Mr. Reindeer wrote:I’ve come to really like most of the Mr. C material, but for some reason the arm-wrestling scene just doesn’t really do it for me. I’m always rooting for it to pull me in, but it just feels like such a normal, predictable scene that could be from any movie. It is interesting that Mr. C sort of becomes the protagonist, or at least the guy we’re rooting for, for one scene. Kyle is good as usual, and we really get a good look at those black contact lenses in his closeups, which is a pretty chilling effect. I love when he’s calling for Ray: “I came to see you, buddy!” And then, “I came to see my friend Ray.”
It's hard to consider it a normal scene, because it's so ridiculous, but I guess it's ridiculous in the way a lot of normal films are, if that makes any sense. I love the scene, but it's worth noting that my viewing partner was a bigger fan of it than I am. He likened it to something out of a Carpenter film, which I could see. There's also just genuinely strange things about it, though, like the weird set dressing of this middle of nowhere boy's club silo, how it's almost like a Masonic lodge of reptile brain masculinity, Richard's jarring presence, the animal nature of the gnarled crowd and the accountant. There's a lot to like about the scene, but I do agree with you and think that the writing is a little too confident about the reaction it's causing in a viewer, that it tracks it in a way that feels too much like hand-holding, and that the payoff is sort of choreographed and telegraphed. But it's for that reason too that, like LateReg says, for a scene in TP it's so ironically strange.
Mr. Reindeer wrote:What is Jeffries’s place in all this? If Ray even did speak to the actual Jeffries? He wants Ray to kill the doppel because he has “something inside that they want.” That on its face sounds like he’s allied with Judy/etc. But note that he doesn’t actually say if Jeffries is working with the “they,” or against them. If the above theory is true, Judy/the Woodsman DON’T want Mr. C killed. They want him alive with Bob inside until they can pull him back in (hence Mike and EotA being so helpful to the “good” Cooper; they want him to succeed in being the one who stays out). So by killing Mr. C, Ray would free Bob, which seems like “Jeffries” is...aligned with Bob? Or, maybe more realistically, just opposed to Judy (it’s safer to have Bob wandering as a free spirit than to let Judy reunite with him?).
Or, another possibility: Jeffries told Ray to put the ring on the doppelganger, which seems to transport Ray back to the Lodge after his death. So perhaps if Ray had put the ring on Mr. C’s corpse, Bob wouldn’t be able to escape before he was transported back. So whoever Ray was talking to IS aligned with Judy and the Woodsmen.
What’s really weird about this any which way you look at it, though, is that Ray planned to kill Cooper at Jeffries’s command BEFORE he ever got arrested, and before the prison guard gave him the ring. So initially Jeffries didn’t mention the ring, and only later did this factor come into play? It’s really convoluted no matter how you try to look at it. It would all make so much more sense if Ray just had gotten the ring earlier. Maybe Ray is just lying about who gave him the ring, but why?
Now these are some things I've never thought about. It's strange how many preconceived notions I build up without ever realizing, because teasing through these possibilities feels like a great undoing of those notions, to begin to arrive at what feels closer to the truth. And yet, it all leads back inevitably to two scenes which, all along, always felt like reversals to whatever the audience had been thinking. One is Jeffries' apparent confusion and lack of involvement all along (although this is a huge bit of plausible deniability on his part), and the other is the twist of Ray getting the upper hand, at least for a second, on Cooper with the whole gun switcheroo. Up until that point, the audience thought Mr. C was in total, almost supernatural control of the situation, and Mr. C does too, apparently genuinely shocked, if not prepared for the Woodsmen to bring him back anyway. Perhaps the whole thing with Darya, which you pointed out in an earlier thread as rather shitty on Ray's part, is actually even shittier than that. I've toyed with the notion before that Betty, Hastings' assistant, was never involved and Ray roped her in as a kind of scapegoat to deter Mr. C from finding Brigg's body, because Ray never mentions Ruth to Mr. C, only Betty, whose car he later rigs to explode after trusting that Ray got the pertinent info from her. Maybe along the same lines, Darya was set up to get killed and make Mr. C believe that Ray was totally ineffectual. It's Ray's call that gets her killed, and yet his call is already part of the lie and set-up with the prison. And Mr. C does, creepily and almost in a savoring way, seem reassured and confident while killing Darya, and it's that scene which contributes also to our sense that Mr. C is unstoppable. Perhaps this is the way you can get Mr. C's guard down in a Bond fashion, but instead of the promise of a lasting romance with a damsel who later turns on him, it's the turning on and the offering up of her to him for a brutal and lascivious killing.
Mr. Reindeer wrote:Also, if I am correct, and the only viable options are to let Bob roam the Earth as a destructive free spirit ruining lives, or send him back and give Judy what she wants (which, according to TFD, could result in the destruction of the world)...sheesh. What a choice to make.
I love this way of looking at it, from the potential eyes of those having to make the hard calls. Feels close to the 'hard decisions' way of looking at the Fireman's actions.