GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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The inimitable Dr. Lawrence Jacoby's hilarity-charged transformation into the unhinged, vlog-casting, gold-shit-shoveling Dr. Amp has certainly been among the comic highlights in the always challenging, often bleak return of Twin Peaks. It is tempting, perhaps, to think that generating this current of comic relief is Dr. Amp's raison d'être in the series. But I suspect, with a little help from his cosmic flashlight, that nothing could be further from the truth. From a structuralist standpoint, narrative-wise, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that he'll end up being a kind of interpretive key to the convergence of the three main mysteries we're exploring so far (through Part Five) into one central problem. I say this because when you storyboard these episodes, Jacoby's appearances are dead-on-the-money where you'd put them if your narrative intent were to have him play this sort of role.
Jacoby has appeared in three scenes so far for a total of almost 9 minutes of airtime. To put this into perspective, that's roughly 1/6th of a full episode, and a staggering 1/30th of the entire series so far. When you consider the fact that this is an ensemble cast of over 150 people, it would be very surprising for a character like Jacoby’s to get so much solo-time on screen for no good reason. When we bear in mind, too, that Jacoby was the vehicle into the deepening of the main mystery in Twin Peaks’ original run as the bearer of the half-heart locket and the tapes containing evidence of Laura’s lurid double life, we shouldn’t be too surprised to find him standing sentry at the thresholds of the mysteries that await in Twin Peaks 2017.
Jacoby’s central importance to the narrative machinery of these new episodes becomes undeniable, however, when we take a closer look at the strategic placement of his scenes, all three of which (through Part Five) could not be more deliberately executed. Bear in mind, first off, that he is the first person we see in real-space and his mountain trailer retreat is our first exposure to the Twin Peaks of 2017. Before the first Jacoby scene, we see only Lodge footage of Cooper and Laura and the black/dream room footage of Cooper and the Giant. So Jacoby's first scene--our first glimpse of life in Twin Peaks in over 25 years--is immediately preceded by the introduction of the main "dream code"--the Giant's description to Cooper of the dream clues that must be cracked in order to "solve the crime".
To bring Jacoby’s importance into sharper relief, let’s recall what transpires between the Giant and Cooper in the immediate lead-up to Jacoby’s first appearance:
Giant: “Listen to the sounds. It is in our house now.”
Cooper: “It is?”
Giant: “It all cannot be said aloud now. Remember 430. Richard and Linda. Two birds
with one stone.”
Cooper: “I understand.”
Giant: “You are far away.”
Cooper flickers and disappears. (Part One, 4:46-7:14)
The Giant thus utters six sentences that are clues to Cooper's quest. Cooper receives these six clues and then says "I understand,” as if to indicate to the Giant (and to us) “Message received.” The Giant follows up with an observation--"You are far away now."--that calls attention to the steep challenge that awaits Cooper before he can investigate these clues—Cooper must find a way to draw near to himself again and regain sapience and agency in real-space in order to make headway in the investigation. Cooper--like each of us--must dig himself out of the proverbial shit, throw off the yoke of the evil forces that aim to separate him from his authentic self, and ultimately dispel these forces of darkness with the light of cosmic truth.
Given Lynch and Frost's love of doubling, and given that at this stage (through episode 5) there are three main mysteries afoot each in its own main theater of action (the glass box in New York City, Dougie’s troubles in Las Vegas, and the Davenport/Briggs murder in Buckhorn), it is not unreasonable to infer that the six clues we get are distributed across the three mysteries in a way that will bring them all together. Since our beloved TP creators adore symmetry and twins, I wouldn't be surprised if the first three clues are hints about the mysteries and the second three clues are hints that point to the solutions to the mysteries or keys to the ways in which they will be drawn together into one.
So, for instance, purely hypothetically and, for the most part, just thrashing about wildly in the dark, one might venture provisionally to organize these hints into couples as follows:
Couple 1: Mystery Hint #1: "Listen to the sounds" (New York Box--knife sounds of alien figure (“mother?”) killing the two lovers/knife sounds of Naido's hands warning Cooper away from socket #15)/Solution Hint #1: Remember 430 (???);
Couple 2: Mystery Hint #2:"It is in our house now" (Las Vegas--Casino is called "the house", Cooper follows visions of the lodge to winning slots and similar greenish light patterns to lying Lucky 7 Insurance agents)/Solution Hint #2 "Richard and Linda" (???);
Couple 3: Mystery Hint #3: "It all cannot be said aloud now." (Buckhorn, by process of elimination, but I have no idea what it might mean)/Solution Hint #3 "Two birds with one stone" (Ruth Davenport and Major Briggs are killed at the same time across two worlds?).
The beauty of these clues is that they are wonderfully underdetermined--that is, we don’t have enough specific information from any of them to know for sure yet which clues go with which mysteries; each could pertain to any of the 3 mysteries and they could be mixed and matched in a variety of ways (e.g., "Listen to the sounds." might be about the slot machines paying out in the Las Vegas Mystery; “It’s in our house now.” might be about the “mother” entering real-space via the box in New York). We’ll just have to wait to see exactly how the clues interact with the three main mysteries in the three main theaters of action.
But what I'm getting to here is that the three Jacoby scenes all take place between sets of scenes (couples, if you will) in which characters struggle to discern important clues in the scenes that precede Jacoby's appearances and then one of the three main mystery plot-lines is advanced in the scenes immediately following Jacoby’s appearances.
Jacoby appearance #1 (Part 1, 7:15-9:30) happens right after Cooper gets the main clues from the Giant and right before the New York glass box mystery is first introduced. He emerges from his trailer, receives a shipment of shovels, and rebuffs an offer of further help from the delivery man, declaring his preference to work alone.
Jacoby appearance #2 (episode 3, at 39:45-42:02) happens just after Andy, Lucy, and Hawk discuss the Log Lady's clue about something missing and just before Jade drops Cooper off at the Silver Mustang in Las Vegas. Jacoby sits, fully gas-masked, at a bizarre homemade contraption contrived to help him spray paint shovels gold.
And Jacoby appearance #3 (episode 5, 41:20-45:55) happens just after Andy and Hawk are sifting through old case files looking for "Indians" (i.e., pointers to the way that Hawk's heritage will figure into his finding something missing) and just before the Pentagon dispatches an agent to Buckhorn to investigate the Briggs fingerprints hit there. In this third scene, which runs double the length of the first two, we witness Dr. Amp in full effect, vlog-casting an inspirational message of freedom from the toxic bullshit of consumer drone life in the military-industrial complex: "You must see, hear, understand, and act--act now!"
So we’ve got three scenes, two that run almost precisely 2:15 each and a third that runs almost precisely double that at roughly 4:30, and they are spaced mindfully throughout the first five episodes at predictable intervals in parts 1, 3, and 5.
Notice the pattern: in all three cases, Jacoby is the bridge between scenes in which we are pondering clues and scenes in which we are witness to main mystery advancements in one of the three principal theaters of action. The plot thickens when you consider that Jacoby's schtick in all of these scenes is preparing tools for digging out of the shit (gold shit digging shovel) and coming to clarity about what is actually going on in the world (cosmic flashlight): evil forces are at work deluding us into believing that we are free, when in fact we are but pawns in a rigged game where almost everything we willingly surround ourselves with, from creature comforts to meaningless day jobs, are toxic to human health and autonomy.
The upshot is that the electrifying Dr. Amp is offering us a whole lot more than comic relief. He is, for want of better metaphors, our gold shit-digging shovel for unearthing the big clues and our cosmic flashlight for illuminating how it all hangs together. Let’s watch closely to see whether these obviously deliberate patterns continue to light the path in future episodes.