An old adage goes, “Never meet your heroes” (as you’ll be disappointed); in this instance the same can be said for villains.
The inexplicably luxurious Moroccan desert train pulls away, revealing our two newly minted star crossed lovers in the middle of nowhere. Apparently none of the railway officials or local authorities have any questions for the couple who were involved in the little “disagreement” in the dining car the night before, which destroyed 3 out of the 7 railway cars on that train, or in regards to the other involved passenger who has since gone missing.
Cut to a small, long abandoned desert hut where the two are now standing, waiting, we know their waiting because Craig asks “This may be a long wait, are you having second thoughts?” A wait for what exactly? Last I remember they were heading to a fly spec on a map, to find and kill “him”. Now they’re waiting for a ride? What did they do? Ring ahead and say they were coming? “Yes, hello, secret desert SPECTRE installation? Yes I have a reservation to kill your leader and destroy your base, yes reservations for two at 10 AM, we have quite a bit of luggage, so please send a large car.”
And send a large car they did, in the distance a dust cloud appears and grows larger until a 1948 Rolls Royce Silver Wrath can be recognized, I know precisely what it is, because Craig says exactly that. Before uttering the year make and model of the mystery car, Craig dressed in an outfit similar to the post golf outfit Connery sports in Goldfinger (wink), cocks his pistol and secretes it behind his back. So he’s expecting trouble? What kind of trouble, I’m really having one hell of a time trying to figure out what is supposed to be going on here! What the bloody hell were they waiting at the station for? Nobody was supposed to know they were coming! Maybe they did call ahead! Once again so much for M’s claim that they would only be helping “them” by tracking Craig.
I’d also like to point out Hinx just tried to kill them last night on the train, you know the henchman working for Oberhauser. Now OB is sending a limo? Not a gunship? Not even a couple of stereotypical 1930’s gangsters with tommy guns in a rootin, tootin drive by? Just a chauffeur who politely opens the door and says “Please”? If you wanted to meet up with him for high tea, why waste your henchman’s time (and life) trying to kill him?
The Rolls takes them down a long dirt road to crater town, along the way Swann says “I’m scared James” to which Craig grabs her hand, she clutches it and makes a face as if his hands are sweating (wink to Dr. No). Inside the crater we find something reminiscent of Palm Springs CA. a large lush green lawn being watered by the oscillating sprinklers one would find at a hardware store, in front of an austere postmodern edifice. As Craig exits the car his jacket is off, putting his gun on full display, like the secret agent he is! Craig dons his coat and an underling expresses a warm greeting and informs them drinks will be served at 4 (Dr. No anyone?). The greeter says “Just one more thing” prompting a servant replete in white tie and tails to step forward with a silver platter. After a short pause Craig gets it, and places his pistol on the platter saying “Be careful with that, it’s loaded”, so now he’s mindful of firearms safety! But really come on, we’re laying it on a bit thick here aren’t we Sammy?!?! Silver platter?!?! Servant in TAILS!?!? What is this a parody?!?! Did someone pop in Austin Powers 4 when I wasn’t looking?!?!?
Craig is shown his room, (cell) it’s a fancy affair, mink lined with 4 star service (Dr. No), he looks out over the “base” which consists of various hydrogen tanks, radar dishes and a telescope (I guess Franz is a star gazer!). Turning back in to the room he spies the ridiculous sepia photo contained in his “guardianship envelope” from the apartment scene, but this one is in good condition revealing the young man whose face was obliterated by the comically placed hole is in fact Oberhauser! Oooh, mysteries abound!
Swann finds an oriental pattern dress waiting for her on her bed. At this point why not just throw Dr. No in that dusty old VHS player back in the secret room and have us watch that movie instead, rather than continue to punish us with these tortured “homages”! Besides in Dr. No, Honey needed to have new clothes provided for her due to her bikini, the only bit of clothing she had, being contaminated with radiation. Swann arrived with a bulging suitcase! Swann finds one of the photos from daddy’s bulletin board blown up and framed on one of the shelves. Ugh, this is tiresome!
Craig and Swann are led past the various hydrogen tanks, power transformers and telescope we saw earlier, to a room where along the way they are told is a special place and are to go alone. Not before they are invited to enjoy some champagne, which Craig declines, I guess Craig can say no to alcohol after all. The two enter the “special place” which is a dark room containing a large meteor. Craig whispers “I think we’re meant to be impressed.” I suppose there’s a joke about the size of his stones in there somewhere! (Sorry couldn’t resist!) Suddenly the disembodied voice of Ober-Blower-Hauser says “Touch it”, “You can touch it if you want”. Whoa, whoa, whoa, I was just kidding about the stones, you can’t make this stuff up!
Ober lisps on, explaining the meteorite was the very one to create the crater they stand in now, he goes on existentially, about the meteor being in space for so long building momentum until it hit earth, that wouldn’t be a heavy handed meteor metaphor would it? It would! As Craig answers back with one of his own, about how the meteor was stopped, “Right Here!” Ooooh, tough guy space talk! Ober says “I’m so glad to have all of us here together, you too Madeline”. Let me stop you right here Oby, there are only 3 people in this room, all of us together and you too? So two people constitute “all of us”? Are you schizophrenic?
On their way to the next plot point, Ober goes on and on and on about information and how important it is, and states to Craig that he must know by now that the 00 program is officially dead (actually Fransy, it was murdered about ten years ago). So the organization Craig is apparently so desperate to leave has been shut down? I guess that makes this a win-win huh?
Ober asks, or should I say lisps, in a disturbing (and not in the correct way) soft, gentle tone, “SSSSoo, Jamesssss, why did you come?” Craig’s reply is to say “I came here to kill you”, to which Ober retorts, “And I thought you came here to die”. Ugh, I mean, Oh! What great writing! I can see why they needed 4 scribes to pen this Shakespearean masterpiece! They continue on to a room full of monitors and technicians seated before them. Waltz shows Craig a particular monitor in which a live feed displays M addressing the troops for the last time. Craig is physically shaken by this, “Oh no, the man I just met and started working for a scant few years ago is out of a job! Now he’ll have to go back to that fat paycheck at Parliament!”
Craig rounds up the plot so far, Ober-Blo-Bro-Hauser is building up a private surveillance system and through his lackey C, is tapping in to the various government intelligence agencies via “9 eyes”. To what end nobody knows, and I suppose at this point nobody cares. Craig asks “I suppose C is one of your disciples?” OB confirms this suspicion, prompting Craig to further ask what he is getting out of it, OB says “Nothing, he is a visionary like me”, Craig replies, wait for it… “Visionaries, our asylums are full of them”, BOOM, pay off, another Dr. No reference!
Waltz goes on and on stating a pattern developed where Craig would interfere in his world and Waltz would destroy his. “Do you think it was a coincidence all the women in your life died?” “Vesper Lynd, she was the big one.” He says as he turns to Swann. Did I miss something? Or did Vesper not commit suicide in that film? Also what other women were there in Craig’s life? Solange? Severine? Agent Fields? Those disposable characters whose names you don’t know until the credits, women whose corpses Craig barely even acknowledged let alone grieved over? I wouldn’t call them women in his life. Momma M? That was Craig’s incompetence that killed her. Then he says it, “Me! It wasssss all me Jamesssss, the awtha of aaall ya paaain.” Ick, I can’t hear that dreck without raising a little bile! I also can’t hear that line and the “Kite in a hurricane” one without picturing which ever hack, I mean word smith, who penned them sitting back, resting the back of their head in their hands and looking up with a smug, satisfied grin, so proud of those artfully crafted bits of poetry.
Suddenly the screens go black the drones swivel their chairs to face the master, Swann says, “Now I understand what happened to my father.” Waltz replies, “He didn’t go mad, he was just weak.” And so is my stomach! Ugh! Waltz begins the tape from earlier where Mr. White commits suicide, after about 30 seconds, dullard Craig begins to realize what this footage is, “No, no, no, turn this off” he says. He screams “Turn it off” and is knocked to the floor by Waltz’ goons, through all this drama Craig yells at Swann to look at him, which makes this a classic “Sophie’s choice”. Does she continue to look at the horrific footage of her father’s suicide or gaze upon Craig’s hideous mug? She does in fact turn and look upon Craig, wearing an odd expression on her face, which is confusing, as Craig told her in excruciating detail exactly how her father died, so none of this should have come as a surprise. Is she disappointed in Craig? If so why? He didn’t hold back any information. Does the confirmation of what he said make her trust him more? Again why? If she didn’t trust him thus far why did she go with him to what was supposed to be certain death? Thinking about this is excruciating. Speaking of excruciating…