Our own Mr Jackpots Chris Burgess is back to shovel his way out of the mega-meta headspin.
Spoiler alert – this articles is full of spoilers. Don’t read it unless you’ve seen episodes five and six. Or do. Whatever, I’m not your boss.
So we’re another couple of episodes in, and none the wiser as to any of the surreal mysteries raised by David Lynch and Mark Frost.
After the mega-meta headspin of episodes 3 and 4, we seem to have settled down in to a more plot-driven and at times poetic storyline, the previous shows setting us up nicely for the story to move on.
There are a lot of different plotlines taking place in episodes 5 and 6, but it isn’t entirely clear at what point they intersect. We have Bad Coop, the glacially slow awakening of Agent Cooper, the magical drug dealer, the hit and run, Sheriff Truman’s nagging wife and the introduction, finally, of Diane – one character we’ve been waiting to see for nearly 30 years.
As I say, there’s a lot going on. Perhaps most important is Hawk’s discovery of what might be Laura Palmer’s diary’s missing pages. We’re not left with answers immediately, but intrigued as to what they might reveal.
As ever with Lynch, it’s not always about the story, but more about the mood that scenes can evoke.
We end episode 5 and start episode 6 with Cooper standing next to a cowboy statue, aware enough to know that the statue holding a gun is evoking something deep within him, but not yet aware enough to understand what that might be.
The clues are there for Cooper, yet he can’t quite grasp them. The evolution towards a fully restored Coop is frustratingly slow – generating a lot of discomfort for viewers eager for him to get back to Washington State. This isn’t a plot failure, or an error of pacing however, it’s a deliberate ploy by Lynch – I believe – to take the space and time to reflect on his own life and art.
Cooper, it could be argued, is the allegorical proxy of Lynch. He’s a character that reflects Lynch’s own life. From the agent’s rebirth to the world through the power lines to the playful childlike nature of discovering the clap-on lights in Sonny Jim’s bedroom, it’s clear that this is a man growing up in a world he is yet to fully understand.
How far this allegory runs will remain to be seen, but the notion of the new Twin Peaks acting a reflection of the life and work of Lynch himself appears to be becoming clearer with each episode.
As with the previous two episodes, there are enough clues stacking up to support of this theory. Whether it’s Cooper (as Dougie) being totally at odds with the humdrum 9-5 working world, or the ‘homework’ he has to undertake with his case files, we seem to be at a pretty early stage of development.
Cooper getting his first spark of creative genius looking at his insurance case files, scribbling enigmatic links between names and scenarios before submitting it to his boss, is another clue that this isn’t quite what it first seems. Lynch is a master of painting emotions and feelings with film, meaning that scenes aren’t always there to drive plot, but to make the audience feel a certain way.
If this theory is right – and I’m not saying it is, we’ll never be able to know for sure – then the representation of the years in which Lynch made Dune will be fascinating.
Some other thoughts:
Naomi Watts – putting in a superb performance as Dougie’s long-suffering wife Janey-E – must surely be one of the world’s best actors around right now. An award-winning display when her character stands up to the loan sharks.
See also Harry Dean Stanton – the guy is 90. Bloody 90! And he’s still acting his socks off.
The celebrity cameos keep on coming, from Jim Belushi’s brutal moment in episode 5 to Jeremy Davies looking ragged in episode 6. The standout had to be Balthazar Getty though, his drug dealer Red channelling Dennis Hopper was a magical moment in more ways than one.
The most worrying plot development has to be Ike “The Spike”, the psychopathic dwarf who’s now out to get Cooper. Will Coop wake up in time? We hope so.
Hats off to Lynch for giving this character some emotional feelings though, even if it’s his sadness in ruining a favourite murder weapon. In any other hands the scenario where an FBI agent has regressed to a childlike state while a stabby short dude is trying to shank him might have come off slightly OTT.
Finally, Chad is a total biff.