TV Recap: Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 8
“Drink full and descend…”
I speculated last week that Part 8 of Twin Peaks, preceded by a shift in pace and being the last installment before a two-week break, might represent a major turning point in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s eighteen-hour opus. The social media buzz leading up to Sunday’s debut reinforced this notion, with cast and crew members taking to Twitter and Instagram to promise an episode like no other. Kyle MacLachlan let slip that Lynch had worked on something for Part 8 for days without telling anyone about it. The anticipation was more palpable than any Sunday since the premiere.
Frankly, I don’t know what all the fuss was about.
We pick up this week precisely where we left off, with Ray Munroe driving the doppelganger of Dale Cooper away from prison and out into the country. Ray apologizes for abandoning Mr. C in Buckhorn, and they again discuss the information Ray has that the double wants. They trade vague threats and intimations of extortion before Ray pulls over to take a leak. The doppelganger pulls the gun left for him in the glove compartment and moves to execute Ray, but the weapon isn’t loaded, and Ray turns and shoots his associate dead. A squadron of the soot-covered figures that we’ve seen hovering in the background of the story appear, perform a ritual over the body, and remove an orb containing the visage of Bob. Ray speeds away with a call to Phillip Jeffries, confirming that he’s shot Cooper and is heading to “the farm”. We return to the Roadhouse for the traditional end credits performance, where “The” Nine Inch Nails play the episode out.
I then nodded off, confused by the buildup to a spooky but relatively uneventful (and surprisingly short) installment of Twin Peaks. With Lynchian questions on my mind, I fell into an uneasy sleep haunted by an exquisite nightmare. I saw America’s first nuclear test in 1945, presented in a slow-moving portrait, ripping through abstract representations of its effects like an apocalyptic Fantasia number. I felt dark spirits spilling into our dimension from another, time bending and reality warping around this evil that man had brought into the world, this evil that men do.
Twin Peaks must have still been on my mind, because it began to invade this dream. The convenience store so central to its lore, the one above which the spirits lived, and which Phillip Jeffries found, was home to the spectral woodsmen from the night’s episode. My subconscious brought me to the purple sea Dale Cooper visited in Part 3, and a fortress there inside which I found the monochrome space where the being resembling the Giant had spoken with Cooper in the revival’s very first scene. That being was there still, with a female companion, watching footage of that horrendous atomic event. They saw something resembling the creature from the glass box spew forth Bob, but a vision of Laura Palmer brought comfort to them. The venue from which they watched these cosmic events looked exactly like Club Silencio from Mulholland Drive. Funny how dreams work.
Suddenly, it was 1956, and I was watching a monster that was part insect and part amphibian crawl from an egg in the desert. A sweet young boy and girl flirted and shared their first kiss. An older couple was accosted in their car by the aforementioned woodsmen, time slowing around them as their electric voices begged for fire. One of them made his way to a radio station and killed those inside with his touch, commandeering the airwaves with endtimes poetry that subdued all who heard it. The teen girl slipped into sleep at the sound, allowing the abomination from the egg to crawl into her mouth and wait inside her. Somewhere, in the distance, a white horse whinnied.
That wasn’t a dream, was it?
David Lynch got a major premium cable company to finance a disturbing hour of surrealism that defies literal interpretation and make it the centerpiece of this summer’s foremost event series, didn’t he?
That magnificent bastard.