The Ape

tn_theapeLast year it was in the news that James Franco wanted to direct an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Other– let’s say, more experienced directors like Ridley Scott had tried already, but the book defeated them. Now here’s this young actor, he’s got a couple Oscar nominations under his belt, but he’s often confused with his dumb stoner comedic persona and called pretentious for his goofball side projects like being on General Hospital and going to Yale. He apparently shot a 20-minute test film starring Mark Pelligrino, Scott Glenn, Luke Perry and his brother Dave to prove his directorial chops. Later he was moved over to a different McCarthy project, CHILD OF GOD.

But here’s the thing: he was already a director. In 2005 he directed, starred in and adapted (from his own play) THE APE, about a writer sharing a New York City apartment with a slobby gorilla. (He has other directing credits on IMDb too, but this looks like the earliest one available on video.)

Franco plays Harry, a phone company worker who separates from his wife and young son to be alone and focus on finishing his novel, of which he’s only written two words so far (“The man…”). He thought being alone with his giant framed photo of Dostoevsky would allow him to really focus and be productive, but didn’t realize that the lease would require him to live with a talking ape (possibly imagined, possibly a metaphor for his bestial, macho id, definitely giving him lice).

mp_theapeThe Ape (or just “Apey” he usually calls him) is played by an actor named Brian Lally in a cheap Halloween mask. It’s apparently the same one they used on stage – they didn’t go the WAR HORSE route and upgrade to a real gorilla for the movie. The mouth moves when he talks, but you can see light through the eyeholes when he’s in profile. I don’t think Weta Workshop or Andy Serkis were involved at all.

But he isn’t trying to seem like a real gorilla anyway. He wears a Hawaiian shirt and Chuck Taylors, and doesn’t want to return to the wild because “I’m a New Yorker.”

After Harry fails to get rid of Ape they end up buddies and writing partners. Ape influences Harry to let go of societal rules, cheat on his wife, etc. When that doesn’t go so well it almost seems like he’s gonna let the ape fuck him, but I don’t think it’s trying to imply that it did happen. They’re just roommates. It’s not what it looks like.

It’s a little like BARTON FINK because he’s struggling with writer’s block and also because he’s so convinced of his own greatness while working on a clearly terrible book. I think Franco is a funny guy and his enthusiasm for “the perfect ending to the perfect novel!” makes me laugh. Some of the supporting actors (who come from the acting class he originally wrote the play for) aren’t as natural as him, they feel very Indie Comedy That Played a Few Festivals. But that’s okay. I like that (like a play) it’s willing to throw in tangental scenes like a long cafeteria conversation between his cubicle-neighbor and another co-worker. He probly wrote it just to give them more to do, but it’s kind of a nice detour.

Franco’s had a weird career. He was so good on that Freaks & Geeks show, funny but also dramatic when necessary, but nobody really paid attention at the time. Then he played James Dean in a TV movie and got stuck playing broody handsome guys for years. For example he’s in the SPIDER-MANs and I kind of like him in those but it seems like a waste of his talents and his charisma. Eventually he got to be good and critically acclaimed in movies like MILK and 127 HOURS, but I think his best work is when he returned to being funny in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and, yes, the widely despised YOUR HIGHNESS.

Anyway for years he was broody guy, then as soon as he starts getting to do other stuff people started hating him. How dare that motherfucker do a bunch of different stuff?

If you do have a problem with it I recommend watching this interview he did on The Colbert Report. He’s promoting a KRULL parody with a pot joke in the title but he spends his time presenting a thoughtful analysis of why people are suspicious of him and why he thinks Colbert is a better artist than himself. In part 2 he seems to actually impress Colbert with his almost-right answers to an impromptu J.R.R. Tolkien quiz. How you gonna hate this guy?

It’s weird that he did THE APE and then RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. I wonder if he used his experience pretending to live with an ape in this movie to get that role. He also shot some interstitial scenes with a real ape in a grungy room holding signs with chapter titles. Kind of an arty GUMMO type of look to those.

But the most interesting thing about this is that it sort of puts the lie to that idea that Franco is some pretentious poseur Artiste. If so he definitely has a sense of humor about that aspect of himself, because he makes fun of it like a little brother that recently peed his pants. Franco portrays a probly talentless nobody who (like us) dreams of creating some great work and breaking out of his unfulfilling job. But he’s more passionate about the label of Writer than about anything he actually wants to say through his writing. He has this romanticized notion of the writer’s life and he fakes it at the cost of whatever actual life he previously had. He brags about leaving his wife and kid to write a book. He thinks it proves he’s a real artist, doesn’t realize it just makes him an asshole. An ape.

THE APE is not an entirely successful movie, but I think it’s an admirable one. I laughed at times and I related to it at times and there was a gorilla many other times. I haven’t read Blood Meridian yet but from what I understand that was the problem, there was no gorilla.

(Seriously, it’s not nearly as bad as that trailer.)

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2012 at 8:15 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

44 Responses to “The Ape”

  1. I just wonder what the Spiderman movies would have been like if he’s gotten his wish and had played Peter Parker.

    I don’t get the Franco hate, and I truly believe his weird, shitty performance while cohosting the Oscars was because of nerves and the realization that he wasn’t the right fit for the gig. He constantly had an overwhelmed air to him that I think a lot of people mistook for pretentiousness or him getting stoned in the green room.

  2. BTW, with all the political bullshit going down in the realm of women’s reproductive rights, I think now would be a good time to review The Handmaid’s Tale. Just a thought.

  3. I like how the dvd cover makes it look like a straight up comedy, along the lines of Tony Danza’s Going Ape! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082457/

  4. ANoniMouse – yeah I read recently that Georgia has passed some fucked up law http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/03/31/at-11th-hour-georgia-passes-women-as-livestock-bill/

    geez, it’s the year TWENTY FUCKING TWELVE PEOPLE! why can’t we get past this bullshit? we should have flying cars and robots, not this bullshit

  5. Women’s rights have officially been setback by over 40 years. Wow.

    RE: Franco and the Oscars. He claims that it was because big mouth Hathaway was acting so hyper that he deliberately played the straight man and was very dialed down to the point of seeming disinterested. Said that as an actor he was trained to be reactionary like that.

    Since he didn’t rehearse with her I guess (which is stupid) he had no idea she was going to be that way. His hand was forced as the both of them couldn’t be all chipper since it will lead to no contrast and make 2 hosts seem redundant.

  6. I really hope this is the beginning of a string of Ape movie reviews. That Going Ape (exclamation mark) looks like it probably hasn’t been reviewed in a while.

    I also respect Franco’s weirdness. He definitely has a sense of humor about himself, which undercuts any pretentiousness he may or may not have about his art.

  7. Knox Harrington

    April 8th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Wow, I thought I was the only person in the world to even see this thing. Being a big Franco fan, I’d mention The Ape to my movie mates and they’d just go “Huh?”.

    Never made the Barton Fink comparison. Funny, since it’s one of my all-time favourite films. I love stories about writers. Wonder Boys being another one of my favourites (whatever happened to Curtis Hanson?).

    As for McCarthy, I think Child of God is better suited for Franco. Blood Meridian is way out of any novice filmmaker’s league. To be honest, I don’t even think that Ridley Scott could pull it off. Sure, he could handle to scale and scope of that epic tale, but I’m afraid he just isn’t a good enough storyteller to suitably capture the tone and themes of Blood Meridian. Subtext just doesn’t seem to be his thing anymore.

    I nominate David Cronenberg.

  8. Would the filma have to have apes in them or would chimps and orangutangs be allowed? I would love to see a review of those Clint Eastwood films and that one from Matthew Broderick with the chimps flying simulators.

  9. Chimps and orangutans are apes.

  10. I thought Chimps were monkeys?

  11. Chimps aren’t monkeys because they don’t have tails…and other scientific stuff.

    Good to know about the ape classification, though. Bring on the primates!

  12. 90’s Oliver Stone is the only person I can think of who could pull off a worthy film adaptation of Blood Meridian, and I think it’s safe to say that the dude has left the building. The book has a hallucinatory aspect that Ridley Scott would have not the first idea of how to depict and while Franco seems sharp enough as an actor (and just as a dude) the idea of him trying to adapt Blood Meridian makes me laugh. Who would he get to play the Judge? Seth Rogen?

    Actually… I could see Refn knowing how to make it work… maybe.

    Speaking of 90’s Oliver Stone though, I think Woody Harrelson would be FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE as the Judge, if was willing to get huge for the role. Short of resurrecting Marlon Brando I can think of no other actor who could make me buy it.

    Glanton = Ian MacShane. The Kid = Jamie Bell. Toadvine = Michael Wincott.

  13. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 8th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    “Women’s rights have officially been setback by over 40 years. Wow.”

    By “The Ape”? Or is this some political thing in America that I’ve missed?

  14. Paul- The latter, sadly. And on Monday the Supreme Court decided it’s legal for the police to perform a full body cavity search on anybody that they are arresting, no matter the offense. By force, if necessary.

    I know this place has never been perfect, but what the hell is happening lately? I don’t know whether we’re just hearing about more shit that goes down or whether there actually is more shit starting to go down.

  15. Lars Von Trier or Terrance Malick for Blood Meridian or get the fuck out.

    Even they couldn’t do it “right”, but they could at least make it a quiet and meditative film instead of a gratuitous action flick that will get the wrong crowd fetishizing The Judge.

  16. psychic_hits – I’ve been reading some seriously scary shit on the internet lately, I hate to say it, but I fear the USA might be seriously descending into a fascist police state

  17. The more i think about it, the more i believe that Blood Meridian should be a one series HBO production. HBO has shown more willingless to produce contorvetial productions and shown more cojones then the vast majority of film production houses. And it’s impossible to do the book any kind of justice by being cowardly in the presentation.

  18. Casey, there is one thing that would be impossible for Lars Von Trier to make a Blood Meridian movie: there are no deserts in europe. The dude is so affraid to fly, the drives to Cannes from Denmark to Cannes and back. It’s like driving from Detroit to Miami and back. Well, Spain does have some very desolate landscapes, for wich many spargetti westerns were made, and Lars could take a boat to Morocco from Gibraltar or Cadis to shoot in the deserts there, but i guess his phobias would also extend to embarking on boats.

    (Don’t laugh at the idea of using Morocco as a substitute for an american desert, it has been done before, most notoriously in the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Yeah, that’s Morocco, not the american west you saw in that movie).

  19. What is it with you americans and your obsession with body cavities, specially rectal? I though that abusing rectal areas on people in custody was the the previledge of visting aliens from outer space.

    What’s next, laws allowing cops to mutilate cows?

  20. “Women’s rights have officially been setback by over 40 years.”

    That’s because of the popularity of the TWILIGHT books and movies, correct?

    I used to be sympathetic to the mormons, but nowdays they task me.

  21. psychic_hits, Harrelson today would make for a better Judge then when he was an younger lad in the 90s, since nowdays he is closer ti the age for the character as infered in the novel.

    But for some reason, i always imagine Jakes Busey in the role. I think he’s a good and underrated actor, and a perfect match. In my view.

    I agree with you that there seem to be very few directors more apt to make a sucessful adaptation to the screen then Nicolas Winding Refn. One could even see his previous VALHALLA RISING as a sort of testing grounds for BLOOD MERIDIAN. Hell, so much of VALHALLA RISING looks like BLOOD MERIDIAN: THE VIKING YEARS.

    What i mean to say is that Refn already has a pretty good training for movies populated by very violent psychotic men as protagonists and sidekicks.

  22. As for James Franco, i only became aware of him with the Spider-Man movies. In the first movie he didn’t made an impression on me, but in the second movie it was a different matter. I really like him as an actor. Funny enough, i never saw any of his stoner comedies, so i have little idea as how he is as a comedian. Which means that i have no prejudices with seeing him in dramatic roles. Too often i have seen geeks dismissing him in dramatic roles because he’s the stoner funnyman.

  23. Knox Harrington

    April 9th, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I’m usually all for turning anything into an HBO show (especially Preacher, which will probably never happen), but when it comes to Blood Meridian, I’d rather see a full, complete experience all in one go. Structurally it’s much more suited for film.

    Turning it into a TV show could potentially result in a meandering mess. Not only would it vastly change the structure of the thing, but it might even eventually lose its way over time. Ratings and studio politics play such a massive part in how a show evolves from one season to another. Adapting Blood Meridian into a TV series is just too big a risk, in my opinion.

    The last thing we want is something that starts out well but turns into a fuck-up.

  24. Knox Harrington, i didn’t made myself clear. My point was to turn BLOOD MERIDIAN into a single series with a british-like low episode count HBO show, like what happened with JOHN ADAMS or MILDRED PLACE (3 to 6 episodes, tops), and not like a continued multi-series like SOPRANOS or BOARDWALK EMPIRE. Basically, a mini-series with just one series with very few one hour long episodes. That way it could work.

  25. and if the episodes were not affraid to go slow pacing, favouring mood and scene detail over action and fast editing, it could work perfectly.

  26. “The last thing we want is something that starts out well but turns into a fuck-up.”

    Like LOST? Though i have doubts that started out well. The pilot has some seriously retard shit!

  27. Casey– There’s a lot more to Blood Meridian than Judge Holden, that’s very true, and you are to be commended for picking up on that. But if he’s not gotten exactly right, he comes off as a cliche, and a very special, thrilling, and important part of the book is defanged. That’s probably why it doesn’t take too long for him to come up in most discussions of an adaptation.

    Griff– Me too. I’ve been reading between the lines for years and I’ve still never been this worried. It’s scary.

    Asimov– Yeah, I’m talking about Old Woody too. I’d want him to gain like 60 lbs though.

  28. psychic_hits, i always though that The Judge is somebody in his 50s, but still extremely imposing. i know he’s supposed to be a bit ageless, but with hints of a long life already behind him. This is why getting an actor near or already in his 50s would be a better option. But Woody Harrelson already is in that age bracket.

    The more i think about Woody as The Judge, the more it makes sense. It’s tantastic how in certain movies he looks like a harmless goofy stoner, and in others he looks like death on earth. i think he’s a terrible underrated actor.

  29. “i think he’s a terribly underrated actor”, i mean to say. Funny how a single word typo can completly change the meaning of a whole phrase.

  30. I always imagine The Judge as just a really large baby, but not as freakish.

    He is such a central point in the book, but I’m worried that many directors that could do Blood Meridian would make him way too cool. I think Refn is brilliant and easily one of the most exciting directors around, I was emailing Vern about Valhalla Rising a few years ago because holy shit I love that movie, and while I think Refn could do most of Blood Meridian I also think he would be one of those guys that would screw up The Judge and make him too badass and quotable.

    I also say this as the guy who liked all of Lost.

  31. Casey, i think it’s impossible not to make The Judge look badass and pervertedly cool because that’s how he already is in the novel. He’s such a monster, it’s impossible not to admire him if not for his uncompromising villanry.

    In fact, The Judge, and to some extent The Kid, are demolishions of the notion of the romantice of the uncompromising character. We like to believe that to be uncompromisable is a wholesome good thging, but in fact it’s one of the sources of villanry in this world. And BLOOD MERIDIAN takes this to it’s logical extremes.

    I think it was Truffaud who said it’s impossible to make a true anti-war movie because even a good movie of those will make such a spectacle of war that even in all it’s gruesomeness some will see it as cool. No better example exists then that scene in JARHEAD where the grunts get all pumped up and go apeshit while watching the village attack scene in APOCALYPSE NOW, completly missing the point.

    Same thing happens with villains. Look at Hannibal Lecter, who was supposed to be a psychopath to end all psychopaths, a creature of pure monstruosity, he became an icon of cinema and beloved by moviegoears everywhere.

    You can’t avoid The Judge being perceived as cool or engaging if his character is handled well. What we should hope is that the character is handled well.

  32. Yeah, I think I’d rather they didn’t make a Blood Meridian movie or else we’ll get people watching it the same way some people watch (and rewatch) American History X.

    Also, they could just shave Brock Lesnar down and give him a cowboy hat and call him The Judge. Whatever.

  33. Casey- your Lost comment made me LOL. I agree, I don’t fully trust Refn and it is shudder-inducing to think of tshirts at Hot Topic with a sneering John Goodman and the phrase “CONGRESS WITH A GOAT” on them.

    Aw, fuck. I had to go and mention Goodman as the Judge. That makes me ask myself if the Coens couldn’t do it, and then I think they couldn’t handle the scalping. But then I imagine how they *would* handle it and I envision it being depicted as grim drudgery that yet must be done, like breaking rocks for a dam. And I think it might work. Throw the masterpiece that is their ‘No Country’ on the pile and I just might have convinced myself they’re the guys to pull it off. (I know I just used Goodman as an example of an expected, too-on-the-nose choice for the Judge, but supposedly his Pozzo in the most recent Broadway verison of Waiting For Godot was fucking unbelievable, so who knows. I still think Woody would be the performance of a lifetime.)

    Asimov- I’ve never heard anybody say that about the uncompromising nature of the characters. Really awesome insight! I’ve been meaning to read it again for ages, I’m sure I’ll be thinking about that aspect of it when I do.

  34. Also– I find it really funny that they gave Franco “Child of God” instead of this one. “Sorry, kiddo, you can’t have the legendary unfilmable masterpiece, but we’ll give you the one with the necrophiliac cave-dwelling crossdresser. Knock yourself out.”

    Actually, if Franco directed and starred in Child of God, I’d totally go see it. They could even market it as his triumphant return to being in a movie where he’s in a cave.

  35. I usually have good vibes about actors turning to directors. If for nothing else, actors turned directors are always able to get good performances from the actors in their movies. For obvious reasons, i think.

    psychic_hits: i have this notion that McCarthy wrote BLOOD MERIDIAN with the notion that the wild west, being the wild place that it was, it need a certain type of people who couldn’t be easily broken even by the harshest of circunstances. But such type of people arenot the type that can switch easily from though frontier guy to nice frienldy guy on a mere lightswitch turn. This people, this uncompromising people, they would be though cookies from start to end, and with the attitude to match. And of this people had a less then sense of humanity to them, they turn into full on sociopathy would be thinner then a thin red line. The difference between a though frontier person and a full sociopath would be how fast they would empty a pistol to somebody else’s head.

    And given the moral and values dissonance compared to today, even the good people would look like a bunch of motherfucking assholes. The average good christian of the time would be very racist, xenophobic, with a murderous streak who would demand people get lynched for the smallest of crimes, people who would treat children as property, and would treat cattle better then other people, and they were very harsh to cattle! This would be the normal goof folks, so you can imagine how a sociopath would be like.

    And this aludes to my “uncompromising attitude” i aforementioned in my other post. This froentier people with uncompromising attitudes, well, this people would be the kind you had to run away from really fast. So, McCarthy made a whole book about those types, with no romanticism. And it aint pretty!

    Without spoling, i say the way the book ends is like the protagonist, The Kid, was such a motherfucker that the only way for justice to befall him would be to fall in the hands of somebody even worst. It’s fantastic how the book mannages to have such an horrific ending as a sort of happy ending where justice is done. The irony is so thick you would need a pickaxe to cut through it.

  36. asimov- I totally agree, dude. I have always wondered if McCarthy is (spoilers ahead) making an even larger point with Blood Meridian about what he sees as the true character of America? Like, maybe, by having the ultimate uncompromising badass represented by the Kid/Man be brought to justice at the hands of someone called the Judge, he is saying on the one hand that he does actually believe legitimate justice is being done by eliminating an uncompromising and straightforward attitude of brutality. But I think there is another hidden edge here: the fact that the Judge vanquishes the Kid and is a million times worse than the Kid is would suggest the advent of an evil much greater than uncompromising badassery. The Judge to me represents the guise of civility over something underneath that for its concealment becomes much sicker than the Kid’s perpetual thoughtless expression of his instinct for violence. The Kid didn’t have a choice as to his behavior throughout the book– that’s just who he is– whereas we know the Judge chooses to do everything horrible thing we see him do deliberately. Every action he takes is only taken after consideration. And I think McCarthy is not only saying that the latter is much, much worse, I think he is also suggesting that the modern “civilized” America in which we live is now defined by the Judge’s attitude and no longer has much room for that of the Kid. (It ain’t the Judge who dies at the end, after all.)

  37. psychic_hits, or we could say it’s a type of evil being replaced by another type of evil. A brutish type of evil replaced by a more “conscious” type of evil, if you will. Food for thoughs, really.

    A statement about today’s America, you say? Maybe more a statement of the times. BLOOD MERIDIAN is set at a time of change, not just in america but the whole world. a time when conquering nations started to justify their conquests with rationalizations. Most people think of conquering western nations as The United Kingdom and other european powers (of which my own country of Portugal was one of them) in their rush to gain territorial claims in Africa. But the USA and Mexico did the same in North America with the indian territories. And this conquering was done by brutal people on orders from the elites who self-justified their actions for the sake of civilization.

    The worst thing is that if we judge them too fast by seeignthem with our own modern eyes we are doing a disservice to ourselves. We need to understand how this people though back then. BLOOD MERIDIAN does that quite admirably. It put us in their shoes. It let their actions speak for itself. And it’s ugly as fuck!

    I’d say, BLOOD MERIDIAN is like as if Joseph Conrad had writen a western, put his concerns about the lost of morality that’s a natural consequence of the conqueror, and with the benefit of hindsight caused by the futher events that happened in the 20th century.

    The Judge character itself is a bit like saying “people like this are the fathers of the worst of the 20th century”. But so is The Kid. The Judge can rationalize his actions, mo matter how moustrous they are. The Kid just follows. Others, his own barbaric primal nature, whatever, but The Kid just follows. And both are so uncompromising in their own nature.

  38. Oliver Stone could still make a knockout BLOOD MERIDIAN. But look at MACBETH, and then look at THE PIANIST. And tell me that the ideal director for BLOOD MERIDIAN would not be Roman Polanski.

    Shoot it in Spain, and use Bill Monohan’s superb adaptation that he wrote a few years back.

  39. By the way: am I the only one who thinks everybody has completely misunderstood the ending? My reading of it always was, that The Kid / The Man actually kills The Judge–that he’s the guy who says, don’t look in there, ect and walks away. And the Judge dancing after that is sort’ve surreal symbolism, implying that what he represents can’t be destroyed, only fought against.

  40. JD, no man, the Judge kills The Kid. And from the hints given by the book, from the worst imaginable way immaginable, which seems like a mixture of the most extreme rape mixed with dismembrament and disbowment. Basically, the Judge painted the shack red with blood and guts after he did the mother of all ass rapes. The shit was so bad that it’s the only instance in the book where the brutality is left to the imagination of the reader, when before everything was describe with quite graphic detail. The point is, what the Judge did to the kid escapes description.

  41. I dunno, man. Monohan understood it as the Kid killing The Judge, and I was so relieved when I read his script and was like, “Jesus! He thought so too?!? William Monohan?! I’m not alone! I’m not crazy!” That guy who says, “Don’t look in there” and hurries away, who’s just called “a man”, while “the kid” is now described as “the man”–I’ve always thought that has to have some signifigance. Like, having killed The Judge, The Kid / The Man has just become “a man”, purged of his sins, and fades into anonymity and vanishes into history.

    Of course, the kid DID participate in a series of bloody, racist atrocities, so you can’t exactly say he wasn’t due for some consequences (or waiting to be judged, ahem). McCarthy describes it so abstractly that you ultimately can read it both ways and it still works.

    I still find myself leaning toward the “kid kills judge” interpretation, though. And in terms of Blood Meridian overall, I wholly agree with Stephen King, who says he respects it, despite there being great long stretches that he can’t pretend he fully understands. It’s a good book, but it ain’t perfect.

  42. But the book ends with the Judge back in the tavern, dancing with the other revellers, doesn’t it?

  43. JD, you are seeing things that are not there. It’s one thing to go hunt for hidden meanings, which the book has quite a few. It’s another to start inventing them. The thing in this regard is simple: the judge klled the kid. The man who saw tyhe result is just that, a nameless guy who saw some bad shit.

    Judge killed the kid. there is no transmigrification, no reversal of roles. the kid bought the farm, he croacked, the died a murdered death. cortesy of the judge.

  44. I’m not inventing anything. I’m putting forth an interpretation, which I’ve also seen in at least one book about McCarthy and in William Monahan’s script adaptation. I think it’s a legitamite interpretation. Like I said, it’s one of the most abstract passages in a very abstract book full of symbolism. Which is how I think we’re supposed to interpret the judge dancing back in the Tavern: as a symbol.

    Anyway, one of ‘em kills the other, so somebody’s dead.

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