Warning: strong Laura/BOB material ahead.
From Laura’s diary, talking about her early childhood:
Sometime he would cut me between my legs, and other times he would cut me inside my mouth. Always tiny little cuts, hundreds of tiny little cuts. I had to use a flashlight in the bathroom or else my parents might wake up and see the light, and I’d be in worse trouble then.
Some nights he would make me sticky. Rub himself very fast, and he would say that I had to hold the sticky in my hands, close my eyes, and recite this little poem while I licked my hands clean. I only remember a little. This hasn’t happened for a long time, the sticky. He made made me say:
The little bitch
Is awfully sorry
The little bitch
Drinks you up
(I can’t remember more, except the last line.)
In this seed is death indeed.
Now think of the monster responsible for this being dispensed with by Green Glove.
A suggestion for anyone who doesn’t have a problem with this artistically or ethically. Maybe get a friend round who’s never watched any Lynch works and ask their thoughts about it.
The real point behind all my strong criticism: such storylines suggest that something unhealthy has happened to David Lynch. His artistic and ethical judgement can’t be trusted any more. Nor can his motives. The above storyline isn’t just bad art, or disastrous art. There’s something more that’s hard to name. Camp amorality taken to its limits? Something like that. For years Lynch has been called an insidious corrupting force with the critics wrapped round his little finger. I still don’t believe that’s valid criticism of the director who made the TP pilot or The Straight Story. But the one who made The Return?
Through her father a demon repeatedly takes an infant to the woods for cumplay, slices her privates, rapes her for years before bludgeoning her, her friend and her cousin to death, and his storyline’s climax isn’t just played for bellylaughs but as pinball/pantomime farce, and the critics give a standing ovation?
I don’t have much respect for the man behind storylines like this or the vicious portrayal of older women, or the incredible narcissism, someone who seems at best irresponsible and a bit pathetic and at worst maybe even something darker. And to paraphrase Kenneth Tynan, I’m not sure I could like someone who admires this stuff. Someone who likes Wally Brando or Tammy, sure – that’s just different taste. But someone who applauds storylines like BOB’s has probably been numbed and beguiled so far out into the wilfully perverse periphery that they’ve lost their moorings, or so it seems to me. Twin Peaks was always a way to click with people socially, but I doubt the same will be true of Green Glove whacking the perpetrator of Laura's cuts to the sound of Lynch’s sniggers.
So it’s time to move on and have a weekend cleanse with Spirit of the Beehive and Cria Cuervos and other healthy stuff. Then to learn this series’ anti-lessons, apply them in our own work and go on as though it never happened, and if possible to warn people away from even hearing about Green Glove v BOB and the retcon. Stories are already circulating about the upset they are causing.
And it’s true. The Return never happened. It was just the nightmare of a once great artist whose real work we’ll always have.
Thanks to the main contributors to this thread for keeping Twin Peaks commentary honest and moored. Over & out.
If I can weigh in on why I don't have a problem with this, while believing Laura's abuse narrative to be at the heart of Peaks
, it's because the monster responsible for that isn't dispatched by a green glove. He's in the Red Room at the beginning of the season, asking Cooper to find his daughter.
Bob is a great symbol and shorthand for cruelty, but he's also a cartoonish externalization of it. At the very least, he has the capacity to be (and I think the exposition surrounding the Lodge mythos and Blue Rose cases this season transitioned him into that realm; hell, maybe 25 years of iconography and fan theorizing had done that on their own). I'd take issue with it if he were still given the same weight as an externalized evil -- or if a greater and more enigmatic darkness didn't take his place by the end of the story, or if we ended on the simple pulpy triumph of episode 17, or if the narrative didn't return to Laura's character at the end, with all her complications.
But all of the above happened. I think we were owed some sort of closure with Bob, as the cliffhanger the series gave us 25 years ago, while at the same time believing it would be disingenuous to send him off if he were still the series' singular totemic evil. We get both; he's sent off, but he isn't -- we still have the dark sides of Leland, and Cooper, and the greater negative presence of Judy.
Speaking only for myself then, Bob's resolution went down perfectly well. I didn't think it was as simple as "Laura's abuse gets defeated in a cartoonish way, so bad art."
Camp amorality? Maybe; but only then as setup for episode 18 and a re-examination of the series' heart separated from all the demystified Lodge mythology the previous 25 years had layered onto it unavoidably. More like a shaming of camp amorality, if anything, I thought.
I think I'd agree with you entirely if, after Bob's defeated, the series didn't have another ninety minutes to go.
That is a more intellectual angle than Peaks
usually goes for, though, as opposed to its standard emotional ones, so I think of any critique of the series, yours is one that holds weight. I don't find it ruinous, or even ineffective, but I can see why someone else might.