Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Nine

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERS – These weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR NINE

“When did he lose his marbles?”

At one point in hour nine, Diane (annoyed to be dragged to Buckhorn by Gordon Cole to see the alleged body of Major Briggs) receives a text that says, in riddle-like fashion from someone unknown, “Around the dinner table the conversation is lively.”

That about describes this hour…full of lively talk (and some great Albert one-liners) that deepens the mystery with plenty of clues but doesn’t give us anything juicy that astute Twin Peaks cultists haven’t already deduced.  There’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo about coordinates that may or may not open up portals into other dimensions:  Major Briggs left behind a secret scroll only his son Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) could extract from a mysterious tube with coordinates (and the “Cooper, Cooper” chant Briggs revealed to Cooper while they were camping in the woods in Season Two shortly before Briggs disappeared in a UFO-abduction-type scenario); while in Buckhorn, Ruth Davenport murder suspect and apparent alternate-dimension blogger William Hastings (a delightfully whiny Matthew Lillard) rambles to Tammy about meeting “The Major” and being given secret coordinates before The Major said “Cooper, Cooper” and floated up into the sky. Continue reading

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Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Eight

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR EIGHT

“We lived above a convenience store.”

David Lynch and Mark Frost have broken the television.

Like some living, breathing, electrified nightmare, Hour Eight starts with Ray shooting Mr. Cooper, who is then visited upon by the most startling set of engine oil-scorched ghosts whose otherworldly movements and nefarious shamanism bring him back to life.

Flashback to 1945 and a nuclear test site, where Lynch then employs cinematographer extraordinaire Peter Deming to slo-mo pan in on a burgeoning mushroom cloud before going deep inside it to the atom-splitting core. It’s a completely mesmerizing mosaic of meditative horror that could only be done on film (or is this digital, well, you get my drift…it’s purely and wholly cinematic) that seems like the rebirth (or afterbirth) of the artistic medium, though somewhat reminiscent of those fantastic sequences from the close of Kubrick’s 2001 and the middle of Malick’s Tree of Life. The fifteen minute sequence, despite its quasi-eerie familiarity, is completely beyond words and comprehension, and pardon the lame cliché, it will blow your mind. Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Seven

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR SEVEN

“I Don’t Know Where I Am”

Jerry Horn (David Patrick Kelly) announces this, while lost in the middle of the woods, to his brother Ben (Richard Beymer) at the start of Hour Seven. But really, it’s an echo of the audience groupthink around the new series, and of perhaps the Good Agent Cooper…who, thanks to those recently discovered pages of Laura Palmer’s diary (alas, a fourth page is still missing!) mentioning that creepy dream from Fire Walk With Me where Annie Blackburn visited her and told her about Cooper, and Hawk’s keen detective work, we communally recognize and confirm (as theorized by many fans) is still perhaps trapped in the Lodge.

Meanwhile…Bad Cooper reveals his unique blackmailing techniques using severed dog’s legs to get Warden Murphy to allow him to escape from prison all easy-peasy at 1am with his henchman and a car…but not before Gordon and Albert talked a hard-drinking, “My attitude is none of your damn business!” Diane (Laura Dern – perfect) to come out to Sioux Falls to interview Coop for herself, leaving her to proclaim broken-heartedly to Gordon that something key was missing from that thing claiming to be Cooper (namely, a heart). Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Six

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR SIX

“Diane?”

While Albert fulfilled the promise at the end of Hour Four and finally delivered us Diane (Laura Dern), it was the actress who played another Lynchian Diane, Naomi Watts as Janey E. Jones, who owned Hour Six, channeling the rage of the 99% and teaching some nefarious tough guys who were after Dougie a lesson about how to treat people and collect debt. Her diatribe was all at once heartfelt, clunky, tough-as-nails, and borderline funny (at one point I expected her to echo the words of George Costanza and explain to them, “We’re trying to live in a society!”), and it left the bad dudes shocked and muttering, “That was one tough dame.”

Weather it was the Neanderthal bookie thugs (who might make harassing phone calls or even break a leg or two…but wouldn’t kill a guy, right?), a psychopathic teenager with the last name Horne (who runs over a kid in the middle of the day!), a “magic man” drug kingpin (Balthazar Getty – last seen flirting from afar with our dear Shelly – a scene viewed as sweet in hour two, that in hindsight now hangs with a pall of sickening dread), or a miniature assassin who brutally murders a woman in her office in cold blood…Lynch and Frost are showing us that sickos not only lurk everywhere…but are now out of the shadows and in broad daylight. But for each deplorable in the basket…there were glimmers of decency…as seen in our dear Shelly, giggly Heidi, and a pie-loving teacher; in the officer who takes a dementia-riddled Dougie home; and in chain-smoking trailer-park Carl (Harry Dean Stanton) who comforts a grieving mother in the middle of the street while others look on with distant horror. It was both the distance and intimacy of that universal sense of horror that Lynch so awkwardly captured in tonally discordant ways this hour…capped off by the most haunting closing song yet at The Roadhouse and a soft yet hoarse velvety guitar playing chanteuse singing about wanting to forget… Continue reading

All Defiant on the Western Front in Wonder Woman

Early on in Patty Jenkins’ confident and electrifying big-screen Wonder Woman epic, after getting rescued by the film’s hero (a robust yet appealingly vulnerable Gal Gadot), our guy in distress (a somewhat charming gritty Ken Doll with a sense of humor, Chris Pine) upon being asked about how he stacks up to other men says, “I’m above average.” In some ways, that’s the best way to describe Wonder Woman in comparison to every other superhero movie. It’s above average. But to leave it at that would be deny the film’s subversive charms and contextual place in the pantheon of fantasy films as mirrors into the audience’s psyche.

Let’s not dismiss, however, just how fun it is to simply watch an above average film in this over-saturated genre. Jenkins and her crew show great creativity and tactical savviness in their treatment of all the genre clichés while choosing a relaxed and serialized pacing in the action, following each big set piece with moments of more intimate drama and character development (witness celebratory Belgian villagers and our heroes dancing in the streets in the evening snowfall that seems ripped from a great war-time romance).

The film’s inherently silly exposition (routed in Greek myth) is made palpable thanks to beautifully rendered Renaissance-style paintings of Greco-Roman fantasy come to life – smartly linking the lore and art of old with modern comic book pages and colorful cells flipped through feverishly by childhood’s fingers. Playful camera angles bring to life a rousing aeronautical flyover of an exploding enemy bunker and battle horses and motorcycles racing through war-torn woods, while slo-mo is used judiciously when warranted and not just for the sense of style. Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Five

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories.  Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR FIVE

“The Cow Jumped Over the Moon”

Well, well, well…where to even begin? So much happened in hour five, yet nothing happened…and with a resurgence of “high-hat-jazz” meets “1950’s grunge” music throughout the hour, this was the closest we’ve gotten to traditional Twin Peaks yet…Yet there was that mondo-bizarro Buenos Aries (yes, that’s right, Buenos Aries!) and Buckhorn, South Dakota stuff too!

So what did we learn this hour?

Under the radar character actor Jane Adams’ Buckhorn forensic scientist apparently moonlights as a comedian. “I think the cause of death was his head was chopped off.” And whose head was it? Well, apparently it was someone whose stomach contained a wedding ring engraved by none other than Janey E. Jones!

Back in Rancho Rosa, that sad-eyed kid with the drugged-out mom watches as some morons accidentally torch themselves after setting off the bomb some other morons set underneath Dougie’s car outside the foreclosed house where he had his trysts with Jade. Cue the scene of Jade (the no-nonsense yet somewhat empathetic Nafessa Williams – quickly becoming a sardonically sexy fan favorite) dropping the Great Northern key that magically showed up in Dougie’s pants (and he dropped in her car) into the mailbox.

Meanwhile, Janey E. Jones (a wonderfully exasperated Naomi Watts) is just about losing her patience with her husband, Dougie (who apparently has psychic abilities that tells him his insurance company comrade, an always slimy Tom Sizemore, is lying).  “Ok, Dougie, you’re acting weird as shit,” she tells him while he gets teary eyed looking at his kid. Yeah, our thoughts exactly, Janey… Continue reading

The Greatest Television Series of All Time

Next up for polling at Wonders in the Dark are The Greatest Television Series of All Time. For theses ballots, both series and mini-series can be considered.

As daunting as this was (and as difficult as it was to consider current running series that deserve a spot, but who knows how they might last or age over time), I had to put in my ballot.

The Top 60 countdown at WitD will begin later this summer.

Until then, see how your own choices would stack up against mine.

#57 I’ll Fly Away

#53 Newsradio

#49 Chappelle’s Show

#35 The Kingdom

#31 Homefront

#18 Elizabeth R

#14 Rome

#10 The Prisoner

#7 BoJack Horseman

#4 The Decalogue

#1 Twin Peaks

And now for the Spin’s Full Top 60 (with some “oh-so-close’s”) Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hours Three and Four

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories.  Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR THREE:

“Do chocolate bunnies have anything to do with your heritage?”

Andy (Harry Goaz) asks Hawk (Michael Horse) this amongst the spread of old Laura Palmer files, donuts and coffee as he and Lucy try to help the Deputy Chief figure out what the Log Lady meant and what exactly is…missing? “It’s not about the bunny,” Hawk stoically muses, “Or is it is about the bunny?”

Earlier the third hour opened with more Red Room / Black Lodge / Limbo / WhateverAndWhereverTheHellItIs, which every nook and cranny could be described and it would still be as incomprehensible as the craziest dream with Lynch having evolved (or is it devolved?) these manipulated digital photography sequences into moving modern art installations…or, as my wife pointedly pondered, is that vast ocean Cooper looks out over in the opening moments where Lynch goes when he does Transcendental Meditation? Cooper does find his way out…and voila! he’s taken the place of some awwshucks schmuck named Dougie Jones in Las Vegas. Simultaneously the Evil Cooper vomits creamed corn and black poison while overturning his Lincoln outside of Buckhorn, South Dakota. The dazed Cooper in Las Vegas is then dropped off at a casino by his hooker-with-a-heart-of-oh-brother where he proceeds to light-up slot jackpots guided by images of that zig-zag floor topped with a flame over the machines.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia (YES!), Special Agent Tamara “Tammy” Preston (a chic and slinky Chrysta Bell) is giving Gordon Cole (old Lynch himself) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) the rundown on that nasty piece of business in New York City (where those two poor kids were indeed mauled to death by whatever came out of that glass box) only to be whisked away by a phone call from someone claiming to have in custody none other than the long lost…Agent Cooper!

Cue the closing Bang!Bang! Roadhouse song and credits.

HOUR FOUR:

“Holy Jumping George!”

And Gordon Cole is right. Hour Four is where this new Twin Peaks finds its groove. What was disjointed and weird in the first three hours congeals into a jazzy-funny-scary tour de force, most of the action this hour bouncing back and forth and forth from our continued re-entry into our hometown through Hawk, Lucy and Andy; Gordon, Albert, and Tammy’s trip to Blue Rose territory and the increasingly bizarre Buckhorn, South Dakota case (where the bad Coop is itching to be debriefed by Cole); and good Coop’s entry into Dougie Jones’ family life. Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Two Hour Premiere

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERSThese weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories.  Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOURS ONE and TWO

“The Stars Turn and a Time Presents Itself”

The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) states this rather matter-of-factly to Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), part of message for him to go find out in the woods that which has been missing…

Most of the premiere had a tense, occasionally obtuse, and brooding vibe – somewhere between the madness of Fire Walk with Me and the tone of Mulholland Drive. Three main story-lines (along with plenty other tangled threads) were set up for some vast cosmic and physical convergence: Agent Cooper being trapped in the Red Room (for 25 years!); an evil doppelgänger Cooper running amuck in the real-world whose days are numbered and is wanted back at the Black Lodge; and some key players in our beloved hometown gearing up for something.

The two hours both inch along and somehow fly by thanks to Lynch’s uncanny knack to make you feel as uncomfortable as hell knowing that at any moment a long, static shot with stilted actors doing not much of anything could turn into an absurd experimental horror show (witness the truly ghastly special-effects that harken back to Lynch’s art school days in Philadelphia and Eraserhead). I wanted some scenes to end so badly, while at the same time I didn’t want the experience to end. Continue reading

Life is very very Complicated and we’re ready for our Mirror, Mr. Lynch

Bob Cooper Mirror

Life is very, very complicated, and so films should be allowed to be, too. – David Lynch

David Lynch has been saying that the new “season” of Twin Peaks is really just an 18 hour film. And, Jeeze Louise, ain’t the world all kinds of fantastic complicated right now? What better time then for a complicated, complicated film that will last all summer long?

I can’t help but muse upon the context with which we are about to consume this 18 hours, where Bob-willing we’ll get lost in a place both wonderful and strange.

Lynch is a proud Eagle Scout, and his re-entry into the social consciousness couldn’t be more eerily timed as two other Boy Scouts (Comey and Mueller) play detective in an attempt to unearth just what in Sam Hell is going on in the White House these days. Is there a world in more need of Boy Scouts than the world of today?

Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be True. And most importantly…Be Prepared!

Lynch has historically had an uncanny mastery of tapping into…”something”…that may have been unbeknownst to him at the start of the project. What will he accidentally tap into here (what big fish has he caught)? What was it that was so special…so great…about the context in which Twin Peaks enthralled a nation and world over 25 years ago? What is different…or the same… about the context today in which Twin Peaks returns?

What was the original Twin Peaks if not the tale of a Patriarch (Leland Palmer – possessed by Bob) run amok – and a Boy Scout (Cooper) who solved the mystery about what made that mad man tick (but alas, did we ever learn how to make Bob stop)? Weren’t we all Laura Palmer – living under Killer Bob’s tyrannical reign and longing for a way out?

And don’t we all love a good mystery? Don’t we all desire to get lost in those woods again? Can’t you just smell those Douglas Firs? How cathartic does this return to Twin Peaks have the potential to be? What will it say about our shared fears…about the American soul…about aging…about dying…about life?

We all have our hopes up so high…but even if it fails to tap into some sense of what Makes America Great Again…at the very least, I hope this new mystery provides a most pleasant diversion to the turmoil we’ll be roiling in all summer long (and perhaps beyond).

As I immerse myself in this world again, I will try to only report – hour by hour – on what is seen, what is felt. I’ll try to keep politics out of it. But all great art is made greater in equal parts by the baggage both the maker and the viewer bring to it. And, oh brother, we have a lot of baggage to unpack. So Be Prepared!

Don’t let us down, Davy boy…we couldn’t be more ready for complicated if we tried.

And Don’t Forget to Follow the Hour by Hour Spin, Brave Boys and Girls!