Lost in the Movies: *Link to Phillip Gerard (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #53)

*Link to Phillip Gerard (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #53)

Visit the TWIN PEAKS Character Series directory for all entries as they are published or re-introduced.

For reasons explained in greater detail beneath this link, I'm keeping this original entry limited to seasons one and two plus Fire Walk With Me/The Missing Pieces - nothing from The Return. (That will be reserved for an upcoming entry on all of the spirits, which includes a component for MIKE independently of Phillip Gerard). Even within those limits, this is one of the longest entries so far with extensive "additional notes" on the unusual development of the character(s). There is of course one other unfortunate update I would make to this entry written six years ago, in this case to the actor bio: Al Strobel, the actor who so memorably plays Gerard, was one of 2022's many Twin Peaks casualties. Onscreen and off, he greatly enriched this community.

+ A note on Gerard vs. MIKE

This entry provides a dilemma. In the original character series of 2017, prior to the third season, I separated the one-armed man into two different studies. In the "Phillip Gerard" entry I discussed all of his scenes from the perspective of an ordinary person who was at times independent of, and at other times consumed by, a spiritual presence named MIKE. In the "Spirits of Twin Peaks" omnibus I specifically focused on the question of who MIKE was, counting for screentime only those at least partly incorporeal moments in Cooper's dream or in the Red Room at the end of Fire Walk With Me - even though these are factored into the Gerard entry too. The overlap honestly feels like a bit of an oversight in retrospect; that said, since I'm not revising Phillip Gerard to include season three material, I'm leaving that aspect intact too.

The decision of where to place the new material was a difficult one. On one hand, the character is credited in season three - just as he was in the original series and Fire Walk With Me - as "Phillip Gerard." On the other hand, this time (unlike in the original) we only ever see the one-armed man in the spirit world - the Red Room and convenience store-adjacent locations - from which he occasionally broadcasts messages into the human world that only Cooper can see or hear. There is no longer any sense that he has a presence in physical reality. I've heard interesting arguments that this character is not the grand spirit MIKE but actually ordinary Gerard himself, who has died and gone to Twin Peaks heaven (or hell?) to play a spirit guide role much like Laura. Nonetheless, since my previous rule was that Gerard refers to the real world presence and MIKE to the one we see removed from that body (even if he looks the same), I'm sticking with that definition and will reserve all of this new material for the updated "Spirits" entry.

At any rate, Monday's character will be much more clear-cut although her revised entry is almost as completely rooted in the old material as Gerard's. In this case, the only update will be not for The Return, but for The Final Dossier. See you after the weekend for that one.

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