Garmonbozia is a nonsense word on this side of the TV screen. But in Twin Peaks the term has weight and meaning. “Pain and sorrow.” For the predatory demons of the Black Lodge, “pain and sorrow” is foodstuff. They convert the paired feelings into creamed corn — literal creamed corn — and slurp it up from their cupped hands. Manners! Didn’t their mother teach them anything?
“The Return” is chunky with Garmonbozia. You saw it in the foamy toxic hairballs thrown up by too fast, too furious Dirty Cooper and his hilarious spin-off, Dougie Jones, an empty-headed stooge created to avoid repossession by the Black Lodge. You felt it in the terror of the woman with the sealed eyes trapped in an electrified box floating in space, and in the despair of the single mom with all the addictions screaming 9-1-1 backwards. You heard it in the anguished sobs of Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Briggs, triggered by the sight of Laura Palmer’s photo to feel all the old feels — an echo of the moment in the pilot when Deputy Andy wept over Laura’s wrapped-in-plastic corpse. “Brings back some memories,” he said as the strains of Laura’s theme swelled on the soundtrack. It was a nostalgia rush, for sure, but it reminded us that nostalgia — “pain from an old wound” — is also a kind of Garmonbozia. The things Mad Men taught me…
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The varied hues of creamed corn were everywhere in Parts 3 and 4. It was the color of Dougie’s blonde blazer, Jade’s amber Wrangler, the gilded horseshoe logo of the Silver Mustang Casino, and the beige homes of the busted Rancho Rosa development, a ghost town Carcosa on the outskirts of Sin City. It was in the latest expression of a Lynchian signature, a POV shot of a fast car barreling down a lost highway, dashed yellow lines leading to the horizon. Here, the driver, Dirty Cooper, a cowardly psycho desperate to cheat a death sentence, was en route to visit a treacherous associate in prison. By the end of Part 4, the yellow king was in prison himself. It was as if Lynch, working a spiritual or political complaint, was tagging the glittering jackpot promises of the American West and the values of the world — land, riches, possessions, unchecked freedom — the way Dr. Jacoby sprayed (fool’s) gold paint on those shovels hanging from a rustic conveyor belt like meat from hooks, like condemned from gallows.
But the 3-D spectacles of Dr. Jacoby and the milieu of his forest abode pointed toward the show’s saving grace for the hurting people of a jaundiced world. Red + Blue = the color purple — the color of soulfulness and creativity, the color of bruising and forgiveness, that color Prince sang about when he expressed regret for Garmonbozia. “I never meant to cause you any sorrow, I never meant to cause you any pain…” Purple shaded the extraordinary sequence that opened Part 3 set in the metaphysical realm of Blue Rose mystery. Prefaced by the image of a billowing ultraviolet cloud, a brainstorm in the mind’s eye of a free-fallin’ Agent Cooper, this mesmerizing passage of pure Lynchian invention gave us the very good idea of moving our hero out of dramatic limbo so he could have scenes with real people, not just reverse-talking trees and specters. It resolved the question of Cooper’s return not with a straight story but a personalized reincarnation myth. It was a wonderful flexing of Lynch’s intuitive art-making powers, and, in my view, a love letter to filmmaking and his fans. (More, later.)
Purple also suffused the twilight sequence that ended Part 4: Shot with a bluesy tint, the scene saw Gordon Cole, played by Lynch himself, crank up his hearing aid to receive a confession from Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), a moment made more tender by knowing that we were watching some of Ferrer’s final work. We left them plotting a field trip that promises to be another spiritual rescue mission: they’re off to find a certain someone who can help them make sense of Dirty Cooper, someone who spends her time soothing her own Garmonbozia with drink, someone I suspect is none other than Cooper’s never-seen helper, Diane.
These two hours did much to invest us in the 18-hour journey of the new Twin Peaks. The literal rehumanization of Agent Cooper symbolized a movement toward organizing the series around very human characters with very human concerns and detective characters designed to investigate the world of Twin Peaks. The activation of Cole facilitated an amusing check-in with one of his former operatives, Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), a former DEA agent, now the chief of staff for the FBI. Denise’s promotion mirrored the cultural advancement of transgender representation, and LynchFrost allowed the show to pat itself on the back for its progressive thinking 26 years ago. “When you became Denise,” said Cole, “I told all your colleagues — all those clown comics — to change their hearts or die.” My favorite moment: Dense finding “thrill” in saying “Federal Bureau of Investigation” in unabbreviated form, the way, say, she must find it thrilling to live unfettered. I also liked the moment when she waved off a hot flash after Cole left. Was it the hormones, or does Gordon do something for her?
Speaking of clown acts, damn, these episodes were funny! The emphasis on comedy — goofy, sweet, meta — contributed to a warming trend after the chilly weirdness of Parts 1 and 2. There were stand-out scenes that became stand-out scenes thanks to Lynch’s own practice of being “unabbreviated,” letting scenes like Lucy, Andy, and Hawk mulling the mystery of the missing chocolate bunny play long, going from kinda dumb to rather winning by applying The Law of Rakes (see: The Simpsons). The irony of high concept Dougie going, “That’s weird!” while shriveling away in the Black Lodge was an all-time Twin Peaks knee-slapper, one that gave voice to our own confusion. Ditto the wink of Cole — Lynch himself! — beholding crime scene photos of the beheaded, monster-mauled Manhattan lovers from Part 1 and yelping, “WHAT THE HELL?”
Parts 3 and 4 continued to defy our expectations of Twin Peaks here at the start. But I’m liking it and I find meaning in the challenge. Agent Cooper might be back on the same temporal plane as Twin Peaks, but he’s not in Twin Peaks, and he’s not the man he once was. A few things got lost in Cooper’s transmutation from pure spirit to flesh and bone: his memory, much of his personality, and his shoes. It was if Cooper 2.0 had been reduced to Cooper 1.0’s best essential traits: his simplicity, his decency, his curiosity, his selflessness. And yet, he’s also a hero without a self. He’s an Eraserhead. His enchanted man-child evoked the protagonists of Being There, Rain Man, and Regarding Henry. There was some Boo Radley in his story, too, plus a touch of Forrest Gump. But the movie these episodes made me want to re-investigate most, after Lynch’s Eraserhead, was John Carpenter’s 1984 sci-fi romance Starman. Honestly, I had to fight through my want for classic Cooper to connect with this current take on Cooper and enjoy him, but I did. MacLachlan is just terrific.
(Recap continues on page 2)