off upstairs; Raxl being absent so far this episode, someone had to do it; leaving Doc Carr looking confused.

Or possibly sleepy

I don't think Doc Carr is meant to have heard the voice of the painting, but they aren't making it clear. She doesn't react when it happens, but after Jean-Paul leaves she gives the painting a funny look and then stares off after him looking concerned, so... Who knows?

Back to Cafe Le DayGlo now where we get a two minute scene of Forrest and Tarot Lady debating whether he should get a plane home or go and see Jean-Paul. They're very thorough. In the end he decides to go home, and trusts Quinto (Quinto is there, I should have said, soz), to get his documents to Jean-Paul for a new signature. Once that's decided, Quinto wanders off and Tarot tells Forrest a tale about the time Jacques got voodoo'd for being a murdering devil.

A story she knows because her Dad was the priest who passed sentence. 300 years ago. She just casually drops that in there. As you do. Because apparently, right, her Dad is pretty old. NO SHIT! It's ok though, she's his youngest daughter. Just in case Forrest was getting worried about the age gap.

Ooh, now she's gonna read his cards! I wonder what this is gonna turn up... nothing much to be honest, she just turns over one card and tells him it's name, without explaining it's meaning in the slightest. He can read the name himself, woman! What a swizz!

Ah, now she's turning over the cards one by one and equating each one to a character on the show. I'd best make a note of these, in case it's important later. You know, foreshadowing and shit;

Dan Forrest: The Knight of Clubs
Doc Carr: The Ace of Cups

Oh, that's as many as we get, cos she gets interrupted by Quinto wandering back in and telling Forrest his bus to the airport has arrived, She does turn another card over and says it's herself, but she doesn't name it, so it could be anything. Bit of a damp squib, that whole thing, really. Went nowhere. Although I suppose it killed a minute. As does his dithering over whether he should go home after all. COME ON MAN! YOU DECIDED THIS, LITERALLY 5 MINUTES AGO! He finally relents when Tarot Lady promises to be his 'listening post' on matters concerning Jean-Paul and Doc Carr.

When he leaves Tarot Lady comes across all grim and mentions to Quinto that the card Forrest chose earlier, the one she didn't explain, the one I got all upset about...was the card of Jacques Elois DesMonde! That Devil!! She does her best to look concerned, but I'm not sure she pulls it off.

Is this ok? I can go again, if...? What do you mean no second takes??
Our spooky end title music is then played out over a long, lingering shot of the talking portrait of Bill Compton, just in case we'd forgotten who Jacques is. Cos it's not like they mention his name 978 times every bloody episode.

So, does the fact that all the characters apparently relate to a Tarot card mean some kind of bigger destiny is waiting to be played out? Has Doc Carr figured out that Jean-Paul is being tormented by a talking watercolour? And just where the hell has Raxl gotten to? Those stairs won't walk themselves you know!

Some of these questions, and perhaps many more although I wouldn't put money on it, will be answered in the next exciting episode of Strange Paradise. Don't miss it! Oh, and on this blog, I am God. Think on!

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