Twin Peaks: The Return – Episode 1 Review and Analysis (SPOILERS)

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return episode 1.

00

Introduction:

In an era where every show is trying to emulate Twin Peaks in one way or another, it is only fitting for the master to return and show them how it’s done. The direction of Twin Peaks: The Return  is David Lynch at his purest, with definite story guidance from Mark Frost, and the dialogue being an excellent blend of the two. But don’t go into The Return looking for cherry pie puns and tap dancers at the Great Northern. The new series takes a much darker and surrealist tone, comparable to Fire Walk With Me, and is very hard to follow for even the most seasoned Peaks Freak.

The scenes:

01

As if we could forget. The opening of episode 1 is comprised of clips from the pilot and Season 2 finale, reminding us of Laura’s promise to Agent Cooper, which is finally coming to fruition.

The addition of old footage from seasons 1 and 2 made me more impatient than ever, funnily enough, all the years I’ve waited for new Twin Peaks and I can’t wait 25 more seconds to get to the new footage. In retrospect it was a nice addition, and led nicely into the new intro, which starts with Laura Palmer’s infamous photo, which reminds us how this all began. The new introduction is arguably better than the original. It sums up the two tones of the show perfectly — the beautiful cascading waterfall, and the dark red curtains of the waiting room waving to imitate flames. The shots of the town of Twin Peaks itself are omitted, and, while that is sad, it only makes sense. The new series so far has spent very little time in the eponymous town, and more time tracking the effects of the Black Lodge elsewhere in the world.

02

The iconic red curtains resemble flames in the atmospheric new opening sequence.

It is nice to note that the first two words of the new series are “Agent Cooper,” spoken by Carel Struycken as The Giant. The original series ended with the burning question of what happened to Agent Cooper, and the new series gets straight to telling us the answer. We are given some of the classic backwards speak, which I found to be a real treat, and some more cryptic clues. The Giant plays some strange, distorted noises for Agent Cooper, then tells him “It is in our house now,” which Cooper seems to not only understand, but be concerned about. The use of the word “house” could be very simple, meaning the dwelling place of the Lodge spirits, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of the astrological concept of planetary houses, especially considering the Saturn Lamp seen in the waiting room.

03

No more waiting. The first words spoken in the new footage are “Agent Cooper.”

The Doctor Jacoby scene is an oddball. I’m not sure why he’s the first returning Twin Peaks resident we see, or what the significance of his scenes are. Hopefully they are building up to something. Although, I should note that The Secret History of Twin Peaks says that Jacoby retired to Hawaii, so, why is he back in Twin Peaks? (Not that that would be the most glaring inconsistency from The Secret History…)

No sooner do we get our long-awaited glimpse of Twin Peaks than we are yanked off to New York to meet new character Sam. This is the first time I started getting Eraserhead vibes. The scene of Sam going about his work somehow reminded me of Henry Spencer placing the worm in his cabinet. It’s not an obvious connection, and probably just a coincidence, but we will return to Eraserhead soon.

04

The man in the box. Twin Peaks: The Return has plenty of new mysteries for us.

Tracy and Sam’s interaction is some classic Lynch direction, I must say. The characters speak with that stilted, outdated-sounding speech pattern that he has used in previous films. I call it Bad Acting On Purpose, and a good example of it is Betty’s introduction in Mulholland Drive. It’s often used to exaggerate youth and a kind of naivete, and to juxtapose some horrific scenes to come.

05

The Great Northern Hotel is as much a part of Twin Peaks nostalgia as any character.

I have to admit, I cheered when I saw the Great Northern Hotel. Richard Beymer and David Patrick Kelly are on point in their performances, as if they never stopped playing those characters. I really believed that it was still Ben and Jerry Horne, and the progressions of their characters seemed natural. I think it’s also worth noting that, immediately after leaving New York, Ben Horne mentions a wealthy client, Mrs. Houseman, from New York. (“She and her New York friends keep our spa running.”) Could Mrs. Houseman be the wealthy billionaire we hear mentioned later? It also seems like Ben may have retained some of his newfound goodness from Season 2’s breakdown story arc. There goes my theory that the knock on the head made him go bad again…

I thought it was nice that they chose to say Sheriff Harry Truman is sick. I think it’s respectful of the actor, and leaves the door open for him to return if he ever wishes.

06

Hell will freeze over and I’ll be damned / ‘Fore I take orders from any ol’ man. Cooper has the fury of his own momentum.

After some banter between Lucy and an insurance salesman, we get THE SCENE. I call it THE SCENE because it confirms something I have been saying for years now. Everyone wondered who would be filling in for Frank Silva as BOB, and, to me, the answer was always as clear as it is heart-rending. Former Agent Dale Cooper is “the new” BOB. As soon as I saw his face emerge from the darkness, I cried out. It had such an impact to finally see the horror I knew was coming. It’s Dale Cooper, of course, but BOB is written all over him: The long, stringy hair, the tanned, dirty skin… This whole scene is filled with a dirty, menacing feeling. You just know something horrible is about to happen. The long, winding shot of a street illuminated only by headlights is one that Lynch obviously loves, as we’ve now seen it in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and Twin Peaks. And, incidentally, the full version of the song playing in this scene (“American Woman” by the Muddy Magnolias) mentions New York in the lyrics. Coincidence? I think not.

Next, we’re back in New York and we get some back story on what Sam is doing there. Now, I have a few questions/theories regarding this glass box experiment. I’m curious to find out if this glass box project has anything to do with Major Briggs’ Listening Post Alpha. The mysterious billionaire could be another Milford, or someone he knew during his adventures as one of the men in black, and possibly connected with the Mrs. Houseman we heard mentioned earlier. I think the creature (referred to as the “experiment model”) appeared because Sam and Tracey began having sex, and it was drawn to the intense emotion, since we know Dugpas feed on pain and suffering, and it is said love and fear are the keys to the Lodges (sex is an act of love). It also seems like whoever is running the experiment is trying to actually capture a Dugpa, physically. I wonder what they want to do with it. Either way, they failed rather miserably. Also, is this an artificially created portal to the Lodges, or does this one naturally occur here, and the boxes were built around the opening?

07

The experiment model. We have many questions about this thing.

I’m having a big debate with my friend about what the experiment model actually looks like. We both see a distinctly female body, with breasts and a vagina, but we both see different things in the head. My friend sees a head, similar to the one we see on the baby in Eraserhead. I see the head of a grey alien (although, at first I thought it was a hooded figure). Either way, this is easily the most terrifying moment in the episode.

08

A little on the lengthy side. Things take a while to get going in Buckinghorn, South Dakota.

Next comes the introduction of the South Dakota plot line, which, for me, is taking a lot of patience to get through, and not just because of the amount of time it takes just to get to the point in the beginning. It seems a bit redundant at first, as it seems to be echoing the events of Twin Peaks — a married man, well-respected and well-liked in his community, is possessed by murderous demon. He has an affair, and kills his mistress, but does not remember killing her. Of course this is all going somewhere, but, for me, I’ve had trouble waiting through this story line, as it seemed to be telling me a lot of things I already know. I think a lot of elements of this sequence will come back and prove significant later. A lot of people think the body in Ruth Davenport’s apartment is Major Briggs’ body, and I have no idea why. Major Briggs was a portly man, but that body is much fatter than he was, and has very dark hair. Also, later elements that we have little reason to disbelieve tell us that Major Briggs’ body would not be around still. It’s also worth noting that Brent Briscoe and Robert Forster both appear as detectives in Mulholland Drive, and here, they also appear as police men. Also, Constance Talbot, introduced in this scene, is quickly becoming a fan favorite, it would seem. I like her, she is very convincing and real in the role.

09

“Good night, Hawk.” One of our last glimpses of Margaret Lanterman.

I don’t know where to begin with the Log Lady scenes. They break my heart. I can’t watch them without crying. I don’t even want to get into how sad it makes me, so we’ll leave it there. I like seeing interaction between Margaret and Hawk, because they make sense as a team. Knowing Hawk’s Native heritage, he would have grown up with stories about nature spirits, and so he is probably the most likely to take her and her log seriously. My prediction on what is missing? The pieces of Laura’s diary. Remember that Annie appeared to Laura before her death, and asked her to write in her diary about “the good Dale” being trapped in the Black Lodge. It could be that Laura in fact did write that message down, but it was one of the destroyed pages, and so the message was not received. While Laura might not have to do with Hawk’s heritage, the Black Lodge, the place the message would tell him to go, certainly does. Otherwise, it may simply be that Dale Cooper is what’s missing.

10

The wolf at the door. Could Bill Hastings be the new Leland Palmer?

Notice the door knocker on Bill Hastings’s front door, in the shape of a wolf. I think that’s a hint (as if we needed one) that he’s possessed by a Dugpa. It also connects with the inexplicable dog leg found in the trunk of his car. I still have no idea what the chunk of flesh is.

 

Author’s picks:

Episode’s best quotes:

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” – Ben Horne

“Good night, Hawk.” – Margaret Lanterman

Episode’s MVP:

Margaret Lanterman, The Log Lady, for delivering the message.

Conclusion:

The first episode does a good job of getting back on its feet and telling us what we can expect from the rest of the series. This is not fan service, this is not a repeat, this is not all the imitations of Twin Peaks you’ve seen come up over the years. This is the real deal, and it’s a bumpy ride. It’s not easy TV, and it’s not accessible. It’s something we’ve been given, and we must work to truly get the most out of it. We have to be patient, we have to be attentive, and we have to be ready to get our hearts ripped out.

11

That’s all for now, until next episode.

Thanks for reading! The review of episodes 2, 3, and 4 will be out soon, so keep an eye out for those! In the meantime, let me know what you thought of the first episode. Did it meet your expectations? Exceed them? Or were you hoping for a more traditional Twin Peaks sequel? Comment below!

 

Advertisements

5 Final Predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return

 

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

tumblr_ona1yl1ig51td5o0do1_1280

As we prepare to delve back into the strange and wonderful world of Twin Peaks, we all have our anticipations, our hopes, and our assumptions. If you are looking for some last-minute theories to get you revved up for the premiere this Sunday, look no further. Here are my final predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return.

ED

5. Big Ed stayed with Nadine

In the recent trailer released from Showtime, Big Ed is seen, presumably at the desk of his Gas Farm, looking pretty sullen. Many fans hoped that 2017 would see Big Ed Hurley finally united with his long-time sweetheart, Norma Jennings. But from the looks of this clip, either things have gone wrong with Norma, or he has stayed in his unhappy marriage to Nadine. Alternately, he may have lost both women. When Nadine comes out of her teenage fantasy, she finally realizes that she has truly lost Ed to Norma. She may have been too heartbroken to go back to Ed, and Norma may have been too tired of Ed’s inability to leave Nadine to stay with him.

twin-peaks-dale-cooper

4. There are two Dale Coopers

“My name is Annie, and I’ve been with Laura and Dale. The good Dale is in the Lodge, and he can’t leave. Write it in your diary.”

-Annie Blackburn, Fire Walk With Me

At the end of Twin Peaks Season 2, viewers discovered the worst had happened when Agent Cooper, acting a little oddly after escaping from the Black Lodge, looked into the mirror and saw BOB in the reflection. This left us with an agonizing and iconic cliffhanger, and it would be a shame to not deliver on the 26-year-old promise of seeing an “Evil Dale Cooper.” This cliffhanger was referenced again in Fire Walk With Me when Annie Blackburn, who had also been in the Black Lodge with Cooper, appears to Laura Palmer and tells her that “The good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave.” While it is a confusing situation at best, it would seem to imply that Cooper has become spiritually bisected, leaving his “good” self in the Black Lodge, while his body, possessed by killer BOB, returned to Twin Peaks.

There are many possible approaches that could be taken to this situation, as some fans theorize that the body we see possessed by BOB is actually that of Cooper’s Doppelganger, and not the original Cooper we know and love. Perhaps the Good Dale has finally escaped the Black Lodge, 25 years later, and is hunting down his Doppelganger, or perhaps he still needs to be rescued. If the body is his, and not the Doppelganger’s, then it is possible he will not be able to leave the Black Lodge until his body is returned to him. Perhaps, until that time comes, he will be exploring the various dimensions of the Lodges…

JuleeCruise

3. Return to the Roadhouse

When the official cast list for Twin Peaks: The Return was released last year, it was obvious that the new series had enough musicians to fill their 18 episodes, and then some. These musicians include previous Lynch collaborators Julee Cruise, Chrysta Bell, and Trent Reznor, as well as some surprising newcomers like Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. While it’s not clear if these musicians are simply listed as collaborators on the soundtrack, or will be making an appearance in the show, it would be a lovely treat and in keeping with the original series to include some haunting musical performances on the stage of the Roadhouse.

18624600_10155383318062372_341070154_n

2. I’m not saying it’s aliens…

I don’t think we will ever see a spaceship in Twin Peaks. I do think further discussion of Project Blue Book, and blatant addressing of the subject of aliens, is unavoidable in order to progress certain plot elements. But Twin Peaks will never be a sci-fi story. I don’t think Mark Frost or David Lynch want to do that by any means. I don’t think we will ever hear it definitively said that the owls are alien spies, or that the Dugpas are from another planet, as some have speculated. In true enigmatic form, I think it will be left up for interpretation, and implied that the Dugpas are not spirits, or Native American gods, or extraterrestrials, but something beyond our comprehension, and far more terrifying.

Blue Rose

1. The Blue Rose is code for Listening Post Alpha

More than anything else, when the photos for the Entertainment Weekly photo shoot came out earlier this year, I think I was most stunned by the appearance of a blue rose, right there on the table between Audrey and Shelly. One of the enduring mysteries of Twin Peaks is that of the Blue Rose. It only appeared in FWWM, but it made a huge impression on fans. Agent Cooper refers to Teresa Banks’ murder as “one of Gordon Cole’s Blue Rose cases,” and Agent Desmond says that he can’t talk about the Blue Rose with Agent Stanley. With no further information, fans analyzed the symbol as best they could, and came up with some interesting theories. The most popular and most believable of these theories is that the Blue Rose is code for Project Blue Book, due to 1) color association, 2) apparent ties to the government, and 3) the fact that blue roses do not exist in nature, suggesting an “otherworldly” element to them. After reading The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I am convinced more than ever that this theory is very near the mark.

While the Blue Rose itself is never mentioned in The Secret History, we are given more background on Project Blue Book’s connection with the rest of the Twin Peaks mythology. It turns out that newspaper mogul Douglas Milford was, in his younger days, an agent working on Project Blue Book under then-President Richard Nixon. He was, in a manner of speaking, one of the “men in black,” appearing to investigate UFO cases, and other bizarre phenomena for the government. After Nixon’s death, Milford was spurred to create his own successor to Project Blue Book in Twin Peaks itself, known as Listening Post Alpha (LPA). He also recruited Major Garland Briggs to help him, and this is most likely the job that prompted him to so commonly quip, “That’s classified.” Milford then dies, suspected to have been murdered by his wife, possible assassin Lana Budding. He leaves Briggs a letter, philosophizing about the nature of the strange phenomena surrounding Twin Peaks, and concluding by telling Briggs to wait until his “next control arrives.”

Briggs, now in charge of LPA, believes that Agent Cooper has been sent by Gordon Cole to be his aid in these endeavors. This raises an eyebrow. Also contained in the dossier that comprises The Secret History is a list containing the names of FBI agents Cooper, Cole, Desmond, Stanley, Rosenfield, and Jeffries. The nature of this list is never revealed, but it is clearly important. Briggs and Milford must have been working with Cole on some level, otherwise there’s no reason for him to believe that Cole would “send” anyone to Briggs.

Remember how Cooper referred to the Blue Rose cases as being Cole’s? And which agents has Cole assigned to his Blue Rose cases? Agents Cooper, Desmond, Stanley, Rosenfield, and, in all probability, Jeffries. So it isn’t that big of a leap to suspect that the Blue Rose cases are linked to LPA, if not specifically code for LPA and its interests. Adding to this connection is the discovery by one sharp-eyed fan of a blue flower prop in Major Briggs’ house. While it appears to be a tulip, and not a rose, the similarities are distinctly there.

BlueTulip

I could of course be wrong about all of this. After all, the owls are not what they seem, and Lynch and Frost have kept us guessing from the very beginning, and the mystery they created together has lasted 27 long years. Only time will tell what truths are to be unveiled, and what mysteries are to be left uncertain forevermore.

What do you think will happen in the new series? What’s your favorite mystery from the show or the movie? How will you be celebrating the return of Twin Peaks? Post a comment below!

The Long Lost Phillip Jeffries – Explained!

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Fire Walk with Me and The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

5112

One of the most enigmatic scenes in all of Twin Peaks is the brief but memorable appearance of the “long lost” Phillip Jeffries (played by the late great David Bowie, R.I.P.). The scene sparked so many questions with the very little it showed us, and almost none of it is explained or even referenced again in the film. It’s a bizarre aside in the larger story, but there is undoubtedly great importance to it. It features many integral characters and motifs, yet it is so hard to fit in with the rest of the movie. What is Jeffries doing in Buenos Aires? Why has he been missing? Who is Judy?  What is the relevance to the rest of the plot?

Jeffries’ appearance is one of the most hotly debated mysteries among Peaks Freaks everywhere, and, in this article, I will attempt to put the story as straight as possible for the benefit of both veteran fans, and the curious newcomer. First, we will go over the major points of interest from the main scene, then, in the end, we will construct the most coherent narrative we can from one of the most surreal moments in the film.

I’d like to cite that one of my major sources for this article is this enlightening post from the Above the Convenience Store blog, so go read it first. Also, I am drawing dialogue from The Missing Pieces, which contains an altogether different take of the Phillip Jeffries scene with bits of extra dialogue.

Phillip Jeffries appears, walking out of the elevator at and walking straight into Gordon Cole’s office. Agent Cooper spots him, along with what may be his own Doppelganger, on the security camera. He says he remembers this from a dream he had. Rushing into the office, Cooper meets up with Cole, and Albert Rosenfield, who have just come face-to-face with Jeffries, who seems anxious and confused.

JeffriesFire

“Cooper, meet the long-lost Phillip Jeffries. You may have heard of him from the academy.”

We’ll start here, as it is the only back story we are really given to Jeffries. Given the reference to him being talked about by the academy, it’s safe to assume he’s an FBI agent, while he’s never explicitly called one. He is also associated with Dale Cooper, Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenfield, Sam Stanley, and Chester Desmond in The Secret History of Twin Peaks. He’s been with the FBI much longer than Cooper, as he was apparently being talked about at the academy while Dale was still training there.

So Jeffries has been on the case for a while. But what case?

The reference to Jeffries being “long-lost” is the most intriguing part here, and actually gives us a good idea of what has happened to him. We know of other FBI agents who have been “lost” — Desmond and Stanley are both missing by the end of the film, and Cooper can be presumed to be in a similar state in the aftermath of season 2These agents all have one thing in common: Involvement with the Black Lodge, and Gordon Cole’s “Blue Rose” cases.

The meeting "Above the Convenience Store"

“Listen to me carefully. I’ve been to one of their meetings. It was above a convenience store.”

Jeffries ignores all of the other agents’ questions and goes on a harried tangent about a “meeting” he witnessed, which we see overlapping Jeffries’ scene in Cole’s office. He says that this was a “dream” (and that we live inside a dream), and that he found something in Seattle “at Judy’s.” This “something” may be an opening to the Lodges, or it could be the secret meeting place of the Dugpa — the room above the convenience store. Or perhaps this “something” was an artifact related to the Dugpa, as he then babbles about “the ring,” before breaking down crying.

Jeffries also has some revelation or recollection about the date May, 1989, and subsequently disappears as if he was never there. What the relevance of this is is never elaborated upon, and the date is never reached during the course of the series. It was, however, important enough for it to warrant an appearance in the trailer for The Missing Pieces, and most likely has some connection to Major Briggs’ enigmatic “mayday protocols” mentioned towards the end of The Secret History of Twin Peaks. Could it be that Jeffries, Judy, and Briggs were all involved in some plot that was to take place on May 1st, “Mayday”? Are they all involved in the mayday protocols?

d2115084b61fab0eb476b9231f69c2ce

“I’m not going to talk about Judy. In fact we’re not gonna talk about Judy at all. We’re gonna keep her out of it.”

Judy is one of the most talked about mysteries in the fandom, and more has been said and hypothesized about her than I can include here (a very in-depth study on the history of Judy as a character can be found here). Suffice to say, it’s probable she was Jeffries’ informant or partner, who was involved in the case with him. She’s important enough for him to tell the other agents that “Judy is positive about this,” as if her opinion holds weight with them. Albert Rosenfield even scoffs “How interesting. I thought we were going to leave her out of it,” as if he knows Judy and doesn’t approve of her in some way. This supports the possibility of Judy being Jeffries’ partner. But why is he reluctant to talk about her? Why does he want to “keep Judy out of this”? Was there some point of contention between himself, Judy, and the other agents? Did they not think he should be involved with her? Could it be that she was a person of interest in a case, and Jeffries became romantically entangled with her, in keeping with the classic film noir trope? What is she so positive about, anyway?

Evil Doppelgangers of Cooper and Leland.

 

“Who do you think this is there?”

Near the beginning of the scene, Jeffries points to Cooper and asks Cole, “Who do you think that is there?” No one has any idea what he is talking about, and Jeffries never elaborates. However, I have an idea. We might presume that for the past two years, Jeffries has been, like Cooper, lost in the Black Lodge, which as we know operates in nonlinear time. Just as young Laura was able to meet an old Cooper and transmit a message to the past through him, it is not far-fetched to believe that Jeffries, during his wanderings in the Black Lodge, came across Cooper’s Doppelganger, and now that he is out, believes that Cooper is still not who he seems. In effect, this is more or less a “foreshadow” of Cooper’s possession by BOB at the end of season 2.

HesGone

“He’s gone.”

Before anything can be done, there are electrical problems, and Jeffries vanishes. This is a pretty clear indication that the magic of the Black Lodge is at work here. He reappears at his hotel in Buenos Aires in a burst of flame, much to the shock of his bellhop. Now here, I’d like to bring up the subject of Buenos Aires and why Jeffries is there. If you watch The Missing Pieces, we find that Jeffries arrives at his hotel to receive a message from a woman, presumably Judy. This suggests that they were investigating something there together, or, that they had run away together. Possibly both. In either case, something strange is definitely happening to Jeffries, possibly as a consequence of wearing or proximity to the Owl Ring. It appears he randomly phases in and out of dimensions, possibly by way of the Black Lodge. I suggest that after disappearing in Buenos Aires, he briefly went through the Black Lodge and emerged in Philadelphia. This explains his panicked but determined demeanor: He understands that he has been given a chance to warn Cole, but also that he has little time before he phases out again. He tries to alert Cole about to the relevant points: BOB’s leaving the Black Lodge to go on a murderous rampage, the ring, and even “Evil Cooper.”

Jeffries

Conclusion

Well, I want to tell you everything, but I sure don’t have a lot to go on. But I’ll do the best I can to construct the most likely narrative:

Phillip Jeffries is an FBI agent, working closely with Gordon Cole, and possibly also with Major Garland Briggs. He takes on a “Blue Rose” case, which, most likely, marks the case as involving the supernatural. In keeping with the recurring motif in Twin Peaks, we might presume there was the murder of a young woman involved. Jeffries goes to Seattle to investigate and meets Judy, who is a person of interest in the case. He and Judy become romantically entangled, to the disapproval of Jeffries’ peers. He meets her at her house, and she shows him the Owl Ring and possibly gives it to him. He sleeps over that night and (“I found something… in Seattle, at Judy’s.”) has a dream, caused by the Owl Ring. In this dream, he sees Dugpas, and follows them to a meeting in a room above a convenience store. Upon waking, he discovers that he now phases through dimensions in a burst of flame, something which he has no control over. In order to help him, he and Judy investigate the ring and the Dugpas, an investigation that takes Jeffries away from his previous assignment in Seattle, and causes him to go off the radar for two years. This leads them to Buenos Aires, where they believe there is another opening to the Black Lodge. They plan to meet up at the hotel, but when Jeffries arrives, Judy is gone, and she left a note. He then disappears from the hotel, enters the Black Lodge, and re-emerges in Philadelphia, where he attempts to warn Cole of the horrors he has discovered before disappearing again in a burst of flames and reappearing in Buenos Aires.

There are still many loose threads and exact details missing, like the involvement of Windom Earle, who was allegedly in Buenos Aires with Jeffries and Judy, and the bizarre security camera phenomenon, but I believe my proposed scenario fits in well with the overarching story and helps explain some of the non sequitors that proliferate this scene. For sure, there are still more mysteries to be uncovered, and hopefully we will learn some of the answers when Twin Peaks returns this May.

CYNUiDKWwAAUzXY

The Mysteries of Love: The Transformative Nature of Sex in Lynchian Cinema

still-of-laura-dern-isabella-rossellini-and-kyle-maclachlan-in-blue-velvet-1986-large-picture

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Also, while not graphic, this article does deal with mature themes revolving around sex, so read at your own discretion.

Anyone who has seen David Lynch’s movies knows that sex has a potent presence in each one. Sometimes, it takes the form of beautiful love scenes; other times they are grotesque and debased, but they always have a purpose. Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and Eraserhead all use sex during vital transformative scenes, and The Diary of Laura Palmer draws a distinct line between Laura’s sexuality and BOB’s arrival. In this article, I will analyze the use of sex and sexual imagery in each of Lynch’s films, and uncover some of the secrets behind the Mysteries of Love.

Note: I will be excluding Lost Highway and Wild At Heart from this article, as those films, I feel, require very specific and individual analysis.

quote-David-Lynch-sex-is-a-doorway-to-something-so-142781_1

One of the oldest forms of ritual is sex: In ancient Babylon, temples dedicated to the Goddess Ishtar employed “sacred prostitutes,” who were priestesses who doubled as sex workers, and often used sex as part of their religious rituals. These women would serve as representations of the Goddess when a new King was crowned, so that he might be wed to her and receive her divine blessing. Mother Goddesses, such as Ishtar/Inanna, were usually fertility Goddesses, presiding over sex and reproduction, so it only makes sense for the worship of such deities to be sexual in nature.

Aleister Crowley, who was recently mentioned in Mark Frost’s tie-in novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks, made sexuality a large part of his doctrines and rituals, in which the energy released during copulation is used to give power to whatever spell is being cast. Nontheistic Satanist Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, placed sex in high importance in his ideology. LaVey believed that discovery of one’s sexuality, and having full control over one’s sexual power and identity (whatever it may be) was the key to having agency over one’s life, and, ultimately, finding fulfillment and success. He believed that sex and ritual was one of the most powerful ways to affect an individual’s psychology and direct energy. Sex is a powerful force, easily able to raise emotional energy, which can then be utilized through ritual.

immagine_mulholland-drive_12441

Sex in the Lynchian Universe is used in a similar way: It commonly heralds a moment of profound transformation, where either two characters become merged, or a character moves into a strange, alternate dimension.

Throughout the first half of Mulholland Drive, it is clear that Betty and Rita are slowly merging into one being, but it is only after they make love that they become virtually indistinguishable. After they merge, Betty and Rita are able to enter the otherworldly Club Silencio and receive the answers to the mystery. In Eraserhead, a sex scene between Henry and the neighbor immediately precedes a disjointed dream sequence; a so-called “down the rabbit hole” moment. We see the couple sinking into a smoking pit of milk, and disappearing into another world. This relates to Henry’s desire for escape from the nightmare of his life.

In Inland Empire, a particularly interesting scene is the love scene between Devon Burke and Nikki Grace, wherein they begin to slip into their alternate personae, Billy and Sue. Immediately afterwards, Nikki/Sue discovers the portal into the alternate dimension. She has undergone a ritual in which she allowed her Nikki persona to be consumed by the film persona. She was transformed into Sue, through a Sex Magick with Billy (or Devon, who thought he was Billy). A recurring motif of the film is prostitution. For the most part, in Inland Empire, this motif seems to represent sexual oppression and enslavement, as there are recurring references to rape through mind control. The prostitutes appear to be under the Phantom’s control. However, I believe they also represent various parts of Nikki/Sue’s psyche, voicing her internal dialogues and performing rituals with her, as she slowly builds up the power she needs to face the Phantom. They are the oppressed parts of Nikki’s personality, which are brought together to become stronger and eventually break the bonds placed on them by the Phantom. The dancing sequences in the film conjure up images of Pagan rituals and Faerie circles. In short, they tell us that Magick is being performed.

primary_EB19861002PEOPLE41216001AR

Sex is a centrifugal element of the film Blue Velvet, and is the catalyst for Jeffrey Beaumont’s trip down the rabbit hole. Dorothy Valens has been transformed through the sexual abuse Frank Booth has subjected her to; he “put his disease” in her, infecting her with his violent sexual obsessions. When she and Jeffrey begin a sexual relationship, she asks Jeffrey to hit her, like Frank does. She has become so used to the abuse, that she cannot enjoy sex without it. Eventually, Jeffrey breaks down, and hits her. Later, he regrets his actions, and begins to cry in guilt. He is afraid of being turned into Frank Booth, being sucked into his darkness, ending up spiritually mutated and morally weakened. He does not want to wind up using Dorothy the way that Frank does. His salvation is the love he finds with Sandy, which goes beyond the basic lust he felt for Dorothy. And in the end, it is not through Jeffrey, or her husband, that Dorothy finds healing, but through her pure love for her son.

Blue Velvet serves, perhaps, as Lynch’s ultimate parable regarding the dichotomy between sex and love, and where the two meet. There is depraved sex, and there is sacred sex. There is selfish love, and there is pure love. Lynch has said in interviews that Frank Booth is a man in love, suggesting that his desire for Dorothy is not as black-and-white as it at first seems. It isn’t just lust that compels him, but a sick kind of love – the only way Frank can perceive it.

blue-velvet-7

“Do me a favor: Stay away from Dorothy. Don’t be a good neighbor to her anymore. Or I’ll send you a love letter, straight from my heart, fucker! Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me, and you’re fucked forever! Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send you straight to hell, fucker!”

-Frank Booth, Blue Velvet

In Lynch’s other works, sex has many different meanings, sometimes within a single film. In Twin Peaks, sex is not portrayed as bad nor good, but a facet of natural human life, though the circumstances surrounding it can be beautiful, or dire. However, a darker layer of this sexuality was hinted at even from the pilot, and as the mystery was slowly unveiled in Season 2 and Fire Walk with Me, the shadow of sexuality which loomed in the background was brought forward: A sexuality that, like Frank Booth, was all about possession, violence, and power.

The two sides of Laura’s identity are, in one way, portrayed by her dualistic relationships with James and Bobby. Her love for James is more of an idealistic, innocent love, whereas her relationship with Bobby is one of manipulation. On the same side of the coin as Bobby, though much deeper and darker, is her “relationship” with BOB; a shadowy, violent figure who Laura remains sexually attracted to in spite of the risk to her sanity and life. This lust is portrayed as a base desire, animalistic, like hunger, which drives its victims to endlessly consume, or die.

A Buddhist belief says that all acts are acts of either love or fear, and all other emotions spring from one of these two. In Twin Peaks, it is again told to use that love is the ultimate salvation, as Laura’s spirit forgives Leland, her abuser and murderer, upon his death — forgiveness, being an act of love. This is in keeping with the theme set by Blue Velvet. However, things are a little shakier in Mulholland Drive, wherein love can do nothing to save our heroines, and, in fact, pushes them closer and closer to the edge. Without going too far down the rabbit hole that is Mulholland Drive, notice the extreme differences between the two sex scenes: The first, between Betty and Rita, is tender, and very loving. The second, between Diane and Camilla, which is arguably the reality of the matter, is sleazy, with a definite tension between the two women. Diane is stricken with fear of losing Camilla, and this is what ultimately orchestrates their downfall. In a way, Diane is becoming like Frank Booth, Lynch’s prime representation of the evil that can seep into a sexual relationship — the need for dominance and power, above anything else.

tp-condemned-woman-review

Well, that was some heavy content. If you need to lighten up, here‘s a link where you can watch Kyle MacLachlan’s Saturday Night Live monologue back in 1990. Until next time, make sure those grapefruits are freshly squeezed.

How’s Annie? The Implications of The Secret History of Twin Peaks

anniemisstwinpeaks

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Mark Frost’s novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

On October 18th, 2016, Mark Frost released his much-anticipated novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks to tie in with the new season due to arrive in 2017. Fans hoped that this would answer many of their pressing questions, however, the book seemed to create more mysteries than it solved. The fates of Annie Blackburn, Benjamin Horne, and Agent Cooper are left up in the air, characters that seemed like comic relief in the show are revealed to be involved in wild conspiracies, and while the “Owl Ring” is given an origin, it is still not explained what, exactly, it does. Not only that, but the book is seemingly riddled with inconsistencies. Listed below are only a few:

  • Andrew Packard’s “death” date is inconsistent
  • Norma’s mother is named Ilsa Lindstrom, not Vivian Niles, and supposedly died 5 years before the show
  • Annie seems not to exist at all
  • Cooper expected to get shot by Josie
  • Audrey leaves a note before heading to the bank, telling her father that she knows he plans to continue with the Ghostwood Development Project, despite his behavior to the contrary in the last episodes of Season 2
  • In the book, Laura reportedly began seeing Jacoby at age 18; however, she died at age 17

(Read a more extensive list here.)

It’s rather difficult to believe that, after all these years to prepare, that Frost would make so many drastic and obvious errors. Some can be written off as retcon, such as Pete Martell shielding Audrey from the bank explosion, when in the show, he’s quite a ways away from her when the blast goes off. Had the series continued back in 1991, most likely Pete would have survived along with Audrey, but after Jack Nance’s death in 1996, a noble death was probably penned in memory of him. Other issues, like Audrey’s note, are much harder to reconcile.

twin-peaks-annie

One of the biggest questions we are left with at the end of Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me is the fate of Annie Blackburn. Despite the importance established for her character in the show and film, the book does not mention the ill-fated damsel once, even in her sister Norma’s post card home. In fact, the information provided within the post card seems to conflict with Annie’s very existence.

First of all, Norma writes the post card to her parents, Mr and Mrs Lindstrom. This is problematic for many reasons, but let’s forget about Vivian Niles’ brief stint in Season 2 for the sake of staying on track, and suppose for a moment, Norma’s maiden name is Lindstrom. So why is Annie’s last name Blackburn? Mrs Lindstrom is said to have never remarried. Did Annie have a brief, unmentioned marriage to a Mr Blackburn, and keep her married name? Was Annie actually adopted, and kept her old family name? Did Annie simply change her name, out of personal choice? Furthermore, how could Norma not mention her little sister in her post card home from her honeymoon? As for Annie the possibility of Annie having not been born yet, Norma is at least 18 at this point, and it’s hard to believe that Annie is nearly 20 years younger than Norma.

Did the novel write Annie out of existence? Annie’s character was created for the show’s revival, after brief cancellation during the second season. The show runners managed to convince the network to bring back Twin Peaks for a few final episodes, which would wrap up the major story lines (more or less). Due to the dissolution of the Audrey/Cooper romance, Annie Blackburn’s character was speedily written in order to fill the role of Cooper’s love interest. It is possible, if unlikely, that Lynch and Frost decided to rewrite the series to omit characters not in their original plans.

heather-graham-miss-twin-peaks

When asked about Annie by a fan at a book signing, Frost allegedly responded that he can’t talk about Annie, but that Lana Budding won Miss Twin Peaks in 1989 (the year Twin Peaks is set and Annie Blackburn is supposed to have won Miss Twin Peaks). What does this mean? Was Lana, as runner-up, granted the title after Annie fell into a coma? That wouldn’t exactly make her win Miss Twin Peaks. Frost chose this very specific way of answering this particular question. There must be a reason. Annie had to have been purposefully omitted, after having played such an important part of Season 2. But why was she omitted, and what is the explanation for her disappearance from the story?

All these apparent “errors” could have one answer: The book, and the new season, take place in an alternate universe.

MSDLOHI EC006

There are other hints that the new Twin Peaks will have something to do with alternate dimensions: An actor from nearly every other Lynch film is slated to appear in the new season — Laura Dern (Blue Velvet, Wild at HeartInland Empire), Naomi Watts (Mulholland DriveRabbits), Balthazar Getty (Lost Highway), plus Twin Peaks vet Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), who also appeared in Eraserhead. This could easily fit with the Lynchian Universe Theory, which supposes that all of David Lynch’s major films are connected through interdimensional pathways, such as the Black Lodge, or the hotel from Inland Empire, or Club Silencio from Mulholland Drive.

We already know that alternate dimensions exist within Lynch’s films, and it has already been confirmed by Lynch himself that Twin Peaks and Lost Highway take place in the same universe. We’ve also seen that interdimensional travel is possible. So, what role could it play in Twin Peaks 2017? Could it be that, when the Good Dale emerges from the Lodge at last, he finds things… not quite as he left them? Could he end up in an alternate version of Twin Peaks, or even in another time altogether?

dale-cooper

Some fans propose that we are not so much seeing an alternate dimension, as an alternate timeline. This theory says that time travel, possibly by Cooper, has changed history, resulting in the “discrepancies” in The Secret History. Laura might still be alive, Annie might not have been born, and Ben Horne might never have reformed. As a matter of fact, Laura not being murdered would cause Leland to not die the way he did, and Ben Horne would never have been arrested, prompting his reformation (This would explain Audrey’s letter). Perhaps Cooper traveled back in time (maybe using the Black Lodge) and saved her life? And if Norma had different parents, they might not have had Annie.

If either the alternate universe or alternate timeline theories are correct, it would nicely clean up inconsistencies in the book, and explain why dead characters will appear 25 years later, aged 25 years older (ageing ghosts?). Whatever the truth is, we may learn the answers sooner than we think…

UPDATE: Ready for 2017? Here’s a Preview…

twinpeakss2ep17_05

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Greetings to my readers! Here are the Little White Mask Blog, I’ve been taking a little break for the holidays. The posts shall return in full force next year. In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a little preview of what’s to come. Some of my future posts will discuss:

  • The Secret History of Twin Peaks and the many questions it raised (and a couple it answered)
  • An in-depth, three-part analysis of Inland Empire
  • Non-Lynch films for David Lynch fans
  • Character studies
  • Lynchian music playlists (here’s mine, what’s yours?)
  • The humorous side of David Lynch
  • and more!

If you have trouble waiting, here’s a preview of one of my upcoming articles, where I discuss the character of Annie and the possible meaning behind her absence in Mark Frost’s novel and the new series:

One of the biggest questions we are left with at the end of Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me is the fate of Annie Blackburn. Despite the seeming importance established for her character in the show and film, the book does not mention the ill-fated damsel once, even in her sister Norma’s post card home. In fact, the information provided within the post card seems to conflict with Annie’s very existence.

First of all, Norma writes the post card to her parents, Mr and Mrs Lindstrom, revealing Norma’s last name prior to her taking Hank’s surname upon marriage. So, if Norma’s parents are named Lindstrom, why is Annie’s last name Blackburn? Mrs Lindstrom never remarried. Did Annie have a brief, unmentioned marriage, and kept her married name? Was Annie actually adopted, and kept her old family name? Did Annie simply change her name, out of personal choice? Furthermore, how could Norma not mention her little sister in her post card home from her honeymoon? The message is marked 1969, which virtually rules out Annie having not been born yet.

annie-blackburn

Did the novel write Annie out of existence? Annie’s character was created for the show’s revival, after brief cancellation during the second season. The show runners managed to convince the network to bring back Twin Peaks in order to wrap up the major story lines (more or less). Due to the dissolution of the Audrey/Cooper romance, Annie Blackburn’s character was speedily written in order to fill the role of Cooper’s love interest. It is possible, if unlikely, that Lynch and Frost decided to rewrite the series to omit characters not in their original plans.

Another solution? Alternate timeline. If other dimensions are involved, it wouldn’t be too much of a leap to suggest that alternate time lines could be involved, which could explain the apparent presence of deceased characters such as Leland and Laura Palmer.

Of course (do I even need to say it?) 2017 will see what we’ve all really been waiting for–the RETURN OF TWIN PEAKS! This will, of course, open up all new avenues of questioning and analysis, which means more articles! There’s also the possibility of episode reviews from yours truly!

003-david-lynch-theredlist

As far as Twin Peaks news is concerned, we have been given very little officially to go on, aside from some obscure teasers and secretive interviews with the cast members. Beyond that, it has been recently confirmed that we have Twin Peaks action figures and Funko Pops to look forward to at an undisclosed date, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

I will leave you, my lovely readers, with a question: What are you most interested in hearing about? Are there some Lynchian mysteries that still leave you scratching your head? Would you like more film theories? Would you like to hear about Twin Peaks‘ influence on other shows, video games, and comics? How would you feel about some Cracked-style humor articles? Let me know in the comments! I’ll see you next year. Meanwhile…

handsignal

Ghostwood: Angry Nature Spirits in Twin Peaks

twin_peaks_s2e16_the_condemned_woman

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

“My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature here reside.”

-Deputy Hawk

Throughout Twin Peaks the series and the film Fire Walk With Me, we repeatedly encounter the symbol of wood, and cutting through wood. The sawmill, the Log Lady, Josie being trapped in a drawer knob at the Great Northern, and, of course, the ever-present trees. Hidden in the plot is an environmental message: The preservation of Ghostwood, which is threatened by industrial development. In Fire Walk With Me, woodcutting tools like axes and chainsaws are recurring motifs. All of this suggests something: Could the Dugpas be some form of angry nature spirits, attacking the humans who threaten their home?

Twin Peaks‘ symbolism encourages us to connect spirits with nature, which is an element seen in every ancient culture’s lore. In Greek myth, Nymphs known as Dryads live in trees, and have been known to attack humans who attempt to cut down their home. In Egyptian mythology, two turquoise sycamores stand at the Eastern gate where the Sun God Ra rises each day. A key aspect of Native American cultures, whose symbols permeate Twin Peaks‘ mythos, is that every aspect of nature has a spirit, and is connected to the Earth Mother. The Cherokee tribe tells a tale of how humans and animals came to possess fire. It was granted to them by beings known as the Thunders, who sent down a bolt of lightning, which struck a hollow sycamore tree, causing it to catch on fire. From there, the animals were tasked with collecting the fire. Among the animals who attempted to retrieve it were three owls.

Entrance_daylight

This story is a fascinating read, considering how many key symbols it has in common with the mythology of Twin Peaks. As we all know, at Glastonbury Grove, the entrance to the Lodges is inside a circle of sycamore trees; very similar to the divine fire being lit inside a hollow sycamore tree. The Egyptians closely associated the sycamore with the Goddess Hathor, and it was seen as a symbol of both life and death. The tree was thought to grow in the underworld where its fruit was food for departed souls.

Some Native American tribes refer to the Sycamore Tree as “the Ghosts of the Forest,” and tell sinister tales about them, such as this example:

Probably the most notable Sycamore Indian lore stems from along the Little Kanawha River valley near Freeport. The Wyandotte’s spoke of twin Sycamore trees that stood along the old Indian trail near the Hughes River. As legends states, the great chief of the Evil Spirits became angry at two of his followers and cast them out along the water. These two evil spirits that had been cast across the water ended up colliding against two stately sycamore trees. All at once, the evilness spread into the trees causing them to become deformed with the limbs becoming grotesque. The Indians always believed these two trees were inhabited by the evil spirits and would be very careful when passing by. When settlers arrived and heard these tales, they would often laugh. That is until one of the settlers was found dead under one of the trees with the horrified look of having been scared to death frozen upon his face. Occasionally a defiant settler would scoff at the “haunted” trees and brag that he would cut them down for firewood. Usually after these threats were made…ill misfortune would occur to the unlucky boaster. One of the last known attempts to cut the evil trees down was made in 1840. This gentleman grabbed an axe to hack into one of the vexed trees and missed. The axe glanced off the tree and ended up lodged inside his leg. An artery was struck causing blood to spew at the base of the trunk where he promptly bled to death.

(Source: Fireside Folklore: Sycamore Trees

nicolas_poussin_-_apollo_and_daphne_-_wga18261

Daphne transforms into a tree. Painting by Nicolas Poussin.

The idea of cast out evil spirits as seen in this tale is eerily similar to the backstory of BOB, and his Lucifer-like nature. It also plays along nicely with Twin Peaks‘ narrative of “evil in the woods.” But there isn’t just evil lurking in the woods: In fact, all kinds of spirits are dwelling in wood in Twin Peaks. The fact that Josie is trapped in the wood in the Great Northern Hotel, where she died, and the implication that the spirit of the Log Lady’s husband resides in the log she carries, is just another example of spirits in wood seen in the series. This idea is common in mythology, where we see cases of people dying and becoming flowers, or being transformed into trees to escape unwanted pursuit (such as in the case of Daphne).

From these myths, we can see the concurrent themes of spirits, nature, and the life and death cycle. With such evidence, it is not outrageous to believe that the forest of Twin Peaks, so aptly named the Ghostwood, would possess some manner of sentience.

000000qm_175921938

An intriguing subplot in Twin Peaks which was never properly explored was the Ghostwood Development Project, originally conceived of by Ben Horne, and later spearheaded by Catherine Martell. Had this plot continued, it might have revealed an intriguing, environmental message: Nature spirits angered by the imminent destruction of their home, as more and more incursions are made upon the woods, by the townsfolk, the sawmill, and the looming Ghostwood Development Project. This would provide greater meaning for  the latter two within the story, and elaborate on the backstory of the Dugpas.

Native American teachings emphasize the importance of nature; that plants and animals have spirits just as human beings do, and thus we should treat nature with love and respect. These spirits, if not treated respectfully, can turn on people, and cause them varying degrees of trouble. This message, when applied to Twin Peaks, provides the Dugpas with another, deeper motive, rather than just doing evil for evil’s sake, to feed off the suffering of humans. What makes a nature spirit angry? When its home is threatened. Certainly, that sawmill must cause the Lodge spirits some grievances… Perhaps they only decided to interfere with humans once their home began being trespassed upon? This would provide a compelling motivation for these supernatural villains, making them more complex and almost sympathetic.

FinderScreenSnapz035

The portrayal of Dugpas as Nature Spirits is further supported by their shapeshifting abilities; an attribute commonly associated with nature spirits such as the Norse Vættir or the Horned God Cernunnos. Furthermore, Hawk describes the White Lodge as being occupied by spirits that control nature. This by itself is a fairly vague statement, however, if we provide this statement with the proper context, it becomes reasonable evidence for the “angry nature spirit” idea. Of course, this is referring to the White Lodge, but the Black Lodge being the “shadow-self” of the White Lodge, it is not illogical to believe that it possesses an equatable concept. From this, we can infer that the Black Lodge contains the spirits of the darker side of nature: Those associated with death and decay, which are both necessary for the existence of nature, but are cause of much grief for those living in it.

This reminds us that nature is amoral, and dualistic. Alongside great beauty is terrible ugliness. However, it is only the human mind that provides this context. Nature by itself is neither ugly nor beautiful, neither kind nor cruel. Much like entering the Lodges, what you see depends on your own mind, and your own spiritual well-being. An animal carcass is sorrow for its kin, but bounty for those who will feed on its meat. In this way, the Lodges reflect Nature in its purest form: To Annie Blackburn, the Black Lodge is a place of horrors, but to Windom Earle, it appears as a place of bountiful power, until, of course, those powers of death and decay claims him, as well.

giphy

Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, it is undeniable that the forces of nature pose as a powerful presence in Twin Peaks, from the eerie wind blowing through the Douglas Firs, to the ominous hooting of the owls in the night. The powers of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit are all prominent, and play a role in this story. And in the town of Twin Peaks, there may very well be a war between the forces of nature and human development.

“There is only one way to save a forest, an idea, or anything of value: and that is by refusing to stand by and watch it die. There is a law of nature which is more fundamental to life than the laws of man. And when something you care about is in danger, you must act to save it, or lose it forever.”

-Audrey Horne