Notes on Twin Peaks: The Return, Parts 1 and 2

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I thought I’d share some of my initial thoughts/observations on Twin Peaks: The Return, Parts 1 and 2 (and by ‘initial’, I mean I’ve watched it twice and am planning to watch it again tonight).

 

  • Those new opening credits! I felt my jaw slacken and drop the first time I watched them. We seem to be moving from the present into the past, before moving into the red room. The signature theme is intact and still feels perfectly on point. Loved seeing the red drapes billowing like flames, and that weird optical illusion effect with the chevron floor.
  • What is Dr. Jacoby getting up to with those shovels?
  • Is it just me, or could anyone else hear the sound of the backwards-Indian war-whooping from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me? I heard it playing throughout the scene where Sam Colby (Ben Rosenfield) and Tracey (Madeline Zima) make out. In FWWM the sound is associated with the spirits travelling ‘along the wires’ so to speak, and down telephone poles. Wood and electricity are the mediums through which they travel. Its presence in this scene (assuming it’s not all in my head) really ratchets up the tension.
  • Matthew Lillard – the voice of Shaggy in all Scooby-Doo related material after Casey Kasem – gives a powerful performance as a high school principal who appears to have murdered the school’s librarian, with whom he was having an affair. There are ‘irrefutable similarities’ between his situation and Leland Palmer’s. Both men committed crimes that they seem strangely detached from. There were moments here when I thought that Lillard might explode, like Leland did after being thrown into a cell.
  • What the hell was that thing in the other cell – the soot-black individual whose disembodied head floated up after his body vanished? It reminded me of George Cruikshank’s illustration of the condemned Fagin in his cell from the original serialised publication of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist (something I pointed out on Twitter, where it got a very positive response). Is this a new member of Twin Peaks’ ‘rogues gallery’ of spirits? Will it appear again? Did Mark Frost have a hand in its conception? Or is it purely a Lynch invention – i.e. the sort of thing we shouldn’t necessarily expect to see referenced ever again?
  • It is painfully apparent that Catherine Coulson was dying when they made this. Seeing her here will break your heart. It would not surprise me if this was all they were able to record with her. If that’s the case, then we should count ourselves lucky to have been able to see her again (‘For the last time / For the last time…’).
  • We see the beginnings here of what is turning out to be a fairly massive Philip Jeffries-shaped hole in the story’s proceedings. Philip Jeffries – for the benefit of those who, like me, get his name jumbled up with Mike’s human host, Philip Gerard (Al Strobel) – was David Bowie’s character in FWWM. Bowie was set to be involved in the production before his death in January 2016. Some are speculating that he may have had a chance to shoot something for the series; I’m trying desperately hard not to get my hopes up.
  • What was that thing on the playing card? A friend suggests it resembles a heavily filled-in and distorted version of the owl cave ring symbol. I can kind of see it, though for me there’s something bug-like about it. It makes me think of the creepy-crawly sounds playing on the gramophone at the beginning of the episode.
  • If that wasn’t Jeffries on the other end of the line, then who (or what) was it…? Someone (or something) looking to be reunited with BOB.
  • That deeply disturbing scene in which we see Sarah watching a wildlife documentary made me think of the spirit in The Missing Pieces that said ‘Animal life’. Wood, electricity and animal life… All these things connect…
  • I’ve been listening to the Chromatics’ ‘Shadow’ over and over again. To quote Audrey Horne: ‘isn’t it too dreamy?’ It’s perfectly in keeping with the dreamlike atmosphere generated by Julee Cruise’s performances in the original series. I hope they perform at the roadhouse again!
  • ‘James has always been cool.’ I don’t think I’ve felt more affection for James than in this moment. I was taken aback by how much it affected me (and I don’t mean because my name is also James and it sounds like someone is calling me cool).
  • The on screen credits at the end of the episode (I’m calling them episodes) include a tribute to Catherine Coulson and Frank Silva, the set dresser who was cast by David Lynch in a moment of divine inspiration as BOB. Silva – who died in 1995 – makes a brief on-screen appearance in this episode in a flashback to the season two finale. Is this the latest tribute that there has ever been to a deceased member of a show’s cast/production crew…?

 

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