Friday, 12 November 2010

Twin Peaks: A Fresh Eye (Season One: Pilot - Ep 4, 1 to 5)

Things have been a little slow on the Culturine front. For that you can blame the Horror Channel for making the genius move of re-running Twin Peaks on a nightly basis.

This time around Twin Peaks seems lighter in tone, whether that has something to do with the fact that I first watched it on a grainy black and white portable, I’m not sure but I am watching it whilst filled with excitement and find myself gazing lovingly at the screen like a windowless window-licker. The fear that my initial viewing instilled in me 20 years ago is slowly beginning to leave and I can see beyond what I found so disturbing and revel in the beautiful imagery, the high-art and hammy soap operatics and appreciate the sometimes farcical humour.

To run alongside the nightly visits I will be blogging a weekly Twin Peaks post and listing pieces of the puzzle that have only reared their deformed head this time around. Don’t read it if you don’t know who killed Laura Palmer.

Pilot (1): Because this episode has been largely unavailable in this form for so many years, my memory of it had been completely replaced with the contents of the VHS Pilot edition that was rounded off with an ending and released as a straight-to-video movie. The main difference was Sarah Palmer’s vision. Episode 1 ends with Sarah screaming which is intercut with a scene of Laura’s heart locket being pulled from the ground by a mysterious hand. The VHS pilot showed Sarah screaming and then re-living a scene prior to her knowledge of Laura’s death. Sarah sees herself running up the stairs whilst calling Laura’s name, the sound is distorted. She runs into Laura’s bedroom and we see, from her point of view Laura’s empty room. She looks from one side of the room to the other, the room is empty. This time around Sarah repeats the actions but whilst in Laura’s room, from her point of view, she glances from one side of the room to the other and quickly glances back to Laura’s empty bed. What she failed to notice the first time around is the terrifying sight of a long haired man crouched down at the foot of Laura’s bed, clutching the bedposts, his face momentarily takes the form of an owl, and Sarah is back on the couch screaming hysterically. The long haired man, we later learn is BOB or Killer Bob for those familiar with what he did.

 Episode 1 (Season One: Episode 2): The episode begins with Cooper hanging upside down and commenting on the Kennedy’s and Marilyn Monroe. Twin Peaks was inspired by the book Goddess: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers (highly recommended by the way). Sarah Palmer has a vision of Laura, when her face is badly imposed over Donna’s. Whilst embracing her she lets out a scream as she witnesses BOB in what we would assume is the fireplace. This is actually the original scene from the pilot where BOB is crouched at the foot of the bed.

Episode 2 (Season One: Episode 3): Towards the conclusion of this episode Leland, Laura’s father, displays his grief by dancing in a Titanic Jack and Rose style spin with a framed 10x8 of his daughter. Sarah enters the room screaming and following a brief altercation the frame shatters. The scene ends with Leland smearing his blood on the photograph of his daughter. His jacket is patterned with a parallel zig-zag. The following scene is Cooper’s dream. He is in the red-room, he is old. The Man from Another Place shudders in the corner and later dances to the same music that Audrey Horne finds irresistible. Both the Man from Another Place and Audrey supply Cooper with information in the episode and are united through the music. Although the dream is situated in the red-room, Cooper’s vision is interspersed with scenes from the complete pilot including the One Armed Man’s eerie poetry and BOB’s first speaking part. In Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and later episodes of the series the red-room floor is decorated in a distinct monochrome zigzag. This is the first time we have ever seen the red-room but the floor as zigzagged as it may be is a dirty beige and brown which mirrors precisely the pattern on Leland’s Jacket from the aforementioned scene. In the episode we see the jacket in close-up, the image below is the best I could find.

The original Red Room floor
Leland's Jacket
 Episode 3 (Season One: Episode 4): Laura Palmers Funeral, 27th February – My birthday. At the height of the episode at the Great Northern Cooper asks Hawk if he believes in a soul, and Hawk says that he believes in several. Blackfoot Legend describes souls that give light to the mind and body, and also a wandering soul that walks in the Land of the Dead. Is Hawk talking about BOB?
The background music changes to an up-tempo jazz number, and Leland expresses his grief once more by dancing alone. He goes around the floor, begging for someone to be his partner as Cooper and Hawk toast to Laura. When they notice Leland's distress, they try to calm him down and he breaks down crying. Cooper suggests that they take him home and Leland says, with tears in his eyes, "Home....home....home...." Possibly another nod to the Wizard of Oz, references are made in most Lynch films, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) plays the Good Witch in Wild at Heart (1990).
27th February: Laura's Funeral
Episode 4 (Season One: Episode 5): Doctor Jacobi’s behaviour during his interview with Cooper mirrors that of Mrs Tremond’s Grandson as seen in FWWM and upcoming episodes. The One Armed Man’s room is broken into. The revelation of the missing arm, even though there’s prior knowledge of its absence, seeing it’s not there comes as a shock.
In line with Cooper’s dream (Ep2) Audrey describes herself as “the woman of his dreams, I’m the one who’ll help him figure out who killed Laura,” which relates her to the Man from Another Place.
Donna and James return to spot where they buried Laura’s necklace and it’s missing. They are being watched by an owl. “The Owls are not what they seem.” They are soul carriers and this specific owl is the provider of Sarah’s vision. Donna says: “Laura used to say her mother was kind of spooky, she used to see stuff, she'd have dreams. Laura did too.”

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  1. I love your reviews. Twin Peaks is my single favorite work of art.

  2. Thanks so much that is really kind of you. Don't be anonymous - Lets be friends!