Twin Peaks: Beyond Life and Death   Rewatch 
November 28, 2014 6:57 PM - Season 2, Episode 22 - Subscribe

Cooper and Earle's confrontation reaches its climax, and we enter the Black Lodge. Have we ever truly made it back out? Either way, I'll see you again in 25 years...

This concludes our Twin Peaks rewatch series! Thanks to all of our regular commenters, and to codacorolla for getting the ball rolling. Since these threads will be open indefinitely for the forseeable future, I encourage anybody who might be coming in late to feel free to add their two cents to the previous discussions, since I expect another distinct upswing in general interest in the show over the next year or so. I'll check back in with the old threads every now and then, and I hope everyone here does the same.

I'm currently looking into our options for a FanFare viewing of the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which I'll probably announce in FF Talk sometime in the next several weeks. I'd prefer to find an entirely above-the-board streaming source for the film, to avoid everyone having to procure a physical copy (even though every TP fan really should own one) or resort to piracy to watch along. This may or may not include discussion of the Missing Pieces material introduced in the most recent Blu-Ray release, I haven't decided yet.

Watching: available for streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and for free on Hulu and CBS's site.

Previous Episode Threads:
Season One: Pilot, Traces to Nowhere, Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer, Rest in Pain, The One-armed Man, Cooper's Dreams, Realization Time, The Last Evening

Season Two: May the Giant Be With You, Coma, The Man Behind Glass, Laura's Secret Diary, The Orchid's Curse, Demons, Lonely Souls, Drive With a Dead Girl, Arbitrary Law, Dispute Between Brothers, Masked Ball, The Black Widow, Checkmate, Double Play, Slaves and Masters, The Condemned Woman, Wounds and Scars, On the Wings of Love, Variations on Relations, The Path to the Black Lodge, Miss Twin Peaks
posted by Strange Interlude (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have watched the final episode only twice, on its original broadcast and a couple months ago. My reaction on rewatch was somewhat less shocked--it felt to me like they were inferring that Cooper had come back with Bob in him--as a price for bringing back Annie. Cooper's transformation was still a terrible thing to see, but it didn't wound me as it did back then.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:02 PM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

After that last Agents of Shield episode, I'm positive that Kyle Mclaughlin can pull off whatever Lynch and Frost have up their sleeves.
posted by Catblack at 8:58 PM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thank you SI for finishing up the series! I feel like this has been my best rewatch yet, in no small part because I had you guys to discuss it with.

I love the last episode. It's interesting how chumped Earle is by BOB. He shows up to twirl his mustache and BOB steals his soul instead. It sort of deflates all of the tension of him being the S2 villain, but it does indeed establish how powerful the spirits are compared to men.

Ultimately, BOB is out in the world now, and he has the perfect vehicle to do a lot of awful shit. I'm interested to see how that plays out in the new series.
posted by codacorolla at 2:44 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the kind words, coda. I agree, this has truly been a marvelous journey through a great and underrated (at least as far as the conventional wisdom on S02 is concerned) TV show. I'm definitely ready for more in a year's time.

Watching the finale this time out, I was struck by the opening scene of Andy and Lucy comforting each other in the aftermath of Earle's attack/kidnapping, as well as the later scene where Andy plays the good squire for Harry, offering to bring him food as he waits in the grove. It became clear to me in those moments that Andy and Lucy not only embodied the wholesomeness and simple goodness that Cooper saw in Twin Peaks, but that an argument could be made for them being the unsung heroes of the story, perhaps even future pillars of the community ca. 2016. They're the sort of kind-hearted, doughty folk who can resist the evil of the Black Lodge, by virtue of their utter guilelessness. In the new series, if Baby Moran-Brennan doesn't grow up to be a truly great Bookhouse Boy/Girl, I'll count it as a missed opportunity.

(Similarly, I get the feeling that if Robyn Lively comes back for the new series, they may treat Lana's failed attempt to fix the Miss Twin Peaks pageant as the genesis of her ascension to small-town villainy.)

Meanwhile, there's also a number of cliffhangers and unresolved subplots that I hope will be addressed either in Mark Frost's forthcoming book or in the revived show itself. I assume that Leo probably escaped from Earle's spider-trap, Ben Horne probably survived Doc Hayward's thrashing, and there's no way in hell that Audrey got blown up in the bank vault. I also suspect that Bobby and Shelly probably got married (have you seen Dana Ashbrook's hair lately? He's a ready-made BOB host.) and Donna and James probably still have some kind of undefined thing. I don't know exactly where they'd go with the Nadine/Ed/Norma triangle, but I have a feeling that they might have Hank's parole come back up again, bringing us back to square one.

Ah, but I'm nearly forgetting the last 20 minutes in the Red Room and Black Lodge! I've probably watched this sequence at least a dozen times over the years, but it never fails to amaze. Technically, it's just a reuse of the same Red Room set and curtains from S01, but Lynch manages to convey a truly bewildering, terrifying labyrinth of lost and discarded identity. Sheryl Lee's tranformation into Laura's shadow-self always takes me by surprise, as does the reappearance of both Maddy and Leland. I was also impressed by how well the sequence matches Hawk's description from "Masked Ball":

"[The Black Lodge is] the shadow-self of the White Lodge. The legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it 'The Dweller on the Threshold' ... But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul."

As for Earle, I think it's made clear by the show that he's basically a petty dabbler in forces beyond his ken. His obsession with the occult presumably led him to murder his wife; Strangely, he doesn't seem to hold a particular grudge against Cooper for sleeping with her. I suspect Caroline's murder was a dry run for his eventual attempt to reach the Black Lodge. Once inside, he tries to kill Cooper in the same way (upward abdominal stab to the heart), which suggests a ritual sacrifice. But Earle's trade of Annie's life for Cooper's is both presumptuous and clumsy -- as BOB reveals, only lodge spirits can deal in souls. I like to this of this as Lynch editorializing on the choice of Earle as the primary antagonist of the back half of S02, as BOB "utterly annihilate[s]" Earle's soul for his craven attempt to usurp the spirits' power.

Also, it now seems extremely clear to me that the events of Cooper's dream in "Zen, Or The Skill To Catch A Killer" are actual events that have not happened yet, but will happen sometime during the running time of the upcoming season. I wonder if Lynch will digitally insert the older Kyle MacLachlan into the original dream footage, instead of the not-very-effective aging makeup used previously. In any case, I do wonder what role Lynch might have for Sheryl Lee, since FWWM apparently shows the younger Laura ascending to the White Lodge following the events of the dream. Perhaps another Palmer relative, or maybe someone else entirely?

Another crackpot theory: The coffee served to Cooper by the Giant is made of the same stuff as the burnt black oil found by the Log Lady's husband. What would have happened if Cooper had drunk it? Is this another one of the Black Lodge's tests?

(Speaking of coffee, I know that somebody has to have linked this in one of the earlier threads, but it's too amusing to not share: David Lynch's 1993 Japanese Twin Peaks ads for Georgia Coffee. Even though these were filmed nearly two years after the series had already wrapped, the actors and locations are eerily unchanged.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:59 PM on November 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I guess Laura (and Maddy's) dopplegangers are in the lodge still. Sort of like how evil Dale is out and about, and good Dale is (presumably) trapped in the lodge.

When I wrote an outline for a third season last winter (avoiding other work), I thought that an interesting angle would be to have a reporter come into town to investigate the 25th anniversary of the Palmer murders. I figure that the national news coverage would focus on the terrible crime of a father abusing his daughter after having preyed on other young girls throughout the years. It would start as a normal investigation, but would become more and more complicated as he uncovered the true story.

I was thinking that the primary couples who stayed in Twin Peaks (I pictured Lucy and Andy and James and Donna, maybe Hawk and his Brandeis Girlfriend) would have children who would also be discovering the town's dark past alongside the main story of the reporter. You could have that story focus on an outsider who has just moved to town, and is too young to even be aware of the Laura Palmer story this many years out.

I thought that it would be interesting if Shelly and Bobby never got together, and Bobby moved out to New York or something, while Shelly married another towny scumbag. Bobby would come back and there would be friction between him and Shelly's new garbage boyfriend. Donna and James would be mutually cheating on each other while maintaining an unhappy relationship running Big Ed's business (Big Ed and Norma having absconded from the town, and having gotten a happy ending). Lucy and Andy would have a son (sort of like Bobby) who's a little shit on the outside to rebel from his sweet as pie parents, while he would still be decent at heart. Maybe they could all live in the Ghostwood suburbs.

I'm thinking that Catherine would be secretly running the town from her real-estate empire, while Audrey would have taken over a failing Great Northern from her father, after having left town for a number of years to pursue Agent Cooper (who she finds has turned malicious and cold). After Ben dies, she comes back to town and manages to keep things on an even keel. Audrey would also have had one side of her body badly burnt in the bank vault explosion.

The Renault crime family, although devastated with the loss of all three brothers, would slowly be building back up with Jean's bastard son running amphetamines into America over the border and keeping an eye on One Eyed Jack's. However, Jean is beginning to feel conflicted, and wants to turn to legitimate business, and get out of the crime game altogether.

Harry, witnessing the strange departure of Cooper, and still hurting from the loss of Josie, would have committed suicide, and Hawk and Andy would've taken over the police department.

Leo, the Log Lady, and Annie would all be in a psychiatric hospital being run by an aging Lawrence Jacoby, who has been witnessing strange behavior in all three of them, as they begin to disappear at night, speak of strange visions they're having, and displaying abnormal strength. Although Jacoby wants nothing more than to retire to Hawaii, he feels obligated to figure out the link between his patients' strange new behavior, and the events of 25 years ago. It's here that he meets up with our reporter protagonist, who is dead set on interviewing Leo for his piece.

I just wrote Nadine out entirely, because I hate her character.
posted by codacorolla at 9:47 AM on December 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is there a plan to watch and discuss FWWM? It invites analysis in a way the show does not, and resists it in a way the show does not.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:04 PM on December 5, 2014

There was originally a plan to watch FWWM right after the Palmer case wrapped up in "Arbitrary Law", but the movie was and is nowhere to be found on legitimate streaming. I'd still like to post a watch thread for it here (see below the fold on this thread for the approximate time frame), but getting a decent source has been somewhat challenging. Googling turns up a standard-def Veoh stream for the movie (original theatrical cut), but it shares a channel with a bunch of Genesis concert bootlegs, which seems kind of sketchy.

I like the casual, streaming-friendly feel of FanFare, so I don't want to force everyone to get a hold of the DVD to participate. Likewise, I don't want to promote piracy on FanFare by pointing people to torrents or bootleg streaming sites; My personal stance on file-sharing is a bit more permissive, but I have qualms about putting links to those sorts of things on FanFare or MeFi in general.

In any case, I've been checking in with the major services once a week or so to see if anyone out there is adding it or planning to do so, and I'll keep everyone posted here.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:13 PM on December 6, 2014

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