It finally happened. My heart was racing as the seconds ticked away, leading up to 9pm. I knew that a new season of Twin Peaks was about to air, but it still didn’t feel real. Two days later, and it still doesn’t feel real. What can I say about those magical two hours given to us by Mr. Lynch? It took me about a day to even begin to fully process the episode, and how can I possibly write about everything that occurred?
We went back to Twin Peaks. And we didn’t. Not to the same Twin Peaks we all know and love. This truly was a return to a town after having been away for 25 years. We also traveled to South Dakota, New York City, and made a brief pit stop in Las Vegas. Oh and we also spent some time in an interplanetary hell. Alright friends, buckle up.
Instead of treading through the episode scene by scene, I’m going to focus on the various plot threads that unfurled over those two hours. Let’s start off with Cooper’s journey.
INSIDE THE BLACK LODGE: While in the Black Lodge, he speaks to The Giant (who he conversed with like an old friend), Mike the one-armed man, Laura Palmer (who he presumably has not seen since the end of Fire Walk With Me), and The Arm (AKA The Little Man From Another Place who has since evolved into a tree with electricity running through it, complete with a mutated, talking brain that looks like something stolen from the set of Eraserhead).
I really didn’t expect the new series to begin with The Giant in The Black Lodge (in all honesty though, I had no idea WHAT to expect). ‘It is in our house now’, he cryptically remarks to Dale Cooper. I find that first line so creepy and provocative. ‘Our house?’ Agent Cooper has been in the Lodge for 25 years. Is he one of them now? What has he even been doing all this time? Oh, the possibilities…
‘Remember 430. Richard and Linda. Two birds with one stone’. Cooper says that he understands. Which is a good thing because I definitely do not understand.
Mike shows up to introduce him to none other than Laura Palmer. Cooper seems mildly confused by Laura’s presence, asking if that’s really who she is because Laura Palmer is dead. She tells him ‘I am dead, yet I live’, then pulls her face off to reveal a blinding white light emanating from behind it. In a scene eerily identical to their previous Lodge interaction, she walks over and kisses him and whispers something in his ear. What did she whisper to him this time? Cooper seems both mildly amused and concerned by whatever she says. Afterwards, Laura starts screaming and is whisked away into the Lodge curtains.
We get an appearance from the white horse before Mike returns to lead Cooper out of the room to meet The Arm. ‘253. Time and time again’. The Arm tells Cooper that he can go out of the Lodge, but first his doppelgänger has to return. Cooper then has a very brief run-in with Leland Palmer, who just says to ‘find Laura’. The floor starts shaking as The Arm screams ‘Nonexistent’ and then the floor opens up entirely, pulling Cooper down through space and time. He ends up back in the physical world, where he is unceremoniously dumped on top of a glass box in New York City. He floats inside the glass box and hovers there for a moment, then suddenly he is back hurtling through dimensions again.
Did you get all that? I’m not going to try and over-analyze Cooper’s scenes in the Lodge. There are so many cryptic clues and questions that we just don’t have enough information to figure out yet. The sequences are visually striking and about as bizarre as you will probably ever see on television. But then, we have come to expect that from the Lodge.
SO WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THE LODGE, THEN? My interpretation: Coop’s doppelgänger is set to return to the Lodge, thereby allowing Cooper to return to Earth. But as Mike says right before the trade-off is to happen, ‘Something is wrong’. The Arm seems to be pulling the strings in the Lodge, but I can’t say that I am entirely sure of anything that happened in the Lodge scenes. ‘Find Laura’. Is Laura Palmer back in the physical world now? If so, how was she allowed to leave? I can’t even begin to speculate what all of this is about. Being a huge David Lynch fan, I realize that it is probably best to just let it wash over me and move forward. Which leads us to…
THE GLASS BOX: In New York City, Sam’s job is to sit in a room and watch a glass box to see if anything appears inside. Ok, that seems easy enough. One night when Sam’s friend Tracey shows up to bring him a latte, he notices that the security guard outside the room is gone. While Sam is looking around for the guard, wouldn’t you know it — that’s when Cooper appears inside the glass box! By the time Sam invites Tracey into the room to keep him company at work, Cooper has already disappeared. Damn it, Sam, you had ONE job…
Sam and Tracey get bored and horny and start having sex, but are interrupted by a strange, ghostly figure that starts to slowly appear in the box. I initially thought the creature was a girl wearing some sort of hood, then it seems to almost mutate into something resembling a monster or alien before flying out of the glass box and utterly annihilating the naked couple in the room.
QUESTIONS: So something followed Cooper out of the Lodge then, right? What the hell was that thing? Who is the mysterious billionaire who is funding the glass box project? Sam told Tracey that his predecessor saw something in the box once, but wouldn’t tell him what he saw. What appeared in the box before? And just why did the security guard disappear at the exact moment that something finally happened in the room he was supposed to be guarding? So many unanswered questions with this one. Guess we’d better clear our heads and take a side trip to…
BUCKHORN, SOUTH DAKOTA: High school principal Bill Hastings’ fingerprints turn up at the scene of the murder of local librarian Ruth Davenport. Bill is arrested but claims he is innocent, despite having a dream about being in Ruth’s apartment on the night of the murder. Bill’s wife Phyllis visits him in jail, where she reveals that she knows Bill had been having an affair with Ruth. Bill responds angrily, saying that he knows all about HER affair with his lawyer. Well, this is just a happy little family we have here! From what I gathered, Phyllis and George have set up Bill to take the fall for Ruth’s murder. But when Phyllis returns home from the prison, Cooper’s doppelgänger shows up and kills her. Apparently, he has been orchestrating the framing of Bill all along.
QUESTIONS: Was the doppelgänger actually the one to murder Ruth Davenport? If so, why did he kill her? Whose headless body was found laying in bed with Ruth’s decapitated head? This story seems to be leading somewhere and it’s played out in a fairly straightforward manner, compared to the rest of the storylines. But in order to continue discussing this plot line, we have to talk about….
BAD COOPER: What are we calling this evil doppelgänger of Agent Cooper? Is it BOB? If it is, he certainly seems to be quite comfortable in the skin he has been wearing for the past 25 years. Bad Cooper’s story shows him cavorting with a bunch of lowlife criminals, all in aid of him getting some sort of information from Bill Hasting’s secretary involving geographical coordinates (to the Black Lodge, perhaps?). Bad Cooper learns that his criminal friends are planning to double-cross him and kill him. Also, he states to friend/sexual partner Darya that he has no intention of returning to the Black Lodge and that he has taken precautions to avoid doing so. A few seconds later, he reveals that he knows about her involvement in the plot to kill him and shoots her in the head. He talks to someone on the phone who may or may not be Agent Jeffries (who even knows what the real Agent Jeffries has been up to during the past 25 years and whose side he is on? Who even knows much of anything about Agent Jeffries?). Whoever it is on the phone with Bad Cooper, he longs to ‘be with BOB again’ and mentions a meeting that Cooper had with Major Briggs. Once he gets off the phone, Bad Cooper downloads a bunch of information about Yankton Federal Prison in South Dakota where Darya’s partner-in-crime Ray is being held (apparently not the same prison that Bill Hastings is in, since it is located at the opposite end of the state from Buckhorn) and takes off to the hotel room next door to have sex with Chantal, another one of his sluts. He seems to trust this slut a lot more than he trusted the slut that he killed, so that’s always a good thing.
QUESTIONS: Where do I start? I’m going to assume that BOB has been living inside Cooper’s body for the past 25 years. What has BOB been doing all this time? Who is BOB after all these years? Do any of his criminal friends know who he really is and where he comes from? I can see BOB murdering Ruth Davenport, he definitely likes to kill, but what would her murder have to do with these coordinates he so desperately wants? WANTS, not NEEDS. Bad Cooper doesn’t NEED anything.
What are these rules of the Lodge that require him to return at this particular time? Did Ray purposely get arrested to avoid him? There is so much that we don’t know, but I have a feeling we will find out soon. Oh, I guess this would be a good time to make a slight detour to…
LAS VEGAS: A man named Mr. Todd tells his assistant to deliver a message — ‘Tell her she has the job’. Mr. Todd is under some sort of duress, with some mysterious man pulling his strings behind the scenes. Who is this man? Could it be the mysterious billionaire who is funding the glass box project in NYC? I’m just speculating here, but it seems that when you have two unnamed, powerful men being referenced in the same episode, there seems to be a reasonable chance that they are one and the same. We don’t get a lot of time in Vegas, so there’s not much to go on here. The only place left to visit on our tour of the USA is…
TWIN PEAKS: Interspersed between all of the interdimensional and dark plot lines, we do get a return to our favorite Northwestern town. These moments are few and far between, however. We see Dr. Jacoby, living in a trailer in the woods, receive a shipment of shovels. Ben and Jerry Horne at the Great Northern Hotel discussing the new female assistant and Jerry’s marijuana enterprise. Lucy, Andy, and Hawk at the police station trying to decipher a message from the Log Lady: ‘Something is missing and you have to find it.’ Sarah Palmer watching a gruesome nature alone at home. Shelly and her friends hanging out at the Roadhouse when James enters (an unexpected cathartic moment at the very end of the show). Did anyone also notice Jacques Renault tending bar? He has no lines and is credited as ‘Jean-Michel Renault’. Hmmm…
It’s anyone’s guess as to how most of these returning characters will play into the story. I feel that we are getting snippets of some of the town’s local action that will culminate in Agent Cooper returning in town. The seeds of this are already beginning to sprout, as Hawk discovers Glastonbury Grove and the red curtains from the Black Lodge when he goes searching through the woods at night.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE EPISODE: Wow. Not what I expected, but then I didn’t really have any expectations going in besides that this was going to be an amazing experience. I was not let down. So much happens in these two hours, so many seemingly disparate plot threads and locales, that we will have to see more of the show before we can string theories together. As always with David Lynch, the imagery and sounds are exquisite and haunting and you can’t take your eyes off the screen. I admit that I did miss some of the emotional resonance of the original Twin Peaks. Most of the new characters were cold and violent, and the returning characters didn’t interact much with each other. One exception to this are the scenes where the Log Lady talks to Hawk on the phone. It was perfect! The sadness of knowing this was filmed not long before Catherine Coulson’s death. The quiet desperation in her voice. If we never see the Log Lady again in the series, this was a beautiful and fitting farewell for her.
Overall, the first episode (well two episodes, actually) was just the blueprint for what promises to be a fantastic, strange, mind-bending season to come. As soon as it ended, I just needed to see more! Fortunately, the next two episodes were available for streaming, and I will be discussing them next week.
MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
— I was surprised at the lack of music in the episode. There were a few recurrences of Angelo’s famous instrumentals (most notably in the gorgeous new opening title sequence) but for the most part, the scenes played out devoid of background music. Something I didn’t expect, and it gives the show a very stark and cold atmosphere.
— How about the scene with Hank, the maintenance man at Ruth’s building? After he realizes the cops are there, he makes a hurried phone call and discusses ‘the bag’: ‘I got it all here. It’s mine and Chip’s’. If this were any other tv show, I would be convinced that Hank’s phone call would be important to the ongoing story. However, this being a David Lynch show, it may just be a throwaway gag to illustrate the paranoia and seediness of even the most banal characters. Who knows?
— What did the police find in Bill Hasting’s car? Was that a tongue? I couldn’t be quite sure. Also, I got a warm, smiley feeling inside when the cop’s flashlight started flickering. Of course Mr. Lynch had to get his strobe light in there somewhere.
— Who was the man in the cell next to Hastings whose body and clothes were covered in black, almost like he had been burned? The man sat there motionless and then promptly disappeared. This has to be something, right?
— Bad Cooper before shooting Phyllis: ‘You did good. You follow human nature perfectly.’ I just loved that line. It struck a chord in me, and I’m not sure why.
— The Log Lady has a mobile phone sitting next to her on the table, yet she chooses to use her old phone with a cord to call Hawk. I just thought that was pretty cool and interesting.
— The Mexican chihuahua in the scene leading up to the discovery of Ruth’s murder. Is it a wink and a nod to the original series or is it something more?
— That closing song by The Chromatics is still stuck in my head, two days later. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.
I will be back next week to tackle the next two episodes. Until then, hang loose, Haoles!