One Thing

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  1. I don't want to engage in idle (geddit) theorising as there's far too much of that going on elsewhere on the internet – well done this forum for all the feelings, and for on the whole showing such charity and thoughtfulness to a work of art that so easily might not have been created. Wish I'd jumped in and taken part earlier. That said, there's one thing that gnawed at me after viewing episodes 17 and 18 for a second time. I strongly dislike the implications of this theory for the original run and the ethical structure of Twin Peaks. But the sheer purpose of the direction and writing during the last hour-and-a-half makes me think there's something to this. I assumed on first viewing that the footage of Laura and James talking in the woods from FWWM served the purpose of 1) firmly setting the viewer back in the space of 1989 and the night of Laura's death, and 2) the retcon of Laura's scream as a response to Coop watching through the trees. I personally thought the latter clever but a tad diminishing, since that moment in FWWM is played perfectly by Sheryl Lee as the traumatic response of a victim who now sees malevolence in every shadow. Then on second viewing I was more attentive to the dialogue and noted the following: Laura: 'Open your eyes, James. You don't know me. Even Donna doesn't know me. Your Laura disappeared... it's just me now'. In FWWM this in uncomplicated – a reflection of Laura's double life and the darkness that is about to utterly consume her. Given the overt retconning of this very same scene in The Return, however, this put me on alert. Subsequently, Coop intercepts Laura (I know it's uncredited but I could've sworn this was a different actress altogether..?) and leads her 'home'. Sarah attacks the photograph of Laura but can only break the glass – her daughter's image, the only permanent and unchanging part of Twin Peaks throughout its chronology, remains intact. Then Coop loses his grip on Laura – she disappears off-screen with a classic Sheryl Lee blood-curdler. She delivers such screams so perfectly that it's difficult to tell, but this certainly sounds like the same scream that accompanies Laura flying off, stage-left, in the lodge sequence from episodes 18 and 2. The only other character to whom this happens – in much the same fashion – is tulpa-Diane after she is shot by Gordon and Albert. In the extended lodge scenes of episode 2, immediately after Laura is dragged into the air, MIKE asks Cooper, again, 'Is it future, or is it past?' In the shortened lodge sequence of episode 18, Cooper immediately passes Leland, and hears once again his instruction to 'Find Laura'. You see where I'm going with this... Rather than the 'real' Laura being whisked away from Coop's grasp in 1989 to Odessa in (what year is it?), are we supposed to infer that the origins of Carrie Page lie even further back? Are we supposed to draw a relation between Laura's capriciousness in her scenes with James, which were central to the raw and uncompromising depiction of trauma in FWWM, and tulpa-Diane's abrasiveness (and what would that mean for the show's representation of abuse victims)? The narrative significance of 1989 Laura being another Tulpa would be to provide a rationale for her sudden disappearance and Coop's failure to save her. Approaching the show with the seriousness it merits, however, I don't think that Lynch and Frost would retrospectively shrink the cosmic, human dimensions of Laura's murder in the original run like this. Further, I think that stepping back from the task of untangling this gordian knot shows how the practically endless permutations of lore-driven plot that can be projected onto the last two hours of The Return suggests something more truthful to the creators' vision. Namely, that this is all part of a process of gradually unmooring the viewer, of prising their fingers away from the last few scraps of solid ground in the show's universe, in preparation for the final moments of episode 18. Of course Lynch would want to do this through the gradual dissolution of identities. All that said, the retconning has made me nervous. Firmly in the camp of 'no more Twin Peaks'. The ending was just fine by me. The lights have gone out, but boy did they shine brightly.
  2. In case anyone else wishes Lynch pinned down the idea of the tulpa more precisely before making it central to the show's mythos, there's an excellent Podcast on the topic here: It seems as though he's working with a bastardised version of an already Westernised rendition of a Tibetan Buddhist concept. So this is perhaps of limited help when it comes to understanding the logic of tulpas on the show. But it's nonetheless interesting and sets the Monica Bellucci dream in a new light. And don't worry, the Slenderman thing is just a point of entry to the dicussion of tulpas as a cultural text.