Stephanie Watches Twin Peaks: 2×01 “May the Giant Be with You”


    Hello again. Can you see through a wall? Can you see through human skin? X-rays see through solid, or so-called solid objects. There are things in life that exist, and yet our eyes cannot see them. Have you ever seen something startling that others cannot see? Why are some things kept from our vision? Is life a puzzle? I am filled with questions. Sometimes my questions are answered. In my heart, I can tell if the answer is correct. I am my own judge. In a dream, are all the characters really you? Different aspects of you? Do answers come in dreams? One more thing: I grew up in the woods. I understand many things because of the woods. Trees standing together, growing alongside one another, providing so much. I chew pitch gum. On the outside, let’s say of the ponderosa pine, sometimes pitch oozes out. Runny pitch is no good to chew. Hard, brittle pitch is no good. But in between there exists a firm, slightly crusted pitch with such a flavor. This is the pitch I chew.”

    My Special Agents

    When we last left Agent Cooper (and I last left you on Nov. 12, 2015), he had been shot by an unknown assailant. Plus, we didn’t know the fate of Shelly or Catherine escaping the burning mill.

    We return to Coop’s room at the Great Northern. He lies on his back, bleeding and unable to move while Andy shouts from the phone in the distance. The oldest man in existence shows up in a waiter uniform carrying the glass of warm milk he ordered. This is probably my favorite scene in the entire show. The man moves so excrutiatingly slow and seems to pay no mind to Coop bleeding out on the floor. He hangs up the phone for him and warns Coop that his milk will get cold if he waits too long. And he gives Coop the bill to sign. “Does this include gratuity?” The man takes the bill and leaves, ever so slowly. And then he comes back in and leaves a few more times, just as slowly, the two exchanging thumbs up over and over again. It’s so good. That perfect combination of ridiculous, but mysterious. Is this old man part of the dream? Is he in this reality with Cooper? Is he just a super old man that works at the Great Northern?

    Coop isn’t getting up any time soon and the room darkens. But the giant appears to him, illuminating them both in light.

    I will tell you three things… The first thing I will tell you is there’s a man in a smiling bag. The second thing is the owls are not what they seem. The third thing is without chemicals, he points.”

    Obviously, these things make little sense to Coop, but he’s used to this wackiness by now thanks to his Red Room dreams. He repeats the words as the Giant takes his ring. If what the Giant says comes to pass, he wants Cooper to finally believe in him and his dreams.

    This entire scene takes about 18 minutes (including the intro music). And the majority of that is the old man. Man, it’s so good.

    Eventually Coop is rescued and he wakes up in the hospital. He learns Jacques Renault was murdered and sees a smiling bag that contained a man (Jacques!). Shelly is in the hospital. Pete is in the hospital for going in the burning building after Catherine. But Catherine is still missing. Nadine is in a coma after taking too many sleeping pills. And Leo is in a coma after getting shot by Hank outside his window during a fight with Bobby. Whew! “We haven’t had this much action since the Elk Club fire of ’59,” Doc Hayward says. Continue reading

    Stephanie Reads The Girls & The Girl with All the Gifts


    The Girls by Emma Cline
    When I heard The Girls was a fictionalized version of the Charles Manson family and the murders of Sharon Tate and her friends, I had to pick it up. The first half of this story really drew me in as we discover what is so tantalizing about this strange family dynamic that tears us away from life as usual. Our narrator, Evie, is infatuated more with one of the girls on the ranch rather than Charles, or Russell in the novel, himself. It’s more about her sometimes confusing, always earnest relationship with this girl. And how that relationship changes her over time.

    The terrible murders were teased throughout the entire story from the recollections of Evie in the present to her flashbacks as a young girl growing up in this new, exciting world. But as we neared the horrific event, which is what her tale was leading up to the entire time, it just vaguely gloss over them. Perhaps this makes me a terrible person, but I wanted the gory, gruesome details of that night. I wanted our narrator to be there. I wanted her to take part. I wanted her to take responsibility. Maybe that’s just my love of true crime kicking in, but I was a little disappointed in how the end just petered out.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable novel, but I wanted more from what I thought the novel was truly about for me.

    The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
    The Girl with All the Gifts is a story that will stick with me for a very long time. It’s been a while since I’ve been so instantly captivated by something, but I had a hard time putting this one down. Melanie is a young girl, going to school like any other child, except that she and her classmates are bound to wheelchairs, muzzles over their faces. They’re not quite monsters and not quite children either.

    Some may write this off as another dystopian zombie novel, but that would be doing a disservice to the story it tells. Plus, the infected aren’t exactly zombies because they’re not really dead. They’re just… hungry.

    When the shit really hits the fan, you feel as stressed as the characters. It’s a real nail-biter, which is bad when you have that habit, but good when you hold the book with both hands so you don’t do that. Again, it’s not about the apocalypse. It’s about the relationships that are built as a result of what’s happening. Melanie and Miss Justineau’s pseudo mother/daughter relationship was both fascinating and beautiful to experience, while other characters reached depths I didn’t know they were capable of. I also love multi-point-of-view storytelling. Melanie’s chapters were quick, short, fast sentences, which is how I imagined her brain worked, while Dr. Caldwell’s, for example, were long, languorous prose over-explaining the science of everything happening. It was all very well done with never a dull moment.

    I can’t recommend this book enough. The final page left me in tears.

    Stephanie Writes: New Year’s Eve 2016


    I think we can all agree that this year was pretty terrible for a multitude of reasons. I’ve seen the phrase “all my heroes are dead and my enemies are in power” circulating and it is truer than ever. My friends went through a lot of terrible stuff. I went through some terrible stuff. As Carrie Fisher would say, this year “hurt all 3 of my feelings.”

    But it wasn’t all bad. Tatiana Maslany finally got an Emmy for Orphan Black. That’s all that matters, right? Haha. For reals though, I’m thankful for the good stuff that did happen this year to me. New friends, the trips I went on, the live shows I saw, etc.

    I’m going into 2017 with one word in mind: Hope. (Picture General Organa saying this to Rey in Ep VII because I can’t find a gif of it.) I’m hoping that the world doesn’t end and some good stuff happens for me and for all the people I care about. To quote Carrie Fisher again: “Help me obi Juan whoever the fuck you are…. You’re my only ho”

    In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts from this year:

    Signing off, once more, with Carrie Fisher’s words from Dec. 31, 2015.
    Happy 2017, everyone. May it suck much less for us all.