Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Coming up in Journey Through Twin Peaks...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Coming up in Journey Through Twin Peaks...


It's the final Monday of November and, once again, I'm still working on this month's entry in Journey Through Twin Peaks, my 4-part video series covering the series and film in chronological order. Part 3, "The Whole Damned Town," is my most ambitious video yet, covering the most episodes (from the extremely weak post-Laura episodes to the stunning Lynch-directed finale) while also devoting half its chapters to important asides: the cast of characters, the atmosphere of Twin Peaks (show and town), Cooper's character arc, and the series mythology. Among other elements, Part 3 explores the good and bad points of season two, spin-off books like My Life, My Tapes (the Cooper "autobiography") and the Access Guide, the influence of Theosophy, and divergences in Lynch's and Frost's interpretation of Agent Cooper. There will be eight chapters in this entry; in lieu of the eventual upload here is a sneak preview of what's on the way (descriptions include spoilers, as will the videos obviously)...


Chapter 12 - The Ensemble
Now that the murder mystery is over, we take a moment to explore the nooks and crannies of the town, what's been going on with each character and storyline. Will these subplots carry the show forward now that its central plot hook has ended?


Chapter 13 - Episodes 17-23
Cooper stops wearing suits while Audrey and Bobby start wearing them. Andy has thought bubbles and Super Nadine throws jocks twenty feet in the air. Has Twin Peaks jumped the shark? We dive into the show's stormiest seas, taking a clear-eyed view of the flaws and occasional bright spots; most importantly, we analyze why these elements don't work.


Chapter 14 - The Spirit of Twin Peaks
At the show's lowest ebb, let's take a step back to remind ourselves of the show's value: the mood, the style, the whole "atmosphere" (even taking a 2014 side trip to sink into the absorbing "Atmospherics" blu-ray feature). After episode 23, the show went on hiatus and fans rallied to its defense, so this is an appropriate juncture to replenish our resources. We also leaf through the humorous and informative Access Guide, suggesting the show's renewed dedication to its entire community.


Chapter 15 - The Life of Agent Cooper
Who is Dale B. Cooper? Arriving in Twin Peaks with a specific purpose, the FBI agent seems to be the perfect man for the job - maybe just the perfect man, period. But as the show progresses, particularly once the investigation has ended, we learn more about Cooper's human side. The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes takes us far from Twin Peaks...to the gritty streets of Pittsburgh in the late seventies. There Cooper experiences tragedy and failure that will haunt him for years. Were Mark Frost and David Lynch on the same page with Agent Cooper? Or was the character becoming divided between those two visions?


Chapter 16 - Episodes 24-27
It's springtime in Twin Peaks - love is in the air, mystery and suspense have returned, the mythology is thickening, and the various characters and stories are intertwining once again. There are weak patches still, but the show heads towards its climax with renewed confidence. Meanwhile, the characters' brief interlude of happiness appears to be short. Trouble is brewing on the horizon...


Chapter 17 - The Mythology
The show's mythology has two sources: Mark Frost's esoteric fascination with the occult, and imagery culled from David Lynch's subconscious (mostly featured in the alternate ending of the pilot). In the second half of the series, Frost begins to tie the various threads together with a spiritual ethos largely borrowed from Theosophy. Here, in addition to the the alternate ending of the "European" pilot, we will examine the sources and concepts behind the Lodges, the dugpas, and especially the Dweller on the Threshold.


Chapter 18 - The Two-Part Finale
Episodes 28 and 29 were conceived and shot as separate units, with different writers and directors. That's also how most people watch them today. But when they aired, they were combined into a single two-hour TV movie. And we will explore the episodes back-to-back for a helpful look at where season two had gone wrong, and how radically different David Lynch's approach feels.


Chapter 19 - The Black Lodge
In the unforgettable conclusion of the TV series - arguably its finest moment - David Lynch finally takes us inside the Lodge, going off-script yet delivering on Mark Frost's vision of Agent Cooper and the series mythology. Why has Cooper failed? Why does he meet Laura and Leland? When and how does he encounter the Dweller on the Threshold?

Meanwhile you can watch Part 1 (Harmony of the Dark Woods) & Part 2 (The Center Cannot Hold) of the series. See you in (less than) a week.

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