GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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After assembling a year's worth of posts into a single document, it was only a matter of time until the urge to turn it into a hardcopy became overwhelming. It took exactly two days for that to happen, and now THE GLASS BOX-YEAR ONE exists in meatspace in a special edition of ONE.
Because printing on decent paper in full color is astronomically expensive, I formatted the pdf double-sided and two-to-a-page on 11x17 paper to reduce the number of double-sided pages needed from 314 down to 158. Then I cut the 11x17 in half and used a perfect bind to bring it all together. It looks pretty neat. I underestimated how good it would feel to hold the whole business in my hands. There’s something very special about a good old-fashioned printed book, as much as I love the magic of the internet.
In the unlikely event that your Twin Peaks collection feels one hard copy of THE GLASS BOX-YEAR ONE shy of complete, everything you need to DIY your way to a book of your own is available for free download here.
Over 600 Pages of Critical and Photo Essays from THE GLASS BOX. One Document.
Launching THE GLASS BOX last year and having my own peculiar little place to cultivate my deep love for Twin Peaks these past fifteen months has been one of the most fun and rewarding things I've ever done. As a professor long resigned to the glacial pace and pitiably small readership of academic publishing, I have been nothing short of astonished by the greased-lightning speed and enormous reach of online publishing. Armed with nothing but a free website and a little spare time, I could project my endless enthusiasm for Twin Peaks across the world, living this strange and wonderful dream with with tens of thousands of avid fellow fans!
One of the nicest things any reader has ever said to me is that THE GLASS BOX was their favorite online companion throughout Twin Peaks-The Return and that they wished they could "bundle it up into a book and put it alongside the Blu-Ray Collection on the ol' Lynch shelf." That comment made my year and really stuck with me. It set me to wondering what THE GLASS BOX experience would be like in a more conventional published format, albeit one that both preserved the look and feel of the online experience and was time and cost efficient to produce.
Relative to how embarrassingly lazy and dirt cheap it is, the solution I came up with is pretty satisfying: I took screen captures of all the relevant content, pasted them into a Word document, threw together a table of contents and a cover, stitched everything into a single PDF, and threw it up on Dropbox. No editing, no revisions, no agonizing aesthetic choices, no significant expenses (other than repeated-screen-capture-induced carpal tunnel) and presto: THE GLASS BOX--YEAR ONE is a thing! It ain't perfect to say the least, but it sure could be worse. And it is completely free of charge to fellow Peakers (well, to anyone, really, but non-fanatics would likely prefer to slide down a razor and land in a manure lagoon than to fritter any time on this nerd-heap).
Click here to download your free copy, and happy reading! I experimented with a variety of ways of viewing the document, and found Adobe reader's "two page scrolling" format to be the most enjoyable, because it enables one to view pages side by side (which results in some interesting juxtapositions of content that aren't possible on the website). And this is version 1.0, so please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions for minor corrections. In the unlikely event that anyone actually does go to the trouble of printing off and binding a copy of this monster for "the ol' Lynch shelf", please send me some photos.
BONUS: Click the photo below to download a cover for your own printed copy of THE GLASS BOX-YEAR ONE (if, that is, you're CrAzY enough to pay for printing and binding a document this huge).
With all the doubles in Twin Peaks, doppelgänger decks are somehow perfectly fitting.
If the world of Twin Peaks is big enough for identical cousins, a pair of Coopers, a couple of Lodges, and dual evolutions of the Arm, why shouldn't it have twin Tarot decks? Thanks to the incredible labors of love carried out respectively by illustrators Claire Laffar and Benjamin Mackey, Twin Peaks lovers now have two breathtaking decks at their disposal--Laffar's Maiafire Tarot and Mackey's The Magician Longs to See Tarot. Whether Peakers employ these decks as magicians seeking knowledge of a future past or just as fans nerding-out over these sumptuous visual celebrations of their favorite TV-show, one thing is certainly in the cards--the experience of holding two of the best curated galleries of Twin Peaks fan art ever assembled in the palm of one's hand.
Like many beautiful things, alas, these decks are relatively rare. Both were offered in limited runs and neither are currently available for purchase from the artists, though a deck may occasionally crop up in a hotly contested online auction (the last Mackey deck I saw on eBay was up to $350 with plenty of time left on the clock). However difficult it is to chase down these decks in hard copy, the images they bear are just too fantastic not to be widely seen and celebrated. And though I've previously posted images of each deck independently here at THE GLASS BOX (the Maiafire is here and the Mackey is here), the intrigue only deepens when the doubles are juxtaposed.
Wrapped in Plast...well, Cloth and Cardboard
There are surface similarities, of course. Each deck contains both the 22 Major Arcana cards and the 56 Minor Arcana cards (in four suits: swords, wands, cups, and pentacles/coins) that constitute the traditional Rider-Waite deck on which both are modeled. Moreover, there is substantial overlap in the characters chosen to represent some of the key figures of the Major Arcana; both decks, for instance, make Deputy Andy "The Fool", Cooper "The Magician", the Log Lady "The High Priestess", Ben Horne "The Emperor", Major Briggs "The Hierophant", Harold Smith "The Hermit", and BOB "The Devil". But beyond these 7 obligatory assignments--really, who but Cooper could be "The Magician" and who but BOB could be "The Devil"?--the decks depart from one another as widely on their interpretive employments of characters and events as their divergent packaging and aesthetic style suggest that they would. Even where they overlap, the subtle differences are fascinating.
Maiafire's portrayal of "The Magician" has an aura of Eastern resonance, as Cooper takes contemplative dictation from Buddha, who presides over the scene holding infinity in his hands; Mackey's Cooper, by contrast, is the picture of Western will, standing magisterially over an Italian marble Venus de Medici with cherry pie in hand and fork held triumphantly aloft, his appetites satisfied. Maiafire's "The Hierophant" finds Major Briggs seated in the R&R with the table set for coffee as two blue roses push in from the corners above him, whereas Mackey's Briggs sits atop a forest throne with two menacing owls at his feet. While Mackey depicts "The Devil" in view of BOB's enslavement of two living girls--Ronette Pulaski and Laura Palmer--for the purpose of feeding on their pain and suffering, Maiafire's BOB clutches the corpses of two dead girls--Laura and Maddy wrapped in plastic--as a blood-spattered owl cave ring radiates consuming fire toward their lifeless bodies. Both decks are so deeply steeped in the mythology and iconography of Twin Peaks that almost every visible detail repays close attention, and the possibilities for insight into the show and its characters that emerge from contemplating these details are all the more fecund in view of the juxtaposition of their two distinct interpretations.
Without further fanfare, then, here's a card-for-card comparison of these twin Tarot decks with the Maiafire deck on top and the Mackey deck beneath it, starting with the 22 Major Arcana and proceeding through the 56 Minor Arcana in four suits. What do you see in the mirroring? Which interpretation resonates most?
The Major Arcana
The Minor Arcana: Swords
The Minor Arcana: Wands
The Minor Arcana: Cups
The Minor Arcana: Coins/Pentacles
I love Twin Peaks FAN art, but I really, really love Twin Peaks fan ART. So when Benjamin Mackey's amazing Twin Peaks Tarot deck, The Magician Longs to See, finally appeared last year after what seemed like an eternity of waiting and wanting, I spent days and days poring over every detail of that astonishing work of art. Imagine my delight, then, when I heard tell of a new limited edition Tarot deck in circulation--this one gorgeously-rendered in 78 cards (featuring both the Major and Minor Arcana) by UK-based illustrator Claire Laffar, owner of Maiafire Prints in London, England. I ordered the deck straight away, and after a lengthy trans-Atlantic voyage, it finally arrived.
The words "sumptuous" and "transcendent" are headed in the right direction, but the only way to believe this feat of Twin Peaks-inspired genius is to see these cards for yourself. The deck is handsomely packaged in a fitted black cloth drawstring bag in polite company with what can only be described as custom Twin Peaks confetti: a loose potpourri of petite blue rose and owl charms, cracked coffee beans, and tiny little letter tiles (presumably extracted from under the fingernails of BOB's latest victims) that rattle around the bag at the base of the deck.
Alas, this limited edition deck is currently sold out--I seem to have gotten the very last one available on Maiafire's Etsy Store. But let's hope some posh photos of this singular beauty can help to generate public interest in getting a second edition into circulation as soon as possible. These lovely drawings deserve wide appreciation!
The Major Arcana
The Minor Arcana
Sneak Preview! Coming Soon--A Card-for-Card Comparison of the Maiafire and Mackey Decks!
I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy watching through David Lynch's filmography. One thing I notice each and every time I work through it is how beautiful and fastidiously placed the props always are. In Twin Peaks: The Return, I was especially dazzled by all the sculptural elements in play and fell in love with any number of the gorgeous lamps on display. The intentional and prominent placement of lamps in key scenes--from broken flashlights to midcentury modern museum pieces--seemed to be such a pervasive thematic presence throughout The Return that it got me to wondering what I might find if I watched back through the entire corpus--from the short films and Eraserhead all the way through Twin Peaks Season 3--with eyes peeled for noteworthy lamps.
My curiosity on this score has resulted in a new Instagram project, Lamps of Lynch: Finding Light in the Work of David Lynch. If you follow lampsoflynch, you'll get a guided tour of the whole nine yards: every single noteworthy lamp, torch, lightbulb, fixture, flashlight, candle, candelabra, and chandelier from Short Films, Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks (Pilot, Seasons 1 and 2), Wild At Heart, Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and Twin Peaks (Season 3). The results so far have brightened up the last couple of weeks for me and produced some illuminating insights into the prominent role of light in Lynch's films even and especially in some of the very darkest scenes.
I just finished working my way through Twin Peaks Pilot and Season 1 and decided to make these light-filled images available to readers at THE GLASS BOX who may not follow Instagram. I'll make sure to follow up with similar posts for Fire Walk With Me and Seasons 2 and 3 as time allows. Press PLAY in the top left corner of the featured image below to start a slideshow or peruse the thumbnails above the featured image to choose a specific image.
A Non-Definitive Essay on Being Not-at-Home, Coping with Thwarted Expectations, and Fearlessly Losing Hope in Twin Peaks' House Away From Home
I. Introduction--House Away from Home: A Road Into the Uncanny
It's almost 11:00 pm on Sunday, May 21, 2017 in West Hollywood's celebrated Silent Movie Theater. The venue is still home at this point to the now disgraced and defunct Cinefamily repertory theater, whose underground premiere screening of Showtime's desperately long-awaited Twin Peaks revival is nearly two hours underway. A capacity crowd of pie-, coffee-, and heaven-knows-what-else-addled Peakers watches in rapt silence as a wasted Sarah Palmer languishes away amidst the wreckage of the home that ruined her daughter Laura. Overflowing ashtrays and surplus bottles of bloody Mary mix that couldn't keep pace with the Smirnoff absorb the nauseating blue radiance of a flatscreen television. Sarah watches entranced--eyes bulging, gnarled hands delivering frantic drags of her nth cigarette--as a mortally wounded wildebeest is devoured alive by a pride of voracious lions.
We've been here before. Sarah Palmer, in the comfort of her own home, watching in an addled stupor as predators exploit and destroy a vulnerable creature right under her nose. We often say "Home is where the heart is!". Less often, we acknowledge that--for this very reason--home is also inevitably where the hurt is. The human heart is most often broken right where it lives, among the treasured possessions, filial relationships, and homely vulnerabilities that shape our most intimate selves. Away from home, out there in the beautiful and terrible world, we are always already engaged in a defensive campaign to shelter and protect our homely selves. The case of Laura Palmer is a particularly harrowing example, but who among us hasn't done the equivalent of tutoring, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, or maintaining wholesome if somewhat disingenuous friendships, while secretly seeking solace in substances, sex, or "success" for the purpose of papering over the dark parts of ourselves that get us where we live? Trouble on the home front--domestic trauma--is and always has been the dark heart of Twin Peaks, and the Palmer home is its emotional nerve center--a black-shuttered Dutch Colonial amygdala where love, fear, anger, and sexual desire primordially, pre-rationally, and amorally reside together.
The opening riff of Chromatics' "Shadow" suddenly delivers us from the jaws of the lioness, as we are abruptly transported from the Palmer home to The Roadhouse. The spell is broken in the Silent Movie Theater, as snatches of relief-induced applause ripple through the audience. Like Laura, many of us would rather be anywhere but home, and--at least initially--it seems like The Roadhouse is delivering just the escape we crave: dreamy music, the sweet nostalgia of a place where we remember being young and careless, tequila shots with Shelly, Renee and friends, some risky flirting with a mystery man at the bar, and a chaser of "two ice cold Colonials" with our old pal James Hurley and his new friend Freddie Sykes. "James is still cool. He's always been cool." And at least at first, we couldn't agree more with Freddie: "It's the dog's bullocks in here!". Indeed, my own personal efforts to prolong my stay at The Roadhouse reached the heights of listening to "Shadow" on repeat for the duration of a twelve hour odyssey back to the midwest starting at 5 am the following morning.
But after a big night at the bar, things always look very different in the morning. For what remains concealed of The Roadhouse on opening night inevitably reveals itself relentlessly, week after week: The Roadhouse is not a friendly, familiar place where everybody knows your name and certainly not a place where you know everybody else's (here's looking at you, Renee, Charlotte, Chloe, Ella, Abbie, Natalie, Trick, Angela, Clark, Mary, Sophie, Megan, Paula, Billy, Tina, Chuck, Skipper, Ruby, and Monique!). Rather, The Roadhouse is a place for being anxious, ill-at-ease, alienated--literally and figuratively not-at-home.
It's a place where people of little import who are deeply alienated from their children, their significant others, their jobs, and especially their own best selves engage nightly in tedious escapism, mind-numbing small talk, and throwaway acts of cruelty and betrayal. It's a place where sociopaths who beat up their own grandmothers pay off cops between rapes and attempted murders. A place where the proprietor brags about the quality of his underage prostitutes while his debt-strapped employees sweep away the detritus of last night's delusions of grandeur in their dead-end day jobs. And a place where exploited artists perform for gas money and exposure, singing about duplicity, darkness, suicide, brokenness, insufficiency, unrequited love, depression, disappointment, deferred dreams, the unaffordability of salvation, running out of time, and of course the hope that somehow it'll all still be okay--that some way, in the nick of time, even though it seems for all the world like everything is receding into shadow for the last time, that love won't ultimately go away after all, but will come back and stay, forever even.
The Roadhouse presents itself as alienating for its televisual audience as well, within a certain frame of reference. The appearance of The Roadhouse often signals the end of a much anticipated experience that, during the first run, anyway, was for many viewers the highlight of their week; if ends are often a let-down in themselves, they can be especially disappointing when the experience is accompanied by unmet expectations. The Roadhouse also demands that we listen to music we may not love performed by bands we've never heard of, and that we pay close attention to the manifestly trivial conversations of seemingly random people we couldn't care less about.
Moreover, we must do these things repeatedly, perhaps with growing irritation, as the weeks pass and we are forced to calculate the increasingly high opportunity costs of watching "Ella" complain to "Chloe" about work or "Sophie" compliment "Megan" on the sweater she borrowed from "Paula". It's fair to say that a devoted viewer can be forgiven for failing to give a flatulent fuck that "Trick" is "lucky to be alive" and--joy!--now free from house arrest even!, when Audrey Horne's fate remains a mystery and we've seen more of some rando sweeping The Roadhouse floor than we have of our hero, Special Agent Dale Cooper (at least as we are wont to remember him).
Indeed, this perspective on The Roadhouse as an alienating aspect of the series was a hot topic among fans in last summer's online discussion groups. My first long post on the Roadhouse for THE GLASS BOX went up after Part 10, which ended with Rebekah Del Rio's "No Stars" juggernaut. It was mid-July 2017 and many viewers were perplexed that Del Rio was lavished with almost eight full minutes of precious time while many of the characters we know and love had still received little to no attention. Some viewers were downright irked, opining that The Roadhouse segments were mere "filler"--the result of Frost and Lynch's efforts to stretch what was originally projected to be just nine hours of programming for the series into the eighteen hours we ended up getting. This interpretation struck me as deeply implausible even last summer, as I argued at length in "Listen to the Sounds: Why The Roadhouse Matters Whether We Like It or Not". Now that some time has passed, it seems even more profoundly wrong-headed.
For me, the performances and events to which The Roadhouse bears witness have as much staying power, both emotionally and intellectually, as anything that happens in the series. Their continuing affective power is doubtless a result, at least in part, of the fact that The Roadhouse recordings are now indelibly written into the soundtrack of my life, allowing the events of the series to revisit and haunt me almost daily in the car, on the elliptical runner, as I drift off into slumber, and even and especially as I sleep. And the lingering intellectual challenge of The Roadhouse attends to wondering, as I so often still do, why we were invited to spend so much time there, what the songs and conversations and the order of their presentation might mean, and what to make of the fact that Frost and Lynch's process for Twin Peaks is all about falling in love with ideas and then translating them for the screen.
What are the ideas that, implicitly or explicitly, played the muse for Frost and Lynch, coaxing them into lavishing so much time, effort, and talent on this strange and wonderful place? A full year later, like Audrey Horne, I just can't shake the feeling that everything depends on getting to The Roadhouse, or at least on getting The Roadhouse--being open to what that singular space and the ample time we are invited to spend there may tell us if we pay close enough attention.
I certainly don't want to deny that The Roadhouse is a deeply alienating place in important respects. My working hypothesis, in fact, is that an important part of its job in the series--perhaps even the most important part--is to aid us in becoming well-practiced at coping constructively with alienation. What The Roadhouse does, among many other things, is provide a kind of therapy for disabusing ourselves of vain hopes for the future that can rob us of our joy in attending to whatever is before us in the present, whether beautiful or terrible, transcendent or banal. The Roadhouse is a sustained invitation to experience the transformation of vision that attends to taking the Roman stoic philosopher Seneca's sage advice: "Cease to hope and you shall cease to fear."
By training us through the repeated thwarting of our expectations to let go of the vain hope that every minute will be scintillating, every song our very favorite, every character fully rendered, every storyline tidily plotted, every narrative aspiration fulfilled, The Roadhouse readies us to jettison our hopes for the series as a whole so that we can be more fully present to what is happening in front of us right now. It invites us into a more open interpretive space where we are less encumbered by specific expectations, and thus better able to revel in the play of the experience for its own sake, anticipating and delighting in surprises from the unknown rather than expecting and then lamenting unrealized outcomes. Once we are at play in the series in this way, liberated from the need to cut the experience to fit our interpretive inheritances, we vastly expand our receptivity to the show's potential to transcend the safe and the familiar--that which, in our fragility and finitude, we are always so tempted to hope for--and present itself to us instead in all its uncanny otherness, now without fear that the looming disappointments of vain hope will send us cringing to the most obvious, accessible, definitive, or self-serving readings of what is revealed to us. Ironically, losing hope--at least in this more mindful sense of the term--can give us an invigorated sense of purpose and a great deal more interpretive freedom.
This interpretation of The Roadhouse is the result of my dwelling with these scenes for a very long time and yet failing to discern any obvious continuity across the revelations I experienced in them apart from a consistently de-centering discontinuity (which I had intuitively grasped from the get-go as a significant part of The Roadhouse's intrigue but that became clear to me as such only after I had preformed a full audit of the scenes and pored over every performance, conversation, and event numerous times in search of a common thread connecting them). My method in the remaining two sections of this essay is to offer readers (II) an overview of the results of my full audit of The Roadhouse scenes--or, as the case may be, the conspicuous lack of any unified results--followed by (III) the contents of the audit itself, which provide a full accounting of every scene, including a roll call of the characters involved, a contextualization of the time and place of each scene within the broader narrative of the part in which it appears, notes on narrative intersections with other scenes, characters, or storylines throughout the series, full transcripts of all conversations and significant plot-related events, a photo digest of significant moments from each scene, video and sound clips (where available), and lyrics for musical performances.
There's a wellspring of information here for readers wishing to drink full and descend into the intimate details of The Roadhouse scenes, and perhaps emerge from the experience better able to appreciate the richness of what is revealed (and concealed!) in these scenes even and especially in the absence of a master narrative that binds them neatly together.
II. Overview--Continuous Discontinuity: Parts, Plot-lines, & Purposes in The Roadhouse
My aim in section II is to provide a summary overview of insights into happenings in The Roadhouse that I gleaned from performing a full audit of each scene in which The Roadhouse appears. Readers who prefer to begin with a more organic, less abstract presentation of this information might consider skipping ahead to section III to work through the full audit of each scene before returning to this summary overview.
There are 16 total Roadhouse scenes that occur in 15 of the 18 parts of Season 3. The Roadhouse makes an appearance in some form in Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15a, 15b, 16, and 17. We do not encounter The Roadhouse in Parts 1, 11, or 18, though Part 11 is the only standalone episode in which it does not appear (given that Parts 1 and 2 and Parts 17 and 18 were originally presented as two-part features). The Roadhouse appears in two separate scenes in Part 15, resulting in the need to label these events "Part 15a" and "Part 15b".
There are three general types of Roadhouse appearance that recur across the 16 scenes: (A-type) those that feature musical performances only (Parts 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 17); (B-type) those that feature a combination of music and significant narrative content or character development (Parts 2, 5, 13, 14, 15a, 16); and (C-type) those that feature a combination of music and thematic texturing that is usually (but not always) delivered through trivial conversations among Roadhouse patrons who are non-recurring characters (Parts 7, 9, 12, perhaps 15b). C-type scenes at times appear to be contrived in part to create the surface appearance of continuity with superficially similar B-type scenes that are in fact more narratively consequential on closer inspection. This creates the potential for confusion in two directions: viewers may be inclined to pay insufficient attention to B-type events that deserve close scrutiny on the assumption that these scenes' similarity to C-type events is cause to disregard them; or viewers may invest too much significance in C-type events that are basically there for texture because of their similarities to B-type events that are crucial to the narrative structure of the series. I discuss this potential for confusion in more detail under Figure 2 below.
A-type and B-type Roadhouse scenes also seem to come in two different modalities that are indicated by the absence or presence of the Roadhouse emcee: "immanent" scenes do not include the emcee and seem to take place in what we might call, for lack of a better term, "the real world" or perhaps the main timeline; "transcendent" scenes, by contrast, include the emcee and seem to take place in a dream, or fantasy, or perhaps even an alternate timeline or other possible world (at the least, there are dreamy or fantastic elements in play at some point in the scene itself or in an immediately adjacent scene). C-type Roadhouse scenes seem always to be of the immanent variety, although there seem to be cases in which hints of transcendence can be found in C-type scenes despite the absence of the Roadhouse emcee. We can make these general distinctions more concrete by reference to a paradigm case of each type as represented in Figure 1 below.
Exposition of Figure 1
Part 6 (top left) features a paradigm case of an A-type scene in the immanent modality (A-im): the scene portrays a musical performance only (Sharon Van Etten's "Tarifa") that is not introduced by the Roadhouse emcee. Other examples of A-im scenes include Cactus Blossoms' performance of "Mississippi" in Part 3 and Au Revoir Simone's performance of "Lark" in Part 4.
Part 8 (bottom left) features a paradigm case of an A-type scene in the transcendent modality (A-tr): the scene portrays a musical performance only (NIN's "She's Gone Away") that is introduced by the Roadhouse emcee and that prefaces the fantastical primeval history of Twin Peaks beginning with the explosion of the atom bomb at White Sands and ending with the frog-moth entering the young Sarah Palmer while the Lincoln woodsman seeks a smoking buddy. Part 8 is the only clear instance of an A-tr scene, though it is intriguing to consider whether Julee Cruise's performance of "The World Spins" in Part 17 might count (it satisfies the fantastical condition, though the emcee is not discernibly present; it is conceivable that this performance might be a case of a hybrid type, A-im/tr).
Part 2 (top middle) features a paradigm case of a B-type scene in the immanent modality (B-im): the scene portrays a combination of music (Chromatics' "Shadow") and significant narrative or character development without an appearance from the Roadhouse emcee (specifically, we meet Shelly and Renee and learn of the marital discord between Becky and Stephen; we meet James Hurley and Freddie Sykes and learn of James' unrequited love for Renee; we meet Red and get subtle indications that Red and Shelly are an item; and all of these interactions play significantly into future plot developments, including the showdown between Freddie and Bob, the Sparkle drug-trafficking ring, and the domestic violence between Becky and Stephen). Another example of a B-im scene is Richard Horne's antics in Part 5 (as Trouble performs "Snake Eyes").
Part 15a (bottom middle) features a paradigm case of a B-type scene in the transcendent modality (B-tr): the scene portrays a combination of music (ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man") and significant narrative or character development in the presence of the Roadhouse emcee that includes the intervention of fantastical Freddy's magical garden glove (after the emcee turns up the volume on "Sharp Dressed Man", James' attempt to engage Renee results in his being attacked by her husband Chuck, which results, in turn, in Freddie knocking out both Chuck and his buddy Skipper). Other examples of B-tr scenes include Sophie and Megan's discussion of Billy (as the emcee enthusiastically introduces Lissie's "Wild West") in Part 14 and Audrey and Charlie's visit to the Roadhouse in Part 16 (as the emcee introduces Edward Louis Severson's "Out of Sand."
Part 12 (top right) features a paradigm case of a C-type scene (C): the scene portrays Abbie and Natalie lamenting the absence of their friend Angela and the fact that her new love interest Clark seems to be two-timing her with Mary (as Chromatics perform "Saturday"). Their friend Trick joins them for beers after narrowly escaping a serious car accident. None of these characters recur in the series and no significant narrative or character development occurs, but the scene offers thematic texturing by providing examples of themes that recur throughout the series, such as domestic trauma (Angela's mother is implied to have died a horrific death), relationship alienation/sexual infidelity (Clark's two-timing Angela). Other examples of C-type scenes include Ella and Chloe's drug-addled discussion of work woes over Hudson Mohawke's "Human" and Au Revoir Simone's "A Violent Yet Flammable World" in Part 9 and Jean-Michel Renault's discussion of underaged prostitutes over "Green Onions" in Part 7.
The interplay of these different types of scenes can wreak havoc on the viewer's sense of continuity, and especially so when one fails to track their important differences. Consider the potential confusions that can arise in the case presented in Figure 2 below.
At face value, the scenes depicted by Figure 2 from Parts 9 (top left), 12 (top right), and 14 (bottom center) appear to be clear instances of the same type. In all three cases, we see non-recurring characters sitting in the same booth at the Roadhouse making thematically consistent small talk while drinking beers as the bands perform. As Figure 2 illustrates, the similarities go all the way down to the color palate; if you got the characters from all three scenes together for a photo, the result would look like a snapshot from a bad color-coordinated family reunion. After experiencing two clear C-type scenes in Parts 9 and 12, moreover, viewers are well-primed to interpret Part 14 as another instance of the same type and will almost inevitably do so. In tracking the difference between C-type and B-tr-type scenes, however, the discontinuity is salient: Ella and Chloe (Part 9) and Abbie, Natalie, and Trick (Part 12) are engaged in banal this-worldly conversation that offers worthwhile thematic texture but doesn't really advance any central narrative threads, whereas Megan and Sophie (Part 14) are engaged in narratively crucial dialogue that is mysteriously tangent to (or even corroborative of) Audrey Horne's dream/fantasy, insofar as they discuss specific details of experiences that Audrey and Charlie have had searching for Billy in previous episodes (see the full audit of Part 14 below in section III for further details).
To clarify the character of this continuous discontinuity as it plays out over the course of the series and illuminate the potential for viewer alienation that results from it, it will be helpful to get a birds-eye view of the central plot-lines and themes that recur throughout these scenes in the context of the broader Roadhouse narrative. By indexing these plot-lines and themes to their relevant scene types, moreover, we can elucidate the significant extent to which various central narratives in Twin Peaks seem to blur or even cut across the reality/dream distinction. Though it shouldn't come as a surprise to any serious Twin Peaks viewer that these boundaries are routinely crossed and that the realms they delimit intermingle, it is nonetheless intriguing to observe how importantly and explicitly The Roadhouse figures into these crossings and their potential revelation to viewers, especially in light of the tendency of some viewers and critics to undervalue the importance of these scenes.
KEY: Roadhouse Plotlines and Thematic Content
Freddie vs. BOB (FVB)
Where Is Billy? (WIB)
Sparkle Drug Trade (SDT)
Domestic Unrest or Violence (DUV)
Sexual Infidelity or Violence (SIV)
Musical Performance Only
Roadhouse Emcee (RMC)
Part 2 (B-im)-James & Freddie, Shelly, Renee & friends, Red/Chromatics, "Shadow"
FVB (Freddie introduced), SDT (Red is at the Roadhouse), DUV (Shelly mentions Becky and Steven)
Part 3 (A-im)-Cactus Blossoms, "Mississippi"
Musical Performance Only
Part 4 (A-im)-Au Revoir Simone, "Lark"
Musical Performance Only
Part 5 (B-im)-Richard Horne (RH), Deputy Chad Broxford (DB), Charlotte (C) & friends/Trouble, "Snake Eyes"
FVB (RH's death saves Mr. C), WIB (RH uses Billy's truck), SDT (RH pays DB), SIV (RH assaults C)
Part 6 (A-im)-Sharon Van Etten, "Tarifa"
Musical Performance Only
Part 7 (C)-Employee sweeps Roadhouse, Jean-Michel Renault (R) on telephone /"Green Onions"
SIV (R pimps underaged sex workers)
Part 8 (A-tr)-Nine Inch Nails, "She's Gone Away"
RMC introduces "The Nine Inch Nails"
Part 9 (C)-Ella and Chloe discuss work woes/Mohawke, "Human"; Au Revoir Simone, "Violent Yet..."
SDT (Ella and Chloe show signs of severe drug abuse)
Part 10 (A-im)-Rebekah Del Rio, "No Stars"
Musical Performance Only
Part 12 (C)-Abbie and Natalie discuss Clark (C) and Angela (A), Trick (T) joins in/Chromatics, "Saturday"
SIV (C two-times A), DUV (A's mother dies violently), possibly WIB (T saved by "some farmer")
Part 13 (B-tr)-James Hurley (JH) performs "Just You" as Renee (R) watches in tears
RMC introduces JH, FVB (R precipitates Freddie's intervention), DUV (R and Chuck)
Part 14 (B-tr)-Sophie (S) and Megan (M) discuss drug use at "nuthouse" & Billy (B)/Lissie (L), "Wild West"
RMC intros L, STD (nuthouse), WIB (B at M's house; M's Mom, Tina (T), dates B), SIV (B/T/Audrey)
Part 15a (B-tr)-Freddie knocks out Chuck (C) and Skipper/"Sharp Dressed Man"
RMC turns up "Sharp Dressed Man", FVB (R's husband C fights with JH and F, landing them in jail)
Part 15b (C)-Bikers remove Ruby from booth, Ruby screams/The Veils, "Axolotl"
Part 16 (B-tr)-Audrey (Au) and Charlie (C) arrive, Au's Dance/Edward L. Severson (Vedder), "Out of Sand"
RMC introduces Severson/Au, WIB (C toasts: "to us!"; Au: "to Billy!"), DUV (Monique's husband)
Part 17 (A-im or perhaps A-tr or even A-im/tr?)-Julee Cruise, "The World Spins"
Musical Performance Only
A closer look at some photo highlights from the two most prominent Roadhouse plot-lines, Where is Billy? (Figure 3) and Freddie vs. BOB (Figure 4), clearly demonstrates that these narratives both cut across immanent and transcendent modalities and serve as crucial narrative connective tissue to events outside The Roadhouse that figure importantly in these central plot-lines.
Figure 3: Where Is Billy? Bing plays guitar in Trouble's performance of "Snake Eyes" in Part 5 (top left) before showing up at the R&R in Part 7 looking for Billy; Richard Horne pays off Deputy Broxford in Part 5 (top center) before using Billy's truck (stolen by Chuck) in a deadly hit-and-run in Part 6; Trick tells Natalie (top right) that "some farmer" (possibly Billy?) pulled him out of a ditch after he was run off the road; Megan and Sophie discuss Billy's harrowing final visit to Megan's mom Tina's house in Part 14 as the Roadhouse emcee introduces Lissie (middle left and center); Charlie toasts "to us" and Audrey toasts "to Billy" upon finally arriving at the Roadhouse in Part 16 (middle right) after multiple false starts at home (Parts 12, 13, and 15); Audrey performs "Audrey's Dance" at the invitation of the Roadhouse emcee, runs terrified to Charlie saying "Get me out of here!" when Monique's husband violently interrupts her performance by attacking his cuckolder, and wakes up in a white room staring gape-jawed into a vanity mirror (bottom right, center, and left).
Figure 4: Freddie vs. BOB James Hurley and Freddie Sykes enter The Roadhouse, where James immediately spots Renee across the crowded room in Part 2 (top left); Richard Horne is revealed to be a sparkle dealer in Part 5 (top center), paying off Deputy Broxford to pave the way for doing regular business with Red, which results in a deadly, sparkle-addled hit-and-run in Part 6, necessitating an escape from Twin Peaks to The Farm in Part 13 where he encounters Mr. C. and trails him to The Dutchman's Lodge in Part 15, leading finally to his dying in Mr. C's place in the trap laid at the false coordinates in Part 16, thereby enabling Mr. C. to transport BOB to the showdown with Freddie in Part 17; introduced by the Roadhouse emcee in Part 13, James Hurley performs "Just You" (top right) with Renee at heart, as she watches, crying, in the audience (middle left); soon after the Roadhouse emcee turns up the volume on "Sharp Dressed Man," James and Freddie approach Renee in Part 15a (middle center), enraging her abusing husband Chuck (whom Audrey refers to as "certifiable" at home in Part 12) (middle right); Freddie rushes to James' aid as Chuck attacks him in Part 15a, laying out both Chuck and his buddy Skipper with jackhammer punches from the magic green garden glove (bottom left, center, right), resulting in the incarceration of James and Freddie at the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department in Part 16 and their eventual participation in the showdown with BOB in Part 17 (which appears to happen in Cooper's dream).
It is intriguing to observe, given Figures 3 and 4, that both Freddie and BOB arrive at the final showdown by way of The Roadhouse, and the causal chains that land them there take their departures from scenes of different modalities: Richard kicks things off in an immanent B-type scene in Part 5 which eventually leads to his dying in Mr. C.'s (his own father's!) place; and Freddie goes to jail on the steam of a transcendent B-type scene in Part 15a. To note that there are some narrative discontinuities here is something of an understatement.
The picture that emerges from this overview is that The Roadhouse scenes are distributed in a way that strenuously resists any sort of straightforward, unified interpretation of what is happening there. Indeed, the arrangement of these scenes--the combination of transitions from one scene type to another and the fits and starts of partial patterns taken up and then abandoned--could hardly be more resistant to prediction or better suited to thwarting our expectations if they had been explicitly contrived for these ends. And this resistance to a unified interpretation persists whether one considers this arc of scenes prospectively in the order it is originally experienced on a first viewing (without any knowledge of what comes next) or retrospectively as a whole (in full knowledge of everything that has happened in Season 3).
When we consider the scenes prospectively as a linear series unfolding from part to part, to wit, we find that there is virtually no way reliably to predict future scenes on the basis of past ones. The scene in Part 2 sets us up for a nostalgia fest with characters from the past. The scenes in Parts 3 and 4, then, build on the foundation laid in Part 2 of concluding episodes in The Roadhouse, but jettison the interaction with past characters, tempting us to expect a sort of "band showcase" at the end of each part moving forward. But then Part 5's scene shows up well before episode's end and wades deep into narrative waters, introducing Richard Horne and exposing corruption in the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department, thereby weaving The Roadhouse narrative together (in the longer term) with Mr. C. and thus with the showdown between Freddie and BOB. Part 6 then veers back to the band showcase. Part 7 departs entirely from precedent by showing us The Roadhouse after hours. And Part 8 goes even farther off script by taking us to The Roadhouse just eleven minutes into the episode, introducing the Roadhouse emcee, and subjecting us to Nine Inch Nails before launching us headlong into the center of a nuclear explosion. As if none of this ever happened, then, Part 9 introduces the "random strangers drinking beer" trope, and things only get increasingly unhinged in the second half of the series, as we careen, willy nilly--between immanent and transcendent modalities--from the band showcase (Part 10), to the omission of The Roadhouse altogether (Part 11), to more and still more booth chat with boozing strangers (Parts 12 and 14), to bizarre meta-performances of numbers from the soundtracks of previous Twin Peaks seasons like "Just You" (Part 13) and "Audrey's Dance" (Part 16). And while we're at it, why not let the Roadhouse emcee get hopped up on "Sharp Dressed Man" just for good measure (Part 15a)?
Imposing order on this discontinuous Roadhouse chaos is no easier in retrospect. Virtually every tempting unification strategy has obvious counterexamples. One might notice, for instance, that the first half of the series is modally immanence-heavy and the second half transcendence-heavy; fair enough, but the Roadhouse emcee's first appearance is in Part 8 in the first half, and Part 15b interrupts an otherwise continuous run of transcendent scenes across four episodes (Parts 13, 14, 15a, and 16) in the second half. One might observe that the songs played in transcendent scenes introduced by the Roadhouse emcee have an uncanny knack for being performed by 80's and 90's rock icons or high school heartthrobs of the sort you might expect to be rattling around the subconscious of a woman of a certain age with a skeptical edge and a penchant for saddle shoes: NIN (Part 8), James Hurley (Part 13), ZZ-Top (Part 15a), and Eddie Vedder (Part 16); sure, sure, but then there's Lissie (Part 14) about whom the Roadhouse emcee gets more excited than he does about the other four combined. One might be tempted to interpret Rebekah Del Rio's performance of "No Stars" in Part 10--given both the realist, deflationary lyrics about the impossibility of understanding our origins and the obvious parallels to Del Rio's similarly arresting performance of "Llorando" at Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive--as a kind of narrative hinge that transitions the audience from the wishful thinking of fantasy to the harsh truths of reality; the thought is alluring, but if anything, the narrative seems to break the other way in the second half of Season 3, at least until the final chapter in Part 18.
What I'm left with in the face of this paucity of hermeneutic leverage on The Roadhouse is the impression that these scenes are continuous only in their unmitigated, unrelenting discontinuity. The Roadhouse simply will not let us settle into a rhythm, forcing us week after merciless week, part after mystifying part, to abandon our received views about televisual narrative, let go of our hopes for friendly catch-up time with favorite characters and stories, and fearlessly address ourselves to the beautiful and terrible possibilities that are actually before us. The Roadhouse is an invitation to experience the interpretive freedom that attends to consenting to the events imposed by destiny and mindfully dwelling with whatever is revealed simply as it gives itself.
I conclude section II with a round-up of some of the purposes The Roadhouse seems to me to serve in Twin Peaks on this interpretation. By "purposes" here, I mean something far rather more like "functions" than "prescribed or intended ends". I don't want to suggest that any of these alleged purposes are "what Frost and Lynch intended" or "set out to show" when they penned and shot The Roadhouse scenes. Whatever Frost and Lynch may have had in mind, my sense of things (following Hans-Georg Gadamer's account of the ontology of the work of art in Truth and Method) is that the being of a work of art has less to do with the artists' intentions than with the interpretive community's ongoing efforts to understand the work and do justice to the range of interpretive possibilities it puts into play at a given place and time.
From the foregoing reading of The Roadhouse scenes, then, we can distill five different purposes that The Roadhouse may be said to serve in Twin Peaks within this general orientation to the scenes:
i. Mood Framing--Through the careful juxtaposition of music, dialogue, and events, The Roadhouse scenes conjure a general mood of productive anxiety and alienation over our current circumstances that reminds us of our finitude--our tendency to fall victim to wallowing in the familiar and getting stuck there--and calls us out to transcend the familiar. There are dozens of lines in the songs performed in The Roadhouse that demonstrate this acute self-awareness of our entrapment in the familiar and the need to get beyond it, but Ruth Radelet of Chromatics sings my favorite exemplar of the genre in performing "Shadow:" "At night we're driving in your car, pretending that we'll leave this town. We're watching all the streetlights fade, and now you're just a stranger's dream. I took your picture from the frame, and now you're nothing like you seem." When we stop pretending to leave the old ways behind and actually jettison the frames of reference that curtail expanded self-understanding, new revelations can appear from out of old seemings.
ii. Thematic Texturizing--The Roadhouse scenes provide case-study after case-study of the ravages of the familiar gone bad: domestic violence, sexual abuse, infidelity, parental neglect, escapism through drug- and alcohol-abuse, gossip, manipulation, unrealistic fantasizing about emotionally unavailable potential partners, and cruelty to others.
iii. Therapeutic Expectation Foiling--By consistently foiling our best efforts to render them intelligible (much less predictable), The Roadhouse scenes help us to get over the need to have our expectations met so that we can enter the play of the unknown, anticipating and mindfully attending to horizon-expanding surprises and adventures as the mystery unfolds.
iv. Modal Shifting--Via the presence of the Roadhouse emcee and the positioning of a variety of types of immanent and transcendent scenes, The Roadhouse provides clear examples of specific ways that Twin Peaks is a place between two worlds where people and their stories resonate in multiple dimensions simultaneously.
v. Plot Driving--Far from an opportunistic set of "filler" scenes aimed at inflating run times or showcasing bands, what happens in The Roadhouse is artistically and narratively integral to most of the main story arcs of the series, including and especially the "Where is Billy?" narrative that culminates in Audrey's awakening and the possibility of the ideality of The Roadhouse, and the "Freddie vs. Bob" narrative that culminates in Mr. C.'s demise and the possibility for Cooper to meet Jeffries, launch the plan to kill two birds with one stone, and turn back the clock on Laura's death (or perhaps open a new possible world for Laura's life).
III. Full Audit: Ceasing to Hope--At Play with the Gifts of Discontinuity and Alienation
My aim in section III is simply to share with readers the raw materials that gave rise to my interpretation of The Roadhouse as a liberating invitation to let go of the need for palatable, familiar outcomes and just sink into the experience of what Twin Peaks has to offer in all its alienating discontinuity and otherness. These audits were compiled over the past several months in many different sessions that encompassed re-watching the entire series and revisiting The Roadhouse scenes in particular for hours upon hours. Despite efforts to standardize the treatments of each scene, there is inevitably some discontinuity in my renderings. In many cases, too, my anxiety over the difficulty of conveying what is going on is palpable; I'm often clearly grasping at straws and reaching for handholds that crumble under pressure.
So be it. Anxiety is an indispensable part of the adventure. It's only in anxiety, after all, that we realize that possibility always stands higher than actuality where human beings are concerned: thanks to our open future, we are never reducible to our current circumstances, always already ahead of ourselves, always already more than the ascendent matrices of understanding and familiar ways of being that we've inherited from the past. It's this open future and its unstinting resistance to being predicted and controlled by inherited forms of thinking and doing that motivate and compel us to keep moving forward. Without anxiety, we might be tempted to think it's possible to get everything figured out or--much worse--that we've already figured it out. There's no risk of falling prey to those deceptions in these musings.
Part 2: The Stars Turn and A Time Presents Itself (Roadhouse Event #1)
Featured Act: Chromatics, "Shadow"
Who: James Hurley and Freddie Sykes; Shelly Briggs, Renee, and friends; Red.
When: Just after Sarah Palmer watches lions devouring a fallen wildebeest on TV in Part 2, and just before Cooper falls through space on his way to the violet world on the outset of Part 3.
Narrative intersections: Freddie vs. BOB (this episode marks the first appearance of the green-garden-gloved Freddie Sykes, who will go on to fight BOB in the showdown at Twin Peaks Sheriff's station); James' unrequited love for Renee; Steven and Becky's domestic problems; "Sparkle" drug trade; Shelly Briggs' relationship with Red.
Listen to the sounds (video currently unavailable)
49:25--Chromatics perform "Shadow."
"Shadow, take me down with you
For the last time (x4)
You're in the water
I'm standing on the shore
Still thinking that I hear your voice
Can you hear me? (x4)
For the last time (x4)
At night I'm driving in your car
Pretending that we'll leave this town
We're watching all the streetlights fade
And now you're just a stranger's dream
I took your picture from the frame
And now you're nothing like you seem
Your shadow fell like last night's rain
For the last time (x4)"
49:45--Shelly, Renee, and friends are having tequila shots in the booth.
50:00--James and Freddie Sykes walk in.
James: (smiling) "Great place isn’t it."
Sykes: "Yeah, it’s the dog’s bullocks in here.
James: "What kind of beer do you want?"
Sykes: "Oh, I’ll have whatever."
James (to bartender): "Two ice cold Colonials."
50:14--Shelly, Renee and friends:
Shelly: "No, you guys, my daughter is with the wrong guy."
Renee: "Are you kidding me? Everybody loves Steven."
Shelly: "You don’t know Becky. I can see it on her face. There is something really wrong."
Friend: "It’s her life."
50:31--James (smiling) sees Rene and is dumbstruck.
Friend: "Hey, over there. There’s James. He’s staring at you again."
Shelly: (gasps) "Does James have a thing for you?"
Friend: "There’s something wrong with that guy."
Shelly: "There’s nothing wrong with him. James was in a motorcycle accident. He’s just quiet now. James
is still cool. He’s always been cool."
51:30--Red sees Shelly and gestures at her.
Part 3: Call For Help (Roadhouse Event #2)
Featured Act: The Cactus Blossoms, "Mississippi".
Who: Roadhouse patrons, The Cactus Blossoms.
When: Just after Warden Murphy calls to inform Cole that Cooper (Mr. C.) is incarcerated at Yankton Federal Prison in Part 3 (prompting Rosenfield to comment to Preston "The absurd mystery of the strange forces of existence!"), and just before Cooper (standing in for Dougie Jones) resumes his winning streak at the Silver Mustang Casino on the outset of Part 4 ("Helllllloooooooo!").
Narrative intersections: None known.
Watch Roadhouse Event #2
55:42--Twin Peaks locals dance as The Cactus Blossoms play "Mississippi":
"I’m going down to the sea: M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-
I watch the sun yellow and brown
Sinking suns in every town
My angel sings down to me
She’s somewhere on the shore waiting for me
With her wet hair and sandy gown
Singing songs waves of sound
There’s a dive I know on River Street
Go on in and take my seat
There’s a lot of friends I’ll never meet
Gonna take a dive off River Street
You look different from way down here
Like a circus mirror I see flashes
Of you on the surface"
Part 4: ...Brings Back Some Memories (Roadhouse Event #3)
Featured Act: Au Revoir Simone, "Lark".
Who: Roadhouse patrons, Au Revoir Simone.
When: Just after Rosenfield and Cole discuss the need to track down Diane after meeting with Mr. C. at Yankton Federal Prison and realizing that something is yrev wrong, and just before Gene and Lorraine discuss the botched assassination of Dougie Jones prompting Lorraine to text the mystery box in Buenos Aires on the outset of Part 5.
Narrative intersections: None known.
Watch Roadhouse Event #3
54:20--Au Revoir Simone performs "Lark":
So long ago
There wasn’t anyone out there I thought I needed to know
But no more
When I find the day leave my mind in the evening
Just as the day before
I saw the window was open the cool air
I don’t know what you saw there
Don’t know what you saw in me
Sometimes I want to be enough for you
Don’t ask know that its understood there’s not enough of me
I saw that something was broken I’ve crossed the line
I’ll point you to a better time a safer place to be."
Part 5: Case Files (Roadhouse Event #4)
Featured Act: Trouble, "Snake Eyes".
Who: Bing; Richard Horne, Deputy Chad Broxford, Charlotte and friends.
When: Just after Colonel Davis dispatches Lieutenant Cynthia Knox from the Pentagon to Buckhorn, South Dakota to investigate the latest of 16 hits on Major Briggs' finger prints in the past 25 years, and just before Agent Preston discovers discrepancies between Cooper's prints from his Bureau file in Philadelphia and Mr. C's prints from Yankton Federal Prison.
Narrative intersections: The search for Billy (in which Bing, the guitarist of Trouble, is engaged in Part 7); "sparkle" drug trade (Richard Horne bribes Deputy Chad Broxford); Horne's hit-and-run homicide of the young boy in Part 6 and Miriam Sullivan's attempted murder and cover-up (perpetrated by Horne and Broxford); Mr. C's search for the coordinates/Jeffries/Judy (Horne sees Mr. C. at the Farm and follows him to the convenience store portal to The Dutchman's).
Watch Roadhouse Event #4
46:40--Locals dance to Trouble's "Snake Eyes" as Richard Horne sits in a booth illicitly smoking.
Server: "I have to ask you to stop smoking. Put that cigarette out!"
Horne: "Make me!"
Deputy Broxford (off-duty): "I’ll take care of this."
Server: "Just make sure he stops smoking in here. Okay?"
Deputy Broxford: "Gimme a smoke."
Horne: "Keep the whole pack."
Deputy Broxford: "Thanks, buddy!" (inspects the pack to find a fat roll of Ben Frankies)
49:38--Having paid off Broxford, Horne--still smoking with impunity--has attracted the attention of some young women sitting in the adjacent booth.
Charlotte: "Hey, can I have a light?"
Horne: "Come here. Sit down." [grabs her]
Horne: "Hey what? What’s your name?"
Horne: "Wanna fuck me, Charlotte? Wanna fuck?"
Charlotte: "No, stop it!"
Friend: "Leave her alone."
Horne: "Little fucking smoking babies. Makes me laugh. I’m going to laugh when I fuck you, bitch."
Part 6: Don't Die (Roadhouse Event #5)
Featured Act: Sharon Van Etten, "Tarifa".
Who: Roadhouse patrons, Van Etten and band.
When: Just after Deputy Broxford mocks Sheriff Frank Truman's son's suicide in front of his colleagues following upon Frank's wife losing it in front of them over her Dad's car repairs, and just before Jerry Horne's cannabis-induced freak-out in the forest ("I don't know where I am!") on the outset of Part 7.
Narrative intersections: None known.
Watch Roadhouse Event #5
54:54--Sharon Van Etten performs "Tarifa" to a crowd of Twin Peaks locals:
"Hit the ground
The yard I found something
I could taste your mouth
Shut the door
Now in the sun tanning
You were so just
Looking across the sky
I can’t recall no
I can’t remember anything at all
Let’s run under
Cursing myself at night
Slow it was seven
I wish it was seven all night
Tell me when
Tell me when is this over?
Chewed you out
Chew me out when I’m stupid
I don’t wanna
Everyone else pales
Send in the owl
Tell me I’m not a child
You summon forget about everyone else
Fall away somehow."
Part 7: There's A Body Alright (Roadhouse Event #6)
Featured Song: "Green Onions" (Booker T. and the M.G.'s).
Who: Jean-Michel Renault, unnamed Roadhouse employee.
When: Just after Beverly and her sick husband Tom have it out over Beverly's return to work (as Ben Horne's secretary) in order to make ends meet as Tom convalesces at home, and just before Ray Monroe and Mr. C. break out of Yankton Federal Prison (with the help of Warden Murphy) and make for The Farm.
Narrative Intersections: Possible drug- and human-trafficking connections between Jean-Michel Renault and Mr. C.'s crime syndicate.
Watch Roadhouse Event #6
49:49-53:12--The bar is closed and a bearded young man in black sweeps the floor as Jean-Michel Renault attends to business behind the bar. After an ample two minutes of watching the Roadhouse employee sweep the floor, the phone rings and the lascivious Jean-Michel picks up, laughing in response to the caller’s opening salvo. “Of course he loved it! Who wouldn’t? Wait, he owes me for two! He wanted blondes I sent him two blonds.” The caller informs Renault that the women were under-aged, and Jean-Michel protests that they both had good IDs: “This has nothing to do with the Roadhouse. The Roadhouse has been owned by the Renault family for 57 years we’re not going to lose it now because of a couple of 15-year-old straight-A students.” The caller continues to press for a discounted rate, but Renault isn’t biting: ‘No, those girls…they are whores pure and simple. From what I hear though, they are straight-A whores…He owes me for two.”
Part 8: Gotta Light? (Roadhouse Event #7)
Featured Act: Nine Inch Nails, "She's Gone Away".
Who: Roadhouse MC, Roadhouse patrons, Nine Inch Nails.
When: Just after Ray Monroe calls Phillip Jeffries to check in after witnessing Mr. C. "get some help" from the woodsmen in the wake of Ray's shooting him, and just before Mr. C. wakes up in the lead-up to the White Sands nuclear explosion.
Narrative Intersections: This first appearance of the Roadhouse "MC" (JR Starr) in Twin Peaks: The Return brings to mind the iconic "Black Lodge Performer" (Jimmy Scott) and his legendary performance of "Sycamore Trees" from Episode 29 of the original run of Twin Peaks. After this first appearance in Part 8, the Roadhouse MC makes 4 additional appearances in parts 13, 14, 15, and 16. The common narrative threads across these latter four episodes are the Audrey/Charlie storyline and the James/Renee storyline, both of which seem to contain fantasy/dreaming elements in which the Roadhouse is a liminal space where different worlds collide.
Watch Roadhouse Event #7
11:20--MC: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Roadhouse is proud to welcome The Nine Inch Nails.”
"You dig in places till your fingers bleed
Spread the infection where you spill your seed
I can’t remember what she came here for
I can’t remember much of anything anymore
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
Away, Away, Away
A little mouth opened up inside
Yeah, I was watching on the day she died
We keep licking while the skin turns black
Cut along the length but you can’t get the feeling back
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
16:00--The song ends and we cut to Mr. C. waking up, followed by White Sands nuclear explosion.
Part 9: This Is The Chair (Roadhouse Event #8)
Featured Acts: Hudson Mohawke, "Human"; Au Revoir Simone, "A Violent Yet Flammable World".
Who: Hudson Mohawke, Chloe, Ella, Au Revoir Simone.
When: Just after Beverly and Benjamin Horne narrowly avoid cheating on Beverly's husband while trying to discern the source of the hum at The Great Northern, and just before Richard Horne attacks Miriam Sullivan in her mobile home at the outset of Part 10.
Narrative Intersections: "Sparkle" drug trade (Ella and Chloe are clearly junkies and their references to "that zebra" and "that penguin" seem linked to their experiences in local drug culture).
Watch Roadhouse Event #8, Part 1 (Hudson Mohawke, "Human")
Watch Roadhouse Event #8, Part 2 (Au Revoir Simone "A Violent Yet Flammable World")
51:57--Hudson Mohawke performs "Human".
Chloe: "You know that zebra’s out again (laughing) Uh, haven’t seen you in awhile."
Ella: "I got another job."
Chloe: "Oh yeah? What happened?"
Ella: "I got fired. Fucker fired me."
Chloe: "That’s fucked. Why?"
Ella: "I came in high a couple times, I guess."
Chloe: "You guess?"
Ella: "Yeah. Fuck, I can’t remember. You know what I mean, what’s the big fucking deal? I mean, I did the
fucking work. Like, how can you fuck up serving burgers, you know what I mean? I’ve got some kind of
wicked rash." (scratches at irritated under-arm)
Chloe: "So where are you working now?"
Ella: "Across the fucking street, serving burgers. (laughing)"
Chloe: "Oh shit."
54:21-Au Revoir Simon begins performing "A Violent Yet Flammable World"
Ella: "Have you seen that penguin?"
Chloe: "Have I—What?"
Ella: "You know, the penguin. (laughing) Yep."
Au Revoir Simone performs "A Violent Yet Flammable World":
"It all was just a dream
At their faces I’m looking
But your feet I’m following
In soft steps on a path the way you lead
I don’t want to lose myself
It’s a whisper
It’s a funny thing
We fold like icicles on paper shelves
It’s a pity to appear this way
You’re flying when your foreign eyes trace the heights of the city
Steaming with rocks and clouds we breathe
A shock to my own body
Speech is wild
Alive and sacred sounding
From across and beyond wild
I don’t want to lose myself
It’s a whisper, it’s a funny thing
We fold like icicles on paper shelves
It’s a pity to appear this way
Hold on I swear I saw it somewhere
Waving, wading, one, two three,
Above the wakes that follow
I don’t want to lose myself
Tonight I sleep to dream of a place that is calling me
It’s a whisper
It’s always just a dream
From across and beyond."
Part 10: Laura is the One (Roadhouse Event #9)
Featured Act: Rebekah Del Rio, "No Stars".
Who: Rebekah Del Rio, Moby, and band.
When: Just after Margaret Lanterman tells Hawk that "Laura is the One" ("Electricity is humming. What will be in the darkness that remains? The Truman brothers are true men. The circle is almost complete. Watch and listen to the dream of time and space--that which is and is not."), and just before local boys playing catch discover a bloodied Miriam Sullivan crawling out of the woods toward the road on the outset of Part 11.
Narrative Intersections: Though there are no known narrative tie-ins within Twin Peaks, it seems deeply significant that Rebekah Del Rio is the same artist who performed "Llorando" at Club Silencio in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive-a performance that, within that film, marked a key narrative transition from fantasy to reality, as the protagonist's psychological projections of a relationship gone bad (or that perhaps even never was) descend into the dark actualities of murder and suicide. Both in Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, Del Rio's performances seem to indicate a turning point in the audience's consciousness: our deepest desires to find originary meaning in the world must go unrequited: "No hay banda!" (Mulholland Drive: "There is no band!"), "No hay estrellas!" (Twin Peaks: "There are no stars!").
Listen to the sounds (video currently unavailable)
46:15-53:15--Rebekah Del Rio performs "No Stars:"
"My dream is to go to that place (you know the one) where it all began
On a starry night on a starry night when it all began
You said hold me hold me hold me
Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we’re with the stars!
I saw them in your eyes en tus palabras y en tus besos
Abajo de una noche llena, llena de estrellas
Under the starry night long ago
But now it’s a dream
Yo vi en tus ojos Yo vi las estrellas
Pero ya no hay ya no hay estrellas
Pero ya no hay ya no hay estrellas
No stars (x2)
Ya no hay estrellas
No stars (x6)
Ya no hay estrellas
No hay estrellas
No stars (x5)"
Part 11: There's Fire Where You Are Going (No Roadhouse Event)
If we consider Parts 1 and 2 as a single premiere event, and Parts 17 and 18 as a single finale event (given that both of these pairs aired together), then Part 11 is the only episode that lacks a visit to the Roadhouse (if we consider Parts 1 and 18 as standalone episodes, then there are 3 such episodes). What we get instead is Robert "Smokey" Miles at the baby grand in a Vegas restaurant performing Angelo Badalamenti's "Heartbreaking" as Dougie Jones (Cooper) and the Mitchum brothers celebrate securing a $30,000,000 insurance payout with Champagne and multiple slices of a life-saving cherry pie.
Part 12: Let's Rock (Roadhouse Event #10)
Featured Act: Chromatics, "Saturday".
Who: Abbie and Natalie (discussing Angela, Clark, and Mary), Trick, Chromatics.
When: Just after Diane texts the coordinates from Ruth Davenport's arm to Mr. C., indicating Twin Peaks as the site of the coordinates (dark trees take over the screen as Diane stares mystified at the map), and just before the Mitchum brothers, Cooper, and the showgirls conga through the courtyard of Lucky 7 Insurance on the outset of Part 13.
Narrative Intersections: The search for Billy (Trick mentions that "some farmer" pulled him out of the ditch after he was run off the road on the way to The Roadhouse, recalling to the attentive viewer Deputy Andy's interrogation of a terrified farmer back in Part 7 after Andy had tracked the truck that Richard Horne was driving in the hit and run to a nearby farm. After the farmer (Billy?) agrees to meet with Andy later that afternoon, he stands him up.); Richard Horne's hit-and-run of the young boy in Part 6 (using the "farmer's" truck that Chuck--Renee's husband who Audrey told Charlie was "certifiable"--had previously stolen).
Watch Roadhouse Event #10
49:46--Abbie and Natalie discuss Angela's notable absence and potential reasons for it before being rudely interrupted by Trick, the almost-victim of a serious auto accident:
Abbie: "Where’s Angela?"
Natalie: "I haven’t got a clue. She was supposed to show last night. She didn’t show last night either. She
might be with Clark."
Natalie: "Yeah, they been hanging out lately."
Natalie: "Yeah. You look surprised."
Abbie: "Yeah, ‘cause I saw Clark and Mary together here, like, two nights ago."
Natalie: "I hate her."
Natalie: "And Angela fucking really hates her too. What were they doing?"
Abbie: "Like practically making out. Slow dancing and getting real close. Over the in corner, off in their
own world. Lots of people saw ‘em."
Natalie: "Angela is going to go crazy when she gets wind of this. She’s getting really serious about Clark.
He’s been on her for a couple of weeks now. She’s even dreaming about the guy."
Abbie: "Shit. I guess Clark’s spreading it around."
Natalie: "And she’s off her meds now. I hope Clark doesn’t fuck this up. She won’t be able to take it I don’t
Abbie: "Well, yeah, she’s kind of on the edge."
Natalie: "Who wouldn’t be? Losing her Mom like that?"
Trick: "Hey, I almost got fucking killed coming over here. Some fucking ass-eater’s heading toward me on
the highway and runs me off the road all I see is two headlights coming fucking right at me. Then I drove
off the road and almost hit a tree. Some farmer had to pull me out. Man, I’d like to kill the motherfucker
that did that. I need a beer. Obviously (turning to Natalie), you want one too. You want another one (to
Abbie)? Alright, I’ll be right back."
Abbie: "Thanks, Trick." [Trick leaves for the bar.] "Trick’s lucky to be alive, sounds like."
Natalie: "Sure does."
Abbie: "By the way, isn’t Trick under house arrest?"
Natalie: "No, I mean, yeah but, he got that behind him now. He’s a free man again."
Abbie: "A free man!"
53:05--Chromatics perform Saturday (instrumental)
Editor's Note: Though Chromatics performs "Saturday" as an instrumental, the song was first recorded by another of Johnny Jewel's bands, Desire, and includes the following lyrics: "Baby, someone is stealing you at night/tell me it's true/Friday's slow, I know you hate the weather/don't you know it's true/Don't you know/I just can't make it until Saturday/Baby, that look in your eyes won't go away/Maybe, I just can't take these endless rainy days/Don't you know/We can pretend the world is grey/Friday's slow, I know you hate the weather/Don't you know, I love you like no other/Tell me, Tell me, it's true/Oh, won't you tell me/Tell me, it's true/Don't you know, I just can't make it until Saturday/Friday's slow, it's true/Tell me, someone is stealing you at night/Baby, tell me that you'll be alright/Don't you know, I've got a bad feeling about Saturday/Lately, it's true."
Part 13: What Story is that Charlie? (Roadhouse Event #11)
Featured Act: James Hurley, "Just You".
Who: Roadhouse MC, James Hurley, background singers, Renee.
When: Just after Audrey and Charlie discuss going to the Roadhouse (as Audrey begs Charlie to help her, asking if "this is the story of the little girl who lives down the lane" and claiming it is "like Ghostwood here"), and just before Big Ed eats soup from R&R-To-Go all alone and staring out the window of an empty Gas Farm at the end of Part 13.
Narrative Intersections: The love triangle between Laura, James, and Donna (in Season 2, Episode 9, James Hurley, Maddie Ferguson, and Donna Hayward sing "Just You" in the Hayward home; furtive glances between James and Maddie (Laura's cousin-twin) send Donna off in tears); the love triangle between James, Chuck, and Renee (Renee is visibly moved by James' performance in Part 13, and when James greets her in Part 15, Chuck becomes enraged and attacks James, prompting Freddie Sykes to deploy the green garden glove against Chuck and his aggressive pal Skipper); Freddie vs. BOB (the romantic tension between James and Renee is the condition of possibility for the altercation with Chuck that lands James and Freddie in the Twin Peaks Sheriff Station's holding cells and eventually in the showdown with BOB in Part 17).
Watch Roadhouse Event #11
53:12—56:26- MC: "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Roadhouse is proud to welcome James Hurley."
James Hurley (as Renee watches tearfully from booth; we do not see who Rene is sitting with):
"Just you and I together forever in love.
Just you and I together forever in love.
In love we go strolling together.
In love we go strolling forever.
Just you and I together forever in love."
Part 14: We Are Like the Dreamer (Roadhouse Event #12)
Featured Act: Lissie, "Wild West".
Who: Roadhouse MC, Sophie and Megan (Tina's daughter), Lissie and band.
When: Just after Sarah Palmer unleashes her inner-Judy on Mr. Truck You at Elk's Point #9 Bar, and just before a golden-shovel-wielding Nadine Hurley arrives at The Gas Farm to give Big Ed his freedom to be with Norma Jennings on the outset of Part 15.
Narrative Intersections: "Sparkle" drug trade (as Sophie warns Megan about "getting high" at "the nuthouse"); the search for Billy (Megan is alleged to have been "the last person to see Billy" and describes a disturbing sequence of events in which she is at home with her mother Tina (who is dating Billy) and Billy leaps a fence into her yard, runs into her kitchen bleeding from the nose and mouth and then bolts); friction between Audrey and Charlie (Megan's mother Tina--who, like Audrey, is a competitor for Billy's affections-- appears to be the same person who Charlie calls to inquire after Billy's whereabouts, only then to stonewall Audrey on the information he has gleaned from Tina even as Audrey implores him to tell her what she has learned).
Watch Roadhouse Event #12
49:21--Sophie and Megan discuss Billy's bizarre disappearance:
Sophie: "That’s because you’re hanging out at the nuthouse."
Megan: "I’m not."
Sophie: "Getting high in there."
Megan: "Bullshit, I’m not. I’m getting high in my room. Flying in my own room."
Sophie: "Just don’t go in that nut place."
Megan: "Fuck you. Who said I would anyway?"
Sophie: "Nice sweater. Where’d you lift that?"
Megan: "It’s Paula’s."
Sophie: "It’s nice. Have you seen Billy?"
Megan: "No, not for a couple of days."
Sophie: "I heard you were the last person to see Billy."
Megan: "It was so fucking scary. He was in the kitchen with me and my mom. Think my uncle was there.
I’m not sure. Then at the window, we see Billy. Jumped over a fence a six-foot fence, lands in our
backyard, was running like crazy to the back door. And I can tell he sees me through the window and he
has this look in his eyes. Comes slamming in the back, stumbles in the kitchen. I start screaming and I
think my Mom screamed too. And there was blood coming out his nose and mouth. And he goes and
hangs his head in the sink, blood’s just gushing like a waterfall. Then he turns, looks at us, real strange and
all bloody and then he bolts out the back again and we’re like “What?”"
Sophie: "And you didn’t tell anyone?"
Megan: "We—we just didn’t know what to do, I mean, we didn’t know what the hell was going on with him.
I know my Mom and him had a thing."
Sophie: "What? Really?"
Megan: "Yeah, until pretty recent, at least. I mean, I just caught wind of it from time to time. Smile on her
face whenever his name came up."
Sophie: "What’s your Mom’s name?"
Megan: "It’s Tina."
Sophie: "Then he just ran out again?"
Megan: "Yeah, just, like, he was in our kitchen for maybe like ten seconds then he just took off, real fast
and crazy, and after, we see all the blood on the floor, and some on the wall. Took awhile to clean it up.
Me and my Mom. I don’t remember if my uncle was there…"
MC: Ladies and Gentleman, the Roadhouse is proud to welcome Lissie! [performs "Wild West"]
"Are you out there?
To take away my fear?
I haven’t lost my hope even though I am so far from my home.
I’ve been living life on the edge slip and fall if I take one more step.
There’s safety in numbers I guess, but I’m going rogue in the wild, wild west.
Somewhere I stand, there’s a world where you can.
All that you lost you get back and all that you want you can have.
I’ve been living my life on the edge slip and fall if I take one more step
There’s safety in numbers I guess, but I’m going rogue in the wild, wild west.
I’ve been dancing in the moonlight, I’ve been laughing with the firelight
I’ve been living, I’ve been giving, I’ve been living with the firelight
I’ll be fine, fine, I’ll be fine, fine, I’ll be fine.
Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
I’ve been living too close to the edge, if I fall who’s going to catch me? There’s safety in numbers I guess."
Part 15a: There's Some Fear in Letting Go (Roadhouse Event #13)
Featured song: "Sharp Dressed Man," ZZ Top.
Who: MC; Roadhouse patrons; Renee, Chuck, Skipper and partner; James Hurley and Freddie Sykes.
When: Just after the man with the dog (Mark Frost) reports to Carl Rodd that he saw Stephen and Gersten Hayward engaged in bizarre behavior in the forest, and just before the Las Vegas FBI realizes that they've brought the wrong Douglas Jones family in for questioning. Seconds later, Chantal Hutchens executes Duncan Todd and his assistant Roger in Todd's swanky Las Vegas office.
Narrative Intersections: The love triangle between James, Renee, and Chuck; "Sparkle" drug trade and the search for Billy (on the hypothesis that Billy and the farmer are one and the same, Chuck stole Billy's truck which Richard Horne then used to meet Red about sparkle trafficking before committing the hit and run); Freddie vs. BOB (this bar fight is what lands Freddie and James in jail, thereby putting them on the path of the showdown with BOB at the sheriff's station).
Listen to the sounds (complete video currently unavailable; partial modified video here)
30:50--MC: "Next on the Roadhouse playlist is one of our favorites, “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top."
James and Freddie approach Renee’s table and James greets her:
James: "It’s good to see you, Renee."
Chuck: "You got a deathwish? Cause I’ll fucking kill you! Don’t talk to my wife ever."
James: "I was just saying."
Chuck: "Just what?"
James: "I was just trying to be polite…I like her."
Chuck [punching James]
Renee: [screaming] "Stop it Chuck! Stop it Chuck!"
Freddie: "Oi. You better stop this."
Skipper: "Fuck you punk!"
Freddie: [punches Skipper out; punches Chuck out; both men hit the floor, eyes roll back, foam at mouth]
Renee: [running to Chuck's aid] "Talk to me!"
Freddie: [helping James up] "You alright, mate?"
James: "Yeah. Hey, anybody, these guys are really hurt! Dial 9-1-1 NOW!"
Freddie: "I tried not to hit 'em too hard, James. Honest!"
James: "It's okay. Thanks, by the way!" [Looks down at Renee attempting to rouse Chuck] "I am so sorry,
Renee. I did not mean for this to happen! I really didn't!"
Renee: [Looking incredulously at James before turning her attention back to Chuck] "Talk to me, baby!"
James: "Oh God! His eyes don't look right!"
Part 15b: There's Some Fear in Letting Go (Roadhouse Event #14)
Featured Act: The Veils, "Axolotl".
Who: Ruby, Two Bikers, Roadhouse patrons
When: Just after Audrey and Charlie argue "on the threshold" about putting on their coats to leave for the Roadhouse, and just before The Dutchman's courtyard is features as "Axolotl" fades out. Part 16 begins with Mr. C. and Richard Horne traveling to the false coordinates where Richard meets his electrifying end.
Narrative Intersections: None are made explicit, but there are several intriguing possibilities. One might wonder whether there are implicit connections suggested to The Farm (the biker toughs look like the sorts of folks who might have worked for the late Boss Renzo, former arm-wrestling champion), to the "sparkle" drug trade (given Ruby's erratic behavior), and--as Peter Dom has suggested--to events in Las Vegas earlier in Part 15 where Cooper's Sunset-Boulevard-induced crawling across the floor and subsequent shock-treatment with the ol' fork in the outlet routine appears to parallel and temporally resonate with Ruby's actions.
Watch Roadhouse Event #14
50:34--The Veils perform "Axolotl":
"I’m glowing bright obsidian
Got me growing six black tentacles
A little nightmarish a little maudlin
Good golly and go get that kid some laudanum
Salvation’s more than I can afford.
Who needs the devil when you’ve got the Lord
Oh, my soul
Who built this heart?
Oh, my God
Now sister Maggie’s coming in fleetfoot
Baby’s got a belly full of black soot
I got the feeling I better just stay put
Ah she’ll love you better
Than any real man could
An accidental amphibian
I’m growing giddy as a Gideon
Another head for the chopping board
Who needs the devil if you have the Lord
Oh, my soul
Who built this heart?
Oh, my soul
Who built this heart?
Oh my God
Oh my soul
Who built this heart?"
50:48-54:18--As The Veils perform, Ruby sits alone in a booth. Two toughs in biker gear approach her table, presumptuously waiting for her to get up and leave so they can sit down. She informs them that she's waiting for someone. They exchange knowing glances, put their beers down on the table, and forcibly remove her from the booth, depositing her on the floor. Ruby sits dazed on the floor as the band performs and the crowd dances. She pulls herself onto all fours and, grimacing as if in pain, crawls into the crowd weaving among the legs of spectators. Without warning, she begins screaming violently as strobe lights flicker, "Axolotl" concludes, and we cut, as the credits roll, to two final shots of The Dutchman's Motel (a long establishing shot with Room 8 in the background, followed by a shot right near the door of Room 8 but looking off to the right across the courtyard).
Part 16: No Knock, No Doorbell (Roadhouse Event #15)
Featured Act: Edward Louis Severson (Eddie Vedder), "Out of Sand"; Angelo Badalamenti, "Audrey's Dance".
Who: Roadhouse MC, Eddie Vedder, Audrey Horne, Charlie, Monique, Angry Man (Monique's husband).
When: Just after Cooper, The Mitchum brothers, Candie and the gals gas up the plane and head off to Spokane, WA for the convergence on Twin Peaks, and just before the Roadhouse band plays "Audrey's Dance" backwards upon the conclusion of Audrey's awakening. On the outset of Part 17, Cole, Rosenfield, and Preston toast the bureau before Cole spills the beans on the secret plan among Cooper, Briggs, Jeffries, and Cole to ensnare Judy--an ancient extreme negative force that Jeffries had been investigating before his disappearance in Buenos Aires.
Narrative Intersections: Roadhouse MC appearance suggests links to Part 8 (NIN), Part 13 (James Hurley/Renee), Part 14 (Lissie/Sophie and Megan discuss Billy), and Part 15 (ZZ Top/James and Freddie Sykes fight Chuck over Renee), Audrey's connection to her younger self in Season 1, Episode 3 where she performed the original "Audrey's Dance" over coffee with Donna, the search for Billy (Audrey and Charlie finally make it to the Roadhouse), the trouble with Audrey and Charlie ("Is this the story of the little girl who lives down the lane? Is it?"), the connection to the Black Lodge (where the Arm repeats the question about the little girl who lives down the lane).
Watch Roadhouse Event #15, Part 1 (Edward Louis Severson, "Out of Sand")
Watch Roadhouse Event #15, Part 2 (Audrey's Dance)
48:39--MC: "The Roadhouse is proud to present Edward Louis Severson!"
"Can’t climb to heaven on the cross
One liar’s promise drained the blood from my heart
Came a message in the dark
Offered the hand of a disembodied man while I still had a chance
But now it’s gone. Gone.
And I am who I am. Who I was I will never be again.
Running out of sand.
I stare at my reflection to the bone
Blurred eyes look back at me, full of blame and sympathy
So, so close
Right roads not taken, future’s forsaken
Dropped like a fossil or a stone
And it’s gone. Gone.
And I am who I am. Who I was that will never come again.
Running out of sand.
Charlie and Audrey walk into the Roadhouse as Severson performs.
"A drunk Octopus wants to fight
Fearful of dreams there’ll be no sleep tonight
Fine at dinner, dead by dessert
Victim or witness we’re gonna get hurt.
Fragile existence with echoes of worth
I can’t stop the bleeding nor the tears from thine eyes
There’s another us somewhere with much better lives
With God as our witness but he won’t testify
Now it’s gone oh
And I am who I am, who I could have been I will never have the chance
Running out of sand
Running out of sand
Running out of sand"
52:17--Severson's performance concludes; Audrey and Charlie receive martinis from the bartender.
Charlie: "Here’s to us, Audrey."
Audrey: "Here’s to Billy."
MC: "Ladies and Gentlemen, “Audrey’s Dance”
Floor clears to allow Audrey to dance alone to "Audrey's Dance".
Cheated husband: “Monique! That’s my wife, asshole!” [runs across the dance floor and attacks Monique's
Audrey runs to Charlie and says “Get me out of here” as electrical charges sound. She wakes up aghast, clad in white, and gazing gape-jawed into a vanity mirror. After an abrupt cut, we are suddenly back in the Roadhouse, where the band is playing "Audrey's Dance" backwards.
Part 17: The Past Dictates The Future (Roadhouse Event #16)
Featured Act: Julee Cruise, "The World Spins".
Who: Julee Cruise, Chromatics.
When: Just after Sarah Palmer goes ballistic on Laura's homecoming photo (as Cooper leads Laura home from the woods just past Sparkwood and 21, only to lose her again to the White Lodge), and just before Mr. C. is engulfed in flames in the Lodge and Philip Gerard generates a new Dougie in his place.
Narrative Intersections: There are intriguing parallels to explore between this performance and Cruise's original Roadhouse performance of "The World Spins" in Season 2, Episode 14.
Watch Roadhouse Event #16
56:54--Julee Cruise performs "The World Spins" as the credits roll:
"Haley's comet's come and gone
The things I touch are made of stone
Falling through this night alone
Love, don't go away
Come back this way
Come back and stay forever and ever
The world spins."
Though David Lynch is infamous for refusing to talk directly about his work, he is often very generous in his willingness to talk about the visioning process through which it comes into being and the source of the creativity that animates his vision, transcendental meditation. In this new interview recently posted on YouTube, Lynch is particularly engaging, in part due to the persistence and enthusiasm of his intrepid interviewer:
Thanks to an illuminating series of questions, we get a solid 25 minutes of David Lynch in his own voice expressing many of his signature epiphanies: that his films are not efforts to say this or that, but rather efforts to bring to cinematic expression ideas with which he has fallen in love; that "diving within" each day through transcendental meditation engenders a transformative happiness that serves as a "flak jacket" against the suffering, darkness, and death of our world; that the social and political relevance of his films grows out of his fidelity to the particular ideas and stories that have captured his imagination and not out of a personal ideological agenda; that attunement to a film's deeper possibilities for feeling and understanding the ideas in play arises in part from not needing to have things pinned down, so that the potency of the story stands higher than its actuality. For those who follow Lynch's interviews or have read his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, most of these themes will ring familiar.
One intriguing new development here is Lynch's response to a question about the state of Hollywood in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's exposure by the #MeToo movement (at 20:00 in the above video). In comments that are as oracular and meandering as most of what he has to say about "current events", Lynch gives us a window into his view of male aggression toward and sexual violence against women--which he clearly condemns, if not as forcefully as one might hope--as a phenomenon that can be dissipated by transcendental meditation. Lest anyone think that Lynch is just glibly asserting that meditation can ameliorate the world's problems without any basis for touting its potential social and political applications, it is important to remember his transformational work in schools and prisons with the The David Lynch Foundation.
Even so, one might wonder if there is a kind a quietism concerning gendered violence here that invites critical questions about Lynch's preferred stance of ideological neutrality for the sake of maintaining fidelity to the ideas and their stories. On the other hand, perhaps Lynch's personal silence on the matter is an effort to let his art speak for itself to those of us who see in these stories the possibility of a powerful critique of institutional sexism, male aggression, and toxic masculinity even though Lynch himself is not setting out to make it that way. Or perhaps we have something of a "both/and" situation here in which Lynch's personal quietism on the matter both merits critique and enables a certain fidelity to the ideas and their stories that allows the concrete realities of violence against women to present themselves in all their unvarnished horror.
I've written about "The World Spins" before, but I can't get it out of my mind. So it's happening again. This time, though, I'm tempted to change the slant on the title of one of my favorite songs of all time to "The Worlds Spin," because this newest way of seeing through the song has opened a window onto an inkling I've had throughout The Return that the narrative disturbances we've witnessed are less about time travel than about world travel--and possible world travel, to put a finer point on things.
The Return, I think, is not so much about actual changes to the space-time continuum of this world as it is about possible ways that things have been, could be, and are in other places and spaces. Let me explain how this window opened up for me in this particular instance. As usual, it was by being attentive in a certain way to pure happenstance that the possibility revealed itself. One of the most beautiful things about Twin Peaks, in my experience, anyway, is that the possible always, always stands above the actual, whether what is at stake is what we see (or do not see) on screen or what those revelations or concealments mean or do not mean for the series as a whole or for ourselves as its interpreters.
In seeking to compare Julee Cruise's Roadhouse performance of "The World Spins" in Part 17 of Season 3 with her Roadhouse performance of the same song in Part 14 of the original run (episode 7 of Season 2), I came across two unrelated YouTube videos that were serendipitously cut to roughly the same length, each lasting the full duration of Cruise's performance of the song--about 2 minutes and 46 seconds. The fact that the videos were basically the same length hit me right in the ol' Twin Peaks synchronicity bone, and so I opened two browsers and cued up the two videos side by side, starting the Season 2 video (top) about a second or two ahead of the Season 3 video. Here they are, one atop the other:
As I repeatedly watched and listened to them side by side, some things came together for me. It was moving to imagine, for instance, that the old waiter--the Giant/Fireman's this-worldly avatar to whom Albert Rosenfield lovingly referred as Señor Droolcup--was expressing his sympathy to Cooper not just for what happens to Maddy in Season 2, but for Cooper's losing the Laura he delivers from death in the woods near Sparkwood and 21 in part 17 of Season 3 twenty five years later, and for losing the Laura who is Carrie in Part 18, and for losing what feels like infinitely many other Lauras in as many possible worlds.
Throughout the Season 2 video, Cooper has this stupefied, other-worldly, time-out-of-joint look on his face that just seems so much richer and more heartbreaking in light of what we learn in Parts 17 and 18 of Season 3. Watching these clips side by side made it feel to me like "The World Spins" marks a sort of collision or converging nexus of all the possible worlds in which "It is happening again" in different and irreconcilable ways, inexorably, simultaneously, and without ceasing, eternally recurring as the little ball rolls around in Philip Jeffries's figure eight, each new stop on the track yet another aching near miss, another instance of love's refusal to come back and stay forever and ever.
The terrible beauty of this juxtaposition of worlds--different and yet the same--just overwhelmed me. I wonder what you think? Do you see what I see?
Happy Black Lodge Day! For this special occasion, it seemed appropriate to compile a photo-essay of some of the great moments that took place in, around, and/or through The Black Lodge. Though a liminal space and a waiting room from day one, the Lodge was witness in The Return to significant expansions of its original mythology including service as a tulpa factory and recycling plant, a portal beyond just Glastonbury Grove and the Roadhouse to many places throughout the Twin Peaks universe, and--of course--providing accommodation for a new crop of doubled and damned denizens, willing and unwilling. Hope these images help you to savor the day!
TRANSFIGURING OBJECTS: GLIMPSING THE SCULPTED HEART OF TWIN PEAKS IN JASON S.'S *IMPRESSIONS* DOCUMENTARIES
We all know and love the routine despite its tawdriness: the long-awaited collector's edition boxed-set has finally arrived and it's time to debut the special features. We locate the requisite disc, suffer an unsolicited reminder that piracy is not a victimless crime, negotiate an awkward menu or two, click play and then watch, rapt, as an Entertainment-Weekly-caliber documentary delivers waves of moon-eyed, breathless actors or producers or crew members struggling to describe the privilege, magic, and mystery of working with David Lynch. Or maybe some celebrated directors, or show-runners, or otherwise important industry moguls gush for the umpteenth time about how groundbreaking Twin Peaks was for the coming-of-age of televisual media. Or perhaps we wistfully Ken-Burns our way through some backstage photographs taken by Richard Beymer of the oracular director and his cast working their magic. Again.
I love these hagiographic portraits of the people and the world of Twin Peaks as much as the next fanatic. I watch them eagerly, moon-eyed and breathless myself, thrilled to look through any available window into the wonderful and strange world I so dearly cherish. As I watch, though, I can't help but experience an acute awareness of the yawning chasm between the nostalgic adulation of art and the artist that these special features so often indulge and the genuine disclosure of art and the artist that I'm always tempted to hope for from these glimpses "behind the scenes". What would it be like, I have often wondered, if the world "behind the scenes" were disclosed through the probing, imaginative, transfiguring vision of artistic experience, rather than through the nostalgic, wistful, worshipful experience of the fandom or the calculating, measuring, comparative experience of the punditry?
Jason S.'s Impressions: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks comes closer to answering this question than anything I've previously encountered among a boxed-set's special features. In fact, this ten-part series of 30-minute documentary films (brought to us by the cinematographer behind The Art Life) deserves an independent issuing as the full-fledged feature that it is. With gloriously delphic titles like "The Man With the Gray Elevated Hair", "A Bloody Finger in Your Mouth", and "A Pot of Boiling Oil", these films offer what feels like almost unmediated access to the grounding energies behind the world--to the director, actors, crew members, trailers, filming locations, sets and props whose collaborations and collisions bring the world of Twin Peaks so vividly into being.
But if the access offered here feels almost unmediated, close attention across all ten films reveals one grounding energy in particular as especially prominent among the forces at work in the creation of Twin Peaks: sculpture. In addition to lavishing exquisite attention on the sculptural elements of the set and special effects (which are super-abundant--I'll catalogue some of the most prominent examples below), the portrait of the director that emerges is that of the visionary sculptor: the artist who envisions the world and its denizens not in terms of their actual states of being, but in light of their hidden, heretofore unimagined potential.
Like a sculptor unveiling a Venus de Medici from a block of stone stroke by prescient chisel stroke, Lynch's task as a director is to choose his raw materials wisely and to know and appreciate their properties so intimately that he can coax out their strength and beauty while deftly negotiating the inner faults and fissures whose mishandling or exploitation could impede or even destroy the transformation. Through this transfiguring process, an idea becomes a material reality: the thought of a steaming machine, through the shaving and painting of foam, becomes the long lost Philip Jeffries; the character in the script, through a mournful embrace and an agonized whisper into Grace Zabriskie's ear, becomes the inimitable Sarah Palmer. In discussing this intimate process of bringing ideas to life through deep knowing, appreciation, and negotiation with the intricate capacities and flaws of material beings (whether people or objects), Lynch often has recourse to his love of working with wood:
"You've got this idea, and you can see it and hear it and feel it and know it. Now, let's say you start cutting a piece of wood and it's just not exactly right. That makes you think more, so you can take off from that. You're now acting and reacting. So it's kind of an experiment to get it all correct. [...] Wood is one of the greatest materials to work with. There are soft woods and hard woods, and they all have their own beauty when you are working with them. When I saw through a piece of freshly cut pine, the smell of it just sends me right to heaven. I used to chew Ponderosa pine pitch, which is the sap that oozes out of the tree and dries on the outside of the bark. If you can get a fresh piece of pitch, it is like syrup. It will stick to you and you won't be able to get it off your hands. But sometimes it hardens like old honey. And you can chew this, and the flavor of the pine pitch will make you crazy, in a good way. Pine, being a softer wood, is easier to work with and is readily available. When I was young, I did a lot of things with pine. But then, I started falling in love with Douglas fir, vertical-grain Douglas fir. When you varnish a piece of Douglas fir, it has a depth of beauty that is just phenomenal. And then when you put two pieces of wood together, you start realizing that there are so many possibilities. And you learn some tricks along the way." (David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish, 29, 123-124)
Jason S.'s Impressions documentaries do a remarkable job of revealing the sculpted heart of Twin Peaks, both by showing the artist at work, lovingly (and sometimes exasperatedly) molding, chiseling, modeling, and creamed-corn-smearing away on sculpted elements of the set and actors alike, and by calling our attention--in the voiced narrations by collaborator and composer Josef Maria Schäfers--to the elemental importance of transfiguration as a grounding ethos of Twin Peaks (whether we're talking about the show itself or the creative people and processes that brought the show into being).
One of my favorite such scenes finds Lynch on the ground, sculpting the portal-well to the White Lodge just past Jackrabbit's Palace. He has run short on "Fix-All", a plaster-like material that he is using to get just the right texture around the rim of the well, and is chagrinned to learn from a sheepish production assistant that they couldn't procure the requested Fix-All and have brought plaster of Paris instead. Lynch momentarily loses it, as the prospect of failing fully to realize material fidelity to his idea gets the best of him: "Fuck! Plaster of Paris! BULLSHIT! Okay, well mix it up".
It was a genuine thrill to see the sculptural origins of some of the great set-pieces of The Return in these short films: the revelation of Ruth Davenport's severed head, Cooper's plunge in to the Non-Exist-Ent, the hatching of the frog-locust egg, Andy's journey to the White Lodge, the revelation of Phillip Jeffries in Room 8 of the Dutchman's, and BOB's fiery descent into Frank Truman's office floor, to name just a few.
Though there is no substitute for watching the documentaries, juxtaposing stills from Jason S.'s Impressions with stills from the relevant scenes of the finished series offers a fascinating glimpse into how integrally sculpture figures into Lynch's process on set. To wit:
Ruth Davenport's Pillow
Cooper's Plunge into the Non-Exist-Ent
The Frog-Locust Egg
The Portal Past Jackrabbit's Palace
Deputy Andy's Smoke Oracle
The Long Lost Phillip Jeffries
Bob's Penultimate Departure into Sheriff Truman's Office Floor (a.k.a., Bob's Oily Eggy Cornhole)
As these examples clearly demonstrate, Lynch was making art in Twin Peaks not only as a filmmaker, but as a sculptor (the same can likely be said of drawing, painting, and sound-design too, though Impressions places less emphasis on those media). And once the elemental role that sculpture plays in grounding the aesthetic and the mood of the series has been foregrounded in this way, it is exhilarating to return to various parts of the finished product and witness how profoundly Lynch's care and attention to sculpting--not just to the craft of set-dressing, mind you, but to the artistic creation of particular sculpted works of material art that are integrated into the set--contributes to the transcendent, otherworldly, uncanny mood of the show.
As I revisited the series with its sculptural essence (as revealed by Impressions) explicitly in mind, I was astonished to see how often Lynch's sculptures steal the show, whether he is "transfiguring the commonplace" (as Arthur Danto put it) by investing everyday things with "energy of a spiritual nature" (as Joseph Beuys put it) or attempting to materialize people, places, and things from worlds otherwise than our own. What a debt of gratitude we owe to Jason S. and his collaborators for illuminating the sculpted heart of Twin Peaks!
The following stills depict some of my favorite sculptures from Twin Peaks, which--as I assembled them--inspired me to imagine myself wandering, moon-eyed and breathless, through a future exhibition on "Sculpting the World of Twin Peaks" at a beautifully austere gallery in New York or Paris or Prague (maybe Buckhorn?). Which pieces would you add or subtract from the exhibition and why?
Sculpting the Ordinary
Sculpting the Extraordinary