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Saturday, 17 of April of 2021

DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Lonely Souls”

Twin Peaks title cardY’all, this is a disturbing show.

Twin Peaks has never shied away from showing strange or distressing things, but this offering may top the list. It may be the remnants of my dreams last night or the steady click click click that echoes through this episode, but I found it extremely uncomfortable to watch.

The truth is that there is only one scene – cut into pieces – that can be directly labeled as graphic, but there is a sense of foreboding, of wrongness that pervades the entire episode. By the time we get to the scene, we as an audience are primed to let ourselves get carried away with any hint of skin-crawling storymaking. That what we are given is legitimately upsetting only adds to the emotion.

“Lonely Souls” – like all of Twin Peaks – makes wise choices with camera angles and the framing of shots to build the sense of unease as we progress through the episode. We start with the image of poor Harold Smith hanging in his nursery, orchids smashed around his dangling feet and pages littering his living room floor. Hawk finds among those pages Laura’s secret diary, which is finally getting its day.

We visit the Palmer’s, where Maddy tells her aunt and uncle that she’ll be leaving. The camera is careful to show us the room as it is, so when we visit it again later, we’ll automatically know something is off-kilter simply by how it looks.

A more interesting (and refreshingly straightforward and honest) conversation occurs between Audrey and Ben, as Audrey confronts him about everything to do with Jack’s and Laura. Under Audrey’s insistent questioning, Ben admits to having slept with Laura, but answers her “Did you kill her?” with a very disgusting “I loved her.” Oh, BH. You wouldn’t know love if it slapped you silly and called you Uncle Sam. Based on Audrey’s confession of all this to Cooper – and Cooper’s memory of their Bad Guy Detector, Gerard, going horizontal at Ben Horne’s entrance into the room – Cooper extrapolates that Ben Horne is their Bob. The posse head to the Great Northern and haul Ben away (with a bit of a fight), right under the nose of his deal with Mr. Tojamura.

(WHO IS CATHERINE, I SO TOTALLY KNEW IT. All this makes me think is that she and Josie are in this together, because I highly doubt that even Catherine could set up contacts in Osaka so damn quickly.)

I have discovered that, much like I do with many of my favorite characters, I tend to let out a delighted “LOG LADY!” every time Margaret graces the screen. Log Lady shows up here to warn Cooper – in one of the most straightforward bits of dialogue LL has ever been given – that there are “owls in the Roadhouse.” There’s also the elderly guy from the Great Northern, Donna and James, Bobby and his BFF, and Cooper’s giant. The giant warns Coop that “it” is happening again, but instead of jumping to action to try to find out what and where this is is going down, Cooper just staresĀ  at the giant-less stage as if stunned. Tsk tsk, Coop.

Meanwhile, a Bob-possessed Leland dopes his wife and proceeds to beat up Maddy, all while moaning about his dead daughter. Because he’s the murderer (called that, too).

This scene is split up, with the first part being Mrs. Palmer dragging herself down the stairs and collapsing in the living room to the sound of the record player click click clicking. I found this part to be interesting and unnerving, just like the set-up for a good reveal should be. But the second part – Maddy coming downstairs to find Mrs. Palmer, Maddy seeing her uncle for who and what he really is, Maddy trying to get away, Maddy not getting away – was downright upsetting.

Perhaps I might have been able to handle this better at another time (I’ve been a bit emotionally raw lately), but the fact is that I watched it now and I found it difficult not to look away. The clear, direct shots of Leland chasing, catching, toying with, hitting, and dancing with Maddy are bad enough. Adding to the unease and discomfort are the slowed down, oddly angled, haloed shots that flip between Leland and Bob, particularly the close-up ones. They make you feel like you’re part of the scene, like you’re Maddy – or Leland/Bob. You feel like you’re too close to the horror, but no matter how much you pull away, the camera doesn’t. It’s an effective method, but it’s very hard on the audience.

Now that the truth has been revealed to the viewers, it’s of interest to me how and why Leland/Bob will be found out. Because the will be found out. Eventually.

 

Notes:

  • Random young people everywhere in Twin Peaks wearing military dress uniform: adorbs.
  • There was a cassette in Leo’s boot. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to remember anything about this.
  • Y’all, there’s something not right about Norma. Look into her eyes.
  • Gordon’s leaving makes me sad. Bye, Gordon! (I so want to call him Gordon Gordon.)
  • Catherine? … You look terrible.” Oh, Pete.
  • Nadine and Ed. <3
  • I would watch the hell out of a Hawk and Andy buddy-cop show.
  • “Everybody’s hurt inside.” Wherein James gets to voice the entire show’s theme.

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