Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lost vs. Twin Peaks

We Have To Go Back, because Hot Damn That Pie Is Good!

On September 22, 2004 Lost debuted on ABC and instantly became a worldwide sensation. With that in mind I wanted to find a way to justify doing a retrospective for Lost on a Twin Peaks blog. I loved Lost so much that I thought why not compare the two series and note as many similarities as I could between the two shows. In writing this I realized that I have way too much time on my hands, but mostly that being a die hard fan of anything is truly a wonderfully agonizing experience. What is it about TV series like Lost and Twin Peaks that keep fans thinking of them long after the shows are off air? Maybe it's because anything that excites us creatively holds a sort of magic. Maybe it's the mystery and the way it gets your mind reeling. Maybe it's the unforgettable dialogue or as the log lady might say, the sadness. Either way these shows stay with fans and, at least for me, will always be fun to debate and discuss. In comparing both shows one fact can not be disputed; both Twin Peaks and Lost made television history. 

Lost is unfortunately over, but Twin Peaks is about start a whole new chapter. I think fans should prepare themselves to be collectively mind blown. Whether or not at the end of new Twin Peaks people will feel as mixed as Lost fans did when it ended, is yet to be determined. I feel confident that new Twin Peaks will be a much different experience than watching Lost was. Although Twin Peaks will come under the same online scrutiny that Lost did this time around. Extensive discussions on spoiling vs. not spoiling have already exploded on social media. Many fan groups have chosen to be spoiler free (myself included), while others have chosen to share anything they can find. When Twin Peaks aired in 1990 there was certainly excitement and discussion, but it was nothing compared the explosion of mania that occurred, because of the internet, when Lost debuted in 2004. 

Lost is probably the only other television show that I loved and obsessed about as much as I did Twin Peaks. I remember reading about this upcoming pilot that was about a plane crash on an island with the hot guy from Party of Five and thinking, "I'm definitely going to check that out." When the pilot for Lost debuted on September 22, 2004, I was immediately hooked. It had mystery, beautiful scenery, a sweeping sound track, intriguing characters and even polar bears. I pressured everyone I knew to watch Lost, because I thought it was that good. Although vastly different in aesthetics, Lost contained many of the same elements that had made me love Twin Peaks so deeply many years before. From that point on, myself and fans across the world experienced a television journey that was both amazing and torturous.

Series' Similarities

Both Lost and Twin Peaks aired on ABC and had huge ratings for their pilot episodes. Twin Peaks had an estimated 21 million viewers for its premiere and was the highest rated pilot of its season. Lost had an estimated 18 million viewers for its pilot episode, which doesn't include post views on DVR, TiVo, onDemand cable, etc. There were key factors that contributed to their initial success and launched both shows to an iconic status. Twin Peaks and Lost both took place in a mysterious location, had a large cast of troubled characters that centered around a paranormal mystery and offered a tremendous amount of quotable dialogue for fans to feast on. Twin Peaks was a town where strange things happened and elements of the supernatural overlapped the character's unfolding drama. In Lost, the island was also a place where strange supernatural things occurred and paralleled the character's inner turmoil. In Twin Peaks you had the woods, on Lost the jungle. Both shows had intense soundtracks and struck a balance between humor and drama. Also they shared a similar "right show, right time" vibe, which I think contributed the success of both Twin Peaks and Lost. 

In 1990, Twin Peaks was as unique as television could get and far ahead of its time. Cable television was mostly just showing movies and network television was relatively conservative. I think people were ready for something different. David Lynch and Mark Frost put together a television pilot that was captivating. Similarly in 2004, Lost debuted at a time when network television was dry. Cable television was trumping the network shows in creativity and it seemed the best mysteries were on the silver screen. However Lost proved that television could be theatrical, provocative and incredibly intriguing, especially with J.J. Abrams directing the pilot. In addition, from the beginning both series' had the 'water cooler' effect and gave the audience a lot to discuss after their viewing commenced. Their respective first seasons were both well received by critics and fans alike. Lost won an Emmy for best drama in it's first season, watch here --> Lost wins! Twin Peaks was nominated for 14 Emmy's, but didn't win much. At least the Log Lady made an appearance, watch here ---> Log Talk! 

Twin Peaks' first season consisted of a pilot and seven episodes where Lost had a pilot and twenty-four episodes. It's ironic, because the entire run of Twin Peaks was only slightly longer than Lost's first season. Twin Peaks got picked up for a second season and aired another twenty-two episodes, but was ultimately cancelled. With the exception of the die hard fans, after Twin Peaks was cancelled in 1991 followed by the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992, Twin Peaks was all but forgotten about. Personally I never forgot about it. Despite it not being cool and that all of my friends knew nothing about Twin Peaks, as a teenager I rocked a giant framed movie poster from Fire Walk With Me on my bedroom wall, along with several framed cast photos and even a signed 'wrapped in plastic' autograph picture of Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer). It took a lot of effort to acquire those too. My love for Twin Peaks was always a solo journey. No one understood it or cared. I can remember inviting some friends over one time as a teen. One of them was a boy I had a minor crush on at the time. When he came into my room and saw all the Twin Peaks stuff, which was obviously completely foreign to him, he said, "This Twin Peaks...it's everywhere!" Then he laughed in a snarky way and rolled his eyes. Thus nothing ever came of that crush, but back then I always accepted that Twin Peaks was my thing and not something most people were into.

Lost on the other hand was a whole new experience for me. When Lost debuted in 2004 everyone I knew was watching. I remember thinking how much fun it was that were so many people to discuss the show with. Most of my friends, family and coworkers all watched Lost. At my weekly company meetings we'd spend ten minutes talking about business related topics and then an hour debating and discussing the happenings on Lost. Thanks to the internet, there was also a ton of Lost related fan site's, recaps, web series and general online mania to add to the obsession. I loved reading Doc Jensen's weekly Lost recaps on EW.com the most, because he was an avid fan of the show and dove in head first. He collected tons of information and analyzed everything. I didn't always agree with him, but I loved how devoted and intense he was. Lost inspired deep fan loyalty and even when it was maddening, watching a new Lost episode was always exciting. I can remember having an argument with my father at my older sister's wedding rehearsal dinner about Lost. At that time Lost was in it's fourth season and Desmond was time traveling. I absolutely loved it, but my father was a skeptic and argued it was filler because they didn't know how to end the show. Like a true X-Files fan, I wanted to believe in Lost and I vehemently defended my beloved show. I insisted the writer's knew exactly what they were doing.

The iconography of both Twin Peaks and Lost also shared a lot of similarities. Although Twin Peaks at it's darkest is far scarier than Lost, both series' featured an underlying mythology at the core of it's mystery. Jack Shepard and Dale Cooper are very different lead character's, but yet they both shared the same fatal flaw; they were afraid to face themselves. At the end of Lost, Jack finally did make peace with his inner demons. Cooper's fate in Twin Peaks is still unknown at least until the new episodes of Twin Peaks come out. However Cooper started going against his own instincts in season two and ultimately faced his doppelganger with fear in the Black Lodge. Hopefully he will get a chance to right that wrong twenty-five years later. In Lost's case, whether you liked it or not, when Jack plugged the island's cork back in he managed to vindicate himself.

Both shows also featured mysterious maps that fascinated their audience. In Twin Peaks the hieroglyphic map in Owl Cave was determined to be a map to the black lodge and not a puzzle at all. In Lost, the blast door map could only be seen in the dark when a 'lockdown' was triggered in the hatch. It was Radzinsky's great map, as Kelvin Inman once described to Desmond. More specifically, it was a map of the island and all the Dharma stations as determined through the eyes of a troubled Dharma employee trapped in the Swan station. Time travel was also a theme in both Lost and Twin Peaks as well. In Twin Peaks it's more obscure, but it does appear that the Black and White lodges might exist at a specific point in time or even possibly in a different dimension. On Lost, time travel was a given. We spent season five experiencing time travel in real time as the island jumped through it's own history and finally settled in the 70's. 

The character struggles in both Lost and Twin Peaks had a lot of similar themes as well. I think it's fair to say that parent/child issues were part of the characters core dilemma's in both shows. The Palmer family's problems in Twin Peaks are far more intense than compared to anything Lost's characters dealt with, but pretty much every character in Lost had issues with their mother or father. Lindelof and Cuse have both admitted to being Twin Peaks fans and Lindelof admits that Twin Peaks had an impact on him as a child. Watch here --> Huge Impact 

Two Kinds of Mystery 

When I think about Twin Peaks, it feels like my home. It's weird to say I know, but it does. I guess because I discovered it as a child and only grew to love and appreciate the complexities and simplicity of Twin Peaks more over time. When I think about Lost, it feels like a dream. As if it was almost too good to be true and when I finally woke up, I realized it wasn't real. Given the extensive dream logic of Twin Peaks and David Lynch's work in general, it might seem like Twin Peaks should be the dream, but it wasn't. Twin Peaks in many, many ways is as stark and real as art can get. Lost on the the other hand was always a fantasy. It was an illusion, because despite it's own surreal power, looking back I think Lost, for lack of a better word, got lost in its own ambiguity. However Twin Peaks' ambiguity made it shine, mostly because I think that came naturally for Twin Peaks. Lost on the other hand forgot something very important, sometimes the mystery has to end.

When it comes to making art, film, music, literature or television it's important to remember that behind the final product, at the core of where ideas are born, lays someone's dream. Every creator hopefully has passion and vision for their work. Whether they're commercially successfully or not there is usually a drive to make their vision a reality that births the journey to the end result. However sometimes at the end, it doesn't feel the same anymore. Almost like something changed along the way. In some cases that might be because of outside pressure such as network influence or creative strife. Other times it may be a result of writer's losing their way or compromising their ideas under pressure. No matter what the cause, you see elements of all of these problems in many shows. Twin Peaks suffered greatly in it's second season for a lot of reasons, but in Lost's case Cuse and Lindelof got the unprecedented opportunity to write the end their way and in a time frame of their choosing. If Twin Peaks had gotten that opportunity in 1991 who knows what could have happened. In fact I think what happened with Twin Peaks had a lot to do with why ABC chose to give Lost so much power. This time they knew what a hit they had on their hands. 

We're just as confused as you!
At the end of Lost there was a lot of debate about getting answers vs. keeping the mystery alive. There appeared to be a big divide between those that felt season 6 did the series justice and those that didn't. It was hard to believe that with all the creative power the writer's had fans would be so split in their feelings, but they were and still are even now. The writer's of Lost always said they had the ending for the show in mind all along, but did they? They also said they wanted to end Lost in a way where the mystery could be debated indefinitely. They certainly succeeded in that, but did that approach truly do the series justice? I guess the answer depends on which side of the coin you fall. Some people enjoy a good mystery that leads to a logical end. Others prefer mystery that is more abstract and open to interpretation. Personally I like both depending on the flow of the story. I probably lean more toward the abstract type of mystery, but in Lost's case I think fans deserved answers.

Plug it in!
Lost chose to be obscure at the end. They did provide some answers, but in my opinion a lot of it didn't make sense. By insisting the island was real and everything that happened on the island was real, the writer's wrote themselves into a corner. If they had just said the island was purgatory from the beginning a lot of the island's oddities could have been explained away as tests the character's were going through. However by insisting it was a real place and creating a pointless afterlife in the sideways world, the creators of Lost left way too many holes in their story. I always felt like because fans were guessing that the island was purgatory in season 1, the writer's created Dharma and a lot of the science fiction elements of Lost almost as a red herring. As it turned out, the Dharma and sci-fi stuff was really good, but as the seasons went on the story got too big. I think the writer's realized that and decided the only way out was to be as obtuse as possible. I do understand that they weren't dead all along and the island wasn't purgatory, but my point is it should have been given that they went the religious route in the end. Obviously I'm in the camp of Lost fans who didn't think the 6th Season did the series justice. I was disappointed because it just wasn't that good and left way too much ambiguous. I don't agree with people that think we didn't need answers. Fans only wanted answers to questions that were posed by the writer's. So what happened?

(The following is a complete nerd-fest for die hard Lost fans)

Here's What Bothered Me About Season Six:

The Sideways World 

At first it seemed like a new way to fill in the story vs. flashbacks or flash-forwards, but ultimately the sideways world made very little sense. Pretty much everything that happened in the sideways world didn't have anything to do with well... anything. It was all random afterlife happenings and a cute way to bring back familiar faces for the final season. With each passing episode, I kept wondering how it fit in the overall story, but the truth is it didn't. In fact you could argue that the sideways world, unlike the previous five seasons, actually disconnected the other seasons and sort of mocked the viewers intelligence. Either that or Cuse/Lindelof took a chance that really didn't work.

It's the Jacob and the Man in Black Show 

Jacob probably should have remained a ghost trapped in Horace Goodspeed's cabin. Spending the last season on these two was so arduous and it didn't amount to much. What did we learn from them? Jacob was quite the loom weaver, he had serious mommy issues and stuff happened when he touched people. Then there's the Man in Black aka the Smoke Monster. Rousseau said in season one that the smoke monster was a "security system" for the island. There was always a mechanical cranking noise when the smoke monster would appear and we saw that Ben was able to summon it.  It appeared to be almost an artificial intelligence of some kind for five seasons, yet it turned out the Smoke Monster was a product of the MIB getting flushed into the island's core by his brother after killing his mother. Then he was spat out as angry smoke that could take human form at will. Personally I wanted smokey to be some kind of A.I. that Dharma created. Wouldn't it have been awesome if we saw Alvar Hanso sitting in a Dharma dungeon at the end of Lost working at a giant 1960's computer as he controlled old smokey? Okay that's my one and only attempt at fan fiction.

Totally random, but I used to joke with my friends that I thought the first image of Alvar Hanso we saw looked like Leslie Nielsen. What do you think?

Anyway, we learned about the smoke monster in the 3rd episode from the finale called, "Across the Sea." This episode could have told us about the island's history. For example, what exactly made the island so special? Who put the four toed statue on the island? How is it possible that the island could physically move or travel through time? However, all the audience got from 'Across the Sea' was a tale about two brothers (one dark, one light) who just couldn't get along. I know many people accept this, but to me I found this revelation not only boring, but annoying. Don't get me wrong, the actors are both very talented, but Jacob and the Man in Black, in my opinion, were the ruination of Lost. I don't believe this was the ending they had in mind all along either. It felt tacked on and although it was vaguely connected to a lot of religious iconography from the earlier seasons, it didn't satisfy and it didn't provide enough answers. We had the mystery for six seasons, in the end fans wanted that "ah ha" moment, but it never came.

Lost needed to deliver answers. Twin Peaks did manage that, even with not having the support of the network, being shuffled around and ultimately cancelled after only a pilot and 29 episodes. Even with the cliffhanger ending we're left with in Twin Peaks when Coop sees Bob in the mirror and starts laughing, "How's Annie?, Twin Peaks still answered more about it's core mystery than Lost ever did. Lost never told us what the island really was and to me that was it's biggest failure. All we got was it was a, "cork!" It still makes me mad even all these years later, but if I didn't love Lost so much I wouldn't care.

The Deconstruction of John Locke

Lost's second biggest failure was it's mistreatment of John Locke. Arguably one of the greatest television character's of all time and he never got his island communion. What a let down. He faithfully believed in the island for five seasons only to be killed by Ben and reincarnated by the Man in Black. His character was never validated at all and we had to watch painfully all season long to learn it wasn't the character we'd come to believe so much in. Was that the point? All roads were just leading Jack back to the island to plug the cork back in? I guess it doesn't pay to be a man of faith.

Other Odd Anomalies of Season 6

  • Sun forgot how to speak English for some reason. 
  • Zombie Sayid? He got dipped the Temple pool and lived again or something like that. 
  • Dogan and the Temple of Doom - why? All we learned was that he didn't like the taste of English on his tongue. 
  • Alana and her gang of bandits. They worked for Jacob, but no one cared. 
  • Crazy Claire, Sawyer and Miles as Starsky and Hutch in the sideways world and Jack's lighthouse to name a few more. 
  • Shannon as Sayid's soul mate and not Nadia...not sure about that. 
  • Widmore and Ben had an underwhelming confrontation after years of built up. 
  • Oh yeah and the whispers they were just the ghosts of those that died on the island...hmmm.
The worst had to be the very end in the nondenominational church, where most, but not all (some weren't ready or available for filming) of the characters waited for each other before entering heaven. So basically on show that took place on a mysterious island, where all these characters met and experienced unforgettable things together, they decided in the afterlife to wait for each in a church and not a beach?

I hate you!
I should say that despite all the negativity in the previous paragraphs, Lost never had an episode or plot as bad as Evelyn Marsh in season 2 of Twin Peaks. They came close with Jack's tattoos, Kate's taco night, "My name's not Monica!" not too mention the first six episodes of season 3 (Kate and Sawyer star in 'Caged Heat' - a tale of dirty sex and fish biscuits), Juliet's punishment branding (that was a nasty burn), that weird episode with Faraday trying to stop the poison gas from exploding at the Tempest Station and many more, but I was always willing to overlook those things. I wish they told us what made Walt so special, but I guess I can live without knowing that too. Sigh. Damn you season six! I will say there might have been a few things I liked about the finale. As a dog lover, Jack and Vincent together did bring a tear to the eye. 

I love you!
Some other good things were Sawyer and Juliet got a happy ending in the sideways world. Kate finally told Jack she loved him and she made it off the island at that end with Sawyer on the Ajira plane. You gotta love a woman who's got her bases covered. She loved them both so she found a way to have them both. Nice one Kate! Hurley stays behind as the island's guardian worked for me as did Ben redeeming himself...somewhat. Again none of this would matter at all to me if I didn't love Lost so much. Over the years, I've learned to cope with the disappointment by focusing on what I loved about the show and there was a lot to love. 

My Favorite Lost Moments

"Guys, where are we?" - Distress Call

Season 1 was captivating. From the beginning Lost was visually pleasing. It's location was not only mysterious, it was beautiful to look at. The characters were intriguing and attractive. It was weird, humorous and kept your interest. I was hooked instantly. The mystery was gripping, but Lost also had a lot of heart. Between the tear jerking music (Listen --> here) and the emotionally charged storyline, Lost offered suspense and drama that was wrapped in a mystifying package. 

The Numbers  - Hurley Wins

Not only was Hurley, arguably a similar character to Andy from Twin Peaks, the unlucky winner of the lottery. Hurley also always had the purest heart. His storyline with 'the numbers' was one of the funnest mysteries on the show. Too bad they made Desmond's life so difficult. Have you ever played the numbers in the lottery?

The Smoke Monster - Listen here --- > Old Smokey

From the beginning, the smoke monster was a great source of fascination and terror. In the pilot the smoke monster almost felt like King Kong to me. It was loud, broke trees in it's path and could kill at will. Although not often seen, the smoke monster appeared large, powerful and deadly. It could judge your character and determine your worth. The smoke monster blasted through the earth making an array of loud odd sounds that ranged from an almost cricket chirping noise to a mechanical device to a loud horn and then it would make a booming roar. Who wouldn't be afraid?

The Dharma Initiative - Utopian Society

Who knew that Miles' dad had so many names. Dr. Marvin Candle, Dr. Edgar Halliwax and Dr. Mark Wickman, but mostly he was the face of the Dharma's orientation videos and a source of great entertainment. I was always hoping we'd get to meet the DeGroot's and Alvar Hanso, but I was happy when Lost traveled back in time and gave fans a peek into the life of a Dharma Initiative employee. I guess he had a thing for candles?

Henry Gale aka Benjamin Linus --> We Found Your Balloon

 Tricky Benjamin Linus. At times he was likable, but underneath seethed a treacherous and sociopathic individual who was capable of doing very bad things. Despite all the awful things he did over the seasons of Lost, Ben did seem to genuinely love the island. He even managed to move it in one of Lost's most classic scenes. Watch here --> The Wheel

Charlie's Greatest Hits - You All Everybody

Charlie Pace was a terrific character from the beginning. Despite appearing a bit unkempt, there was always something lovable about Charlie. Even though he died at the end of Season 3, his death episode titled 'Greatest Hits' is one of Lost's best episodes. Charlie went out with an emotional bang. In an extremely tearful death scene, he warned Desmond that its Not Penny's Boat and died at peace.

The Map - Blast Door!

I loved the map! In this part of the season 2 John Locke was floundering in the Hatch, but the accidental discovery of the map helped set him straight. It also created a stir of intrigue for fans.

The Raft - Set Sail

I always loved this scene and how sweet it was when Vincent tried to swim out to Walt. Who doesn't love a boy and his dog? As things turned out, the raft really wasn't all that sea worthy and there wasn't anywhere to go anyway. Nonetheless the raft scene was touching and a true Lost classic.

Time Travel - Mile's explains it all

This scene is a great example of Lost's funny side. I always appreciated that Lost made fun of itself. Despite my frustration at time with the writer's, they did have a good sense of humor. Miles Straume was great at snarky one liner's and a bit reminiscent of Twin Peaks very snappy character, Albert Rosenfield

The Plane Crash - Oceanic Flight 815

Lost offered a terrifying depiction of a plane crash. We saw from the pilot episode just how scary it would be to be on a plane that was going down. We also saw different viewpoints of each passenger's crash experience in different flashbacks throughout the show. It was extremely well done.

Sawyer's Nicknames - James Ford

Oh that Sawyer, not only did he look great without a shirt on, but he also managed to find hilarious nicknames for everyone he encountered. Despite his tendency toward murdering tree frogs and his intense daddy's issues, James Ford, aka Sawyer, always had a big heart underneath the bluster. He shined in Dharma's past as James LaFleur and his romance with Juliet was my favorite on Lost. 

Jack Shepard - The Fixer

Despite his tendency toward crankiness and yelling, I always loved Jack. He struggled with father issues as well as women issues and control issues, but Jack was always fun to watch. I was a Jack and Kate (Jate) fan, even though I enjoyed Jack's solo adventures more, his devotion to Kate was always sweet to see. In the end, Jack was our rightful hero and he died to become that.

The Hatch --> Man of Science, Man of Faith

The Hatch was a source of great fascination at the end of season one. It cost Boone his life and created a lot of turmoil among the castaways. In the season 2 opener, we finally got to see what was inside The Hatch. Personally I loved the introduction of the Dharma Initiative and of course the "see you in another life brotha" character, Desmond! 

Desmond and Penny - Love Call

The Constant episode of Lost in season 4 is one of the best episodes to air on television of any series, ever. It had it all, time travel, lost love, mystery and a very confused Desmond. Penny and Desmond's love story was so well done and unique. In one of the rare episodes of Lost, The Constant has somewhat of a contained/stand alone feel. I don't think you have to be a Lost fan to appreciate it.

"We have to go back!" - The Flash Forward

The end of season three was a major game changer for Lost. The flashbacks were getting stale and Jack needed to listen to Nirvana in a beat up truck. So we got to find out what happens in post island life. "We have to go back" is arguably one of Lost's most classic phrases and for a good reason, it's one of the shows best scenes.

John Locke - Man of Faith

John Locke deserved better then he got, but throughout the series his character proved to be a pivotal part of Lost's puzzle. I stated earlier that I always wanted him to get his island communion, but even though that didn't happen, in seasons 1-5 Locke's story helped to deepen every other character's story. At some point he helped to guide or influence everyone else. Terry O'Quinn nailed the character of John Locke and solidified himself as one of television's greatest characters!

My favorite Lost moments list could go on forever if I mentioned everything. So real quickly, here are a few more honorable mentions (Click the links): Frank LapidusGin & SunRichard Alpert, the beautiful VincentTom aka Mr. FriendlyAna & Libby's death and of course Michael and WALT!!!

In a final thought, if I had to choose a favorite between Lost and Twin Peaks I would choose Twin Peaks. However Lost is a super close second. If the ending had been more to my liking, I might have felt like Lost was at least just as good as Twin Peaks. No show ever had season finale's like Lost did. Every season I would watch at the edge of my seat. Lost was in incredible adventure and a beautiful character study. For me there aren't any current shows that come close to being as fun to watch as Lost was. Thankfully Twin Peaks is returning to help fill in that gap.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Thoughts on 'The Autobiography of F.B.I Special Agent Dale Cooper'

My Life, My Tapes

As heard by Scott Frost

Starting on Dale Cooper's 13th birthday, when he receives his first audio recorder, My Life, My Tapes parallels The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and suggests that Bob might have been after Dale all along.

Somehow I missed this book when it first was published. I honestly can't believe that being such a Twin Peaks nut I waited so long to read it. It's the only piece of Twin Peaks anything that I never explored before. However the book's been out of print for years and even used copies are pricey so I never tried that hard to read it. However after rereading Laura's Secret Diary this past spring, I felt determined to get my hands on My Life, My Tapes and I'm so glad I did.

When the book begins we learn that young Dale was very different to the Cooper we come to know in the series. In fact reading through the mind of a teenage boy, even a unique and clever one such as Dale, was actually very humorous. The composed FBI agent we come to meet in Twin Peaks actually started out like most teenagers do, preoccupied with sex. In fact, his escapades with girls growing up seem to be the center point of his troubles. Throughout the book Dale talks about several girls who impacted his life up to meeting Windom Earle's wife, Caroline. Most of Dale's sexual and dating experiences were unique, sometimes dark and often left him frustrated, sad and heart broken. 

Early in the book, during a period when he's sick with asthma, Dale dreams of a man who tries to get into his room. He describes the man as roaring like an animal and saying he wanted Dale. When Dale tells his mother about the dream, she explains to him that she knew the man too and warns Dale never to let him in. Similar to Sarah Palmer, Dale's mother has haunting dreams of doom. She later dies of a brain aneurysm suspiciously. After her death, Dale dreams of his mother and upon waking finds a small gold ring in his hand. 

The book parallels Laura's Diary in a sense, because My Life, My Tapes is basically Dale's audio diary. Similar to how there are pages torn out from Laura's diary, there are time gaps in My Life, My Tapes where Dale didn't record anything. It appears during some of those times, Dale experienced things that effected him significantly. For example after a gap of one year during Dale's college tenure he says, "Evil does have a face."

My Life, My Tapes also offers several intriguing insights of note. 

Diane is Real 

The book makes it clear that Diane is a real person. This is also confirmed in The Missing Pieces footage where Dale speaks in person to an unseen Diane. In the book, we get to read a brief note from Diane herself, who describes having dinner with Dale Cooper once. Dale also makes extensive tapes to Diane in the book beginning from early in his career at the FBI. Its clear that he trusts her a great deal.

Windom Recruited Dale into the FBI

Dale extensively describes his relationship with Windom Earle in the book, including his affair with Windom's wife Caroline. There is an inference that Windom may have fallen under the spell of evil long before Caroline's death. Windom recruits him into the FBI and years later becomes Dale's partner. Dale's trusts him as a friend and Windom later teaches him the game of chess. Then Windom disappears for a period of time and when he returns, Windom claims he doesn't remember where he was. Later Caroline also disappears and upon returning can't remember what happened to her. Dale tries to help her and that's when they fall in love. Until one night when they are attacked by an unseen person. Dale is knocked unconscious and stabbed. When he wakes, Caroline is dead in his arms. Then Windom goes insane and is ultimately committed. For years after, Windom sends taunting notes and poems to Dale. This fosters Dale's suspicions about who kidnapped and killed Caroline. Fans know this continues when Windom arrives in Twin Peaks and begins his reign of humorous terror.

Dale Saved Dennis First

Dale talks about his work experience as a DEA agent. During that time, he was part of an incident where fellow DEA Agent, Dennis Bryson, was held hostage. They were working a drug operation in Mexico together that went bad. Dale ultimately saves Dennis with the aid of a hand grenade. After Dale decides the DEA isn't for him. A few years later, we know "Denise Bryson" comes to Twin Peaks and saves Dale at Dead Dog Farm. I guess she owed Dale one.

Where is Agent Desmond?

There are several differences in the book regarding the investigation of Teresa Banks' murder compared to what is shown in Fire Walk With Me. Sadly, there is no mention of Agent Desmond. In My Life, My Tapes Dale talks about doing the autopsy on Teresa and he finds the typed letter T under her fingernail. Being that the book was written prior to FWWM, maybe David Lynch decided to go in a different direction. Or maybe the books were never meant to be taken as completely factual. Either way, I'd love to know what happened to Agent Chester Desmond. Watch a clip --> here!

Dale & Laura had the Same Dream

Dale also talks about dreaming of a little man and a beautiful blonde woman shortly before he's called to investigate the murder of a girl found wrapped in plastic. He also confirms this in the series. Later Dale says that he'd seen true evil three times in his life: once as a child, once in college (which was during one of the missing years in Dale's life) and once during the time Caroline died. The last tape in the book is Dale telling Diane he's headed for a little town called Twin Peaks.

Take a listen here or below. This is from the Twin Peaks audio book 

How much these books will actually play in the show's mythology when the new episodes come out is unknown. Mark Frost's book (due to be released sometime in 2016) probably will fill in a lot of gaps, so that's a must read for me. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer really adds to Laura's story and is a must read for Twin Peaks fans, but it mostly deepens what we already knew from the series and FWWM. However the suggestion in My Life, My Tapes that Bob was likely after Dale since he was an adolescent and may have been using Windom Earle for sometime to trap Dale, seems pivotal to where the new episodes will pick up twenty five years later. If the good Dale is trapped in the lodge and can't leave, like Annie says to Laura in FWWM, does that mean the bad Dale has been wreaking havoc on Twin Peaks for 25 years? It certainly will be interesting to find out.

See you in the trees!

P.S. For more on our Special Agent watch - - > Cooper's Story

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Recap of Episode 4

That's not Dr. Lydecker!

Season 1 Episode 4

Written by: Robert Engels

Directed by: Tim Hunter

Original Air Date: May 3, 1990

"Did you tell them about the necklace?"

At the Palmer's house, Sarah tells Sheriff Truman about the gray haired man she saw at the foot of Laura's bed while Andy tries to draw his face. Donna sits next to her as Maddy serves coffee. Doc Hayward sits nearby observing. Leland pops out in his bathrobe and makes a snarky comment about Sarah's visions. He says to Sarah, "Did you tell them about the necklace?" He glances at Sheriff Truman and remarks, "She's had two visions!" Then Leland walks out in a funk. After Harry asks Sarah what she saw. Sarah recounts seeing a gloved hand taking Laura's broken heart necklace out of the ground. Donna listens intently. A nervous expression comes across her face as Sarah describes the scene where Donna thought she buried the necklace with James.

"What's going on, here?"

At the Sheriff's station, Lucy watches Invitation to Love. Sheriff Truman comes in with Andy and asks for a status update. Lucy quickly gives them the full run down of what's happening on Invitation to Love. Watch here --- > Emerald & Chet. Sheriff Truman looks bewildered and asks more directly, "What's going on...here?" Lucy tells him that Cooper is waiting in the conference room with Dr. Jacoby. After Andy asks Lucy why she didn't spend the night with him last night. She coldly ignores him and asks if Andy wants coffee.

"The problems of our entire society are of a sexual nature!"

In the conference room, Cooper tries to question Dr. Jacoby about Laura Palmer. Jacoby says he can't say much because of his client patient confidentially restriction. Cooper asks if Laura's problems were of a sexual nature. Jacoby answers, "The problems of our entire society are of a sexual nature!" Jacoby notices a map of Tibet and starts telling Dale about his interests in Hawaii. Then Sheriff Truman walks in as Dr. Jacoby is telling Cooper that he wasn't one of the men who Laura had sex with the night she died. Jacoby explains that he followed a man in a red Corvette that night, but insists that's all he can say. After Jacoby leaves, Cooper asks the Sheriff if Leo Johnson drives a red Corvette. Then he takes a call from Gordon Cole, Dale's boss at the FBI. Gordon tells Cooper that the marks on Laura's shoulder were bird bites. Gordon also says Albert filed a report against Sheriff Truman for punching him. Harry looks upset, but Cooper defends Harry and hangs up on Gordon.

After Andy brings the picture he drew of the man Sarah saw in her vision for Cooper to look at. Dale looks at it and says that's the man he saw in his dream. Harry is surprised so Dale explains that he's a "strong sender" and didn't go with them to speak with Sarah, because he didn't want to influence her. Then Hawk calls in to say he found the one armed man at the Timber Falls Motel.

"Giant Wienie Roast In the Woods!"

At the Timber Falls Motel, Josie parks outside while taking pictures. Inside one of the rooms, Catherine tells Ben about how she hid the extra ledger from Josie and she's ready to torch the mill. Ben jokes that they want the headlines to read that Josie torched a bankrupted mill in an insurance fraud and not, "giant wienie roast in the woods." Catherine laughs hardily at the thought. Outside Truman, Andy and Cooper arrive with Hawk looking for Mr. Gerard aka the one armed man. As they knock on his door, Andy drops his gun and it accidentally fires. Ben immediately peaks out his room window to see what's happening. Then Ben drops a chip from One Eyed Jacks on the floor before entering the shower. Catherine picks it up curiously and studies it.


Meanwhile next door, Harry and Dale show Philip Gerard the drawing of the gray haired man from Sarah's vision. Mr. Gerard says he doesn't know him. Dale asks if he has a friend named Bob. Philip says Bob Lydecker is his best friend, who's also a veterinarian that's currently in a coma. Hawk makes a call and confirms that Philip is clean with no warrants. Dale asks how Philip lost his arm. Mr. Gerard says it was from a car accident. Andy snoops around and ends up dropping Philip's suitcase, which is full of right shoes. Mr. Gerard explains he's a shoe salesman and that's his sample case. Agent Cooper is still suspicious and asks if his arm had a tattoo on it. Philip gets upset. Harry advises Mr. Gerard to settle down. Then Philip starts crying about how his tattoo said, "Mom!" After Hawk tells Truman that he saw Josie staking out the motel.

"In real life there is no Algebra!"

Over at the high school, Audrey approaches Donna in the girl's bathroom while smoking a cigarette. She says she's been doing research and in real life there is no algebra. Donna suggests that Audrey should escape by joining the circus. Audrey starts talking about her fantasies involving Dale Cooper and says she's going to help Dale solve Laura's murder. She runs down some of Laura's factoids such as her taste for nose candy and her secret relationship with James. Audrey also informs Donna that she found out that Laura was seeing Dr. Jacoby and might have worked at One Eyed Jacks. They agree to work together to find out if Laura was working there, but Donna wants it to stay a secret. Audrey agrees and says she found out that Ronette and Laura both worked at the perfume counter at her father's department store.

"It was fate!"

Norma goes to the prison for Hank's parole hearing. Hank is pleased to see her and asks Norma to back him up. He says he's got to get out and promises to change if Norma puts in a good word for him. Once the hearing begins, Hank speaks to the board and claims fate put him in prison thus forcing him to change. When one of the parole members asks Norma how she will help Hank, Norma answers that she'll give him a job and they'll live together as man and wife. As she speaks, Hank plays with his domino. Then the board says they'll give Hank an answer by the end of the day.

"Cooper, I'd think you'd be afraid to go to sleep at night!"

Dale, Andy and Harry head over Dr. Lydecker's veterinarian hospital/One Stop Gas Station/ Convenience store. Cooper says in his dream Bob said he lived above a convenience store. Harry responds, "Cooper I'd think you'd be afraid to go to sleep at night!" Then Cooper asks Andy to go into the One Stop and get some twine. After he and Harry go into the animal hospital, where they are greeted by a llama. They show the elderly receptionist the sketch of Sarah's gray haired man, but she laughs and says, "that's not Dr. Lydecker." After the llama grunts in Cooper's face before going into the exam room. (I love how Michael Ontkean tries not to laugh during this scene) Then Andy comes in with the twine and Cooper deduces that the bird that attacked Laura is a client of Dr. Lydecker's.

"Fix me first."

At Leo's house, Bobby and Shelly make out in the kitchen. Bobby tells her that James was seeing Laura behind his back and he's going to fix him. Shelly softly insists that Bobby, "Fix her first." She tells Bobby that Leo won't be back for awhile because Leo's with Jacques, the creepy canuck, at the Roadhouse. Bobby gets upset by the news and tells Shelly a story about how Jacques and Leo are dealing drugs and probably gave some to Laura. Shelly shows Bobby the bloody shirt she found in Leo's laundry. Bobby thinks it's the answers to their prayers and says he's going to take the shirt. He makes Shelly promise that she never saw the bloody shirt. After Shelly shows Bobby her gun. She starts rubbing the gun against her chest and asks Bobby to teach her how to use it.

"I feel so dumb!"

Back the station, Sheriff Truman, Cooper, Hawk and Andy bring all of Dr. Lydecker's files into the conference room. Truman asks Lucy to look through them and pick out the bird files. Meanwhile Andy apologizes to Cooper for his gun going off at the motel earlier and claims he's been feeling high strung. Cooper thinks Andy just needs practice. Truman tells Andy to meet them in the firing range. Before heading down, Andy tells Lucy how dumb he feels for his gun going off. She coldly blows him off again by saying she needs to go check the bird files.

"I don't why she's doing what she's doing!"

After Truman, Hawk, Cooper and Andy meet in the basement firing range. Cooper asks Andy what's going on with Lucy. Andy responds that Lucy won't talk to him and doesn't know why. He says, "I don't know why she's doing what she's doing!" Cooper says woman are drawn from a different set of blueprints. Then they all practice their shooting. Everyone does well, especially Cooper, but Andy has trouble. Cooper tells Andy he needs weekly practice. Then Truman asks if Cooper was ever married. He answers no, but says he knew a woman once who taught him about the pain of a broken heart. Hawk chimes in with a poem he wrote for his girlfriend. Then Lucy comes on the intercom saying Dr. Lydecker's files are organized by the name of the pets. Realizing how long it will take to review them Cooper says, "We're going to need more coffee!"

"A hot guy in a flashy car."

At the Double R Diner, local customer Toad leaves Norma a meager tip before Shelly returns to work. Shelly complains about how Leo hits her, but says he was great at first. She describes him as a hot guy in a flashy car, but says after they got married she realized all Leo wanted was a maid he didn't have to pay. Norma hugs her and tells her that Hank might be coming home. Shelly asks if she's going to tell Hank she's divorcing him for Ed. Norma says her plans are up in the air. Shelly announces that she's got plans for Leo. Norma listens and then offers to treat so they can get their hair and makeup done tomorrow. Norma says they'll be the knockouts of the Double R.

Meanwhile James Hurley walks into the diner and calls Donna from the pay phone. Donna tells him they need to talk and invites him over. As he's talking with Donna, Madeline walks in. James is awestruck by her. James gets off the phone and asks who she is. Madeline introduces herself and explains that she's Laura's cousin. Maddy asks if he thinks she looks like Laura. James answers yes with a smile. Then Maddy goes on to tell him how sad it is that Laura died and how she wishes she knew Laura better. Nearby Norma gets a call from the prison and learns that Hank is being released.

"Audrey, you're my daughter!"

In his office at The Great Northern, Ben uses his exercise bike while talking with Jerry on the phone. They discuss the Norwegians and the Ghost Wood Estates deal. After Audrey slinks in and asks if Ben is ashamed of her. Ben gets uncomfortable and oddly answers, "Audrey, your my daughter." Audrey gets emotional and says she wants to change her life. She talks about Laura's murder and claims she wants to help him run the business one day. Audrey asks for a job at the department store. She also asks Ben to let her be his daughter again. Ben is moved and they hug. While embracing, Audrey notices a picture of her and Laura on Ben's desk. Ben gets a phone call so Audrey excuses herself. Before she walks out Ben thanks her. Once alone, Ben tells the person on the phone to meet him down by the river in an hour.

"That's our connection!"

Cooper and the gang continue to sort through Dr. Lydecker's files at the station. Cooper gets a call from Gordon saying Laura was attacked by a parrot or a myna bird. Then Hawk brings them the test results from the lab. It shows that the fragment found in Laura's stomach with the letter J was part of a poker chip. Harry recognizes it as being from One Eyed Jacks. Right then Andy finds a file about a myna bird named Waldo, who is owned by Jacques Renault. Cooper thinks that's important information. Then they head to Jacques' apartment right as Bobby is planting Leo's bloody shirt inside. Bobby sneaks out in time to avoid detection. Immediately after Dale enters the apartment and finds the bloody shirt. Realizing this proves Leo and Jacques know each other Harry says, "that's our connection!"

"If you don't like it, get somebody else!"

Ben meets up with Leo in the woods. Noticing Leo's red Corvette, Ben snarks about Leo bringing it for a secret meeting. Never one to mince words, Leo responds, "if you don't like, get somebody else." Then they talk about Leo's drug business. Ben scolds Leo for his lack of ambition and for working with a bunch of glue sniffing squish heads aka Mike and Bobby. Leo gets defensive saying he's out 10 K, which is big money for him. Then Leo says he broke up the Renault brother's act. He shows Ben Bernard Renault's dead body and says he told Jacques to keep his distance or he'd kill him too. Ben seems somewhat pleased and hands Leo money to burn the mill down.

"I'll catch you later!"

Donna and James head into the woods looking for Laura's necklace. Donna tells James about Sarah's vision. They go to the spot where the necklace was buried and find it missing. Right then an owl hoots in the trees above them. After Donna and James agree to continue their investigation into Laura's murder, but in secret. Then they kiss. Donna whispers, "James...I want to be with you!"

At the Packard's house, Harry calls Josie and asks if she was at the Timber Falls motel earlier. Josie tells Harry to call her tomorrow and quickly gets off the phone. After she offers to make Pete a turkey sandwich. Pete invites her to join him in a fishing contest. Josie agrees and Pete takes his sandwich upstairs. After Josie looks through her mail and opens a letter with a sketch of a domino inside. She appears upset at the sight of it. Then the phone rings and it's Hank calling from prison. He sucks on his domino and tells Josie, "I'll catch you later." 

End of show!

I love this episode, but Hank's domino always drove me crazy. It seems like it's supposed to mean something, but (spoiler alert) it never really goes anywhere. This episode plays out more methodically setting up layer's of the investigation through humor, rather than anything particularly surreal. Between Andy's lines, Dr. Lydecker's Llama and Philip Gerard breaking down over his "mom" tattoo, I would say this episode airs on the lighter side. It's a nice mix of all the character's though, showcasing a little bit of everyone's drama. This episode leaves the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer open to many possible suspects. We dive in a little deeper with the discovery of Waldo the bird and Ben's hand in multiple nefarious dealings. Audrey shows both her vulnerability and cunning while securing herself a job at the department store. Its apparent in the scene with her and Ben, that although there is a disconnect between Audrey and her father, there is also complicated love there. Audrey clearly feels sidestepped by Ben's fondness of Laura and there is a sense that's she struggled with that for a long time. 

It was also nice to learn a little about Cooper's romantic past and Hawk's poetic nature. I must note that Gordon Cole was noticeably quieter in his phone debut than he becomes in later episodes. I should also note that the name Gordon Cole is a reference to a character from the famous movie, Sunset Boulevard, which David Lynch has said is one of his favorite films. The names Lydecker and Waldo are both references to the old movie 1944 movie, Laura. It's also likely that the name Laura Palmer was inspired by that film. 

Random Thoughts: My friend has a theory about Andy that I believe is true. His innocence might be the key to saving Dale in the new episodes. I will reference examples in future recaps, but in this episode notice he finds Waldo's file at just the right moment.

Also note that there was an owl watching James and Donna in the woods right as they discovered Laura's necklace was missing. Why?