Sunday, December 31, 2017

Twin Peaks 2017: The Best of Season 3

Twin Peaks: Season 3 was littered with amazing moments of humor, horror, and heartbreak. It was 18 hours full of unforgettable imagery, and loads of ambiguous mystery to stew about. As in the original series, Season 3 also offered a myriad of quotable dialogue, quirky characters, and laugh out loud scenes that were delightful for fans. Pictured above, although we didn't see her much until Part 10, Candie sure was fun to watch. Paired with the famed Mitchum Brothers, the whole team provided so much fun. Thinking of that, I thought it would be nice to put together a list of some of my personal favorite moments from Season 3. These were just my top picks, but honestly the entire season was a thrill to watch. It was hard to chose the "best", because there was so much to enjoy spread over the whole eighteen hours. Nonetheless, I had to make some choices, otherwise this post would be endless. Enjoy!

The Best of Season 3

Mr Jackpots and his famous, "Hello-o-o-o!" pretty much solidified Dougie Jones as the most entertaining gambler ever. Not only did his casino escapade make us fans laugh, but he joyfully managed to change the life of a sweet homeless old woman, with the help of the Black Lodge of course. Watch here ---> Thank you Mr. Jackpots!

The evolution of the arm was rather unexpected, but in my opinion, simply brilliant. Devoted fans know some of the history behind Michael J. Anderson's absence in season 3, not all of which seemed pleasant, but that didn't matter. A sycamore tree with a head similiar to the baby in Eraserhead worked out just fine. Watch here ---> I am the Arm.

Mr. C's violent vomiting of Garmonbozia was both disgusting and oddly hilarious. Although quite excessive in the amount of pain and sorrow that was excreted, it was hard not to enjoy his struggle to keep that creamed corn concoction inside. Watch here ---> Garmonbozia Vomit Scene.

Even the hard nosed Mitchum brothers were no match for Dougie's charm and innocence. Despite their determination to murder Dougie in the desert, a dream that led to a truth changed their minds, and a check for 30 million dollars. Watch here ---> I love this guy!

Bubble Bob was a terrific and inventive way to incorporate the deceased Frank Silva's legacy into the new season. After much speculation from the fan community on the "Bob" situation, and whether it would be handled via CGI or a recast, Lynch and Frost found an excellent solution by turning Bob into a bubble/orb/egg that lived inside Mr. C. Bravo!

Major Briggs' floating head was a trippy thrill to watch. In a lovely nod to Eraserhead, a clever tribute to the deceased Don Davis, and with a dreamy otherworldly feel, this moment was truly mysterious and mesmerizing. Seeing the Major in any form brought on a smile from ear to ear on this fan's face.

Jade was super adorable and fun to watch. Even naked in the shower she managed to make the absurd entertaining. She also mailed Dougie's room key back to The Great Northern, which was pivotal for Cooper. I just loved her! Watch here --> Jade Gives Two Rides!

Bushnell Mullins was one of the best characters to emerge from the Dougie storyline. "Nobody keeps Battling Bud on the ropes for long!" Week after week he cracked me up with his quirky charm and dialogue. I loved that he came to love Dougie in the same way all of us fans did throughout Season 3.

Dougie and Janey-E's sex scene in Part 10 was one of Lynch's best sexy scenes. In much of his previous work sex scenes are often heavy, and sometimes scary, but this was just plain amusing. Dougie's face and flapping arms are priceless. Watch here ---> Oh Dougie!

Norma and Big Ed getting a happy ending to Otis Redding's, I've Been Loving You Too Long, was truly beautiful. After decades apart, these two finally get together in a scene that was impossible not smile wholeheartedly at. Watch here ---> I've Been Loving You Too Long

Hutch and Chantal brought a touch of Quentin Tarantino to Twin Peaks. They entertained us with conversations about junk food and morality, despite their own reprehensible behavior. I'd argue that Lynch did Tarantino better than Tarantino with Chantal and Hutch's outrageous death scene. Perhaps it was a friendly nod to Tarantino or a slight dig at him for famously denouncing Fire Walk With Me years ago. I guess we'd have to ask Mr. Lynch to be sure. Watch here ---> Epic Death 

Seeing so much Albert, especially after Miguel Ferrer's tragic passing, was an utter delight in Season 3. In the original series, Albert's dialogue was classic and always amusing. That trend continued in 2017 with the line, "Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker!," leading the charge. See here ---> Poor Gene Kelly. We'll miss you forever Miguel!

Bobby Briggs cleaned up his act in 2017, which seems to have cost him Shelly, but would have made Major Briggs very proud. He was the character I had a crush on as a kid, and seeing him on the right side of the law and life, made me crush on him all over again. I loved all his scenes, but I think him encountering the woman in the car was the most memorable. Watch here ---> Car Scene.

David Lynch as Gordon Cole in 2017 was an unexpected pleasure. Of course I loved Gordon in the original series, but this time he was a major player, not to mention a very entertaining character. From his fine Bordeaux to his charming French companion, Gordon was just a blast to watch all season long. See him here ---> Gordon's Monica Bellucci Dream

If I had to guess who or what Diane was before 2017, I would never have guessed she'd be a foul mouthed tulpa who chain smoked. However, Laura Dern brought some incredible energy to the character and will now forever be legendary. See her here ---> American Woman

Denise Bryson returned in 2017 as the Chief of Staff at the FBI, and also as one of the world's tallest women. I loved how she checked Gordon, and how she stated that normally she has to grow balls of steal to do her job, because it's a bitch. Ha ha! Watch here ---> Fix Your Hearts or Die!

That fucker Ray/FBI informant certainly got under Mr. C's skin with his sly smile and sarcastic tone. Unfortunately it led to his demise, but his character was pivotal in Part 8 when he shot Mr. C and revealed the disturbing Woodsmen. See here ---> Moonlight Sonata.

The Glass Box scene started out a little sexy and ended with a whole lot of scary. I always thought Tracey was a spy, and that sex somehow triggered evil. As it often does in most classic horror films. However, we'll likely never know for sure. Watch here ---> Glass Box and Chill!

Sarah Palmer as Judy was certainly frightening. Grace Zabriskie has an intensity to her acting that is unmatched, and always brilliant. In Season 3 her character was very dark, and now, thanks to The Final Dossier, we know that she was the girl who swallowed the most horrific bug of all time. You really don't want to mess with her. Watch here ---> I'll Eat You!

Part 8 will likely go down in history as one of the best episodes of television to ever air. No doubt within the Twin Peaks fan community it has already achieved that title. The incredible bomb scene, the Woodsmen, The Fireman and Senorita Dido with Laura Palmer as a golden ball of goodness, including the terrifying radio station scene, all made Part 8 just amazing, mind blowing and bold. I loved every moment of it. Watch here ---> The Bomb!

When James sung, "Just You," at the Roadhouse I literally jumped off my coach and cheered him. I was never a big fan of the original version, but seeing James Marshall give it redemption in 2017 gave me so much unexpected joy. Watch here ---> Just You!

Audrey's character arc in Season 3 started out a bit odd and confusing, but it ended with an incredible bang that thrilled to no end. When she finally got to the Roadhouse, in what seemed to be an elaborate dream sequence, her dance was just beautiful. It could have been awkward, but instead it completely worked, and I loved it! Watch here ---> Audrey's Dance

"I am the FBI," certainly had every Twin Peaks' fan cheering in Part 16. Seeing Cooper truly return as Cooper was everything we'd been waiting for all season long. His Cooper instincts were fully intact and he immediately leaped into action. All that was missing was Cooper's classic thumbs up, but hey I'm not complaining, he came back and that's all that mattered. Watch here --- > I am the FBI.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole: Thoughts on Season 3

If there is a lesson to be learned from Twin Peaks: The Return, maybe it's to realize that everything changes. Sometimes in order to shed the weight of the past you need to let go of it, otherwise you get trapped in its loop. There is no going back. You can't go home again. Love it or hate it, by Part 18 of Season 3 it was clear that there are no true answers, only ideas, perceptions, and assumptions. It was a great cerebral ride that drew it's curtain call with more confusion than conclusion, but within that maybe a little haunting closure too.  

When parts 17 and 18 aired I was ready to not necessarily receive answers to everything, but to feel a sense of cohesion with the entire 18 hours. Instead, I was scratching my head in befuddlement. I have loved this show since I was a kid. Its return mattered to me, and yet my beloved Lynch and Frost murdered Twin Peaks before my very eyes. Are they just cruel? Do they really hate their fans that much? After such a terrific and engaging season, why would they choose to end it like...that? These were all questions I wrestled with. However, after thinking about it for awhile, as well as rewatching parts 17 and 18 a few times, I'm starting to feel differently.

The Return seems to be a beautiful homage to Lynch's body of work. On a whole, Season 3 was highly enjoyable, entertaining, and enigmatic. It offered modern reinvention with a retro flare. Fans got a true "Lynchian" experience, with fewer cups of coffee, far less pie, and none of the dreaded Season 2 plot disasters. From start to finish, Twin Peaks Season 3 was beyond the beyond. That is not to say it was without flaws, but what those flaws are or aren't truly depends on the individual.

My Observations & Interpretations

I contend that when Sarah/Judy/Mother smashes Laura's picture, it is not only a demonstration of frustration on the part of the entity in the story, but it is also Lynch/Frost, and maybe even a little bit of Sheryl Lee, smashing the iconic imagery of the original show into oblivion. I honestly think this is the most pivotal scene of the whole return for that reason. I feel it's fair to say that David Lynch, in particular, is a director who, although he never talks about it or admits it, has always expressed himself through his work. I feel like there may have been some pressure on Lynch/Frost to revive the show to what it had once been, but instead they decided to totally reinvent it. 

From the beginning of Season 3 many scenes appeared to be in a non-linear order. The structure of The Return in and of itself plays like a filmic puzzle. Some have suggested watching FWWM, then part 18, then the original series, then Parts 1 through 17. I find that interesting, and I might try that at some point. However, for now I'm taking it as it was aired. Plus I think looking at in the order it was aired makes certain things come together a bit more in hindsight. For example, at the end of Part 7 there was a lot of discussion about the how the final scene in the diner seemed to completely switch with different customers when the credits rolled. At the time there was much debate on whether that was just a mistake or whether it was a clue.

Looking back now, I don't think it was either. I think it was all part of the time looping Cooper was doing and the changes that occurred because of his actions. I think the same is true for many of the Sarah Palmer scenes in the Palmer house. First we saw her watching her television entranced by a nature show where lions kill a bison. Then we see her obviously looping during a scene where she's watching a boxing match. Then at the end of 17 we hear her moaning in the background, and then see her smash Laura's picture. I think it is possible those scenes were all on the same night. The other scenes we saw of her at the liquor store, talking with Hawk at the door and finally in the bar where she kills the, "truck you," guy, I believe came after.

 I always looked at the Dougie storyline as a journey Cooper's soul had to take to find himself. From the point in which he was made, "Non-exist-ent," in the Black Lodge, I felt he may have been asleep or on another plane of existence. Maybe it was all real, maybe it was all a dream, your guess is as good as mine. There's no doubt hardcore fans will discuss this for years, and in that way The Return is truly a gift. However, it does seem now, given the ending, that we spent a lot of time on Dougie and it didn't really have anything to do with the overall mythology of the series or FWWM. In some ways that's frustrating, but in other ways it was so much fun to take Dougie's journey that it was well worth it. Would the Dougie story have been more satisfying if it had gone on for let's say 6 episodes vs. 13? Or would it have been more satisfying if it had been broken into two separate seasons? I guess that depends on the viewer. It aired how it aired.

The Roadhouse scenes at times were fun, and at other times were a bit arduous. Perhaps they served as a method of demonstrating some of the troubled townsfolk in Twin Peaks. The music seemed to offer connections to the story, but outside of that I think the Roadhouse scenes just described the various lost souls that lingered in the town. Were they all part of someone's dream? Were they all tulpas or doppelgangers? I don't think we have enough information to answer those questions. Twin Peaks has a darkness in the woods, which is unique, and may have effected everyone, maybe that's all the understanding we'll ever have.

The Return seems to be a vehicle for Lynch/Frost to put their personal commentary about politics, and the state of the world today in a visual context. There is a sense that Lynch's adherence to Transcendental Meditation and Frost's political stances played heavily in The Return. From societal issues such as gun violence, drugs, infidelity, domestic abuse, and the destructiveness of atomic bombs to journey's of the subconscious on purple seas, entering worlds through electrical outlets and dreams, Season 3 was daring us to look deeper all along. Lynch/Frost weren't going to give the answers to those larger questions, because they don't know them either. I think they were telling us the answers are within all of us; with understanding comes enlightenment. "Dig yourself out of the shit!" Or perhaps I've had too little sleep, too much coffee, and way more Twin Peaks on the brain than is truly healthy. I'm still debating whether the ending was purposely ambiguous to give fans something to debate for years to come or a creative ploy to bring the show back for another season, maybe both.

By essentially undoing Laura's murder, hasn't she been sentenced to an endless looping cycle of abuse, doomed to repeat growing up in a house of horrors for infinity? I think that is my biggest issue with the ending. FWWM essentially suggests that Laura finds her angel in death and is free, thus her murder, although horribly tragic, had a purpose. What happens to that idea if Cooper stops her death? And who is to say she doesn't get killed at a different point in time despite his efforts? I believe that in The Secret History of Twin Peaks it says Laura died when she was 18, not 17 as it was in the original series. Could that mean she dies no matter what Dale does?

After Part 8 I think most fans, including myself, were under the impression that Sarah was the girl who had the flying creature crawl into her mouth. In the original series, although gifted with precognitive abilities, I always felt Sarah was truly devastated by Laura's death. Why would Leland need to drug her if she was inhabited by evil as well? I suppose you could argue that there is a juxtaposition effect to the story if Bob and his mother were both inhabiting the parents of Laura the one chosen to combat them. Given the reflective symbolism throughout Twin Peaks I can see why the idea of Sarah being the young girl with the bug in her mouth makes sense. But I think it's also possible that what happened to Sarah happened after Laura and Leland died. She was alone in that house, a house that seems to have a power in itself. I think she was vulnerable, in pain and perhaps allowed herself to be inhabited. As she states during the Turkey Jerky scene in Part 12, "Something happened to me!" but when that something truly occurred is still unknown.

I feel Laura or more likely, Cooper, is the dreamer within the context of the story. But I really don't think we have enough information to conclusively answer that question either. About 8 months ago I made a brief recording (4:18 minutes in), along with other fans in the community, stating our hopes and predictions for Season 3. Listen here --> Fan Predictions Podcast it's a short listen, and was fun to remember what I had said. Many of my wishes were granted in Season 3. Even more fun to recall that I said I thought Season 3 would either be a dream or maybe a time loop. I had been on a Lost Highway kick earlier this year, which made me gear up for the potential that new Twin Peaks could all be a dream. Mark's book (Secret History) had me thinking about time loops and time travel. Funny that Lynch and Frost sort of offered both scenarios to the viewer and let us, the fans, dictate our own interpretations. In that way I'd say, "we" are the dreamer.

In Part 17 during the extended scene in Frank Truman's office, I had the impression that we were experiencing Cooper's multiple time loops happening at the same time. In particular the scenes with Andy and Lucy, and how Andy placed Lucy in the right spot to shoot Mr. C gave me that feeling. When Cooper's face is transposed over the screen it seemed like that might be a call back to the first scene of he and The Fireman in Part 1. The Fireman tells him, "It is in our house now." Cooper first questions, "It is?" Then he appears to think for a moment. The Fireman tells him it can not be said aloud right now, but I think he shows Cooper in his mind's eye what is to come. When we see Cooper's face transposed over the screen in Part 17, I believe it's reflective of that moment. Similar to how he showed Andy important things in Part 14. That was just my take on the scene, but I think it can be interpreted in different ways.

Cooper has always been a flawed hero. It's sad to think that after twenty-five years in The Black Lodge Dale Cooper didn't learn from his mistakes, but maybe that's true of human nature. Dale emerged from his time as Dougie Jones with renewed vigor and certainty. He immediately jumped into action to execute his plan with Gordon Cole, The Fireman and apparently Major Briggs. However it seems that he forgot something along the way. Perhaps that something was that he never truly confronted his doppelganger, Mr. C. Let's not forget that failing to face his doppelganger with courage is what got Dale trapped in The Black Lodge in the first place. Maybe, and this is purely speculative on my part, he needed to finally face down that fear, but Lucy and Andy beat him to the punch. Could that be why the clock failed to reach 2:53? Did Dale arrive too late? He wasn't even the one to defeat bubble Bob. In an odd, but enjoyable, turn of events, it was green gloved Freddy who took Bob down.

Nikola Tesla, the inventor of AC (Alternating Current) in the late eighteen hundreds, had many theories about the power of electricity. including that through the use the electricity, and the earth's magnetic fields, it was theoretically possible to travel in time. It is said that Tesla even claimed to have seen the past, present and future at the same time after being struck by electricity. I find it fascinating how Twin Peaks plays with electricity, and its potential connection to time travel. It is my sense that David Lynch, an admitted fan of Tesla, is demonstrating Tesla's theories, in his Lynch way of course, on film.

There is an ancient theory about a supposed energy grid that surrounds the earth. Within this theory there is said to be points on the earth where great power can be harnessed. For example, it has been suggested that Stonehenge and the Great Egyptian Pyramids were built on some of these points. Connecting these points are supposed lines, or pathways, referred to as ley lines. I always felt the grid on the cover of The Secret History of Twin Peaks was a depiction of this. Is it possible that Twin Peaks exists at one of these points? Dale had to reach exactly 430 miles under a group of large power lines to reach his otherworldly destination with Diane. I feel like Lynch demonstrates the ability to cross over into other worlds, times, dimensions or dreams, depending on how you interpret it, as literally moving through electrical wires, crossing over great distances. That is the fundamental difference in Tesla's AC (Alternate Current) over Thomas Edison's DC (Direct Current), which was the dominate method of power at the time, AC allowed for electricity to travel far greater distances. Perhaps in Lynch's world those distances can cross over space and time.

In one of the more uncomfortable sex scenes in Lynch's collection, Diane and Cooper's love making was indeed a head scratcher. It's a particularly long scene in which Diane appears to grow increasingly more upset as the experience goes on. Cooper's face seems almost Mr. C like. So much so that she needs to cover his eyes to finish the act. In Mark's book (Secret History), he mentions the power of sex magic. Read --> here for more on this theory. Is it possible they were trying to open a portal, and Diane either didn't think it would work and/or was disgusted with Cooper and/or herself for what they were doing?

I've been looking at most of Part 18 like a prequel to Season 3 in the same way FWWM is to the original series. Is Richard Cooper's true identity? I'm not sure, and I hope not, because I don't like the idea that Cooper isn't really Cooper at all. Although many of have said, and I agree, that Richard seems to embody qualities of both Mr. C and Cooper. I'd like to think Richard is to Cooper what Carrie Paige is to Laura, which I suspect is just a variation in either a different dream or a different dimension. I'm speculating of course, but it was interesting that Carrie Paige lived under the number six electrical pole.

Laura's scream is not only a harrowing sound of terror, but perhaps it is also the whole point; the Garmonbozia of the world. Maybe nothing ever truly changes, and history just repeats itself in different variations. That thought would make any of us want to scream. Cooper tried to bring Laura home, but it didn't work. From the moment Cooper showed up on at Carrie's doorstep something didn't feel right. Carrie showed a moment of recognition at the name Sarah. The horse figurine on her mantel, and even the dead body in her living room, all seemed to point toward a symmetry to Laura's life.

On the long car ride from Odessa to Twin Peaks, I felt like there were shades of Laura bleeding into Carrie. Particularly when she says she didn't know better when she was younger. That comment, to me, had an undertone of abuse or trauma. By the time they get to Palmer house and discover Alice Tremond owns the house, and purchased it from the Chalfonts, it seemed to point to something supernatural afoot. Finally Cooper asks what year it it with a blurred 'Dead End' sign in the background, Carrie hears the faint call of Laura's name by Sarah from the original pilot, and screams in terror. Was she truly waking up at that moment?

In the original series we learned that Laura whispers, "My father killed me," into Dale's ear. However in the final moment of Part 18 when the credits role we see Laura whisper something unheard to Dale that clearly upsets him. It's a direct call back to their identical scene in Part 2 where Laura immediately screams and is sucked off into nowhere. Is it safe to assume that's the true beginning of the loop? Is it future or is it past? What year is this? Does that depend on the number of completions? And what does dear Laura say to Dale? I suppose there will be endless memes created by fans for years to come with potential phrases, but the truth is we will likely never know for certain. Some of us might love the potential in that, and others might find it maddening.

Final Thoughts

So many of my hopes for the new season were realized that no matter how mixed I feel about the ending, it doesn't take away from all that I adored about it. I had a blast all summer long, didn't you? I'm choosing to take away a lesson about moving forward from Season 3. Twin Peaks, old and new, will always hold a special place in my heart. They are both reflective of a time in entertainment history. They both mark a point in my life as well. It might sound silly to say, because of course I have other interests, hobbies and passions, but for some reason the power of Twin Peaks has always, and I suspect always will, haunt me.

Season 3 of Twin Peaks is a television miracle. That it returned at all after all these years is amazing, let alone that Lynch directed 18 hours exclusively written by he and Mark Frost. That's an amazing accomplishment. Creative freedom is a rarity in television. We wanted David Lynch and we got him. I think acceptance is important. Lynch and Frost took us down their rabbit hole and it was a beautiful journey. Twin Peaks can never be what it once was. It had to be something different this time around. The calls backs to the original series were there, but it's a different age. Perhaps instead of offering any conclusive ending, Twin Peaks offered us the possibility of endless theorizing with references to a variety of religions, historical factoids, literary masterpieces, paranormality, and politics. Perhaps the ending Lynch and Frost gave us was just an abstract meta concept; it was simply the : - ) ALL.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy 25th Anniversary Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

The darkness pressed in on her last seven days. Chose a life controlled by Bob or chose death. Two worlds. Two choices. Twenty-five years later, something is happening again, and it's all because of you, dear Laura Palmer, our chosen one. 

On August 28th, 1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was released in the United States. Twenty-five years is a long time in the span of a human life. Much will happen, change and evolve in a period of time of that length. Especially in today's modern world of technical instant everything. One thing has definitely stayed the same for me though, and that is that Fire Walk With Me is my all time favorite movie. I've seen it so many times. Many times alone, and many times with others. I've watched it at varying points in my life, and taken different things away from it every time. 

I have written before about my own personal connection to the film in a post from 2016 called, Laura Walked With Me. I also wrote a published two-part recap of The Missing Pieces for Issues 1 and 2 of The Blue Rose Magazine. Despite my wanting to rewatch this film for the 25th Anniversary, I have Twin Peaks: The Return on the brain in a big way. I see shades of Fire Walk With Me's influence and think there is more to this story. It seems that David Lynch has found a way to continually breathe new relevance to this often overlooked film. So for now, I'm going to wait until the new series is complete before doing a full recap/review of the movie. In the meantime, I wanted to celebrate this special anniversary in two ways. One by asking my talented artist friends to create some new Twin Peaks images, some of which you can now buy as a T-shirt -->here. I also took to twitter and asked my followers to share with me some of their thoughts on seeing this amazing film in 1992. Take a look below at the terrific art and comments expressed from the fan community. 

Tribute Fan Art 

Created by sisters/artists @eclecticirie and @suebgraceful

What Twitter Said

"Did you see FWWM in the theater in 1992? If so, would you share some memories with me of that experience?" 

Thanks so much for everyone who took the time to comment. Fire Walk With Me is an amazing film. I'm so happy to see it getting the much deserved love and appreciation it should receive from fans today. 

Happy 25th Anniversary!