GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: ASTONISHING JUXTAPOSITIONS FROM THE FINALE SYNC OF TWIN PEAKS PARTS 17 & 18
Many of you have probably already encountered Alex Fulton's scintillating article for Medium, "Episodes 17 & 18 of Twin Peaks: The Return are meant to be watched in sync," in which Fulton builds on an inspiration gleaned from yrevglad's Reddit thread, "A TRIUMPHANT ENDING...PRESENTED IN A LYNCHIAN WAY," to present us with a breathtaking series of serendipitous juxtapositions that come to light when one watches Parts 17 and 18 simultaneously. Fulton makes a compelling case that approaching the two parts of the finale in this way is interpretively fruitful and even potentially transformative of what many experienced as a bleak "end" to The Return in Part 18. Though I was deeply skeptical at first, I came away with the conviction that the synchronicity of these two episodes is a veritable feast for Twin Peaks lovers, from those who engage the show primarily intuitively as a personal emotional journey, to those who love to puzzle over the intricacy, consistency, and deeper meaning of various plot lines, and everyone in between. The ride is all the more mind-blowing when you marinate your narrative imagination in a little David Auerbach sauce first. Whether the parallels that unfold between these two worlds were intended for us by the show's creators or a glorious cosmic accident, they are deeply compelling and thought-provoking (all the more so, I think, if they came to be without help).
Though Fulton's take on the synchronicity between Parts 17 and 18 is a great gift, there are two aspects of his presentation that make it difficult to grasp the full weight of the juxtapositions he invites us to consider: first, the synced screenshots are shown one on top of the other (which subtly suggests to the brain that the top image happened first, making it a bit more difficult to size up the two images simultaneously as two parts of a singular moment); and second, many of the screenshots are very dark (which makes it difficult to eek out some of the more exciting details revealed in the juxtaposition of events from the two parts of the finale). Fulton himself acknowledges the difficulty of presenting his case in the format of an online article and encourages readers to experience a synced viewing of the episodes for themselves--a task that admittedly takes a bit of doing to set up.
Within a few days, luckily, the internet had done its black magic and YouTube disgorged a glorious near-to-HD but not-long-for-this-world rendering of Parts 17 and 18 synced up side by side, titled "Twin Peaks: The Return Finales Synced-Richard & Linda Edition." I am forever grateful to the mystery video maverick who cut these together into such an exceptional viewing format, as well as to my good friend and fellow hawk-eyed Peaker Jim MacGregor who spotted the video in a timely fashion and sent me a link to it before it inevitably went non-exist-ent (though gluttons for punishment can still subject themselves at least temporarily to the Judy of all spoilers-a video of all eighteen episodes in sync complete with (cacophonous!) sound). Through some technological miracle, I was able simultaneously to stream the Richard & Linda edition from my iPhone to my smart tv *and* take photos of the video on the big screen with the selfsame phone as I watched--a feat perhaps magisterial enough to overcome even Lucy-level skepticism of cellular technology. Pretty good night for simultaneity, to say the least!
The images that follow are stills I took from that remarkable viewing, an experience that I hope will become much more widely accessible to and discussed by Peakers everywhere. My aim here is modest; I don't seek to add anything to Fulton's original take on the synchronicity between Parts 17 and 18. The task is merely to present this gallery of stills as a supplement to his interpretation that enables us to see some of the juxtapositions a bit more brightly and in a horizontal alignment that makes their simultaneity a bit easier to take in. Though these images can't do the experience anywhere close to full justice, they can at least give us a provisional window between two worlds as we scroll downward through these interlaced adventures to their fitting conclusion in Julee Cruse's performance of "The World Spins".