This week’s podcasts all happened in the immediate aftermath of the finale’s debut, and there were so many, and so many with a run time beyond two hours each, that I am splitting this column into two parts. This is part one of two, and part two can be found here. In both posts you’ll find a ton of emotional reactions, quick underdeveloped analysis that may even change and refine within the podcasts themselves, and there’s a lot of hurt in the voices of at least half the podcasters. A regularly occurring statement is “I think I’m going to really like this after a while” and another is “I have no idea what any of this means.” It’s kind of like reading the first draft of a couple hundred theories as the first round of consideration comes to pass.
Onto this half of the podcasts:
EW’s A Twin Peaks Podcast put out three editions this week, one covering Parts Seventeen and Eighteen, and two interviews: with Kyle MacLachlan and Damon Lindelof. For Their Parts Seventeen and Eighteen coverage, the hosts say it’s subverted expectations just like the show’s subverted the hero’s journey all season. “All theories are true” came back strong, and the big dealings are with unresolvable grief. They ask if, since Dune, Lynch has always been a science fiction director, and also if the person Dale was trying to rescue didn’t need to be rescued. The hosts thought those clues in part one from the giant would be markers on Cooper’s journey to defeat his doppelganger, return Bob to the lodge and also find Laura, but it appears instead the clues were so Cooper would lose himself in a dream and be destroyed. They wonder if “in our house now” meant DoppelCooper or Bob was returned, and they go into how Lynch feels like he could be Kafka’s brother in a creative sense. They ask if Judy is death, endings, and that you must confront it and make peace with it. DoppelCooper followed the coordinates from Diane to Jackrabbits Palace which means instead of finding Judy he fell into a trap, this time from the Fireman. Because evil never gets the catharsis it’s looking for. His entrapment frames DoppelCooper like an Icarus figure here and also proves the Fireman had it under control the whole time. The western motif came back the showdown with Frank, and good samaritans and unexpected heroes in the right place at the right time returns again between Andy, Lucy and Freddy’s parts. The hosts were surprised to see Bob after they thought he was taken in Part Eight, noticed he attacked Freddy like Experiment did the New York kids, and it was a video game boss fight structure. Also maybe it was a fix The Prisoner should have done: a battle with Rover (the most ominous weather balloon you will ever see). Onto Audrey now? No, the strangeness has only just begun. Cooper puts the owl ring on DoppelCooper, takes his spot back, and implies he is going according to a plan. He’s been prescient of EVERYTHING that’s been happening in the Return, even knew where the room key was. The hosts compare unlocking that door with the unlocking of the blue box in Mulholland Drive that unlocks a psychotic break that ushers in the question of how does what follows reconcile with / relate to what has come before? Cooper’s superimposed face “haunts” the remaining scene where he can dream of what he wants to happen. The hosts think he also may be able to be recovered and reenter at this point later if the dream doesn’t work out. They thought Naido was replaced by a Bob-like shell with Diane inside, and when she and Dale kiss it’s a human moment between two people who have shared a missing 25 years in common. Cooper and Gordon did not expect to be separated, Jeffries might be inside the kettle rather than is the kettle, and the hosts wonder if Cooper actually did escape the lodge before and this is his re-entry point. And maybe “Remember,” “electricity is Jeffries and Gerard’s warning to Cooper. A LOT of scenes happened between Cooper in Limbo that we did not see. In that Fire Walk With Me scene, Laura could be talking to James OR Cooper as neither listen to her. Dale is projecting an identity on her, we witness the long promised meeting between Laura and Cooper, and the Sarah scene is probably set in present day and is a marker of how we’re supposed to be feeling as we watch. The hosts ponder if the Return could be a meta representation ABOUT Lynch’s experience making Fire Walk With Me where he couldn’t let go of Laura Palmer, was so heartbroken he had to bring her back to life but that then meant he also had to kill her all over again. And Part 18 could be a meta-reflection on Lynch making the Return. Audrey and Sarah are both trapped in story. Ben and Beverly resisted the hum earlier, and Cooper does not, instead controls the sex scene. The Platters song has a line about songbrids not singing anymore, which references Dern’s Blue Velvet lines about the robins coming back. The Judy’s diner scene is a total riff on westerns, even including western royalty Francesca Eastwood. And out of that scene he gets coordinates. Cooper hasn’t been good for Carrie after all, he realizes when she screams, and when he asks what year this is, that’s Cooper finally realizing he’s missed 25 years, they’ve been taken from him, and he’s never getting them back. In the Kyle MacLachlan interview episode, Kyle says he felt like he was part of something monumental and he was thankful for all those different roles. Once he committed to Mr. C (thanks to David’s confidence and necessity that it could happen), it became possible to play him. Playing Our Coop in Part Sixteen came late in the shoot and was interesting to slip back into. He doesn’t know how they hit the right tone at the right time but it happened. He’s unsure of the ending’s meaning but sees the process as a meditation. He’s still processing his own responses. His takeaway of the final scene: Something has gone wrong for Cooper but he doesn’t know what. In the interview with Damon Lindeloff, he says his understanding is in an evolving state of how he feels about the Return. He wanted more Twin Peaks in Part Eighteen but we got even less of it, he even thought he messed up and watched 17 before 18 but he got the order right. He brings up the Talking Heads song Found A Job, which has a Judy and a Bob in it and is eerily appropriate, and they talk about the importance and prevalence of myth. He closes with a worth-hearing story with about 6 minutes to go where Twin Peaks is a metaphor related to The Christmas Story that I totally agree with. So great.
Bickering Peaks’ reaction-cast the day after the finale two-parter, and they feel like they need some time to recover from the garmonbozia compactor they’ve been run through. They are left with the feeling that maybe none of it was real, and that the finale deliberately left people in a state of doubting confusion akin to waking from a crazy dream. They think that Coops face being overlaid on everything after he recognises NaidoDiane is a signifier that it is all dream, or at least not quite a singular reality. They bicker about whether Coop is trying to fix what happened to Diane and if he’s groundhogging in his attempts to erase the trauma. They question whether Richard is the dreamer who invented the wholesome one-dimensional Coop, or if they had to become Richard and Linda in their reality in order to find Carrie, but something got messed up along the way. It seems to Lindsay that Diane and Coop have been through this before, Diane seems resistant to going down this road, and they both seem to have knowledge as to the dangers of this path. The motel scene seems ritualistic, with Coops ‘Now you come over here’ request, as if this is something they have to do in order to achieve a result. Lindsay feels the ending is pretty cruel if it is planned to be ‘THE END’, but Aidan proposes that Twin Peaks has always been about mysteries and leaving things open to interpretations. (Matt Armitage)
Boob Tube Buddies covered Parts Seventeen and Eighteen in a single podcast. They’re not planning on binging the whole thing per se but they will revisit it later. They think the Parts had a Tim & Eric Procedural vibe, and that uniqueness is great. They try to sum up Twin Peaks as follows: Seasons One and Two are Coop comes in but he can’t save the day, and the Return is Cooper saves the day, overexerts and gets himself stuck in a loop. And Bob’s just Judy’s offspring now. As Richard exhibits a ton of DoppelCooper tendencies, the hosts wonder if Dale sacrificed his good part to tulpa Dougie to save the day in Vegas. Part Seventeen is the “fan” ending and Eighteen is the truer ending? It felt like an exposition-heavy ending but then there was a whole other hour. The Bob boss fight felt both intuitive and like Lynch trolling us, and when Dale pulls the owl ring out we can tell this is actually part of a plan. The hosts think DoppelCooper’s original destination could be the Palmer House, and they note there’s no reconciliation between good and bad Coopers after all. Laura’s body disappearing (her return to the world) is the catharsis, rather than Cooper’s return to consciousness like we thought. The hosts note the lack of electricity found in the Lynch/Frost blast at the end, and they wonder if Freddy’s a Jeremy Corbyn figure who’s all about putting down capitalism and consumption, if there’s a left-leaning political message at the heart of all this. The hosts ask if Drunk is Chad’s guilty conscience, and if Laura destroyed her house with that scream that makes the electricity go away (and therefore she’s destroyed the source of her trauma) and she’s become a fully realized person.
Bookhouse Podcast covered Parts Seventeen and Eighteen in a single podcast. They go through their predictions segment like normal, and mention how they had tears to give for the Margaret scene but none here. And it turns out things they mistook for cliffhangers turned out to be endings. If Part Eighteen was three away from a conclusion it’d be killer, but if an ending this is where expectations mess with acceptance. Zigging instead of zagging gives this show its legacy. From the DoppelCooper/Andy appearance, the hosts’ pulse rate was UP. They felt cheated by Freddy being the one to take out Bob, that Coop didn’t even need to be there. James gets the award for having the longest screen time of doing the least. The go into the effects of de-aging Sheryl Lee in the Fire Walk With Me flashback and label it successful, and they think it’s probably actually Jack Nance footage fishing. They note the unstabbable Laura photo and think Sarah’s probably Judy, and note the first Evolution of the Arm line was about One Coop Must Die and this time it’s the Audrey line. Does Cooper think he’s dimension hopping to save Laura or is it time travelling? And why wouldn’t he know he’s Richard? Vanquishing DoppelCooper and saving Laura are Coop’s two birds. Richard is Coop’s interests executed by Mr. C’s mannerisms. The sex scene brings up past traumas and is a symbol of things to come? When “Richard” is filling up the car with gas, the hosts know we’ll never get resolutions for Cole’s antler dog, Tom Page, or even Audrey. All of Carrie’s words in Odessa could be about herself or herself as Laura. Cooper’s not trapped but he is stuck in a cycle. There are forces of good versus forces of evil, and evil is both inevitable and you can’t win against it but there’s always a force pushing back against it. Coop’s mission is a self-fulfilling prophecy, so did he CAUSE or bring on Laura’s trauma? Is DoppelCooper executing his quest because The Giant and Jeffries are pulling his strings? Is DoppelCooper actually a tool for good? Lucy and Freddy taking over the battle from Cooper was a disappointment and there wasn’t even closure on Bob. It was a confounding end but the hosts will process and be back soon hopefully with more concrete perspective.
Dark Mood Woods Parts Seventeen and Eighteen: This was a very bittersweet and somewhat melancholic episode of Dark Mood Woods, unsurprisingly, given how melancholic we are all feeling right now! Ethan and Nick covered both Parts 17 and 18 along with guest Forrest Cardamenis who felt that the end of Part 18 was the perfect way to conclude the journey. The fact that there are fathers out there who can rape and kill their daughters and what does that mean. It is easy to get away from that but the finale recenters it and reminds us all of what was at the core of it. Nick reminded us that in Lynch’s world, virtues are a flaw. Ethan had a feeling in the pit of his stomach that he can’t say he has had about an artwork for quite some time. This is, for Nick, the personal hell that someone makes for themselves when they do what they think is the right thing. He felt tricked by the end of Part 17, and felt like there would be a happy ending of sorts. The spoilers he read a year ago alluded to a world where Laura was never killed, which we did get but not in the way we thought. (For me this is the throughline of The Return. We are getting this thing that we think we want but not in the way we thought we would). Ethan thought there would be a dark ending as Lynch doesn’t tend to do happy endings and he likened it to the end of Blue Velvet – we think the evil has been vanquished but it hasn’t. He sees Part 18 and the last half of hour of Part 17 as a standalone film. After 17 ended he said “This is the single craziest thing in the history of cinema” but then it was taken even further. Nick thought maybe there would be a twist with “Richard” because he was blank like “Alpha Coop”. He puts the “Richard” and “Linda” scene up there with Lost Highway as far as upsetting sex scenes go. Nick felt that the superimposition of Dale’s face in the sheriff station was a clue that something was not quite right and Ethan wondered at first if it was a streaming glitch because it seemed so wrong. Ethan saw it as very important that The World Spins was brought back as Lonely Souls as this is an example of Cooper’s failure, a theme that we keep coming back to in these last two parts. Forrest had a great read on – “what’s going on at the Roadhouse”. Yes, this was never addressed. However, the Roadhouse was a space that created parallel social spheres. We can see this in the end scene too, with Carrie recognising that there is trauma in the Palmer House whether it is her’s or someone else’s. All these characters we meet in the Roadhouse are experiencing same/similar trauma to that being experienced in other parts of the town/country/world. Particularly the trauma of women. The function of this is to spin off from the Laura story to highlight that this is a familiar story no matter where (or who?) you are. Ethan argued that this story is of a male who tried to make someone else’s trauma his own and failed. (This is such a pessimistic read of Cooper but I’ve got to say I agree). For Nick, Part 18 showed us economic desolation – the motel, Judy’s diner with very few customers, drab/depressing homes, empty highways, etc. The RR was closed. He hated being in this world and wanted to get out of it and its wrongness. Forrest sees The Return as the most political thing that Lynch has ever made. There is family, poverty, and allusions to healthcare scattered throughout the show. Smalltown Americana used to have a charm for Lynch but this is gone now. The Return is depressing because none of the returning characters have had a chance to go anywhere. Hour 18 is all of that original charm gone and we are made to sit with Carrie and Richard as they traverse through nothing. Lynch is making a statement about the emptiness of the kind of nostalgia that Twin Peaks has so often centred on. This is, according to Ethan, the darkest thing that Lynch has ever made and Nick argues that this is dark on a global scale. There is no turning back, the world is wrong and has been swallowed by darkness. The team noted that it is ironic that each hour of The Return was a reprieve from how terrible the world is in reality and then the end proves we cannot escape from this. There were mixed feelings regarding the Freddie arc, Nick didn’t quite know how to reconcile him with the rest of the show. For Forrest, Freddie is the consummate powerless but good person who follows his heart to Twin Peaks and refuses to give in to the evil, is able to reject the evil and therefore ultimately one of the most moral people in the universe. However, one person can ultimately make no difference and the evil spreads. Regarding season 4, Nick would never say never but he is thinking no. Forrest has everything he needs from this last part and while he wants more Frost and Lynch, perhaps something new? They all agreed that Sheryl Lee needs more roles and it’s a crime that this “incredible actress” is not getting good work aside from Laura Palmer. (Yvette Giles)
Diane podcast discuss Parts 17 and 18, putting forward one theory that the finale made it clear that The Return was all about Coopers dream, a sad story about a sad man who fails to bear witness to his own pain and sorrow. They’re delighted to see Lucy snap out of her season-long brain damage to shoot Mr C and save the day. They view the bob orb fight sequence as the height of Twin Peaks absurdity, a genre-flipping about-face featuring an east-end King Arthur wielding a green power glove punching out a grimacing end-of-level boss-demon in a bubble. They discuss Diane wearing the colour scheme of the waiting room, and the way time gets stuck on 2:52 signifying incompletion, something the waiting room is a symbol for. They’re happy that Pete finally gets to go fishing, and ponder whether even if you can change a story you should. Is Sarah filled with rage and malevolent grief because she doesn’t want to lose her pain, because she wants to destroy the possibility of Laura coming back and taking it away? There’s a Lancelot analogy in Coops mission to save Laura regardless of the effect it may have. They discuss the Diane and Coop motel scene, alluding to their sex as akin to another nuclear explosion, or something from the bible. They note that RichardCoop doesn’t remark upon the coffee at the diner, and is very un-Coop-like in his interactions with the waitress. The long drive in the night with Cooper and Laura made them realise that there definitely wasn’t time to find out what was going on with Audrey, a thought that probably crossed everyones minds. They feel that the discovery of the names of the people who own and owned the Palmer house in this reality, rewards those fans who know Twin Peaks well. They wonder if Laura whispers to Cooper something about the fact that he can’t save her, and think the ending can be read in both a positive and negative way, that they can exist together. (Matt Armitage)
Drink Full and Descend look at Parts 17 and 18. They were expecting maybe surrealistic Lynchian horror weird, but actually got something more drawn out and confusing weird. After a second viewing, with the pressure off, they’re coming around to appreciation. They’re impressed that Jerry appears to have run across the entire state of Idaho. They think Mr C. refusing coffee should have been the point at which alarm bells start going off in people’s minds, especially Andy’s, but it appears that he may well be on the case after that. They’re unsure why Cooper and Diane are suddenly so passionate. They note a strange cut after Cooper says goodbye to everyone, with the switch to the boiler room in the Great Northern, and discuss what this might mean. Jefferies is called the ticket master who gets you where you want to go. I’m sure Bowie would be happy with that. They question Jefferies saying ‘you will find Judy here’ when Coop is being sent back to the night Laura dies. Why would he say that? They have a theory that the phrase ’two birds one stone’ could mean that by saving Laura it can somehow stop Judy existing on our plane, perhaps by avoiding the deep despair of Sarah that allows her in. Then they decide they aren’t sure of that theory after all. They speculate that the original Dougie was manufactured from Mr C, explaining his character flaws, and that the newly returned Dougie was made from Cooper, and so should be better. It’s interesting to them when the Evolution of the Arm says “Is it the story of the little girl who lives down the lane. Is it?” but have no solid theories yet on what that means and the connection with Audrey. They’re uncomfortable with the Diane and Cooper sex scene given Diane’s assault at the hands of Mr C, note that Cooper has no emotion and doesn’t seem interested, Diane is looking up, then covers his face. Is this sex magic of some sort? They’re not sure. The way Richard dispatches the cowboys in the diner reminds them more of Mr C, as does disposing of the guns in the cooking oil. They debate whether Cooper and Diane have done this multiple times, attempting to get back to their mission each time. The long car ride scene of Cooper and Carrie is an example of the hyper-realism of Lynch’s style of film-making. Whilst they’re left with many questions after the end, they feel it’s good to be left with questions. They discuss the significance of Laura and Carries’ screams throughout the various scenes in the show, Fire Walk With Me, and the original. Is it the chant out between two worlds? They see parts 17 and 18 as two versions of an ending, akin to the end of Wizard of Oz. We get the joy and fairytale endings of 17, then we get the darker meta-narrative and ambiguity of 18. (Matt Armitage)
The Sparkwood and 21 Podcast had two separate episodes for part 17 and 18. Their coverage of part 17 expressed mixed feelings about both part 17 and 18. They describe the build up that develops in the sheriff’s station, especially surrounding the characters behind bars. The Daine/Naido reveal was somewhat disappointing. They wonder how Jerry traveled so far and where his clothes went. However, they were grateful for the comic relief he provided throughout the season. They speculate how the beings from another place evolve and wonder if electricity is the final evolution. They think Briggs may be seeking asylum as a floating head in the Fireman’s theatre, but jokingly speculate that he could have been sucked up only partially through a socket, severing his head in the process. They speculate that the tea pots are super cells that store energy. The wonder what happened to the “Billy” character–did he really exist? They spend a good amount of time trying to figure out the physics of Truman’s hat-jump. They entertain the theory that Cooper is stuck in an eternal loop. Host Paul indicated that once BOB is defeated and there is still a lot of episode left he began to worry. They wonder what Diane’s new look means for her character–is she even real? Is the physical embodiment of the lodge? They notice that the door Cooper goes through below the Great Northern does not have a functional lock–the key, then, is symbolic. His parting line, “I’ll see you at the curtain call,” may indicate there is more footage, or something unreleased. After Laura is “saved” by Cooper, the wonder is Sarah’s scream indicates that she is the mother/experiment. They note that some fans can stop the episode at this point and be fine with the finale. In their part 18 coverage they explored the fan theory about Cooper entering our world more. They wonder if the FWWM addition from part 17 was replayed for any other reason than to remind the viewer what just happened, but admit this doesn’t make much sense given that the episodes played back-to-back. Host Em hypothesizes that the awkward sex scene between Diane and Cooper represents a violation, an echo of the bug entering the girl’s mouth in part 8 and the Trinity Test, the”original violation.” They wonder who the girl down the lane is, given that we have multiple possibilities, from big girl in part 8 to Laura Palmer. Em notes that the confused Cooper at the end of part 18 is the most human we have seen him. Paul explains the fan theory that Cooper and Laura are in the viewer’s world in part 18 evidenced by the relics of our world: a real town, an actual gas station, etc. Essentially, according to the hosts, part 18 is for David Lynch fans. They pick a winner for their mug give-away and wrap it up. Their listener feedback podcast covers part 17 and 18 in one episode that clocks in at over two hours. They open by congratulating a listener on guessing that Chad’s face would meet the magical gardening glove. They get corrected about their gun terminology and sympathize with fans whose psyches are haunted post part 18. There is some education on Hinduism and thoughts of it as a lens through which to view the finale. Hosts disagree as to which episode is better: 17 or 18. One listener points out that the jack rabbit is a symbol for Odessa. Another talked about dealing with loss and feeling an affinity with the ending. Tulpa Diane writes in with satire. The listener behind the satire expressed disappointment about the lack of payoff from the Log Lady and Hawk’s conversations. The hosts discuss the trauma that the finale induces, a recurring sentiment throughout their recaps of the finale and the feedback podcast. A listener reads her previous predictions in which she believes that Audrey is being imprisoned by Mr. C in the black lodge. One listener offers the theory that the Polish accountant is the killer Cole is investigating in part 3. The hosts discuss their future projects, Dune, The Exorcist, and Stranger Things. A listener suggests that the house is a trap for Judy and offers a variation of string theory as it could apply to the finale. He also points out that the name Dougie invokes the Douglas fir. An angry listener expresses dismay over the ending. Steve notes that TP appreciation “takes a village.” They mention that David Lynch has said that the episodes can be viewed in any order. The popular theory about the episodes being meant to watch in synch was explored, even though the Executive Producer has squashed that theory. They pick Mr. C over Windom Earle in a chess match.They finish reflecting on the joy of the journey, not the pain of the finale. (Kimberly Schotick)
Time For Cherry Pie and Coffee (a subheading of the Time For Cakes and Ales podcast) felt the final double bill was two hours of TV they certainly weren’t prepared for! The morning after watching The Return is always weird, but this one felt especially strange. Both Becks and Eason felt they had to watch Part 18 again straight away, describing the episode as “dense yet effortless” and saying they needed to feel that last hour again, as it was so startling, so richly textured, defying explanation and analysis. An experience rather than a narrative. The got the impression everyone will feel differently about this ending, and thought it was stunning making the viewer run the full gamut of emotions, making us think without give any answers. Strangely, it felt okay to not making sense of it. They stated clearly that their take was in no way definitive. Just one interpretation. Will change over time certainly. This ending transcends TV, narrative and art, we will be thinking about this for another 25 years, they felt. They started with the big exposition drop in Buckhorn, learning about Jowday/Judy, Cooper’s plan and Ray’s informant status. Apology from Cole to Albert, for keeping secret. After all suspicion about Albert, maybe a nod that shows us everything isn’t going to pan out as we expect it to. Bushnell delivers his message. Hedley has info about Dougie Jones, thinks he knows whole story. Both people have info that they believe is pertinent. Introduces idea of people in their own realities, with totally differing perceptions of events – which is thematically important. They wondered if the drunk in the Twin Peaks cells was maybe not present in a typical sense. Lodge entity? Guarding Chad until time is right perhaps? Nobody acknowledges him but Chad. Maybe related to Red, some people don’t seem to see him, even at Roadhouse. Something about merging of perceptions or realities? Jerry turned up in Wyoming. Seems a very long way. Maybe teleport, wormhole? Zapped by Richard Horne’s electricity? Does that explain why he’s naked? Both Ruth Davenport and Naido were naked after vortex travel. Thinking about Mr C at Jack Rabbit’s Palace. They noted Fireman seems to change his destination. Mr C was going to Palmer house – perhaps to meet Experiment / Judy? But diverted to Sheriff Station by Fireman. We still don’t know why Mr C wanted Judy, and they noted he asked Jeffries “Who is Judy?” – perhaps asking who she is inhabiting, not who she actually is. Maybe Mr C thinks he wants to find her but is actually drawn there, maybe doing her bidding or serving her purposes somehow? The hosts felt it was incredibly tense when Mr C entered Sheriff Station, noting he emanates intense ominous feelings, especially around people who are well-meaning and trusting. He’s so awkward, but they are totally bowled over by him. He looks wrong somehow, pasty sweatiness. Frank says “Cooper, Cooper”. Does that means he suspects something is up? Based on Briggs’ note perhaps? Andy seems unsure about what to do about his vision, they felt. Perhaps relevant to the ending, where Cooper seems unsure of what exactly he should do? They felt it was interesting that Cooper is giddy with excitement approaching the Sheriff Station, despite knowing what he must know. Andy’s vision shows him positioning Lucy. Did he do that unseen/off screen, they wondered? After Lucy dispatches Mr C, everyone parades into the room. It seems odd, they noted, that Hawk, normally so tuned in, intuitive, doesn’t sense this isn’t the ‘real’ Cooper. When BOB attacks Coop and Freddie steps up to his destiny, Cooper asks “Are you Freddie?”, so the hosts surmised he was expecting this. Did the Fireman brief him? Or is this Cooper’s plan? They wondered if Battling Bud, and the moments when Dougie was making fists were future echoes of this confrontation. Fight was maybe reminiscent of Candie swatting the fly? Strange parallels in Dougie strand. It felt strange for this supreme evil force to be defeated by punching, they felt. The embodiment of the evil that men do was taken out in a bizarre, almost hokey way. Is this a commentary on conventional narratives? Freddie’s story is a traditional hero narrative. Call to adventure, sent off by wise man, gets magical item. Goes off for adventure, makes friends, defeats evil. A regular narrative, hidden in plain sight inside something much more complex. They discussed a theory that maybe Freddie doesn’t exist and is a product of James’ mind? A literal Tulpa? An extension of James consciousness? Perhaps he blames himself for not protecting others and so creates fantasy superhero sidekick? Freddie is like an invention rather than a person. Has a superhero origin story. Does that mean James’ Roadhouse performance was also imaginary? And if we’re seeing events that are mental constructs, could Audrey’s situation also be product of her subconscious mind? Did Shelley create Red? A shot of Cooper’s watch made the hosts consider how much time they spent trying to pin down times of events and text messages and tying things up during the series, but it seems interesting how none of that feels important in wake of the final episodes. Cooper reveals that Briggs is the architect of a grand plan, influencing events. He knew what would happen. Cooper’s face is superimposed. From this moment on the hosts felt we can’t trust anything we see. It reminded them of FWWM when Jeffries is telling his story and layered images fade in and out. Cooper saying we live inside a dream, slowed down but also emotionless. Like Mr C? First sign that two sides of him are merging. Cooper sees Diane, but does everyone else, they wondered? Is this Diane a bad force, a trap by Judy? Maybe the living map was right and the deadly black fire appears at 2.53. If the two sides of him are now merged, does this mean Mr C has finally met the Experiment, as he wanted to? Cooper wants to try to save everyone. Saved Janey E and Sonny Jim at the expense of truth, sending a fake Dougie, a Tulpa. And he seems to want to save Laura despite consequences. The hosts wondered if we ever meet real Diane. We see as Tulpa, an idealised version, but do we meet the real Diane? Cooper’s line “See you at the curtain call”, implies theatre, something that may not be real. Mike delivers FWWM poem. “Futures past” seems especially relevant, now we’re dealing with time loops. They noted the Jumping Man coming down the stairs as Cooper and Mike go up, an entity linked to Sarah Palmer and Judy. Does Cooper’s entry allow him to leave? Is this where the evil starts to shut down this reality? Jeffries says “It’s slippery in here”, a sign that time is fluid. Jeffries’ line about Cole remembering unofficial version implies he’s looking at different versions of events, different timelines. Cooper now entering an official version? Multiple realities, similar to Secret History book, which deviates from the previous truth of the original series. In the footage from FWWM, the hosts noted the shot of Ronnette. The same actress appeared as American Girl in Part 3. What does this double-appearance mean? Perhaps she establishes a link between Mother, Experiment and Sarah Palmer? Laura says she saw Cooper in dream. The hosts marveled at how this fits perfectly and makes you reconsider what has gone before. The noted the shift from black and white to colour, like Wizard of Oz, where it represents moving into unreality or dream. Pete goes fishing, so giant trauma is now undone within one timeline. They discussed that although Laura’s death was avoided, her abuse still took place. Did she disappear in this reality? Is she missing rather than found dead? Apparently this simple solution doesn’t undo what went before. It’s strange that Coop doesn’t see this as a problem, they felt. But he occasionally did make mistakes, threw himself into problem situations when he wanted to save someone. Let his emotions guide him on several occasions. But this time his mistake causes splintering of realities. Sarah, associated with Judy perhaps, is seen stabbing Laura’s photo, but time loops and the picture survives. This happening in 1989, when she should have died. Is this Sarah, or Judy unable to deal with removal of Laura? Is this an attempt to trap Judy in an isolated reality? Cooper looks lost. Is this the beginning of everything unraveling? Is this the good Cooper or merged version? They discussed the lyrics of Julie Cruz’s song, about loops and things going around again – seems especially pertinent. They felt an echo of moment when Cooper was in wrong place when Maddie was killed in Season 2. That was another time of confusion and despair. Perhaps as this dawns on him the halves are merging? Considering Part 18 as an hour of TV, the hosts said it made them feel lost, like they were dreaming. It was “frustrating, rewarding and impenetrable”. In the Red Room, Mr C is burning but with doppelganger eyes, not the black eyes used during series. Perhaps black eyes were an indication of BOB, they wondered? He’s burning but not reacting, so just a shell now? New Dougie, seems very chirpy. Happy reunion. Says “Home”. Is he a bit simple like Dougie Coop was? Lynch and Frost are delivering on one plot point, creating at least one happy ending, they said. But noted this is Cooper trying to fix another situation, but doing it at expense of truth. It felt important that we are shown Cooper leading Laura through the woods again. This was not a recap, the hosts felt, but rather showing us something happening again. It implies Cooper keeps doing this and it always ends this way. The hosts can understand his urge to help on a human level, but feel his idea that “the past creates the future” is misguided. The Evolution of the Arm speaks Audrey’s line about the “little girl down the lane”. “Eason said this made him feel like a Woodsman was crushing his skull! This confirms there was definitely something Lodgey about Audrey’s situation. Is the Arm indicating Audrey is aware of events in the Red Room? Laura whispers again, different reaction, different message this time. Leland also looks different. All events are happening again in a slightly different way. The whole journey of the series has only made subtle changes to events. Cooper walks out into Glastonbury Grove. Sees Diane They both ask “Is it you?” The hosts don’t think this is the true version of either of them. Two halves of Cooper are together now, so he’s not the chipper ‘I am the FBI’ guy. Did he not face down his shadow self properly? They believe Diane is a negative entity, placed here to make Coop feel that everything is normal, trying to drag a version of Cooper into an alternate reality, forcing him to confront his dark half and the things he did as Mr C, especially to Diane. He previously left the Lodge at the wrong time through the wrong exit, they noted. Coop was meant to come out that night when Hawk was in the woods, but didn’t. Diane and Cooper’s drive at night, reminded them of Mr C but they felt it was also similar to the couple who were terrorised by woodsmen in 1950s. After drive through the portal, both characters seem to change state, they felt – perhaps linked to people forgetting in the series – entering a blank state, not remembering what happened before. Diane see her double. A Tulpa? Diane from another timeline? It seems to start a process of her remembering who she is. It’s unclear who real Diane is. This Diane is becoming aware, but not perturbed by seeing her double. A warning she has been here before? Cooper is now fluctuating between good and bad Coop. This is problematic for Diane, she remembers what happened with Mr C. This is why she is covering his face during sex. He looks more like Mr C in this scene, perhaps reflecting her perception? Cooper awakes in a different motel room. The hosts felt Diane has chosen to be someone else, to accept the reality of Linda, rather than fight to remain as Diane. “I don’t recognise you any more” – they noted this is also something Audrey says to Charlie. As Cooper leaves the motel, the hosts felt he seems concerned by the changes that have happened, but mostly he just seems tired, weary, exhausted. Like he has been here many times before. Coopers’s view that you can break these cycles seems misguided. At Judy’s Diner Cooper protects the waitress – like good Coop – but the way he deals with the cowboys is just like Mr C. He doesn’t seem to care he’s scaring people, but warns chef to step back when he puts guns in deep fat fryer. The hosts wondered if this reflects an internal conflict – good and bad Coops struggling for control rather than co-existing. Coop arrives at Carrie/Laura’s house. She seems to recognise Sarah’s name, they felt. Wonderful performance from Sheryl Lee, the hosts said. She seems to be scared of her situation, like Lodge forces are following wherever she is. When the hosts heard the name Chalfont they realised something had gone wildly wrong in this reality. We know the Tremonds and Chalfonts are Lodge entities, can perform magic. Were they just waiting? Do they know Cooper will deliver Laura, so they can just wait? In all the dimensions/timelines maybe something evil inhabits this house, the hosts felt. When Cooper asks what year it is, it seems like he is realising how lost he is in dimensions and time, they felt. Carrie/Laura also realises that he is not a reliable guide. Then she hears Sarah calling, from the pilot episode and remembers who she is, the hosts felt. The scream and flicker of lights sent shivers down their spines – a moment of sheer terror. They had never seen anything like it. Is this the moment when she wakes up, remembers everything, they asked. The rush of feeling must be overwhelming. All these events have led up to her being put through the trauma again. The credits roll over slow motion of Laura whispering to Cooper again. The hosts felt this implies that each time she is telling him something different. Is she warning him not to try? Does he keep trying to save her, even though he knows it’s not a good idea? Laura in early episodes said “I am dead and yet I live”. At one point she was fine. It was her trauma, not his. Cooper wrongly believes he can undo it. He is trying to save the girl, the homecoming queen, but she is no longer that girl, she is a woman and she has reconciled her trauma. That moment at the end of FWWM is a moment when everything was in balance, the hosts note – but Cooper couldn’t leave it alone. It seems odd that the Giant’s “clues” didn’t pay off until after the entire story has played out, they felt. Perhaps they were warnings rather than clues? Warning Cooper that these things will lead him down the wrong path? Maybe in different realities these statements mean different things? What we saw on screen transcends obvious interpretations, they said – probably as many interpretations as viewers, which is an incredible thing. So much has happened – finale makes you reconsider everything you have watched, without invalidating it – adding layers to it. The last ending we saw in Twin Peaks universe was Laura with the angel and Cooper with a reassuring hand on her shoulder. The Return ends with them again – but in such a different situation, so lost. They felt this puts the gravity of Cooper’s actions, and his possible failure, in perspective. They likened the finale to the ending of The Prisoner 50 years ago – both divisive, full of mysteries and surreal imagery – left questions dangling, left viewers dazed and confused. They believe Frost and Lynch were absolutely making the story they wanted to tell. It’s as shocking as the Season 2 finale, which didn’t wrap anything up and resulted in this incredible mystery that engaged with fans’ imaginations for 25 years. If they hadn’t done that, if they had given us a story that had ended, we would never have The Return the hosts said. It might feel unsatisfying in the short term, but in long term this ending leaves infinite possibilities. Twin Peaks hasn’t ended. It will live on and continue for many years to come. The story they chose to tell opens up their universe rather than closing it down. It leaves us with endless possibilities. They discussed characters abandoned by their authors, thinking of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Six Characters in Search of an Author. What happened to Audrey? Was she aware that her plot was marginal, was she mentioning events in Twin Peaks to try to draw the worlds together? What happened to Becky? Is she alive or dead? What happened to the farmer who never turned up to speak to Andy? They all exist “like an electron existing in a cloud of possibility”, Becks felt. They noted Ed and Norma got a traditional ending, “boy got girl back again”. But their story will also continue – we just stopped watching it at a satisfying point. Is this what Cooper means by “see you at the curtain call?” – the end of the story is just a curtain call, it’s not the end. Life goes on a moves on beyond these 18 hours, which is why many plots were left in a permanent state of flux. If Cole (intuitive, in charge) is like Lynch, then Major Briggs, (an unseen hand who guided the action of The Return) is like Mark Frost. Must seem like a huge burden to write next chapter in lives of characters who are so beloved. So in some ways they have shown there are infinite possibilities, which can all be real even if they are contradictory. The hosts said it also seems interesting they featured so much of FWWM in The Return, as well as material from the pilot. What other show would be brave enough to reveal events from 25 years ago, and know the fans would immediately “get it”? They felt it was interesting James was so prominent in finale – present at defeat of BOB – maybe there because he was integral to events before the series, the FWWM period? Important not to present but to past. Seeing Laura’s body flicker out in Part 17 – they had immediate thoughts about how this affects everything. Does the past now not exist? It makes reality unstable. Although Cooper leads her away from Leo, Jacques and Ronnette, the woods would not let her go. The podcast ended with an attempt to explain the events of the finale: When Mr C body goes back into the Lodge – at that point he no longer exists, so whole good Coop also ceases to exist. When his face is superimposed, this represents him remembering these events happening to him before – he is now stuck in a loop, time stops ticking. It feels like a dream because he’s seen it before – the same reason why Phillip Jeffries felt reality was a dream. They think Cooper was supposed to go back into Red Room, be reunited with his dark half and then walk out through Glastonbury Grove when Hawk was walking there. But when he goes through the door, he meets Phillip Gerard instead of his dark half. We assumed Gerard was a force for good, but what if he isn’t? The fact he recites the FWWM poem is ominous. The hosts are not certain that saving Laura was ever part of the plan Cooper and Cole discussed. Jeffries says odd things – “Did you ask me this?” implies this has happened before, a cycle repeating. “There you’ll find Judy, you can go in now” – maybe a warning against going in? He shows Cooper a Moebius – another warning, about the loop he will be stuck in. When Cooper goes back to save Laura, he creates a paradox, like the Grandfather paradox, the hosts suggest. He attempts to create a universe where Laura doesn’t die. A lot of other things will remain broadly the same, but this creates a reality where the case that brought him to Twin Peaks, and therefore to the Red Room, never happened. The fact he cannot exist in this universe where she survives creates a paradox that fractures everything. In the moment when this paradox is created, he and Laura cannot co-exist, so Laura is swept away. We see it happen twice. Then Cooper is taken back into the Lodge. He is changed, and events are slightly changed. So this is a new Cooper – ‘Lodge Coop’ – he has powers now to control the curtain doors. Who tells him to find Laura? Leland – someone with Black Lodge connections. When Laura says “I am dead and yet I live” – this is a sign he has created two incompatible realities. When Cooper comes into Glastonbury Grove, the hosts are not convinced this is the real Diane. How can they recognise each other in infinite realities? They follow the Fireman’s clues, travelling 430 miles to another world. When Diane sees herself, this could be either a Tulpa or another version of her from another reality or previous “pass”. Diane seems to recall everything that has happened – which is why she leaves after having sex, she cannot be with Cooper, but she can become Linda and have a new life. Is this what changes reality around Cooper? Like the switch of reality in the RR Diner earlier in the series, when a guy ran in asking about Billy? Cooper follows his intuition to Judy’s Diner and to Carrie/Laura’s house. Goes to Twin Peaks, but everything is different because this reality is altered. In final seconds, Laura remembers who she is. When she screams and lights go out – what does this mean about the next reality? The hosts believe Cooper has basically found that Lodge forces are basically unknowable. They will send him mad, but he cannot stop himself trying to save Laura. In the prime timeline, Laura died but also found peace with her suffering. People in the series who come to terms with their past, rather than trying to change it, have happy endings – Nadine, Ed, Norma, all find happiness in the here and now. The show seems to be saying you cannot change the past, but you can change the present. Cooper’s idea that “the past dictates the future” is wrong, only the present will dictate the future. He cannot resist trying to save a woman in trouble. He tried to save Annie and got lost, he tried to save Laura and once again gets lost. The Return is deliberately blurring the lines between fiction and reality, the actual owner of Palmer house appears in show, an episode is dedicated to Margaret Lanterman, a fictional character – this all represents a splintering of realities. Frequent references to parallel universes, the Zone, etc. implies that this is a deliberately complex work, containing infinite possibilities of narrative, but those possibilities are only open if you live in the present. A million different versions of Twin Peaks exist, Season 1 & 2, FWWM, The Return – all seen differently through the eyes of each viewer. So every one of us is the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. (Mat Cult)
AfterBuzz’s Twin Peaks After Show does cover the finale this week, but only on their streaming channel as a video podcast. As of the day I posted this, it still has yet to be converted to a podcast proper. I’ll review it then whenever it does.
Twin Peaks The Return covered Parts Seventeen and Eigheen in a single podcast. Part 17: Thomas Caldwell – author, film reviewer, film festival programmer and Lynch scholar joined Andy and Hayley for Parts 17 and 18. These were easily my favourite episodes of the podcast, which has been consistently brilliant all the way through but this really did hit the next level of critical engagement for me. Thomas gave some insight into the multilayered way he reads Twin Peaks and this was honestly such a revelation and really cemented how I’ve been feeling since the finale about some of the very literal analysis I’ve seen online.
- Literal – extra dimensional spirits etc. – is the most basic way to approach show (this is how Thomas views the Judy retconning and doesn’t really give it much weight)
- Pastiche/Parody – Playing with form of television narrative. S1/2 was a weird mix of sitcom/melodrama/detective show/soap/sci-fi etc. This has continued with The Return, a “hyperselfawareness” of its own mythology and the nostalgic desire that the fans harbour.
- Heightened reading as a hugely personal work for Lynch the artist – constructed narratives around disassociation and the nature of men’s violence against women (which has been a concern to Lynch throughout his career.)
Thomas commented on DoppelCoop’s journey to the White Lodge. The effects here are basic and Lynch is using crude digital craft (which he has throughout his career) rather than trying to impress with effects. It’s an experience that is both uncanny and uncomfortable. It reminds the viewer that this isn’t a passive viewing experience, it is constructed, Brechtian. There were, as usual, a selection of Hayley Inch banger lines such as “There is nothing more evil than someone who refuses coffee, particularly when he’s wearing Dale Cooper’s face.” Oh Hayley, never change. PLEASE. Andy loved that Lucy had her “Molly Weasley moment” (YES) and Hayley loved that after all the speculation about Candie (she’s Laura! She’s a lodge spirit!) she turned out to just be a spacey showgirl who is, for Thomas, straight out of a Fellini film. Thomas argued that Freddie’s punching the globe scene felt anticlimactic and this is the literal level of Twin Peaks. It is also a pastiche of superheroes through the twee origin story told to James, this nothing character who is there at the right moment and kills BOB. We are being told that this is not the point, this is not important. Hayley notes that this shows that evil is everywhere. BOB being destroyed does not eradicate evil. BOB is, according to Thomas, innate to the patriarchy. He is ‘the evil that men do’. Male violence against women is still there and always will be. There was a discussion regarding the problematic nature of Naido being a vessel for Diane. Hayley was angry that we had “Asian Bodies used as literal shells for caucasity”. Thomas agreed that it was clumsy, “unwoke”, “orientalism”, using iconography to make the link between these two characters – cultural appropriation, perhaps. He felt that Taoism maybe informed this which is something that Frost is interested in. (I would argue that this isn’t the point. This is a Woman of Colour’s body literally being used and tossed aside.) Hayley argued that this is a giant flaw that cannot be smoothed over. It’s laziness and not generally malicious, they’re not realising that it’s appropriation rather than appreciation, yet it is. (I couldn’t agree more, Hayley.) According to Thomas, the three readings are converging at this point in the sheriff’s station – the literal has been dealt with (BOB), the hypermeta reading with the 2 leads of Blue Velvet reunited (Cooper and Diane’s kiss as wish fulfilment) – and now we are moving back to the 3rd reading. That of trauma and abuse being played out by the obsessed detective who isn’t “as noble as he thinks he is”. These overlapping readings highlight the fact that Lynch is not afraid to mix meta/show logic and dream/reality. Thomas wondered whether it was Lynch’s plan all along that Laura was screaming in FWWM because of Cooper. Hayley said that there have been so many things mirrored from his short films and Eraserhead in The Return that it wouldn’t be surprising if he’d held onto these ideas this long. This entire episode is about playing tricks on your memory (watching to see if it’s Sheryl Lee). The show is so meta at this point – the Palmers have always been the heart of this world. There is a moment where we think that Laura can be spared but as Hayley notes: “You cannot rewrite the trauma” and this is all dream/wish fulfillment for Cooper and the viewer. Sarah smashing Laura’s photo can be seen on several levels: Laura is now alive so Sarah is now facing the reality of the abuse, if this is where Judy resides then Judy/The Experiment has figured out the White Lodge has outwitted them, Laura’s picture = construction/mythology of Laura by the patriarchy (beautiful homecoming queen) and her attempting to fight the patriarchy at its most monstrous saw her punished. And also, as Andy suggests could this be a meta moment? Lynch/Frost trying to destroy (the icon of) Twin Peaks. Hayley disagrees with this read as Lynch doesn’t want to destroy Laura – his entire career post Peaks has been reconciling Laura’s trauma/abuse and again we return to this throughline: You can’t rewrite trauma, no matter how much Lynch/we want to. Part 18: The team noted that they recorded this the day after the finale so opinions will no doubt change (and probably have already!) Thomas noted that there is no fixed reading of Twin Peaks or any of Lynch’s films and everyone’s opinions, feelings and thoughts are valid and not always static. He reiterated that for him there are 3 readings: literal, meta, and academic symbolism. Ultimately the reason people are drawn to Lynch’s work is that it conveys emotional reality. This is why his work often literally doesn’t make sense. It is about feeling. There have been points in The Return that haven’t evoked so much of this feeling for him but the delayed gratification has absolutely been worth the wait. When Cooper woke up gave tv a round of applause. It’s a collective emotional experience and hard to verbalise. Hayley agreed, saying that Lynch’s work is clouded around with obfuscation and symbolism but the emotional through-line is there. Lynch is, according to Thomas, not as whacky as he claims to be and Mark Frost’s touch is also clear – he is a brilliant tv writer and for Hayley, the love for so many of the characters that we have can be laid directly at Frost’s feet. When Cooper emerges in Glastonbury Grove, Thomas’s read on this is that we are in Cooper’s dream: the fantasy sequence of saving Laura, escaping all of his failings with Diane. He has in the past literally projected all of his bad elements onto another person. We see the actual human being that he is in Part 18 – deeply flawed and trying to do the best he can: an amalgam of Cooper, Dougie, Mr. C. This is the first time we have seen the “real” Cooper. Andy’s read of Cooper is that he is not a combination of all 3 but a diminished version of all we think of Cooper. All he has is rationality – the magic is gone (coffee, donuts etc.) and all we are left with is the detective. The Diane/Cooper sex scene is for Andy a very strange sex scene. He notes that Lynch sex scenes are never about sex. Thomas sees it as a Dougie/Janey-E callback but this time not played for laughs. Hayley notes that we are seeing this from Diane’s perspective and that she got very emotional when Diane put her hands over Cooper’s face so she couldn’t see him – this takes into account the trauma of what happened with Doppelcoop. This is a scene that culminates in her working through the trauma and it is not about Cooper at all. Andy took Diane putting her hands on Cooper’s face to be a callback to Naido touching his face. The team all agreed that Laura Dern was (as always) incredible in this scene and showed the complete range of emotions that Diane was obviously moving through. Regarding the Richard/Linda note: Hayley feels we have moved into a completely different realm and reality that we don’t have the keys to understand. Thomas sees this as similar to Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive and gave his reading of Lost Highway through a Lacanian lens, that there are – 3 realms of interpreting the world: symbolic, imaginary and The Real. I highly recommend that everyone listens to Thomas explaining this as I can’t do it justice on paper, but it is BRILLIANT. The team noted that “Richard” is another new version of Cooper. Thomas notes that he could previously split his good and bad self into two but here he is both. He takes pleasure in the violence he inflicts. He’s aggressive and threatening while also “doing the right thing”. Again, an amalgam of all the Coopers we have seen. Andy wondered if anyone else had noticed the significance of Carrie Page’s name: “carry page”/ carrying the missing diary page. (WOW.) He also felt that this scene was very reminiscent of the scene in Vertigo with Scottie convincing Judy to let him in. The team were very interested in the phone ringing and the reference to the coat, which last appeared in relation to Charlie and Audrey. Thomas’s wife had a theory that Cooper did manage to take Laura out of the timeline and he’s catching up to who she has become and it’s not the martyred saint that he (and we) often view her as. Hayley felt that perhaps this is the only way that someone who had experienced such trauma at the hands of patriarchy could have turned out. She also noted that Carrie’s hairstyle/colour changes during the drive and that Odessa = odyssey. Andy felt quite frustrated with the driving scene being dragged out whereas Thomas sees it as feeling like a dream, moreso than most of Lynch’s other work (bar Eraserhead). And when we finally arrive at the Palmer house nothing is the same. Thomas notes that “it’s a beautiful, beautiful but horrific ending”. Laura cannot be saved. The trauma is always going to be there. Whether this is real or a dream, you can’t escape the horror. Hayley was extremely satisfied by the end (which she did not think she would get two podcasts ago given she was gearing up for a disappointing “Lynch ending”!) The entire point is Laura, a woman who experienced the worst of humanity enacted on her. She was a symbol of so many things that were not true of who she actually was. FWWM was wonderful because everything was from her perspective and again in The Return everything comes back to Laura. You cannot save someone from trauma. It will always be there even if you manage to move through it. You can construct dream worlds and fantasies but you must wake up in order to process the trauma. You have to “look it in the eye”. This is not Cooper’s dream, it is Laura’s. If you take this reading you can look back at Audrey’s storyline – episode 16 – waking up from all the horrendous things that have been done to you and look your trauma in the eye. “This is the tragedy and also the triumph of Twin Peaks” – learning to deal with trauma, you cannot erase it but you can face it and recognise it. Thomas agrees, but also notes that you could read that the last two parts are FWWM from Cooper’s POV. 25 years later the pain for Laura has finished but for Cooper it cannot, he has failed. Part 18 is Cooper’s attempt to fix the past and it’s obliterated. Lynch is saying to the fans “You’re not in 1990 anymore” with “What year is this?” The trauma throughline was discussed again with Thomas mentioning the disassociation related to abuse. He feels that Lynch nailed this in FWWM and that it’s important that as audience members we acknowledge this process. Hayley agrees, stating that Twin Peaks has always acknowledged these issues in a way that is not dumbed down (i.e. procedurals) and is a way for people experiencing trauma to process that trauma. It also makes us face our complicity in the spectatorship of trauma. Andy ended the podcast with a really informative interview with Sabrina Sutherland which gave a lot of insight into this very unique production. She reiterated that it was shot like a film, not a tv show. Once the script was delivered the writer’s job was done (Frost) and then David made tweaks before they went into production at which point it was his baby. “David had everything in his head and I mean everything”. Sabrina’s job was to draw this out and ensure what Lynch wanted and the way it would be realised was facilitated. Very grateful to the fans for #keepingthemysteryalive. Happy that David is happy and she was able to help him get his vision onscreen. (Yvette Giles)
Twin Peaks Rewatch covers parts 17 and 18 separately. In part 17 they describe Gordon Cole’s “lore dump” that begins the episode as a long fart. They were underwhelmed by the flat delivery and irreconcilable plot. They notice Gordon Cole’s meaningless screensaver: documents being scanned and arranged. Could Mr. C. have been trying to get to Sarah Palmer’s house to kill her? His intentions aren’t clear. They discuss the commonalities between all versions of Cooper–they work through intuition almost impulsively. They note that Andy seems weighed down by all of his experiences. They delight in his excitement over seeing Mr. C and his mention of Wally. They also love James’ excitement over Chad being punched in the face. They describe the BOB that emerges from Mr. C as a videogame boss and describe the ridiculousness of the BOB and Freddie fight. They wonder if BOB was actually destroyed or if he was just disbursed. They wonder who the “real” Diane is, if one even exists. They are excited that Mike gets some lines of forward-speaking dialog when he delivers the “Fire Walk With Me” poem. However, the notion of “two worlds” has expanded given part 18. When Jefferies describes the “unofficial version” they wonder what this could mean–is it an indication of the slipperiness of reality and time? They found it a little cheesy that Laura’s scream from FWWM is now in reaction to seeing Cooper. They were stunned by the footage from the original series, sans Laura’s body. They mention the theory that Sarah is Judy is the girl who swallowed the bug, which they have difficulty reconciling. They were excited by Julee Cruise and were bummed to see it cut so short. Hosts Chris and Jake don’t know what the hell is going on in part 18. They sum it up as the inevitability of human behavior. Host Jake feels that this episode tidied up the world of Twin Peaks and all of its “in between spaces.” They spend most of the recap discussing overall reactions, taking some time to get into the shot-by-shot take. They are hesitant to call tulpa Dougie’s reunion with Janey-E and Sonny Jim a happy ending. Jake notices that Laura screams three times in part 18 and wonders if it is happening in response to the same temporal event. They wonder why Frost and Lynch chose Leland to tell Cooper what to do. They discuss some of their favorite recappers, from Slate and Vulture, a departure from their normal content. Chris notes that backwards acting requires that everything is determined–there is no improvising with backwards acting. He suggests this has meaning beyond being a stylistic choice. They note that power line connectors look like the owl cave symbol. They describe the awkward sex scene between Diane and Cooper as devastating. They note that the diner scene confirms that this is not the pure Cooper from seasons 1 and 2. They describe the longshots of Laura and Cooper’s silent roadtrip. They are increasingly slap-happy over the ambiguity of the episode, which is growing on them more and more as they discuss the final moments of the finale. Finally, they don’t feel that they can assign a single theory to the finale. They do, however, feel that the themes that run throughout Twin Peaks are reinforced. They look forward to rewatch of the finale and call the season “incredible.” (Kimberly Schotick)
Twin Peaks Unwrapped Part 17/18, Ben & Bryon and special guest John Thorne. Can’t believe it’s over. Mixed emotions. Community at large will help them decipher, and in turn help back to them. What’s beautiful about Twin Peaks. Not going in order…for recap purposes.17/18 First Reaction: Ben said, “What the Fuck!” So many emotions. What are they doing? That’s how they’re going to end it?!? Ben couldn’t do the Red Room podcast, wasn’t ready to talk about it. Ben’s ripping off the band aid, and the whole 18 parts….It’s really a story about returning home. Home is really the idea of comfort, loving environment. Something Laura didn’t have. You didn’t need to see Dougie back home, but Ben thinks you needed to see that. Starts with the Fireman, it’s in our house now. Now looking at A) Sarah being possessed by something or B) The Tremonds now being in the Palmer home, so Laura really can’t come home. Cooper can’t change the past and he can’t change the future. He just can’t save her. But most of the characters, it’s the stories of coming home. Wally sacrificing his room for his parents, and Shelley and Becky, Norma and the community. But what happens with Laura? Bryron wanted Dougie come home. If some reason there is a Season 4, they don’t need any more Dougie. So those characters are done. In another life, Cooper would’ve had Dougie’s life. Back in the day, Season 3 Cooper was going to settle in TP and be a pharmacist?!? Back to Back to Back (Showtime showed the finale) overall Byron woke up at 10 and in his head, Diane & Cooper, the electricity allowed them to go in the dream world. If Season 4, the Diane storyline could be more revealed. Diane sees herself, when the go to the hotel. Then her and Cooper have this “weird” sex. Mirrors the Dougie sex scene (but Coop with Diane is miserable). Naido is touching face in Part 3, but now Diane had her hands all over her face while having sex. Diane/Linda turns into Naido (parallel) and then she comes back in 17. Diane was raped then going to the Convenience Store, and then maybe she’s transformed to the White Lodge. Ben says the whole sex scene, and thinks that maybe Diane sees Mr. C and not Cooper. See but Cooper is emotionless. Was he there to just get Diane over her tragedy? Diane leaves the Richard/Linda note. Everything is completely different when he leaves. The guys think that Judy’s could be place (Jefferies mentioned in FWWM) Extreme negative force=Jowday=Judy. Still a mystery. When Cooper gets to Judy’s diner, he’s neutral. He’s not the Cooper we know, he’s not Mr. C, a variation of Cooper. He has his memories, in this world. Carrie really is Laura, she got to this place and forgot she was Laura. Cooper is in Laura’s world, if they say she’s the ultimate dreamer, and she created this world. She can’t escape the evil. And that’s why there’s a dead guy. She still tries to get rid of her evil, Byron thinks that this is her fantasy world. Is Cooper going to figure this out, when Laura hears Sarah, she wakes up and comes back to reality. Laura recognizes Cooper from in her dream. There’s a fourth page missing, but maybe we go back to original series Donna goes back to Tremond, is one page of Laura’s diary I had this dream about this little man dancing, Cooper, and Mike and it mentions the secret whisper of Cooper. Connection between the page and what’s going on with the Tremonds and the whisper. Bryon believes that Cooper is becoming the next Jefferies. He may of landed in the right time, but because of Laura, its masked it in a dream. Jefferies does the same thing saying May, but it’s February. Thinks all this is great if it goes forward with 4, but can also see the beautiful ending that was presented. What was your favorite part? Byron liked 18, not 17. The big battle we were all waiting for. Byron doesn’t think was that as great as it could’ve been. Bob has been with Mr. C the whole time. Andy’s premonitions come true. It was weird that it was Mr. C but not the real Cooper, so it was sort of sad. Andy put Lucy in place to be able to shoot Mr. C. That was part of the message, and he was placing things so they could happen. But why did everyone have to come up after he heard the gun shots. Coordinates were Jack Rabbit’s palace the whole time. Why was Mr. C. looking for the White Lodge? To get Naido, last connection to Cooper? Why did the Fireman put him back in front of the sheriff’s office? They had him in a cage. Why did they let him go? They had him where they could keep him. The fight scene (Byron liked it, he didn’t find it cringe worthy) didn’t vision Freddie punching the orb, he thought he’d punch Mr. C. No face off, would like to have had an exchange between Cooper and Mr. C. This is way it was satisfying the whole Freddie arc, but the cliché’ part was there but not battle between Mr. C and Cooper. No one has attachment to Freddie, so why do we care? We don’t care about the magical glove. Should’ve always been Cooper vs. Mr. C. Felt very predictable that once we learn about Freddie and his glove. How can a green glove kill all evil? Twin Peaks was always about drama and mystery (and that’s why Byron liked 18 more). Ben is going the opposite way. Cooper doesn’t have to always take the spotlight, so he gave it to Freddie. But Byron thinks the payoff should’ve been Mr. C vs. Cooper (like them chasing each other in S2). Freddie’s character is not going to be talked about in the Twin Peaks lore in the future. Keep your eye on the donut, and not on the hole. Thinking about Laura, she had no place to go. Is the Fireman manipulating everyone? Cooper needed that journey. He’s been gone for 25 years. Do you think that Cooper is sitting with the Fireman before he wakes up from the coma? That whole journey gave us Twin Peaks. Is Diane Cooper’s true love? Cooper and Diane kissed a lot. Why were Cooper and Diane in the car? The 430 mile mark. So sort of electricity (Phillip G. kept saying electricity). They found the spot to be able to go over to a different world. What is their mission? Because Coop couldn’t change the past, he can go into her dream and subconsciously but he can change and escape. It goes back to the beginning and Leland Palmer saying “Find Laura”. Byron says you can go from 2 to 18, but Ben thinks he needed to find himself before finding Laura. (Carrie Page, fourth page missing), Ben doesn’t think Hawk is that literal. We did find Laura. Bryon thinks he can watch 18 over and over and get different things he’ll find each time. Glad they have different takes, but going to project onto it. Their opinions and theories may change over time, so tried not to look at too many different theories. Cooper says things are going to change but to Hawk, not to all. I hope to all see you again (head superimposed) he’s taking everything in so Cooper doesn’t lose his memoires or his mind. Clock stuck in time. (Guys, it was stuck on 2:52 and kept trying to get to 2:53, time of completion). The 315 key opens the door to the boiler. Sarah beating photos, and almost like the time of Leland destroying the pictures. She’s in such pain, but Mother is still with her. At least they think so. Ben thought Laura was going to go to her mom and have a happily ever after. Byron is emotionally drained. Another 3 years just talking about this episode alone. If this show ended after the Orb and Freddie, we’d have nothing to talk about. Ben likes the assumption that 17 closes the Return and 18 is the beginning of a new storyline. Happy either way if comes back or doesn’t come back. Ben likes that Cooper is with Carrie/Laura and they’re together at the end. Goes back to Laura and Cooper, great end. Ben & Byron met the “Tremonds” when they went to Twin Peaks Fest. And they were very sweet. John Thorne: First Reaction. Well, let’s see 1hr. was intense that dramatic buildup. Excitement and then release 1st hour. 2nd hour Cooper starts to alter history, find and loses Laura. It was like Mulholland Drive. You’re disoriented, and the find your balance and grasp at the narrative. Coming out of Twin Peaks unsure of what happened. He wasn’t surprised about this surprising ending. Was something that was going to challenge the narrative. Doesn’t know where this is going to go. Ben thinks it felt like a season finale, not a series finale. John says we need to accept this as a complete work. Because he believes that Lynch feels like it is a complete work. But he’s not sure. Ben says he doesn’t understand many of the stories, what was Mr. C’s true crusade? What was he really looking for? John says that whatever that “sign” (the black half owl/have bug looking picture) was (the one that looked like the Mother/Experiment) is what Mr. C wanted. Mr. C got in to “their” house and then placed him in front of the sheriff’s station. The Giant rerouted him (it was the Palmer house at first) and then he places him at the sheriff’s station. The Giant has control of things, and Mr. C. wanted to get to the Palmer House and Sarah (since she has the Experiment inside her). John had only watched it once. John went onto Twitter, and social media to see theories and ideas as they are changing. Ben has only watched it once, with clips here and there. Andy definitely was a key player. Had the guys not going to Jack Rabbit’s Palace, Mr. C. would’ve gotten her first. But all the players needed to be there (at the sheriff’s station). John took it as Laura disappeared. It was still be a mystery, instead of death she’d be missing. John thinks in FWWM, she’s not longer afraid of BOB, and she is stronger. If Cooper takes her away, she never had this strength and defeating of BOB, that’s taken away from her. It confuses John that Lynch would throw away a beautiful ending like FWWM. John is happy overall with the whole 18 hours. It’s going to take a long time to wrap our heads around this work. Now we have the control, and we can watch them anyway we want them. If we watch 18, and then go into 1, maybe the Fireman told him after what happened in 18, so in 1 he understands. So maybe the Cooper in 17 is the Cooper that is superimposed over the scenes in 17. Ben talks to John about the “home” theme. About you can’t go home. The story of Orpheus, can’t look back she’s lost in the land of the dead. This is almost the same thing; Cooper was trying to lead a dead girl out, so it’s sort of the same thing. Odessa also means (or brings about) the Odyssey, which follows some of the story of Twin Peaks. 17/18 Mirror each other. Cooper has tried twice to resolve this. Cooper tries, tries, and tries to save Laura and can never do this. Jefferies does show the 8, or infinity sign. Mirror image of the 8 (with the little ball). It gets to show a “mirror” universe, so maybe mirroring is something to look into. Nothing like Twin Peaks and glad it ended like it did. Ben wants to watch more. We all could watch more Ben, we all could. I am also satisfied with how it ended, but would never say no to more. –(J.C. Hotchkiss)
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