Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Rewatching Parts 5-8 of Twin Peaks season 3: a conversation w/ Lindsay Stamhuis on 25 Years Later

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rewatching Parts 5-8 of Twin Peaks season 3: a conversation w/ Lindsay Stamhuis on 25 Years Later


In anticipation of my 10th anniversary tomorrow, I originally intended to publish my full archive page today. It's an illustrated chronological catalog of everything I've posted on the site, organized into thirty chapters. Unfortunately it isn't ready yet and is also a bit much to take in at a single glance. Instead, starting on Tuesday, I will share each chapter as an individual post in addition to eventually publishing the full page.

For now I wanted to share some work that was recently published elsewhere but couldn't be featured on this site until now because of all the viewing diaries. This is my 1380th post and as such it concludes the #10YearsOfLostInTheMovies archive tweet series begun on February 28. Thanks for following!

This summer is the first anniversary of Twin Peaks' third season (or The Return, or the limited series, call it what you will). For many fans, this was our first time watching Twin Peaks week to week, and it was certainly our first time sharing that experience collectively. As such, there's a hunger to mark the occasion and a number of individuals and outlets have been conducting rewatches (including, of course, myself). At 25 Years Later, Lindsay Stamhuis has been conducting conversations on different sections of the show as those particular anniversaries roll around. John Thorne joined her to discuss Parts 1-4 and a few weeks ago I was invited to talk about the next four episodes. In comparison to the series' bold opening and close, Parts 5-7 can seem pretty laid back. (Part 8, of course, is another story).

However, I'm really fascinated by Parts 5-7, which each have their own distinct flavor. Because the first four were released all at once, it wasn't until Part 5 that we really got a flavor of the series as an ongoing week-to-week show, a concept that episode was particularly well-suited to deliver with its multitude of storylines and its re-emphasis on the town of Twin Peaks. These three episodes also introduce or develop a number of fascinating characters and storylines which Lindsay and I were eager to discuss. That said, the obvious "big one" here - indeed, the most notorious and astonishing episode of the whole season (some would argue even the whole series) - is Part 8. A good chunk of our conversation dwells on the questions raised by that unforgettable hour of television, and I think both of us found ourselves surprised by some of the conclusions - and new questions - we began to develop in the midst of this very exchange.

The full conversation is exclusive to 25 Years Later for now, but I'll share an opening sample here alongside the link. You can also check out my conversation with Lindsay from nine months ago, when the end of the series was still fresh in our minds. And make sure to visit her great podcast Bickering Peaks, in which she and husband/co-host Aidan are currently exploring the entire Lynch/Frost catalog, alternating between the Peaks auteurs' works in chronological order and including even some of their most obscure efforts. As a fan not only of Lynch and Frost but of chronological cataloging in general (as today's preamble demonstrated), I applaud their efforts!

Onto Parts 5-8. Here's how we begin...

LS: First off, something easy and general: Do you feel that rewatching the series with some distance from the original airing enhances your understanding or does it have some other effect on you?
JB: I don’t know if it enhances my understanding but it does provide a fresh context. I’m able to see it more as a cohesive if enigmatic whole.
LS: What was your gut impression when you saw the black box in Argentina? Do you have different feelings about it now?
JB: I think I assumed it was some new form of Jeffries, given David Bowie’s death, plus how David Lynch had turned Michael J. Anderson (the Little Man From Another Place) into a talking tree. Later, of course, we see him as the infamous “tea kettle” so maybe this box is something else after all, like a communication device. If anything, I’m even less sure what’s going on in Argentina than I was while watching. I suppose it’s possible the box doesn’t actually house or facilitate contact with Jeffries at all. We know Mr. C was in South America too, so maybe it’s something for his use. Given its visual links to other communication devices (we see the box right after Lorraine types on her blackberry and Mr. C does the trick with the telephone), perhaps this has something to do with getting in touch with Mr. C while he’s in lock-up, without anyone being able to trace the call? He could have set the device up long ago, in case of an emergency like this. In that sense, maybe the box is Lynch’s outlandish, highly visual version of an answering machine – Lorraine leaves a message, and Mr. C picks it up and then “deletes” the message (maybe “the cow jumps over the moon” triggers erasure) – hence the crumpling up.
LS: I like this idea a lot, that it was simply a highly stylized answering machine. Feels very “Lynch” in a way. There was so much talk about transfiguration and alchemy, with Argentina being highly suggestive of argent/silver, and the black device shrinking down to an apparently silver ball. If Lynch is drawn to gold as a metaphorical colour/substance, what do you think silver represents?
JB: I’m trying to think if there are other examples of silver in Twin Peaks, either verbally or visually. I do think Lynch is interested in different metal textures, for example that very tactile old bank vault in the Season 2 finale.
LS: Yes! Great observation. Now, the line: “You’re still with me. That’s good.” The whole idea that Cooper split into two halves has been explored in depth in the past, but there was always the other debate (going back to Leland vs BOB) about how involved BOB was in all of this. Seeing him emerge in the mirror in Part 5 seems to lend credence to the idea that BOB was possessing Cooper to some extent, which might invalidate the split theory. How do you view that whole situation?

See you tomorrow for a special Patreon podcast episode on the ten years of Lost in the Movies.

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