This is my first stab at tackling a David Lynch project of any type from a writing standpoint, so I thought it best for me to get two things out in the open now and before I get started with my thoughts on the 10th chapter of Twin Peaks: The Return: 'Laura is the one'.
First, I'm a huge Lynch fan. In particular, his run of films from 1980-1990: The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. I can't even imagine how Return of the Jedi would've turned out in his hands, but I bet those Ewoks would've turned out a lot less teddy bear-ish and chock-full on ennui.
Second, I'm a righteously huge Twin Peaks fan. I had the Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) audio cassettes ("cassettes" are an ancient artifact worth googling) that he sent to Diane, and I went through them until I transcribed every single syllable and stammer. I also had The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, with enough highlights and pencil notes to make it look like an end-of-the-semester used text book 24 hours before a final exam.
I've seen the first two seasons and the feature film in their entirety at least five times — and the episode when the killer is finally caught (because I didn't drop a spoiler warning ahead of time, I'll spare you the spoiler now) at least 12 times. I wrote down who I thought the killer was and why, sealed it in an envelope three weeks before the killer was revealed, and gave it to my college roommate to hold on to so my prediction would be legit. And I was soooooooo right, by the way.
So with that said, here' a quick look at 'Laura is the one':
Overall Takeaway: The original series sent a creative shockwave across the television medium and would go on to influence shows from The X-Files to Breaking Bad; but when I watch it now, I see just how not "crazy" the show actually was in comparison to the shows we've benefited from since its first broadcast.
When word came down that Twin Peaks was returning, I wondered if we were going to get a glorified "final season victory lap" from Mark Frost and Lynch to the fans; or a Lynch who was looking to remind viewers that Twin Peaks hasn't lost its ability to be an artistic game-changer. Thankfully and frustratingly, viewers are getting both barrels of the latter.
So how did Lynch do it this time? By creating a series that's impossible to review and damn-near impossible to recap, which you know was his intention all along. Lynch co-wrote the script for the new season with Twin Peaks co-creator Frost, and directed the project as an 18-hour movie that he then edited into 18 individual episodes. So we're looking at a situation where "the whole" takes precedence over the individual "parts", because Lynch created this season as one grand, collective vision…his vision. A storyline that may seem important in Part 1 might be taken completely out of play by Part 6. Character connections that seem completely out of left field in Part 3 make perfect sense by Part 8. It makes it tough to try to review individual episodes, because with a series like this, you will find yourself having to course-correct your opinion ever week as Lynch's bigger picture unfolds.
So I'm sticking more with thoughts, observations and recaps for this second half of the season, reserving judgment until the season is over and then seeing how each individual strand of storytelling plays out. Now, to be clear? I'm not a Lynch apologist. I know there's a very good chance that every time you swing for the fences artistically, you also run the risk of striking out. Hard. If the last scene in the last episode of this season is us finally getting our Cooper back before the final musical sendoff, I'm going to be a little pissed off. But I'm going to respect the work as a whole and reserve any hard judgments…for now.
Spare Parts: Random thoughts, quotes and observations from this week's episode to keep in mind, whether you're watching this episode for the first time or sleuthing every second of it for the eighth time:
● If you're just coming aboard this twisted little journey, then you've got some serious catching-up to do. I would recommend my friends at Wikipedia and Showtime to get you up to speed, because attempting to recap the previous nine episodes here would require its own nine-article series. I'm applying the J.J. Abrams/Damon Lindelof/Lost approach: at some point, you need to move forward and cater to the faithful who've been along for the ride; and the newly converted will just have to play catch-up…because it's worth it.
● So it looks like Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) is Leo Johnson-v2.0: a murderous, narcissistic scumbag strung out and trying to be a big player, but who's getting in way over his head. I wish Miriam (Sarah Jean Long) was able to come up with a better cover story to keep him at bay, but then again, there was no way that was going to end well the moment he showed up.
● Give the man an acoustic guitar and Harry Dean Stanton could make your heart break singing the quick setup instructions to your iPhone…
● Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick) and another sad example of family history tragically repeating itself. Is Becky possibly this season's Laura Palmer?
● Wondering if I'm reading too much into any symbolism of the red on the mug thrown out of Becky's trailer window and on the towel being used by Candie (Amy Shiels) to kill that annoying fly.
● Not sure if Candie got that fly or not, but she whipped the shit out of the side of Rodney Mitchum's (Robert Knepper) face…ouch. I was genuinely surprised when "T-Bag" didn't go-off on her, mainly because…
● Again…while I'm still reserving judgment…I'm still not completely comfortable with the way Lynch handles misogyny overall and violence against women in particular, and that goes back to the original series and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. It's a thin line between wanting to be a magnifying glass on uncomfortable subjects and appearing to blindly adhere to dangerous cliches and stereotypes.
● Holy crap! How old is MacLachlan? Dude looks jacked! Apparently, Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts) agrees…and wastes no time later on taking "Dougie Jones v2.0" for a test drive later that night.
● I need to know more about Bradley (John Belushi) and Rodney Mitchum (The Mitchum Brothers), because their entire damn setup looks fascinating. More than that, I feel like in some odd way they speak for the average viewer — you know you're in the middle of something weird and you're still going along for the ride; but every once in a while, you need to just shake your head, arch your brow, and give one of those "What the…???" looks just to acknowledge that you know you're dealing with some weird stuff.
● No one's really shocked that Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) ended up becoming Twin Peaks' own version of Alex Jones, right? Considering the levels of professionalism he showed as Laura's (Sheryl Lee) therapist and all…
● And is anyone surprised that Nadine (Wendy Robie) would be one of his acolytes? Though Run Silent, Run Drapes is an interesting name for a business, and those drapes still don't make a sound, so that's good.
● I'm not liking Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) this season: too over-the-top and caricaturist, and not even in a comedic relief kind of way. Deputy Chad (John Pirruccello) needs to dial back the obvious villain vibe a bit, too.
● "Hello, Johnny. How are you today?" sounds like a young John Oliver on repeat, and added an additionally disturbing layer to the ultra-violent encounter between Richard, his grandmother Sylvia Horne (Jan D'Arcy) and uncle Johnny (Eric Rondell).
● Nice to Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Constance (Jane Adams) out on a date, and it would appear Gordon (David Lynch) and Tamara (Chrysta Bell) agree. Wait, hold on…
● Anyone notice Gordon was able to communicate with Tamara without yelling? Hmm…
● Umm, what the hell happened to Candie? I think even The Mitchum Brothers would like to know…
● I'll say this: Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) made the hard sell and gave The Mitchum Brothers exactly 30,447,000 reasons why they should want to put a permanent hurt on "Dougie Jones."
● "You fuck us once, shame on us. You fuck us twice, shame on you. You're dead." Not exactly the saying I remember being taught when I was a little geek, but the point definitely gets through.
● So Cole is presented with the image of a frightened, crying Laura after he open his hotel room door, which quickly fades away when Albert begins to speak. Diane (Laura Dern) didn't divulge the text she got from "doppel-Cooper" and sought to encrypt her response telling him that they had William Hastings (Matthew Lillard) and he was leading him to the designated location. Can Diane be trusted? Or is this all part of a bigger trap she's setting?
● "Laura is the one." – Margaret/The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), who still remains a light in the darkness for Hawk (Michael Horse).
● This is the first time I've ever heard Rebekah Del Rio sing, but I'm hooked! Wow! Check out No Stars below:
So that's it for this week. Hope you enjoy next week's episode, 'There's fire where you are going'. But for those feeling a bit nostalgic, here's how we got here in the first place: