For the past six Tuesday nights, as part of TV Bloc Club, we've been catching up with the 90s classic Twin Peaks. For our last instalment, we have seen, screamed, live-tweeted #blocclub and Facebook-discussed the final two episodes of season one: Episode 6 ("Relization Time") and 7 ("The Last Evening").
In our recaps, we'll invite Bloc Club members, both newbies and fans of the show, to share their thoughts about the episodes we've watched so far. Check out our first recap with Twin Peaks newbie Greg McIntyre and last week's recap with Hell Yeah Writers Bloc editor Amy Maynard. For our last Twin Peaks recap, here's avid fan Lefa Singleton Norton:
From the last 2 episodes of Twin Peaks (Episode 6 and 7),
Give us a quick rundown of what has happened so far
Agent Cooper moves in on Jacques Renault as The Log Lady’s log sheds further light on what happened in the woods that night, heading up to One Eyed Jacks with Big Ed. Big Ed’s life is complicated as Norma’s husband Hank is released from prison and Nadine’s obsession with her drapes (not a euphemism) continues. Ben and Jerry are hard at work trying to keep their foreign investors happy and keep Leland from losing it. More of Laura’s secrets are revealed as the investigation uncovers her ad in a raunchy magazine looking for older men for sex, her cousin Maddy, best friend Donna and secret boyfriend James listen to her tapes to Dr Jacoby, and a parrot repeats more of what happened in the cabin in the woods. Things at the Mill are as confusing as ever, with Josie, Catherine and Pete’s double and triple crossing drawing in Sheriff Truman. Audrey’s attempts to investigate what happens to the girls who work at her father’s department store result in her discovering One Eyed Jacks and getting into a sticky situation. Bobby gets into further strife with Shelly, setting her up to shoot her abusive drug-dealing murder-suspect husband Leo by giving her a gun. Meanwhile, his jealousy over Laura’s relationship with James has him seeking revenge.
The thing I loved the most (e.g. a character, the soundtrack)
The Log Lady. I’m pretty sure she’s my spirit animal. She’s my favourite character of the whole series, and personifies Lynch’s obsession with the nonsensical and absurd. What is remarkable about her is how deftly her character is handled. Agent Cooper and his team treat her with the utmost respect, which is how Lynch wants the audience to treat her. Instead of being a cheap laugh or a caricature, she is a fully realised character, complete with backstory and motivation of her own. Of all his characters, she is the one who most reminds the audience that this is no ordinary television show. In this episode she and her log help Agent Cooper and the Bookhouse Boys get closer to finding out what has happened to Laura, and the way she cradles her log as they all sit down to tea, like it is a baby wrapped in swaddling, is just perfect.
The thing that bugged me the most
Audrey using the “I’ll cry rape” technique to get her job at the department store. It’s an unnecessary use of a trope, and out of character for her. One of the few off notes of the series.
Something I never noticed before (e.g. since you're re-watching, is there something new you've discovered?)
This time around I couldn’t stop thinking about how Lynch fooled mainstream audiences into watching such a weird show. I mean, we talk about how pivotal the show was in television history, which is undeniable, but I think sometimes people forget that EVERYBODY was watching it. It was a mainstream success. The ratings were groundbreaking.
It’s hard to imagine now that we have such cinematic television on our screens. Given television is allowed to be so many things now, we can barely comprehend how damn weird it was. But actually try thinking about this screening in 1990. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, like it on television. Its counterparts were L.A. Law, The Golden Girls and Matlock. It took the idea of small town America to a whole new level. Lynch believes there is nothing stranger than a seemingly ordinary town, and Twin Peaks opened the doors to shows like Picket Fences and Northern Exposure, where small town inhabitants were kooky and the weirdness was celebrated. But at the time Twin Peaks screened, nobody was mixing genres, nobody was playing with the supernatural, nobody was creeping out the audience and deliberately attempting to make them uncomfortable.
But Lynch wanted to show the perversion of small-town America. He wanted to display the evil and unexplainable that flows under the surface of the squeaky clean American dream. He liked to unsettle the audience. He used mystical and supernatural elements, mixing genres (horror, soap opera, crime/mystery and sci-fi, which had rarely been presented in television form without sliding into shlock (The Twilight Zone being the notable exception)) and doing something that had never been done before. He wanted to shift audiences out of their comfort zone, seeping his story in malevolence, displaying our obsession with the dark side of humanity and battles of good and evil. Nothing so complex had been done in serial television. In fact, the vast majority of what was screening in that era had each episode standing on its own as a mini story linked to the one before and after, but essentially able to be watched as a story with a beginning, middle and end. Lynch used the daytime soap model of storytelling (like the show-within-the-show, Invitation to Love), where story arcs evolve over weeks and months, clues and characters were dotted through episodes and resolution wasn’t found at the end of each weekly installment. But not only did he shift the model of storytelling, he shifted the story. He drew audiences in with the infamous question “who killed Laura Palmer?” and kept them watching as the absurdity took over. He gave them dream sequences, riddles, horror, sadness and a lack of happy endings. And they loved it. Until the ABC executives interfered. But that’s another rant for another day.
Your favourite quote
Agent Cooper: “I dunno, the beard sort of ruins the look of the lingerie, what do you think?”
Sheriff: “The guy’s no Georgia Peach…”
Huge thanks to Lefa for helping out with this week's recap! Here's some of our favourite moments from our live-tweeting:
Thanks very much to everyone who joined us for the first instalment of Bloc Club! But wait, it ain't over — we want to hear from YOU. What did you like about Bloc Club? What do you think can be improved? What show would you wanna catch next? Head on to the forum and let us know.
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