the Missing Pieces

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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby Fernanda » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:50 pm

What about Harold Smith's note matching what the grandson says to Donna, or the way people's arms/hands shake before Bob comes out of the Lodge, none of which was in the script for the respective episodes?
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby StealThisCorn » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:53 pm

Hey, tried to respond to this but my response was very convoluted and I kept messing up the quote brackets so I'm starting over!


It's ok, it happens to the best of us! I haven't read that one that. In the one I have, Strobel was asked if Mike meant to give the ring to Laura, and Al said that it wasn't intentional, he was just there to stop Bob, and it just kind of happened that the ring went to Laura. Whatever that means!

I agree and I am so curious what factors led to such a detour in Lynch's thinking. I do feel that what we saw was more powerful than Laura just asking Leland to kill her. Though it might have been even more impressive to see some kind of test of wills between Laura and Bob, with Laura clearly emerging the victor (like her screaming back in his face defiantly or something). But that whole ending sequence felt somewhat rushed as it was, just getting them from the cabin to the train car.

That's my hunch, and it seems consistent with how he works though maybe I'm just overthinking it!


Hey, unless Lynch decides to explain exactly what the hell he was thinking to us, I'm up for any theories, as long as they're interesting.

To me the key is finding the ways in which the two correspond (if they diverge at any point, I tend to think I'm missing something). In other words, "Mike telling Bob he stole creamed corn" = "Phillip telling Leland he murdered Teresa."


But it's like, there's nothing showing that the human Phillip even knows the human Leland or would have any idea he killed Teresa.

I will say that I don't think anything the Lodge creatures do is without a deeper psychological/spiritual significance for Laura, Leland and the other "human" characters. The difference between Fire Walk With Me and later Lynch films like Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive, is that it arrives with mythological baggage from the show, which does try to explain how the natural and supernatural interact as separate realms. That's never really been a theme that interests Lynch, and I believe in Fire Walk With Me he is trying to draw the two worlds closer together, to intertwine them so that they become inseparable... so viewers coming to FWWM without having seen the show often interpret all the supernatural elements as psychological projections of Laura. Meanwhile, viewers coming from the series have the opposite problem - they already see the Lodge creatures as having a real, physical, tangible existence and so they tend to neglect the degree to which these entities DO reflect or express psychological or spiritual phenomena. I think the truth of what Lynch is going for is somewhere between these two interpretations, though I'm still trying to figure out how this works.


I think you may be right there in terms of what Lynch probably finds more interesting, but I guess that's less exciting for me. I did see the series first and the mythology and supernatural stuff was what hooked me. I just found it so unique and strange, with its own style unlike anything I had ever seen before. Bob, Mike, the Red Room, the doppelgangers--they are all one of a kind and really get under your skin by appropriating images and concepts which wouldn't otherwise stand out like ceiling fans or creamed corn or a Formica tabletop. I love the idea of weirdo old people being possessed by inhabiting spirits and not understanding where they are or why they're there half the time. That said, I can't forget the fact that Lynch was the one who introduced elements like the Giant or the Grandson teleporting creamed corn across the room and the whole idea of the Owls not being what they seem, all of which were way more overtly supernatural then had been in the series till then. I mean, if it were me, I would have written out that there was a literal portal to the Red Room/Black Lodge called Glastonbury Grove which just happens to be in the woods aroud Twin Peaks, but he kept it and worked with it. Or, for example, what's the psychological significance to Laura or Leland of David Bowie physically teleporting from Argentina to Philadelphia and back in an elevator? Or of Desmond physically disappearing from reality? Or Cooper seeing himself frozen on the monitor? Or really, most of the Convenience Store scene entirely?
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:59 pm

Fernanda wrote:What about Harold Smith's note matching what the grandson says to Donna, or the way people's arms/hands shake before Bob comes out of the Lodge, none of which was in the script for the respective episodes?


I didn't know about the first. That's pretty interesting but also makes me wonder, what was in store for ep. 16 in that case? The contents of Harold's note lead directly to Donna's discovery of the diary and hence Cooper's penultimate clue. The turnaround time for episodes was pretty quick, but still I'd have to assume ep. 16 was already being prepped for production while ep. 14 was being shot which means that there was a version of ep. 16 almost ready to shoot but missing one of the key elements of its eventual story. Weird, and it suggests that even that far along the resolution of the investigation was kind of up in the air.

Man, I would LOVE to get in a time machine and watch how they actually wrote these episodes - on what timetable, under what circumstances, and where/when changes were made. Brad Duke's oral history is a big help here but it only goes so far - so many people are forgetful or evasive when it comes to this subject. Parts of the second season - particularly ep. 16 - feel really rushed, chaotic, and even improvised yet supposedly it was all set down early in the summer, way ahead of time.

Anyway the arms/hands shaking was apparently improvised by Stephen Gyllenhaal because he thought it would be a cool, eerie image. I wish it was their left hands that shook though, so we could have correspondence with the later mythology (in which the controlled arm HAD to be the left, since that's Al Strobel's missing arm)! Oh well, I suppose that would be asking for too much synchronicity. ;)
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby Fernanda » Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:11 pm

del.
Last edited by Fernanda on Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:08 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:53 pm

StealThisCorn wrote:It's ok, it happens to the best of us! I haven't read that one that. In the one I have, Strobel was asked if Mike meant to give the ring to Laura, and Al said that it wasn't intentional, he was just there to stop Bob, and it just kind of happened that the ring went to Laura. Whatever that means!


Unfortunately I haven't yet got my hands on any Wrapped in Plastic issues (though I'm gonna be working on that!) so what I've read comes from John Thorne himself (I recently did an interview with him which should be going up soon). As he paraphrased it, Strobel said that if Laura got the ring it didn't come from Mike meaning I guess that there was no shot of him throwing the ring into the train (implying that Lynch added it later). Personally, I think Mike DOES give Laura the ring but that it probably was not shot that way, another reason I suspect the material was added later. Maybe Sheryl Lee and the train car set were still available so Lynch was able to shoot a more complex sequence, but obviously it wouldn't have been possible to go back up to Snoqualmie to shoot Strobel throwing the ring in, so Lynch implies it instead. That's my reading. Thorne thinks that Mike does NOT give Laura the ring but rather that she takes it, essentially stealing it from the Lodge people and reversing its original meaning. I don't agree with this idea, but it has definitely had a big influence on my own theory (shared in another thread but briefly: Laura frees Ronette by summoning the angel, perhaps subconsciously, this good deed delivers the ring to Laura - the ring being the embodiment of Laura's refusal to allow Bob inside, perhaps through the newfound knowledge of her own goodness/power).

I agree and I am so curious what factors led to such a detour in Lynch's thinking. I do feel that what we saw was more powerful than Laura just asking Leland to kill her. Though it might have been even more impressive to see some kind of test of wills between Laura and Bob, with Laura clearly emerging the victor (like her screaming back in his face defiantly or something). But that whole ending sequence felt somewhat rushed as it was, just getting them from the cabin to the train car.


I agree the film's conclusion, while powerful, also has a rushed and confused feel to it. You can really sense Lynch struggling against the material; he's bound by film's prequel nature to end with Laura's grisly murder yet he also wants her to be the heroine of the movie, someone who achieves something and doesn't just die miserably. Does he ever resolve this contradiction? Sometimes I've felt he hasn't, liking the film regardless but feeling somewhat let down by the end. More recently I've come to suspect that he has resolved it (see above) although there are still some gaps in my theory (as well as, if this is what was intended, why not make it more clear - though of course this is Lynch we're talking about, and intention may be entirely beside the point). Ultimately, I guess it's open to inerpretation!

But it's like, there's nothing showing that the human Phillip even knows the human Leland or would have any idea he killed Teresa.


Good point so perhaps I have stated the parallel inelegantly. That said, this is clearly what's happening in the scene. Leland is confronted by the screaming one-armed man who accuses him of stealing the corn and then when the one-armed man drives off...Laura and Leland don't discuss creamed corn at all (and they barely discuss the one-armed man, though that's who Leland wants to focus on). Instead Leland flashes back to his encounter with Teresa and then Laura presses him on his visit to the house last week, with both revelations seemingly triggered somehow by Mike's/Phillip's appearance. If they aren't, this would just be sloppy, pointless screenwriting! The link works in emotional/aesthetic terms - the barrage of noise somehow leads inexorably to the sense of revelation. With Lynch, who works from mood, the emotional/aesthetic always precedes narrative...but he usually makes it consistent with the narrative as well. For me, the idea of Mike being summoned by Leland's guilty conscience and Laura's sneaking suspicions works well, but that still leaves the question of why they're able to "summon" someone who is not only a spirit but a flesh-and-blood person.

Someone once compared Lynch to Escher and I think that may be valid here. There may simply be no way to describe the film's mythology in concrete terms, to get a "fix" on it so to speak. Instead it functions however Lynch needs it to function at a given moment and only works if you concentrate on the scene at hand. Or maybe there is some larger explanation, dunno...

I think you may be right there in terms of what Lynch probably finds more interesting, but I guess that's less exciting for me. I did see the series first and the mythology and supernatural stuff was what hooked me. I just found it so unique and strange, with its own style unlike anything I had ever seen before. Bob, Mike, the Red Room, the doppelgangers--they are all one of a kind and really get under your skin by appropriating images and concepts which wouldn't otherwise stand out like ceiling fans or creamed corn or a Formica tabletop. I love the idea of weirdo old people being possessed by inhabiting spirits and not understanding where they are or why they're there half the time. That said, I can't forget the fact that Lynch was the one who introduced elements like the Giant or the Grandson teleporting creamed corn across the room and the whole idea of the Owls not being what they seem, all of which were way more overtly supernatural then had been in the series till then. I mean, if it were me, I would have written out that there was a literal portal to the Red Room/Black Lodge called Glastonbury Grove which just happens to be in the woods aroud Twin Peaks, but he kept it and worked with it. Or, for example, what's the psychological significance to Laura or Leland of David Bowie physically teleporting from Argentina to Philadelphia and back in an elevator? Or of Desmond physically disappearing from reality? Or Cooper seeing himself frozen on the monitor? Or really, most of the Convenience Store scene entirely?


I loved the supernatural mythology on the show too (albeit more when Lynch was at the helm, and it remained eerie and somehow intangible, like a dream, than when it was made rather more literal in the latter part of the series, which to me is more concrete and thus far less unsettling). That said, when I saw the movie I got really uncomfortable with all the stuff I used to like - the Red Room, the Little Man, the spooky spirit world of the woods. The Laura Palmer stuff was simply way too powerful and upsetting, and everything else began to seem like a distraction, maybe even a trivialization. That was my first reaction, after which I decided the movie was a flawed masterpiece. But over the years, upon reflection and eventual re-viewing (it took me five years to watch it again!) I appreciated the mythology more and saw it as complementary rather than contradictory to the psychological reading of the film. But I also saw the film and TV show as more or less separate phenomena, connected but not the same, with different strengths and sources of appeal. Only recently, after The Missing Pieces, have I sought to see series and film as being entirely of a piece. Which, of course, leads to all kinds of trouble...and fun. ;)

My main issues with a too-heavily-supernatural reading (i.e. one that sees the supernatural beings as fully "in charge" and Leland as a helpless victim only) were laid out in the Bob/Leland thread. To reiterate quickly, I think it robs the characters of agency and complexity, and trivializes both the subject of incest and the gravity of Sheryl Lee's performance. The campfire-tale aspects worked for me on the show because the trauma was presented from a distance and the acting was more stylized, but to mix a fun ghost story with really brutal and seemingly honest depictions of an abuse feels like a cop-out and cheap trick. The supernatural elements in FWWM only work for me if they expand my understanding of Twin Peaks' darkness, rather than constrict it by making it too otherworldly.

That said, the supernatural or something that looks an awful lot like it - undeniably exists in the worlds of Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me. It's a part of the world and the texture, but what is it there to achieve? That's the question that most interests me, I guess!

I wrote an essay about this a while back (while, just in the spring actually, but it feels like eons ago haha - my take on Twin Peaks is constantly evolving!) called "Back Door to the Black Lodge": http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2014/05/fire-walk-with-me-back-door-to-black.html

And this is my first review of the film which captures my first gut reaction to it, even if I don't necessarily agree anymore: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2008/08/twin-peaks-fire-walk-with-me_09.html
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby Fernanda » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:19 pm

How can Lynch simultaneously ground this film in social reality while allowing more fantastical elements to share the same space? For him, these fantasies aren't fantasies at all but projections of mystical truth (belonging not just to one character but to the entire collective unconscious, perhaps even to a cosmic order). These truths–primal forces, if you will–are far more powerful than the world of everyday appearances around us–indeed, they animate those very appearances. Rather than juxtapose the "natural" and "supernatural," Lynch fuses them to expose the foolishness of their distinction; this is not about claiming that spiritual beings and paranormal activity share our physical reality, so much as recognizing the very limitations of materialism to capture a consciousness which transcends it. In her book David Lynch Swerves, Martha Nochimson posits quantum mechanics and Hinduism's Vedic texts as inspirations for Lynch's "threshold experiences"; whatever their source, Lynch's elastic treatments of time, space, and spirit defy most traditional Western frameworks.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:32 pm

Fernanda wrote:
How can Lynch simultaneously ground this film in social reality while allowing more fantastical elements to share the same space? For him, these fantasies aren't fantasies at all but projections of mystical truth (belonging not just to one character but to the entire collective unconscious, perhaps even to a cosmic order). These truths–primal forces, if you will–are far more powerful than the world of everyday appearances around us–indeed, they animate those very appearances. Rather than juxtapose the "natural" and "supernatural," Lynch fuses them to expose the foolishness of their distinction; this is not about claiming that spiritual beings and paranormal activity share our physical reality, so much as recognizing the very limitations of materialism to capture a consciousness which transcends it. In her book David Lynch Swerves, Martha Nochimson posits quantum mechanics and Hinduism's Vedic texts as inspirations for Lynch's "threshold experiences"; whatever their source, Lynch's elastic treatments of time, space, and spirit defy most traditional Western frameworks.


Hey, I know that author...
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby Fernanda » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:37 pm

Rather than juxtapose the "natural" and "supernatural," Lynch fuses them to expose the foolishness of their distinction


0:32
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGOyoSAuREc
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby StealThisCorn » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:48 pm

I agree, I thought Laura summoned the angel as well, at least subconsciously (which, just want to point out, literally seems to untie Ronette). Yeah, reading the Strobel interview, I pictured the ring just flying off Gerard's finger and into the train car to Laura of it's own volition, and I was like, that's too silly. Don't forget the images of the Little Man gleefully cackling in triumph as Laura puts on the ring though and Bob is forced to kill her. I think, in the conflict between him and Bob, that signified he won.

If they aren't, this would just be sloppy, pointless screenwriting! The link works in emotional/aesthetic terms


Alright, here's the way I see it, taking the show and film together as a whole and blurring out some of the rough edges for the sake of cohesion: The humans are responsible for their human knowledge, motivations and actions. But the entities or spirits are responsible for their "spirit" knowledge, motivations and actions. The film makes obvious that Leland wanted the affair with Teresa, was probably seeing other prostitutes before, was threatened with exposure by her and silenced her by murder. I also think it is clear that he molested Laura because he had that unhealthy desire for his daughter all along in himself and clearly drugs Sara to cover it up and that once she makes clear she isn't going along with the denial any longer, he knew she was going to have to go. All the while, Bob is feeding off Laura's fear of him since childhood, the pain and suffering of her abuse and the pleasures of Leland's various rapes and indiscretions. That said, I don't think Leland knows anything about corn, or who Mike is or the ring. But Bob, inside Leland, has his own motivations and actions too. He has been working to break Laura down so that she becomes his new vessel. He is afraid of being found by Mike. He recognizes the symbol on the Ring which Gerard flashes. He knows what stealing the corn means and the implications of his actions. He knows to camouflage the scorched engine smell. He is behind the ritual of making a mound of dirt, writing the Fire walk with me in blood (a phrase Leland has no reason to know) and placing the mirror in front of Laura's face.

Do you see what I'm doing there? I think that is a sensible way to both hold the human characters responsible for their actions, as well as have a meaningful psychological subtext to the material, while at the same time not downplaying the clearly supernatural aspects of the background mythology, so much of which otherwise would have little point of being there at all if all that were needed is a psychological explanation for everything.

the idea of Mike being summoned by Leland's guilty conscience and Laura's sneaking suspicions works well, but that still leaves the question of why they're able to "summon" someone who is not only a spirit but a flesh-and-blood person.


But I don't feel like that's what's happening there. Ever since way back in the original "European" pilot ending, it's been established that Mike has been "lookin for Bob", and hunting him down to put a stop to his activities, which I think the film expands on has more to do with the Little Man considering Bob a rebellious and wild thief who needs to be brought back under control then necessarily Mike being a good spiritual warrior seeking to atone for his past sins. I think he was hunting Bob and he caught him trapped at the traffic stop with his daughter to confront him.

albeit more when Lynch was at the helm, and it remained eerie and somehow intangible, like a dream, than when it was made rather more literal in the latter part of the series


Same here. I don't think Glastonbury Grove, or Project Bluebook or Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions should have anything to do with it. Even the Giant physically dropping Cooper's ring back into thin air seemed like a bit much. Far too literal and earthly stuff. But let's not forget that, once again, it was David Lynch who said "Josie winds up in a drawer pull". That one was hard to swallow.

...and fun.


Oh, especially fun!

one that sees the supernatural beings as fully "in charge" and Leland as a helpless victim only


Let me restate that I do not see this as the correct interpretation either, despite the rather poorly written excuses for Leland's otherwise beautiful death scene in Episode 16. That said, I still think Lynch and Engels deliberately intended the bit at the end of the film where Bob takes the garmonbozia out of Leland to feed the Little Man/Mike as, in addition to its other meanings, to serve as an explanation for why Leland regresses to a psychologically fractured, broken-hearted father in the series proper who really doesn't remember his abuse of Laura or her murder.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:06 pm

Fernanda wrote:
Rather than juxtapose the "natural" and "supernatural," Lynch fuses them to expose the foolishness of their distinction


0:32
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGOyoSAuREc


Oh man, why didn't anyone have this up when I did my Lynch retro?!
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:43 pm

StealThisCorn wrote:I agree, I thought Laura summoned the angel as well, at least subconsciously (which, just want to point out, literally seems to untie Ronette). Yeah, reading the Strobel interview, I pictured the ring just flying off Gerard's finger and into the train car to Laura of it's own volition, and I was like, that's too silly. Don't forget the images of the Little Man gleefully cackling in triumph as Laura puts on the ring though and Bob is forced to kill her. I think, in the conflict between him and Bob, that signified he won.


I agree with this interpretation of the Little Man's behavior (that he's laughing hysterically/cackling in, well, triumph maybe a mad kind of glee certainly). Worth noting though that Thorne sees this as the little man shuddering in defeat! LOL - Lynch really does seem like a Rorschach test sometimes...

Alright, here's the way I see it, taking the show and film together as a whole and blurring out some of the rough edges for the sake of cohesion: The humans are responsible for their human knowledge, motivations and actions. But the entities or spirits are responsible for their "spirit" knowledge, motivations and actions. The film makes obvious that Leland wanted the affair with Teresa, was probably seeing other prostitutes before, was threatened with exposure by her and silenced her by murder. I also think it is clear that he molested Laura because he had that unhealthy desire for his daughter all along in himself and clearly drugs Sara to cover it up and that once she makes clear she isn't going along with the denial any longer, he knew she was going to have to go. All the while, Bob is feeding off Laura's fear of him since childhood, the pain and suffering of her abuse and the pleasures of Leland's various rapes and indiscretions. That said, I don't think Leland knows anything about corn, or who Mike is or the ring. But Bob, inside Leland, has his own motivations and actions too. He has been working to break Laura down so that she becomes his new vessel. He is afraid of being found by Mike. He recognizes the symbol on the Ring which Gerard flashes. He knows what stealing the corn means and the implications of his actions. He knows to camouflage the scorched engine smell. He is behind the ritual of making a mound of dirt, writing the Fire walk with me in blood (a phrase Leland has no reason to know) and placing the mirror in front of Laura's face.

Do you see what I'm doing there? I think that is a sensible way to both hold the human characters responsible for their actions, as well as have a meaningful psychological subtext to the material, while at the same time not downplaying the clearly supernatural aspects of the background mythology, so much of which otherwise would have little point of being there at all if all that were needed is a psychological explanation for everything.


That pretty much works for me except that lately I'm kind of flirting with the idea of the two realms somehow paralleling or intertwining with each other. Though, as evidenced by some of my speculations so far, I'm not really sure how this would work!

But I don't feel like that's what's happening there. Ever since way back in the original "European" pilot ending, it's been established that Mike has been "lookin for Bob", and hunting him down to put a stop to his activities, which I think the film expands on has more to do with the Little Man considering Bob a rebellious and wild thief who needs to be brought back under control then necessarily Mike being a good spiritual warrior seeking to atone for his past sins. I think he was hunting Bob and he caught him trapped at the traffic stop with his daughter to confront him.


This does seem to be the "simplest" (lol) explanation but it begs a lot of questions. Why does Mike's visitation trigger memories of Leland's transgression with Teresa and provoke Laura's interrogation of her father? Why does she seem more concerned with his behavior than the crazy guy yelling out them out of a van (same with the mechanics, who are telling him he'll burn out his engine; only Leland focuses on the one-armed man). There is some sort of implicit dramatic connection between the two halves of the scene - the traffic confrontation followed by the flashback/father-daughter conversation. But it's hard to tease out exactly what that is or how it works.

Why, in your opinion, does Lynch fold this material together in the same scene?

Same here. I don't think Glastonbury Grove, or Project Bluebook or Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions should have anything to do with it. Even the Giant physically dropping Cooper's ring back into thin air seemed like a bit much. Far too literal and earthly stuff. But let's not forget that, once again, it was David Lynch who said "Josie winds up in a drawer pull". That one was hard to swallow.


Yeah...on the one hand ANY Lodge mythology, however straight-up sci-fi/fantasy, was preferable to some of the more sitcom-y/soap operaish stuff in season 2 but it really wasn't on a par with Lynch's earlier (or later) touches. I remember being particularly disappointed the first time with the Josie sequence, not even so much the drawer-pull as the appearance of Bob and the Little Man on her bed. It felt like such a desperate grab but there was just nothing frightening or uncanny about the image. Like, oh hey look, it's these guys again! Remember them? Weren't they scary/spooky? Don't cancel us, please!

It was kind of surprising to find out Lynch suggested that, but there is a world of difference between his own approach and someone else trying to execute his ideas (although I do think - despite her fumbling of her last moment on the show - Lesli Linka Glatter is one of the best series directors, and she always nails the one-armed man; his speech in ep. 13 is my favorite non-Lynch moment). Increasingly, I wonder if this also explains what's going on in ep. 16. The first few times I saw it the episode felt distinctly non-Lynchian and in many ways, it still does: the overexplanation of all the dream's clues, the perfunctory Road House gathering/big reveal, the at-times cartoonish (and VERY demonic-possession) behavior of Bob as Leland.

And yet...more and more I see potentially Lynchian elements peeking through. Martha Nochimson has pointed out that Laura's role as gatekeeper to the other world seems very Lynchian (Cooper, after all his investigations, must turn to her to find his answer). And although the big takeaway from the episode seems to be that Leland is a helpless victim of an evil spirit, there are many clues sprinkled throughout implying this isn't entirely the case ("a big hole where his conscience used to be," the whole was-Leland-himself-molested subtext, and the moment where he grabs and squeezes Donna seems very real and unsettling, worthy of ep. 14). It's really such a fascinating mess. I get the sense that perhaps Lynch did have something to do with some of the ideas in ep. 16 (Ray Wise says that it was Lynch who explained the whole "into the light" scene to him) but didn't stick around to see them executed because he was so frustrated with the mystery ending. It's interesting too that Mark Frost did not write the episode alone (as he did his last 4 episodes). I wonder how much was Frost and how much was Peyton & Engels scrambling to make sense of all this material & mythology thrown in their direction. God, how I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during those story conferences!

Let me restate that I do not see this as the correct interpretation either, despite the rather poorly written excuses for Leland's otherwise beautiful death scene in Episode 16. That said, I still think Lynch and Engels deliberately intended the bit at the end of the film where Bob takes the garmonbozia out of Leland to feed the Little Man/Mike as, in addition to its other meanings, to serve as an explanation for why Leland regresses to a psychologically fractured, broken-hearted father in the series proper who really doesn't remember his abuse of Laura or her murder.


I remember you saying that and it's an interesting idea, sort of an "in-world" explanation to make sense of the discontinuities between film and series. I tend to see it as more continuous. I think his denial is REALLY deep-seated so that in both series and film he manages to prevent himself from reflecting upon what he's been doing even though he's not entirely unconscious of it. Sort of a split-personality in which one personality is a demon invited in (to go back to that Babelwright blog post). Much like Laura herself although she hasn't developed the coping techniques or ability to sublimate yet, the way Leland has. But I don't think it's a matter of him walking around constantly haunted by knowledge of what he's done in the movie, and then completely forgetful by the time the series starts. I think in BOTH film and show he knows and doesn't know; if anything his denial defenses might be wearing more thin on the show since his behavior becomes more and more erratic and desperate. Sorry, this is tricky to convey without recourse to psychoanalytic jargon (which I don't have handy!) but hopefully that makes sense.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby StealThisCorn » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:44 pm

Worth noting though that Thorne sees this as the little man shuddering in defeat! LOL - Lynch really does seem like a Rorschach test sometimes...


Yeah...I've heard some people get that from that scene as well and I just don't see how they see that all, but to each their own. It just clearly looks to me like he is frenetically laughing and clapping his hands, I would say, almost frothing at the mouth in anticipation of his coming meal. Also remember Leland said in Episode 16, "They wanted her."

Oh and agreed about Episode 16s shortcomings but about the very demonic possession, I noticed in Episode 14 which Lynch directed, Bob says, "Leland says, you're going back to Missoula, Montana!!" We've never seen him talk like that in the film, "Leland says", but it seems very demonic possession like too. I guess by that point Leland had lost complete control of his body to Bob or something.

Why does Mike's visitation trigger memories of Leland's transgression with Teresa and provoke Laura's interrogation of her father? Why does she seem more concerned with his behavior than the crazy guy yelling out them out of a van (same with the mechanics, who are telling him he'll burn out his engine; only Leland focuses on the one-armed man).


Well I guess this does seem in favor of your explanation that two realms kind of overlap or "bleed through" into each other maybe. Firstly, with the whole, "steal the corn" thing, are we agreed that it means that since the ring was created in a "wedding ceremony" between Bob and the Little Man, Teresa wearing the ring=canning the corn?=by Leland killing Teresa and Bob eating all the corn for himself, he broke the vows of the ring, cheating the Little Man out of his portion? In any case, I took it that when Mike called out Bob for stealing the corn, Bob's internal reactions to this (the black dog barking defiantly) brought the memories of Teresa's murder a year ago to the surface of Leland's mind, even if he doesn't consciously know what the One-armed man's words mean or why they make him think of that. Also Laura said she felt like she had seen Mike before after the traffic stop. Her dream where the Little Man offers her the ring perhaps, since he's "the Arm"

Maybe I wasn't thinking about the scene hard enough, but I just took the reactions of Laura and the mechanics calling out Leland for freaking out while being oblivious to how insane it was for the One-armed man to do what he did, to be some kind of almost comical irony moment where Leland is the only sane man. Maybe not though.

It felt like such a desperate grab but there was just nothing frightening or uncanny about the image. Like, oh hey look, it's these guys again! Remember them? Weren't they scary/spooky? Don't cancel us, please!


Aww, I was actually so relieved for that scene, like finally! After so much Evelyn and Little Nicky and Lana, it was about time we saw Bob again. And it was kind of cool hearing Bob speak for the first time, except for the bit in the dream in Episode 2. But thank goodness they got back some interest with that and the COOP campaign got involved, or else that would have been the last episode and I don't think we would be having this conversation. But then again if that had been the last episode I could blissfully imagine Audrey and Cooper making up, and be spared the agony of the JJW and Annie romantic rush job special. Oh well.

But I don't think it's a matter of him walking around constantly haunted by knowledge of what he's done in the movie, and then completely forgetful by the time the series starts.


Oh no, you misunderstood me. I'm saying I think in the film he is completely aware of his actions, though there is that one amazing acted scene where his face goes from disturbed brooding to tearful desire to tell his daughter he loves her. But I'm not sure if that's Leland and Bob so much as Leland's war within himself as sometimes he maybe hates her for what maybe he blames her for doing to him, and then other times feels tremendous guilt and almost obsessive devotion to her. I'm not sure how to interpret that completely. In any case, and then in the show is when I think he's haunted by it, but it's like he can't quite seem to remember why until it all comes back.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:24 pm

StealThisCorn wrote:Oh and agreed about Episode 16s shortcomings but about the very demonic possession, I noticed in Episode 14 which Lynch directed, Bob says, "Leland says, you're going back to Missoula, Montana!!" We've never seen him talk like that in the film, "Leland says", but it seems very demonic possession like too. I guess by that point Leland had lost complete control of his body to Bob or something.


There's definitely a possession angle to ep. 14 but as with any Lynch, it's presented ambiguously (he really HATES being pinned down to one interpretation which is why we're here having all these inconclusive conversations; every time it seems like one reading comes to the fore he puts in something to completely contradict it!). More importantly, it's presented in a viscerally horrifying and psychologically compelling way. The shot of Leland staring into the mirror with the chilling smile as Bob calmly looks back still gives me chills. Up till this point, Bob has been played as the conventional image of the creepy drifter no one would trust their kids within a mile of. To see this image reflected back at LELAND, the small-town lawyer, the loving father, the eccentric but harmless (well, unless you're Jacques) charmer...this upends so many expectations and conventions and is one of the most subversive moments in television history. Whatever is going on here - pyschic projection, supernatural possession, Lynch just being wiggy and inserting symbolism into the physical world of the series - its gut-level effect is wrenching and disturbing.

So I guess, to clarify, it's less the "very demonic possession" angle of ep. 16 that bothers me (other than seeing it in light of FWWM, where it no longer seems appropriate) than the exaggerated way in which it is presented. Bob is constantly grimacing and cackling (whereas in his most chilling moments before, ep. 1, 9, and 14, he is usually very quiet, staring right at us without blinking, far more uncanny than the usual monster-movie villain; the occasional laughter or roar is like perfectly-timed punctuation and he feels feral rather than fully human - a force of energy more than a being). And when Leland is fully Bob, in the jail cell, he acts like Daffy Duck. Not to criticize Ray Wise's full-throated performance, but I think Tim Hunter had the wrong idea in presenting Bob this way. Bob is scariest when we don't have a precise handle on what he is and he speaks to us in purely visual, almost subconscious terms.

Well I guess this does seem in favor of your explanation that two realms kind of overlap or "bleed through" into each other maybe. Firstly, with the whole, "steal the corn" thing, are we agreed that it means that since the ring was created in a "wedding ceremony" between Bob and the Little Man, Teresa wearing the ring=canning the corn?=by Leland killing Teresa and Bob eating all the corn for himself, he broke the vows of the ring, cheating the Little Man out of his portion? In any case, I took it that when Mike called out Bob for stealing the corn, Bob's internal reactions to this (the black dog barking defiantly) brought the memories of Teresa's murder a year ago to the surface of Leland's mind, even if he doesn't consciously know what the One-armed man's words mean or why they make him think of that. Also Laura said she felt like she had seen Mike before after the traffic stop. Her dream where the Little Man offers her the ring perhaps, since he's "the Arm"


I don't know - it's all so hard to sort out! But it does make me want to take a look at the Vedic scriptures which have supposedly had a big impact on Lynch (through the Maharishi, whose teaching he avidly followed). I suspect Fire Walk With Me is a more Hindu film than many realize (the last sequence in the Lodge, with Bob taking the garmonbozia definitely feels this way to me, though perhaps the vaguely Indian-sounding Sycamore Trees instrumental adds to this vibe). There was a comment I read once, somewhere, about the Maharishi believing that Transcendental Meditation generated an energy which spirits devoured for their sustenance. That certainly caught my attention in light of FWWM & garmonbozia. Not sure if this is the case though or if it was an anti-TM conspiracy theory.

Maybe I wasn't thinking about the scene hard enough, but I just took the reactions of Laura and the mechanics calling out Leland for freaking out while being oblivious to how insane it was for the One-armed man to do what he did, to be some kind of almost comical irony moment where Leland is the only sane man. Maybe not though.


I'd say there's that element too - Lynch does like his incongruous absurdity. But there does seem to be something significant about it too. It ALMOST feels like Leland is the only one who sees him although, in typical fashion, Lynch makes sure we can't assume this since Laura refers to him too (and later remembers him in her flashback). The whole film kind of takes this approach, leading us just to the edge of taking the "supernatural" as psychological projections only to add details that make this reading impossible. But then his later films do this as well: in Lost Highway, for example, Fred Madison asks who the Mystery Man is and the host of the party acknowledges his presence. The moment seems to be in there just to underline for the viewer that what we just witnessed did NOT simply occur inside Fred's head.

Aww, I was actually so relieved for that scene, like finally! After so much Evelyn and Little Nicky and Lana, it was about time we saw Bob again.


Yeah, that's a common reaction. I'm not sure why I was so tough on it but it was something about the way it was shot. The wide with Bob and the Little Man appearing so small in the frame, it just didn't seem frightening to me. I like Bob's appearance at the end of ep. 27 more, but then I love that whole sequence (the mayor saying, "Something isn't right here" as we push down all the familiar and eerily empty locations). Such a perfect segue into the series climax, which must have been assembled after Lynch had shot the finale (since it wasn't initially supposed to be the Red Room in Glastonbury Grove; plus this ending feels like a lead-in to a 2-hour finale which is not what ep. 28 & 29 were originally supposed to be). It really feels like all the town's demons, which they thought they had finally buried are about to come roaring back in a tidal wave you could almost label Laura's Revenge. Or maybe Lynch's Revenge (although, ironically, the scenes he added to the finale script actually soften the blow by giving some characters a friendly send-off).

Oh no, you misunderstood me. I'm saying I think in the film he is completely aware of his actions, though there is that one amazing acted scene where his face goes from disturbed brooding to tearful desire to tell his daughter he loves her. But I'm not sure if that's Leland and Bob so much as Leland's war within himself as sometimes he maybe hates her for what maybe he blames her for doing to him, and then other times feels tremendous guilt and almost obsessive devotion to her. I'm not sure how to interpret that completely. In any case, and then in the show is when I think he's haunted by it, but it's like he can't quite seem to remember why until it all comes back.


No, I definitely got that - what I'm saying is that I actually am not to sure about that! While I've constantly emphasized Leland's responsibility for his actions I still think he is SEVERELY repressed. I think his lies to himself run so deep that he genuinely doesn't really carry around his guilt or knowledge on a conscious level in day-to-day life. When the time comes, he gets into his mindset and abuses Laura but the next morning at breakfast I don't think he's thinking in the back of his mind, God, it's awful what I did last night. I think he really genuinely is able to compartmentalize and put it aside to the point where he can function as if it's not there. Again, I believe there's an actual psychological term for this but don't know exactly what it is (is it a "psychogenic fugue" vis a vis Lost Highway?). On the show, you may be right, in that he goes even more into a fog where he genuinely CAN'T remember his crimes even if he wanted to (which is where the crazy starts to come out). But I think in the film he's really pushed his self-awareness very far back into the recesses of his mind. It's there, but can be avoided and put away rather than haunt him on a conscious level. Does that make sense?

EDIT: After writing this, my curiosity was piqued and I looked up some stuff on Vedism and Hindusim. Apparently the two should not be automatically equated, as the Vedic texts precede the Hindu religion (and TM people are apparently very emphatic about Vedism not being the same as Hinduism). My bad.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby StealThisCorn » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:09 am

Up till this point, Bob has been played as the conventional image of the creepy drifter no one would trust their kids within a mile of. To see this image reflected back at LELAND, the small-town lawyer, the loving father, the eccentric but harmless (well, unless you're Jacques) charmer...this upends so many expectations and conventions and is one of the most subversive moments in television history.


It is an excellent and chilling reveal, especially the way he looks right at us through the camera, taking us into the action, and we just know what's going to happen next. But, at the same time, it could have been more shocking, insofar as I think they dropped a bit too many hints pointing to Leland by that point. But that was probably I guess because he knew they were going to give into the network and reveal the killer, so maybe it wouldn't have been set up quite so directly if they hadn't been so pressured. I feel like once the diary is read by Cooper, it's either Ben or Leland you'd want to talk to ("a friend of my father's") and one's blood type doesn't match that found on the bloody towel.

There was a comment I read once, somewhere, about the Maharishi believing that Transcendental Meditation generated an energy which spirits devoured for their sustenance.


That's actually really interesting. At first glance it reminds me of some of Carlos Castaneda's "mentor" Don Juan's sorcery teachings.

in Lost Highway, for example, Fred Madison asks who the Mystery Man is and the host of the party acknowledges his presence.


Yeah, Lynch really likes to fuck with us that way. It'd be like, if in Dexter, when Dexter is talking to the projection of his deceased father Harry in his mind, someone just randomly walked by and was like, "Oh, hi Harry". It's like Lynch deliberately doesn't want us to be able to put it all together tidily in our minds one way or another. It's somewhere in between. And that can be so frustrating sometimes!

but then I love that whole sequence (the mayor saying, "Something isn't right here" as we push down all the familiar and eerily empty locations). Such a perfect segue into the series climax, which must have been assembled after Lynch had shot the finale (since it wasn't initially supposed to be the Red Room in Glastonbury Grove


YES. That ending is another of my favorite non-Lynch directed moments. It's so eerie and tense going through all those empty buildings with the Mayor's words, "something's wrong" in our ears. Like Silent Hill or something. But I did wonder about those red curtains showing up in the pool. In the Frost/Peyton/Engels script for Episode 29 the "Red Room" is just one of the locations Cooper visits in the Black Lodge (shadow hotel, dentist's office etc.), but yet the Red Room is set up so well at the end of Ep. 27 being shown in the pool of oil. So was that assembled after the finale had been shot then, to tie it all together? Otherwise I thought, wow, that was lucky since it could have been yet another incongruity.

soften the blow by giving some characters a friendly send-off


I think those scenes are more there to loop everything back to the pilot. It's really eerie how everything in the diner kind of repeats for a bit, but I think it has to do with the whole emphasis on cyclical time and such. They had tried to do the same thing in the Josie send-off episode, by showing her in the mirror putting lipstick on again just like in the pilot, since they thought that was their last episode.

Again, I believe there's an actual psychological term for this


Ah ok I see what you are saying now. And yeah, you're right I think it really does look like that's happening to some degree. But as we've discussed, pinning down how much and when and where is really hard.
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Re: Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces - analysis/thoughts etc

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:10 pm

They had tried to do the same thing in the Josie send-off episode, by showing her in the mirror putting lipstick on again just like in the pilot, since they thought that was their last episode.


I wondered about this. The Josie episode really feels like the end of a stretch and the subsequent episode the beginning of something new (although JJW, "good" Ben, and the pine weasel are all set up in the Josie episode). But wasn't ABC pulling the show from the air a relatively spontaneous decision? In other words, weren't the following episodes already shot and scheduled for the following weeks when the network decided to end it with Josie? The timing certainly was coincidental, but I wonder if it was more than that.

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