This review contains spoilers.
We must’ve done something to displease David Lynch, for now we are being punished. Has one of you been watching the series on your iPhone or something? Episode 7 was bordering on coherency and, frankly, that was Lynch being a bit too generous. “Now, survive this!” screams Part 7 at us long-suffering Twin Peaks fans.
We got to see a little bit of what’s going on with Evil Cooper, who gets double-crossed, shot, and then has his insides torn open by a bunch of painted vagrants so that he can birth an orb with BOB’s face on it (so that’s how BOBs are born!). I really enjoyed the way the opening scene was done. Following along ominous back country roads is a common Lynch image and he always makes it look good. Plus, there was subtle new Badalamenti synth playing over it.
Speaking of music, before I get into the rest of it, I don’t want to overlook an aspect of this episode I greatly appreciated: its use of the score. By this point, a silent soundtrack has become the expectation for this return series, but music carried several scenes this time: there was the ominous synthy car ride; the BOB orb birth scene featured gentle synth that underscored the nasty visuals; the black-and-white scenes with the Giant captured an old-timey movie feel both with the gramophone music and the ethereal score heralding the birth of the Laura Palmer orb. This episode was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever seen on TV, but the music in these scenes felt like a small reprieve.
I also enjoyed Nine Inch Nails, Twin Peaks’ musical guest for this week, but more just because I still think having a band of the week is a radical idea for a drama. Though I liked the song pretty well too, it was, unlike most episodes, not relegated to the end credits, and I’m not sure I needed to see a full performance of She’s Gone Away smack-dab in the middle of Peaks. All the dragged-out weird scenes tonight were tough going at times, but they also scrambled my brains. The NiN performance was shot conventionally like a concert film and, well, I got a little bored (hey, it’s a six-minute song). The cut to Evil Coop sitting up right after was awesomely done, however.
Continuing along the thread of music, the discordant, duelling string instruments during the nuke scene were less welcoming than everything else and I think that’s fair to say of everything I haven’t yet touched on. This is literally some of the most insane, experimental shit that has ever been broadcast on television. It is simply incredible that David Lynch was given this much freedom to essentially make more Eraserhead for a major network, cable or no.
It would have been easy to zone out a bit during all the flashy bits after the nuke (aka David Lynch’s 2001: A Space Odyssey), as well as with the reappearance of that DVD rewind/fast-forward effect. But otherwise, this was brain-rending, terrifying, fascinating madness. Lynch has a penchant for occasionally janky visual effects, but at other times he pulls off completely mind-blowing stuff. I was floored by that mushroom cloud zoom-in, that weird image of clouds shooting through a cloud-tunnel, and the stumbling way that roach-frog (frog-roach?) moved, which was super-creepy and naturalistic. I also like the artificial look of the black-and-white place with the Giant. It appears to be the same place Coop landed in back in Part 3 and, just like it was then, it looks very constructed, like a life-sized diorama (it also reminds me of Myst).
As far as meaning goes, all I feel remotely confident in guessing at here is that the scenes with the Giant were taking place inside the White Lodge. Furthermore, it seems like BOB is an eternal demon of darkness and, while that isn’t surprising, what is a shock is that Laura Palmer may be the eternal being of light, the nega-BOB, if you will. Light is clearly on the defensive though. BOB has a cadre of painted vagrants across time periods going around smooshing people’s heads (that last head smoosh was a touch gratuitous, no?), but where’s Laura’s army?
Well, we’re not going to have any idea for two weeks! Dammit, Lynch!