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Friday, October 6, 2017

Always Be Good To Her. Mother! #review #Mother #movie

Always Be Good To Her. Mother! #review #Mother #movies 

Wow! So, I just paced my house for the last 15 minutes trying to figure out what I wanted to say about this movie, yet it’s so simplistic in its message that I don’t think that I have to say as much about it as I thought I would. So if the movie was so simple, then why the heck do I like it so much? Is it even a good film? And how did Jennifer Lawrence’s top-nude scenes not save this movie? Let’s dig in and find out.

The movie mother! By Darren Aronofsky and starring mega-star Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem is a movie that, uh... was definitely marketed wrong. It’s not rare that I say that but it is rare that I start a review in that manner. I did it because I think that a great deal of this movie’s box-office floppiness is due, in part, to the marketing. Yes, the critics played a part in it too, either hyping it as something that is almost so smart and brilliant that most people are turned off by the pretentiousness of the critiques, and conclude that the film must also be pretentious. Or crapping on the film so hard for being... well, pretentious and overly preachy. Apparently, in this time of Trumpism and everything being divided either into a camp of Liberal or Conservative, the slightest whiff of any political message gets lambasted by both sides regardless of its artistic worthiness. And then there are that small sliver of critics who are just pissed about the baby. But before we throw the movie out with the baby water, or, wait... Is that how that saying goes? Hmph? I don’t know. Anyway, before you dismiss the movie for the baby scene, and yes there will be SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW (kind of impossible not to review it without spoilers. I’ll explain why later), remember that these are some of the same critics that praised IT. That’s all I’ll say for now until I get to the spoiler-heavy area.

So, in mother! Jennifer Lawrence plays a young woman (correction: young, beautiful, really hot woman; oh my god I don’t think I’ve been more attracted to her than here. Damn, with my comments about Laura Dern on my Twin Peaks post and my comments about Baywatch, I truly am becoming a dirty old lecher) married to Javier Bardem, who, while still attractive himself, is aging and looks it. Let me point out that the parenthetical above, while at first glance sexist and chauvinistic, is actually extremely apt for Lawrence’s description and character in this movie, and you’ll understand why later.

Bardem is supposed to be a writer, in fact, the author of this book which we’re not exactly sure was popular or not as he, like almost all writers, is self-deprecating and talks about how so few people have read it. Lawrence is his young housewife who is concerned almost solely with making their house into a home. See, Bardem (note that I will always use the actors names as the don’t officially have character names but designations. This is easier) used to live in this house before, but it burned down in a tragic fire we briefly see at the beginning. We later learn that he escaped that fire only to come back to the house and discover one lone thing left within the ashes, a clear egg-shaped orb with fiery veins that glow through it. That is not my best poetry to explain the beauty of this thing, but it’ll have to do for now. Now that he’s rebuilt the house, he and his bride have moved in to start their life. This is paradise. It’s a country home so there are no other people around probably for miles and they like it that way. Hell, Jennifer never even feels she has to leave the house it’s so amazing.

And then a man shows up.

A stranger, the man is supposedly a doctor come to the local town to do research at the school. He came to their house looking for a bed and breakfast and automatically seems suspicious to Jennifer because they’re literally in the middle of nowhere, so the man had to come really far out to happen upon their door. Bardem lets the man in and allows him to get comfortable. Well, as it so happens, the man is a fan of Bardem’s work. As Bardem takes him on a tour of the house, the man remarks on how beautiful Jennifer is and he also talks about the beauty of that orb, but Javier does not let him touch the orb, which is very important to both the story and one of my criticisms of the movie.

Well, Bardem, much to Jennifer’s shock, welcomes the man to stay the night. Jennifer doesn’t like this, especially because the man smokes and does it inside of the house. Not only that, but the man is sick with something that Jennifer knows nothing about, which is another important point for criticism. She sees her husband holding the man while he vomits into the toilet, coughing up something that she can’t identify. As he is coughing, she finds his Zippo lighter and knocks it behind the cabinet in the room that they’ve now made into a guest room for him.

And the next morning his wife arrives.

Wait, he has a wife? Reader, you didn’t know he had a wife? Played by Michelle Pfeiffer who had conceivably dropped off the face of the earth (ha! I’m making myself laugh now. I need to stop), the wife is even more intrusive and rude the husband. She demands to have a tour, asks the all-important kids question, loudly wonders about the age gap between Jennifer and Javier, invites herself to stay with her husband and immediately starts drinking. For the first half hour, this movie plays as nothing more than a potential horror movie/psychological slow-creep thriller about very bad houseguests. Michelle tells Jennifer that she needs to spice things up in her marriage because Michelle immediately figures out that while Jennifer wants children, Javier either doesn’t (though he said he did) or just isn’t interested in them right now. Not enough to have sex with Jennifer, at least. This is what is bothering her. That, along with the fact that while Javier is claiming to work, he hasn’t been able to create anything new in a very long time. Things are beginning to get tense.
And then the wife breaks the orb.

Javier gets so mad about the orb breaking that he boards up his office so they can never get in again, but still allows them to be guests in the house.

And then their sons arrive. Two sons, they arrive in a ruckus. As it turns out, their father is so sick that he is about to die. He recently changed his will to have everything go into a trust rather than divvy up his fortune to his heirs. This way, his sons and wife all have to get along and make communal money decisions. But one son is so angry that he bludgeons his brother to death in the middle of one of the rooms. While Javier and the family leave to take the brother to the hospital (strangely disappearing as soon as they are out the door) and the murdering brother briefly returns to get his wallet, Jennifer follows the leak of the blood through a hole in the floor and down to the basement where she finds a room that looks like it has some kind of oil barrel in it possibly for the heating of the house.

The family comes back and hosts a bereavement gathering for the brother. And this is when things start to get hella weird because these people are even more rude than the family and Jennifer is losing it. They are using the bathroom without asking, sitting on unstable counters, using the couple’s bedroom to try to get it on and, in the weirdest twist, painting the walls. And this is legitimately the first moment in the movie where, if you haven’t been forewarned what’s going on, you will start to question what the hell you just paid for and either check out or try to figure it out. I would say wait, slow down, think about it, and try to figure it out because the second half of the film gets even crazier.

There Were Many Letters I Could Have Gotten But I Wanted One
After Bardem and Jennifer finally get the family out of the house, they have a fight in which she wants to leave, but he finally gives her the D and they wake up all happy. She immediately knows she’s pregnant after one piping and he suddenly has inspiration to create again. He starts writing immediately and she goes into full mommy-prep mode as she turns that once-guest bedroom into a nursery.

The one big problem? That hole where the blood bled through is not only still there, but it still seems to be bleeding. Even when she puts a rug over it, it not only bleeds but bleeds through the rug. Then she takes the rug away from the floor to see that the floor is no longer bleeding but its actually the rug. This is just one of the many problems that she has seen wrong with the house throughout its existence. See, every so often she’ll get a pulsing sensation through her heart and also feel the house’s “heart” beating. Often during these times she can see or feel the decay of the house, the old burnt pieces of wood and destroyed plaster, see the warp of the fire-damaged frame on which this house is built. She sees it on the walls and the floors and the ceilings and everywhere and then she straightens up, goes to take some kind of tonic (what the tonic is, we really never know), and then is fine again for a little while.

And here is where those people who don’t want to be spoiled (even though I’ve told you about half the movie already) step off the train and leave because literally once you read the next sentence, you can go into it knowing exactly what to expect and there should be no real surprises in the movie.

OK, so there are going to be spoilers for the entirety of the plot from here-on out. OK? Got it?

OK, so here is why I really don’t understand why this film is so split with people, save for if it is a criticism not necessarily of the film but of the two main people involved: Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie can be taken to have two messages, depending on how you want to see them, based on the same exact thing. The movie is a basic, almost overly simplistic allegory (more metaphor than allegory, frankly) of the story of mother earth, humanity and (here’s where the split is) either the first and last books in the Christian Bible, or an atheistic more nature/scientific look at the infinite loop of existence. In either case, it plays into climate change. While I could spend most of my time breaking down the latter, the former is what most people saw who understood the movie.

By now, you should be able to come up with the fact that Jennifer, who, as I mentioned, never leaves or even steps foot out of the house. (She does walk onto the porch, but for the sake of this film and I’m sure what was intended in Darren’s mind we will consider that still inside the house). Both she and the house are one as evidenced by the opening sequence in which the old house was already burnt down but everything remakes itself and the crumbled embers of a person lying in bed rejuvenates, puffs and grows back into a woman. She and the house are the literal interpretation of mother earth. So, anything that she does to the house also happens to her.

If she is mother Earth/nature then her husband must be... OK, here is where I will briefly mention the atheistic possibility, then go back to the Christian one. If looking at this from a purely atheist view (I mention this because Darren Aronofsky is reportedly a Jewish-raised atheist, though both this and his last movie Noah are heavily religious in tone), you can actually conclude that Javier is Father Time. You can conclude this for a few reasons starting with his age. He looks much older, much more worn. But his profession as a writer can also refer to the old line about life or certain events being “written on the sands of time” which are controlled by father time. Again, that is only there if you don’t want to see the religious aspect.

Now, back to the Judeo-Christian interpretation. In the loosest sense, Javier is God to Jennifer’s mother earth. I can see some other devout Christians understanding that and not liking it. Darren has to make some narrative compromises (not all of which are necessary) to fit in the movie. In the case of Javier not being the full-on creator as in the Christian bible, we can excuse that for sake of not giving the entire film away. Where as in the bible there was nothing, from which God birthed everything including mother earth, here both the basic structure of the house and the ashes that constitute mother are already in existence and he simply reconstitutes them. It is unclear and never shown whether or not he ever started from scratch.

So then if we have our God and mother earth, then you already know the man is Adam, his wife, Michelle Pfeifer, is Eve. Here, I have a criticism. This slight narrative alteration, while seemingly small, is exceptionally significant. I’m talking about the sickness. Again, I know that Jennifer is a feminist and I believe Darren is also, so I can see why they’d change this, but it still stuck out to me. In the film, when the man is introduced he not only already has vice (smoking and drinking) but he is also shown to be sick and ailing the night before his wife arrives. He is shown with an imperfect body (there’s some huge gash on his side where, presumably his rib was), and he’s throwing up. The thing he vomited up looks devilish.

In the Bible there is nothing wrong with Adam. As much as it may hurt to hear, Adam’s downfall from perfection and oneness with nature and God doesn’t come around until Eve is introduced. The fact that he shows that the man is sick and vice-filled enough to piss off mother earth with his smoking BEFORE Eve arrives betrays the original Biblical narrative of the Fall and suggests that mankind has always been inherently sinful. This is only further solidified by the fact that we never see a devil or tempting force that makes them go up to Javier’s office and accidentally break that beautiful crystal, which is meant to stand in as the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This purports the premise that man has always been an evil creature as opposed to just a sometimes stupid one that doesn’t listen. Legitimately, this was probably my biggest critique of the film as it puts almost all of the onus on Adam and very little on Eve.

And of course if those two are Adam and Eve, then their two sons are Cain and Abel. This, unlike the Adam smoking and being sick thing, is a needed narrative change because it would look strange for them to fight over the inheritance/favor of Javier’s character/God as in the Bible, when they don’t know him. It also makes the point of the first blood spilt on the earth from murder, as opposed to sacrifice, of extreme importance. The blood both leads down to the basement to the room where the oil is which we know becomes the instrument for the later destruction, and it leaves a stain on the floor that can never be healed. But even worse, it leaves a stain in the same room where mother, rather inexplicably, chooses to put a nursery. This is symbolic for mother earth and God’s ability to take the most horrifying event in life and bring beauty anew from it.

By this time, you’ve already guessed why I specifically called out Jennifer’s beauty in this film. Obviously she’s wearing makeup in this film as she does in all films (nature of the business) but here, in a great many of the scenes she is so brushed that she literally looks like a porcelain doll. She is noticeably perfect. The sheen is in the exact right place and she looks more perfect and enticing, while also being more innocent than she ever has before, even in real life on Oscars carpets and in her Hunger Games glow-up scenes. Yes, this is partially because she’s older and has the gloss of maturity on her, but it is also intentional to show the pure-driven innocence and untouched beauty of mother nature/earth in times and places where humans do not heavily disrupt what is already there.

Then, as the craziness begins in the second act of the film, if you figured the message out and the Biblical references in the first act, you are wholly prepared for all the insanity of the second act, even though Darren does take it slightly over the top with the messaging. You don’t necessarily need to be beat over the head with the message, but he does that just to make sure you’re getting it. Here, I can see people balking at its preachyness. And the other half of the audience that still hasn’t got it by that point in time (whether they just haven’t thought about what they’re consuming or are of a different religion that knows little about the Judeo-Christian creation) sees a hodgepodge of insanity that makes almost no sense until the end.

Let me actually back up to the beginning of that last paragraph and talk about the structure of the film because I think it’s important. To me, this film does not have the traditional three-act structure like so many writers—screenwriters in particular—talk about. Yes, you can make an argument for the calm-down after the baby’s birth being a third act, or even after the re-creation, however I wouldn’t count either of those as full or even partial acts unto themselves but rather elongated beats in the second act. I point this out because it mimics both our calendar concept of time (B.C. and A.D. or C.E.) as well as the division of the Christian Bible between old and new testament, casting away much of its Judaism and Islamic principles shared amongst all three religions and going strictly for the Christian path. Here, I can also see another minor criticism from other devout Christians popping up who understood the movie. It is quite easy for them to say, and rightfully so, that Christianity, for whatever reason is the most criticized and easiest to criticize in Hollywood or pop culture in general, both here and around the world. There are, however, other religions in the world and some that even predate Christianity, yet they field almost no criticism quite like Christians do. While I can see some people saying this, I was fine with it. I’m even OK with a declared atheist making religious films so long as he takes the time to understand the subject matter on a deeper level than just, “I don’t believe in this and these people are weak who believe in this so let me make fun of them,” like other atheist filmmakers have done in the past.

So, while mother is pregnant, her husband finishes his new word, his first new creation in a very long time. And before mother’s even done reading it, his publisher is already calling about how many copies are being made. This can be taken as another reference to Javier being father time in an atheistic interpretation. We as an audience have been well-trained to understand the passage of time in film so much so that we take it for granted when we see one image that is starkly different from the previous image. For instance, whenever you see a flat-tummyed woman in a scene saying that she’s pregnant and in the very next scene she’s now rubbing her bulbous ready-to-pop belly, we automatically assume that months have passed. Here, however, because of the blunt messaging of the film, we really shouldn’t blatantly assume such a thing. Just as Jennifer knows right away that she is pregnant the morning after she and Javier have sex, the very next scene in which she is near ready to give birth could very well be the next day or two days later, rather than months. I say this because of the speedy pace of the second act of the movie.

We go from the book being published, to her preparing a celebratory dinner for just the two of them, to fans showing up on their doorstep to talk about the new book, to the fans invading their home to talk about the book, to stealing things from the house, to trying to paint the house again, to raving and having parties and sex, and destroying the kitchen, to all-out chaos and troopers and police invading the house, to people looking at mother to check her teeth and treat her like cattle ready to sell into slavery, to people bombing the house, to people protesting and chanting gibberish against each other, to people yanking and grabbing and pulling at her and Javier, to people receiving Javier’s word and getting symbols of blood smeared on their forehead to she and Javier finally escaping back into his office he had boarded up from Adam and Eve so long ago after they broke that egg-crystal.

She gives birth and the people give gifts and want to see the baby but she doesn’t want her baby to be seen by them. Here, both the atheistic and Christian narratives mingle to give us two meanings of equal weight and caliber. In the Christian narrative the child is Jesus—a child created not by man but by God and mother earth/nature. In the atheistic narrative which also serves as interpretation for what and who Jesus is, the child is every gift both big and small that this earth gives us, which is basically everything. We would have nothing without the earth’s (and God’s) generosity. The child is oil, food, medicine, wood for houses, metal for electronics, everything you can think of that we “need” in our lives today. But because mother has already given so much of herself, of her house to people, she wants this one thing to herself.

But God loves everyone including mother earth, so while he understands her hurt over their house having been half-destroyed, he still wants to just show them his pride and joy. They play a game of attrition that she finally loses by falling asleep for a second. He takes the baby and shows it to the crowd but she runs after it and then we have the baby scene. In it, the baby’s neck audibly snaps as the crowd passes the baby around. If you’ve seen Aronofsky’s Noah, then think of that lamb scene in which they throw the animal into the air and the people tear at its limbs while it is still alive. Then, for a brief second, mother gets to an altar at front to see that the people have eaten the baby, picked it’s bones clean. And I actually started laughing only because the quick flash of the picked-over carcass looked exactly like the leftover bones of a roast chicken. And I literally thought, dag, did Perdue pay for some advertising in this movie?

The crowd then rages at mother, half stripping off her shirt and beating her. On an off-screen, on-screen note, I was wondering how Jennifer Lawrence and a lot of these female stars that have been hacked in recent years felt about onscreen nudity now. I’m not saying that the hack effected her decision and I don’t know if her breasts at the end of the film were hers or if that was a body double because in the midst of the fight, it did look like someone different at times, but I do know that her breasts in the sheer top at the beginning of the movie were all her and I did like them. Shame me for liking breasts if you want to. I don’t care. But I will say that if they were hers, then I think she chose the right film in which to sort of snap back against the invasion of privacy of the hack and reclaim rights to her own body. Here, her bare breasts were shown, in both instances, with artistic meaning. It wasn’t just enough to appreciate the nakedness of the female form but to say that mother earth started as an innocent stripped down form of beauty, now man has come in and seeks to strip her once again but not to admire her beauty but to strip her of said beauty. It, in some ways, is a poetic mirror to the picture hack controversy.

And in the end she grabs Adam’s Zippo lighter that has been sitting behind the cabinet for all this time, runs to the basement and sets the house on fire, blowing it up. Only she and Javier survive: him without a scratch and her charred crispy which is precisely what is suggested will happen to this earth in the book of Revelation (because God’s already destroyed the world with water with the great flood) and by today’s climate change scientists. Javier talks to her about why he let the people in and how he can’t help it because he has to create (which is almost the exact same thing I wrote in one of my books that I never got published). He then reaches into her chest cavity, pulls another one of those beautiful crystals from out of her and watches as she dies and turns to ash. He takes the crystal and places it on a special holder he has in his office and the house peels back the char, repaints a lot of itself and gets to humming again. A woman even puffs back up to fluffy in bed just like in the beginning and everything starts again, ending this whole story with a Buddhist reincarnation-like twist like in one of my works.

The meaning is straight forward: we humans have come into and been gifted a land of beauty and perfection but we’ve taken advantage of it so much that we are destroying all the things this world has and is giving us on an environmental level. Eventually, it will turn on us and decide that it either doesn’t want to live anymore or try to destroy us if we haven’t already destroyed ourselves and it by that time. This, when taking some of Revelation and the other disciples’ scripture literally, is actually the exact thing said in the Bible too. For people like me, who see the parallels to what we are doing both to the ecosystem/environment and what we are doing to each other, this message is not lost. I have long been an avid eco-warrior. Longtime readers should know that I have wanted to make a Captain Planet film for a very long time because I think that it is important. And I have always believed that regardless of your religion (but especially if you’re a Christian), one of your chief concerns should be treating this earth right because it has given so much to us all. This is probably why I was able to overlook the preachyness of the film and the undertones that serve as an indictment against religions being bad and destructive (everything influenced by man is bad and destructive, including atheism and science) to really enjoy this movie.

There are a lot of critics that are trying to parse out one message at a time similar to what fans of Twin Peaks do. But as I said there, sometimes you can get stuck on the little things and make them into something larger than what they should be rather than looking at the big picture. To say that this movie is against protesting or police brutality or something like that just because that is shown briefly, is to miss the point of the movie. Yes, those things are important but in the whole of it, they are quite minor. While the movie is overly artsy at times and goes from a gentle caress of a massage in the first act to a heavy-handed deep-tissue thump in the second act, it is ultimately as bubblegum Hollywood as you can get with the simplest message: we as a species need to figure out our danged problems real fast and start learning how to treat each other right, as well as this beautiful earth that has been gifted to us, otherwise we’re going to lose it. And while God can, and most likely will start over (and in this movie he does bear some of the blame here for mother’s breakdown), he only wants us to find an equilibrium where all three of us can live in perfect and pure harmony. See? Simple. Don’t let other reviewers tell you otherwise. You can further extrapolate from there.

My big problems is that in many interviews both Jennifer and Darren straight said that she was mother earth. I think it was a mistake to tell the message of the movie before people have seen it. That is one thing that Darren can certainly learn from David Lynch. It almost feels like telling the mystery of a film before seeing the film. I know, there are plenty of people who will read a book that something is based on, then go see the movie which, even though I hope for the same thing later in my career with my works, always found to be a little weird. I think this would’ve been better if audiences had a little more mystery going into it.

Also, I found a lot of critics’ reviews stupid. Chief among the complaints (which was a problem with Jennifer’s last movie Passengers) is that the film was called out as being too misogynistic. Give me a break. Some reviewers have suggested that the film has a “muse” problem and that Jennifer is too passive to Javier’s controlling masculinity in which he dictates what can and can’t happen in his house. It’s almost as if they don’t understand that God is God, or the story as a whole. He created her. She comes from him. And this goes back to my Adam sickness and Eve’s responsibility critique, beside I find that the movie makes it perfectly clear what the power dynamic is. Michelle or Eve makes it a point to call attention to their age difference, suggesting that they are, in no ways equals here. To me, her criticism is the exact same criticism that the critics have. She’s not supposed to be treated equally. She is actually pedestal-ed as his last creation. In essence, she is equal to all of the guests of their home because God loves them, too. Saying that she is not strong enough as a character misses the point of the metaphor. It would be like saying one of my books (my creation) is not fairly treated in relation to me. It makes almost no sense. Again, you have to view this through a biblical paradigm. The earth has no true personality of its own because it is never given freewill of its own nor spirit nor soul but is always coddled by God. It is only given the tools to defend itself and not be of itself. It is vessel.

What do you think? Have you seen mother!? If not, do you think you will now after reading this? If you did, how did you like the movie? Did you understand it while you were watching it? If you didn’t understand it but get it now, do you think that understanding the meaning of the movie before seeing it would have influenced how you felt about the movie? Honestly, I thought I was going to see a horror movie and had only seen one trailer (I tried not to suffer from multiple-trailer fatigue this year for any film I saw) and was briefly disappointed before being pleasantly surprised by the story. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 4 coming summer 2018. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary on Amazon. Season 2 of that coming real soon. And look for the mystery novels The Knowledge of Fear #KnowFear and The Man on the Roof #TMOTR coming this fall/winter. Twisty novels as good as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you won’t want to miss them. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “You didn’t send your mother a birthday card but you sent one to your dry cleaner?”
‘Well, my dry cleaner always keeps me looking clean and stylish.’
“Hm? OK. Fair enough.”

P.S. The release date of this movie is super strange as it is not really in the prime spot for awards season fodder nor is it in a good spot for box-office success. If they wanted a horror movie box office, they should’ve released it in October. Awards? November. Box office? Either during Easter or on Mother’s day. Wasted opportunity. Anyway, I’ll try to come up with a better sign-off next time.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Twin Peaks Is Still Twin Peaking It... And That’s A Bad Thing #TwinPeaks #FullSeasonReview #Recap

Twin Peaks Is Still Twin Peaking It... And That’s A Bad Thing #TwinPeaks #FullSeasonReview #Recap
All pictures courtesy of Showtime and Lynch/Frost Productions

After doing my long rewind on the Summer of Suck and critiquing music, movies and TV, I finally got my head clear enough to go in on the Twin Peaks revival, and boy do I have things to say. I have more things to say about this stupid show than both Trump and Kim Jong-un have to say about each other (they’re both doughy, short-tempered bastards who need a time out at this point). But before we start getting deep into the revival and why I hated this series as a whole, I have to do a little bit of housekeeping and buffering for the Lynchian fans out there.

For starters, let me say that I am not a David Lynch hater. In the past I have actually enjoyed a few of his films. I enjoyed both Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead, as well as Lost Highway. All of these are weird as shiznit. Hell, Lost Highway’s IMDb description will send you on a trip just from reading it. I can get behind weird so long as it is weird that seems meaningful and knows what it wants to be and say. For that same reason I hated Blue Velvet. It was bizarre and stupid and needlessly complicated both in tone and story. I only recently saw it (beginning of the year) and still can’t get the image out of my mind of the guy standing there in the apartment bleeding. It didn’t make me try to think of a deeper meaning to it all, it just made me say, “This is stupid.” As far as Dune went, I... well, I honestly thought that after the success of Star Wars there were a lot of stupid fantasy films in the 80s that had very weak narratives and even weaker acting. I tried to read the book but even that pissed me off so I figured I was going to dislike the movie anyway, and I hated the special effects. I don’t think that was Lynch’s fault. I’m not a big space-opera kind of guy.

I can’t remember Eraserhead as it has been so long since last I saw it but I remember putting myself through my own film school to study it and watched it at least seven times. Mulholland Drive I saw again just last year and remembered the weirdness with a certain fondness and got the message of how people can play the biggest roles in our lives yet have no meaning while others can come into our lives but for a single moment of time and change our entire existence in that one moment. For those of you who only just now are getting that, yeah, that was one of the themes of the film. Re-watch with that thought and you’ll see that it aligns quite well. I point this out because later in this post when I talk about the meaning of Twin Peaks and what has been going on in this mess of a show, some of you will be more inclined to believe me or at least not outright dismiss my “theory” (your words) as stupid and say that I didn’t understand this season or the series as a whole. I actually got it. Believe me, I got it. As a writer myself and as someone who has always had a wild imagination and was able to think so far outside the box that I couldn’t see the box anymore and people around me had to take time to understand my point, I got it. And I didn’t think it was that deep.

OK, next we also have to take care of some business predating this season. Basically, this post is a review of the entirety of the series to-date. It’s been so long since the original aired that many will need a refresher course and those who don’t know much about it will need to know previous season stuffs (and there’s so many stuffs) because I will reference it heavily. Let me start by saying that I hate, hate, hate this climate that we are in right now with TV and film. Look, I have been calling out this thing for years now. What is this THING that I’ve been calling out? The ruin of the entertainment industry by—no, not Millennials, nor Baby Boomers—Gen-Xers. I don’t know why this keeps happening. Gen X is supposed to be the generation born after 65-66 to 79-80 (though some people foolishly like to include half of the 80s as generation X, even though, predating the Baby Boomers, generations were a max of about 15 years and is only the span of 20 years for Boomers because of the length of WWII which forced some people to meet later in life after the war and then start popping out babies. In any case, even if you do include Xers as being all the way to 84, that just puts even more onus on them for the current state of entertainment. Everything is 80s or compared to the 80s or set in the 80s or some time period in which Xers were teens or young adults. It’s like, we get it, you grew up in the 80s and you liked it. But remember that the decade wasn’t that great. You still had the cold war and AIDS.

So we zoom to Twin Peaks, which, while not set in the 80s nor does it first air in the 80s (1990 was the originals date), it has this strange feel of being distinctly for the Xer crowd at that time. It was a good mix of young and old cast but the young dominated the old in the original series. Also, like so many things coming from that era, it has been talked about and big-upped (that means hyped) by its fans for so long that you would think this was the first ever show to be mildly weird. As if there weren’t a thousand shows like that in the 80s with everything from a short-lived Twilight Zone reboot to Tales from the Darkside, the Outer Limits starting and a few others. Granted, Twin Peaks maybe was the first serialized episodic one that stayed with the same story from week to week, although even then I feel like I could reach deep into the annals of history and pull something out. It’s just the first one where you had the President and Russia’s leader talking about it, wondering what happened to the poor white girl. But this notion that this was the precursor to shows like Fringe, Lost, Orphan Black and all of the weird shows that people enjoy today is simply ridiculous. You know what though, if those showrunners, producers and writers say that it inspired them, then fine. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and agree. However, if I ever am able to get back to Hollywood and get my show The Game on air DO NOT in any way, shape or form give this show the credit for my show’s weirdness and intrigue. I was not inspired by this show in any way!

Beware The Ides Of March And Hotels
Now that I’ve probably pissed off some of the real fanatics and made some of the other readers wonder, “Gosh! When the hell is he gonna actually start talking about the show,” let me backtrack and say that while I didn’t like this, I love the fans of this show. In fact, I love the fans of any show, book or movie that are this passionate about something, so much so that they have almost become a cult unto themselves. Hell, the biggest names in the world have this kind of following, whether that be Stephen King, JK Rowling, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg or Oprah, or Lynch, the fans are what keep these people producing what they do, they have made them successful. I can only ever hope to have a sliver of what these people have, fans so devoted that whatever I put out, even if it’s not my best work, is still really good in their eyes. I, in no way, am here to try to take your fandom away from you or piss on it, even though you may feel that I am. I even greatly respect Lynch for what he has done. He’s like the Pied Piper. The bad news is that he is also like the Pied Piper. Yeah, think of the original Grimm story. He has managed to work in Hollywood even if it was insanely difficult, got some of the best people to work on his projects both in front of and behind the camera and convinced a slew of people to take writing and plotting seriously that is, in many cases, even worse than a lot of stuff we see in made-for-TV films or super-low-budget films. The man has talent. So, again, even though there is a little bit of snide in there, I do respect him and his fans. OK? It’s important to keep that in mind.

Now, we’re starting the review beginning with mentioning the first two seasons and the movie. For years I had heard that Twin Peaks was hella weird. People compared it to Lost and said that the latter couldn’t hold a candle to the “two seasons of brilliance” that was Twin Peaks—a show canceled before its time. Seeing that it would return this summer (never saw it the first time), I figured why not check it out. Thankfully Showtime had all the episodes from both seasons on demand so that I could watch the weirdness at my leisure. Get this: the first season really wasn’t all that weird. There’s only about eight (nine if you divide the premiere-episode in half, I think) episodes in the first season. It wasn’t that long. I binged all eight TWICE this summer just to make sure I wasn’t missing something and to re-check a few things after the “Got a Light” episode of this season aired—basically make sure that my in-depth understanding of the series held water through its entirety (it does and we’ll get to that later).

Laura Then and Now

Laura Palmer is found dead on a beach, wrapped in plastic in the small town of Twin Peaks. The FBI sends in a young but eccentric special agent to investigate the murder and help the local police catch the killer. This decision is partly influenced by the fact that another girl was found dead near the same area and there are rumblings of a serial killer. Again, this is what you first think. I know, fans, there is a lot more to it than that and it gets a little confusing but let’s go in order because I haven’t gotten to the movie yet.

Agent Dale Cooper, left, and the original sheriff on right

Once Special Agent Dale Cooper (Damn! That’s good coffee. Drinking game alert: Every time I write that, take a drink; I know that the grown and much older fans of Twin Peaks probably had a drinking game all prepared around Coop saying that line in season three. Boy, how disappointed you were) arrives in town, things get mildly interesting. Strange? Again, no. There’s hardly anything from the first season that was ultra weird. It was, for the most part, a straightforward mystery-drama akin to The Killing Fields or The Missing rather than Lost. If anything, one thing that maybe you can credit this first season with is the hyping-up of the bigoted doofus stereotype of middle America that so many voters rebelled against last voting cycle. Pretty much everyone seemed rather stupid and did stupid stuff. Outside of Cooper who could be forgiven for his weirdness, and maybe the sheriff, everyone else had made stupid, bad decisions in life or were just plan stupid. Deputy Andy, who I’m almost sure was the template for the way that David Arquette played his character in the Scream films, tried to be a modern-day Barney Fife but wound up looking even more ridiculous. Pete and Big Ed were both push-arounds being both used and abused by the women in their lives. Norma seemed like a ditz to me. And the kids were all just stupid, but what are kids gonna be (even though I do not think that youth and dumbness/stupidity go hand in hand). Oddly enough, to me, the worst person on the show was the very person we were supposed to feel sorry for: Laura Palmer. More on why I think that later.

So some stuff happens that makes Cooper think that Laura is, in fact, one of the victims of his serial killer because she has a letter under her nail. The question, of course, is who killed her. Who killed Laura Palmer? There, fans! Are you happy? I used the oft-quoted famous line. The suspects are many and few. You have both of her parents: her father who works at a local hotel in some management position (can’t remember what, but it doesn’t matter) and her mother who is so out of it from losing her child that she can do almost nothing but sit around and look bereaved. In fact, many of season one’s tiny bits of weirdness can be dismissed by a sane viewer as the mother experiencing sorrow-induced delusions. Yes, you glimpse Bob, the Red Room and the one-armed man, but again these are all dismissed as potential dreams.

There’s also Laura’s boyfriend (who was cheating on her), the guy that had a crush on her, her best friend and the girl who is the daughter of her father’s boss. In time, even more suspects are added but none of them ever really amounted to anything to me and most are weirdly dismissed off-bat by Coop. Granted, Cooper runs into a lot of clues that point him in other directions. He has a theory that whoever killed her was maybe a wanderer, but then he also has what he believes is this dream about who killed her and that it is this man named Bob—a shaggy-haired Doobie Brothers lookin’ mofo with a wicked denim vest and jeans to match. This is told to him in his dream by a one-armed man. But, again, they don’t go too far into this theory as he has another dream in which he is 26 years older and so is Laura and the two of them are sitting in a red room with a dwarf man where they can only speak in warped conversation until she whispers something in his ear about the killer. He also has the biggest clue of the investigation in something that Laura wrote: Fire Walk with Me. This is discovered to be the same thing painted in a cave where Laura spent some of her last hours on the night she disappeared and was murdered. Damn! That’s good coffee!

So, there are three or four strange things that happen in the first season and what I just told you is about all of them. Outside of that, you get a lot of idiosyncratic stuff where the characters are just building on themselves. Certain people like pie, one guy is an abuser married to a high school dropout, the hotel owner is a powerful man that likes prostitutes and frequents a brothel which Laura went to during her last week of life (she sorta worked there sometimes), the logging industry is/was big in town and there’s a fight over shutting down the main mill because this older woman wants the land to sell to someone else and make a mint. There’s some general hoeing amongst everyone and Laura’s boyfriend isn’t torn up about her death but the boy who liked her is. It’s a straight mystery as Coop collects facts, albeit at a snail’s pace. Each episode moves quickly (yeah, try figuring out the oxymoron I just hit you with in the last sentence and the start of this one) and you really get to know the characters likes and dislikes and motivations, but who killed her is not solved until the second season.

The big problem here is that with the first season being so short and being on a trial order that new series TV execs are unsure about go on, you could almost tell where the first season should have ended when watching the second season—about seven or eight episodes in when the killer is revealed to be Laura’s father. On the season one finale, there is a lot of stuff going on and Cooper even gets shot, giving you this ultimate cliffhanger, which probably was groundbreaking back then. “Wow! You’re gonna shoot your main character in the finale of the first season?” The problem is that with the first season being so straight-faced and decidedly not weird (when compared to the rest of the series and the movie) people had invested in the story in a way in which they could get excited to solve the murder. Then when season two premiered, it hits you with a full-on punch of WTF-edness. The geriatric bellhop giving Coop the thumbs up is neither slapstick nor smart nor even dark humor, but that strange fourth category of humor where you laugh but have no idea why you laughed at something. The fact that it goes on for so long and then is followed up with a visit from the Tall Man gives the normal viewer, who ignored the few signs of weirdness in an otherwise plain, quirky show, pause. I could just hear at least a million people back in 91 checking their TV’s channel to make sure they were on the right station. Back then, the execs probably knew what Lynch was going for (anyone who has ever pitched a TV show knows the process of bibles and story arc-ing and blah, you have to jump through) and said that they wanted the weird stuff only after getting to season two. The hints of something odd from season one become the main focus.

Season two, which is decidedly longer at around 22 episodes (at that time the standard amount for a full season of Fall to Spring TV), has to keep steam, but they have a problem. Since the mystery of who murdered Laura gets solved within the first near-third (episode eight) of the season, they have to fill the rest of the season with something that will keep the audience coming back. Some fans are going to insist that Lynch always meant for the show to meander for about ten episodes in the middle of season two because that’s his genius but I think he was actually not prepared for the grind of keeping up the weird for that long. It completely goes off into fairy land with some story about an old nemesis that Cooper had that got in-between him and Diane. Who is Diane? The mystery woman that goes unseen in the original series but who it is intimated that Coop may love as he always makes recordings on his tape recorder for her.

The nemesis guy supposedly knows about the cave where Fire Walk with Me is written and is doing some evil stuff and blah, blah, blah! It doesn’t matter. And do you know why it doesn’t matter, and how I know that this was nothing more than filler for the story Lynch really wanted to play? Because none of it is mentioned or even referenced in almost any way in the revival series, nor in the movie. Nor does the hotel owner’s strange mental break/obsession with reenacting the Civil War which had hints of veiled, well... Let me just say this. I know that a great many of you Twin Peakers are white. That doesn’t matter to me in the least. But I will say that it seems very strange to me (and I looked rather hard) that in near the entirety of the series the only two ethnic female characters, the Asian woman and the black woman that season three’s Dougie is first seen with are overly sexualized. The only other minority character is Deputy Tommy and he is melt-into-the-wall bland. They don’t even give him a woman in the show when everybody else is getting some. But again, when people like me point this stuff out, “Oh, you’re looking at things that aren’t there, and yadda, yadda, yadda.” Well, remember that when you also say later on that my idea of what is going on is too narrow and that you, “Have to look at every single detail of the series because it’s genius and it all means something.”

Anyway, the hotel manager wanting to be General Lee and all of that is superfluous. I explain all of this because this is the anatomy of why a show gets canceled. As I binged this show, Showtime also had behind-the-scenes commentary and extras. Many fans, cast and crew were giving reasons for why they thought the original series got canceled after just two seasons and none of them gave the obvious reason, which is the exact same reason why most canceled shows shouldn’t come back: It wasn’t good anymore. Yes, they moved it to Saturdays. Nothing worth a darn even comes on Saturdays now, so I get that. But that was after the ratings had already gone to the sunken place, and you have to remember some TV history for the era. In that time, people weren’t as fickle about following a show’s time-change as they are now, which is interesting in this era of DVR, on demand and streaming. A popular show back in the day could move to what the network thought was a better night and lose almost no viewers. In fact, it could gain viewers if done right. Now? Even though shows still get shuffled on the schedule constantly (read: way too much) which aids viewers’ network fatigue, it’s almost impossible for a show to maintain the same amount of viewers unless it is replacing something extremely similar. For instance, Black-ish’s move from ABC Wednesdays to Tuesdays, slipping from one two-hour block of family comedy to another might work just fine. Twin Peaks did not get killed because of the move to Saturdays, nor because of the Gulf War coverage. It got killed because a lot of people didn’t like where it went.

Then Lynch decides to do a movie and here is where things get really interesting for this year’s revival. He does a movie called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me based on the final week of Laura Palmer’s life. And yes, Showtime had the film too, so I watched it. I’m sure that even though this was sold as a prequel to the series, most people went into this thing expecting a few answers about what happened to Laura, though the series should’ve stopped being about her once her murder was solved (we’re going to circle back to season 2’s finale, so don’t worry). Nevertheless, I think people expected something far different than what they got.

Fire Walk with Me shows the true side of Laura. Remember when I said that I thought she was the worst part of the series? Well, because I, maybe unlike some viewers, saw her for what she was: a coked-out, middle-class, first-world-problem-having hoe, who, in real life, if she was any other color but white, people would not give a single damn about. Being a writer, I read a lot. I like to read not just the books but a lot of reviews for books that I’ve read, especially the bad reviews as I find them even more enlightening. To me, Laura was the exact replica of what Amazing Amy Dunne from Gone Girl is. Everybody, both the fans of Twin Peaks and the characters in the show, seemed to see this innocent white girl smiling in her high school picture, yearning for her killer to be found. And even though the show mentions all the nastiness she’s done, the almost dream-like and fairy-tale/romantic-like quality of the show makes you want to feel pity for her. It doesn’t want you to see the manipulative, deceitful, scheming harlot that she was. In the reviews for Gone Girl, so many people who didn’t like the book often referenced the fact that they didn’t like the twist because it shattered their vision of dear, sweet Amy being taken advantage of by her ogreish husband Nick. We so easily forget that women can be terrible too.

This movie shows Laura in the exact light that most people were probably blinded to when watching the show. It showed graphic and gratuitous nudity, drug use, her hoeing, her manipulating her friends, the lack of love she had for really anybody and even showed her father raping her a few days before killing her. Even worse, she wasn’t even very smiley like in her high school picture. We didn’t get a Pretty Woman-esque hoe, always laughing and giggling and full of life, but a depressed, mopey, Daria-esque hoe who sorta meandered from place to place until she finally died. The whole time, as I watched this, I couldn’t help but have this distinct feeling that this was exactly the true show that Lynch wanted to make the whole time but was restricted due to network standards. Where the first two seasons were light and almost Melrose Place teen-drama lite, this was gritty drama realism.
In the movie we learn that Coop was actually warned in a dream about this case that he needed to take and David Bowie shows up to question his identity. The dream is the real reason why he shows up to Twin Peaks for a run-of-the-mill murder. That, and another girl is shown murdered for about 30 minutes of the 2 and a half hour movie. Bowie’s character says some other strange stuff, then disappears and Coop must go.

Back to Laura’s murder (season 2), Coop hypothesizes that Bob is not a real man on this earth but is a spirit who possessed Father Palmer’s body to do evil things to her including repeatedly rape her and kill her. The season meanders as I said until it reconnects with the main story in the last three episodes where Coop and the local cops discover that there is some kind of lever in the cave in which Laura entered that night where she saw and wrote Fire Walk with Me. Coops nemesis presses the lever/button into the rock and weird stuff happens. After that, Coop and the others, going off of three clues that the Tall Man gave him on the season two opener, manages to find a rift in the forest. He enters this rift alone and discovers that it is the Red Room. They do a lot of running around and most of it means nothing. Basically, Coop sees Bob, sees the one-armed man, sees the dwarf, sees Laura and the chair that he’ll sit in when he’s older, and talks to this strange tree-branch-electricity thing. REMEMBER THIS! Then, he sees someone who looks like him that at first is the guy he’s looking for, then turns into him at some point. He chases himself through a maze of the same two rooms but all slightly different (hint: look at the floors). Finally, he runs into a room in which he sees himself and the other guy laughing maniacally at each other before turning to him.

And suddenly, we go back to the cabin hotel in which he’s staying. It ends with him smashing his head against the bathroom mirror and looking into the mirror to see that it is not his reflection but that of Bob’s because Bob has hopped into his body and the real Coop’s soul is trapped in the red room, presumably.

Finally, we get to season three or the revival. But first, I thought that through the first season and the first third of season two, up until Laura’s killer is discovered and dies, the show is rather brilliant. I know, that’s a twist you probably didn’t see coming. Problems started with all the second season filler. The revival season did nothing to remedy this, but made it worse. It also confirmed that I was right about Lynch and the movie. The revival season gave audiences more of Fire Walk with Me rather than the first season, or even the second season. It was mostly bereft of humor, maybe spoiled the idea that this would be a show older Peakers could share with their kids by featuring gratuitous nudity that had little purpose (I’m perfectly fine with nudity. Hell, I wanted way more of it in this year’s Baywatch reboot. Check my Summer of Suck part 1 movie reviews for that, but putting it in for no artistic reason is rather pointless and sometimes exploitative), and took most of the fairy-tale-like charm of the original series away. Where the first two seasons were seductive and tried luring you deeper into the mystery, into the story, this season had no lure, no bait. The first season you knew exactly what the story was about and no matter how weird stuff got (Damn, that’s good coffee!), you could go back to that. You had a definitive starting point for all the weirdness and the story. The question of Who killed Laura Palmer was the true north of the series. Even in season two, though weak, the second story of this evil nemesis of Coop’s coming to town supplied a true north for all the craziness.

Here, you have no true north. You can’t really tell me what this entire season was about. The last two or three episodes are the true essence of the IMDb description—Coop trying to get back to Twin Peaks. The rest of the series is almost nothing. It’s loosely connected scenes that have almost no thruline. Many of the scenes are in service of the fans as, bizarrely, every scene (save for the scenes in the final two episodes) that occurs in the city of Twin Peaks is not necessary. It’s the hotel owner being General Lee all over again. Yes, it’s great to see the old characters from the original series, but they didn’t matter. They gave no answers, solved no riddles and when Coop finally came to town, he spent about ten minutes with them, then bounced. It was like a modern-day Mariah Carey performance: no substance, little movement, and even she is just waiting until it’s over. Even worse, they just made the show longer for no reason. Like, you could cut all of their scenes and not miss anything neither in the plot nor in the artistic intent or integrity. You miss nothing.

Then there’s the actual what’s going on. I don’t even know where to begin. Hell, I’m still so confused by this stupidity unfolding that the first sentence of this paragraph was gobbledygook. Note that I’m not confused on the meaning behind everything, but I’m confused on as to how to explain the plot because there really wasn’t one, or at least not one main plot. There are a bunch of micro-plots that loosely tie into each other on the surface, then are revealed to relate to one another in the last three episodes. The good news is that yes everything does relate to each other, but again, there’s really not much of a plot per se, as much as there are events. A plot is something that can be summed up in a logline or one sentence slug. The main question of the first season was both a plot and the enticing statement for the series, as well as the statement of the inciting incident for all that goes on in Twin Peaks. Here, the closest thing they came up with is that the season is what I told you about Coop getting back but there’s little of that going on.

OK, so we begin with Coop sitting in a black and white/grayscale room after the 26 years have passed. Here, I stop to give Lynch props for having set this timeframe up in the first season. Even though he or Kyle could’ve died and never gotten to complete this work, it is still impressive. The interesting thing about this is that he doesn’t start in the same red room like what we saw in the original series where Laura whispered in his ear and talked about how they’d meet again in 26 years (that gum you like is coming back in style!). So, as a fan, you’re already thrown because it half-seems like they missed an opportunity with that. But he does get back to that same room a few moments later. Instead, Coop is in a room with the Tall Man (pretty much all the same actors save for a few that died) talking in the strange warped language that Laura and the dwarf originally used during his first red room visit. Basically, we are introduced to another part of the same place where the red room resides but it’s essentially another room in the “house” if we could call it that. Their basic conversation results in the Tall Man telling Coop that it’s time.

For non-fans, please note that this Coop in the grayscale room is the REAL Coop and not the one seen at the end of Twin Peaks season 2. It’ll get a little confusing here so just hold on to your britches as I try to untangle the mental floss that has so many of the fans thinking that this is deep or that it’s brilliant. In the revival season, you see three Coops. Like I said, the first grayscale-room Coop is the real one. The second “Coop” that you see is actually Bob from the first two seasons who has inhabited/possessed Coop’s body like what we saw at the end of season 2. This is why we saw Bob in the mirror as Coop laughed in the bathroom. The story behind this second Coop is that he left Twin Peaks very shortly after the mirror scene and disappeared. He’s been missing for the last 26 years and is even going by a different name. Now, he has long hair (like Bob did), beady black eyes, and a devilish attitude as he is some kind of ruffian/ruthless gangster. This is the persona that Bob always embodied.

Then, there is the third “Coop” which really isn’t even Coop or isn’t even supposed to be Coop at all. Uh... Gah, how do I explain this without getting into my understanding of what’s happening in the show?

While most of the actors from the original show are still alive, a few of them did die (two in just the last year, so they did appear on the show) and some of the ones that died may have been the most important. One of the actors that died played a colonel or general or admiral? I can’t remember his specific rank and it doesn’t much matter (yes, I know some fan is screaming right now how everything matters and remember what I said about the minority female characters). What does matter is that his character had access to some kind of top-secret government program, knew about the Fire Walk with Me thing and was helping Coop with his problem with his nemesis who, again, has no bearing on this revival series. The colonel was also said to have died as a character on the series, however, what you learn long after the first season three episode is that he or some form of him is very much alive and living under an assumed name of Dougie in, like, Arizona or somewhere. The biggest problem here is that Dougie looks exactly like Coop and herein lies the possible controversy. Because the original actor is dead and Lynch decided to replace no one with someone new, I can’t tell if Kyle MacLachlan playing the colonel character was always meant to be part of the narrative or if he had to play the hand dealt. Because if he did have to change it, then that changes the entirety of the story. So, for the sake of this review we will assume that regardless of if the actor survived (rest his soul), Kyle would’ve been playing this character. Fair, fans?

Now, moving on, Dougie lives a very quiet life and has a very, uh... unique style. OK, he likes cheap hookers and dresses like he’s a retiree from Boca Raton. It’s hideous. We see him talking to the black working girl who then goes to take a shower so she can get to her next client. While she is away, he sees an overlay of the Red Room come into focus. Suddenly, he’s in the red room talking to, I believe the one-armed man. If I didn’t explain it, the one-armed man told Coop about Bob in his dream way back in the first season. They, in another life, were friends/room tenets but the one-armed man seems afraid of Bob. The one-armed man tells Dougie a similar thing to what the Tall Man told Coop. So then Dougie either shrinks into a ball or his head explodes to show a dark flame.

And in Dougie’s place in the bedroom arrives our real Coop. Everybody with me?

Yes, I skipped over quite a bit as Coop’s journey to even get out of the grayscale is rather long and arduous, but that guarded box room and the purple place are not important right now to the story. I will touch on them later when I start explaining what’s happening. Let me give a shout out, however, to Lynch for being economic in his film making and reusing some footage from Dune when revealing the purple room. That place that looks sorta like water and then the camera-tilt upwards is from Dune but tinted differently. I know this because I literally had just watched the movie hours before watching those two episodes.

Anyway, Coop is now in Dougie’s place, but not necessarily his body. In fact, Coop has the same body and the same clothing he had in the red room—he’s about 100 pounds lighter, hair is cut and he’s wearing a standard FBI black suit and tie. The black prostitute finds this weird but so not weird enough. I digress. Strangely, Coop can barely talk. He’s almost like a malfunctioning animatron as he only says a few words and they’re not even on a proper repeating loop. She drops him off at a hotel/casino and he goes to town hitting the slots. By following this bouncing yellow light that appears only to him over the top of machines that are going to hit, he gets over a dozen jackpots in a row but walks around like a dementia patient. He not only gets the wins of over 20,000 dollars but he somehow gets home to his wife (Naomi Watts) and young child. The majority of this iteration of Coop then spends almost the entire rest of the season being nagged by his wife about all the crazy changes that have happened to him, and going to work in an insurance company where he manages to point out a big flaw in someone else’s work.

Front to Back/Left to Right: Deputy Cole, Diane. Row 2: Preston, Rosenfield Far Back: Murderer

We switch from that Coop to the FBI officers where Coop’s old boss Deputy Director Gordon Cole (played by Lynch himself) wants to reopen the case about Cooper’s disappearance after some strange circumstances surrounding his dreams and a murder. The murder isn’t all that important in the grand scheme but just know that a woman and a man were both murdered by the guy who had been sleeping with the woman and cheating on his wife. He doesn’t know why he did the murder and says that he felt compelled to do it, which is exactly what another man in another murder case said. Cole, along with Agent Rosenfield, who, on the original was some kind of medical examiner that came to Twin Peaks as a hard-butt who was the best at his job but clashed with local law enforcement, take Agent Tammy Preston with them as their third wheel on their adventure. The actress playing Preston is gorgeous. I don’t know if I’m just getting to be a dirty old man or a lecher or if I’m just hard-up for some, but me wanting to see more breasts in Baywatch, delighting at seeing Jennifer Lawrence’s breast in mother and watching this woman had me feeling things. I thought I had more dignity and gentlemanly qualities than to lust after and sexualize women like this but I guess I don’t. She is there literally to just look pretty. Her walk is crazy-sexy, and I think I’ve mentioned before how much red heads do something to me. Every stance is a pose and every facial expression she makes oozes sensuality. I know that Lynch has a history with how he uses beautiful women but good lord, where did he find her?

Anyway, the three go on a road trip through most of the series, visiting sites where the killer said he had gone before the murder, examining the bodies and a bunch of other stuff that seemed rather superfluous. They never go to Twin Peaks until the end. The biggest and best thing they do, however, is that they find Diane, played by none other than previous Lynch collaborator Laura Dern. Now, I’m gonna sound super sexist and superficial for saying this, especially after the previous paragraph about the sexy redhead, but Laura Dern’s face is... I don’t know. I remember a few years ago that she was one of the actresses that got rather ticked at IMDb for listing her around three or four years older than what she was at the time. She only just turned 50, yet she has a face that plays older. She’s a great actress and I do wish and hope that her turn in Big Little Lies earlier this year will get her more work, but I just can’t get past her face. She’s not ugly, but I can understand why someone thought she was already over 50. Even in Jurassic Park I thought she was already in her 30s then. The only thing I’ve ever seen her in where I thought she was a young maiden was in Blue Velvet. I thought, my god, she’s just a girl. I digress.

Diane joins the group and they continue down the road to finding Coop. At one point, Diane sits down with the other agents to explain why she and Coop had broken up or weren’t together as a couple and she says that he raped her, but that is easily dismissed because then she gets shot and disappears as one of the black-fire people. She ends up in the red room before being replaced with the real Diane.

The guy who murdered the people has his head exploded in a later episode by these shadow-like men while all of the agents and Diane, who is just a regular woman with a bad wig, are visiting some high-voltage powerline that’s near the house where someone was found dead.

I can’t really think of anything else of note for their storyline, so I will now jump to Twin Peaks. For starters, we see as many of the old characters as we can. The diner is still there with Norma working. Big Ed still runs a gas station and is still in love with Norma. Shelly is still in town and has a baby with Bobby, but they still didn’t end up together. Speaking of, Bobby is no longer the dope-selling hoodlum he once but cops real hard for the sheriff’s department. James is still there being as regular as can be and working some kind of factory/security job. The sheriff has been replaced (I think the actor died or he was too old) by his brother. And Audrey, the hotel manager’s daughter, is sorta there. Her dad is also still in the hotel, peculiarly with Ashley Judd. The two of them keep hearing noises in the hotel but only one can hear it at a time and there’s some veiled flirtation.

As I said before, the Twin Peakers are mostly superfluous. There’s little to no humor—dark, slapstick, thinking-man or otherwise—that they give and they only supply two bits of importance to the plot: the prisoners that they have in the jail, and a piece of paper that the Sheriff got off of Laura’s old journal. The picture looks like some squiggles and a red thing, similar to a red sun setting between some mountains, and there are a few dots on and between the mountains. This is important for the end as it is a location.

Finally, we get to Coop 2 or Bob, and the happenings of the Red Room/Grayscale realm. I lump them together because Coop 2 or Bob (we’ll call him Bob going forward. Just remember that he looks like Coop) is still very much a part of that realms’ power even though he’s been living in Coop’s old body for a quarter of a century. Bob, as I said, is a bit of a hillbilly gangster. He’s a motorcycle gang leader but without the motorcycle. He’s been going around running drugs and killing people like hotcakes as he does all sorts of debauchery across the countryside. Because of this general unpleasantness, a few of the people he has been associating with are trying to kill him. One young guy is tasked with this job and takes him way out into the middle of nowhere to shoot him. Only then does he see those Shadow-like men that I mentioned earlier. These men are definitively from the Red Room/Grayscale realm and FLICKER in and out of sight as they work on Bob’s body. And suddenly, he resurrects in front of the young man’s eyes, which spooks him and causes him to hop back into the truck and zip outta there. And then the best episode of the season happens.

Yes, even though I hated this season (this series, movie included) I can’t spit on the genius and brilliance of “Gotta Light?” For one, it solidified my theory on what was going on and it tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the series both about the past, now, and going forward, if they have another season. In “Gotta Light” we first see a nuclear bomb (if it wasn’t a nuke it was a helluva mushroom cloud) rising up in the desert somewhere in the past (40s or 50s). From there, we go to a nearby gas station/diner where we see those shadow men flickering in and out as a smoke rises, and we HEAR a strange scratching sound that mimics the same static sound you get (or used to. I don’t ever get this sound anymore on new TVs. Strange) when you go to a channel that’s filled with the static-snow of no programming. We also see what looks like a skin monster that has skin overtop its eyes, gangly limbs and a strange mouth. It vomits out a smoke and fire cloud that shows us pictures of Bob laughing, worlds being created, flickers of lightning and a bunch of other stuff that has to do with the show. From there, we go back to the grayscale room and see the Tall Man with a few other people. There’s a fat woman and someone else, too. He does some strange thing in front of what looks like a futuristic TV bubble and partly captures the vomit or emits some of it himself. It’s rather bizarre.

Then we zoom forward in time and are in the 50s in what looks to be a small town in or near the same place where the nuclear test blast occurred. Here, we see a young couple walking home, a radio DJ playing music, and an older couple driving down the road. We also see a small egg-like pod land in the middle of the desert—all of this is in black and white by the way—and some kind of Jiminy-Cricket-esque bug crawl out of said pod. This thing is huge and it looks similar to the HUMAN-HEADED LOCUSTS prophesied in the Bible’s book of Revelation.

All of this is important, especially the song that plays “My Prayer” by The Platters, released back in the 50s (the song had been around before but this is the most famous version). The song is important for multiple reasons that feed into what I see the meaning of the story is as well as a later scene in the series, and the fact that this is the only episode, outside of the finale, that doesn’t feature a live-performed song by some eclectic artist at the END of the show.

Got A Light (Let Me In)
Finally, the young couple splits and the girl goes home to lie down and go to sleep with the radio on in the background. The old couple is stopped on the side of the road by a man who looks greasy and dirty like he has just come from an oil field or a coal mine or both, and who has a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He simply asks, “Gotta Light,” causing them to freak out and zoom off, leaving him and his brood to go onto other devilry. These are the shadow men that we’ve seen both working on Bob and walking around in the diner earlier in the episode. The lead one goes to the radio station and kills the woman working there, who looks hypnotized to come toward him, and the DJ. He then repeats a poem or mantra thing about some water and a well and how you are it. He says this over the radio and it becomes hypnotizing to all of the people in town. The bug-man crawls into the mouth of the sleeping girl and the episode ends. I’ll refer back to this episode and how great it was from an allegorical and symbolism perspective later, but let me finish the narrative first.

So, Coop finally gets out of his Red-Room-induced mental dotardation and sits up in a hospital bed fully awake, aware and able to properly communicate. He, just like Coop 3/original Dougie, sees an overlay of the Red Room and the one-armed man who basically asks him if he knows what to do from here and he says yes and how he must hurry. He tells his faux-family that he isn’t the real Dougie and must go on this journey to get back to Twin Peaks because he has to do something amazing. He gets to Twin Peaks and meets up with his old boss and pseudo-partner, along with that beautiful redhead. Yes, some of this is out of order but bear with me. Just a few moments before the real Coop arrives, Bob, who had a brief encounter with the other FBI agents where he told them he had been working undercover for the last 26 years on some drug ring case that NOBODY assigned him to right after leaving Twin Peaks, also arrives into town. He’s there to both get some people who supposedly work for him out of jail and also kill somebody.

At this point, I should also point out that there is/was a woman with no real eyes but a mouth and sewn eyes. She almost looks similar to the same worm-like gangly-limbed creature that we saw vomit out a universe on the “Gotta Light” episode but much more human. This same woman was seen both during Coop’s bizarre escape from the Grayscale Zone earlier in the season. After he had left the Tall Man in that 19th century-esque sitting room, he ends up in a room in which all of his actions and this strange lady’s actions flicker and static-out similar to the Shadow men and that gas station/diner scene from “Gotta Light.” This is important to the overall meaning of the series. She sorta chases him out and onto the top of what some fans had called the purple spaceship. Honestly, it kinda doesn’t matter as, from what I’ve seen so far, this has not a single thing to do with aliens (I can’t remember Lynch ever really dealing with aliens in any of his work, but I haven’t seen everything). The point is that she comes from the same place as the Tall Man and where Coop was trapped.

Red Room and Electric Monster-Tree Thing

Anyway, back to the final episode, real Coop comes into the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s office just as Coop 2/Bob comes in to confront the new sheriff. They, for a brief minute live out that Spider-man meme (you know the one), before there’s some sorta superhero-esque fighting with fireballs and some kid with a strange Hulk hand and a bunch of other silliness that, I swear to God, people would be making so much fun of if they had seen it on a Syfy-channel movie. It was that bad and purposefully so. I rolled my eyes so hard I thought they’d come out of my head, but I digress. Well, Bob is defeated in front of everyone including Coop, the FBI agents, bits of the old cast and the new sheriff. As the Shadow men come out, they try to revive Bob once again as they had when he got shot but discover they can’t this time because he was punched by that boy’s special hulk fist. Seriously, the dude has a hand that he just woke up one day and found it green and covered in some strange material. It’s odd because the moment they introduced this boy, I knew he was going to be the one to defeat Bob. That was only cemented by the fact that Bob had already been shot a few times and hadn’t died.

After Bob is defeated, we get one of the most important clues into the series' meaning yet, and yes it really is that important above almost everything else. As Coop is talking to the rest of the group and to Diane, we see an overlay of his face. This was also strange because I had to fast forward through the scene (and it was rather long) to make sure that that image wasn’t frozen on screen from the previous image. You know how old TVs used to do that when they started to die? You could see an image left on the screen from the previous thing you were watching. The last TV I had was a flatscreen that I only had for four or five years and it did that, then it never turned on again, so excuse me if I got a little panicked. Sigh. I really miss that TV. Anyway, the image stays on as Coop is talking about all the wonder of his trip back to them and what he will do now because he feels he’s almost done on this journey but he needs to make one last stop (a few actually).

He and Diane take off on a road trip together after getting from the sheriff that strange drawing found in Laura’s journal. He thinks he knows what it means. Here is where I will mention that at some point within the last three episodes, we are treated with a glimpse back into the past. What we see is that instead of one of the main characters going out of his log cabin house to go fishing that early morning in 1990 and finding Laura’s body wrapped in plastic, the body disappears and his day goes uninterrupted from what he was going to do. This symbolizes the change in narrative timing but not necessarily in narrative. You’ll have to wait for me to better explain what that means.

Back to Coop and Diane, they are driving on the road until they get to some place way out in the middle of nowhere (it looks like the desert but I didn’t know they had desert up in the northwestern corridor). They stop near some powerlines in an area that both resembles Laura’s picture and is familiar to Coop as he glimpsed it earlier in the season. Coop gets up and does some sorta fire dance/shimmy and then gets back into the car and they continue their drive but it’s suddenly night. They then arrive to a small hotel in what looks like the middle of nowhere, rent a room and probably one of the best scenes ever occurs.

Coop and Diane have a sex scene and—damn! Maybe I am hard up to think that this was one of the best scenes of the season. But let me point out that, for one, the actors behind this—Kyle MacLachan and Laura Dern—actually did date in real life back during the Blue Velvet filming. And while, for some reason, she looked too old for him on this show while Dougie’s wife, played by Naomi Watts looked too young (there’s only about a year or two difference between the women), I found this scene wildly sexy. The great part is that it also meant something as the music that plays is The Platters “My Prayer,” which, remember, was the same music playing during the “Gotta Light” episode. Again, remember this. And also, Laura Dern has probably the best fake orgasm face that I’ve seen on anybody (woman or man) in a very long time. I can’t even remember the last time I thought someone looked so erotic while fake-grinding on another human being. Also, it probably wasn’t her back they showed, but if it was, her back was phenomenal.

Moving on, Coop awakes the next morning alone in bed with a bubble TV across from him and a desk phone that he spins the numbers to dial because Diane is gone. Does it matter that much to him? No, because for some reason Diane is not necessary for the rest of the journey, though he made it out to be like she was up until now. He really just wanted to get dem panties and I can’t blame him after 26 years of being stuck away from some good lovin’, which is probably why that scene went on for so long.

Coop hops into his car and drives over to a nearby diner where he enters and sees this old couple reading the newspaper and a group of cowboys talking nasty to a waitress. He’s acting differently again and seems upset as he beats the crap out of the cowboys then demands to know information about this woman he’s looking for who he knows works there as a waitress. I’m guessing he’s probably upset because he wanted himself a morning delight and Diane was outtie 5000, but that’s just my perception as a man. The diner people write down the info about where she lives and he takes off.

When he gets to her house we realize that it is the same house in which the FBI agents visited earlier in the season and the Deputy Director had some sort of almost religious experience with electricity, and the guy who killed his wife died. Well, Coop knocks on the door and it opens to... Laura Palmer. But not just THE Laura Palmer alive and well but Laura Palmer in her late 40s, early 50s as if she had been living for those 26 years Coop had been in the Grayscale/Red Room realm. Naturally, she says she has no idea what he’s talking about even though she looks like the woman. She has different parents and lived a completely different life and has never even heard of Twin Peaks, so he seems crazy to her. But, with all of that said, she willingly jumps at the chance to go with him. Why? Because her current life sucks and she is ready to get out of there and do whatever he wants. Only when he steps into the house and sees a dead man sitting in a chair with a bullet hole clean through his head does he realize why she’s so eager to leave. And here we finally get some of that great Twin Peaks humor that we wanted literally the entire season. It’s so dark and twisted because they never address this situation and Coop’s face says so much. At first he’s shocked and doesn’t know what to do, but he also knows that he has a job to do and came there for her, then his face just sinks into this look of, “Oh, well, that’s unfortunate for that guy.”

The camera dwells for a long time on a mantlepiece with some kind of horse statuette on it, then they go. For quite a while of actual TV time they are shown sitting in a car driving, not saying much of anything, dwelling in silence. They stop at a gas station that is shown from a distance, then get back on the road until they arrive back in Twin Peaks and roll up to her old house. Though her father died after Bob originally left his body in the first half of season two, Laura’s mother is still alive, though about as crazy as a fish with a 401k. Still, he knocks and a woman answers. And this is actually quite important for the possible future of the show if Lynch and Showtime decide to do something again in a year or two. The woman who answers is not Laura’s mom nor related to her. She says that she’s never heard the name Palmer and asks her off-screen husband, who GOES UNHEARD, about the people who lived there before them and it wasn’t the Palmers. So, Coop and this Laura iteration thank the woman, turn around and walk to the street where Coop can’t figure out what he did wrong this time, but then asks about what date it is. And then Laura shrieks and the show ends. Congratulations, you’ve wasted 18 hours of your life you’ll never get back.

OK, now we’re into the part where I start trying to explain stuff. Let’s start first with the last episode and some of the hints and clues I just dropped in the last few paragraphs. For starters, Coop is correct to ask the question concerning the date. If you’re paying close enough attention to both social and physical setting, as well as tone and general look of film and society as a whole, you can easily tell that the last few scenes—everything from the hotel in which Coop and Diane have sex to the end scene with Coop and Laura at the house—take place in the past. In fact, they take place well before the original Laura is in Twin Peaks. Again, the hotel has a bubble TV that actually looks brand new. It also has a rotary phone on the nightstand. I’ve been in some pretty old hotels in recent years and even they have gotten rid of rotary phones (exceptions: period-themed hotels). The people in the diner are seen reading the analog newspaper rather than reading from a tablet. While this could be excused as older people wanting to keep with tradition in modern times, the very design of the diner, Laura’s house and the hotel all scream old. If I had to place it, I would say that the time period of the final half of the final episode takes place in the 70s. I used to watch a lot of 70s films and if you watch them, you’ll see that they have a similar color scheme. The clothes were loud, but there were a lot of browns and oranges, a lot of faded pastels and yellows and greens unlike what you might see today where there are far more stark colors. On top of all that, every care is taken to show not a single lick of modern technology. The highways are dark, you don’t see hardly any details of other cars, you don’t see any use of smart phones or cell phones for that matter, no computers, and you don’t even hear the radio to see which songs are currently playing. The last song you heard was “My Prayer” which came out 60 years ago.

Now that we’ve established that we are in a different time frame, let’s go back and unwind some of the other stuff. One of the big questions, of many, that people had after the “Gotta Light” episode was about the young couple. (As an aside, I went back to check the spelling of the episode and it definitely is Gotta, as in slang for got to rather than got a. This is actually important too).Some people said that they thought the couple might have been Laura’s parents, some said it was a version of Bob and a young lover he had, and some even said that it was another couple where the same thing had happened to them as it did to Laura, and that the bug crawling into the girls mouth is a similar thing to what happened to Laura. After the analysis of the Platters song, I would pose that the young couple seen walking is actually Coop and Diane, and yes this would be before they were even born. See, I think the reason Coop needed to go with Diane on the last leg of the journey was not because he just wanted to get between them thighs again, though that played a big part, but was because he needed Diane as his other half in order to travel back in time. This two-halves thing speaks to my bigger theory about the series, which maybe I should just say now and get it over with.

OK, you ready Peakers and mildly curious fans out there? The entirety of this series is about... Elemental connection. There. That’s it. I’ll sum this up even better at the end with a notable quotable but just hang on to this for a while, OK? There’s no real deep meaning to it. It’s not overly genius or brilliant like everybody is saying and it actually pisses me off a little, frankly. Now, I know that right now there are thousands of Peakers mad at me and saying that I don’t get it and that it’s so deep, but I do get it and it really isn’t that deep. OK, to some people maybe it is deep and the fact that I have to explain so much of it speaks to its intricacy, but it just doesn’t do it for me once you understand everything. Let me explain, but first, as always, I have to qualify my explanation.

As a writer, do I take care to treat every one of my works as my baby and try to be smart with my projects and put tidbits of interest into each line? Yes. Of course I do. However, one of the things that I always hated about art-critiquing classes is that I find that artists are given far more credit than maybe they deserve. Simply because you love something and see a thousand different deep things in it does not mean that, one the artist intended for you to see that in it, and two that even if the artist did put that in, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a deep meaning. When I release my mystery novel The Man on the Roof (#TMOTR, some people will automatically dismiss it as just another mystery novel, but other fans will take care to see the depth of it all and re-read it and be like, “Wow! There’s even more going on here than I originally thought.” Why? Because I took the care to do that. However, because you know that I took the care to do that, someone is always going to inevitably see something that literally has no meaning to me or that I just put in to troll you and get a good laugh, but that they are going to think is so important to the overall meaning of the work. In other words, you’ll overestimate me and give me even more credit for doing something I hadn’t intended on doing or only touched on in the work. Give artists credit but not too much. I think the best current example of this, outside of Twin Peaks, is Darren Aronofsky’s mother! To me, that movie is a masterpiece once you understand what it is about. For some reason, some critics and fans have blasted it as trying to tackle too many themes in one movie. It literally doesn’t tackle too many things, because it only earnestly tackles two themes at the most. Everything else, all the symbolism, is supposed to be encapsulated in those two themes and not broken down into multiple themes and allegories on their on, but consumed as a whole. Where Aronofsky does it well, in my opinion, Lynch flounders with it in his 18-hour movie.

So, back to the theme of Elemental connection, where do I begin to unfold this? OK, staying with the final episode, you remember the imposed/overlaid image of Coop after the death of Bob? Well, that is to symbolize how the connections are manifested. See, the Red Room and Grayscale realms are just that, other realms of existence. But here is where it gets tricky. I have to reference some of my own work again here, so bear with me. About 12 years ago I wrote a script (it has not been purchased) that I entitled Inverted. While I would love to talk about the politics behind this, I will only say that my script will probably never be bought or made into a film because after I started showing it around Hollywood, quite mysteriously a film entitled Invertigo started being shopped around and it had literally the same logline.

But I digress before I get pissed. Anyway, in one scene of the film the star tries explaining to the newest team member the theories of existence. There is what most people operate under, which is the singular existence theory, which states that we are all that is and there is only one universe. Then there is the alternate or parallel universe theory which states that there are at least two universes but in both some form of us as we are currently constituted either has or will exist, but that our actions are uniquely and wholly different, thus our lives are different. But most people either don’t talk about, or get the third option confused with either the parallel or alternate universe theory, and that is the Layered Universe theory. In other words, we all exist in, essentially, the same universe, but that there are different layers of perception to said universe. Do NOT try to give Lynch or Frost the credit for this idea. It’s not that deep and they didn’t originate it. But, essentially in the movie (and I later took this same idea and applied it to another work called Roy G Biv), the main character snapped his fingers and revealed to the new character that every movement they made while pacing around the room still exists as a shadow in this universe but that we can no longer see them because we do not perceive them. Get the idea?

Here, on Twin Peaks (Damn. That’s... good coffee) we have a layered universe. In the actual town, in both the woods and the cave, you don’t enter into some spaceship or into a parallel universe, nor even a different dimension (though you can call it that if you want to) but into a different layer of this universe. I don’t call it a different dimension because the things that exist there still exist in a three-dimensional form. In fact, this is the only place where they can exist in a three dimensional form because this is where the personification of the elements dwell. For instance, Bob is not just the Fireman but is the personification of fire, or at least one of them.

Now that I’m assuming you understand that, let me try complicating this like the show does. I used the term elemental to simplify things for you but it really isn’t elemental in the way that you think of earth, wind, fire, water, but is more metaphysical elements. For instance, fire is an element, but so is electricity. You see where I’m going with this? So, you have electricity, knowledge, sound, almost anything you can think of that is both a traditional element and/or a new-age metaphysical element or something modern society couldn’t live without, is personified in this layer of the universe. So that strange gangly vomit-monster is the personification of electricity, and, if you didn’t catch it, is the same strange stick-tree monster that appeared in the first two seasons that talked to Coop on, I believe season two’s finale.

Now, here’s where it gets even more trippy: some elements like, for instance, the electricity monster still don’t show their final form in the Grayscale or Red Room-layer of the universe. Remember that when we first see that thing it is, as I just mentioned, a replica of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree with a strange wad of what looks like flesh-gum on the top. Then in “Gotta Light, we see that it does have a legit human body but still looks like wadded flesh. I would contend that there is another layer in which this thing takes a final form that looks most human. Now, I haven’t figured out what each character stands for but I am 60% sure that the woman without eyes is the sound element and I can only guess that the Tall Man is the personification of knowledge because he’s always involved in query and memorization of past history. Oddly enough, this also explains Log Lady and her fascination with the log. If you can except the next layer of my theory, then you can except that the Log Lady isn’t crazy but that her log is, in fact, the wood element that speaks with her on a regular basis, using the log as a conduit between the two layers, which is why it knows certain things that she couldn’t know as a normal person. I don’t know if we have seen the Grayscale/Red Room personification of the wood element, but if we have, then I think it would have to be the one-armed man or Stumpy. Ha! Get it? Get it? Yeah, you get it.

The next layer to this is something that I think most fans had guessed by the end of season 2 and that is that none of these elements can come into our layer of existence and live for very long without inhabiting some physical vessel that is already here. I don’t know if it hurts them or what, but they have to be within something that already has pseudo-existed, like a pre-arranged body. This would explain both Laura’s original script and what happened to Coop, Diane and Dougie. Laura’s Fire Walk with Me is not some kind of poem or strange assembling of words but is a direct invitation to the fire element (Bob) to come and walk or dwell inside of her in similar fashion to how Christians say that Christ lives within them. Remember when the group kept saying in season 2 that Bob wanted Laura, he wanted Laura, there were some assumptions that he wanted to rape and kill her or something like that. But he actually wanted her as a vessel in which he could live, and because Laura was so nihilistic and already messed up, he knew that he could continue to do bad with her body and no one would notice. But Laura only fought back against this when she realized that she would no longer be in control of herself, and may even be killed in the process of Bob entering her. So, Bob gets angry, enters her father, rapes her for a little while, then kills her out of spite. The problem is that her father as a vessel doesn’t agree with him as well as Laura would have and Cooper did. He briefly jumped out of her father after the murder, only to jump back into him and realize that the man’s hair is turning white and his body is breaking down. Daddy Palmer can’t take the heat. So, Bob needs a new vessel.

But note, too, that Bob is most likely not the only personification of fire, but that there are others that all range from good to downright evil. We see black flames shoot out from where a person’s head used to be on numerous occasions when people came to the Red Room. I would also venture to say that the Shadow men, though they seemed to be, for the most part, electricity based, are predominantly followers of Bob. Think of them like fallen angels. Every time his Coop 2 body goes down for the count, they come and use their electricity power to revive him enough for him to use his fire power to purify his body again. They couldn’t do it at the end because the body had been hit with another element’s gift to the boy: the Hulk fist. But, essentially, every living thing is nothing more than a conduit for these elemental personifications to get into our layer of reality.

The “Gotta Light” episode starts with the nuclear bomb which, I believe, was either a wake-up call to this realm or birthed the realm itself by awakening the electricity element. It also could have just opened the doors between layers for once. An easier way to understand that all is to compare the layer-realm to Greek Gods. The electricity being is Zeus who births all other gods beneath him by vomiting them out. But the funniest thing of all of this is that time does not exist in this realm the way that we perceive it. Time is not personified in any of the layers shown to date. And while the Tall Man, Coop and the one-armed man are all shown as having aged while in the Grayscale and Red Room realms, it’s rather clear that the Tall Man and Bob have both been around since the nuclear explosion test.

OK, Dern Looks Really Good Here. She Needs To Hang More With This Makeup Artist

I mention the time factor because it plays big into the end of the season and my Coop-Diane theory about the young couple. I did have another theory that if it’s not them then it is the Tall Man and the eye-stitched woman, but I’ll get to that. Everyone within the layered realm can manipulate events both in and outside of time, but I don’t think can change what happens. That means that while they can move the body of Laura from one era to another or transport Coop and Diane to the 70s, they never stop it from happening, UNLESS, they are able to kill the previously interfering element. You got me? So, say for instance (again, this is just an example and I’m not saying this is what happened) that Fire or Bob had did something in the timeline in the 1950s like sending his Shadow minions to a small town to kill most of the people. Well, because his essence exists outside of time, killing him in any time period would negate everything he’s done. In similar fashion, making one of the elements dwell in a physical form not conducive to them for too long can also destroy them and remove their importance from all layers of existence. This, and I know you’ve been waiting for it, is what is going on in that strange box room on the first two episodes.

Considering that all of the other layers “people” are actually elements personified, what then do you think that box is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s an old cliché line about doing something amazing? OK, so we see two beings end up in that box briefly. One is Coop, who we know gets free rather quickly and ends up in Dougie’s place. But the other one looks to me to be the... electricity element or that weird, gangly flesh-monster thing. Well, if you’re looking at the construction of the box and how it moves, you can easily draw comparison between that and the accordion-like shape of those old-tyme cameras. The box even shift-zooms in and out like a camera auto-adjusting the picture before it captures it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Lynch’s clever way of telling the audience that this next season of Twin Peaks is gonna try to “catch lightning in a bottle” again like the first one and a half seasons did. Now I thought that was truly clever. I will give him credit for that. Also, this seems to be the only time I’ve seen in the show in which the electricity monster breaks free to hurt people similar to what Bob would do. But he only does this, I think, because he knows that if he is captured even in some sort of picture, he would not be allowed to go back into his original layer. This tells us two things: somehow this box actually attracts people from the other layer like flypaper, and also that someone else knows about the other layers and the power held within them. My guess would be that it is Coop’s nemesis. If he can capture one of the elements, then maybe he can use them to open up a path to go into that realm himself and freely muck about.

Finally, there is the suggestion of what element reigns supreme. For each season (That’s good coffee? Daaaammmmnnn!), one element is given the spotlight above and beyond all others. The “Gotta Light” episode is so important because it bridges the gap between the Fire elements and the electricity elements and shows how while the head of electricity is not necessarily bad, some of the people that have his similar power are, and they follow fire. Because what first gave us light? Fire. But what gives it now? Also, the very title, though subtle, suggest that you have to either pick a side, or you require either the fire or electricity element. The fact that you "got to light," when broken down, is more-so a statement rather than a question. Some blogs and critics will miss that episode's spelling and miss out on the meaning.

If you go back through every season, you will see that season one and the first third of season two are very much about the fire element, with a focus on Fire Walk with Me and Bob. You even have the fire at the logging place at the end of season one. Season Two I really couldn’t figure out the element, though I thought it might’ve been knowledge, but I couldn’t figure it out not because my theory doesn’t hold weight, but because I really didn’t care and couldn’t wait to get through season 2 while bingeing it. Season three is definitively about electricity. It is featured in nearly every episode in some form or fashion, whether it be Deputy Director having that orgasmic experience looking at the powerlines, the nuclear bomb emitting an EMP, or the people dying and sending out those wisps of spirit as their electrical charge leaves their bodies. Even when considering Coop and Diane going to the past together, they are the DC to some other couples’ presumed AC, or two opposing sides to a battery, hence why they have to go together. For you Peaker-Tweakers that look at every possible second of the show as a clue, you can even include the Lynch/Frost Productions banner at the end of each episode as showing you that it is all about electricity this time around.

See No Evil But Hear and Speak It All

The interesting thing is that each season, so far, has given you huge clues as to what the next season (if there is another season) would be about elemental-wise. The next season would be about... Any takers? Come on with the answers? Any? No? The next season would be focused heavily on the element of sound. We see this throughout this season beginning with Lynch’s announcement that each episode would feature a live performance from a band (all of these coming at the episode’s end, save for “Gotta Light” which featured Nine Inch Nails near the beginning), the use of various sounds throughout the narrative in a way that rather annoyed me, the strange mewling whine of that girl in the car during that crash scene outside of the diner (again, you guys say that everything means something. I’m just operating off your paradigm), the fact that the woman with no eyes but a mouth was one of the prisoners in Twin Peaks, the fact that a bug that resembled either a locust, grasshopper or HUMAN CRICKET crawled into the girls mouth, the fact that the lead shadow man used a poem over a radio broadcast to hypnotize a full town, the fact that “My Prayer” was referenced twice and we all know that prayers are a COMMUNICATION between man and deity, the fact that the person giving all the answers about the Palmers not living in the house at the end was never seen or heard, and the fact that Laura ends the show in a scream all speak to this idea. If another season came on, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were far fewer, if any, featured bands, most of every episode either had no music and sound at all, or little of it, and there were more tricks played with the audio than there were this time around. And it would also be something done with the Deputy Director’s hearing aid. But it would probably be sound coupled with water, though I don’t know how much with water they’d do. It is also important to note that the horse talked about in the water/well poem and seen in Laura's house on episode 18 are most certainly inconsequential to this season and would play a bigger role in season 4. However, the horse most likely resembles something to do with time which leads me to my next paragraph. 

And finally, “Who is the dreamer?” To jump to the conclusion and work our way backward, there really is no dreamer and this question is both a myth and a huge red herring because the show has almost nothing to do with dreams. OK, I think that most hardcore Peakers know that the show has nothing to do with dreams or have at least dismissed the idea that anything happening in the show, including the entirety of the show, is a dream all itself. For starters, Lynch pseudo-covered that in Mulholland Drive and I doubt he’d try to re-tread the same path. Granted, the original Twin Peaks was before Mulholland, but even then, Blue Velvet also had a dream-like quality to it. The question of, “Is this a dream?” is something that is a hallmark of Lynch’s overall work, therefore to dismiss anything in or about Peaks as a dream would be foolish and asinine. Moreover, the people thinking that this reference was then answered by the “Gotta Light?” ending in which we see the young girl sleeping as the cricket/locust-man thing crawls into her mouth is also not the meaning behind the show. For starters, Lynch knows that dreams, when considered in the light of day, often tend to make a lot more sense than they are given credit for by the entertainment industry. This notion that dreams have no discernible logic or that they would be so insanely philosophical as to not be understood even by the dreamer is ridiculous. But on top of that, you must give more credit to Lynch and Frost than to have this entire thing be nothing more than a dream, especially since that is almost always the first sensible answer that most people can come up with to explain the bizarreness of it all.

What makes more sense concerning the very question of the dream and its relation to the show is that there are actually no dreams per se but that these things that the characters perceive as dreams are both communicative from the layered reality and/or snippets of things that had already happened or would happen in one of the layers of the reality. This goes back to the Blue Rose program and helps to explain the many different Coopers, as well as my own script that I had written.

So, remember when I said that in my script for Inverted I wrote that the main character snaps his fingers and every form of him and the second character appears in front of them in various states of motion? Well, this is essentially the same thing: applying both alternative reality and layered reality to each other. For example, you woke up today and you stepped out of bed on the right side and you walked ten paces to the bathroom. Well, say that I was secretly recording you and that I saw each of those steps. If I freeze the recording at your seventh step and never allow for the video to go farther, if I could jump into the video you would always exist in a state of that seventh step. Now imagine that I had two VCRs and two TVs playing the same thing. I freeze you again this time at the seventh step in one video but I allow you to take your eighth step in the other video. Then I jump into both videos, move you one pace to the right in the seventh-step, and one pace to the left in the eight step. Then I jump out of the video and let both videos play as a reality. In neither case would you know that I had been there, and in neither case would you have felt that you made a different choice, yet in both cases you would have to take an extra step that would misalign you from the original ten.

Still too confusing? OK, I did a bad job of explaining how that is different than an alternate reality. Think of what I just said but in cake form. You bake a standard, two-tier yellow cake. In fact, you back two. You put the same ingredients in both and fill it with chocolate chips, but in one cake you put chocolate chips on one side of the batter, and white chocolate on the other side, and the chips never meld or cross. You do this for both layers of that cake. Now sit the cakes side by side and one cake you cover in chocolate frosting while you cover the other in cream cheese frosting. The fact that the two cakes are the same, save for the frosting is the example of an alternate reality. It is a full decision made by you that changed the entirety of reality. The one with two different chips in it on the same layer of cake is the layered reality. Both chips are chocolate and exist on the same layer of cake, but are slightly different and never meet. Better?

Back to the dream thing. When Deputy Director has his dream about what happened in the Fire Walk with Me movie, he listens to how Coop had a dream that something would happen, then David Bowie comes in and asks if he knows who this man (referring to Coop) is. First, Coop proves the layered reality theory again by seeing the man walking down the hall only on video but not in real life. The guy is only seen when he wants to be, then immediately gets sick and disappears. To me, this reads as Bowie knowing that Coop has already been into the layered reality (again, remember that the elemental beings perceive time differently so Bowie’s most likely from what we would call the future but is irrelevant to those in the altered reality).

It is because Coop has been into this altered reality that a doppelganger can be created of him. When he enters into this layer, though he may still feel the same and though we may see him as the same, his body is not the same as it was when he was physically stationed in our reality. Think of it as sci-fi’s idea of the human-computer singularity—that at some point in the future we will be able to live forever by uploading our conscious mind to a computer program. The problem with that is that if you upload your essence to any type of hardware, whatever software that is already there will have the ability to tinker with the thing that is supposedly uniquely you. In this case, Coop stepped into the layered reality and gave them the physical, spiritual, and elemental formulation that made him him. Bob immediately took it, created his own clone of it and got out of the realm with a real body as quick as possible. The one-armed man, who we’re assuming is somewhat benevolent, and the Tall Man panicked and realized that with Bob no longer restricted in our (normal world) layer, they had to do something, so they created a Coop doppelganger too, based off of not only Coop but the colonel and sent it into the world.

Why not just send back Coop? Because, like in the singularity, Coop has to fully download onto the new system first. See, Bob is like a program that attacks a new program before that program can ask you your preferences on how you want it to run and operate with the rest of your system. Think of it like uninstalling, then reinstalling Google Chrome. When Chrome is already on your system or was on there previously and already has old files stored on the system, it’s easier for it to download the next time. This is why they had Dougie as a placeholder for Coop back in reality, because once Coop fully got all of his faculties back in the layered reality, they would upload him to the same “computer space” occupied by Dougie/Coop 3 and it wouldn’t take 26 years for his brain to catch up to what it should be doing. To sum the dream and doppelganger thing up, you exist in all states, forms and realities at the same time but because your brain can only process so many electrical impulses at once, other realities are perceived as a dream. Make sense? Even if you’re still confused, I’m moving on because this is way too long (though not bad for a full series and a movie).

So, then, some of you Peakers are already making notes to go and re-watch the entire series and see if I’m right about any of this. Some of this info has already been posed in other blogs and such, I’m sure. Others of you are completely dismissing this as nothing but rambling and saying that I missed the entire point of the series even if I am right. So, what then, if the series is all about elemental connections, is the meaning behind the series? Simple: that we are all positive and negative energies within the world and that these, uh... “twin peaks” or dual spirits, when off balance push us to be used both by the environment around us and ourselves, or, to put it in more cliched terms, we are products of both our environments and our perception/consumption of said environments. This is made even more evident with almost all of the Twin Peaks’ city scenes this season where just about everyone is a product of their previous environment or their own perception. Deputy Andy and Lucy going back and forth with the chair, the psychiatrist’s golden crap shovels, Shelly and Bobby’s child being cheated on (similar to how they cheated behind Shelly’s husband’s back), Audrey’s torment by the little man she married, James still being not worth or about much, Big Ed and Norma finally getting together after having been together in season two and even Andy and Lucy’s son were all perception or environment-based metaphors. You can figure them out yourself with that big clue I left about Shelly and Bobby’s daughter.

If you go back and watch all things Twin Peaks (ignoring the books and interviews which are truly there only to throw you off) you might agree with some of what I said. But even still haven’t spent so much time explaining it, I didn’t find it to be groundbreaking, genius or even worth my time in many instances. Again, I am not trying to besmirch the reputation of Lynch or any of his fans and certainly don’t begrudge you for liking it if you do, but to me, as a TV show, it was terrible. There was way too much dead space, far too many stares at nothing, too many slow-zooms or pull-ins, almost nothing explained to the layperson and some pretty good actors doing some pretty dumb stuff. I can’t believe I’m saying this because I often am adamantly against any and all studio or network/boardroom involvement with making a film or TV show, but I would be a fool to think that the first season, which was so good and unique, was solely on the shoulders of Lynch. Having seen the rest of the series, I am convinced that the first season had a ton of studio meddling. The stark change in tones from the first season to this revival season is so jarring that I wouldn’t be surprised if a few diehard fans absolutely hated it. It went from actual studio-brand storytelling with an artistic indie-auteur flair to film-school drab where you could just hear the filmmaker shouting in every filmed scene, “Look at me! Look at me! Look at how cool I am, and how thought-provoking this is and how poetic it all is. This film is gonna change how you see film.” Eh! I found it boring, plodding and quite often stupid. And I got it.

Now, if I’m totally wrong on absolutely everything (Damn, that’s good coffee!), then I’ll recant the last statement, but that still probably wouldn’t heal the wound of stupidity that this has left on me. Then I’d just be an ignorant hater. Sure, I’d be willing to dim my disdain a little but the fact that I would be wrong on everything speaks to a broader issue that we have in entertainment right now and that is that we have perverted the meaning of art.

Art is NOT supposed to be challenging for the sake of being challenging. That’s what a crossword puzzle does and is. In other words, it’s not supposed to test you and make you struggle to figure it out. Art is SUPPOSED to challenge your views on the world and test how you tackle this inescapable problem of living. This is the difference between something being challenging and something that challenges. Because once you have life you can never not have had life. You can die, but that doesn’t mean you never lived, even if just for a few minutes in this world.

I will commend Lynch and Frost for starting a few careers and also for keeping some good actors working, and also for their amazing ability to convince serious actors to take his material seriously when it makes almost no sense even to them (McLachlan said that he didn’t even know what happened in that last scene in season 3). I will even give credit to Twin Peaks ability to, like so many other guilty obsessions, create a fanatic community of consumers who, I’m sure formed bonds and friendships that may last them for a lifetime but that wouldn’t have existed without the super-weirdness of the show. But I can’t, in good conscience, say that this was worth a single damn. And the thing I hate the most is that not only is this show being lauded by people at Rolling Stone and Variety and other reputable publications, but due to it having so few people who have either seen it and/or taken the time to rate it on community-based websites, it has a super-high rating everywhere you look. This concerns me for future generations who are going to see the super-high rating for a CANCELED show, then see the super-high rating for the film, then the super-high rating for this revival season and actually bother to waste their time watching this. Then have nerve to try to copy this, and we’ll get even more crap. Think about that for a minute. All the films that you see today, most are written/directed by Gen-Xers who grew up with shows like this apparently as their inspiration. While we have some who are putting out really good stuff like Christopher Nolan and the guys behind Game of Thrones, think of how many movies were highly rated this summer, yet Hollywood saw a ten-year low at the box office. And finally, think about all the films/TV shows that you’ve seen whether it be in a year or in the last decade that you thought were garbage, and how many critics and fans loved those films. Yeah, that is the inspiration for the next generation’s great art pieces. Sigh.

What do you think? Was I too hard on Twin Peaks? Honestly, I think this is the hardest I’ve ever gone on anything on this blog. Sure, I didn’t like Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad or Wonder Woman, but I did say that they had a lot of good in them. Here? Eh! What do you think about my explanation? You don’t have to go into all the detail I did, but pick and choose your battles wisely. What did you think about the ending of season 3? Do you agree with me that they are in a different time predating when Laura would have been in Twin Peaks (oh, and yes, Laura also has a few doppelgangers as does Diane because they’ve both been to the layered reality)? Or do you have another theory? Did you see the film? Which tone do you like more, the film and season 3, or the first two seasons’ tone? And finally, if they can get the go-ahead at Showtime, do you think there should be another season? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 4 coming summer 2018. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary on Amazon. Season 2 of that coming real soon. And look for the mystery novels The Knowledge of Fear #KnowFear and The Man on the Roof #TMOTR coming this fall/winter. Twisty novels as good as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you won’t want to miss them. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “Yeah, let me get a piece of cherry pie and, uh... Hmm? What kinda coffee do you have?”
‘Right now a lotta people are getting the venti pumpkin-spiced mocha latte.’
“Uh... What the hell is this shi—!”

P.S. Are you seriously trying to tell me that you’re mad at me because you’re not properly drunk and/or caffeinated enough because I didn’t include the catchphrase, “Damn, that’s good coffee,” enough in my review of this series and movie? Seriously? Don’t be mad at me, the show didn’t say it very much either this season. And another thing, did we ever see Cooper eating that gum that he liked? We may have, I just can’t remember. Hell, I couldn't even be bothered to properly spell and grammar check my last three articles on this summer's entertainment. What kinda writer am I? Anyway, I’ll try to come up with a better sign-off next time.

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