Monday, November 17, 2008

Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 1 (or episode 8)

by Jill Duffy, girl reporter

The giant has appeared.

This is the first episode of season 2, after season 1 ended with Cooper being shot in his hotel room.

Like many of David Lynch’s works, Twin Peaks weaves into its world dreams, visions, and the supernatural. Given that the series is, at its essence, very much about fear, terror, and evil (remember it’s a murder story) the natural assumption is that the supernatural things are situated with everything else that’s dark.

But what’s weird is it’s not. Sure, there is Darkness in the vision of the gray haired man. He is clearly demonic. Yes, there is something awful about all the omens seen by Sarah Palmer and Maddy. There’s even the Log Lady who can catch glimpses and bits of knowledge about the evil, the things “beyond the fire.”

But Cooper has visions, too, and his appear creepy, but they are actually clues that point toward solving the mysteries, rather than being the mysteries themselves. I am by no means an experts on horror films (I’ve seen very few over the course of my entire life), but it’s my understanding that the most common depiction of the supernatural is that it is typically only evil; or if it is not entirely evil, then there is a clear distinction between good and evil, two forces pitted against one another.

The visions in Twin Peaks that are not necessarily evil, however, are still very creepy, like the Man from Another Place and the giant. The audio in those scenes causes the viewer to feel ill at ease. The lighting -- stark in the red room and throwing long shadows when the giant appears -- does not signify goodness in any way. There is nothing separating the helpful visions, thematically speaking, from the evil ones.

After having watched this episode, the giant has become by far my favorite character. The giant tells Cooper three things, then removes a ring from his hand, promising to return it when Cooper discovers these three things to be true. What I like about this exchange is that the giant isn’t actually telling Cooper anything that he won’t find out in due time. He’s just telling him in advance, thereby alerting Cooper to pay attention when these things happen or present themselves. The giant is calm and barely moves. He wears a red bowtie. He enunciates. When he appears, he towers over Cooper, who is lying on the floor bleeding. The contrast of prostrate man and standing giant, with a tall shadow cast on the wall behind him, only accentuates his enormity. There’s something comforting in his appearance. While the wounded Cooper can barely lift his head, the giant is unfazed, determined to lay out exactly what it is he came to tell Cooper, without regard for his weakened condition.

When the giant’s huge hands take Cooper’s to remove his ring, again, the act is comforting. One of the last things he says before he leaves is, “We want to help you.”

Audrey Nearly Hs Sex with her Father

One of the most uncomfortable moments of the whole show happens when Audrey, who has been hired to work in the brothel, is approached for sex for the first time. It’s the owner of One Eyed-Jacks who is to break in each new girl, and this owner turns out to be none other than her very own father.

We he enters the room, Audrey is on a bed with a canopy, swathed in fabric. She quickly shields herself from view by closing the bed curtains. Her father, Ben Horne, paces around, excited by the little vixen’s coyness. Eventually, he opens the bed curtains, but Audrey has grabbed a white featureless mask from the wall to once again conceal herself. He is practically on top of her before he is summoned out of the room. Close call, Audrey!

I find this scene reminiscent of the stuff of Greek tragedies, the white mask, the overwhelming sexual/pleasure nature of Horne’s lifestyle (The Bacchae?), the idea that Horne was trying to have sex with his own daughter without his knowing it.

No comments: