Monday, November 10, 2008

Twin Peaks, Season 1, Episode 5

by Jill Duffy

[Jill Duffy continues her episode by episode look at Twin Peaks, which she is watching for the first time. For more in this series see the label at the bottom of this post.]

Episode 5 of Twin Peaks is a little bit all over the map, but there was one scene that I really liked.

Cooper, Truman, Hawk, and Dr. Hayward go hiking through the woods in search of a cabin with red drapes. First they come upon the Log Lady, and after having tea with her and learning an unintelligible version of how Laura was murdered (“Dark. Laughing. The owls were flying. Many things were blocked. Laughing. Two men. Two girls. Flashlights passed by. In the woods, over the ridge. The owls were near. The dark was pressing in on her. Quiet then. Later, footsteps. One man passed by. Screams. Far away. Terrible. Terrible. One voice.” … “Girl. Further up. Over the ridge. The owls were silent.”), they set off again in search of the red drapes.

They trudge along slippery banks of ground blanketed in Pacific Northwest pine needles, four men on a mission to find something somewhere, though they’re not sure exactly what or exactly where.

As they march through the woods, Hawk hears a faint song in the distance. It’s a tune that’s both dark and airy. A woman’s voice sings. It’s both hopeful and sad. It’s both soft and low-fi.

All the music tracks used in Twin Peaks are rehashed over and over, and until this point in the show, none of them have had words. (Actually, one of the songs is shown in the pilot being sung by a performer at The Roadhouse, but that is the only instance.) Since the pilot, I believe this is only the second piece of music that has been new to the show.

So Hawk hears the music and now they must go toward it.

Then there is a shot in which the four avengers line up in three-quarter view. It looks like a scene from a cowboy movie, like an old poster perhaps. The shot holds for a moment, long enough for it to become its own image. There is a close-up of a crow or raven. There is a long shot of the bird in flight.

The cuts in this scene are so much like a great Western. I remember watching The Wild Bunch in college and learning to pay attention to movement between tight and wide angles. It’s a very pretty scene, even though it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the show’s look and feel.

The song becomes clearer and clearer. We hear the singer: “To the night. Shadows walk. Shadows walk.” They find the cabin, enter, and see a record stuck on repeat. Cooper says to himself, “And there’s always music in the air,” repeating what the Man from Another Place told him in his dream.


Marc Caputo said...

Yeah, Jill, that's one of those things like I commented on last episode - it has the potential to be so hokey, but for some reason Lynch (and his crew of directors/writers) get it to work. It's not always a given, but that's how it goes.

Also, the music from the show is on a soundtrack CD. It's good as far as these things go, but for a REAL memento of those days, try and find Julee Cruise's Floating into the Night. She's the singer at the Roadhouse and she shows up again. The music on the album is all Lynch/Badalamenti and several of the songs are used, either as is or as instrumentals during the course of the season/series. It's moody, relaxing and damned spooky in places.

Actually, Scott91777, there's a fall album for you for sure!

Jill Duffy said...

Two corrections on this post:

First, as evident in the images, I should not have written "the four avengers line up in three-quarter view," but rather in profile, or stagged profile. Only Doc Hayward is in 3/4 view.

Second, there are other times in the show when the music is not the typical four or five tracks Lynch and Frost use over and over. One example is when Maddy, Donna, and James record a song together. Also anytime Leland dances there is different music.

Jason said...

Marc, is Julee Cruise's "Floating in the Night" the song whose opening chords are kind of synonymous with Twin Peaks, the one whose opening lyrics are "Don't let yourself get hurt this time"? There was a weird chain of allusions regarding that song back on SNL a few years back -- when Andrew Dice Clay was booked to host the show. Dice Clay was a controversial figure at the time (which in retrospect seems absurd ...), so Sinhead O'Connor -- the booked musical guest -- boycotted the episode. Thus, the SNL folks scrambled to get different people to play in the two live-music slots. One of the slots was covered by Julee, who ended up singing that Twin Peaks song.

When Sinhead finally DID appear on SNL, it was the episode hosted by ... Kyle MacLachlan. (This was NOT the episode to feature Sinhead making controversy of her own -- that happened later.) And at the opening of the obligatory "Twin Peaks" parody sketch, there were the opening chords of that Julee song again ... !

Marc Caputo said...

Wow - we are ALL a bunch of pop culture mavens, aren't we? I love this group!

"Falling" was the 'hit' from the album; it's instrumental was played over the opening credits and the vocal was on the radio. Moby did a remix thing called "Go" in 1990/1991.

Of the album's 10 songs - I think iTunes has it - more than 1/2 of them show up in the show. The album closer, "The World Spins", is sung by Cruise about a 1/3 of the way into the season; it's an unbelievably beautiful/horrible scene.

Marc Caputo said...

Also, about SNL and O'Connor - her problem was that Clay was too sexist/homophobic. But then a few months later, she gives a best of the 1980s list to Rolling Stone, which was overwhlemingly, if not completely hardcore rap.

And one of the alltime best SNL skits was The Sinatra Group ("I got chunks of guys like you in my stool!") with Jan Hooks playing O'Connor and Phil Hartman's Sinatra calling her "Skinhead"/"Shinehead". Totally hilarious to the point of being sublime.

Jason said...

Hartman is my comedic hero. Always loved that Sinatra-group sketch.

Cruise also filled in for Cindy Wilson of the B-52s when the group toured for their "Good Stuff" album. She did a darn good job, too. :)

Marc Caputo said...

Oh yeah, Hartman makes the SNL All-Star before anybody except maybe Murray. Ferrell's funny, don't get me wrong, but Hartman was a cut above.

And I'd love to get my hands on some bootleg audio/video from that B-52s period.

Jason said...

Marc, believe it or not, the B-52s featuring Cruise was the first concert I ever attended!!! (The Violent Femmes were the opening act.)

rob said...

The entire sequence framed around Cruise singing The World Spins is the best thing to have ever aired on television, as far as I'm concerned. The only things as bold and haunting as it I can think of are also from Twin Peaks.