Thursday, April 27, 2017

She's ready for her close-up now. (Twin Peaks Episode 10)

The Man behind the Glass, Twin Peaks Episode 10 (Oct13 1990)

Episode 10 continues to develop several of the cliffhanger points from the end of Season one. Audrey is now directly imperilled by the powers that run One eye jacks. Blackie has called in Jacques' older brother Jean in an attempt to muscle Ben Horne out of the establishment using Audrey as a hostage. Jean wants the man who killed his brother as payment, and naturally he holds Cooper responsible. Jean brings the air of not being the small time crook his two brothers have been shown to be, and Michael Parks is able to bring alot of quiet dread to the character. We are quickly given the understanding the Jean is not the simpleton Bernard was, nor the drunken drug runner that Jacques was. (Pitty this all resolves in the.. spotty... part of season 2) A very dangerous man indeed.

We are also given another new character, one probably more connected to the whole central mystery of the series. Harold Smith, a charismatic shut in with a hint of Normal Bates. I have very mixed feelings about Harold, portrayed well by Lenny Von Dohlen but not always with the best material. (We will see that later...) Harold is a poetic man who grow Orchids whom Laura met while doing meals on wheels. She entrusted in him the legendary "Secret diary" to go along with the lives he chronicles in his notebooks. Donna, taking over Laura's meals on wheels rounds, encounters Harold and discovers his intimate connection with her best friend. (Spoiler: It doesn't go well and is all Donna's fault) 

For our third trick we have another well acted character who is let down by the mid Season 2 slump. Richard Tremayn is the third wheel in the Lucy and Andy love bicycle, a man who shared a night on a bed in Horne's Home furnishings with Lucy and possible father of her child. Ian Buchanan is a soap opera actor who has appeared in both "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "Days of our Lives" and his presence is a subtle nod to that part of Twin Peak's DNA. After his initial appearance as a potential spoiler to Andy and Lucy's romance he is relegated to some terrible comedy mid season. But Ian Buchanan manages to work with anything he is given with the gusto of a skilled character actor, some of his scenes are a little cringe 25 years on but he is always entertaining. 

Some, including some of the cast, have criticised the influx of new characters that Season 2 brings. This is a valid criticism, especially since the last season cliff hanger only really removed one character from the mix (Jacques) permanently. Bringing in new characters is an often occurring event for a new TV season, and this sometimes results in a reduction of screen time for existing characters. This doesn't happen alot in Twin Peaks, but as we will talk about in the so called mid season drought we will see some of these characters have almost nothing to do (Dick) or unsatisfactory resolutions (Jean) 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Where does creamed corn figure into the workings of the universe? (Twin Peaks Episode 9)

Coma , Twin Peaks Episode 9 (Air date October 6 1990)

For the record, I found Jame's musical scene cringeworthy in 1991 and that has not changed.
Which is an important point, as Twin Peaks is a very musical show. The sound track was not only distinctive but also very different from programs before or since. The OST album had a hit single (Falling), and often leaked into the show itself. (Audrey playing a tune on the Juke Box at the RR, Julie Cruise singing at the roadhouse etc) Whilst television shows had soundtracks, they tended to be lower key than Badalamentis and were just that; sound tracks used to indicate tension and drama points. They were very much background elements, Twin Peaks brought the TV series soundtrack into the foreground. This trend did happen a bit in the 90s, The X-files and Babylon 5 were very well known for their Original Soundtracks and used music much more actively than the usual two to three pieces of background sound. The X-Files even had a whole album , Songs in the Key of X, of music inspired by the series which pushed the TV (and movie) OST towards incorporating more and more Pop songs as opposed to original compositions. Which gets us to where we are now, a mix of the two with often annoyingly inserted Pop songs (I'm looking at you Westworld) taking centre stage.

Now I have promised myself to write something about Donna, but I don't think it's the best episode to do this in so we will do it via James. What James is supposed to be is pretty obvious from the Pilot, he's supposed to be James Dean. Unfortunately James Marshall doesn't really have Dean's charisma so he comes of as a bit of a moody sort of quiet guy. Even Laura sees right through him, and in that way he is perfectly cast, though he did cop some criticism at the time from critics. James is kind of a hapless figure, he is dragged about by his relationship with Laura and then Donna and it is unclear what he really wants other than a girlfriend and stability. I am very interested to see him back in the new Season, especially since the series kind of gave up on him from this point on...

As we saw last episode Ronette has woken up from her Coma and is interviewed by Cooper and Truman. Ronette all but rules out Leo as the Killer, but reacts badly to seeing BOB. I don't blame her, this episode and the previous go longs ways to make sure that you the viewer is aware that BOB is a scary mother fucker. Maddy's vision of BOB is simple and terrifying in how relentless it is. I mean look:

We also have two very important minor characters introduced. We first hear about Windom Earle, Cooper's ex partner who went crazy and inevitably wants to get revenge, a set up for the second half of the season. We also encounter Mrs Tremond and her Grandson, possibly two of the most debated characters in the whole Twin Peaks Mythos due to their appearance in Fire walk with me. Mrs Tremond dislikes Creamed Corn (Garmonbozia) and her Grandson is a magician (like MIKE)

Writing this, I actually really like this Episode and the great majority of the run up until the solution despite how cringy I find the musical scene. We are treated to some nice scary stuff in Maddy's vision, tense stuff with Audrey getting found out at One Eyed Jacks and mysterious stuff with Major Brigg's revelations to Cooper. I do love this scene with Major Briggs and I need to squeeze some thoughts on the Major into this series later on. Project Blue Book and Government investigation of the strange is such a rich topic for story telling and here is Twin Peaks two years before the X-files dipping its toe into those waters. In this case, it seems the Air Force has been monitoring transmissions (or maybe emissions?) from the woods around Twin Peaks using the same equipment they would use to study transmissions from celestial bodies. Are the mysterious beings in the woods aliens? Or simply able to do something that emulates this kind of transmission. Fire Walk with Me indicates the later, and this Lynch directed episode is very heavily linked with the movie.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The question is: where have you gone? (Twin peaks Episode 8)

May the Giant be with you - Twin Peaks Episode 8 (Air date Sept 30 1990)

Along with the Pilot and the Red room dream, the Season 2 opener is probably the series most well known episode. It introduces the Giant, another mysterious being that inhabits the town but one unlike BOB and MIKE is more outwardly helpful to Cooper.
The Giant gives Cooper three cryptic statements, even more cryptic is the reason for these statements. "If I tell them to you, and they come true, then will you believe me?" Strangely puzzling reason, not "These will lead you to the truth/killer/whatever" just, if these things come true you will believe me yes?

The giant's second statement is one of the most famous lines from the whole show "The Owls are not what they seem", furthering the Log Lady's warnings about Owls. His first statement however is an interesting one "There is a man in a smiling bag", not as well remembered but a long running bit of symbolism for Lynch. Apparently whilst he was shooting Eraserhead (I actually can't find the interview at the moment, this idea may even proceed his first feature) Lynch was living across from a morgue and would see the workers hang the body bags out to dry after washing them. He noted that the bags appeared to "smile" when they were hung out. In this case it refers to Jacques, whose body bag Cooper sees hanging in the Hospital.

You would almost forget that this is the followup to a pretty major cliffhanger, but the Giant sequence is intriguing enough to keep you watching. You almost forget that several characters are currently in very real danger. This is caught up as Cooper gets to Hospital, in a fairly clever use of Lucy by Frost as screenwriter. Normally, in most shows, when a character drops huge blocks of exposition dialogue in a scene it can be jarring or even annoying. Not when Lucy does it, as they have spent a whole season establishing that Lucy is just the sort of person to in detail explain what has happened in the proceeding 12 hours to anyone who asks. She is pedantic, a little annoying and her "catch up" to Cooper is absolutely perfect and in character.

The whole episode is very good, paying off the cliffhangers set up at the end of Season 1 and setting up the plots for the new season. Exactly what you want from a kick off episode. It is an episode where Frosts very good screenwriting and Lynch's direction converge and shows the audience exactly why this series was a hit in the first season.
But I want to skip to the end, possibly the scariest fucking sequence in the series. Ronette's dream is a short but incredible sequence, dark, mesmerising and full of astounding visuals. Above all it articulately instills in the viewer what it is like to be terrified and helplessly watching a psychopath kill someone in a train carriage. Of the two versions of Laura's murder we see on Screen (this and Fire walk with me) this is still the most haunting to me but only by a fine margin. This makes even Laura, the victim, seem terrifying to us almost a part of the grizzly ritual Ronette is witnessing. The Episode ends with BOB laughing and screaming into the night in a terrifyingly distorted voice, triumphant after killing Laura.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"One can never answer questions at the wrong moment" (Twin Peaks Episode 7)

Twin Peaks, Episode 7. The Last Evening (Air date May 23 1990)

The funny thing about episodes 6 and 7 is that they continue directly on from one another, so much so I jumbled them together in my memory whilst writing the last chapter of this rewatch. (I should read my notes more often...thats the point of taking them) Effectively Episode 6 sets up the twin situations, James and Donna tricking Jacobi so they can search the apartment and Cooper undercover at One eyed Jacks.

So yes the actual conversation with Jacques that gives me the creeps occurs here, as does the scene of James and Donna retrieving the tape from Jacoby's apartment. Episode 7 takes the setups of the earlier episodes and rushes them towards a flurry of cliffhangers to cap off the first season. All these events occur in one night; Jacoby is attacked in the park and has a heart attack, Jacques is shot by Andy while resisting arrest, Jacques is then suffocated in Hospital by Leland Palmer. Leo ties Shelly up and sets the Mill fire, Catherine is lured to the Mill to meet the same fate as per Ben's plan. Leo is shot by Hank Jennings while trying to murder Bobby with an Axe. Nadine overdoses on pills after the failure of her drape runners and the obvious nature of Ed's desire for Norma. Pete runs into the Mill inferno to rescue Catherine. Ben goes to try out the "new girl" at One Eyed Jacks, unknown to him it is Audrey who in turn discovers her fathers ownership of the place, and finally Cooper is shot three times while answering the door to his room thus ending the season. What a night!

That is not to say everything is up in the air. Andy finishes his little character arc that dates back to the Pilot, when his friends are in danger he sharpens up and proves to be a ruthless defender of law and order. While Lucy and Andy are very much comedic relief, the world building of the show shows them as having firm places in a small town sheriff's office. Andy is clumsy and cries when bad things happen, but he is also the police sketch artist (and not a bad one) and comes through for Truman when the need is most urgent. Lucy is annoying as heck, but organised as heck as well. Both are exaggerated like many of the towns people are, but you can kinda see how they fit in and how they are both still part of the police department. They are good, light characters, who pull us away a little from some of the darkness and violence that lurks in the show.

I was quite lucky, due to the delay in airing the series in Australia we didn't have to wait for the conclusion to the cliff hanger. This is a very "who will live and who will die" kind of ending common in season ends for soaps, multiple characters are in dangerous predicaments and because of the size of the cast any (maybe besides Cooper) could be at the worse end of it! This is pretty masterful TV from Mark Frost, whom I havn't written enough about here to be honest. Frost wrote and directed this cliffhanger episode and all the beats play out perfectly to peak the audiences interest in the next season. The proof is in the ending, while Jacques or Leo or Shelly COULD die, we know Cooper won't. As the main character, the audience expects him to be more resilient to danger as what would a second series be without him. Frost knows this, so he gives Cooper the most unambiguous cliffhanger of them all. (Well maybe apart from Waldo the bird) Cooper is shot three times, at point blank range, while his guard is down. While in the back of your head you know he will survive, thats a pretty great  cliffhanger ending, as close to actual doubt to his survival as you can get. Cooper has been shot, and as to how that plays out we need to wait till the next season to find out...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"The truth Harry. Because that's my job." (Twin Peaks Episode 6)

Realization Time. Episode 6 (Air date: May 17 1990)

As the episode title indicates, the investigation starts to converge as the evidence from Jacque's apartment and cabin starts to answer questions about the exact events of the night of Laura Palmer's death. Two unusual witnesses have been provided to the investigation, the testimony from the Log Lady's log and the Myna bird Waldo. Waldo is a clever device, birds being imitators Waldo is effectively a tape recorder in the room on the night of the murder. Not only that, he is a tape recorder who will reveal his secrets when it is most dramatic to do so. (And to add a layer, Cooper uses his signature recorder to pick up the testimony)

This episode is formed around two set pieces, the Bookhouse boys operation across the border to One Eyed Jacks and Maddy impersonating Laura in order to draw out Dr Jacoby in the park. The events at One eyed jacks are actually two plots crossing at the same time. First Cooper and Big Ed arrive as "Fred and Barney", a pair of Oral Surgeons across the border to have a good time and secretly interview Jacques Renault. Cooper shows off his card counting abilities to ensure he doesn't lose too much of the FBI's purse, and manages to get talking to Jacques at the table. Jacques manages to come across as possibly the slimiest man alive in this scene, especially the close ups as he recants Leo putting the Poker chip in Laura's mouth and telling her to "Bite the bullet baby". A short bit of dialogue that makes me reach for the disinfectant every time I see it.

Meanwhile, Audrey has made her way through her father's flesh trade system from the perfume counter to One eyed Jacks. She manages to bluff her way past a sceptical Blackie with the unforgettable cherry eating scene. (Captured in gif form above.)
Back in Twin Peaks, Donna and James hope to break into Jacoby's apartment by luring him to the park to see "Laura" still alive.

Both amateur investigations do not end up well. Audrey ends up in peril very shortly after arriving at One Eyed Jacks, quickly getting in over her head. Donna and James find evidence linking Jacoby to Laura, more tapes and the necklace (Which is honestly a bit of a red herring clue), but end up endangering Jacoby AND getting framed for Coke possession by Bobby.
The episode finishes off with a dual cliffhanger, someone watching Maddy from the bushes in the park and Cooper getting ready to rendezvous with Jacques on the US side of the border. All the pieces are in place for the season cliffhanger that would air in seven days time...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air. (Twin Peak Episode 5)

Episode 5 "Cooper's Dreams" (First aired 10 May 1990)

Of any episode in the series, this one always felt the most "Crime Investigation procedural" to me. Lots of Police boots on the ground, investigating Jacques's Apartment and then his Cabin, forensics, clues, talking to that darn log and shots like this: 

"Red drapes Harry, from my dream."
As the title indicates this is the episode where the majority of the code from Cooper's dream is unravelled by the investigation. Red Drapes from Jacques's cabin, Waldo the Myna bird, music and the place where Laura was tied up the first time. ("Sometimes my arms bend back")
It also has our amateur sleuths making discoveries, Maddie finds Laura's tapes to Jacoby, Audrey goes for a job (Well blackmails the manager to give her the job she wants) at the perfume counter at Horne's department store and then later spies on Catherine and Ben getting intimate and discussing One Eyed Jacks. 

And more shots like this: 

The investigation also brings them to the Log Lady, in her own Cabin. Cooper is able to talk to the Log and obtain it's cryptic testimony. The Scene at the Log Lady's cabin also helps explain who she is and in part why she carries her Log. The connection to fire is made again, "Fire is the devil hiding like a coward in the smoke". In the universe of twin peaks fire is increasingly seen as a metaphor for evil, or maybe just malicious destruction? The phrase "Fire Walk with me" is at the murder site, is spoken by MIKE and was even the Tattoo MIKE has on the arm he removes to expunge his evil. (In the full version of the BOB/MIKE dream you can see BOB as the words on his arm as well) Fire killed the Log Lady's husband, Leo is about to set fire to the Mill to further Ben's plans. (Which in the end involves and attempt to kill both Shelley and Catherine) This building symbolism is very much the style of the program and continues even into the movie "Fire walk with me", with the dwarf (dressed in his Red suit) calling himself "The Arm" in reference to MIKE. (The part of MIKE that had "Fire walk with me" tattooed on him) 

The Log Lady is possibly the most iconic inhabitant of the town on Twin Peaks, beating Cooper and the Giant by only the virtue that both come from outside the town. (The Giant is from "Another place") She is a very old idea of Lynch's, one that he had an idea for a TV series based around when he was shooting Eraserhead. "I'll Test My Log with Every Branch of Knowledge" was the original title and it was to feature Margaret Lanterman in basically the same role as she plays here. 

The episode also includes a few other iconic scenes, Leland breaking down as he dances to Pennsylvania 6-5000 and Cooper coming across Audrey in his bed. (Which we close the episode with) It's a very strong episode that probably involves the most plot development since the Pilot and sets us up for the ride to the Season cliffhanger. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Er... thanks to Jade, Jared decided not to kill himself, and he's changed his will leaving the Towers to Jade instead of Emerald, but Emerald found out about it, and now she's trying to seduce Chet to give her the new will so that she can destroy it; Montana's planning to kill Jared at midnight so the Towers will belong to Emerald and Montana, but I think she's going to double-cross him and he doesn't know it yet. Poor Chet. (Twin Peaks, Episode 4)

"The One Armed Man" Twin Peaks Episode 4 (Air date: May 3 1990)

As a sidenote, today is the 27th anniversary of the airing of the Twin Peaks Pilot episode. That and I really wanted to use a Lucy quote as a title at *some* stage.

In many ways Lucy relating the plot of show inside a show "Invitation to love" is a wonderful self reflection on TV drama itself. I have tried to not just document what events happen in each episode, wikipedia does that nicely, and instead reflect on my reactions to each episode then and now. Plus I could never explain the plot of a drama like Lucy...

 Have you seen this man? If I was a less accepting viewer I may start to get frustrated by the mysterious killer that is only ever seen in dreams or visions. BOB was a striking figure and at this stage of the series he was featuring large, was he just a metaphor? Or a character we would learn more about? Some hidden mastermind? Sarah Palmer relates her vision of BOB to Hawk and Andy, and discusses the vision of Laura's Necklace being taken from it's hiding place. I do like that Andy is the Police Sketch artist, a character who is basically shown as a useless small town cop (especially when placed next to the highly capable Sheriff and Hawk) at this point in the show having a pretty darn useful skill for a small police department. It's good subtle world building, especially as he does so again later in the series, things exist in the world that make sense and give us a sense of place. I know that sounds odd when talking about Twin Peaks but it is true, it may be Mark Frosts influence but after five weeks the town is sketched in well enough that the viewer knows what should and shouldn't exist. When we are introduced to new characters or locations they make sense, at no point is there suddenly a Giant Mall or a skyscraper office building in the town for no real reason other than it being convenient to the plot or an interesting setting. (I'm looking at you The Walking Dead) Simple good world building makes the locales of a show feel more real and less like mere backdrops.

While we have seen him before, the one armed man is first encountered by Cooper "in the flesh" in this episode. But this is not the mysterious MIKE but humble shoe salesman Michael Gerrard. Does he know a BOB? Well yes he does! Old Bob Lydecker is perhaps his best friend in the world but was currently in a Coma...
We also meet Hank Jennings, Norma's husband who is in jail for vehicular homicide. Reflecting Lucy's soap opera, he is getting out and coming home to ruin Norma and Big Ed's romance as well as having some strange connection to Josie Packard. (And a thing for Dominos)

After a cameo by David Lynch's voice as FBI regional chief Gordon Cole, they discover the animal bites on Laura's shoulder were from a Myna bird. A trip to the local Vet reveals the Myna to be owned by Jacques Renault which gives them the probably cause to search Jacques apartment. Meanwhile, Bobby has gotten the bloody shirt from Shelly and is in the process of planting it at Jacques while the Police come in. (Bobby proves himself to be quite the Rogue in this season) Bobby manages to sneak out before they enter and Cooper finds the Bloody shirt. Meanwhile, Leo is meeting with Ben Horne planning to burn down the Mill and revealing that he has killed Bernard Renault and sent Jacques back to Canada.
James Hurley also meets Maddie for the first time at the RR and we are teased with just how much she looks like her cousin. James is taken aback by the likeness and later Donna talks about Laura and her mother having visions while they check on the Necklace hidden in the woods. It's gone! Donna determines that they have to find Laura's killer as they were the two people who loved her the most. This show does have a dim view of Scooby Doo shenanigans, and while Audrey's adventures cause trouble; Donna's tampering in the investigation endangers her, and James and many others... (Although I think, if you take the events of Fire Walk with Me into account, we may have motive as to why Donna wanted to keep the cops away from Laura's past...)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Break the code, solve the crime" (Twin Peaks ep 3)

Episode 3 "Rest in Pain" (April 26, 1990)

After the iconic dream sequence the series quickly returns to form, with an episode focusing on developing many of the inter character plot threads that have been already seeded.
Cooper recounts his dream in a casual manner to Lucy and Truman after learning about One Eyed Jacks from Audrey. He admits he was told the name of the killer by Laura in his dream, but cannot recall what she whispered in his ear. He continues to explain that the dream is a code that needs to be decoded, break the code and solve the crime.
The focus of this episode is the funeral of Laura Palmer, a great character set piece where we see many of our major players together and interacting. The funeral also, as foreshadowed in Cooper's dream, introduces us to Maddie Ferguson, Laura's identical cousin.

Tensions flare surrounding the burial of Laura; Truman hits Albert for being a disrespectful jerk, James and Bobby tussle at the Funeral itself in a great bit of slowed down dramatic action. Later Truman discusses the town's "Dark side" with Cooper, introducing the Bookhouse Boys and Bernard Renalt. Explaining the link between the Renalts and illegal drugs in the town draws a link to Leo and from Leo to Laura. Jacques releases that someone is onto him and calls Leo for help.
Almost echoing the nice town having a dark side narrative , Truman is warned by Josie of Catherine and Ben's plans for the Mill. The not so well kept secret of Truman and Josie's relationship is exactly that, a secret that many people know and shows us that even the good Sheriff is not without his secrets.

Albert's work reveals a number of clues about the events surrounding Laura just before her death. Most notably the plastic piece in her stomach, the nature of her being tied up when she died, her cocaine addiction and the fact she had been pecked by a bird. From here clear lines of investigation open up and take us towards the end of the season (but not the mystery). The hidden parts of Laura's life are slowly being brought to the surface, the code is being unraveled...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"She's filled with secrets" - Twin Peaks Episode 2

Episode 2 or "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer" 

(April 19 1990)

Aside from the Pilot and possibly Episode 14 (More due to the Simpsons than anything else), this is the episode that is conjured in peoples minds when you say "Twin Peaks". From Zen rock throwing, to Leland Dancing to the Red Room Scene, it's all here. This Episode perhaps also marks the point where the series turns from a whodunit mystery into a a psycho-spiritual drama. That is not to say that Twin Peaks does not have police procedural/mystery elements, it does, but the "mystery" is played out through character experience as opposed to a strict line of evidence.

I'm unsure anything like the rock throwing scene has been attempted in a "mystery" TV series before or since. I am already writing these reviews with the express idea that my readers have seen the series, so rather than go into detail about the events that occur I am talking about the themes evoked and elements that remain strong (or otherwise) 25 year later. I remember thinking at the time, what does this all mean? If the rock knocking the bottle off the stump was important, surly the one that strikes Andy is as well? But above all, is Cooper crazy? Or a mystic genius? Of the "results", the two strikes end up being relevant to the case. Jacoby was connected tangentially (hit, does not break) and Leo (hits and breaks) directly, Johnny Horne (hits Andy) not at all. Is Cooper's method correct or is it all just a wild coincidence? Did this technique fail only because Cooper failed to ask the right question?

We also see two minor but memorable characters introduced. Jerry Horne, Ben's brother played by David Patrick Kelly of "The Warriors" fame. Jerry is very much the devil sitting on Ben's shoulder, impish and impulsive he feeds his older brothers appetites. The other is Albert played by the late Miguel Ferrer also arrives, and plays the big city agent irritating the local authorities perfectly. It also shines a strange light on Cooper who seems to have up-most positivity and respect for the officious visitors. This also mirrors Agent Chet Desmond's dealings with local law enforcement from Fire Walk with Me, except this time we are looking at it from the "locals" perspective not the visiting agents...

The episode ends with the notorious "Red Room" dream sequence. This dream is in fact in two parts, the first is an edited version of the MIKE and BOB sequence from the extended pilot. All we see is MIKE talking to Cooper about BOB, and then BOB's taunting rhyme. We only learn of the context of these scenes from Cooper recanting them to Truman next episode, the Red Room sequence is still present in full though. I recall being pretty astounded at the time by the stylistic and visual design of the Red Room sequence, it really did feel like something pulled from a dream. Several aspects of the dream are broken reflections of things that occur later in the series, most obviously the references to Laura Palmer's Cousin and the secret name of the killer that she whispers in Cooper's ear.
The dream symbolism often confuses writers who comment on the series, many of Lynch's visual flourishes are often written off as merely stylistic or derided as so opaque that"even Lynch doesn't know what they mean". That reading implies that Lynch operates as a Hitchcock like genius encoding his meaning in the symbols he uses on screen. Lynch operates in a much more instinctive space than that, one very much drawn from his interest in the subconscious and interest in transcendental meditation. That is to say, these are not works to decode but to experience.
Much like in a dream, repeated symbols gain meaning by examination and reoccurance rather than being placed already imbued with potent symbolism. Much like the audience, Lynch is exploring these queues from his subconscious by visually expressing them. So in a way maybe even he does not understand what all of his symbolism means, but that also isn't the point as far as his film making is concerned.
The dream sequence ends with Cooper sitting up in bed, calling Truman and declaring he knows who killed Laura Palmer. A misleading ending? Maybe, but he was told who it was....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Twin Peaks, The Movie

Many people don't realise that the mystery of Twin Peaks was in fact wrapped up very quickly in Video Stores all over Europe and the UK. (Australia as well) This home video release was a version of the Pilot episode re-edited with additional footage to become a self contained feature, and in fact had an ending.

Whats even better is that it had the correct ending, the mystery was solved in what would be the same way it was eventually in the series. 

Well Kinda. 

The additional sequences do make it into the Televised version, and do indeed contain the solution to the mystery. Yup, that's right it was BOB. 

The international video release of the Twin Peaks Pilot is a strange thing, it has an ending that is technically the correct answer, and if you want to get really picky Cooper is even told who BOB used as a vessel... We the Audience just can't hear what Laura tells him. But essentially to make the Pilot a full feature they added the Dream Sequences from Episode 2 as an ending of sorts. For fans of the show this is the only place you can see the full version of the BOB and MIKE dream Cooper relates to the others, and this dream is used as the solution to the mystery. MIKE shows Cooper and Truman how to find BOB, they enter BOB's lair and are taunted by him. MIKE then shoots BOB. 
Interestingly, here you probably get the best view you will ever see of BOB's tattoo, which reads "Fire Walk with me" and the full version of BOB's rhyme. 
Then the action shifts the the "Twenty Five Years Later" dream, which plays out exactly the same as in Episode two, complete with Laura Whispering in Cooper's ear. (The Name of the Killer as we find out later) 

I have watched this version several times, as it was the only version of the Pilot available on Home Video in Australia. I had the whole first season on VHS, but the official release did not include the Pilot episode, so borrowing this from the local Video Store was my only source of the Pilot Episode. As a stand alone, it's ok. The ending is pretty unsatisfactory to be honest when taken in isolation from the series, the mystery is solved basically by an anonymous tip. The Red Room is just an oddity, a dead end.  
But the so call "Alternative ending" is an interesting curiosity, and the MIKE and BOB sequence is very atmospheric. It can be seen posted on Youtube or as part of the Blue Ray "Missing Pieces" box set of the series.

And as I said... Technically it is a correct solution :p (April Fools)