Archive for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With me

I Understand

Posted in FILM, Mythology, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2017 by dcairns

No I bloody don’t!

Still wrestling with Twin Peaks: The Return/Twin Peaks season 3, a show whose troubling ambiguities extend even to its title. Of course, you can’t SOLVE a David Lynch (& Mark Frost) mystery, and you’re not meant to. Except MULHOLLAND DR., which comes equipped with clues and Lynch helpfully told us where to look and a lot of the film DOES make a kind of sense when you apply them. but some bits still seem to have no logical reason to be there.

But I like puzzling things out. I even spent a certain amount of time trying to interpret MARIENBAD, and that one REALLY isn’t meant to be solved.

Who is Judy? I want to solve that one, for the sake of poor old Mr. C, who asks that question.

“You’ve already met Judy,” says Philip Jeffries, in the form of a big kettle. So, Judy was at some point known to Mr. C, or two BOB who is inside him, or to agent Cooper whose life he’s taken over. That narrows it down, but not by much. The three-in-one-meet a lot of people, some of whom even survive the experience.

Judy was first mentioned by Jeffries back in FIRE WALK WITH ME, when he was David Bowie. “We’re not going to talk about Judy,” he insisted. Well, you brought her up, mate. In episode 19 of The Return, FBI director Gordon Cole (Lynch himself) tells us that Judy is a corruption of Jowday, an extreme negative force he and Jeffries were investigating. OK, so probably not Lucy, then. And maybe not even female, as the name has apparently been distorted over the centuries.

In THE MISSING PIECES, a collection of outtakes from that movie — Twin Peaks‘ answer to TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER — we see Bowie in Buenos Aires, asking if Judy has checked into a hotel. An oddly mundane thing for an extreme negative force to do, but I suppose she/he/it has to sleep somewhere. But back when this was filmed, Judy was supposed to be the twin sister of Josie Packard (Joan Chen). Furious retconning has since occurred — still, I think it’s legit to look for clues here. In this version of events, Jeffries says, “I been to one of their meetings. It was above a convenience store.” Also, that he found something in Seattle, at Judy’s, and then, “there they were. And they sat quietly for hours.” Which seems to link Judy to the Black Lodge entities.

Things play out differently in FWWM, where Bowie’s recollections are interrupted by what seems to be a garbled flashback, breaking in like interference. The viewer assumes that this sequence showing the room above the convenience store inhabited by sinister characters is Bowie’s memory of something he somehow spied on. We get our first look at a couple of woodsmen (but they haven’t gotten all dirty yet), there’s Bob, there’s Mrs. Tremond/Chalfont and her grandson, and the malign, doppelganger version of the Arm/man from another place (I’m pretty sure it’s not the nice one we’re used to, though I only just figured this out: the film doesn’t bother to remind us that he has a doppelganger). But the first person we see is this geezer ~

He’s billed as The Jumping Man. He wears a loud suit exactly like The Arm’s, a sort of flat-top afro, and a plaster mask with a pointy, Commedia Del’Arte nose.

Now, there’s an old prison song, recorded by folk music specialist Alan Lomax, one version of which goes like this ~

Jumpin’ Judy, jumpin’ Judy, hanh!
Jumpin’ Judy, jumpin’ Judy, hanh!
Jumpin’ Judy, jumpin’ Judy, hanh!
All over dis worl’, hanh, all over dis worl’, hanh!

So there’s a connection of sorts between jumping and Judies.

In Episode 15 of The Return, this fellow makes one of his rare appearances, as Mr. C. goes above the convenience store, which apparently has the ability to TARDIS about from place to place. On this occasion, the JM has Sarah Palmer’s face projected on top of his mask.

But there’s another jumping man, or anyway jumping boy, in FWWM. He’s the grandson of Mrs. Tremont/Chalfont, who appears in both season 2 of the original TP, and in FWWM, though he’s played by different kids each time. Leland sees him jumping in one scene. Here and in the convenience store scene, he wears a mask like the Jumping Man’s, and at one point whispers “Judy.”

The grandson (who may be the Magician of that bit of Black Lodge doggerel — he performs magic tricks in the original series) and his grandmother are quite hard to figure out, in terms of their intentions. They seem associated with negative things, turning up around the time of Teresa Banks and Laura Palmer’s murders, but they also give Laura valuable information. But then, there they are, sitting calmly with BOB and the woodsmen etc. And this guy.

So, we might infer that the grandson and the Jumping Man have to do with Judy. It would certainly make sense of Jeffries’ comment, “You’ve already met Judy.” Mr. C. literally passed the Jumping Man on his way in.

There are other candidates, however. In Episode 1 we meet The Experiment, a violent, faceless woman who appears in a glass box apparently constructed at the behest of Mr. C. Mr. C. is looking for something with a sort of bug-like aspect, and it’s probably The Experiment. In Episode 8, she turns up inside the first atomic test, sneeze-ejaculating BOB into the world. So it feels like Mr. C. is looking for BOB’s mother. But he doesn’t know the name Judy until Phillip uses it. He has no clue why Phillip has brought her up.

(But then, does Phillip ever really understand which Cooper he’s talking to? He was apparently part of a task force with the real Cooper to find Judy. Although in FWWM it’s obvious they’ve never met before. Still, when you’re floating in a tin can, it’s slippery.)

I like the idea that BOB is looking for his mother. Sweet.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palmer has an extreme negative force lurking inside her. It rips a trucker’s chin off. It seems to feature Laura’s smile, and her finger. (Both Sarah and Laura apparently have faces that open on hinges. Not sure what this means.) So a lot of people think this is Judy. Poor Laura: with BOB inhabiting her father and Judy in her mother, what chance did she have in life?

“You’ll find Judy in here,” says Phillip, before sending Cooper into the past. Cooper eventually ends up in the present but in Odessa, Texas (arguably worse than the past) where he finds a diner called Judy’s, which leads him to Laura Palmer, living under a new identity with no memory of her old one. He then takes her to Sarah Palmer’s house, but instead finds a Mrs Tremond, who bought the house from Mrs. Chalfont.

Ever since LOST HIGHWAY, Lynch has been exploring the slipperiness of identity. This series is probably the most convoluted and involuted rendition of that theme, even more so than INLAND EMPIRE. When the new Mrs. Tremond gives her name, and her predecessor’s name, we can be pretty sure that she’s the same character (whatever that means in this universe) who previously bore that name (sure, the show is full of Bobs, Mikes, Philips, but surnames have a specific quality). Also, she has an offscreen husband she talks to, lurking within the house, reminding us of the “something” in Sarah Palmer’s kitchen.

So, has Coop found Judy as he was promised? In this universe, is she merely the name of a franchise of threatening diners? Has she gone abstract, the way Mabuse did? Or does this extreme negative force still attach to human vessels, sometimes? Is Alice (through the looking glass) Tremond and her troublingly abstract husband also Mrs Chalfont, the Jumping Man, the inside of Sarah Palmer, AND Judy?

It’s quite a houseful in there.

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Twin Peaks Precap

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2017 by dcairns

I’ve been enjoying all the Twin Peaks recaps, including my friend Keith Uhlich’s on The Notebook. And listening religiously to Diane, for my money THE podcast on the subject.

Obviously it’s too late for me to start recapping TP now, but it can’t surely be too late to recap episode 12, since it hasn’t aired yet. These are my predictions for what’s going to happen — a kind of precap, if you will. Obviously we have to wait until Sunday to see if I’m right but I am confident that I will be VINDICATED in every detail. So there are spoilers ahead. I won’t change anything after the episode airs so you’ll be able to see how devastatingly accurate I am.

You’ll maybe have noticed that while each episode features numerous hanging threads, usually these are not picked up in the following episode. You have to wait until the episode after, or maybe several episodes after. Matthew Lillard made an astonishing impression in the role of Earthworm Jim Principal Hastings but then disappeared for over a month.

In episode 8 we saw the ????? Giant use something which Fiona christened the Fallopian Tuba to blast a glowing orb full of Laura Palmer at the old BBC globe of the world ident. Well, we haven’t seen him and his girlfriend and the tuba for about a month, so I think they’ll be back. I expect we’ll see him blast a few follow-up orbs at us, perhaps containing the effulgent faces of Dick Tremayne, Dwayne Mibbler and that guy with the plaster-of-paris nose mask.

Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh are going to do some terrible things to Warden Murphy. There was apparently a lot of really bad stuff in WILD AT HEART concerning Harry Dean Stanton’s demise at the hands of a duo of hitpersons, and it got cut out. I think Lynch has been saving it up.

Gordon and Albert and Tammy and Diane won’t get to the other coordinates yet. But Gordon deliberately let Diane memorise the figures so she can tell Dirty Cooper, because they want him there so they can catch him.

When they do go there, maybe in episode 13 or 14, it will all link up with Jack Rabbit’s Palace and they’ll see Truman, Hawk and Bobby in Twin Peaks. They might also see the Major’s head float past. I don’t know what he’s going to say this time but it’ll be pretty deep. Also, Jerry Horne, stoned out of his mind and lost in the woods, will blunder in at an inopportune moment. Maybe he’ll fall in the pit they’ve dug for Dirty Cooper. But that’s in the future. That won’t happen this week.

Benjamin Horne announced his intention of taking his new secretary Beverly to dinner, but we didn’t see it. It’ll happen this week, with no explanation for the delay. My theory which I really think is true is that the reason he couldn’t kiss her before — she thinks it’s because he’s a good man, but we know that isn’t true — is that she’s actually his daughter. Old Ben sure sowed a few wild oats in his time. Ashley Judd is an oat who has come home to roost. Remember in series 1 he nearly had sex with Audrey.

The humming sound that’s been bugging them is Joan Chen in a doorknob, but she won’t come out yet. They have to save something for season 4.

Frustratingly, after the Buckhorn police found Dougie’s wedding ring inside a corpse, nobody has tried to trace a couple called Dougie and Janey-E. Probably because it hasn’t occurred to them that Janey-E could be someone’s actual name. If they checked, I bet there’s only one couple in the whole of America with those names. But they haven’t checked, so they’re not going to. So I’m not sure what purpose the wedding ring serves or why Dirty Cooper presumably left it there. Or when he got it from the original Dougie. Presumably at the time he replaced it with the “sacrificial ring” from FIRE WALK WITH ME? It’s pretty hard to figure out what that guy’s up to except it all has to do with  killing Dougie/Dale so he can stay on Earth and not go back to the Lodge.

Andy has apparently forgotten all about the hit-and-run child death he was investigating. Lucy is a better cop than Andy. She saw Chad stealing Truman’s mail and was mildly suspicious about it.

The nasty Richard Horne will get Steven and Gersten and the armpit rash girl and her friend involved in his drugs deal with the sinister Red. Chad is already involved, as is the last of the Renaults. We will see signs of this developing. In the last episode they will all get caught in a big net dropped from a tree by Hawk.

But that’s later. This week, Richard will visit his mom, Audrey, who will be clad in some kind of fetishy disability costume like Rosanna Arquette in CRASH (the good one).

Candy Clark may well do some more epic complaining. But maybe this time she’ll soften, also. Third time’s the charm.

Diane will tell the entirety of Buckhorn, South Dakota, to fuck off.

Detectives Fusco, Fusco & Fusco will interrogate Ike the Spike using the famous “bad cop, bad cop, bad cop” routine. Ike will refuse to snitch until they get Uri Geller in to give his spike metal fatigue, then he’ll tell them everything.

In episode 12 Norma will look concerned. I think also eventually it will be revealed that she’s living with Big Ed at his Gas Farm.

We will find out who the girl was who got the frog-moth down her throat. We will be surprised.

Who’s going to play Philip Jeffries? I think the only exciting guest stars left are Monica Bellucci and John Savage. Since Bellucci will be more surprising, it ought to be her. Or maybe Jim Belushi will unzip his head and reveal that he’s really been Monica Bellucci all along. All his life.

Leo Johnson’s skeleton will be found in a lonely cabin, clutching a rope between his teeth. The Deer Park deputy Bobby shot and buried in the woods in FIRE WALK WITH ME will be uncovered by animal activity. It will turn out that the owls really ARE what they seem.

Dougie’s friendship with the Mitchum Bros will not be developed in this episode. No good can come of that, even if a shared appreciation for pie and repetition seems like a sound basis for friendship. But they’re not going to be happy with Tom Sizemore. Neither is rival mobster Duncan Todd. But probably they’ll all wait an episode before doing anything about it. And then Bushnell Mullins will get to punch somebody out. You can’t have the remarkably spry Don Murray as an ex-boxer with a poorly-Photoshopped poster and then not have him punch anybody. Not in a show with Tim Roth in it.

Also due for punching: Chad. He won’t get caught in Hawk’s net, Sheriff Truman will apprehend him in his office, and pull the wooden knob repeatedly so that the wood-panelled Skype-screen pops out of the desk really fast and smashes Chad in the face. Then he can Skype Doc Hayward and get him to come over and fix Chad’s face before he’s hauled off by the Feds.

We’ve learned that both Dougie and James were in traffic accidents. It will be revealed that they collided with each other, in an incident caused by Wally Brando’s erratic bikemanship.

A heartwarming scene showing what the woodsmen get up to when they’re not busy being terrifying. They sit around a formica table drinking Cup-a-Soups, possibly. They also whittle.

In an unadvertised cameo, Billy Ray Cyrus will perform at the Bang Bang Bar. Everyone will leave as the credits roll.

Things I Read Off the Screen in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by dcairns

Are we all excited about the new series? We re-watched the last episode of season 2 and the movie, to get us in the mood. Lynch has said the movie is the best way to prepare ourselves for what he has in store. I went LOOKING FOR CLUES.

Fourth shot after the credits sequence ~

UNLAWFUL TO PASS WHEN RED LIGHTS FLASH

Fiona read this one out, which started me thinking it was time for another installment of “Things I Read Off the Screen” — I imagine this is just something that real school buses have, but it feels occult and significant and mysterious here, maybe because school buses aren’t really a thing in the UK. And, given James’ last scene (below), it definitely feels like we’re meant to notice it, and it’ll end up tying the film together.

SHERIFF DEER MEADOW

Nice odd phrase. I’ve been enjoying a terrific podcast called Diane which has studied the original series and the movie and the tie-in books and the film, and is now preparing to appreciate and analyse the new shows. You should give it listen. They point out that Deer Meadow, scene of the first BOB murder, is like the anti-Twin Peaks, a town that’s dead, horrible and utterly lacking in positive magic. And the coffee is horrible. So we’re about to meet the anti-Lucy, a sniggering slut, the anti-Andy, a bragging bully, and the anti-Truman, a hulking brute, Sheriff Cable.

In one of the best of the deleted scenes, Chris Isaak beats the hell out of this guy.

Isaak and his buddy Keifer Sutherland (at times evoking Stan Laurel) discover a clue — the letter T under the corpse’s fingernail, which they RIP OFF. Laura Palmer, in the series, will be discovered with an R under her fingernail. In the extra scenes shot for the European release of the original pilot, we are told that the letters were eventually going to spell ROBERT, but this isn’t really canonical. And nobody ever calls BOB “Robert.” It doesn’t suit him, somehow. Still, I like the idea that the name was going to be spelled backwards (TREBOR), since Bob comes from a world where people speak backwards-forwards at the same time.

Based on this movie, I think maybe the word was going to be DIRT backwards. Leland, Laura’s father, who is BOB on some level, during one of his particularly nasty moments tells her there’s a “piece of DIRT” under her nail. This is clearly a reference to her future fate, but the letter R is literally “a piece of DIRT” so that’s why I think that.

HAP’S. With its weeping clown neon and faulty electrics and anti-Peggy Lipton proprietor, Hap’s is the anti-Double R Diner. Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.

SAY HELLO GOODBYE TO JACK.

FAT TROUT TRAILER PARK MANAGER

9 AM …… EVER

ROD MY TRAILER HAS A LEAK FIX IT BY TOMORROW

The Fat Trout is a classic liminal space, so it makes sense that the denizens of the Black Lodge have been all over this place, apparently scooting in and out by the telegraph wires. The old lady and her grandson (Lynch’s kid, Sean) used to have a trailer here, and will later appear in Twin Peaks on Laura’s meals-on-wheels route. Eerie enough when they keep to their own red room space, they become uncanny in a whole new way when they trespass in our world or show signs of their presence.

Harry Dean Stanton plays Carl Rodd, who will be back in the new series. I like that one of his… tenants?… thinks his name is “Rod.” So they think they’re calling him by his first name when they’re really calling him by his last name. They’re on different planes of familiarity without realising it. I think I’d be the same way if I met Harry Dean Stanton, because I would want to love and admire him and he would think I am an asshole.

kcoR s’teL

Let’s Rock

This is something the man from another place says in the series — part of the reason TP:FWWM arguably doesn’t stand up as an independent work away from the series is that these things are very satisfying to note, but you have to look outside the movie for them. There aren’t many clues IN the movie which help you feel you’re making headway with its mysteries. But I’ve given up letting that bother me.

T

Bobby Briggs has a T on his back! He must be involved in the Theresa Banks case! But this does seem like one of the few red herrings. We can’t get excited every time we see a letter T… can we?

X

Xs, however, are always exciting. This is a direct appearance by red lodge characters in our reality, so the universal symbol for the unknown seems wholly appropriate. If I had the Blu-ray maybe I could tell you what that small lettering says. It might be the key to everything.

The BANG BANG BAR

An exterior featured in one of the trailers for the new series, so it’ll feature again. Under new management, I presume. Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.

TREAT HIM RIGHT

This one is just kind of funny. But it comes in a very fraught scene, which includes flashbacks which help establish Leland’s motivation for murder ~

MOTEL

Unlawful to pass when red light flashes. The movie complicates our understanding of Leland’s guilt. In the series, it’s possible to believe that he’s an innocent man invaded by an alien force (BOB, the double-denim demon). In the movie, we clearly see Leland as Leland, plotting and remembering and in full knowledge of his guilt. It puts me in mind of a passage from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (an ur-text for all divided-consciousness horror tales) where Jekyll complains that, deep into his experiment in duality, he was often wholly Hyde but never wholly Jekyll…

Note the presence of those sinister WIRES again.

STOP

What the critics at the time didn’t notice (along with Sheryl Lee’s moving and bizarre and fearless performance) but which the Diane podcast is great at spotting, is that the movie takes familiar recurring images from the show like the ceiling fan at the Palmer residence and this set of overhanging traffic lights, and imbues them with new and more powerful meaning. This turns out to be the setting for Laura and James’ last love scene. James will watch her go, then wait for the light to turn red before revving up and roaring off…

Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.