Twin Peaks Review by John Keegan

Twin Peaks 3.08: The Return: Part VIII

Twin Peaks 3.08: The Return: Part VIII

Written By:
Mark Frost and David Lynch
Directed By:
David Lynch

If the previous episode was the most familiar of the new season, then this has to go down as the most obtuse installment yet.  There is a story being told within the bizarre imagery that dominates the run time, but it’s a far cry from the relatively straightforward narrative that was beginning to emerge.  But then, how else did the audience expect David Lynch to explore the origins of Killer Bob and the nature of the Lodges?



The structure of the episode is downright bizarre.  There is a beginning segment that covers what happens after Dark Cooper and Ray escape from the prison, which leads to a moment where Ray shoots Dark Cooper.  That’s when things start to go a little sideways.  Denizens of the Black Lodge (in the form of sooty woodsmen and such) arrive to do something odd to Dark Cooper.  They seem to feast on him and reveal Killer Bob within, yet Dark Cooper is restored and alive at the end.


This transitions into what can only be termed a Nine Inch Nails performance directed by David Lynch.  It is literally just Nine Inch Nails performing a song at the Roadhouse with Lynchian lighting and sound design.  Which, frankly, is worth the time taken for it, especially if one is a longtime fan of Trent Reznor and Lynch’s sound design talents.  But before one understands that it serves as something of an act break, or perhaps a transitional marker, it feels unnecessary and a bit jarring in placement.



And then things get very, very weird.  There is an extended sequence into the heart of an atomic bomb test (I’m assuming it’s Trinity) that is a straight-up homage to the “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It begins the long exploration into what can only be termed the “origins” of the Twin Peaks saga.  And in keeping with the bizarre abstract nature of the denizens of the Lodges, much of it is interpretive and symbolic, often in ways that are deliberately unclear.


Yet the intended message is effectively conveyed.  Breaking the atom and unleashing that terrible power stirred the dark entities of the Black Lodge and led the creation (or releasing) of Killer Bob into the modern world.  We even see how the symbolic “convenience store”, referred to many times throughout the series, becomes agitated with activity.  In essence, one could say that humanity’s worst impulse for destruction and fire allowed the denizens of the Black Lodge to give form to personifications of humanity’s own worst impulses.  However one chooses to interpret it, the end result is the same: the Black Lodge began to move more openly following the first atomic test, and sought a foothold soon after in the same location.



At the same time, we seem to see the response to Killer Bob’s release by the White Lodge.  The Giant appears to release some of his own lifeforce or energy into the world.  It is strongly suggested that this energy will ultimately become Laura Palmer, perhaps as a catalyst to bring about the circumstances of Killer Bob’s return to the Black Lodge and the end of the threat.  Whatever the case, classic film imagery aside (however gorgeous), it boils down to this: unleashing the atomic bomb opened a doorway that allowed the extradimensional/alien entities of the White and Black Lodge to enter our world in a more direct way than perhaps ever before. 


Considering that the original run described Killer Bob as a personification of “the evil that men do”, this all connects on a certain gut level.  And it leaves a rather ominous question: what was the nature of the strange insect that crawled into that girl’s mouth, and how is she important?  I fully expect this girl to be the first link in a chain leading to Twin Peaks, and this underscores that restoring Cooper might also mean restoring the balance between the Lodges, which this episode suggests is the ultimate goal of the entire Twin Peaks mythology.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • If you wanted an origin myth for Twin Peaks, then this was the episode for you
The Bad:
  • A whole lot of viewers are going to have their patience tested with this one, without a doubt

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Twin Peaks by - 6/26/2017 8:52 AM166 views

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