GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
Hover over the featured photo and press "play" to browse blogposts. Click the featured photo to read that post below the header.
For me, the return of Twin Peaks has been nothing short of a jackpot--an embarrassment of riches that I vaguely hoped for in my wildest dreams but never imagined I'd actually win. I suspect I'm not the only one out there pinching myself to make sure I'm awake, as week after week, the show delivers the goods on every imaginable front: a complex, deeply absorbing story, fascinating characters, unfathomable mysteries, abundant beauty, harrowing horrors, astounding set design and photography and effects, gorgeous music, winsome ensemble acting, the best sound work in the history of television and on and on. It's been such a deep personal joy to experience it all that I don't think I could love it more even if David Lynch himself subscribed me to an exclusive "Wonderful and Strange Gift of the Week Club."
I've been keeping up an episode guide and trying to eek out a few glimpses into the mystery as occasional inspiration strikes, but tonight I just feel like reveling in some of the wonderful and strange things I really love about the return of Twin Peaks. Here are some of them, in no particular order, and with no attempt to be rigorous, critical, or insightful. This post is just straight up fan love for a show that is making my life extra wonderful and strange here in the summer of 2017.
1. The elevation of the everyday--Twin Peaks routinely makes the likes of ancient toilets, dime-store alarm clocks, telephone poles, and federal prisons look breathtakingly beautiful. It's simply astonishing.
2. The Detectives Fusco--Every minute that these lumbering lugs are on screen is a hoot, not only because I love their hamfisted bumbling and the absurdity of the idea that three brothers or three cousins or (my favorite possibility) three random guys with the surname Fusco ended up employed in the same department, but also because the whole time they're lunking about, I'm relishing the anticipation of Albert's hopefully forthcoming excoriation of these blithering hayseeds. That's got to happen, right? If anything seems written in the stars...
3. The evolution of the Arm--Is it a brain synapse with a rinded watermelon impaled on it or just a garden-variety leafless sycamore tree with a translucent bladder of medical waste perched atop it? I don't need to know to love, love, love it so! (And when it--or it's doppelgänger?--appeared out of the Las Vegas pavement and began screaming "Squeeze his hand off!" to Cooper, the abiding primordial desire not to wake my children and thus have to pause the show for who knows how long is the only thing that kept me from bursting into sustained applause and cheering.)
4. The Cole/Rosenfield synergy--I would seriously consider mortgaging my house for a shot at seeing a buddy cop show with these two cats tooling around on the trail of otherworldly riff-raff. Starsky and Hutch. Cagney and Lacy. Stankle and Cutty. Cole and Rosenfield. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. But what a swan song for the inimitable Miguel Ferrer! I am so grateful for the opportunity to enjoy this incredible performance.
5. The furniture--The set designer is trying to kill me with this stuff. I Google it. I have dreams about it. I know full well I can't afford it, but no harm in a fella knowing what's what and keeping an eye out for bargains.
6. Bushnell Mullins--Intuitive, empathetic, and unstintingly loyal, Battling Bud is just the cat's pajamas. I was shocked to learn last week that Don Murray, the actor who plays Mullins, is 87 years old and that his return to the screen in Twin Peaks comes after a sixteen year break from acting that began upon the wrapping of his last film, "Elvis is Alive."
7. Harry Dean Motherf*cking Stanton--The Lynch-Stanton thing is one of my favorite things of all time, but my love affair with HDS began before I became a Lynch fan back when he was Andie Walsh's underemployed widower dad in Pretty in Pink. One of the great epiphanies of my years of pouring over the details of films I can't shake is that the book Mr. Walsh is reading when Andie comes in late is James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, one of the toughest reads in modern British literature. HDS is just complicated like that, and his dazzling depth and gravity radiate from every scene.
8. This neon sign--The gin joint where we meet the fabled Diane for the first time couldn't just be any old watering hole. And thanks in no small part to this scintillating sign, it wasn't. All I wanted to do was drink a corpse reviver #2 with an aviation chaser somewhere in the vicinity of the blissful buzzing of this sign. That's one hell of a prop! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.
9. Bizarre electronics--Of all the disorienting, decentering aspects of Twin Peaks--the journeys through space and time, the abstract core of the atomic explosion, the Lodges, you name it--I find exposure to the bizarre electronics to be among the most uncanny experiences in the series because they are at one and the same time almost perfectly familiar and utterly alien, like being in a dream in a house that you are certain is yours even though you know it isn't. It doesn't help when these items occasionally crumple in on themselves, collapsing their considerable mass into a tiny pebble of pyrite or whatever.
10. Superb smalltime crooks and their ruthless masters--These guys really sold it. Never before have the words "he borrowed it" or "nevertheless" been delivered with such sleazy panache. Poor fellas didn't even see that Janey-E train coming, though.
11. Dr. Amp's pedal-powered gold-plated shit-shovel painting station--This ludicrous contraption is such a thing of beauty. Can you imagine being the set-designer furiously taking notes while David Lynch describes this monstrosity to you in assiduous detail?
12. Hawk's vision quest (across a bathroom)--Hawk's breathtaking discovery in a bathroom stall door of three of the four missing pages from Laura's secret diary is one of my favorite scenes of the entire series. Heritage, intuition, investigation, insight, the inherence of the transcendent in the prosaic, the vanquishing of dastardly foes ("You do that, Chad."), and the thrill of a world-changing discovery--this scene had it all!
13. The woodsman in Buckhorn Jail--Hats off to Lynch and Frost for dishing up one of the most terrifying and intriguing moments I've ever witnessed on television. I could not get this image and its possible consequences out of my mind, and the unscratchable itch it generated in me to attempt to exorcise the experience through writing about it is what led to my very first NON-EXIST-ENT post on THE GLASS BOX: "A Spectral Meriwether Lewis in Buckhorn Jail?".
14. Full blown sublimity on the small screen--The deranging, category-busting experiences in Lynch's work are like torrential rivers flooding the parched desert floor of my spirit. What an oasis of inexhaustible richness these sequences are in an age of television as techne without poiesis or phronesis.
15. Mr. C's appearance as a guest villain on Miami Vice--This "last known photo" of Mr. C. that was taken at his home in Rio just before "a girl from Ipanema" bought it furnished one of my favorite moments of comic relief in the series so far.
16. Roadhouse performances--I wasn't sure how I felt about this new convention initially, but now I absolutely love it and look forward to it and even miss it in the episodes in which it doesn't happen. It has become a sort of affective grounding, orienting feature of the series for me, like a chorus in Greek drama, helping me to figure out how I should be disposed and attuned to the events unfolding before me. [Ed: I discuss the significance of the Roadhouse in a lot more detail in "'Listen to the Sounds': Why the Roadhouse Matters Whether We Like It Or Not". ]
17. Ike "The Spike" Stadtler's pitiable 'sad voice'--One of the most abrupt mood shifts of the show to date is the one that takes us from feeling terrorized by Ike's murderous blood-soaked rampage through Lorraine's office building to feeling equal parts amused and sad about the demise of Ike's titular spike when he emits a despondent high-pitched whelp upon noticing its ruin.
18. The astounding Kyle MacLachlan--What can one say about the burden he has been asked to carry in The Return and the precision, grace, and beauty of his carrying it?