Things are starting to get curiouser and curiouser in the eerie town of "Bright Falls," the setting for the live-action miniseries prequel to Remedy’s upcoming thriller Alan Wake. So I’ll cede the floor to Stephen “Small Town” Johnson who will kick off this week’s discussion as we take a look at what kinds of oddities journalist Jake Fisher encounters in episode four, “Local Flavor.” (And if you need to catch up, here are our impressions of: Episodes One and Two, and Episode Three.)
Stephen Johnson: The Alan Wake “Bright Falls” promotional webisodes are the best promotional webisodes I’ve ever seen. I guess they had a long time to think about the marketing for this game, since it’s been in development for over 67 years.
This week, in episode 4, crap gets all crazy, and you’ll be all, “Oh, no! Deerfest is getting closer! Some crazy lady is throwing rocks at all the lights! …but is she even real?? Why is TV so much better in Bright Falls than it is in my house?”
I know it’s a nexus of nightmare and despair, but I still want to live in Bright Falls. It’s scenic, and I’ll bet it smells great there. I’ll bet the food at that little diner is amazing. I could find a nice girl and settle down into a log cabin, get all excited about Deerfest every year, and keep sane by visiting Bright Falls’ state-of-the-art mental health facilities. I just hope the darkness itself doesn’t grab me and drag me to Hell or anything.
Jake Gaskill: Oh, yeah. This is what I’m talking about. First off, the episode kicks off with Jake asking a local shopkeeper for something that he’s hoping can be overnighted. What could Jake possibly need shipped into town? I also love how ominous it is that he is buying duct tape, and then in the next scene, Jake’s dented hood (still bloodied from the deer that he hit with his car in episode one) all taped up. I love this play on the truly creepy feel everything in Bright Falls elicits. The set design of the general store is also brilliant, as is the actor playing the shopkeeper.
The next scene has that same kind of humor/terror feel that David Lynch so expertly pulls off in his movies (the Coen Brothers do this extraordinarily well too). It actually made me think of the scene in Mulholland Drive where the guy (who actually plays Jacob on Lost, funnily enough) kills that other guy for his little black book only to wound a woman in the next room, forcing him to kill her too. Here, we get a clearly crazy woman trying to break a nearby lamppost light with rocks (perhaps because she’s been infected by the dark presence that has infested the town?). Later in the scene, we realize that this is the same woman who appears in Jake’s first series of mind-flashes when he blacked out during his interview with Dr. Hartman.
We also get another tease that perhaps Jake isn’t all there mentally, when he explains to the waitress about the crazy woman being arrested outside, only to see that there isn’t anyone in the parking lot. We find out that he is not hallucinating when the car pulls up to the diner window and the cop who the woman bite busts into the diner in need of a towel to stop the bleeding.
Also during this scene, there is a commercial for the town’s wildly popular Deerfest that is just brilliant. And actually, I’m pretty sure I heard this very commercial while listening to Pandora radio online yesterday, but I have yet to confirm that, so perhaps I myself, another Jake, am losing my mind as well. However, what I do know is that the commercial causes Jake to have another “episode” of sorts, during which we see flashes of more wild and crazy stuff. The first of which is that the dude being dragged through the woods appears to be the poor motel owner who was sucked into the woods at the end of the last episode.
The final scene opens with Jake waking up in the very body bag that we saw dragged out of a lake and unzipped by some unknown person in the very first scene of the first episode. Who is this mysterious person? Why did he save Jake? Why was Jake drowning in a lake in a body bag? Why, why why?!?
The scene ends with Jake scurrying into the woods to hide from a shining light...and possibly terrifying answers? Only two episodes remain, so I guess we'll see.
Any thoughts about this week's episode?