Let's talk about MIKE

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Let's talk about MIKE

Postby StealThisCorn » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:46 pm

Alright, it's time to talk about MIKE again. The more I think about him, the harder a time I seem to have trying to understand him after factoring in all the different things we learn about him. Sorry for the length, but I included every potential detail I could think of that would have bearing on explaining what's really going on with him. While I'm interested in what information from the scripts can be used to answer some of these questions, I'm also really curious what satisfying fan ideas we can come up with to reconcile some of this too?

Every time MIKE appears, he is in the form of Philip Gerard, the one-armed man, rather than showing a "true face" like BOB inside of Leland. The Little Man From Another place identifies himself as "the Arm". Is this meant to mean that the LMFAP is what's left of MIKE's "true face" and the entity speaking inside of Gerard when MIKE takes over? But yet in Cooper's dream, where he explains how he "saw the face of God" and "took the entire arm off", he introduces himself as "MIKE", not "Philip Gerard", implying MIKE was the agency behind taking the Arm off, just as BOB was the agency behind Laura's murder. This would seem to rule out the idea that Philip Gerard cut off his physical arm to hinder evil MIKE possessing him, and if it were the case, doesn't seem to prevent MIKE from doing so anyways whenever he wants to.

So the implication is that the Arm is now a separate being from MIKE, the Man From Another Place, only seen above the Convenience Store, in the Red Room or in very brief visions such as Josie's death. If this is the case, and MIKE is now on the side of good whereas the Arm is the evil that was purged from him, then why does MIKE voluntarily join up with the Arm in the Red Room to, in unison, compel BOB to give up garmonbozia from Leland to feed him/them? Or was MIKE lying about being seeing the face of God and being "changed" and is, in fact, still evil, and just uses Cooper to help him stop BOB so that he can bring him back under control ("he was my familiar")? He doesn't seem to care about Laura dying at all, he just shows up to thwart BOB from possessing her. If so, then why is the Arm now a separate entity in the first place? What would cause an entity to split like that? If he still feeds on pain and suffering, then why would he voluntarily "take the Arm off" at all?

Of course when confronted, Philip Gerard is under the belief that he merely lost his arm in a car accident and his tattoo just said "Mom", not "Fire walk with me". This is reminiscent of how Leland, after being "reset" by BOB just before the series, has no knowledge that he has been possessed until the entity leaves and "pulls the rip cord out". But does this mean that these two things are unrelated, and MIKE's claim about taking the arm off was meant in a symbolic way, since he is a spirit entity without any true "body" to amputate, only coincidentally reinforced by Gerard actually only having one arm? Or perhaps a direct clue to point Cooper in Gerard's direction ("we've got to find the one-armed man!") so that he could eventually stop him from using medication ("without chemicals, he points") and allow MIKE to take over and tell him about BOB? Which is another thing, in the film, MIKE/Gerard calls out BOB inside Leland Palmer in the traffic stop scene explicitly, so why in the series does he play games with Cooper like sniffing around for BOB and checking people at the hotel? Did he forget Leland was his host? Did BOB's removal of the garmonbozia from Leland "reset" him so much to where MIKE no longer sure BOB was in Leland anymore? When he is bed ridden, MIKE, inside Gerard, tells Cooper he has all the clues he needs and the answer lies in his heart. From the context of the film, it seems like he is just jerking Cooper around for no reason. I don't understand why.

And then there is the Owl Ring, which is possibly hinted at as the "something" Agent Jefrries found in Seattle "at Judy's" before witnessing the Black Lodge meeting "above the convenience store". When Agent Desmond attempts to pick it up, he disappears. In that same Black Lodge meeting, the Little Man rubs the green Formica table, which has a suspicious circle cut out of the top, and says to BOB, "With this ring, I thee wed", even though the ring is never actually seen here. Later it appears Teresa Banks has been wearing it for some time, long enough to pose in a photo with it and, before her death, her left arm (the same arm Gerard is missing) "went dead". In Laura's dream, the Little Man From Another Place offers her the ring, with Cooper telling her not to take it and, while she is still dreaming, it appears in her hand and her arm goes dead. And then later we see the ring on Gerard's little finger, as MIKE speaks through him to chastise BOB for "stealing the corn" and threatens Leland's exposure. Later Gerard/MIKE gives this same ring to Laura physically in the train car, which, when she puts it on, seems to stop BOB's ritual to possess her, compel him to kill her ("Don't make me do this!") and drive him to trudge all the way back to the Red Room to give up the garmonbozia to MIKE/the Little Man.

Did Gerard, possessed by MIKE, seek out Teresa specifically and give her the ring? For what reason was she chosen? Or possibly the Chalfonts/Tremonds gave it to her, since they lived in that same trailer park for a time. Were he and BOB still partners at this point or had their "breakup" already happened eons ago? MIKE said to Cooper that he and BOB used to have a "golden circle" of appetite and satisfaction. Was this represented by the ring? Or was BOB and MIKE's breakup what necessitated the creation of the Ring by the Little Man From Another Place ("With this ring, I thee wed") to keep order in the Lodge after MIKE's "change" so the spirits would still have access to a steady supply of garmonbozia to eat? But again, if so, then why is Gerard/MIKE, wearing the ring and making a point to show it to BOB/Leland in the traffic stop scene, as if to remind him of his marriage vows or display his authority? And how does his ring, on Laura's finger, prevent BOB from possessing Laura and force him to kill her? Or did BOB choose that as the only option left? I thought BOB was saying "Don't make me do this!" but I suppose it could have been Leland inside desperately begging BOB not to make him kill Laura? And also, how does it make BOB go back to the Red Room and give it up to MIKE and the Little Man, if they are no longer partners and he is "changed"?
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:08 pm

"Laura's path requires that she make a painful departure from the literalness represented by Cooper's warning about the ring. To reach the freedom of her dream double, she must come to understand the ring in a more poetic sense as a unifying power. This she does as, toward the end of the film, she realizes that the ring creates a kind of continuity - she has seen it on Teresa's finger and in her dream offered by her by the Little Man. She has also seen it in the strange scene in which MIKE tries to warn her about her father. MIKE is BOB's former partner and now seeks to impede BOB's violent career in this ordinary world. As he tries to tell Laura about Leland's multiple identity, he displays the ring.

If we are moving with the momentum of the film, we are ready to identify with Laura's revelation that the ring thus links all of its disparate but simultaneously existing speaces - the ordinary space in which Teresa lives, the Red Room of Laura's dream and the space over the convenence store from which MIKE comes. Laura's sense of the ring as a unifying factor predicts that her taking of the ring will be a form of balance between the spaces. Cooper's reasonable warning to her is based only on fragmentary, uninformed detective knowledge. Like Laura and Cooper, we must discover in the vision of the film another less literal meaning to her death. The key to this film's rhetoric is realizing that it makes us rejoice in her rejection of Cooper's advice, as he himself, in fact, ultimately does."

"The loss of an arm in this film, with respect to the Little Man and MIKE, functions as a castration image that associates the mutilation with too much control over women not, as in the Freudian framework, with too much intimacy and identification with women. Clearly some sort of shift is necessary in interpreting this loss in terms of Laura. The implications of the numbed arm for her are more enigmatic than the phallic mysteries of the Little Man, but they appear to be connected with menstrual blood through Annie's bloodied appearance in the bed, substituting for the incapacitated arm on Laura's left side just as the Little Man later completes MIKE in the Red Room. Such wounding that implicates the female genitals is ordinarily related to castration anxiety for men in the influential Freudian framework of thought. However, in contrast with the Freudian framwork as it has ben interpreted in our culture, female blood here seems to be less a wounding than a return to vitality. In this dream, the malfunction of Laura's arm occurs immediately after Cooper's rational warning about the ring and so appears to be associated with female anxiety connected with the power of rational (male?) perspectives in ordinary reality." (Nochimson)
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:29 pm

(Nochimson)
"In the scene in the Red Room, Mike and Bob perform a ritual of transubstantiation that redeems all of the chaos of the rational space of ordinary reality. The return to wholeness of the masculine creative potential occurs when Bob heals Leland's wound. This healing is represented as the return of "garmonbozia", pain and sorrow, to Mike and the Little Man. This bodes well since feeling returns to the masculine creative potential from which it has been disconnected in Bob's unfeeling, unrepentant acts of brutality. Surely some parallel exists here with Laura's numb arm in her dream and the use of Annie as a replacement for that arm. (...)
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby StealThisCorn » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:01 pm

While I sometimes enjoy reading that stuff, most of that is clearly just interpretation, and through an ultra-philosophical and psychological lens at that. It's an attempt to demystify Twin Peaks (or as you might say, male anxiety over 'non-rational' female myth or something). It's not how I like approach it. From the various anecdotes of his creative process, I really doubt David Lynch (or Bob Engels or Mark Frost for the series) ever consciously sat down and deliberately thought of most of those "connections" or constructed the story to follow them. It doesn't answer my questions from the perspective of story writing and conception, especially with an eye to what was intended to explain the backstory (Teresa Banks, the scene above the Convenience Store), what was intended to explain or tie into something from the series ("I am the Arm", Laura Palmer, "garmonbozia"=creamed corn) and what was intended to be a hook for future sequels that never came (Philip Jeffries, "Judy", the Blue Rose, Annie has the Ring now).

Lynch seems to work more on an intuitive level, getting inspiration from something (like "leaning against the side of the hot car"=the Red Room) and using it without even knowing where it fits in to the larger narrative and tying it in later ("MARK, THERE'S A GIANT IN COOPER'S ROOM!"), which ends up creating some truly bizarre, but compellingly unique identifying marks (Al Strobel could've had a Mickey-Mouse voice, read this poem, "through the darkness of futures past...").
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:39 pm

Tania Modleski is especially helpful on the subject of the repressive construction of male identity through literality in "Lethal Bodies: Thoughts on Sex, Gender and Representation from the Mainstream to the Margins," in Feminism Without Women: Culture and Criticism in a "Postfeminist" Age, pp 135-64.

http://www.filefactory.com/file/3yc6k71 ... 20Fire.pdf
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1 ... 4123425371
Healing Burns with Fire: The Facilitations of Experience in Tibetan Buddhism
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:51 pm

StealThisCorn wrote:While I sometimes enjoy reading that stuff, most of that is clearly just interpretation, and through an ultra-philosophical and psychological lens at that. It's an attempt to demystify Twin Peaks (or as you might say, male anxiety over 'non-rational' female myth or something). It's not how I like approach it. From the various anecdotes of his creative process, I really doubt David Lynch (or Bob Engels or Mark Frost for the series) ever consciously sat down and deliberately thought of most of those "connections" or constructed the story to follow them. It doesn't answer my questions from the perspective of story writing and conception, especially with an eye to what was intended to explain the backstory (Teresa Banks, the scene above the Convenience Store), what was intended to explain or tie into something from the series ("I am the Arm", Laura Palmer, "garmonbozia"=creamed corn) and what was intended to be a hook for future sequels that never came (Philip Jeffries, "Judy", the Blue Rose, Annie has the Ring now).

Lynch seems to work more on an intuitive level, getting inspiration from something (like "leaning against the side of the hot car"=the Red Room) and using it without even knowing where it fits in to the larger narrative and tying it in later ("MARK, THERE'S A GIANT IN COOPER'S ROOM!"), which ends up creating some truly bizarre, but compellingly unique identifying marks (Al Strobel could've had a Mickey-Mouse voice, read this poem, "through the darkness of futures past...").


In a way, I think you may have answered your own question here! Maybe more so than any other character, the one-armed man changes purpose and meaning depending on the context he's used in. His role is ambiguous enough early on that Lynch can get away with this kind of reboot approach though if one thinks about it too much the various actions become hard to reconcile.

That said, I think in the movie at least Mike/Gerard (who seem more blurred this time around) corresponds to Laura & Leland's ability/inability to face up to the truth of what has been going on. The scene in traffic occurs right after Leland has been reminded of Laura & Ronette on the bed and it leads to his flashback (and instigates Laura's questioning of her father and eventual remembrance of the ring on Teresa). Everyone around him - Laura, the mechanics - seem more concerned with Leland's reaction than the one-armed man's actions which suggests his appearance is important primarily as a psychological trigger for Leland. In Fire Walk With Me at least, the one-armed man and the ring he sometimes wears and eventually gives Laura, seems to represent "truth", "awareness", or "recognition": something Leland avoids and Laura eventually accepts (and which the FBI, in their investigation of Teresa Banks, cannot attain).

As a side note, here's a thought I've never heard anyone suggest before, and which only just occurred to me: what if, rather perversely, the Arm that the Little Man represents is not Mike's detached arm but his remaining one? The one which bears the ring?
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:56 pm

Fernanda wrote:http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2620

Tania Modleski is especially helpful on the subject of the repressive construction of male identity through literality in "Lethal Bodies: Thoughts on Sex, Gender and Representation from the Mainstream to the Margins," in Feminism Without Women: Culture and Criticism in a "Postfeminist" Age, pp 135-64.

"Like Bob's Circle of Appetite and Satisfaction, Holme's method devours mystery. In Contrast, Cooper's Tibetan method moves through the mystery to open the world for the detective and his cohorts. When Cooper and Truman trick Leland into a jail cell and Bob destroys the tormented Leland in preparation for deserting his host body, the awful wonder of the riddle at the heart of Laura's death is augumented, not deminished, by knowledge."

"The ring seems to represent both knowledge (perhaps why Cooper tells her "don't take the ring" - as the final episode indicates, he himself has imperfect courage when facing the deeper reality) and, perhaps as a function of that knowledge, resistance to Bob (although this doesn't really explain how it relates to Teresa)."

http://www.filefactory.com/file/3yc6k71 ... 20Fire.pdf
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1 ... 4123425371
Healing Burns with Fire: The Facilitations of Experience in Tibetan Buddhism


First quote's Martha Nochimson, second quote is...me (from another thread). Not sure where Tania Modleski comes into this...
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:28 pm

Come to think of it, in the show both Mike and a ring (Cooper's own ring in this case) are used to signify knowledge and the quest for the truth. Perhaps Mike cannot "tell" people what he "knows" but only manifest what they themselves already suspect. So that on the show, he leads Coop closer to Bob but cannot simply give him the name of his host (something Cooper must discover/recall on his own) and in the film he can push/prod Laura & Leland to face the truth of their relationship but they have to take the final steps themselves (indeed, he can't even just give Laura the ring - Ronette, freed by an angel which Laura may have manifested, must open the door first). Likewise, the Giant and the Little Man provide clues but not answers. Mike, lying in bed, tells Coop he has the answers he needs. And when Coop enters the Lodge, it is his own fears and anxieties that haunt him. The more I think about it, even on the show, the Lodge creatures are as much reactive as they are active.
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:48 pm

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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:59 pm

Fernanda wrote:
Not sure where Tania Modleski comes into this


"Our lives exist in a symbiotic relationship between the symbolic universe - the world in which we are theoretically existing currently - and the post-symbolic universe of the Black Lodge. Within 'our' world the big Other is theoretically absent apart from its representation within the camera's loose. Within Bob's world, the big Other is Bob: Bob is the symbolic logical excess that cannot find a place within 'our' world yet exists theoretically nonetheless. Bob governs a dimension in which the inversion and convolution of the boundaries structuring symbolic reality - words becoming corporeal, bodies becoming linguistic - find a physical formulation."

Bob was spelling his name; a signature on a demon's self-portrait. But he was inscribing himself in his (female) victims. His attempt at co-opting a "feminine identity" moves him further from MIKE and denies their wedding vows. (Sarcastically: "I had so much wanted to sing with him again.")


I wish you would include proper attribution along with the quotes - many of these statements are interesting, but you are not providing context. Also, many of the links you include simply lead to other, random threads.
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:06 pm

You are not providing context. Also, many of the links you include simply lead to other, random threads.


I am sorry. I sincerely apologize to everyone for all the confusion and for all my mistakes.
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby StealThisCorn » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:57 am

In a way, I think you may have answered your own question here! Maybe more so than any other character, the one-armed man changes purpose and meaning depending on the context he's used in. His role is ambiguous enough early on that Lynch can get away with this kind of reboot approach though if one thinks about it too much the various actions become hard to reconcile.


Yeah that's true. I just want it all to fit together in a cohesive way in my mind I guess , so even if the answers aren't in the source material, I'm find how people theorize about ways to reconcile all the different pieces of information we have very interesting and fascinating to read/think about.

I've never heard anyone suggest before, and which only just occurred to me: what if, rather perversely, the Arm that the Little Man represents is not Mike's detached arm but his remaining one? The one which bears the ring.


That would certainly be interesting, but I seem to remember Bob Engels talking about how the inspiration for the whole Little Man=the Arm idea came from the phantom limb pain phenomenon, taking that and personifying it in a way. I can't remember where exactly I read that, but I took it to mean the limb becoming a character would have to be the one MIKE took off, which, so far, I'm still not sure is supposed to have anything to do with the physical arm the human being Gerard lost.
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:20 am

StealThisCorn wrote:That would certainly be interesting, but I seem to remember Bob Engels talking about how the inspiration for the whole Little Man=the Arm idea came from the phantom limb pain phenomenon, taking that and personifying it in a way. I can't remember where exactly I read that, but I took it to mean the limb becoming a character would have to be the one MIKE took off, which, so far, I'm still not sure is supposed to have anything to do with the physical arm the human being Gerard lost.


Since Mike is Phillip, I'd assume axing the physical arm coincided with axing the metaphysical arm. Otherwise it's the world's biggest red herring (and non sequitur)!

As for the Little Man being Mike's existing (right) arm I take it back when I recall that it's the left arm which falls asleep and bears the ring (at least on Teresa - and I think on Laura too in the final scene: does she place it on her left ring finger in the train car?) Which means the Little Man corresponds not only to Phillip's/Mike's arm but the arms - that is to say, the vulnerability to evil - of all the victims. Thus it makes sense that he offers Laura the ring in the dream and seems ecstatic when she uses the ring in the final scene.

Some further thoughts: we often assume the ring didn't perform the same function for Teresa as for Laura but when do we - and Laura - see her wearing it? After it occurs to her that Leland may be Laura's or Ronette's father. In other words, when she gains knowledge (which will eventually be useful to Laura herself).

If Mike's left arm = evil, and the Little Man is his left arm, it would certainly seem to follow that the Little Man = evil, but that doesn't seem to be how he behaves in the film. Something else seems to be going on there in which he and Bob are on different sides. And why is Mike sitting alongside him in the final scene, reunited? This part I'll admit still has me perplexed.

Another element that throws me a bit in the end is the ring's final appearance. Up till now the ring seems to represent knowledge but what new knowledge does Laura gain in the end? Here, to me at least, the ring seems to represent Laura's goodness - and her power to act on that goodness (since I assume she is responsible for the angel that rescues Ronette, and thus leads to the open door and the ring being rolled in). Right now all I can think of is that Laura has gained knowledge of her goodness/power and that this is the final knowledge necessary to overpower Bob.
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby StealThisCorn » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:37 am

Since Mike is Phillip, I'd assume axing the physical arm coincided with axing the metaphysical arm. Otherwise it's the world's biggest red herring (and non sequitur)!


But MIKE is an "inhabiting spirit", Philip is "host to [him]". So MIKE should have existed long before Philip Gerard was born and will exist after he dies. Being a spirit, MIKE has no physical body from which to physically cut an arm off, which makes me think his words in Cooper's dream of taking the "entire arm off" are to be taken more symbolically. When interviewed by Cooper, Philip Gerard said he lost his arm in a car accident. I guess they could have happened at the same time, but taking everything together makes me think it really is a non sequitur.

But then again, there is that weirdness with Leland's hair turning white, which Cooper, rather inexplicably, tied to BOB being a long grey-haired man (even though Leland's hair is clearly WHITE not grey), so maybe there is some kind of physical connection. Hmm I never thought of that before. But it doesn't really make sense to be how either.

we often assume the ring didn't perform the same function for Teresa as for Laura but when do we - and Laura - see her wearing it? After it occurs to her that Leland may be Laura's or Ronette's father.


But we also see it on her finger in a photograph in her trailer found by Desmond and Stanley. The film said she had rented that space in Fat Trout Trailer Park for the last month, and the Chalfonts/Tremonds were specifically mentioned as being there for a time as well and disappearing after her death. Since Desmond found the ring underneath their trailer, I had always assumed they gave it to her originally.

If Mike's left arm = evil, and the Little Man is his left arm, it would certainly seem to follow that the Little Man = evil, but that doesn't seem to be how he behaves in the film. Something else seems to be going on there in which he and Bob are on different sides. And why is Mike sitting alongside him in the final scene, reunited?


I agree. This still doesn't quite make sense for me either. I think the Little Man can still be evil, since he consumes pain and suffering after all. Or at least, his morality completely alien to our humanity. I think his opposition to BOB makes sense from the standpoint of that business with BOB "stealing the corn", going rogue, being a free agent, etc. Like pragmatic evil vs. chaotic evil. It seems like after MIKE "was changed", BOB wasn't able to be controlled any more. Which is what I think part of the reason for creating the Ring was, as a contract of sorts for the Lodge in their collection of garmonbozia. It seems he and BOB were in opposition over Laura, where BOB wanted her to become his new host and the Little Man didn't want him to have that kind of freedom and claimed her through the ring, demanding repayment of the stolen corn (I guess?).

But if the Little Man is the evil of MIKE's left arm personified, then you would expect MIKE to now be good. Which means I don't think he should be feeding on pain and sorrow. But yet, like you pointed out, he appears in the Red Room alongside the Little Man at the end of the film to demand BOB feed him garmonbozia. So because of that, I can't tell if MIKE is actually still plenty evil, but then if so why does the Arm (LMFAP) exist separately from him at all?
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Re: Let's talk about MIKE

Postby Fernanda » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:58 pm

~
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