Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Strange Paradise Episode 10

If you read the last Strange Paradise post you will be aware that I got slightly annoyed with the show because it took an entire episode to do absolutely nothing. So much nothing that I'm not even gonna do a 'Last time on...' this week. Let's just dive in and see if it redeems itself. Episode 10, do your worst!

We open on Quinto wandering around the house. For over a minute. So...that's a good start. Also, it seems to indicate that they've given up on the expository introductions narrated by Jean-Paul. Nice consistency.

As Quinto is going walkabout we skip over to Cafe Le DayGlo to see Holly telling concerned friend/creepy stalker priest Reverend Ted McGinley to leave her alone. I don't know what he was expecting when he turned up unannounced, but she sure aint happy to see him.

Get your damned dirty hands off me you fiend!

She storms off and, because he's really good at taking hints, he tries to follow her. Luckily Painter Dude, who seems to spend all his time wandering in and out of the cafe, blocks his exit. Well done, Painter Dude.

Quinto is still wandering around. He goes into what I think is some kind of shed or barn or something. For added excitement, he closes the door behind him while looking at the camera really gormlessly. At this point we've obviously reached our limit for tension, because we cut to the titles.

And it's a good job we do because immediately upon the titles ending we're back on Quinto, who walks through the barn and then... ducks below camera shot? I think we're meant to think he's gone down like a trapdoor or something, but all we see is him just dropping off the bottom of the picture. Because high tech! But can you imagine if we'd seen that without the break for the titles? We'd have positively burst with excitement!

Cafe Le DayGlo is seeing it's own fair share of excitement too, because Reverend Ted and Painter Dude are coming dangerously close to having cross words. The extras in the background are looking worried

The guy from Big Bang Theory is especially worried
and well they might, because if shit did kick off I'm not sure the sets could take it. Luckily the two hardmen suddenly decide to become best chums and have a good old laugh about the whole thing. Because of course they do. After slagging off Hollys Mum for a bit, Reverend Ted heads off to his room and Tarot Lady stops in to give Painter Dude a mission. It goes a little something like this...

You're really close friends with the underage girl you only met several hours ago so I want you to talk her into packing up her shit and going back where she came from; even though that would mean heading back into the clutches of an evil manipulative parent who wants to have her committed in order to steal her inheritance; because my Tarot cards keep predicting bad shit for her if she stays here.

That Painter Dude does not immediately reply with 'Fuck off you absolute mentalist'  speaks volumes about him. And oh look, here's Holly back. What perfect timing. He talks to her for a bit and while, to his credit, he doesn't tell her to turn around and go home; he'd be on the wrong show if he did; he does make fun of her reasons for leaving home. Because he's sensitive. 30 seconds of conversation with him and she looks like this.

He insults her intelligence a little more, she tells him to fuck off and then they forget they're arguing so they can start talking about someone else. Just like Painter Dude and Reverend Ted did. I'm starting to think Cafe Le DayGlo is a TARDIS with a working Temporal Grace circuit. (Doctor Who references FTW)

They chat about Tarot Lady for a while; Holly thinks she's 'The Most' because that's totally something a hip young thing would say, and not at all a 30 something man trying to write young. Then their utterly fascinating conversation is cut off by their noticing that Jean-Paul has arrived.

Jean-Paul in the hizzouse
And he's talking to Quinto! Who was at the house, ON ANOTHER ISLAND, but a scene or two ago. I mean admittedly we did see him fall into a hole; or whatever, you know; so maybe that was a Magical Portal Of The Writer Doesn't Understand How Time and Distance Work. You never know.

Painter Dude wanders off with Quinto, while Jean Paul and Tarot Lady have a chat.  She used to read his cards, she says, but now is afraid to. He tells her she's taking her heredity too seriously and she replies with:

I can't escape it. Any more than I can The Conjure Man. 

Whoa there, woman! The Conjure Man? Just gonna drop that in the middle of a conversation like it's, you know, normal? The fucking Conjure Man? Sheesh.

Oh, turns out it's totally normal. Jean-Paul is just all like, 'ah yes, The Conjure Man, how is the old chap, keeping well is he?' And she's all, 'yeah, he just chillin in his crib, aint no thing.' It's all very strange. Although the scene does redeem itself by providing the most hilarious reading of the line 'No man should live alone' that I've ever heard. So, you know, bravo Jean-Paul.

But there's no time to dilly dally, the boat is all loaded with his shopping and there's at least two carrier bags of freezer stuff so Jean-Paul has to leave. But not before...

Jacques in the hizzouse
Jacques is back! What shit will he get up to this time? Last time he made an appearance he tried to cop off with Doc Carr, will he now try it on with Tarot Lady? I bet he does! The swine!

Oh, he hasn't. Ah well. Instead he just does his usual shtick of being obnoxiously cheerful and then fucks off, leaving Painter Dude and Tarot Lady to say their goodbyes and have a bit of a conversation about how weird he is.

Quick cut over to the island, because you didn't think we were going to see any of the journey, did you? Hah! Quinto is sent ahead with the packages and then Painter Dude is led off up the hill by Jean-Paul. At least, I think it's Jean-Paul. He's acting like Jean-Paul. But then, if it is, what was the point of him turning into Jacques for all of about 20 seconds in the previous scene? Has the writer gone mad? It's a fair bet.

None of that is the point of this scene though. Oh no, there's something far more important going on. You see, once they've all fucked off up the hill to the house, who should pop up out of the boat but...

Holly in the hizzouse
Holly! No good will come of this!

Oh no! Quinto is back and Holly is freaking out! I told you no good would come from this! Mind you, I can't help feeling she's overdoing it a bit. I mean, yes, he's all very Uncle Fester and everything but she's seen him about on the mainland, so it's not like his appearance should come as a surprise. Silly blonde girl. (I'M JOKING! HASHTAG DONTHATEME)

It's all right, she's calmed down now. Quinto has offered to carry her bags for her so she's totally cool with him. Typical woman, amirite? (Please see previous disclaimer)

Painter Dude is admiring the portraits up at the house. Jean-Paul tells him that the one he is going to paint will be the most beautiful of all. I think that's meant to be him saying his wife is beautiful but it just sounds like a threat. 'YOU WILL PAINT A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE, DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU WILL!' I'm still not sure if we're meant to be seeing Jean-Paul or Jacques. I'm not sure the actor knows.

Back at the cafe Tarot Lady is reading some Tarot Cards, because that's all she knows how to do if there's no-one around to terrify with dire warnings of death. She's not alone for long though because Reverend Ted McGinley wanders into shot and starts sticking his oar in. As if a ruddy vicar would understand superstitious twaddle that preys on the fear of the unknown to convince people it knows what's best for them.

The powers of the Tarot may be the magicians way to power, but they are also the souls way to God. Any path that leads to God should have a Ministers approval.

Yeah, whatever you say mate.

Of course, Reverend Ted isn't just making polite conversation, or what passes for it in this show. Oh no, he wants to question her about Holly. She claims not to know anything about her, even though she's been happy enough to tell anyone who'd listen about her dire fate up until now, but says she's determined to find out where she's gone, 'for reasons of my own.' She wants to go all Girls In White on her ass doesn't she? That's totally it.

Gon' break her in real gooood
Speak of the devil, Holly has just arrived at the house. Jean-Paul is all fuming ass angry about it at first but she tells him that she's on the run from a world that bugs her and he's the only man in the world who could possibly understand; which makes absolutely zero sense but who cares at this point; and he's all 'aww shucks, well when you put it like that you can stay as long as you like, pretty underage girl I've never met before in my life.'

So, you know, all's well that ends well.

Once he's sent both Holly and Painter Dude off to their rooms, because they're both 12, Jean-Paul has a nice sit down in his favourite chair next to the talking portrait of Bill Compton. You'd think he'd know better by now. Sure enough, the talking portrait starts talking to him.

Bring us no more guests. We have enough to resolve our destiny, and theirs. So says the talking portrait, and it's a sentiment that doesn't go down at all well with Jean-Paul.

He's no a happy chappie
And... it looks like... yep, that's it. The last two minutes is literally just a long slow pull out from his face, and then the credits play, still over him sitting in the armchair looking miserable. You've gotta pity the actor. Fair play to him though, he only fidgets a tiny bit.

This has been a massive improvement on the last episode, there's no denying it. I mean, minuscule as it may be their has been some forward momentum, and now that more of the cast are converging on the house it seems like the main plot may finally be about to kick into high gear. Cautious optimism is engaged. Sort of.

So I'll say goodbye, and leave you with this thought; On this blog, I am God. And don't you forget it.

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