Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E7 "Lonely Souls"

Monday, September 10, 2018

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E7 "Lonely Souls"


These short Twin Peaks episode responses are spoiler-free for upcoming episodes, presented here for first-time viewers who want to read a veteran viewer's perspective on each entry while remaining in the dark about what's to come. They were first published as comments on a Reddit rewatch in 2016.

Whenever David Lynch comes back, and this is increasingly true throughout the series, it's both surreal and hyper-real. Obviously he comes up with weird gambits that nobody else would think of, like the sailors bouncing balls through the Great Northern lobby or that eerie long pan across the Palmer living room while Louis Armstrong croons. But he also grounds the proceedings in a kind of tangible physicality, one which manages to both highlight the artificiality and, in making the viewer aware that they are watching something that has been created, unearth the reality of the moment in which this was created. Not sure if my point is clear but let me explain it this way: when he holds a shot for several minutes, when he backs the camera up so we can see the whole set, when he allows silent expressions to communicate what words can't, he is fashioning both an exaggerated fiction and a documentary of this particular moment that it was shot. This may be what all great cinema does: straddles the poles of Lumiere and Melies simultaneously.

These different levels of reality come across most starkly, in a slightly different way, when Leland/Bob attacks Maddy. The Bob footage is primal, stylized, exaggerated with its harsh lighting and slow motion, a reflection of the inner state of the moment. The Leland footage seems more "natural" (in fact just as manipulated in terms of lighting and framing, but in a fashion consistent with how images are usually presented to the camera to duplicate reality). The horror is no less acute, in some ways more horrific, when it is captured so casually. There is no outlet, no reprieve as Leland brutally beats his niece - just a cold documentation of each violent blow; the only "relief" comes when we cut to the psychologically removed monster figure of Bob and the dreamy, consciously artistic fashion he is presented - and this is terrifying in its own nightmarish way. Which is worse? Which is more comforting? Which feels less sickening? Either one? Or do they simply reflect equal horror in different registers?

A case could be made for this as Lynch's finest work, although the following scene in the Road House is equally superb in its own quiet, devastating way. Throughout his career, Lynch has evoked unspeakable terrors and impenetrable mysteries, while keeping their explicit meaning hidden. In the big reveal he pulls the curtain back and says "This, THIS is what those moments of sadness, fear, loss, pain were referring to." Then he closes the curtain again, and lets us wallow in the aftermath. We are finally able to name the hidden tragedy, but shocked by how little comfort it provides.

We are now exactly halfway through the series, in terms of episodes. What a moment to mark the "before"/"after". Questions for new viewers, should you choose to accept:

• Were you fooled by the Ben Horne red herring?

• Were you surprised to see Leland was apparently inhabited by Bob?

• Do you feel the question of "who killed Laura Palmer" has now been satisfied?

• Where do you expect the series to go now, with the killer on the loose, Cooper seemingly unaware of whodunit, and fifteen episodes remaining?

• Did the violence and presentation of the attack on Maddy take you aback?

• Was this your favorite episode so far? If not, what was?

• Did you know Tojamura was Catherine?

• What was your favorite scene not including the Road House/Palmer House stuff?

• What are your big questions going forward?


Next: "Drive With a Dead Girl" • Previous: "Demons"


Want more? Here's my other coverage of the episode:


More for first-time viewers (SPOILER-FREE)
(but be careful of video recommendations at the end of YouTube videos)

+ My "Journey Through Twin Peaks" chapter on this episode, from 2014 (contains spoilers for two classic films - VERTIGO & LAURA):


+ And the chapter specifically on the killer's reveal:


+ My visual tribute to this episode, from 2014



For those who've already seen the full series & film
(SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING LINKS)


The comments section below may contain spoilers.

No comments: