All that is composed will decay...

Love and fear open the doors

Jun 25, 2013

Twin Peaks review, part 3

The most striking thing about the Twin Peaks series, let alone its hypnotic tranquility, never-ending suspense and existential revelations — as if anticipating David's Catching the Big Fish in their thrust — is that the action revolves around some remarkable symbols, sometimes so vague that they just elude you at first sight. It's quite interesting to contemplate on their alleged meaning, even though their choice was often utterly intuitive as David Lynch admitted himself.

David Lynch with Mark FrostMark Frost, the co-creator and screenwriter of Twin Peaks:

I can't really think of any ideas that David and I considered too «out there» to be included. Most of them ended up in the show. David would call up in the middle of shooting – he'd be off doing a movie or something – and say, «Mark, I think there's a giant in Agent Cooper's room.» And I'd go, «OK…» We'd explore it – and it would work. Perhaps there was one idea that threw me for a loop. During the second season we knew that Joan Chen's character was going to die. David, as he was wont to do, called me up and said: «I think she gets stuck in a door handle…» So we tried to make that work. It didn't make any sense to me, it still doesn't.

For instance, when filming the closeup of the scene with the circle of 12 candles from Coop's dream, David Lynch felt like something was missing and ended up carefully pulling the prop severed ear (wrapped in plastic) from Blue Velvet out of his pocket and submerging it into the pile of dirt inside the circle. With no explanation as to it's meaning or significance.

Fire walk with me

6bdf6d7905.jpgThrough the darkness of futures past.
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds.
Fire Walk With Me

It is interesting to mention that the phrase from the chant Fire walk with me once spoken serves as an invitation for a BL spirit into this world. This is why Mike has cut his arm with the tattoo and this is why Bob left the scratch of paper with these words. Fire in the series comes hand in hand with death and insanity. With every other character indulging their lust or fear, it looks like the fireplace in almost every house in Twin Peaks symbolically opens the door to evil spirits…

Owls are not what they seem

Owls are used by spirits as masks to watch over others and to move around. Used by BL spirits, they seek and harness fear: «Of course! These night creatures that hover on the edge of our nightmares are drawn to us when we radiate fear, their bread and butter!». Sometimes, when used by WL spirits they can become big enough to cloud the mind and memory of abductees (see «Communion» by Whitley Strieber for reference), like Major Briggs, who is a kind of exceptional people pure at heart, just like Windom Earle, only with an opposite charge, who was also attracted and used by WL spirits for entering the Black Lodge.

It's quite interesting to come across owls in most unexpected places, where they are often missed, your attention being absorbed by the development of the plot.

But most often spirits use electricity as a way of travel, hence the flashing lights, which appear whenever lodge spirits are involved:

Love's Philosophy

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves kiss one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;-
What are all the kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle
— Why not I with thine?

(The full version of the poem by Percy Shelly, 1820, sent by Windom Earl to the three queens)

Not only the red colour is indicative of a certain atmosphere. Various stuffed animals appear repeatedly alongside certain character. However, they rarely convey some trait of character based on the qualities associated with the animal.

They seem to hint at certain facts or events, just like the dear's head indicates a murder, while the white fur of the animal points at the murderer appearing next to it in the scene. Strangely enough, Ed and Pete both appear next to a bear. They indeed share a similar fate, they both «know how to pick them» — women, who are patronizing and torturing them.

By the way, there is also not only stuffed, but also a real ferret in the show playing the part of the pine weasel (Mustela Pinus)… ^_^

Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song… and there's always music in the air

Birds other than owls appear to be of a more positive nature, a woodpecker and a crow are observed by Coop and Sheriff, while Waldo the myna bird helps in the investigation. However, semiotics comes into play already at the opening scene of the series — when we see the Bewick's Wren on a branch. He looks very much like the Robin in Blue Velvet's (another David Lynch's movie) closing shot. This apparent intertextuality has an interesting pagan background, which I dwell upon in another post.