WOW BOB WOW. This was one of those episodes that you had to see to believe. I can’t recall ever seeing anything like it on television. It was beautiful and strange and violent and it feels like the universe has shifted just a little because of it. Here we go.
AND THE ROAD LEADS TO NOWHERE: Bad Cooper and Ray are out of jail and on the road, heading to some place known as The Farm. They make a quick stop in a field so Ray can ‘take a leak’. Cooper seizes the opportunity and sneaks up behind him with a gun, demanding that Ray tell him ‘the numbers’. As soon as Cooper got out of the car with the gun, I thought I knew just how this scene was going to play out. Ray was going to be taken by surprise and shot dead. We’ve seen this sort of ambush between criminals a hundred times before, right? Well, I WAS WRONG. It turns out that Ray has a gun as well, AND he was smart enough to remove the firing pin from Cooper’s gun. Ray fires his weapon and just like that, it appears that the main antagonist of our show is dead midway through the season.
BUT WAIT. As Ray stands over Cooper’s lifeless body, a group of spectral woodsmen appear and start dancing around the body. Are these the dugpas that we heard about way back in season two? The dugpas start doing something to Cooper’s body. I’m not even sure what you would call it — they furiously pat his chest and smear blood from his wound all over his face as Ray looks on in disbelief. BOB appears in a bubble, seemingly exiting Cooper’s body. Hey kids, be the first one at your school to have a BOB bubble! Only $9.95! Ray freaks out over everything and speeds away in the car. He calls someone on the phone, possibly Phillip Jeffries, and tells them that Cooper is dead. Well, probably dead because ‘he got some help’. And Cooper turns out to be very much alive indeed, as he sits up in the field, looking dazed.
ROADHOUSE BLUES: ‘The Nine Inch Nails’ performed a song. It was a very disorienting tune. That is all.
HOW TO DROP ACID: We transport to New Mexico 1945, just in time to experience the countdown to the detonation of the first atomic bomb. How can I even explain what happens here? The bomb goes off. All hell breaks loose. Some sort of break in the cosmos. A floating body, created in the wake of the blast, emits a thick cloud of smoke that contains BOB. A group of dugpas move in and out of a convenience store in the desert, while staccato bursts of light abound.
SOMEWHERE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE: The Giant and his lady friend hang out in a well-furnished room in a pristine castle on top of a rock overlooking a vast, purple sea. They listen to soothing old-timey music being played on a phonograph. A huge, electrical bell starts buzzing and lighting up. The Giant switches it off (it is apparently a sort of alarm) and walks up a staircase to a theater. Tonight’s film: Everything we have been watching for the past 20 minutes. The atomic bomb blast, the convenience store dugpas, BOB shooting out from the vape cloud. The Giant levitates and emits golden particles of light from his head (this all sounds so silly when you write it down, but it was a very powerful scene to watch — YOU HAD TO BE THERE). One of the golden particles floats down into the hands of Ladyfriend. Yes, I am aware that she is referred to as ‘Señorita Dido’ in the credits. She holds the golden orb and either kisses it or just holds it against her face, it was difficult to tell which. Guess whose picture is inside the golden ball of light? Miss Laura Palmer! I admit that I was totally lost as to the significance of this. Adding to my confusion, Ladyfriend releases the golden ball and it floats upward into the mouth of The Big Yellow Saxophone. Then the ball is spit out onto the movie theater screen, upon which a map of the world is now being projected. The glowing ball of Laura Palmer is headed to America, friends!
MY PRAYER IS TO LINGER WITH YOU: We are suddenly back on Earth again, in the New Mexico desert in the year 1956. A creepy frog-roach creature hatches from an egg and crawls away. Dugpa woodsmen appear and start meandering through town, scaring the hell out of motorists in the process. One of them, who we shall call Abe (because let’s face it, the dude looks JUST LIKE our 16th president), has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and keeps asking the motorists ‘Gotta light?’ His voice is deep and scratchy and piercing. Abe makes his way to a local radio station. As the Platters’ song ‘My Prayer’ plays at the station, Abe walks inside and murders a receptionist by grabbing her head. He doesn’t seem to be squeezing her head, just sort of holding it. However, whatever he is doing is enough to cause her entire face to violently fracture. Abe moved on to the station’s control room, interrupting the music. With one hand grabbing on to the dj’s head, he uses his other hand to seize the microphone. Abe speaks and broadcasts this haunting message over the airwaves: ‘This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.’ As Abe repeats this cryptic phrase over and over, everyone listening to the broadcast is put to sleep. We see a waitress at a diner, a man working on his car, a young girl relaxing on her bed (having just returned home from a date). All of them are rendered unconscious by the woodsman’s words.
NOW HERE IS THE TRULY HORRIFIC PART. When I was a teenager, I had two pet chameleons. Their names were Freddie and Aldous (I named them after Frederich Nietzsche and Aldous Huxley because I was going through a phase where I was obsessed with philosophy). One night, I had a dream that I was sleeping in my bed with my mouth open when Freddie crawled up and laid on my tongue. I was afraid to move and frighten him so I just laid there and did nothing. Freddie slowly began to crawl until he was fully inside my mouth and scampering down my throat. I woke up from this dream with a new, strange phobia of reptiles entering my mouth. This phobia persists to this day. Admittedly, it’s not something that is likely to ever happen to me in real life. Still, it is my number one fear. So imagine my horror as I watched this young girl lay unconscious on her bed, mouth open. IMAGINE MY INNER TERROR AS THE FROG-ROACH JUMPED IN THROUGH HER BEDROOM WINDOW AND CRAWLED INTO HER MOUTH. As this scene played out, I was curled up into a ball on my couch. I almost could not look at the television screen. David Lynch, how did you know my greatest fear? And more importantly, how dare you?
This was a very difficult episode to review. There was barely any dialogue for the last 45 minutes of the show. There were long, arty scenes of explosions and space and particles and fire. The only scene that took place in the town of Twin Peaks was a musical performance. Even the scenes that had some sort of linear narrative had an eerie, hypnotic, dreamlike quality to them.
WHAT I THINK ABOUT ALL THIS: Part 8 was an episode to be experienced and felt, rather than recapped. We witnessed the detonation of an atomic bomb, but it was also the detonation of the show Twin Peaks as we know it. At first glance, most casual viewers were probably completely put off by all of this weirdness. But look a little closer, and it is an origin story: BOB and possibly the Black Lodge itself was created by an atomic bomb explosion. The Giant, a sort of caretaker of the universe, decides to combat the existence of BOB by creating/releasing Laura Palmer to the world. Does this mean that Laura was manufactured by the Giant? If Laura was sent to Earth to destroy BOB, she has done a piss poor job of it so far. All she managed to accomplish was getting herself raped and murdered by the creep. Maybe Laura was not manufactured at all, though. In the premiere episode, we saw her violently ripped out of the Lodge after she kissed Cooper. We know that time sort of stands still in the Lodge. Could Laura’s Lodge disappearance have to do with what we saw in the interplanetary movie theater in this episode? I can only imagine that there is more of Laura’s story to be told and that she will turn out to be crucial to the last 8 episodes of the series. As far as the 1956 sequence is concerned, we don’t have enough information to be able to know its significance just yet. Who was the girl with the frog-roach in her mouth? Why did this all happen in 1956? And wait, what really is the frog-roach anyway? The dugpas were manipulating events so the frog-roach would be able to enter the girl’s body. We already know that the dugpas helped bring Bad Cooper back to life. Also, that Abe dude did kill a couple of innocent people. So we have to assume that this frog-roach creature is something evil. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks we will know for sure. Overall, I thought this was one of the most beautiful, fascinating, and terrifying hours of television that were ever produced. It was also the episode that probably caused people all over the world to change channels to another station. ‘I wanted coffee and cherry pie and a murder mystery. What the fuck is this? Let’s just watch Forensic Files and go to bed, honey. This is too weird.’ Great art should be polarizing. Congratulations, Mr. Lynch, you have just created a modern masterpiece.
MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
— All during the episode, I kept wondering if my pets were aware that I was watching something weird. I have a dog and a cat. They just sat with me in the darkness while all of these strange noises and images danced around my living room. Was this just another night at home for them? Or were they a little disoriented?
— During the atomic bomb scene, we heard Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima’. I actually loved this piece, it reminded me of the music of Frank Zappa, my favorite musician/composer. Zappa was a big fan of Penderecki, and I figure this is the closest I will ever get to hearing anything close to Zappa’s music in my favorite TV show.
— When Ray tells Cooper he has to take a leak, Cooper says ‘Go for it’. I laughed when I heard him say this. I pictured two surfer dudes hanging out – ‘Bro, I gotta piss so bad’ ‘Go for it, dude! Just let it flow!’ I don’t know, I think of strange things sometimes.
— Who is Phillip Jeffries working for? Whose side is he invested in? What the hell happened to him all these years? I would love to watch a film that is all about Agent Jeffries. It’s a tragedy that David Bowie is dead because if he wasn’t, I’d be the first to donate money to crowdfund the movie.
— I used to love Nine Inch Nails back in the early to mid-90’s when they were really popular. Then I sort of grew out of that angsty teenage mindset and stopped listening to their music. I don’t like when people are screaming and complaining to me with a music background. Life is short and I would rather listen to something uplifting and multilayered. But the day after this episode aired, I dig out my CD of the NIN album ‘The Fragile’ and gave it a spin. I will admit, it’s very good. I suppose there is a place in my life for angry, depressing music after all.
— The diner in the 1956 sequence was called Pop’s. Isn’t that the diner from the Archie comics?
— What other television show would feature music by Nine Inch Nails, Penderecki, Angelo Badalamenti, and the Platters, all in the course of one hour? This musical palette puts other TV shows to shame.
We have reached the midpoint of the series. Who could have predicted these 8 hours? We have a two-week break between episodes, so I will see you again in mid-July, friends! Hang loose, Haoles, and have a fantastic summer holiday. And remember, if a dirty bum who looks like Abraham Lincoln asks you for a light, please just give it to him. Either that or run away. On second thought, just run away.