One of our friends from Twitter, Marcus Wilson tweeted recently that he was about to watch “Fire Walk With Me” for the first time. Two things went through my mind: first, excitement for him and second, that would make for a great article! So I tweeted Marcus and asked him to document his unfiltered thoughts, completely free of multiple viewings and other people’s theories and I would post it here on the site. Marcus was up for the challenge and here it is, the thoughts of a “Fire Walk With Me” first timer! Hope you enjoy this unique perspective – Andrew
Twenty five years ago I was 17. I watched Twin Peaks, Season 1, and was hooked, as was the majority of the UK. I drifted away during Season 2. Why was that? Not so sure, it was a long time ago. Over the years I’ve been drawn back to Twin Peaks – it does that to you – wanting to understand more, see what I missed the first time around. Why did I never watched Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, I don’t know.
And so, 24 years later I found myself re-watching the Seasons 1 & 2 box set, once again engrossed, once again becoming frustrated with Season 2, but in anticipation of Twin Peaks: The Return.
25 years later, the box set arrives, and 6 episodes in to Season 3, and a little late to the party some would argue, I find myself watching, for the first time, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
So we have an intro to Palmer family and Laura – the viewing is uncomfortable – Leland is dominant and powerful – Sarah and Laura appear to bow down to him. We have some funny, bizarre, weird scenes as two FBI agents are sent to investigate a murder; we are introduced to the seedy world of the back room of the Roadhouse Bar; we see the gruesome Laura murder scene; and Coop and Laura are left in the red room. I’ll come clean here, the final scene left me confused. I think this is Cooper dreaming, and Laura is in limbo.
The intense and scary bits? I just wanted to list these as my stand outs!
- Laura seeing Bob for the first time
- The image of Laura lying on the grass seeing Leland
- The Philip Jeffries scene
- Laura’s “Fire walk with me”
- The Roadhouse back room
- The murder scene
- The crossroads scene
Most notably I was engrossed by the portrayal of Laura, by Sheryl Lee. Taking center stage (literally) for the first time in Twin Peaks, I found myself worried for her, afraid for her, often scared of her.
The nightly domestic abuse she is suffering at the hand of Bob/her father coupled with her own drug abuse makes for uncomfortable viewing. Even more so, the juxtaposition between tears and laughter. Her pain is obvious through her tears which switches to uncontrollable laughter when she is high.
One of the most poignant scenes is when Donna ask “why do you do this Laura” – Laura doesn’t answer but we know deep down she is trying to escape.
Laura’s bedroom, the two pictures (the room with the door and the scene with the children) play an eerie juxtaposition between happiness and the unknown. What happens in Laura’s bedrooms confused me, I couldn’t work out what was real and what wasn’t. I was constantly questioning.
I’m convinced that Laura’s continued abuse from a long age has led to the actions she is taking in her later years. It’s a psychological change for Laura – she is looking for the way out, the release, the escape.
And so to Cooper. Special Agent Dale Cooper. I didn’t expect to see much of Cooper (I believe he wanted to have a minor part for fearing of being typecast), but what I did see explained some of why he was put in charge of investigating the murder – sharing the dreams with Laura of the red room, and appearing with her in the end scene. And then that great scene between Albert and Coop show that there is more the him than meets the eye.
I love the FBI
The FBI. Is this really how the FBI operate? Personally, I would love to think so. Lil’ the dancer is one of the main things I love about FWWM – just so weird, surreal, scary. Not knowing what is going on, yet the reveal is just so much fun. Of course, Philip Jeffries appears, and I realize that I need to watch this scene with subtitles too, along with the rest of the film – I didn’t catch any of what was said to Cole, Albert and Cooper. Rewind.
Switch on the subtitles Albert
I found myself having to pause, rewind, put on the subtitles and start again. I have to refer to the guys over at Idle Thumbs – I did feel like my brain was being erased – it made me frustrated, it made me want to concentrate, I knew this was Lynch saying – concentrate!!, this is important, you need to listen more carefully. We will be testing you at the end…
This was not an account of the story, most readers wouldn’t want that, but this is my initial reactions and thoughts of a film that cannot be watched out of context. It left me feeling sad then uplifted; feeling sorry for Laura; feeling angry towards Leland; and frustrated with Sarah. It’s a dark film which tackles head-on – murder, sexual abuse, addiction and the paranormal – I’m worried about Coop – sound familiar?
Marcus can be reached on Twitter : @marcuspwilson