Sunday, May 14, 2017

That Gum you like is going to come back in style (Twin Peaks Episode 16)

Arbitrary Law - Twin Peaks episode 16 (Air date Dec 1 1990)

To many, this is the final episode of Twin Peaks. The resolution of the Laura Palmer arc and the solving of a mystery that got millions hooked on the show. The law enforcement officers of the town push on to charge and put Ben Horne away for the murder, while Agent Cooper asks for more time to find the real killer. Leland, convinced that he has gotten away with murder of Laura and Maddy continues to indulge his appetites, his attention shifting to Donna briefly.
Here we get the pay off from Coopers dream, in her secret diary Laura explains having the same dream and trying to tell BOB's secret to Cooper. Finally she whispered the secret in his ear "My Father, Killed me"

This information triggers Coopers memory and allows him to recall the solution he dreamt of many episodes ago. Triggered by Leland commenting on the old waiter's gum, the old waiter then advising. "That gum you like is going to come back in style"
Remarkably, this is not an episode directed or written by Lynch. It is known that Lynch and Frost had the identity of the killer established, and while Lynch directed the revelatory episode (Ep 14) the end of the arc is here directed by Tim Hunter who does very well capturing some of the surreal elements of the series here. Its a memorable episode, from the scene at the roadhouse to the final revelation of Leland as the killer.
This is where Peaks very much shows itself as an anti-mystery, Cooper's clues are in no way material. They are all behavioral , symbolic and coincidental. He draws his conclusion from his dream and the elements of it that appeared in reality as opposed to the material clues; such as the bloody shirt, the diary or the scene at Jacques cabin. Coincidentally my partner picked up on the undertones of domestic violence and fingered Leland as the killer very early on when I showed her the series for the first time a few years ago, because of the way he acted and related to Sarah Palmer and the rest of the town.

The big question at the end of this arc is , was Leland just mad? Was BOB real? Until the final episode of the series, there is a good case that BOB was just a personification of Leland's madness. Until that last scene, we see no one else who has been possessed by the malicious BOB, only the implication that he wanted to possess Laura but she resisted. (And even then, that is from Leland's mouth) What if BOB wasn't real? Sarah Palmer is the first to describe the long haired man, Laura talks about BOB but never describes him, and Cooper and Maddy only see him after Sarah does. Is he just a shared Psychic expression of Leland's dark half?

So now the first arc is over and there is about 8 days until the new series. I am unsure if I will be able to get all these episode recaps done on time, and I will be covering the new series here when it launches. We are about to drift into the dread "Downtime" section of Season 2, where is becomes a series without much of a direction and a deteriorating audience. Arbitrary law feels like the end of a series, despite several threads still being loose.