Monday, 3 July 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Part 8

For all of those Twin Peaks fans moaning and groaning that they're fed up with Cooper acting dumb and where on earth is Audrey Horne, Part 8 hopefully stunned you all into wondrous silence. For me it certainly was the most gratifying episode of The Return so far as well as the most artistic and surreal hour of television I have ever experienced.

Part 8 begins where Part 7 left off - Evil Coop hit the road with Ray, driving into the night, the two of them double crossing each other simultaneously. Ray appears to be working with Agent Phillip Jeffries behind Evil Coop's back and as soon as he gets the opportunity he shoots Evil Coop right in the chest. I didn't think for a moment that this could possibly be the end of Cooper's menacing doppelganger but never would have guessed that this potentially fatal moment would result in the summoning of blackened woodsmen and a ritual dance. I loved the classic Lynch strobe lighting effect in this scene and the superimposed woodsmen that claustrophobically surround every inch of the screen. Ray is horrified to see a darkened embryo like matter appear out of Evil Coop's chest as the woodsmen scrape at the wound, smearing blood all over him. Grinning menacingly from this embryo type thing is BOB - he lives inside of Cooper's doppelganger. There's no denying these ghoulish woodsmen are evil spirits as their gory ritual resuscitates Evil Cooper.

Back at The Roadhouse we are provided with a musical interlude from Nine Inch Nails. My favourite feature of this scene was the pine cone adorned microphone. The song grew on me but the band's style looked really dated and not in a retro Twin Peaksy way, more of a stuck in the early noughties grunge goth way. And watching Trent Reznor was like seeing a cringey Dad desperately trying to look cool during a mid-life crisis. But it really doesn't matter because the scenes which follow were absolutely incredible.

It is 1945 and a countdown marks the test of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico dessert as well as signaling the episode's descent into pure Lynchian magic. The explosion is stunningly beautiful and the music for this scene is utterly chaotic and unsettling. It's also astonishing how incredible the special effects and CGI for this scene are, considering the less so impressive effects used on the show previously, heightening the realism of what we are witnessing. As we are transported into the heart of the atomic explosion I could feel how evil and dangerous this man made weapon is.

Next we see a blackened, gloomy scene at a convenience store where ghostly woodsmen scuttle backwards and forwards in jerky cuts, very like the motion of the purple room where Agent Cooper met the blind woman in Part 2. The Convenience Store appears in Twin Peaks greater mythology, having been mentioned by The One Armed Man as a place where he and BOB would meet and indulge in creamed corn also known as Garmonbozia (also known as pain and suffering). It is a meeting point for black lodge dwellers but whether it is in the real world or another universe has never been clear. The convenience store scene reminded me of a wonderful cigarette advert Lynch made in 1998 for Parisienne People in an almost identical setting with similar effects and strange behaviour.

Discussing the Convenience Store scene with my flatmate, she cleverly came up with the idea that the woodsmen could be local people living in the surrounding areas who are now victims effected by the nuclear bomb.  When the US carried out the first ever nuclear bomb test in 1945 not enough concern was given to health and safety or the effects it would have on the surrounding areas, resulting in protests against these tests from the American citizens in 1950. The manic, abnormal behaviour of the woodsmen and the frantic, electrical energy of this scene represents trauma and disruption. Could it be possible that the woodsmen became malevolent spirits as a result of the radiation and impact of the bomb test?

What I do believe is a certain result of the nuclear bomb explosion, is the creation of pure evil itself, BOB. An alien monster spews out a flurry of disgusting, grey gunk and floating inside the gunk, in a sack of placenta is BOB himself. If the world was formed by the Big Bang, a natural explosion, man has created the most evil form of explosion by invention of a nuclear bomb and from this horrendous explosion, BOB was birthed.

The birth of BOB sets alarms ringing in an eery yet elegant dwelling across the vast, majestic purple ocean we previously saw in Part 2. Here a diva of a woman known as Dido sits listening to some sublime jazz music playing on a gramophone. We know Agent Cooper has been to this black and white place before as it's where The Giant (or ???????) spoke to him in the opening scene of Part 1. The Giant is troubled by the sound of the alarm and slowly makes his way to a grand theatre where a projection shows him the nuclear explosion, followed by the convenience store and then freezes on BOB in the placenta goo. In response, he floats into the air and a beautiful, shimmering golden vapour flows out of him. The music in this scene is pure and angelic, a complete contrast to the sharp, screeching violins heard during the explosion scene. I've always believed The Giant to be a good spirit since he  offered Cooper help, even if it was cryptic and despite his creepy appearance in his bedroom at night. The golden vapour emanating from him produces a gorgeous, gold orb which floats into Dido's open arms and shows the face of Laura Palmer. I burst into joyful laughter at this sight. I was in complete awe at the revelation that Laura was always the one. She was either created or chosen as BOB's nemesis from his conception.

Time hops forward from the bomb drop in 1945 to August 5th 1956 when a large frog/moth hatches in the light of a full moon. An adorable young teenage couple stroll home after a date and some blackened woodsmen appear out of the darkness in the desert. The ghoulish woodsmen approach a car on the road, leaning into the window and terrorising the couple inside. "Gotta light?" the woodsman asks repeatedly as the couple look both transfixed and horrified. The woodsman then makes his way to a radio station, approaching a woman on entry, she gasps in terror but also walks directly towards him as if under his spell. He crushes her skull and she drops to the ground in a bloody heap.

Over the radio the woodsman repeats an incantation which places whoever is listening into a submissive trance. The young teenage girl, having returned home from her date, falls into slumber at the woodsman's words:

"This is the water, and this is the well.
Drink full and descend.
The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within."

The frog/moth creeps towards her bedroom window and lands by her face. She willingly opens her mouth and it crawls inside and down her throat. To me it appears this is BOB's first form on earth and his first hijacking of a person's body. If how I've deciphered Part 8 is in any way accurate, we have been shown the origins of BOB himself. As soon as the bug is inside the young girl, the woodsman leaves the radio station and disappears into the night as a horse breighs close by. 

Part 8 contained the most remarkable revelations as well as some (almost) clear understanding of Twin Peaks lore. It was hauntingly beautiful, surreal and disturbing. This is once again groundbreaking television. I've never seen anything like it. I found it awful to wake up this Monday morning without a new episode to look forward to but at least this gives us time to patiently meditate over what we have witnessed so far. The biggest question I am left with is: who is the girl who swallowed the frog/bug? Some fans have wondered if it could be Sarah Palmer as the dates match up to her assumed age and Sarah is known to see white horses, as mentioned in the woodsman's eery poem. I have a definite feeling that more wonderful and strange events will follow...

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