Sunday, 28 November 2010

Twin Peaks: A Fresh Eye (Season 2 Episodes 3-6)

The Horror Channel has created a brand new community of Twin Peaks enthusiasts. Thanks to all of you for reading Twin Peaks: A Fresh Eye and thanks for your lovely tweets.

The Following post focuses mainly on the key players in the murder of Laura Palmer and also takes a closer look at the character with the face I would most like to punch - Harold Smith.

S2 Episode 3

The letter ‘R’ cut from Flesh World is found under Ronette’s fingernail, on the same finger as Teresa Banks and Laura Palmer. Ronette was under 24 hour guard, yet she was attacked in her hospital bed with no witnesses suggesting a non-life form attacked her. ‘B’ was found under Ronette’s nail. Teresa’s initial was found under hers. Laura Palmer had ‘R' for Ronette. However, in wake of Leland’s revelations about the Robertson character, we are expected to believe he is spelling out Robert. The letters were all cut from copies of Flesh World and all three victims have appeared on the pages of the magazine.

Leland suddenly appears to tell them he has seen BOB before as he holds the picture in front of his face, leaving only his eyes revealed. When he was a little boy and visited his grandfather's summer house in Pearl Lakes, he knew him then. He knew BOB they lived on one side of their house. On the other side, there was a vacant lot, and next to that, a white house, and that was where BOB lived. Cooper asks Leland if he remembers a name. Leland remembers, "Robertson." Then says "Something else. He used to flick matches at me," gets out a match and lights it, "He'd say, 'You want to play with fire, little boy?'" Then Leland throws the match and it lands perfectly in the ashtray still lit, suggesting he has had plenty of practice at this. This is exactly what James had heard from Laura, as mentioned in S2 Ep1.

The One Armed Man, attempting to sell shoes to the Sherriff, spots the poster of BOB, his mood shifts dramatically and he excuses himself with excuses of medication. We later join Gerard in the toilet cubicle where he is struggling to inject himself with a blue liquid. He almost gets it into his leg, but it is too late, he becomes somewhat possessed. He comes out of the stall more composed and says out loud, looking around, "BOB, I know you're here. I'm after you now." The remaining syringe later supplies Cooper with the answer to the Giant’s clue – Without chemicals he points. Gerard has the answer. He is schizophrenic, of dual existence and uses drugs to quash the ‘Mike’ character within him. The toilet cubicle is the perfect metaphor for the alternate soul being trapped in Gerard’s body. He throws himself into the walls, fighting to contain himself. But as the cubicle door opens, it becomes evident that the alternate soul has won the battle.

Later at the Palmer house and following a misunderstanding with Donna and James Maddy is comforted by Leland "It's like people think I'm Laura! And I'm not! I'm nothing like Laura!" She says. "You just want life to be the way it was before." He says, "If life could only be like those summers at Pearl Lakes.” Leland made Pearl Lakes sound undesirable in his previous mention, particularly in the torment he suffered from the Robertson character. Leland is then arrested for the murder of Jacques Renault.

Harold Smith reveals that his final gift to Laura was a Hybrid plant. Laura was a hybrid of good/bad and was murdered by a hybrid of spirit/vessel. At Harold’s house Donna gasps as she discovers a red book which reveals it o be The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. This book was actually released for Twin Peaks fans to buy and written by David Lynch’s daughter and director of Boxing Helena (1993) and Surveillance (2008) Jennifer Lynch. The book is an incredibly dark and terrifying read. Although initial passages in the show were written by the show’s writers, later episodes reveal actual content from the published book. The US cover of the book was also designed to match the prop used in this episode.

S2 Episode 4

The episode opens deep inside the hole of a wall-tile in the Sherriff’s office. The director of this episode achieved the bizarre effect by placing a pin-hole camera inside an actual piece of tile and slowly spirals it out. Originally the director overlapped a number of distorted sounds including a young girl saying "Daddy" but the dialog he used almost revealed the mystery so certain pieces had to be removed prior to being aired. When speaking about the murder of Jacques Renault and Laura, Leland says “Deep down inside every cell screamed.” The director conveys this line perfectly in the Lynchian introduction which also bares similarities to the ear scene in Blue Velvet (1986). We later find out that nobody named Robertson lived in Pearl Lakes. In the background there is a poster that says ‘Mom, Dad, I do drugs.’ which is relevant to Laura’s case.

Harold and Donna toast to Laura. Harold says "To Laura, in our hearts and memories locked." The inclusion of the word ‘locked’ insinuates that Harold has no intention of revealing vital information about Laura. He shows Donna the diary and reads "But still, I'm afraid to tell her of my fantasies and my nightmares. Sometimes she understands me. Other times she just giggles and I don't have the nerve to ask her why things like that are funny to her. So I feel badly again and shut up about it for a long time. I love Donna very much. But sometimes I worry that she wouldn't be around me at all if she knew what my insides were like. Black and dark and soaked with dreams of big, big men and ways that they would hold me and take me into their control..." There is something profoundly weird and manipulative about Harold. This passage from Laura’s diary was not chosen at random. Harold has selected it to read to Donna for reasons of stimulation. Harold says that people come to him to tell him their stories about the world outside, and he writes it all down. Donna asks who and he responds with ‘friends, lovers…” Harold attempts to sexualise every situation and awaits the reaction from his audience.

S2 Episode 5

The red drapes appear again in the Bang Bang bar/courthouse as Leland is tried for the murder of Jacques Renault. The floor is littered with what looks like sawdust which proposes that the woods are ever present. Judge Sternwood later says to Agent Cooper, “The woods are wondrous here, but strange.”

Harold peeks through the blinds prior to Donna knocking with food. Harold’s peeking suggests he is anxious, excited or has a plan. Donna offers her story in exchange for Laura’s diary. Harold agrees but wants to read it to her. He wants to enforce the sordid secrets of Donna’s friend on her. The hidden panel in Harold’s bookcase indicates that he has many secrets and he acknowledges the value of them by keeping them hidden. Donna grabs the diary and uses its worth to force Harold outside. Harold steps outside, shakes and collapses to the ground in convulsions. Harold grabs the diary and clutches it to his chest. Harold’s is embarrassingly melodramatic. Is he an actual agoraphobe or has he found a means of living out his perverse fantasy through the condition? His reaction is vampire-like as if he has been burnt by the daylight, a direct copy of something he has witnessed on television or a clue that beneath the sensitive exterior a dangerous monster exists?

Maddy and Donna attempt to steal the diary. Their plan is foiled and Harold shouts "Are you looking for secrets?! Is that what all this is about? Well maybe I can help you. Do you know what the ultimate secret is? You want to know? Laura did. The secret of knowing you killed you." Harold, the keeper of Laura’s secrets is obviously aware of the killer’s identity. Is he retaining the information to protect himself from BOB? Or does the knowledge form part of his perverse fantasy? Harold shows signs of his inner monster by drawing blood from his face with a small rake, again as a means of terrifying his audience and witnessing their reaction.

S2 Episode 6

James saves Maddy and Donna, leaving a bleeding Harold alone. He pumps water at his flowers and then lets out a cry that mirrors the screams of BOB in Ronette’s dream. Maddy later tells James that she could “feel Laura’s thoughts” and that when Laura died she “got the chance to be Laura.” She kisses James goodbye. No longer wanting to ‘be Laura’ she plans on returning home.

David Lynch appears as Gordon Cole. His character’s name is taken from Sunset Boulevard, one of Lynch’s favourite films.

At the Sherriff’s station Cooper asks Gerard if he suffers from schizophrenia or multiple personalities. Mike then takes possession of Gerard’s body and speaks “He is Bob, eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run”. Cooper asks him several questions. Mike says he is an inhabiting spirit and that Gerard is host to him. This is the first time we have been given clarification of the spirit/host element.

BOB was his familiar and also requires a human host. "BOB feeds on fear and the pleasures." He repeats the FWWM chant from Cooper's dream. He says he used to be partners with BOB but Mike "saw the face of God and was purified". He took off the arm but "remained close to this vessel inhabiting from time to time" to stop BOB. Mike and BOB are good versus evil, God versus the Devil.

He motions towards the sketch and says "This is his true face but few can see it, the gifted...and the damned." Ronette, Cooper, Sarah and Maddy have seen his true face in their visions and Leland, if we believe him, in his youth. Is Cooper damned?

Gerard then tells Cooper that BOB has been near for forty years and gives him a clue as to where. “A large house made of wood. The house is filled with many rooms, each alike, but occupied by different souls, night after night." Cooper establishes that the riddle indicates the killer is at the Great Northern Hotel.

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