Novalis wrote: Is your complaint, then, not so much that the 'easy way' has been taken, but rather that long-term planning might have been thrown out the window on lots of occasions in favour of lots of short to mid-term plans? You seem to be echoing a number of people who have voiced concern over a lack of 'connective tissue', as if the season lacks something like a spine that can articulate all the smaller pieces into one organically connected mass that moves more or less in symphony.
No. It's a matter of degrees and balance. All the pieces, smaller or otherwise, aren't either belonging to the same animal attached through connective tissue to a skeleton or belonging to a plethora of different animals scattered throughout a butcher's table. There's plenty in between.
Novalis wrote:I agree with the view that there are many vignettes in this season, but not that it lacks a thoroughgoing sense of narrative. However, as I see it, many of the connections to this backbone (Dale Cooper's epic -- and tragic -- 'Odyssey' as others have aptly described it) are implicit, operating often on a subliminal or barely conscious associations. A case in point: the 'side stories' of Jacoby, Nadine and Big Ed can be viewed both as self-contained mini-arcs with no connection to Cooper's voyage home, and can also be seen as dealing with deeply sympathetic or resonant themes to what is happening for Cooper.
But Cooper never becomes enough of a backbone for anything else to have any meaningful connection to it. Or better said it's so vague that anything can be fit to it if one needs it to. Cooper isn't on a journey, let alone one of Odysseaic proportions. He's literally in a steady state 16 out of the 18 episodes and than becomes merely a plot device. The doppelganger slowly disappears in the background and never adds to anything. Assuming your reading is correct (and I wished it was, trust me) would it be so wrong to actually write a journey and showing what (or if anything at all) is happening to Cooper?
But what i'm far more interested in is where do you draw the line between barely conscious subliminal and not there at all. It's what it comes down to in my opinion. There is a minimum bar to be expected since it's inevitable that in a creative process a human being would be in specific enough state of mind that leaks in the work giving it some hint of a cohesion.
Novalis wrote:True, I will not claim that each part has a certain theme (in the manner of a Sesame Street episode -- brought to you by the letters a,b, and the number 2) and the story proceeds only in this blocky, brick-by-brick nature; dramatic tension and release also works through contrast and counterpoint, after all, and parts which were each saturated through with their own tonality would not work except as mood pieces. But I am claiming that there is an overall structure to the beast, which articulates its many limbs and allows it to rise up and walk.
But TR does work best as a collection of mood pieces. The moods are the one thing that it manages to articulate well. I must be one of the few people who actually liked the car rides in the finale. I've said it before, it fits in with a reoccurring theme of the last 2 episodes - people reluctantly moving towards their "destinies". No one in the last two episodes (except maybe Cooper up to when he reaches to sheriff's station) is confident in what they're doing. It's really well done.
Novalis wrote:My argument here is that the tendons and muscles of this beast are not so much written, as you yourself observe, but are produced by the direction (and the editing! we must not forget the editing!). The connective tissue is something that wouldn't easily show up in a script, I'm claiming. It's something that can be felt, however. While this might seem to some who are eager to accuse the team of copping-out on the narrative front, the onus or burden of discovering the connective tissue has been placed on the equipment of the viewers, on their sensitivity to the variety of ways that different scenes and mini-narratives can chime or 'rhyme' with what is going on in the main trunk, accentuating it or in some cases throwing different lights on it.
Which is exceptionally close to my assessment that the team found it more convenient to free themselves of just this particular burden. It's as if we saw the same thing but put separate subjective spins on it. If you think about it our arguments aren't even necessarily mutually exclusive.
Novalis wrote:Now, to me, this way of working is in fact deeply continuous with Twin Peaks S1 and S2, which I finished rewatching in full just days ago. In fact the theme-of-the-week feeling, which I dismissed as too simplistic here, is probably more true in the case of the old seasons: when certain events happen to one set of characters it generally happens to another character group in a slightly different way, on a per-episode basis, particularly in the more Lynchian episodes. There, the thematic threads that run through entire episodes were often much more overt. Lynch has become subtler, perhaps, or has adapted his way of working from the episodic soap format of S1 and S2 to the more cinematic ambitions of S3. It's often said that what has to be spelled out on TV can be told in the curl of a lip or blink of an eye in film -- I think this difference also amounts to there being a greater interpretive onus placed on a cinema audience. Does this mean that film-makers are inherently lazy when compared with the writers and directors of TV shows? I would say no; they still have to do the hefty and substantial work of capturing on film those telling gestures of lips or eyes.
It has less to do with the with audiences (who are likely to be one and the same) than with the lengths. TV shows have to dilute their storylines to fit them to a number of episodes while trying to sustain the audience's interest. Movies are free of that. FWWM arguably is more directly explicit and concise than the original show was. TR isn't subtle (especially not when Lynch is in front of the camera), is actually pretty blunt it's just that most of it is self contained within individual vignettes contrary to the very strong themes of the original show and FWWM.
Novalis wrote:I suppose I'm not saying much -- just that the 'low bar' view when it comes to narrative connections may be looking in the wrong place for them. As comprehensive as an overarching narrative might be in tying things together for an audience, assigning each tributary its place and value within the whole, I think that it will always still depend in the last instance on the effort of the viewer to meet it halfway. In this respect, Lynchian work has always been far more demanding. It's not that we have to put meat on the bones of a disconnected skeleton -- this beast is meaty enough -- but that we are purposefully being challenged to feel our way around with little to go on other than how we feel and what 'rings true' for us: as in life, there's no assembly manual. Not because Lynch couldn't write one even if he wanted -- I don't believe that, and I'm pretty sure he has his own pet theories about what goes where and why (and very precise ones I bet). But because he, like some others artists of his generation and spiritual proclivity, doesn't buy the 'intentional fallacy' that just one person (or even one production team) has a special, privileged key that will unlock all the mysteries of an artwork.
I always enjoy your posts. And to that point, for example in the structures and mechanisms thread, you aren't just making the effort to meet the narrative's threads half way, you go way beyond that because the creators didn't put in the effort for just half the way to be enough. It's not even as if Lynch denies that. He's not even vague, if he doesn't give you explanations is because there aren't any which he'll point out anytime he's asked for any. TR is primarily a collection of mood pieces and I wouldn't be surprised if Lynch admitted so himself.
It's just too superficial to compete with real life to really resonate in any meaningful way. It's as if The Return depended to much on its bubble to be fully appreciated.
I want to go back to something I asked above. At which point does one conclude projecting/confirmation bias or any similar psychological mechanism outweighs what is conceivably actually there more or less intentionally? I think it's in a way an unanswerable question but it seems extremely relevant when it comes to this particular subject.