Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ COOPER'S DREAMS


We begin with a beautiful shot of a blazing full moon as seen through the pines. Perhaps an indication that this episode is going to be a “night side” episode, wherein dream logic, and symbolic messages, and intuition are all just as important, if not more so, than solid, tangible evidence, or verifiable facts.

There are actually two or three moments in this episode that underscore the unreliability of scientifically verifiable fact, or wherein synchronicity and coincidence are key to unraveling the show’s mysteries. I will point those out as they occur.


Cooper complains to Diane that he can’t sleep because Jerry has arrived with a large group of potential Ghostwood investors from Iceland, and they’re celebrating in raucous Viking fashion. He asks her to send him two pair of ear plugs that he uses when he’s in New York City. He figured he wouldn’t need them in pastoral Twin Peaks. Is this the show telling us that small-town America is capable of being just as evil as big city America?


As ever, Audrey waylays Cooper during his (coffee only today) breakfast at the Great Northwestern’s restaurant. She reveals her intention to help with his case.


Audrey sidles up close to Cooper and says: “I can’t believe you were ever my age.”


Cooper says he has the pictures to prove it, then asks: “How old are you?” 18, Audrey answers. To which Cooper replies, somewhat coyly: “See you later, Audrey.”


Jerry Horne, Ben’s Kubrickean amalgam brother, is back. He’s speaking fluent Icelandic with one of the investors. How does he know all these languages? Jerry is definitely an otherworldly type, what with his indefatigability and his access to countless useful skills.


There is something strange about Jerry's shirt. The pattern of the buttons—from top to bottom: backslash, dot, vertical line, double dot, dot—is altogether new to me. I’ve never seen their like before, although they did remind me of the old style of blazing for trails that I learned in my years of Scouting. Here is the patter on its side:


Ultimately, Jerry’s shirt almost makes him look like one of those white dominoes Hank plays with. I have a difficult time believing this wardrobe choice was purely coincidental. If you think you know what this could represent, please let us know in the comments section!


Jerry reveals that he’s in love with a Viking ice queen named Heppa, and that she’s given him a huge leg of lamb. “You crush some garlic, some fresh mint, that’s rotisserie heaven!”


Ben informs Jerry that he’s planned a big to-do, “a gala reception… all of Twin Peaks’ best and brightest” for the investors, to be followed, if necessary, by a little trip up to “you know where”, while giving the one-eyed sign.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 4: THE ONE-ARMED MAN


We begin with a shot of the Palmer house, a beautiful, shrubby slice of Americana if ever there was one. In the living room, we see that Deputy Andy is displaying a previously undisclosed skill: forensic artistry. He is helping Sarah to visualize her psychic vision of Bob. 


For a brief, disturbing moment, Bob and Laura share screen time, both in the form of reasonable facsimiles (school yearbook photo, police sketch).


Sheriff Truman obviously finds Maddy’s resemblance to Laura to be disturbing, as do so many other Twin Peaks residents.


For her part, Maddy seems, as with all things, somewhat oblivious.


Leland seems more together than usual, at least enough to be snide and condescending about Sarah’s visions about the necklace.  We already know her vision of a stranger retrieving Laura’s half-locket from a hole in the ground is accurate, which means that, as far as Twin Peaks reality goes, Sarah has some pretty substantial psychic powers.


Donna, having been present for the hiding of said locket, must realize that this is true.


A return to the soap opera Invitation to Love…


It begins with a necklace, carrying over from Sarah describing her vision...


...and continues with an obviously satirical take on the usual sort of soap opera business.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

NEW THOR RAGNAROK TRAILER PROVIDES VALID REASON TO STAY ALIVE JUST A BIT LONGER


The colors, the jokes, the Goblin-esque, Giallo-tinged score... and the haircuts!

And don't even get me started on all the Hulk business.

This one... this is the Marvel movie that is going to finally win a forever place in my heart, I can feel it already.

Don't anybody mess this up with mean comments. At least, not for a little while. Let me have this nice thing... for now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 3: REST IN PAIN


Considering the dark and mind-bending climax to the previous episode, Episode Three kicks off with in an oddly sunny manner. First off, as Cooper notes, it’s a beautiful day (see above).


Upon waking up from his post-dream sleep, Cooper goes to the Great Northern’s dining lounge where he is confronted by Audrey, who is lying in wait for him. I find it odd that Audrey’s comments are the first time Cooper has heard about Laura Palmer working at the Horne Department Store perfume counter, alongside Ronette (and other girls who ply their wares at One Eyed Jack’s, as we learned last episode). And this, mere moments after Cooper remarks upon Audrey’s perfume? Strange.


The oddness continues when Cooper is joined by Sheriff Truman and Lucy for breakfast. His unbridled enthusiasm about the weather, the quality of the food at the Great Northern (“Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup collides with ham!), and his insouciance at having forgotten the name of the killer are all somewhat off-putting.


Another strange bit of business, what’s up with Cooper telling Truman and Lucy that they were both in his dream, when as far as we could see, they were not? Could this simply be just another tossed-off reference to The Wizard of Oz, as Lynch is occasionally wont to do? This seems too cheap, all things considered.


Laura Palmer has been dead for a few days now, but she's looking like one of those saints who refuse to rot.


Ben Horne getting up close and personal with his Department Store's one time perfume counter girl. What kind of a rinky-dink morgue is the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department running, anyway?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY, EP. 2: ZEN, OR THE SKILL TO CATCH A KILLER


The second episode proper begins with yet another of many scenes featuring domestic meal-taking. This time, it’s dinner at the Horne household, where Ben's disturbed, 28-year-old son Johnny, whom Laura used to tutor, is decked out in a full Native American headdress for some reason. As part of the rustic lodge decor, the screen continues to be filled with First Nations art of the Northwest Coast style, which is an extremely rich and varied network of differing artistic traditions. The works present throughout the series so far do not belong to a single tradition, although I've seen numerous instances of Salish and Haida works, such as is visible on the left side of the screen on the image below.


Uncle Jerry’s "back", even though it's the viewing audience's first time meeting him, and he’s brought brie and baguette sandwiches back from France with him.


Lots and lots of brie and baguette sandwiches. Literally dozens of bags full.


Ben and Jerry (their names allegedly chosen to match that of the ice cream company) both seem to love these sandwiches, as they try to speak with their mouths full of them.


Bringing so many bags filled with a European "delicacy" into a room/lodge filled with Native imagery (built on land stolen from Native Americans) strikes me as a possible satirical statement about the way these altogether ridiculous people live.

Possible Kubrick homage: Ben and Jerry talk about “a new girl, freshly scented from the perfume counter” (like Ronette!) working at One Eyed Jack’s, over the water (and the border) in Canada. According to Ben, Jerry’s got "a 50/50 chance of being first in line". To which Jerry responds: “All work and no play make Ben and Jerry dull boys.”

One Eyed Jacks, of course, is a Marlon Brando film that Stanley Kubrick worked on for months before Brando decided to direct the film himself. Also, Uncle Jerry cuts a peculiarly Kubrickean figure… sort of a cross between Dr. Strangelove, Alex from Clockwork Orange and Jack from The Shining (from which the “all work and no play” maxim is taken).

Furthermore, the aforementioned pervasive presence of Native American motifs throughout the Horne properties and elsewhere throughout Twin Peaks is also reminiscent of The Shining. Unlike Kubrick’s film, however, I don’t believe Lynch intended a sly political commentary. Instead, I think he likes the way the large sculptures of Pacific Northwest Native tribes resemble the iconography of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, such as the Sphinx, or the Winged Bull.

It occurs to me at this point, considering the series' sheer volume of visual references to Native American culture, art, and thus, inescapably, myths and legends, that I should definitely do more research in this direction. I can already think of a few good places to begin. The first book of Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces trilogy, for instance, devotes a great many pages to some of the darker practices of our haunted continent's Pre-Columbian, First Nations cultures.

Keep watching this space for more details. Now, let's get back to Episode 2... and to One Eyed Jack's.


Monday, July 17, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY, EP 1: TRACES TO NOWHERE


It's a cold and rainy Pacific North West day. Immediately, we are treated to yet another menagerie of dismembered animal parts, like the wayward stag’s head at the bank in Episode One.


In Cooper’s ridiculously rustic, “clean and reasonably priced” room at the Great Northern Hotel (room 315), we see dear hooves shaped into a gun rack, and an assortment of trophy animals and/or simulacra thereof crowds the kitschy log cabin d├ęcor. 




Cooper hangs upside down, most likely for his back, but still, it makes for a literal portrayal of his, let’s call it unique perspective on things. 


Another aspect of Cooper’s character (and, perhaps, Lynch’s project) is revealed when he admits to curiosity about the Kennedys’ relationship with Marilyn Monroe, and harbors doubts about the assassination of JFK. 


In other words, the only way Agent Dale Cooper could be any more American is if he shat apple pies and farted Yankee Doodle Dandy.


Which brings us to another element of Twin Peaks that percolated into the national consciousness: the connection between the Pacific Northwest and an excellent cup of coffee. There have been other allusions before Episode One, but it is in THIS episode that Cooper’s cuppa obsession reaches its apotheosis. 


The Great Norther’s java doesn’t disappoint.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY - THE PILOT


First things first, Twin Peaks kicks off with a real stylistic bang. Angelo Badalamenti's score, otherworldly and ethereal, plays over video showcasing the peculiar rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest intercut with industrial images of machines sharpening the teeth of other machines, with nary a human being in sight.


And as for the color scheme chosen for the titles... what even are those colors? An ugly, murky brown bordered by a vivid coniferous green, as best as I can make out. As Badalamenti’s score fades out it all makes for a rather intoxicating blend.


The sign on the outskirts of town, in the shadow of the titular (no pun intended) mountains, reads: “Welcome to Twin Peaks Population 31,201”.


With Laura Palmer dead, that brings the population to 31,200. 312 AD is the year Constantine converted to Christianity. In some esoteric traditions, 312 is considered to be an “angel number”, but I doubt this is of any meaningful significance in this case. Still, the idea that Laura is the town’s “plus one” sort of puts her outside of things. She stands, or stood, alone, not really part of the population, almost a vestigial member, wiggling away on the periphery, primed to fall away from the rest.


After a brief image of a waterside lodge, the first image we see is a close up of two stylized statuettes on sawmill owner Josie Packard’s desktop. They appear to be statues of Anubis, the Egyptian god of Mummification and the Afterlife.


Considering Laura's state upon being discovered by Pete Martell, mere moments later—wrapped like a mummy, in plastic, bringing the Ancient into the Modern—makes this seem like more than mere coincidence. Also, consider the idea that the whole series (and film) are essentially Laura's "afterlife" in more ways than one.


“Ghostwood” country club and estates certainly is an interesting name for (Laura’s father) Leland Palmer’s planned development project.

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ INTRODUCTION


Against long odds and at a time when any good news seems miraculous, it appears as though the third series of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks is something of a masterpiece. In light of this incredible development yer old pal Jerky has decided to revisit the beloved, landmark television series (and the film) that spawned so many enduring trends and motifs that it has become one of the cultural lodestars by which we understand the 1990’s and beyond.

At the time, the series launched numerous careers, became a cottage industry in itself, and exerted a profound influence on mass culture. Everything from Grunge Rock to The X-Files has some Twin Peaks DNA inside of it. But more importantly, it changed the way people take in popular culture, perhaps not creating but definitely bringing to the fore a sort of paranoid narrative style.

This, I suspect, is an artifact of Frost reining in and diluting Lynch’s wild industrial surrealism just enough to make it palatable to the uninitiated entertainment consumer. That way, the show could appeal to the average viewer who was just looking for something different, while also leaving itself open to deeper levels of interpretation by the obsessive, Mystery School set.

Succeeding at the former made the show a huge success. Succeeding at the latter made it into an enduring legend. For better or for worse, I think an argument could be made that the Twin Peaks phenomenon has had an effect on our culture that is only now--with the notoriously prophesied arrival of the third series some 25 years later--beginning to be understood.

Here is how I am going to go about this public exercise.

First, I’ll be commenting on one, two, or three episodes of the first two series per blog post. Then I will have a little something to say about Fire Walk With Me. After that, I will devote one blog post to every episode of series three (which is ongoing).

Most of my blogs will consist of bare bones, maybe even point form, running commentary. I won’t be trying to solve any mysteries, or make any conclusions, beyond basic observation. At least, not as a general rule.

For the time being, I will be severely limiting my intake of any Twin Peaks scholarship or analysis undertaken by others. You may see me get excited about finding some new clue or symbol that you already know about because it was mentioned on some other Twin Peaks website, or maybe you spotted it yourself, but please allow me any minor joy that my independent discoveries might bring, and, if you have a link to an article or blog post that builds upon my “discovery”, I would be grateful if you please included it in the comments section.

I’ll also be trying to avoid pointing out symbols or connections that are too obvious, pedantic, or general, the art of symbology being so wide open as to be essentially meaningless if one doesn’t attempt to streamline its application to some degree.

Watch for the first installment no later than tomorrow afternoon!