A few episodes ago, when Agent Cooper came back to our dimension, I didn’t lean too heavily on descriptions of the exact set pieces through which he passed. I chose not to because describing Lynchian surrealism can be akin to listening to someone describe their dreams–“Then he’s traveling through space. There’s a woman whose eyes are sewn shut,” etc. Plus, on a more practical note, there was so much else to talk about that I could just sum it up. That’s not the case this week.
This week, Messrs Lynch and Frost give us a cool 40 plus minutes of surrealism. It was unnerving. It was confounding. It was delightful.
Before we dipped into the surreal, though, we started off, as things do, in the “real world.” Last week, Evil Cooper got out of the pen thanks to the warden and his sins. He also sprung his associate Ray (George Griffith)–locked up for taking guns across the state line–and they were given a nondescript sedan. So this week’s episode begins with their travels away from prison. It turns out that Ray isn’t as dumb as he looks, because when they stop, he’s got the jump on Evil Coop. Ray gave EC an unloaded gun. I wondered for a moment how he didn’t know–couldn’t he tell from the weight?–but questions like that hardly seem to matter in an episode like this. Ray shoots the Evil Cooper and EC falls, but is soon attended to by a group of dark figures–Woodsmen–we’ve seen in other episodes. What are they exactly? Demons? Lost souls? They remind me a bit of the Hollow Men from John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series. Or the demons that take away souls in the movie Ghost–whichever reference you prefer.
The Woodsmen tear open EC and remove a cosmic ball with BOB inside. Ray calls a Phillip who may be Phillip Jeffries and tells him that he saw something in Cooper that might be “the key to what this is all about.” Then we switch to watching The Nine Inch Nails perform “She’s Gone Away.” Then back to EC, goodish as new. I know this sounds like a dream I had.
After that, we have to go back to 1945 New Mexico for the Trinity nuclear test, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Playing in the background is Penderecki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” which true to its name, is the sound of nightmares. Watching and listening, I can’t help but recall the picture in Gordon Cole’s office of a bomb blast that might be Trinity [it’s hard to tell–you’ve seen one mushroom cloud, you’ve seen…etc.] Trinity was the unleashing of something into our world. Did that something include BOB? I can’t help but get that sense, watching the aftermath of the bomb, in which another BOB ball is created and expelled by a creature. [On a side note, I also couldn’t help but think of Major Briggs in this scene.]
Also watching the aftermath is something that resembles the Giant. It is the Giant, if you ignore the credits, which lists him as Carel Struyken’s role as ???????. He expels a golden ball with Laura Palmer’s face in it. That ball lands on earth. Is Laura the anti-BOB? No time to dwell on that, because we have to get back to earth, too. Now it’s the 50s. The Woodsmen are back again, terrorizing the locals. One of them (Robert Broski) makes his way to a local radio station. Before you think, Hey, this reminds me of On the Air, he crushes the skulls of two employees merely by squeezing them with his hand as he asks, “Gotta light?” He then hijacks the airwaves to intone repeatedly, “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 broadcast makes two of the listeners we see collapse. A third listener, a teenage girl, just lays down and goes to sleep. A winged creature with a frog’s body hatches from an egg in the desert and makes it way to the girl’s house, where it crawls into her mouth.
Cut to credits. HAHAHAHAHA. It feels nigh on impossible to describe this episode, beyond listing the visuals, because it’s an immersive experience. I said it would be like listening to someone describe their dream, but to be specific, it’s more like a nightmare. The images are uncomfortable, but so is the sound–my goodness, the SOUND of this episode. It gets under your skin.
10/10 – Wow, BOB, wow. You crazy for this one, Dave. There might be some viewers out there who thought Lynch/Frost were playing it a bit safe this season, hewing too closely to a straight-line narrative. Welp, not anymore. The show blew that up this week with a massive dose of surrealism that people will either love or hate. I loved it. Even if talking about it sounds like someone describing a nightmare: “We were at the Trinity blast. And Nine Inch Nails was playing a song at a bar, but for some reason, they called them The Nine Inch Nails…”
PS: Twin Peaks is taking a week off next week, so I’ll be back here with the waking nightmare in two weeks. I love to read your thoughts and I hope tonight’s episode was someone’s first episode. Watching it, I was reminded of the person who posted on r/outoftheloop a week ago, “What’s up with Twin Peaks?”
I have never heard of the show before and now a lot of people on podcasts I listen to are mentioning it. I go to Google it and it was made in….1990?
What’s going on? Did someone seriously decide to restart a TV show from almost 30 years ago? Doesn’t make sense to me. Is there really that big and dedicated a fan base of a show from 1990 that warranted picking it up again almost 3 decades later?