"Has anyone seen Billy?"
In a feat of near-impossible grace after so many years of anticipation, Part 7 of Lynch's singular voyage back to our favorite northwestern town is the kind of achievement that will reward for years to come. Friends have remarked that this above every segment thus far, is a Mark Frost special. And while this at first glance seems about right; so many mythological threads at last beginning to gather central steam, and greater emphasis on world building, there is an equal power at play through Lynch's passionate eyes. He seems to be relishing at last beginning to use the gravity of all we've absorbed up until now, delivering what is for me the most satisfying hour to date. And yet, I am struggling with exactly how the hell they've both pulled it off with such deceptive ease.
From Deputy Hawk's discovery of three of the four long lost pages from Laura Palmer's diary(a moment I've been awaiting since 1992), detailing the fate of our favorite special agent, to the incredible face-off with Ike The Spike, to the long awaited revelation on the face of Diane upon meeting "Cooper" in a South Dakota cell, to the eventual conclusion of that prison arc, therein lies a strangely intimate feeling between all events that is only capable through careful concentration on emotional elements, rather than intellectual ones. We are, after all, digesting yet another one of Lynch's waking dreams. A place where truths come from often illogical places, yet feelings are justifiably amplified. Almost beckoning the viewer to easily accept it. It's the kind of magic trick that only film can deliver, and Lynch remains a master of misdirection. Letting us marinate in a mood, rather than explaining away the cause of our distress. This includes the morgue encounter with what's supposed to be the long dead body of Major Garland Briggs-sans head, made all the more upsetting by the presence of a soot-darkened stranger in the background we've yet to fully comprehend. And, the terrible reminder that the Renault family bloodline remains morally broken to the bitter end.
I've made remark before that this new Peaks, seems to be a straight razor reflection to the America we seem to be occupying today. Almost like the crew of Twin Peaks, couldn't help but ingest what exactly has been haunting the heart of everyday people on the small patches of civilization across the nation. Sometimes, even suggesting that perhaps Evil Cooper, is at the heart of every displaced worker of a now defunct energy industry, every debt ridden ball of angst, ready for a swipe against a world that seems to have slighted them. Every person feeling left behind after spending their whole lives chasing a vision of their country that was never more than illusory. Through the show's establishment of character and predicament, there's this sense that there are those looking to either pass the buck of responsibility, only to be pushed back by citizens eager to uphold their end, or others ready to blacken the eyes of this betrayed bargain. It's a travelogue of 2016, before darkness fully took hold, perhaps existing as artifact warning arrived too late to stop an apocalyptic alien infestation.
But for me, the biggest, most powerful weapon in seven's arsenal was the numerous levels brilliant casting of Laura Dern in the role of Diane, as a woman understandably hurt by time. Without explicit details, we are made very clear that the FBI (more specifically Gordon and Albert) remain prime on her shit list. There is little love throughout their initial meeting, but it is nothing compared to her realization that the source of all twenty five years of pain, might be something completely otherworldly. Her crumbling to Gordon after the meeting, was especially powerful as it elicits Lynch fans' familiarity with his entire filmography. This is a truly meta fiction moment, where Sandy at last comes to discover that Jeffrey, may have at last succumbed to the darkness. It's a moment that exploits our love for her presence in these works, yet it all works. It's a family distressed at the possibility that one of their own may be truly lost. And the way the entire scene is captured is in the very best tradition of his works. Painterly, overt, and hopelessly raw. Reaffirming us that Peaks, belongs right up there with 1986's Blue Velvet as another dream in the same mind.
Sure, we can certainly highlight Dougie Coop's encounter with his would be assassin. And we should. But to even best explain why that moment is so well earned, we need remember how many were at first off put by the arc. Playing with our collective patience. Leaving us to wonder if we would ever get the old Dale Cooper back. This moment, more than any other is a promise that he will indeed be back. Albeit, through one barnburner of an arc that seems truly deliberate at this point. Both MacLachlan and Watts, continue to shine here, only making me increasingly sad that he may have to leave her and child soon.
And what of Beverly's odd sound at the Great Northern with Ben, and the recovery of the key Jade sent their way from Vegas? Old habits truly die hard as we also may be getting acquainted with our own generation's Catherine Martell. But who is Tom, really? Sure, we could speculate. But again, since this is a feature film of rare length, these just the type of bread crumbs that are best examined once they play out a little longer. Sure, the end wound up being a playful bit of padding in between segments, but even they had a bit of atmospheric fun to them that didn't diminish the effects of the almost overwhelming first half. Something tells me, this episode will be getting the most replay from me for a while. But as the credits roll, it's pretty clear, something truly terrible is on the way. It's time to lean in closer, with headphones perhaps.
Things are about to take a huge turn.
Rest In Peace, Warren Frost. ("Thanks, Doc.")