Saturday, 20 November 2010

Twin Peaks: A Fresh Eye (Season One Episode 6 -9, 5 to 8)

The fear is starting to come back. This week on the Horror Channel we saw the end of Season One and the beginning of Season Two where things start to get very scary. If you don’t know who killed Laura do not read on.

This blog post, like the last, will feature the things I missed when I previously viewed the series and focuses on the remaining episodes of Season One, Episode 5 (Season One Episode 6) to Episode 8 (Season One Episode 9).

Episode 5 (Season One, Episode 6)

Cracks are beginning to show as Leland, desperate to keep himself busy declares himself ‘afraid,’ an unusual choice of words for a man who has lost his daughter. Rather than mentioning his grief, sadness, or despair. What is he afraid of? Anyone who has seen FWWM will know the answer.

An added moment of surrealism as Cooper peels a copy of Flesh World off the ceiling of Jacques Renault’s apartment and discovers a photograph of a log cabin with red drapes. We were introduced to the red drapes in Coopers dream when he entered the red room (Black Lodge) are the two related? He says “Red drapes Harry, from my dream”.

The remainder of Season One is littered with red herrings that mostly point the finger at Leo Johnson. The most obvious being the plastic in which Laura’s body was found as Leo’s unfinished house is half wrapped in plastic. We see it every time we visit Shelley’s home and we felt it and heard it as Leo forced Shelley to the floor prior to beating her with a bar of soap in a sock presenting the viewer with another red herring ‘violence towards women’ with this, the blood soaked shirt and a picture of his truck in Flesh World you have no choice but to assume he was responsible for Laura’s death. However, Leo and Shelley’s lives are mirrored by the soap within the soap Invitation to Love.

History repeats itself in the form of Shelly. Her life has already been lived by Norma. Both characters work in the RR Diner and wear the same uniform, do the same job, come from broken marriages/abusive relationships/have violent partners and are also having affairs with popular high school figures. Ed was the former captain of the school football team and went to school with Norma where they dated prior to Ed wedding Nadine and now Norma and Ed are having an affair. Shelley is having an affair with the current captain of the football team Bobby. The duality of their lives was made obvious in this episode when the two went for a pampering afternoon and returned to the RR diner arm in arm with identical hair, make-up and clothes. In the kitchen Shelly witnesses a character being shot on Invitation to Love. The character is Invitation to Love’s own Leo. Does this influence Shelly’s behaviour and influence her in shooting Leo as she does at the end of the episode?

Shelly is the subject of sexual objectification, an object of lust for Bobby who calls on her for sex but shows genuine feelings of love towards her and for the dominant Leo she is objectified as a housewife/slave. In previous episodes the idea of objectification of the male has been toyed with in this relationship. Bobby wore a shirt with the name ‘Dick’ embroidered into it which highlighted his position/purpose in the relationship and from Shelly’s point of view objectified him. The gun which Shelley shoots Leo with momentarily places Shelly on top here with her own phallic weapon.

James revealed signs of the Oedipus complex when revealing the truth about his mother. She was an addict, leading a double life and selling sex. His mother had a dark side that she attempted to hide exactly like Laura.

Episode 6 (season One, Episode 7)

A meeting with the Log Lady reveals details of Laura’s murder when the log, who heard some things in the woods that night tells all. The Log Lady herself is fully aware it seems of the secrets we are trying to uncover “The owls won’t see us in here.” She says along with “Shut your eyes and you’ll burst into flames”.

“My husband was a logging man. He met the devil. Fire is the devil hiding like a coward in the smoke”. – The Log Lady’s husband communicates with her through the log which was rescued from the fire, suggesting that his spirit is still alive, possibly existing in the black lodge. As episodes progress more is revealed about the spirits of the woods in relation to the owls and the susceptible residents of Twin Peaks, those who “shut their eyes”.

The following is the information the log gave to Cooper relating to the night of the murder. The Log Lady’s lines are in bold.

Dark. Laughing. The owls were flying. Many things were blocked. The disused train in which Laura was killed was static or does this relate to a psychic block/helplessness. Laughing. Two men, Leland/Bob two girls. Laura and Ronette Flashlights pass by in the woods over the ridge. We see this in FWWM as Leland forces the two girls towards the train. The owls were near. Spirits were involved in the murder, we know this with Bob. The dark was-was pressing in on her. Bob rapes and murders Laura Quiet then. Laura dead. Later, footsteps. One man pass by. The One armed Man attempted to stop the murder. Screams far away. Terrible, terrible. One voice. The screams are far away because Laura is at the Black Lodge which then consumes her. The One voice is Bob’s possession of Leland’s body. Girl. Further up, over the ridge. Ronette escapes walking dazed down the track. The owls were silent.

Upon entering the cottage with the red drapes Cooper takes the needle off the record and stated “Always music in the air.”

There is “always music in the air” in the scenes involving Leland. He enters the function room of the Great Northern. As he runs his hand over his hair the audio fills with a sudden gust of air which must somehow be related to the woods – I’m not going to dwell on that though. He continues to enter some kind of trance and as the music comes from nowhere Leland for the third tome this season, dances away his grief. Or is the music a distraction to ground Leland and to quash Bob?

Episode 7 (Season One, Episode 8)

Audrey follows in Cooper’s footsteps as she launches her own investigation. Her character is very similar to Jeffrey from Blue Velvet (1986). Her investigation is led by her lust for Cooper, a father figure. Jeffery was spurred on by his attraction to Dorothy, a mother figure. Both discover information by hiding in closets, and have voyeuristic tendencies.

The theme of voyeurism is prominent in this episode particularly at the conclusion. Maddy dressed as Laura is spied on by Bobby through the bushes, as a viewer we watch Bobby through the bushes but then the voyeurism is threefold as our perspective is actually revealed as the point of view of a mysterious third person. Laura mentions a ‘Mystery Man’ on the secret tape. Laura Palmer’s secret tapes come from the source of inspiration, Marilyn Monroe who was also believed to have left secret tapes after her death.

Nadine watches Invitation to Love where a character who has just been shot clings to some red drapes as he falls to the ground.

Episode 8 (Season One, Episode 9)

Nadine’s overdose mirrors the “suicide” of Marilyn Monroe even to the point of the telephone being within arms reach.

There is a strong Hitchcock influence in this episode. The extreme close up of Dr Jacobi’s eye and the match-cut of the roulette wheel is very similar to the famous scene in Psycho (1960). The identity of the attacker is never revealled. Shelley is temporarily blinded whilst washing her hair as she reaches past the gun for the towel, it is pulled away. This also relates to the Psycho shower scene. Josie, the key figure of the sabotage subplot acts her scenes before stuffed animals. Previous episodes have seen her receive phone calls whilst stood before the threatening pose of a stuffed bear. Hank stands before a stag when threatening her, the antlers momentarily seem as if they are growing from his head. Josie is the hunted, doomed from the start and surrounded by Norman Bates style paraphernalia. Josie allays any misconceptions of weakness by smearing blood on her lips after being cut by Hank.

Leo attempts to kill Bobby with an axe, in front of the television. Theresa Banks was murdered in a similar way at the start of FWWM. However Leo is shot by Hank who, unbeknownst to him, Bobby sees through the window. As in episode 5, Leo being shot once again mirrors an episode of Invitation to Love as the character that was shot in the soap in episode 5 representing Leo is the exact same character that is shot again in this episode. Leo’s fate is presented through the soap yet more red-herrings are presented to suggest that Leo is the killer…

Shelly is bound and gagged in the mill by Leo, the binding, fire, blood stained shirt, flesh world photograph, plastic and violent behaviour emphasise Leo’s role in Laura’s death.

The secret tape stolen from Dr Jacobi mentions a ‘mystery man’ Bob. She says that she thinks he has tried to kill her a couple of times, but she got off on it. “This guy really lights my F.I.R.E” The word is fragmented like the word R.O.B.E.R.T (Bob) whose fragmented name, on small paper cuttings, is individually placed deep beneath the nails of his victims. The tape ends with “here comes mum with milk and cookies.” The tape highlights the contrast between Laura’s secret life and her public life.

The hospital alarm rings. There is “always music in the air” as Leland suffocates Jacques Renault in his hospital bed. As the alarm comes to an abrupt end Leland’s expression alters dramatically which is suggestive of two different characters.

And so season one ends with a variety of traditional and perfectly constructed cliff-hangers typical of the soap-opera genre.

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