Monday, July 10, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x08 Recap: "Part 8: Got A Light?" (???????) [Contributor: Erin Allen]


"Part 8: Got A Light?"
Original Airdate: June 25, 2017

Part 8 is a beautiful and nightmarish lullaby: partly an origin story of the supernatural Twin Peaks universe, and to some extent a terrifying allegory of good and evil.

Recapping seems futile, but here is a run-down of what happened (as I saw it):

Ray shoots BOB/Cooper, but before he can finish him off, a pack of those blackened hobos (which we know now are Woodsmen) come out of the woods and start pawing at BOB/Cooper’s body. They do this until his body is bloodied and a rock-like orb with BOB’s face on it emerges out of his stomach. This is truly the stuff of nightmares. This (naturally) freaks out Ray, who promptly bails. He calls Phillip as he makes his way to some place called The Farm.

Then the Nine Inch Nails play on stage at The Roadhouse. “She’s Gone Away” fits so well into this Lynchian mood. The distorted cacophony mixed with Trent Reznor’s vocals and these particular lyrics just screamed Twin Peaks to me. It all felt like part of the story, not an interlude or an oddly placed intermission. After this stellar and unexpected performance, BOB/Cooper wakes up with a jolt. Is BOB still with him? Did he dream the whole NIN thing? Who knows? We may never know, and I am 100% okay with that.

Next is where things get weird. Twin Peaks has never ventured into this kind of territory before. It has gone otherworldly and esoteric on the original run and in Fire Walk With Me, and even more so on the first seven parts of The Return, but this is utterly transcendental. It’s a beautiful dream and a horrible nightmare all mashed into one confusing yet plain and simple presentation. It’s at once abstract art and a basic storytelling narrative.

July 16, 1945. White Sands, New Mexico. A historic day in our world’s history: the first atom bomb is tested. We watch this event through the lens of Lynch. It is a creeping and dreamy journey into the horrors of mankind and God-like wonders. A staticky convergence of Woodsmen invade a convenience store (quite possibly THE convenience store) like parasites. Plumes of smoke, galactic bursts, a floating creature exhales a stream of fog in which an orb with BOB’s face in it materializes.

It’s like the experimental Qatsi trilogy by Godfrey Reggio. Slow motion and time-lapsed visuals set to a sweeping Philip Glass score that lull you into a trance at the same time awakening your mind to profound and all-encompassing ideas and philosophies. That concept is cranked up to a Lynch level and centered on the mythology of Twin Peaks.

The dark and disturbing moments are gorgeously grotesque. It makes visiting the heavenly world of The Giant (or ???????) and Senorita Dido that much more serene. The two inhabitants of this place (is it the White Lodge?) are alerted to the cataclysmic event of the explosion and the birth (?) of BOB. These ethereal creatures send their response to this evil into our world. The levitating Question Mark Man produces a gold orb with Laura Palmer’s face shining inside. Senorita Dido kisses it and releases it. The orb floats out to the Earth, specifically towards the Pacific Northwest.

This scene is set in a theater-like room. It is very reminiscent to the Club Silencio scene of Mulholland Drive in setting, as well as feeling. Rita and Betty are inexplicably overcome with emotion as they watch the moving rendition of “Llorando.” I am equally as moved watching this. The look of awe on Senorita Dido’s face and the light of Laura Palmer radiating out of this magical sphere is supremely majestic. The score is peaceful and almost divine with exalted celestial tones, exactly what you would think it sounds like when the universe is creating something good and pure.

Back in New Mexico, the time ticks forward to 1956 where an egg sits on the desert sand. A winged frog insect hatches out of the egg and crawls away. Is it a good creature or an evil one? It’s definitely a creepy one, that’s for sure.

Also in New Mexico, 1956 (at least I think), a boy walks a girl home. It’s very sweet and virtuous. The casting of these two young actors is great. Not only do they have a vintage look, but they exude the innocence of that bygone era. The girl finds a heads-up penny on the ground and rubs the image of Lincoln, in fascination. The boy hopes it brings her good luck.

But, there is more going on in the universe than that luck can handle. Two Woodsmen (one bearing a likeness to Lincoln) float in from the night sky and make their way across the desert. The Lincoln Woodsman goes searching for a light for his cigarette. SOMEBODY GIVE THE DUDE A LIGHT! He frightens off a couple stopped on the road and then crushes a woman’s skull with one bare hand! He commandeers the transmission at a radio station and repeats a demonic poem over and over, hypnotizing the listeners and lulling them into slumber. “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eye and dark within.”

The girl from earlier is at home listening to the radio. She tries to change the station or turn it off, but the power of his incantation knocks her out. The winged frog insect crawls through her bedroom window and INTO her mouth. Out of all the disturbing images on this episode, this has to be the most horrific. In portentous black and white, Lynch has shown us the creeping in of evil in one of the most imaginative ways possible.

Lynch is an artist, and this is art. Your view of it is subjective. If you find yourself caught up in figuring out what it all means you can drive yourself nuts. But, on the other hand, that is part of the fun. I enjoy both aspects of his art. I like to just revel in the beauty and the horror, but I also like the investigative part of it, too. I know I won’t ever figure out everything, but it all means something to me regardless if I “get” how or if it fits into the story. I have no doubt that Lynch knows what he’s doing and he’s leading us exactly where he wants to and in his own time. I am more than happy to be taken on this ride.

Stray Observations:
  • Did the warden sabotage BOB/Cooper’s gun and give one to Ray?
  • “I saw something in Cooper. It may be the key to this whole thing.”
  • Nine Inch Nails!!!!!!
  • I cannot stress enough how mind-blowingly perfect the score and song selections are. “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” added so much to the visuals of inside the mushroom cloud. The Platters’ (who coincidentally has a band member by the name of David Lynch) “My Prayer” played full of hope, and in sharp contrast to the brutality of The Woodsman. 
  • It looked like there were more frog insect eggs in that stream of smoke that the creature barfed out. The creature, I believe, is credited as Experiment and was also on Part 1 as Experiment Model.
  • Speaking of Part 1, that mysterious box was some sort of clandestine project taking place in a New York City loft. The 1945 Trinity Test of the atom bomb was a culmination of The Manhattan Project. I don’t know if this means anything or not.


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