GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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I'm a man, and I love my fellow men. But--am I wrong, fellas? (perhaps some women can chime in here, too)--before we get to work on discerning our flaws and honing our talents, some of us can sometimes be a little over-confident, under-reflective, aggressive, emotionally stunted, and fragile. At our best, we're capable of great things. But at our worst, as history has well shown, we are very bad indeed. Brutal, in fact. We've all but cornered the markets on domestic violence, assault, rape, murder, terrorism, war, and genocide. Our privilege has not always led to greatness, alas.
Fortunately for us, lucky number thirteen is a master course in the follies of toxic masculinity, and thus a terrific resource for learning from our mistakes. The centerpiece of Part Thirteen is an arm-wrestling odyssey that culminates in the death of Ray Monroe at the hands of Mr. C. in a scene that will join Part Eight's journey into atomic fire as one of the greatest both in Twin Peaks-The Return and in television history. But the entire episode is shot through with men doing badly, or at least, very, very sadly. One can hardly blame a woman with ring-side seats to this eternally recurring cycle of self- and other-destruction for seeking a little something to take the edge off as she watches these chowderheads bashing away, incessantly and forever, with no relief in sight.
The main event of this post is a photo essay of the arm-wrestling odyssey and Ray's trip to the ol' Lodge; we'll get there soon enough. Suffice it to say that if a picture is worth a thousand words, we'll have about 80,000 words before we're done. But before we proceed to a still-by-still of that testosterone-fueled travesty, let's meet the major players and see if we can discern a little of our darker selves (or our friends and partners' darker selves, maybe) in these characters'...frailties, shall we call them? Opportunities for honest critical reflection and self-improvement abound!
Invulnerable and evil to the core, Mr. C. likes to play a little cat and mouse before he brings the full-on malevolence home.
He tried dancing with the devil, but in the end good ol' Ray just didn't have the steps. Nice ring, tho.
Big, bad, bald, and king of the sucker punch, this guy was boss at The Farm for fourteen years. Why? Because he's the best arm-wrestler, of course. Toxic masculinity isn't really into visionary leadership or good administrative skills, I guess. It's more about forcibly pushing another guy's arm into the table.
Insecure leaders are well-known to hire weak-willed boors as their right-hand men. Behold, exhibit A.
The accountant isn't always there for the bloodbath like he was today, but ain't no bloodbaths going down unless somebody's trying to stack up a dollar or two.
These guys are here to look menacing until it's their turn to become a corpse for the brotherhood. Prospects for promotion are looking dim, gentlemen.
The devil knows there's no greater tool for evil than a man hollowed out by rage. And Richard Horne--shall we call him Dick?--is definitely a serious tool.
These men behaving badly may be the stars of the show, but they've got a supporting company of all-too-familiarly fragile fellas appearing on stage both before and after them throughout Part Thirteen. Let's meet this ship of fools, shall we?
Vegas, casinos, showgirls, cocktails, millions, conga lines. The brothers Mitchum have full garages and empty lives.
It's not his fault. Duncan Todd is just following orders.
He's a manchild and a crashing bore, but he's got a square jaw, a stable job, and powerful friends. You know you want to settle for him!
There's a big break in the case, but to see it requires a bit of creativity and resolve. Let's just crumple it up and throw that shit away, though, because we know what comes next.
You know the drill: he's the sort of guy who's crestfallen when his wife won't rape and torture the man he is about to murder in front of his own child.
Why does the crooked cop always, ALWAYS look like Harvey Keitel?
He thought he could make a little money chumming up to the mob and now it's time for the crying game. Poor, poor Anthony! So, so sad!
He used to be really good at sports and now he owns the place, so naturally he walks on water and can do no wrong.
This megalomaniacal narcissist never met a vulnerable woman he wouldn't offer Kool Aid--or in this case, Huckleberry extract with pure water.
He's got a heart of gold and he's totally turned things around, but he used to be a philandering, drug-running killer.
He's got TPS reports and a hot date with your name on it, but his spray tan will stain the sofa. Exercise caution!
Confused? Need a listening ear? A shoulder to cry on? Professor Existentialism 101 will explain everything you need to know in just a few short, scintillating lifetimes. Now you too can pull yourself together thanks to his expert help! Not recommended for the comatose or catatonic!
He had a hard childhood and a difficult life, which makes it okay that he's emotionally unavailable and his background singers are half his age.
He never learned to access or express his feelings adequately and now he's alone eating takeout with a carved wooden bear head.
Ding! Ding! Ding! And now for the main event! You know there's toxic masculinity coming because the jacked truck it drives just pulled into the abandoned warehouse full of violent, overgrown children with guns galore and no impulse control. What could go wrong?