That's one way to perform an exorcism

By Jeff Jensen
June 26, 2017 at 04:38 PM EDT
Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME
S3 E8
A-

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Let it be weird.

No need to explain it. No need to figure it out. No need to tame it with reason or theory.

Just let it be weird. For now.

Part 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return was the “David Lynch on heroin” we’d been promised. For the most part, it was a mesmerizing rush of pure-cut WTF, albeit one that made a certain amount of sense for those versed with the show’s symbol system and Lynchian motifs. Still, I officially gave up trying to make sense of everything during my first viewing right about the time the eyeless transhuman entity known as Experiment started barfing foamy ejaculate containing speckled eggs and a creamed corn glob of BOB’s face. I quit taking notes, quit pressing PAUSE so I could Google things like The Manhattan Project, quit sweating that I wasn’t getting it. I decided to accept “Gotta light?” as an act of pure Strangelove. I stopped worrying about it and just enjoyed all the crazy bomb drops.

This is not to say we won’t be trying to understand it in this recap. We will! We should! Part 8 was this show’s version of Lost’s “Across the Sea” episode — a big bang creation myth for the evil that haunts Twin Peaks America, an origin story for the show’s cosmic horror predators; it was Lynch’s version of a ’50s sci-fi/horror movie, spliced with some pure cinema philosophizing about the nature and fate of mankind reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, everything I have to offer in the way of being Mr. Explainer is mostly speculation, and the last thing I want to do is confuse you more than you might be. So I’ll try to be disciplined in my theories. I do hope Lynch and Mark Frost offer some illumination for what we saw here in the episodes to come, especially since some of it was literally hard to see; this was a dusky, dim episode, appropriate for a story about spiritual darkness, but some things were hard to make out. Example: the shot of the BOB embryo harvested from Dirty Cooper. But for now, I’m okay to just delight in that weirdness and (to borrow from a song recently heard on The Leftovers) let the mystery be. Also, it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, and I promised I’d celebrate her with an energetic, attentive presence unimpaired by a recap-broken brain. Priorities, people.

Part 8 opened with Dirty Cooper and Ray, newly sprung from prison, traveling by yellowy rental car at night to a place Ray liked to call “The Farm.” Fitting for a creature from the deep web of Black Lodge space, Dirty Cooper used one of his infernal devices — some kind of black magic cell phone full of cheat codes for techno-reality — to exorcise the vehicle of three tracers and/or cast them upon a truck. (Poor hexed scapegoat truck!) He then threw the phone out the window, the big litterer. The earth cried from man’s indifference to the environment, and not for the last time in this episode.

Tension between these two criminals: palpable. Dirty Cooper knew that Ray had accepted a $500,000 contract to rub him out. But he needed to extract some information from his treacherous associate before he made him say hello to his little “friend” hidden in the glove compartment. (No, not Ike the Spike — a gun!) What Dirty Cooper didn’t know was that Ray was pretty hip to all this. He had no intention of giving up whatever it was that he knew — a string of numbers; coordinates, I believe —  unless the man he called “Mr. Cooper” wished to pay for them, or so he intimated; I think Ray has no intention of giving Dirty Cooper anything he wants. Ray also knew all about the concealed weapon, and he wasn’t worried abut it for a few reasons, including the fact that he had a revolver of his own, courtesy, we might assume, of the warden whom Dirty Cooper blackmailed last week. Truly, there is no honor among thieves and their corrupt jailers.

Dirty Cooper directed Ray to exit the highway and take an alternate road to their final destination. This led to some long, Lynchian shots of Cooper and Ray driving in silence or shots from their point of view of the car following highway lines and directional markers and pushing into darkness across rough, uneven, unpaved terrain. In retrospect, Lynch’s filmmaking choices foreshadow the protracted odyssey to come: This was an episode that basically departed from the show’s main narrative (such as it is) to go off-roading into the wilds of Twin Peaks mythology.

Ray stopped the car in the woods because he had to take a leak, because by now, it just wouldn’t be an episode of Twin Peaks without someone peeing. (The show’s biggest whizzer, coffee-chugging Dougie, was MIA this week.) Perhaps Dirty Cooper could smell the bulls— on Ray. He retrieved the gun, checked the chamber, and demanded that Ray cough up the digits in his head. Ray spun around with a gun of his own. Dirty Cooper was the first to pull trigger — but the gun didn’t fire. Click-click-jammed! “Tricked you, f—er,” quipped Ray, who then put Dirty Cooper down with two bullets in the chest.

And that’s when s— got freaky.
(Recap continues on page 2)

A gang of spectral hobos bolted from a grove of trees and hustled to Dirty Cooper’s fallen body — a bum rush. Sporting unkempt beards, mottled skin, wool hats, plaid shirts or oversized jackets, they all resembled versions of the character I’ve been calling The Charred Man, the creepy figure who was first seen striking a tortured pose in — and then disappearing from — a Buckhorn jail cell earlier this season. He was last seen last week, wandering the halls the Buckhorn police morgue. Inspired by the credits, we shall now be referring this brotherhood of sinister shades as the Woodsmen.

Note the way Lynch shot this scene. For a few seconds, Dirty Cooper’s body was momentarily absent as three of the Woodsmen danced around the space where it had been while another three Woodsmen began pawing the dirt; together they seemed to be performing a ritual. But then Dirty Cooper’s body faded back into view, so now the Woodsmen were pawing him. It was if Lynch had temporarily removed him from the scene to teach us how to read the Woodsmen — that they were digging into him, sifting through him, as one would dig and sift for something buried. As Dirty Cooper became more solid, the action of the manhandling smeared blood over his clothes and face. It also might have widened those bullet holes, to allow for the evil entity inside Dirty Cooper to squeeze free — a grotesque, cesarean birthing. Out popped BOB, his scruffy, sneering mug encased within a gray slimy sac, a corrupt chrysalis. That’s one way to perform an exorcism, I guess.

Are the Woodsmen good? Evil? Morally neutral? Here, at the moment of their introduction, it’s hard to know. Perhaps they were functioning as Repo-Men, executing the work of reclaiming BOB for the Black Lodge. Perhaps they have their own agenda and they stole BOB from Dirty Cooper to advance it. Just looking at the Woodsmen as abstractions or thematic constructs: here you have scavenger-archaeologists digging into something fallen and dirty and excavating something old, something sinister. In this way, the Woodsmen are framing the activity of the rest of the episode, which will dig into history and present us with another kind of evil, one that shaped the identity of our country and changed the world. I found myself thinking of a Peter Gabriel song called “Digging In The Dirt.” I’m digging in the dirt/To find the places I got hurt/To open up the places I got hurt…

Ray was horrified and transfixed by the spectacle, and maybe stuck within it. I got the sense the Woodsmen generated a magnetic field that trapped people within their locality, even drew people close to them. But the Woodsmen were completely indifferent to his presence, and Ray was able to break away from the horror, the horror. He scrambled to the car and drove off. (Meanwhile, the Woodsmen and Ray vanished.) Ray made a panicked call to a man named Jeffries. Perhaps it was Dirty Cooper’s former associate, rogue FBI agent Phillip Jeffries, or perhaps it was whoever it is that was impersonating Phillip Jeffries when Dirty Cooper called him earlier in the season. (We remember that this phantom was desperately seeking a reunion with BOB.) Ray reported he was heading to The Farm, and that if Dirty Cooper had survived and came looking for him, he would finish the job of killing the fiend there. Referencing the Woodsmen and the extraction of BOB, Ray told Jeffries that Dirty Cooper had received “help” and that he had seen something that could be “the key to everything.” This suggested to me that Ray possesses some understanding of Dirty Cooper’s supernatural mystery, or, at least, understands him to be a supernatural mystery, and that perhaps he’s been investigating it. Is he an undercover agent? If so, for what agency?

Watch the cast discuss the show’s odd universe and the revival in the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) special EW Reunites: Twin Peaks here, or download the app on your favorite mobile and streaming devices.

We left Ray somewhere in America and cut to The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks, where an emcee was speaking into a microphone mounted on a stand adorned with a large pine cone, which is really rather genius. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Roadhouse is proud to welcome The Nine Inch Nails.” And sure enough, there was (“The”) Nine Inch Nails! In Twin Peaks! Performing their song “She’s Gone Away” from their recent album Not the Actual Events! Man, the new generation of Renaults have some serious industry pull. We remember that NIN mastermind and lead singer Trent Reznor collaborated with Lynch on the score and soundtrack for Lost Highway, and that both artists share similar aesthetic and thematic interests, from dense soundscapes and heavy metal to fixations with death, self-destruction, evil, dehumanization, and the longing for rehumanization. The lyrics of the song spoke to the episode, particularly lines like, “You dig in places ‘til your fingers bleed/Spread in the infection where you spill your seed.” The Woodsmen gave us bloody digging in the previous scene; they’d give us more later. There would be seed spilling, too! I took the “she” to represent both a literal female and a figurative personification of innocence. But you also see the song as a reference to the absent but felt presence of Laura Palmer. “Are you still here?” the song asks in its closing line. When it comes to Laura Palmer, Twin Peaks: The Return keeps answering the question “yes” in various ways.

The opening section of Part 8 concluded by cutting back to Dirty Cooper, now returned to the spot in the woods where Ray had shot him and the Woodsmen had molested him. He suddenly bolted upright into a sitting position, eyes as black as ever, face as blank as ever. But surely not the same as he ever was, right? After all, the Black Lodge doppelganger was no longer a vessel for BOB. What does this loss do to Dirty Cooper? Does the voiding make him less dirty? Does it make him capable of change? Does this shift in Dirty Cooper’s internal weather have any effect on his Other, the man we know to be — or assume to be — the authentic Agent Cooper? We remember what Mike the One-Armed Man told “Dougie” Cooper a few episodes ago, that “one of you” (Dirty Cooper or Cooper) “must die.” If Dirty Cooper died in this episode from those gunshot wounds and the mauling by the Woodsmen, then… is it possible… that the person who just “woke up” in the woods isn’t Cooper’s evil doppelganger, but Cooper himself?

And then… “Gotta light?” got really, really weird.

Establishing shot: the colorless, lifeless landscape of Jornada del Muerto. Translated, it means “Journey of the Dead Man” or “The Working Day of the Dead.” We got text that gave us a a specific date and the location’s more familiar name. “July 16, 1945. White Sands, New Mexico. 5:29 a.m. MWT.” We heard a voice counting down from 10, and at 0, we saw a blinding flash illuminate the pre-dawn dark — let there be light! — and a mushroom cloud rise into the sky. We were witnessing a different kind of unholy birthing: “Trinity,” codename for the detonation of the first nuclear weapon, the crowning achievement of The Manhattan Project. An optimist might consider that work to be a heroic endeavor, an initiative to end World War II. Lynch used a music cue to frame “Trinity” as something dirty, to remind us of the human cost of the catastrophic weapon and the superpower age it commenced: “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” by Krzysztof Penderecki. Threnody — a song of mourning. The song — which begins with a shriek of strings that sounds like human terror translated into music — has been used in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs, and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. I wonder if one reason Lynch used this music was to conjure those cinematic allusions, as well, and inform the dense myth of American culture — as dystopian, as haunted, as a horror, as hopelessly post-modern, as distressingly Lynchian — that the rest of the episode would sketch.

Lynch’s camera approached the mushroom cloud. With its bulbous plume and spindly column, the cloud evoked the Evolution of the Arm, a.k.a. the Brain Tree of the Black Lodge, and more specifically, its evil doppelganger, that Red Room Lucifer, crackling with electricity and whispering evil. (“NON-EXISTENCE!” “SQUEEZE HIS HAND OFF!”) But we also remember that Lynch’s character in Twin Peaks, FBI agent Gordon Cole, has a huge print of an A-bomb explosion on his wall. The implication of this episode is that “Trinity’s” detonation brought supernatural evil into the world. I now wonder if Cole understands this, and the A-bomb print represents a mission statement for his heroic charge, to rid the world of the demons that broke into reality the day we ripped the sky.
(Recap continues on page 3)

The camera then pushed into the mushroom cloud. We were bombarded with abstracted images evoking destruction and energy, stormy nebulas and/or the internal workings of engines. Colorful explosions. Debris fields. Black and white walls of fire. Lynch was communing with another set of cinematic influences, the trippy climax of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey that transforms an astronaut into a transcendent star child, and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which reframes The Big Bang as proof of God’s sovereignty and evidence of grace in the genetic make-up of life. But Lynch wasn’t ripping off other masters. He was dialoguing with them, talking back to their narratives with a mix of agreement and quibble. In Part 8, Lynch used “Trinity” to cast shade on utopian modernism and the replace idea of God with a theology of cosmic horror. And so “Gotta light?” was about the birth of post-modernism, a “losing my religion” story.

Next, we got a static shot of a scary convenience store-gas station — something Big Ed Hurley might have nightmares about. There was something fake about the structure, and we remember that The Manhattan Project built a dummy town in White Sands to see what “Trinity” would do to it. (They couldn’t guess?) We saw the door opening and shutting, opening and shutting, and we saw a plume of white smoke escaping, or attempting to escape. It was as if some force was trying to prevent the store from exploding, but could only frustrate and contain the catastrophe. The smoke gathered mass, the windows melted, but the building did not fall. Light bulbs on the gas pumps illuminated, and suddenly, there were Woodsmen everywhere, milling around like ants in different formations on a loop. They disappeared for a few seconds, and the image of the store jostled and distorted, and suddenly, the Woodsmen were inside the store, doing who knows what. Thieves in a temple of Americana, ransacking its treasures! I took this whole sequence to be some metaphor for the corruption of America’s small-town myth of itself, one that acknowledges that the myth was always somewhat phony, at least in expression.

From a Twin Peaks perspective, we remember that Black Lodge entities used to meet at an apartment above a convenience store to sup on their creamed corn and watch The Arm and BOB glare at each other while sitting at a Formica table. (Among their number: another character called the Woodsman, played by Jürgen Prochnow in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.) Are the Woodsmen the original Black Lodge demons? Do current Black Lodge demons simply play out a story encoded in their genetic memory authored by the Woodsmen? Two other ways you can interpret these hobgoblins: (1) Ghosts. Did the “Trinity” explosion claim some lives? (2) Metaphors for the archetype of Manifest Destiny frontiersmen that forged the myth of the American West that Twin Peaks: The Return seems bent on deconstructing.

The “Trinity” passage of Part 8 came to a close with the nude, kinda booby Experiment floating in the blackness of negative space like the Nirvana Nevermind child in the pool, upchucking ectoplasmic pearl jam chunked with BOB scumbags and Easter eggs from its mouth-hole, seeding creation with evil. I mean, presumably. Maybe Experiment just ate some bad clams. You wonder now if “Experiment” = “The Manhattan Project was the mother of modern evil” (Experiment = Oppenheimer’s quote being akin to Shiva, the destroyer, death, the shatterer of worlds) or maybe even “The American Experiment has become something something monstrous.” We then cut to fire, the blaze loud on the soundtrack. (More BOB allusion there. Fire, walk with me.) We saw something forged in the heart of the inferno, a golden bead of… pure Garmonbozia? We pushed through the orb’s membrane and found ourselves traveling at high speed through a dark capillary into a hail of crimson platelets whizzing past the camera. What this evoked for me was something hitting the bloodstream — that glob of BOB-ish Garmonbozia, I think. Many are interpreting all of this to represent the conception and birth of BOB — the representation of “the evil that men do” in Twin Peaks — circa 1945. (I’m actually going to suggest it occurred a decade later. We’ll get to that in a moment.) I think these scenes also suggest BOB’s reincarnation in the present. Now that BOB is without a human vessel, the parasite needs a new home. You wonder if he might find it in the low-life baddies bedeviling Twin Peaks.

Hey, Richard Horne? Is there room in your shriveled kid-sized heart for the soul of a serial killer rapist?

We faded away from blasted, wasted, godless spaces and drifted into a different realm, possibly a higher one: the purple-hued expanse of Agent Cooper’s My Bluesy Heaven. The camera moved over the heaving seas of an ultraviolet ocean toward a towering rocky atoll straight outta Middle Earth, crowned with what my Twin Peaks podcasting partner Darren Franich calls The Space Castle. A massive structure, it resembled something like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao or Walt Disney Concert Hall. I’m thinking this is another fabled, never-seen location in Twin Peaks cosmology; I’m thinking this is the White Lodge.

We pushed into the building through a sliver of opening and entered a space shot or presented in black and white, commencing a sequence that had the vibe of a film from the silent era, and perhaps represented an homage to it. There was Señorita Dido (Joy Nash) sitting on a couch, listening to a gramophone. She wore a shimmering flapper gown and sparkling shoes; she looked ready for a night on the town that was never going to happen.
(Recap continues on page 4)

The other conspicuous piece of furniture in this room was a black metallic thingie that looked like a diving bell topped with a pair of electrodes. It began to bleat, and in doing so, it became something else — an alarm bell. Enter: a giant in a smoking jacket and a bow-tie, who might be the character we know as The Giant or a different character played by the same actor, Carel Struycken. (In the credits, he’s identified as “????????” – eight question marks. For this, the eighth episode maybe?) Perhaps he used to be The Giant, but became something else when he got his promotion out of the Black Lodge?

Mr. Question Marks took note of the sound, then seemed to look toward camera, to look at us. (Hi, “Giant”! We love you!) Actually, I think he was just gazing out upon the lavender water through that opening in the wall. He left the parlor, walked upstairs, strode through an empty lobby, and entered the gutted auditorium of an old movie palace. He raised his hand to the screen, activating the projector behind him. He saw an image of the “Trinity” explosion, an image of the Woodsmen, and an image of Experiment spewing BOB glob. He paused the show here.

Perhaps troubled by the implications of pain and sorrow unleashed upon the Earth like trouble from Pandora’s box, Mr. Question Marks acted. He levitated several feet above the floor and went vertical, as if assuming a sleeping or meditative posture. Golden particles swarmed out of his mouth like fireflies. (Take that, Experiment!) From this glittering mass splooged an orb to match the BOB glob. But it didn’t contain an image of the demon’s face — it held an image of Laura Palmer, the iconic homecoming queen pic. The orb floated down to Señorita Dido, who had entered the theater and witnessed her partner’s ascension with rapt attention. She blessed the globe with a kiss and let it go. It rose to the rafters and moved into a curved pipe that resembled a curved golden flute or — yes, I’m going here – Fallopian tube attached to larger assembly of gears and wheels hanging from the ceiling. The pipe pivoted toward the screen, now showing a black-and-white cartoon image of the planet Earth. The Laura Egg rolled through the flute chute and passed into the space depicted on the screen and began trekking toward the Pacific Northwest sector of the North American continent. Spoiler alert! It was probably headed to Twin Peaks.

Mr. Question Marks recalled those science fiction stories about enlightened aliens responding the Earth’s development of atomic weapons with alarm by either trying to save us or attempting to destroy us. (Think: The Day The Earth Stood Still or 2001; The Giant = The Monolith.) We might see this sequence as Lynch doing another homage to Eraserhead and his filmmaking origins, just as he did earlier this season when he sent Agent Cooper back to Earth via the electrified Blue Rose waterfront house/space station/metempsychosis machine. Once again, we got a dreamy-mythic scene of otherworldly entities operating gizmos that sent life to earth, à la the opening sequence of Eraserhead. You could even view Mr. Question Marks in the movie theater as Lynch himself, responding to films about the nature of human existence (like 2001; like Tree of Life) with a creative projection of his own, or responding to the problems of the world by generating a healing idea via one of his other passions, transcendental meditation. (Note: As I wrote in my recap of Parts 3 and 4, the first film Lynch ever saw was Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie, a movie that took its title from a turn-of-the-century song about a woman trapped inside a house on a rainy day. Note the similarity of these Purple World scenes, with Naido, American Girl and Señorita Dido, all lodge-trapped women. Lynch is basically forever and ever responding to his first cinematic love.)

As for the Twin Peaks of it all, I know fans are wondering if Mr. Question Marks was responding to the problem of evil represented by the conception of BOB circa 1945 (or later) by setting in motion events that would lead to the birth of Laura Palmer and everything that came after her. (From this point of view, Mr. Question Marks isn’t a next-gen Giant; The Giant is Mr. Question Marks, descended from his lofty perch.)

But I’m thinking Mr. Question Marks was actually responding to the problem of BOB’s forthcoming reincarnation by sending back to earth a fiery spirit of sorrow and pain, one highly motivated and uniquely qualified to kick BOB’s demon ass right back to the Black Lodge. Remember earlier this season, when we saw Laura get yanked from the Red Room and sent screeching into the heavens? Maybe now we know what happened. I like this idea of Laura Palmer as Supergirl, strange visitor from another dimension, sent to Earth as an agent of justice. But I suspect this avenger, steeped in the Garmonbozia of her worldly suffering, will behave more like a dark knight than a white knight. Actually, I’m hoping to see her Hulk out. Laura Palmer Smash Puny BOB! (And Dick Horne, Too!)

Regardless, we know this won’t be the last time we visit Mr. Question Marks in his ethereal abode: We know from the opening scene of the season that Agent Cooper will beam up at some point to receive a download of clues from him.
(Recap continues on page 5)

The final peculiar passage of Part 8 returned us to terra firma but stayed in the past. We saw “1945” appear on screen, then click ahead in time, stopping at Aug. 5, 1956. We saw one of those speckled eggs embedded in the white sands of the New Mexico desert — perhaps the same patch of deathly New Mexico desert that hosted the world’s first nuclear detonation 11 years earlier. Did the egg fall to earth from some fissure in the fabric of reality caused by the explosion? Maybe. But as it cracked open and a mutated creature crawled out — part toad, part cockroach — I was reminded of those sci-fi movies from the ’50s that confronted nuclear horror with a depiction of a transmogrified natural world. Basically, Part 8 of Twin Peaks is Lynch’s take on Godzilla.

More human forms of life had found purchase in this damned place since the big bang of The Manhattan Project. Unless my eyes were deceiving me, it appeared that the convenience store/gas station had become a local hotspot for on-the-make teens — a kind of Roadhouse. We watched two of them, identified only as Boy (Xolo Mariduen) and Girl (Tikaeni Faircrest), stroll away after spending a few hours listening to music. Their young love was sweet and earnest, nothing ironic about it at all, a naïve expression of beautiful ideals worth our belief. But note how even here, one of the season’s big themes — adultery — reared its ugly head. Girl asked Boy if he’s still dating Mary. Nope, he said, he had broken it off. Did you believe him?

Girl found a penny, Abe Lincoln side up. “I heard that brings you good luck,” she said.

“I hope that it does bring young good luck,” Boy said.

It wouldn’t.

We cut back to the desert and a shot of shadowy wraiths descending from the sky. One of them was The Woodsman, maybe chief of all Woodsmen. He certainly had a presidential vibe to him. He was played by Robert Broski, actor and professional Abraham Lincoln impersonator. The Woodsman is surely the most ironic Abe he’s ever played, and a far cry from the noble Republican who once beseeched a divided nation to heed the better angels of their character. With a cigarette dangling from his lips, he looked like a Hobo Marlboro Man, and with his garbled, gravely voice, he sounded like John Huston speaking through one of those crackling voice amplifiers that smokers with wrecked throats have to use. He shuffled. He was probably radioactive. And he was a brain-crushing killer. And so he rounded out the implicit homages to ’50s B-movie sci-fi by giving the psychotic super-power extra-terrestrial invader archetype, only he was American, not some Red Scare bogeyman.

After terrorizing a husband and wife driving the highway, The Woodsman trudged toward the local radio station, KPJK, its antennae calling to his electrified being like a beacon. The disc jockey had just cued up “My Prayer” by The Platters. (FUN FACT? The B-side of that record? “Heaven on Earth.” As in: the total opposite of Lynch’s depiction of Twin Peaks USA. ONE MORE FUN FACT! One of the original members of The Platters was a guy named — wait for it — David Lynch.) The receptionist looked at him and was clearly terrified by him yet felt helplessly drawn to his magnetically abominable visage. “Gotta light?” he asked. She didn’t, and it wouldn’t have mattered, anyway. I think it’s just a thing The Woodsman says. Anyway, he put his hand on her head and cracked her skull. Blood gushed. Somewhere across oceans of time, a tiny evil brain tree cheers him on. SQUEEZE THEIR HEADS OFF! SQUEEZE THEIR HEADS OFF!

The Woodsman moved into the control booth. He grabbed the DJ by the noggin, knocked the needle off the vinyl, and pulled the microphone close to his charred lips. “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within,” he said, and he repeated it over and over with slightly different inflections. We cut to different locations around town, one of those quintessential midcentury American burghs. We watched an auto mechanic collapse. We watched a waitress at Pop’s Diner fall. And we watched Girl — back home after granting Boy a kiss and bidding him adieu — stretch across her bed and fall asleep. It was as if The Woodsman had roofied them with a mind worm, rendering them vulnerable for a different kind of violation: We watched that abominable hulking roach-frog thing fly through Girl’s open window, hop onto her bed, and crawl into her mouth. It was icky — and evocative. We’ve seen this motif before in Twin Peaks — specifically, in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, when BOB (possessing Leland Palmer’s body) crawled into Laura’s room through the window at night and raped her in her sleep. What I’m wondering today is if Girl just got knocked up with the first worldly embodiment of BOB. (I was reminded of something else, too: David Foster Wallace’s famous assessment of Lynch’s films, how they penetrate your analytical postures and mental defenses and insinuate themselves into your mind and lodge themselves there. So perhaps The Woodsman can be seen as another expression of Lynch himself, perhaps the part of him that has regrets about aspects of his life and work and their influence on the world.)

Back at the radio station, The Woodsman completed his broadcast by puncturing the DJ’s head. As he left the station, we saw a flash of electric light, the kind that often occurs when Black Lodge entities manifest in the world, and as he vanished in the darkness, we heard a horse braying. With that, “Gotta light?” ended, and now we have two weeks to reflect on the horror, the horror of Lynch’s apocalypse America. I leave you with the lyrics of “My Prayer” and a question: Who in blue blazes is going to save Twin Peaks USA?

When the twilight is gone and no songbirds are singing
When the twilight is gone you come into my heart
And here in my heart you will stay while I pray

My prayer is to linger with you
At the end of the day in a dream that’s divine
My prayer is a rapture in blue
With the world far away and your lips close to mine

Tonight while our hearts are aglow
Oh tell me the words that I’m longing to know

My prayer and the answer you give
May they still be the same for as long as we live
That you’ll always be there at the end of my prayer…

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