Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 16”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 16”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 15, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 17, click here.
Pic 1More desolate highway. Lynchian trademark, including the ominous music. Bad Bob Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is driving with his new pal Richard Horne (Eamon Farren). Soon they’re on dirt, heading further into darkness. Until they arrive at a lonely spot and stop. A place for which bad Coop received coordinates.
Bad Coop: “Im looking for a place. Do you understand a place?”
And now it sort of makes sense why Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) has spent The Return in a state of hippy madness, wandering the woods. He’s wound up stumbling onto his own flesh and blood Richard with his new friend out in the dark, so he promptly whips out his camera to film. Meanwhile, bad Coop goes to a rock out in the nearby grass, sending his young protege directly to it.
Already we hear snippets of familiar sounds, the Black Lodge’s ambient noise calling, flickering on the light evening breeze. As Jerry looks on recording, Richard climbs the rock. Suddenly electricity crackles, tearing through the young man. Zapping him while he wails into the night. He disappears in its bright flash, soon he’s nothing, exploding to smoke, fizzling, popping. Bad Coop says nothing but “goodbye, my son.” Of course he had to be destroyed. Bob’s son couldn’t keep living, not in the real world, anyways.
Pic 1AWhat’s happening over in Vegas? Again we see the Hutchens duo, Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Gary (Tim Roth). They’re camping out on that familiar street, in their van dressed as painters. Then they catch a glimpse of cars surely carrying G-men to the neighbourhood. The FBI are looking for, you guessed it, the Jones family.
We last saw the real Cooper a.k.a Dougie-Coop (MacLachlan) jamming a fork into an electrical socket. Naturally it’s landed him in the hospital, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim waiting at his side, hoping he’ll come out of the coma. The Mitchum brothers, Rodney (Robert Knepper) and Bradley (Jim Belushi), arrive to pay their respects, as well as bring a load of “finger sandwiches” and other things to keep them comfortable. Everyone’s hoping for the best. And just as the audience has been asking for 25 years about Twin Peaks in general, Bradley sums it up perfect with: “It was like, whatelectricity?”
A FANTASTIC CUT to Gordon Cole (David Lynch) in the midst of a bunch of beeping, whining machines. He almost has this sense, as we cut back to where we’ve cut from: Cooper trapped in Dougie’s body, trapped in a coma, as the life monitor beeps with his sleepy heart. Just.. I mean… only Frost and Lynch together can make this sort of magic, and on television no less. Beautiful, haunting surrealism at work.
Pic 2The Hutchens’ run into trouble when a guy takes issue with them parking near his driveway. Rather than fuck around much more Chantal shoots at the guy, who in turn has his own gun in the trunk. All the while the FBI are right down the street. A nasty little scene ensues, Chantal takes several bullets, as does Gary.
At the hospital, a noise rings. Calling out. Then Coop wakes up from his bed, the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) appears from beyond in the Black Lodge. “Onehundred percent” our man is BACK, BABY! FINALLY, AFTER ALL THIS TIME! The One-Armed Man provides him with the owl ring, and also has something Cooper calls “the seed.” Now they’ve got to take care of Bob, “the other one” still out there causing evil. Of course people are a bit bewildered once he’s back, though he plays along with his new family, his new boss. Only needing to eat a sandwich after his coma. Afterwards, he gets the Mitchums to charter a plane for Spokane, Washington, leaving a note with his boss for his true boss, Gordon.
Diane (Laura Dern) is rocked when she receives the text from bad Coop saying ALL with a big smiley face. What exactly does it mean? Something terrible, no doubt. This woman barely shows any emotion unless telling someone to fuck themselves. And now she types in a series of numbers, coordinates, surely. Following which she heads to the elevator, gun in her purse, that song we heard in Part 1 of The Return playing while bad Coop drove that dark highway plays again… she goes to a floor upstairs, heading towards a room. Cut to Gordon’s face, knowing she’s on the other side of the door.
Inside are Agents Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) with Gordon. They all know she’s off. She necks a drink. Suspense each time she puts a hand in her purse. She tells them all about several years after losing contact with Cooper. She says he walked into her home one night. They sat and talked, he pressed her about things at the FBI. He kissed her, that’s when she knew there was something bad happening. She saw a strange smile (like the one on Sarah Palmer’s in Part 15?) on his face before he raped her. When he was finished he took her to an “old gas station.” That fabled convenience store.
Then Diane takes her chance, muttering “Im not me” and tries to shoot them. Tammy and Albert gun her down first. Quickly, she’s gone. Disappeared. “A real tulpa.” Out in the Black Lodge, Diane sits with the One-Armed Man. She’s been “manufactured” and now she’s deconstructing. Oh, and the seed? That’s those little orbs we see from out of the created forms in the lodge.
Pic 3Pic 3Cooper must say goodbye to the Jones family. An emotional moment, for all of them. Graciously, he thanks them for making his heart full. Then off he goes, back to his previous life. Although he promises Dougie will be back to stay, eventually.
MOTHERFUCKIN’ EDDIE VEDDER AT THE ROADHOUSE, MAMA! You know you love it. Because I do. Gorgeous song, that godly voice’s power behind the strumming (song’s called “Out of Sand”). Funny, how the time in the hourglass is measured by sand, and we’re literally running out of sand on this series.
Finally, Charlie (Clark Middleton) and Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) get to the bar. After all their arguing, back and forth. Out of nowhere, “Audrey’s Dance” plays and everybody clears the floor. She’s surprised, but fast her reflexes take over, soon she’s out in front of everyone moving to the music. Isn’t long before a fight breaks out elsewhere.
And then Audrey begs Charlie: “Get me outta here.”
But she IS out of there. We zap to a stark white room, she’s looking at her worn face shocked in the mirror. Oh. My. God. Has she been living in an alternate universe Twin Peaks in her head this whole time?
Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 11.50.05 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-27 at 11.53.38 PMThis is the one: the episode that changed everything. People have been complaining about so many things they perceived as loose ends, not giving the surrealist approach and techniques of Frost+Lynch the full series to play out. Because that’s their game, the long ball. Strap in. Only two episodes left, forever.


Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 12”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 12”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 11, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 13, click here.
Pic 1At the Mayfair, Gordon (David Lynch), Albert (Miguel Ferrer), and Agent Preston (Chrysta Bell) have a drink together, doing a toast “to the bureau.” We hear about Project Blue Book, shut down in the 1970s. Stuff we’ve heard of before in Twin Peaks, involving what later became the Blue Rose cases, things the FBI and the military looked into together, top secret, that were left unresolved from the program. This is where their “alternate path” of investigation comes from, and FINALLY WE ARE CONNECTING to Fire Walk With Me even more.
Who were the original agents involved? Phillip Jeffries, Albert, Chester Desmond, and Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Makes all the disappearances much more troubling than they are even on their own. So, now Agent Preston’s being inducted into the Blue Rose Task Force, a promotion she proudly accepts. Although it’s one not without its worries.
Diane (Laura Dern) shows up. Gordon and Albert want to deputise her, so she can help using her close knowledge of Cooper, what she’s picked up over the years about the Blue Rose cases. She’s not overly eager, further driving suspicion of her character. Something ain’t right with Diane, man.
Pic 1AIn Twin Peaks, Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) is still running around like a madman in the woods. At the grocery store, Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) picks up the essentials for her life 25 years on from the tragedy of her daughter Laura (Sheryl Lee), her husband Leland (Ray Wise) – and the essential is booze. She’s a haunted woman, it’s clear just by the look in her eyes. “The room seems different, and men are coming,” she begins raving, sounds of the Black Lodge swirling around her head: “Things can happen. Something happened to me!” She walks out having scared everyone near. But it’s clear Sarah hasn’t been able to get over her past. The spirits won’t allow it.
At the Fat Trout Trailer Park, Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) asks a tenant if he’s been selling his blood, and wondering why he isn’t getting paid for work he does around the park. Carl’s a good man, he waves the gentleman’s rent and gives him money for chores he does around the place. He’s literally keeping the tenants of the park alive at this point.
Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) drops by the Palmer place. Upstairs, the fan swings around; remember how the man behind the mask was under the fan, according to the masked boy in Fire Walk With Me? Very interesting image for Lynch to linger on. Are the spirits of the Black Lodge back in the Palmer house? Hawk’s curious about Sarah, realising she isn’t okay. There are bad things happening again in that place.
Sarah: “Its a goddamn bad story, isnt it, Hawk?”
Pic 2Diane gets a text, wondering about Las Vegas. She replies that they’ve not asked. Is this still bad Coop to whom she’s talking? Is it the doppelganger of Jeffries?
Or someone else? Oh, my.
Back home, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) receives a visit from Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) about his grandson Richard (Eamon Farren), delivering the bad news that he’s the one who ran down the boy in the road. As well as tries killing the woman who witnessed the hit and run. And she’s about to die, most likely. This brings up the history of Richard, grandpa stating he’s “never been right.” Furthermore, the hotel owner gives over the key belonging to Agent Cooper’s old room, over two decades before, as a memento for the sheriff’s brother. Quite the coincidence, considering the case of ole Dale lately. All roads lead back to the middle again.
At his hotel room Gordon’s interrupted on a date by Albert, clearly with important news. An absurdly comic few moments stretches on and on as the woman gets herself ready to leave the men alone for a chat, becoming funnier with each passing glance, each glare from Albert, every sweet smile out of Gordon as he fawns over her. Literally in tears laughing. Afterwards, Albert relays the recent texts of Diane, keeping them curious about her behaviour.
Back to South Dakota, where Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Hutch (Tim Roth) wait with a gun. Cars pull up at a house nearby. A man gets out, then Hutch puts a bullet right through his chest, and another in the back of his head. “Next up, Wendys,” he says and they leave the man’s family to mourn his shot up corpse. One notch in bad Coop’s plan taken care of already.
Pic 3Dr. Jacoby: “Its seven oclock. Do you know where your freedom is?”
I keep wondering about Doc Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and his internet radio show. We’ve already see those lumberjacks, those dirty, bearded men covered in scorched engine oil, their assault on that town long ago. The voice through the radio. Can’t help be curious if this age’s radio, over the internet, will play a part for the evil spirits once more. Hmm.
We’ve waited so long, now we get to see her again – Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), baby! She’s searching for Billy, he’s been missing. And lord, has she not lost a bit of excellent attitude since last we saw her, particularly with her husband Charlie (Clark Middleton). They don’t so much have a marriage as much as they have a contracted agreement of a relationship. Aside from that, the disappearance of Billy’s shrouded in mystery. Audrey’s life has become no less complicated than it was as a young woman 25 years prior.
At the hotel bar Diane sits by herself, recalling the coordinates written on the arm of Ruth Davenport’s dead body. She types them in her phone finding they direct right to none other than Twin Peaks.
A conversation in the Roadhouse leads me to wonder if maybe the headlights one frantic man saw on the road were actually the lights of car at all. Perhaps the apparition of something else lurking around Twin Peaks in the woods. Something Project Blue Book never solved.
Pic 4A solid episode because it doesn’t go into much of anything surreal, rather it stays on a plot, sticks to a few core bits. There’s plenty mystery, but Lynch and Frost keep things on an even keel. Interesting, though. A few real interesting moments that speak to large bits from Fire Walk With Me. I like how Frost and Lynch lay the groundwork as they go, coming back to things later on and tying it all together. One of the greatest parts of this revival is that they get to connect things to Fire Walk With Me, which really pull the mythology tighter into a larger, epic scale work of mystery, surrealism, and even drama as the regular lives of the Twin Peaks residents continues to interest all these years later.

Twin Peaks- Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 6, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 8, click here.
Pic 1Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) is in the woods, a bewildered look on his face. More than just a good bake on from his killer bud. It’s like he knows there’s something bad in that forest. He calls his brother Ben (Richard Beymer). Seems as if he’s had his car stolen. Turns out he’s actually just high. Too high.
Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) finds pages of Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) diary, from the previous episode, and shows Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster). These are the pages torn from the diary, connecting not only to the TV series, but also to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. They talk about who Bob was possessing, as well as relay the message from Annie – about the “good” Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) being stuck in the Black Lodge. Hawk susses out that whoever it was came out of the lodge  those 25 years ago was the “bad Cooper.”
Afterwards, Frank calls his brother Harry to talk about the whole thing. What I’d like to know is where is our former sheriff? Is he ill? Sounds like it. A little later the new sheriff calls Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost) about the night he went to the Great Northern, to check on Agent Cooper. The doc remembers it, very well. Seeing the agent and that “strange face again.” Moreover, we hear our first rumblings about Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), how she was in a coma after the bank exploded.
Pic 1AOut on the road Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) talks with a very nervous, paranoid man. They’re set to meet at 4:30. This guy seems like he’s up to no good, but I don’t see Andy as being the type to be up to anything shady. So what’s the deal?
One of the cops with the case concerning the decapitated head, the body in bed receives a military visit. About the prints they’ve found, what seems likely to be the corpse of Major Garland Briggs. Only there’s a bit of an age discrepancy. Briggs would be much older by now, the body’s less than a week old. How can it be him? Oh, I have a few ideas. Involving space and time. Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) gets a call about the prints, the body, and now there’s so much more afoot.
Gordon Cole (Lynch) sees Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) at his office, reporting on going to see Diane (Laura Dern), who wasn’t exactly forthcoming. Their relationship is hilarious and perfect. They go speak with Diane, she tells them both to go fuck themselves. She and Coop apparently didn’t leave things on good terms. They want somebody close to him to go talk with the Coop sitting in federal lockup, to gauge what’s happening. Eventually she agrees and they’re on the plane. Then Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) shows them a slight problem with the fingerprints, tedious, almost unnoticeable to untrained eyes. Like someone did a bit of doctoring. Or perhaps, Coop slightly changed.
At the prison, Diane comes face to face with her old pal. He’s clearly different, his voice is unsettling and deep. He wonders why she’s so upset. She asks about the last time they saw one another. “At your house,” he replies (almost like the Mystery Man from Lost Highway; eerily reminiscent). A night they’ll both never forget, apparently. She can see a different person sitting behind those eyes, someone she doesn’t know inside his skin.
Diane: “That isnt the Dale Cooper that I knew
Armed with this affirmation from her which he trusts in wholly, what’s Gordon to do next? Back in his cell, the bad Coop asks to speak with the warden “about a strawberry.” Uh oh.
Pic 2On a lonely road, Andy waits for the paranoid man with whom he met earlier. At the guy’s house, we get the feeling of something ominous behind his open front door. Only Lynch could make a simple shot of a door like that feel creepy. One of the many reasons the man is a master filmmaker.
Coop and the warden meet. The bad man speaks in cryptic fashion, as usual. About “dog legs” and other bits. He mentions Joe McClusk, the late “Mr. Strawberry” and this puts the warden in his chair. Bad Coop requests a car for himself and Ray Monroe. Gun in the glove compartment.
At the Lucky 7 offices, Dougie (MacLachlan) goes about his infant-like day, Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) snooping around wanting to know more about what he’s been up to lately. Of course he gets no answers, nobody does. Then the police come to speak with Mr. Jones about his car. They mention deaths during the explosion of his car, gang members and such.
Outside the office, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Dougie are attacked by the small hitman, wielding a gun now. Instinctively Dougie moves “like a cobra” wrestling him to the ground, chopping him in the throat. In the pavement he sees the Man from Another Place, in his newest form, that brain on a tree. It commands him to “squeeze his hand off.” So Dougie chops the guy in the throat one more time, freeing the gun from his grip. SO INTENSE! The sound design in this scene is so foreboding, you can feel something coming
At the Great Northern, Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) shows Ben a strange hum emanating from one of the rooms. They can’t pinpoint where it’s coming from, or what’s making it. They follow it around awhile, but still can’t figure it out. At the same time they’ve received the key from Cooper’s old room, from all those years ago. A slice of strange nostalgia for Mr. Horne. Beverly has her own difficult life; a very ill husband named Tom (Hugh Dillon) to look after, being cared for in hospice. They also don’t have a great relationship, it seems. He makes her feel guilty, or she perceives it that way.
Pic 3I love Lynch because he intrigues us, and he also gives us slices of anticipation where we see a long shot of the Bang Bang being swept, Jean-Michel Renault (Walter Olkewicz) at the bar working silently. And nothing happens, for so long. Because Lynch knows we’re paying attention. He doesn’t do this for shits, he does it to make sure we haven’t fallen off.
Then a call comes in, Jean-Michel running his greasy business as it always was, like 25 years ago. Trouble, too. I wonder who owes him, and what this will mean for the plot in coming episodes.
In jail, the bad Coop is released from his cell, as is Ray. They’re let out the back quietly, given a phone, keys to a vehicle. Off again, jiggity jig. Wonder where they’re heading first? Meanwhile at the diner in Twin Peaks, life goes on as usual. I love the way Lynch intertwines the mystery and the everyday, going from such a dark, mysterious moment into one of comfort, one of familiarity. And even underneath the beautiful music, the old 50s and 60s guitar swooning in the background, there’s an undercurrent of that threatening, foreboding sound design, building and festering. Perfect atmosphere.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 12.38.08 AMAnother good episode, this one a bit less heavy on the surrealism and the absurd, more a classic episode of Twin Peaks we’ve come to know. I’m excited because with 18 episodes, Lynch and Frost have the opportunity to take their time a bit, which they do with relish. All the same it’s good, it isn’t frustrating for those of us Peakheads who love the mystery, the intrigue, the surreal. Can’t wait for the next episode already.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 6”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 6”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lync & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 7, click here.
Pic 1Poor Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Still Dougie, still infant-like. He’s not left work since after he finished. Plus, he can barely converse with anybody. He only knows a few words like “home” and his name and a few others like “red door” – the door of his house. A cop helps him along back home to Janey-E (Naomi Watts), his doting wife. He keeps rubbing the cop’s badge, too. Memories of his old life. The absurdity of the whole situation is so perfectly hilarious. There’s clearly something wrong with him and people treat it like it’s only a mild little thing. Suburban life is so zombified that this version of Dougie is somehow no more noticeable or worrisome than the general cold.
The best is seeing him with Dougie’s boy, Sonny Jim. They’re essentially on the same wavelength. Although young Sonny Jim is likely a few steps ahead of this depleted Agent Cooper. The only part of Dale which seems to remain is his love of coffee and food; the simple things.
Janey-E stumbles onto photos of Dougie and Jade, the working girl he was with prior to the switch. So now that’s another bit of trouble his infant mind can’t really compute, and it isn’t even his life. Doesn’t matter for him ultimately. Someone calls for Dougie, too. Clearly the guy’s into big debt with some rough bastards. Janey-E offers to meet the caller the next day.
Then we go to the Black Lodge, as Dale sees through the border between the worlds while running a finger along the black-and-white Lucky 7 Insurance logo. Calling to mind the floor of the lodge. The One-Armed Man Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) calls out: “Dont die.” The spirits of the lodge are still with him in there, in his mind. He’s very slowly seeing things, he has a vision. A kind of second sight, like how he picked out the machines ready for jackpots. He takes out a pencil and on the files from the office he draws a figure similar to the tree with a brain for a head from Part 1. Then a ladder. He draws another ladder, as well as some stairs.

Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker.” Best insult ever to someone using an umbrella. Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), on a mission from Gordon Cole (David Lynch), heads into a dark, neon-signed club. He’s there to see Diane (Laura Dern); FUCK YES! Oh, lord. How I love thee Ms. Dern. What a reveal, too. Been waiting to see this woman for far too long. Doesn’t disappoint.
Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) is picking up some cocaine, meeting with Red (Balthazar Getty), a strange dude accompanied by men with guns. Apparently he has a problem with his liver, has to beat it a bit. There’s a lot more nastiness in the small town of Twin Peaks than even 25 years ago. Darkness never left. Used to be Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), now a deputy sheriff, was the bad boy. Looks like the Horne family still has its share of bad apples. And Red, he’s creepy. He’s psychotic, also a bit of a magician.
Red: “Just remember this, kid. I will saw your head open and eat your brains if you fuck me over.”
Over at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, we see Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) after all this time. He’s headed into town, same time each day. He hasn’t changed, either. Good man. Loves his cigarettes. In town at the Double R, Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick) works her shift as usual, as does the giggling waitress. Life goes on and on in their slice of America.
Pic 2Flying down the road raging on coke, Richard goes flying through a crosswalk and kills a child in front of a bunch of people, bloody everywhere. And he keeps on going, doesn’t even look back. A girl who’s a regular at the Double R sees his face as he speeds off. Carl stumbles across the scene, shattering the tranquillity of his day prior. He looks up to the power lines above, seeing a strange light dissipate into the electrical wiring. He goes to the woman and tries comforting her what little he can. A tragic scene.
Note: The #6 electrical pole from Fire Walk With Me and Missing Pieces is specifically shown, panning up to the wires overhead. “Electricity” is spoken by the Man from Another Place in Missing Pieces. See here.
Dougie’s blown-up car is being investigated. A cop has to climb up over the junkie mom’s house as she yells out “one one nine” over and over. There’s so much swirling around Dougie Jones that if someone doesn’t find Dale soon it’s gonna be a shitstorm eventually.
In a hotel room a man rolls dice, writing down numbers. Under his door comes a thin envelope. One from a man named Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler), whom we saw in a previous episode, the one seemingly being extorted. The man opens the envelope to find two pictures, he then goes over their faces with an ice pick. Fucking creepy. One face belongs to Dougie Jones.
Over at Lucky 7, Dougie-Coop is at work, wandering around like usual. Watching on is Anthony (Tom Sizemore), clearly a man with things to hide. The boss doesn’t seem to love Dougie’s “childish scribbles” on the files. A mess. Somehow in the pile of nonsense the boss discerns what’s meant to be happening. He figures out the symbols, connecting them. Just as the viewer does while watching Twin Peaks. Do like Dougie: “Make sense of it.” This cracks me up, it’s so perfect in a comedic way and also in that way of post-modern thought in terms of how we interpret what we’re watching. Lynch and Frost are mindbenders. Love every second of it.
Pic 3Janey-E goes out to meet a couple sketchy-looking dudes, Tommy (Ronnie Gene Blevins) and Jimmy (Jeremy Davies). They’re trying to get over $50K out of Dougie. She’s pretty tough, all the same. She offers up $25K to be done.
The man with the pictures murders his first target. Brutally. He has to do a few murders, in fact. To keep anybody from talking much. All with that ice pick. He almost cries after he’s bent it. Such a surreal moment. Another note: Lynch has a fascination with fucked up teeth, more of which is evident here.
Out in the woods, child killer Richard stops to see how much blood is smeared across his bumper. He washes it off. How long can he hide it?
Back with Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), we see him drop an Indian Head coin. He picks it up, noticing another Native logo on the stall of the toilet door; screws missing at the corner. So he takes a closer look inside, prying it open. Inside he finds papers full of writing.
We find out more about Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster); his son killed himself, a soldier. Part of why he and his wife are at odds much of the time, because of her grief over what’s happened. That’s a sad story.
Pic 5Another interesting episode. This one a bit more straight forward, and even then it’s a wild ride.
I’m interested to see more of the Trumans, and I’m itching to know about Harry. We’ve got another 12 episodes, there’s plenty to uncover. Until next time, Peakheads.

Lynch’s BLUE VELVET is Like Disturbing(ly Good) Literature

Blue Velvet. 1986. Directed & Written by David Lynch.
Starring Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Brad Dourif, & Jack Nance.
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)
Rated R. 120 minutes.

Pic 1David Lynch is one of my favourite filmmakers, his directing and writing equally fantastic. My dad told me about Twin Peaks when I was young (it was on TV when I was about five years old), so in my teenage years I discovered its magic. This lead to seeing Eraserhead with a few friends in a dim lit basement, which blew my mind. On and on through Lynch’s catalogue of work I went, eventually watching his early short films opening up a whole other door into his mind as an artist.
Blue Velvet is a surreal film. Not as steeped in it as much as his other work, though full of surrealism nonetheless. It’s through the absurd Lynch taps into this element, alongside his modern noir-ish plot that digs deep into the underbelly of idyllic American life. What makes the movie so exciting is the dangerous story, looking at this darker side of suburbia in a small logging town, fittingly named Lumberton.
Lynch has said this film inspired Twin Peaks; the way in which he blends the darkness with the absurdism is strangely compelling. There’s an explicit scene or two, depravity taking the reins in violent fashion. Mostly, Blue Velvet takes place in a space where violence is always possible, never far; its threat is debilitating to the progression of everything from innocence to love. The central character Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) finds himself pitted against the psychotic, Freudian villain Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), faced with either accepting his role in a hierarchy of violent men or rejecting the male violence which underpins the light and goodness of Lumberton.
Pic 2The now iconic opening of the film is perfect, designed like the meticulous opening sentence of a piece of great literature. Lynch starts with those typical images of American life, things he remembers from the 1950s: white picket fence, bright red firetruck with waving firemen followed by the bright red roses of a luscious garden, the beautiful houses like boxes in a row.
He immediately smashes the gorgeous, American Dream-type feeling with Mr. Beaumont, Jeffrey’s father, having a stroke while watering the garden. As if innocence is starting to shatter with it, a child in a diaper wanders up while the man seizes on the lawn. The hose spurts water, and Lynch goes into a slow motion shot, the sound likewise slowed – the dog snaps at the water’s stream, his face looking vicious and snarling, his sounds become sinister. What a perfectly thematic opener. I honestly don’t know how this could’ve been improved; because it couldn’t.
This first sequence is a thesis for Blue Velvet, ending in its statement where we zoom in and the camera takes us into the grass, into the dirt, right to the insects crawling in the earth. An image that sticks with us, coming up again in the end. But it effectively shows us what Lynch is doing, and plans to do throughout the plot – put a microscope over the lives of those in a quaint town. In this story, that involves a young man under threat of violence invading his life, maybe even his very soul.
Pic 2AIts a strange world, isnt it?”
Jeffrey’s dropped into a Freudian nightmare of a world, perhaps one to which Oedipus could relate; in a symbolic sense, anyways. He is lured into the dark side of his town by a sliced off ear, yet more importantly the story begins with his father’s brutal stroke. He loses the male influence in his life, falling prey to corruption.
Frank’s arrival is surreal in itself. He switches between two personas – Daddy and Baby. He treats Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) as Mother. At the sight of her vagina, and with a gas mask dose of amyl nitrite, he goes from Daddy to Baby, then back again. Likewise, after there’s a change in Jeffrey. Without his actual father around he adopts Frank, albeit subconsciously (perfect for a Freudian analysis), as Daddy. And where his family didn’t introduce him to the darker side of Lumberton, Dorothy and Frank become his surrogate parents, leading him down the garden path to the truth; no matter how disturbing.
This is quickly evident when he leaves Dorothy’s apartment following the first time we meet Frank in his erotic rage. We’re whisked directly to a dream sequence of Jeffrey remembering the events, then he wakes and there’s a strange moment where he seems relieved, touching the wall near a figure: the figure may be, to him, something else entirely but it looks like a vagina dentata sort of image. The influence of Daddy is transforming Jeffrey’s image of women into something dangerous; tying into one of the film’s themes being his journey, as a young man, trying to reject the violence of the male gender through the lens of how his surrogate Daddy treats the surrogate Mother.

Jeffrey walks to and from the hospital during the day and everything is bright, beautiful, positive. In the evening this changes, suddenly even the normal things don’t feel right. For instance, a moment many never catch when the first night scene sees Jeffrey out for a walk in his neighbourhood: a man stands in the grass as his dog on a leash stands on the sidewalk, a reverse of what you’d see like he’s being walked, you almost expect him to squat, drop a coil. One early indication of the surrealism Lynch employs.
Part of the surrealism is that idea of the twisted, half-Freudian and half-Oedipal journey on which Jeffrey goes. Because not only does the story dive into the underbelly of Lumberton, the story itself dives into the subconscious mind. This is best represented in the shot from Lynch after Jeffrey’s discovery of the ear – the camera closes in, further and further, right into the ear canal; figuratively, and literally because the orifice is an ear, into the mind. So, our trusty director dips us into that subconscious, in every way. Once you begin peeling back the layers they shed like skin.
The other surreal moments, the best, involve Frank most of all. First, there’s his amyl nitrite through the gas mask. On the surface that’s absurd alone, but coupled with the whole Daddy idea, you see that Jeffrey’s father has to breathe through a tube while Frank uses the surgical gas mask to inhale his drugs; a weird double image. The doubling continues, too. Frank is captivated with music, in particular the song “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton and Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” – the doubles return here, with Dorothy singing Vinton, suave Ben (Dean Stockwell) singing Orbison. And Stockwell’s little performance is so unnervingly odd. Strangely enough, the scene that weirds me out most. We see him singing, holding an electrical cord lamp lighting his face, and Frank stares at him, mouthing Orbison’s words, almost in a trance. An addition to the psychosis of Frank, suggesting something behind his fixation that we don’t need to know to find terrifying.

The violence is likely the most surreal of all: the Man in Yellow is dead on his feet, in literal fashion; Lynch shows us a close-up of Dorothy’s chipped tooth in her red lipstick-ed mouth then a little later Frank paints Jeffrey with lipstick and slaps him around, too; Frank’s crew stands by watching in complacence as he commits various unpredictable acts in a violent rage. Just as surreal as the absurdist situations in which Jeffrey finds himself throughout the film, from finding an ear in a field (the ants call to mind an image from 1929’s silent short film Un Chien Andalou) to witnessing the ritualistic sexual assault by Frank on Dorothy.
One of the reasons Lynch’s film acts as an excellent piece of visual literature is how he ties off the imagery. Whereas in the first couple scenes we go into the dead ear’s canal, the camera takes us back out of the ear later, except it’s Jeffrey’s ear, alive and in the sun; a transformative journey, from darkness into the light (a visual motif we see in the use of light Lynch employs in many scenes). In addition, the rightful Mother and Daddy are restored once Frank is dead; Mr. Beaumont is recovering well, the sun is shining, the backyards of suburbia are back to their dreamy quality again. Finally, while the darkness still exists – the robins feed on the bugs, the extent of Frank’s connections and the bad people in Lumberton remain unknown – a lightness is restored.
These elements help Lynch suture together his masterpiece of neo-noir surrealism. One of the greatest films made in the 20th century, a work of dangerous art.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master: Two Men in (Forbidden) Love on a Journey Towards Meaning

The Master. 2012. Directed & Written by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Martin Dew, Joshua Close, Jillian Bell, Kevin J. O’Connor, Patty McCormack, Laura Dern, & Mimi Cozzens. Annapurna Pictures/The Weinstein Company/Ghoulardi Film Company.
Rated 14A. 144 minutes.

Paul Thomas Anderson is the best filmmaker of his generation. There are tons of other writer-directors I admire, to the fullest. However, he stands atop that pyramid. Time and time again his films captivate me in genuine ways others do not. I’ve followed his career closely since initially seeing Magnolia, then going back to Hard Eight and moving on forward again. His work as a director is astonishing, as Anderson cobbled together his own style through watching the cinema others produced, learning the craft through seeing it in motion. With equal parts Stanley Kubrick influence and that of Robert Altman as well, Anderson makes movies in an epic style while also managing to keep complete focus on the humanity at the core of his characters and the plethora of stories he tells. His earlier work is dominated much more by the Altman-esque sensibilities of his talent. Starting with There Will Be Blood, he’s transitioned into his more Kubrick inspired work.
The Master is at once an unauthorized, fictional version of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, and also the story of two men locked in a love they’ll never fully express; not in this life, anyways. Perhaps the next. And then there’s also the fact this film speaks to that Scientology influence without directly condemning and shaming their beliefs (no matter how crazy they are). Anderson questions what is at the heart of faith: could it simply be the searching of the lost for love and comfort? Who knows.
Throughout the film a Navy veteran out of WWII named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself in the midst of The Cause, a group on the verge of being a full fledged cult run by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), affectionately known as The Master. What follows is a story that touches on belief, duty, love, war, and much more.
After WWII, there was this search for a new meaning to masculinity. In peace time there must be a redefinition of what it is to be masculine. How does a man pushed to kill for his country come back home to that very country and simply… exist? On the Blu ray Special Edition of The Master the 1946 documentary Let There Be Light directed by John Huston is included. This is the catalyst for Anderson’s film. The opening scene is essentially directly from that documentary, as men are interviewed just like Freddie about various psychological elements. One thing the V.As all hear is that people will not understand, and it’s quite possible they might even find their “condition” shameful, so on. So that violent outburst we see from Freddie as he tries to work a normal job taking photos in a department store is merely the aggressive, wartime side of him fighting to survive. Like a delayed reaction or a motor that’s only recently been shut down, it takes time for that aggression to work itself out. Maybe it never does. But that’s why Freddie is almost the perfect test for someone like Dodd, coming along after the Second World War and likely still filled with hate for the enemy. He challenges that “inherent state of perfect” which Dodd refers to in his teachings.
There’s a significance to seeing the beginning V.A. scenes with the doctor and Freddie in juxtaposition with Freddie being ‘processed’ by Dodd. On a simple visual level, there are certain frames where they sit across from one another similarly in each scene; the doctor and Dodd appear on one side of the frame, as Phoenix often remains on the other. Above that there’s the fact Freddie is always searching for a master. Just so happens he ends up finding The Master, Lancaster Dodd, head of The Cause. But before that it was the army; in those beginning scenes, the V.A. Doctor is an extension of the army, and a master in his own right. Moreover, the questions aren’t so dissimilar between Dodd and the doctor, as they each come at Freddie from a psychological standpoint. And finally, it’s the parallel of real science, real psychology versus the fake, pseudo-religious Scientology-like madness Dodd is spinning. So at once there’s a ton of different elements at play all in these two scenes put together.
One of the final scenes has Lancaster singing to Freddie, the song “(I’d Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China”, and it calls to mind an earlier moment. When Freddie is first ‘processed’ by Dodd he remembers the girl named Doris he left behind at home, the love of his life. She also sings to him “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”. Now what I find interesting is obviously that they’re both romantic songs. And they’re both sung in scenes that precede a farewell, a final goodbye. But the longing in both scenes from Doris and Dodd respectively is evident, which reveals a good deal. It’s obvious before that Dodd and Freddie have a special relationship. I’m not saying that it’s full-on homosexual. However, they do love one another, and on a level of understanding.
The duality of man: Freddie and Lancaster are two sides of a coin, the Split Saber, which is of course Dodd’s own title for his second book that comes furiously from his own hand after Freddie arrives on the boat and in his life. During certain moments the animal in Lancaster comes out, the one whose world of which he vehemently denies man is a part. For instance, when challenged by an insistent man at a party Dodd bursts out calling him “pig fuck” in front of the entire room while trying to defend his position. So of course we see it immediately as his breaking in front of people and unable to appropriately explain/defend The Cause (because it’s all bullshit). Though it’s more. It is that beast in Dodd that wants to live out in the world. In turn, that beast in him unable to unleash lives in Freddie, which is a large part of why he’s drawn to the man.
Ultimately, I do feel that Dodd is a closeted homosexual. That’s my call. I don’t think Freddie necessarily is, though he seeks great comfort in Dodd, and most certainly cares for the man deeply. But the scene where Peggy jerks her husband off in the bathroom over the sink is telling. They don’t make love, even though she is pregnant. They don’t even lay down in bed or get comfortable. It’s something that’s got to be done, like milking a cow, or doing any other chore. She also tells him to give up on certain ideas, that it “didnt work for them and its not going to work for you“, and then advises him not to drink anymore of Freddie’s hooch. On the opposite side, Freddie is a lost man. He can’t seem to really connect with women well enough, other than physically, to form a relationship, at least one that he doesn’t abandon. His relationship with women is problematic at best, as we see immediately on the beach during his tour of duty where he and other men build a woman in the sand; one he proceeds to finger bang and pretend-fuck in front of everybody, all before masturbating furiously into the ocean. So there’s a form of homosexual love on Freddie’s part towards Dodd, too. It’s out of a need, a necessity. He has to have that master, someone to control and guide him. On ther other side Dodd requires somebody to indulge the animalistic nature in him.
In the end this is one of the strongest messages I see in The Master: religious groups such as The Cause are built by emotionally fragile people seeking the comfort in numbers among the fragility of others, so it’s basically the lost leading the lost. This further perpetuates others that are lost looking for a home and a place of comfort to end up further adrift.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic here. He embodies The Master well and takes us to the serious side of a man whose mental stability is questionable. All the same, he makes the man believable, very strong. A great performance. Opposite him Joaquin Phoenix gives what might be the single best performance of his entire career. He actually physically embodies Freddie to the point you can see how he formed the walk, the way he stands, his entire look. A remarkable role and Phoenix just downright nails it. Some of the scenes between Hoffman and Phoenix are beyond intense, especially the quiet, closed in moments where it’s just the two of them like the processing early on, et cetera. These two have wild chemistry. Love the scene of them in jail – everything about it is perfect, the angle at which Anderson catches them, the intensity of their conversation, we even see Lancaster slip more into his animal behaviour and just hurl curses and insults at Freddie.
Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame comes back with Anderson again to do another innovative, unique sounding score. His compositions here are downright magical, as they float and hum and burn below the drama. It really is wonderful stuff. At times there’s this gorgeously flowing orchestral music. In other scenes Greenwood employs some of the ole Radiohead weirdness, as he did with portions of There Will Be Blood. It works even better in this film because the strange atmosphere of the music mirrors lots of the oddities in Anderson’s screenplay. They are a solid team together as artists, likely why Anderson has done other work with Radiohead and Greenwood.
In addition, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. captures the vision of Anderson perfectly with his full, rich lens. Between Malaimare and Anderson the flow of each scene is intense. Certain scenes are blocked with great care and attention. Others it’s simply the fact Malaimare captures every last raw emotion in the faces of the characters. The period is likewise captured elegantly. Also the boat and most of the locations were great settings. When a film that’s written and directed well, filmed well, is also a properly rounded production in terms of set/costume design (and other areas) then it’s altogether an amazing experience.
This is a masterpiece of a modern film. Paul Thomas Anderson proves over and over he does well with period pieces, no matter if it’s late 1800s, mid-1970s, or any other time. He can turn period pieces into more than just spectacle. Within those he works over the human emotions to an endless degree. Here, his exploration of a forbidden and powerful love between two men is disguised amongst a larger story about belief and faith, fringe religious groups (a.k.a cults), as well as the power of one person over another, for various reasons. The two powerhouse performances of Hoffman and Phoenix are something spectacular to behold. They make this film even better for their presence in it. Anderson will continue to make beautiful cinema, and this will likely always be a favourite of mine out of his filmography. The Master moves me, emotionally and visually, to the point I can watch this endlessly.