Notes on Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 3

purpleplace

  • ‘WOW, BOB, WOW.’ This entire sequence, set in what I shall forever think of as the Purple Place (at least until it’s given a more or less official name), is way more dreamlike than anything that’s happened in the Red Room so far.
  • For me this sequence called to mind 90s FMV videogames – something about the combination of physical sets with basic CGI. It also reminded me of computer glitching – the kind of glitching that makes you wonder if there’s something wrong with how the episode is streaming. That, in turn, evoked the herky-jerky movements of actors in early silent cinema, an impression reinforced by the minimalist dialogue and flickering light.
  • For some reason this sequence also reminded me of Knightmare, a UK TV kids’ show from the 80s/early 90s. Like the kids on that show I wanted to shout instructions to Agent Cooper – ‘Open the window! Turn left! There’s a lady sitting on a sofa. She’s staring at the fireplace. Walk forward! Stop!’ It’s maybe because of the strong impulse I feel to describe, in order to try and rationalise, what I’m seeing. Like the average viewer of Knightmare, we’re following the hero (and there is a strong, mythic hero quality about Agent Cooper, and an air of the mythic quest about his current predicament) into an alien environment that, like the effectively blind child knight contestants on Knightmare, he isn’t equipped to understand. Indeed, we see far more of the room than he physically can,  from different angles. There are multiple perspectives and close-ups on objects it shouldn’t be physically possible for Cooper to see. And yet, I wonder if we should assume that he can see the time on one apparition’s watch, impossible as it is in that moment, since its appearance seems to be intended as a clue. In that case, perhaps Cooper can see everything there is to see here, just as one can in a dream.

 

 

  • Major Briggs (the late, great Don Davis) makes an unexpected appearance when his face floats across the void of (inner? outer?) space before uttering ‘Blue Rose’, one of the most significant and inscrutable signifiers in Twin Peaks That it’s just his head adds fuel to the fire of speculation that it was *his* headless body that got placed in Ruth Davenport’s bed.
  • Phoebe Augustine returns, not as Ronette Pulaski, but as a character referred to in the credits as ‘American Girl’. Not an ‘American Woman’, then, as per the song that played in Part 1? Is she still a girl, to Agent Cooper…? One suspects that the mother she warns Agent Cooper ‘is coming’ isn’t Janette Pulaski but something else – possibly whatever was banging on the door in the scene prior to this with ‘Naido’ (the name given in the credits to the mysterious woman whose eyes are stitched shut). The ‘Diane’ podcast team offer a great reading of the feminine energy that defines this Purple Place, with reference to the Kabbalah.
  • This scene makes explicit a point that was more or less implicit in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and which has been the subject of much speculation over the years: that the spirits can travel via electricity. This concept resonates nicely with 19th century spiritualism, which also made a connection between electricity and the ‘spirit world’. Writer Mark Frost must have at least a passing interest in spiritualism, as it coincides with his interest in late 19th century American theosophy.
  • Agent Cooper’s other doppelganger, Dougie Jones, is wearing the owl cave ring from FWWM. Why? It’s unclear to me what its function is, in this context. In any event, it’s interesting to see that it has the same numbing effect on his arm as it was said to have on Theresa Banks in FWWM.
  • The big bang, heralding Cooper’s re-entry into the corporeal world and frightening Jade (Nafessa Williams), immediately reminded me of the sonic BOOM of the ‘Boom Tubes’ in Jack Kirby’s ‘Fourth World’ saga, published by DC Comics.
  • The casino sequence is hilarious. Great comedy acting from Kyle MacLachlan – which, again, I found evocative of early cinema, perhaps because the comedy here is so physical. Coop’s deadpan expression at times reminded me of Stan Laurel – though the real Stan Laurel in Twin Peaks has got to be Harry Goaz as Deputy Andy Brennan.
  • I thought the cashier at the casino was also wearing the owl cave ring. The ring she was wearing seemed very prominent, but ‘now that some time has passed’, I don’t think that it is the owl cave ring. I wonder if Lynch was deliberately trolling viewers in that moment – getting mugs like me to pause the video and jam our noses to the screen to see whether or not it is the ring. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into things. But hey, that’s what Twin Peaks does to a person!
  • The scene at Twin Peaks Sheriff Station with Hawk, Andy and Lucy is pure comedy gold and I almost laughed myself sick the first time I watched it – from the ‘Donut Disturb’ sign to Lucy’s revelation regarding the ‘small box of chocolate bunnies’ from the Laura Palmer case. Also, it’s great to see Hawk in charge. As Hawk, actor Michael Horse has a lot more to do and work with this time round.
  • Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) are back, and it’s hilarious to see Lynch – a master surrealist with zero interest in rational explanations – shout ‘what the hell?!’ in response to the series’ otherworldly goings-on. The framed portrait of Kafka in his office is cute, and the blown-up atomic bomb photograph behind his desk seems ominous to say the least – as does the bright red telephone, which made me think of the hotline in the 60s Batman TV show.
  • Mr. C is now in police custody, following his car accident earlier in the episode. Immediately following his accident he vomited up a lot of garmonbozia – creamed corn, signifying ‘pain and sorrow’. It is both spectacular to watch and extremely gross. I’m curious to know whether the bad smell that caused one officer to vomit resembled the smell of scorched engine oil, which in the original series flagged the presence of otherworldly forces. Or does garmonbozia (especially when vomited up) possess its own distinct aroma? (Thinking back to the original series, I wonder if the bad hospital food in the season two premiere was what started Lynch on the train of thought that led to creamed corn and garmonbozia.)
  • This week’s song to play us out is the Cactus Blossoms’ ‘Mississippi’. ‘My angel sings down to me / She’s somewhere on the shore waiting for me / With her wet hair and sandy gown / Singing songs waves of sound’. As noted by Allanah Faherty: doesn’t their angel sound exactly like Laura Palmer…?

 

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