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TWIN PEAKS: The Return / Part VIII analysis

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Man, what?

I’m starting to sound like a broken record saying that as soon as we think we know where Twin Peaks is going, David Lynch takes the wheel from us and drives us into swamp infested waters while a possessed string orchestra plays out our deaths. How foolish of me to believe we were getting back to the more non-abstract and straight linear parts of Twin Peaks.

It feels like we were bludgeoned with the nightmarish visuals in Part VIII so much that it might seem impossible to make sense of it all. But we are given a pretty clear blueprint to draw conclusions with while still leaving some questions unanswered.


Bad Coop aka Coop Simmons aka Black Lodge’s Walking Spray Tan (Kyle MacLachlan) and Ray Monroe (George Griffith) are out of jail. Bad Coop wants information that Ray has kept secret, but Ray will only let it go for the right price. Bad Coop leads him to a forest area and tries to shoot him, but his gun is full of blanks. Ray shoots him dead. Well… apparently not.

Lights flash across Ray’s perplexed face as what looks like dirty underpass dwellers known as Woodsmen mutilate Bad Cooper’s body until a dark membrane that has the face of BOB (Frank Silva) is out of his body. Ray understandably gets the hell out of there before phoning Philip (we can assume Philip Jeffries) to say he saw something in Cooper that “may be the key to what this is all about.”

I haven’t mentioned any of the musical guests featured so far on the show as they are used to have something nice to sway to while the credits roll. (The) Nine Inch Nails’ performance signals a musical intermission of story structures. Bad Cooper becomes resurrected (wild that NIN has the type of power to do that).

July 16th, 1945. White Sands, New Mexico. The first detonation of a nuclear bomb as a part of the Manhattan Project. We zoom in slowly straight into the explosion and are treated to a visual assault, unlike anything I’ve seen in quite some time. The sequence has been compared to the creation of life sequence in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life or the last twenty minutes of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, but these are simple comparisons. Malick’s creation of life sequence is beautiful and sublime. The end of 2001 is clearly chaotic. Neither are as bone-chilling as this sequence that visually depicts the creation of evil from the Black Lodge.

The nuclear blast in New Mexico that spawn the merging of Black Lodge and Earth. (Showtime)

It seems like the dimension structure between our world and the Black Lodge were disturbed from the nuclear strike. (A photo of this detonation is featured promptly behind FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole’s desk. Blue rose, indeed.) My first thought was it disturbed an Indian burial ground, which would point to Log Lady’s clue to FBI Deputy Hawk that the disappearance of Cooper is tied to his heritage. But the Woodsmen look like Abe Lincoln impersonators and not of Native American descent.

We get disturbingly tense flashes (reminiscence of the NIN video for “Came Back Haunted” that Lynch directed) of explosions, matter expanding and a deserted convenience store (perhaps the same convenience store referenced to house the evil spirits of the Black Lodge in Fire Walk With Me) eventually being the sporadic home of other Woodsmen. A strange spirit (apparently this is the “Mother” figure that killed the two teens in the glass box in Part I) vomits ectoplasm that features a black orb with BOB’s face encapsulated inside.

The strings of the score hit like snake bites until we are treated to a tranquil ocean with a house that sits on top of a hill. Inside is a woman named Señorita Dido (Joy Nash), who is tranced out to music playing before an alarm interrupts. The device emitting the alarm looks awfully similar to the device the eyeless woman died from in Part III. The Giant aka ??????? (Carl Struycken) appears and looks stoically confused. He silents the alarm and walks away to a room with a screen displaying the nuke detonating. He levitates until gold matter that looks like star constellations form from his head. Dido happily watches with wonder.

A golden orb materializes from the Giant, the woman catches it to see the beatific face of Laura Palmer. Dido kisses it and sets it free into a machine overhead that casts it into a projection of Earth.

Señorita Dido (Joy Nash) lets free Laura Palmer into the world to counter the evil of BOB. (Showtime) 

This house on the hill seems to be The White Lodge or a subsection of it. The Giant actually seems to be the beacon of good in the world. He notices evil being unleashed on Earth and creates Laura Palmer to eventually try to silence it.

Fast-forward 11 years later, but still in the deserts of New Mexico.

An insect, that looks part deformed bug and part frog, hatches from an egg. A woodsman materializes from the late night sky. We get a close look at him as he asks a passing car for a light. This looks to be the same soot covered entity in the jail cell in Part II and in the morgue in Part VII.

A teenage couple is walking around the desert and find a heads-up penny. The boy walks the girl home and nervously asks for a kiss.

A woodsman comes around KPJK, a radio station. He asks both the radio receptionist and the disc jockey for a light before crushing their heads in. It seems everyone he comes across results in time having a flickering and electric effort, kind of like frames missing in a film. He switches off the record playing which causes the three listeners: the girl from the previous couple listening in her bedroom, a mechanic and a waitress to stop what they are doing. He repeats several times: “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.”

This causes all the listeners to pass out instantly. The teenage girl lays down in bed and the large insect that hatched earlier crawls into her mouth. The woodsman leaves the radio station into complete darkness and all you hear is a horse whinnying off screen.

I mean, I did ask for less Dougie Jones, but I guess I hit the switch a little too far to the right and now we have this. We won’t have an episode next Sunday, but this episode gives fans more than enough to pontificate in its absence. Is the teenage girl Sarah Palmer? Is the bug a weird manifestation of Laura Palmer’s entity?

In the most strange and mystifying hour of Twin Peaks: The Return yet (and I thought Pts. I & II were weird), we are given plenty to chew on, but still left wondering… more so than ever before.

I’ll probably say that same line in two weeks when the new episode airs, don’t blame me, blame Lynch.

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About the Author

Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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