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Posts posted by Don't Go There
Okay, it’s been a day. Let me try again. I am prefacing this by saying, first, that I am incredibly dense at times, and I may have missed a lot of things. I’ve been looking online, and the only theories regarding my complaints (that I have seen, anyway) have no grounding in the show itself. But, like I said, I’m dense. Also, I’ve tried to perform a sarcasmdectomy on what I originally wrote for this comment, but I may not have been entirely successful. Just know that I’m not directing this sarcasm at anyone, I’m just drawn that way.
I think there is a difference between ambiguity, and bad storytelling, and I think Parts 17 & 18 have plenty of examples of both.
I’m no longer especially bothered by the situation with Becky, Stephen, and Red. I think that was mostly about repeating destructive patterns, both in your own life (Shelly + Leo, then Shelly + Red) and visiting those sins on your children (Becky + Stephen). This was done in the “kid shooting up the RR” scene, and I think it was done beautifully. I would have preferred emotional closure… not so much a resolution of the Bobby/Shelly story, because the only resolution in that situation is that the cycle just continues. No, I mean I would have like to have seen Shelly and Bobby discovering Becky’s fate. I would have liked to have seen the emotional impact of the end of that aspect of the self-destructive cycle. But I can also live without that.
You have forty-five minutes of an episode leading up to one event: a mutated insect-like amphibian crawling into the mouth of a teen-aged girl. And then you never refer to it again. You have Sarah Palmer take her own damn face off and eating the throat of a scumbag in a bar. Never referred to again. Audrey is somewhere where there is a lot of white and a mirror. That is literally all we know. We think the creature in the glass box was the same thing we saw spewing eggs in Part 8, and we could reasonably speculate that the silhouette on the playing card, and the map, is the same thing, because the shape of the head is similar. And, while I like the idea of the thing possessing Sarah, we have no clue that it is. Not really even a hint. It just never shows up again. We never find out what it is, or why Evil Coop was looking for it. And there is nothing to indicate that this thing is “Judy” either. That’s not ambiguity, that’s poor storytelling.
Do you remember the time Andy told some redneck guy that he knew it was his truck, and he set up a time to meet? Do you remember Andy standing at the roadside, waiting for the guy? Do you remember the camera slowly zooming to the doorway of the guy’s house, patented David Lynch Drone of Ominousness playing? Do you remember how that all turned out? No, because we never saw anything about it again.
In the 17th hour of an 18 hour long movie, Cole tells Team Blue Rose, essentially, “Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you. Judy is an evil entity never referred to in either the original series, the movie, or 16 previous hours of this series, outside of references to Philip Jeffries’s incoherent rant in Fire Walk With Me (that we revealed we couldn’t remember). Cooper, Briggs, and I, at some point before he was lured into the Black Lodge by the kidnapping of a character that no longer exists (even though she told Laura to write it in her diary), came up with a plan to trap this thing that is actually a reference to a character that was originally intended to be someone else entirely. Also I have no intention of ever mentioning the entity again, or what it has to do with anything. But there’s a diner in a maybe alternate universe that’s called ‘Judy’s’.” This isn’t the only time The Return has done this. That’s why I referred to it as the “Bill Hastings Website” method of storytelling.
What information did Hawk have that something was going to happen in the woods that night? Where did he get this information? What was supposed to happen? (Not the return of Coop. It wasn’t time for him, then) Did he see the red curtains? None of this, not one little bit of it, is ever talked about again. That’s not ambiguity.
Goddamn it, how’s Annie? Annie is Norma’s sister. Norma and Annie’s mother is a restaurant critic. We saw both of them on the show. Except in the book, Norma’s mom died before the pilot episode, and Annie doesn’t exist. So, if Annie doesn’t exist, who, exactly, did Wyndom Earle kidnap? Seems like a big plot hole, so people hit Mark Frost up on Twitter. Frost assures us that it’s all by design. And we are never told anything about it again. We can speculate about timelines and other universes, but we have been given no indication in the show that anything like that is going on with Annie.
Someone is trying to kill Bad Coop. He gets a phone call from someone who claims to be Jeffries. Ray claims to be working for a guy named Jeffries. Jeffries is currently a cosmic tea kettle, and professes ignorance of this plot. This is never discussed again. Also, suddenly Ray was an FBI informant.
Audrey, wherever the hell she is, talks about Billy. Two girls at the Roadhouse talk about Billy. Someone runs into the RR Diner, looking for Billy. We never find out a single thing about Billy.
These things aren’t ambiguities. These are examples of bad storytelling. These aren’t mysteries meant for us to solve, because mysteries require clues. These are abandoned plotlines. The main story- of Cooper and Diane and Laura- that is, I think, a mystery. I like it, because it works as a conclusion to Peaks as a whole, and it works as a possible hook for another season, and it has just enough to it for us to grab on to and speculate and theorize forever.
I don’t know if they set these plots up knowing full well that they would be abandoned. Perhaps there was more in the script, but Lynch didn’t shoot it. Maybe it was shot, but Lynch cut it in favor of Dougie having to go pee for several minutes. Lynch has done this in the past- the final episode of season 2 is an example of that. (On a similar note, I don’t think the out-of-sequence scenes are anything more than Lynch in the editing room just deciding that scene Y works better before scene X. Strangely, that doesn’t really bother me too much.)
Ambiguity is fine, and it’s more or less Twin Peaks’s whole thing. But ambiguity is no defense for poor story telling choices. We can’t just use it as a shield and say that people are just complaining because we want all the answers spoon-fed. (there has been very little of that on this forum, for which I am grateful) If that were true in my case, I wouldn’t like the ultimate conclusion to the Cooper-Diane-Laura story as much as I do. Whatever the rationale for the choices I’m referring to, the result is sloppy and, ultimately for me, a disappointment.
That is kind of heated, and I am not trying to piss anyone off. I think that’s going to be my last comment on this for quite a while.
Just now, SuperBiasedMan said:
The thing is, I don't think a plot has to be resolved or relevant to not be pointless. Audrey's scant scenes still had an effect, and underlined the themes of cycles and being lost. I think leaving them out would be to the detriment of the show, even if it doesn't 'go anywhere'.
I also think leaving them out would be to the detriment of the show. But it wasn't even an unresolved plot. It was an abandoned one. I think that's also to the detriment of the show. It's not that Audrey's fate is ambiguous, it's that it is simply absent. As is any hint of significance regarding the amphibious bug that crawled into the girl's (whoever she was) mouth. And on and on. No, I didn't expect a straightforward conclusion. I actually liked what I saw. But I am baffled- and not in a good way- by what I didn't see. I didn't need the Audrey plot to resolve so much as I don't for the life of me understand why, if it was just going to be dropped, it was there in the first place.
I don't know. I need some time, I think.
1 hour ago, SuperBiasedMan said:
To me, I take the sheer number of these questions as evidence that this is an intentional choice rather than sloppy or meandering story telling. I think the show has been withholding throughout. Audrey's absence, then teaser appearance and unsettling reveal without a conclusion is one of the more obvious ones.
Though I haven't yet concluded why it would be the case, I'm pretty convinced Frost and Lynch didn't just let a whole load of threads drop accidentally.
I am certain that they were intentional. I am of the mind that some of the material was actually written, and then ignored by Lynch (or filmed and cut). He's done that before. But, using the Audrey storyline (such as it was) as an example, the fact that Frost and/or Lynch had their reasons does not make her storyline any less pointless. This is all said with the caveat that I might be missing something painfully obvious.
I feel it is important to preface this with the statement that I really liked “The Return”, and I liked what we saw in Parts 17 and 18. It’s important, because I’m going to sound like I hated it. So, to be clear: I am an OG Peaks fan, I watched it when it first ran on ABC. I loved Fire Walk With Me from the very first time I saw it. And I have enjoyed The Return immensely.
That being said, nothing is perfect, and there are some problems I have with this series, and its conclusion. I’ve also been a Lynch fan from way back- I know that, in the battle between coherence of plot and surrealism, Lynch is going to pick surrealism every time. But there are some things that need to be addressed. Not “rules” really. But… well, here, let me just tell you:
1. Hawk was in the woods in episode 1. “Once again your log and I are on the same page.” Hawk gets to Glastonbury Grove, sees the red curtains… then nothing. We never find out where he got his information, we never find out what happened, or what was supposed to happen. It is never referred to again. Also, it seems to take place out of sequence, as the next scene with Hawk has him still mulling over the log’s initial message.
2. What happened to Becky? This we may already know, as Stephen is definitely hinting that he killed her. This would be a natural conclusion to where that story was headed. But we never see Bobby or Shelly react to this. Once Stephen pulls the trigger on himself-- and we see an ominous exterior shot of their trailer-- we never hear of it again.
3. Are we supposed to believe this “Jow-Day” entity is the Thing In the Glass Box? Because there is absolutely no reason to believe that. We are never told a thing about the thing in the box, about the thing in Part 8 that was spewing eggs, about the playing card with the silhouette, about the same design appearing on Hawk’s map. Are all these things even the same thing? Why is evil Coop seeking it out? What was his plan upon entering what I guess is the White Lodge?
4. “Jow-Day” is an ass-pull. I’m sorry, but it is. All “Judy” ever was, was a reference to a character in Fire Walk With Me that never ended up in the movie, but Lynch thought it sounded good enough to keep. The “Oh, hey, here’s a bunch of plot we shoe-horned in and decided to bring up 17 hours in” method of storytelling is something this show has done the whole season. Maybe we can call it the “Bill Hastings’s Web Site” method.
5. Where the hell is Audrey? And why should we care? The first question would seem to be answered at the end of Part 16- in some kind of hospital. Of course, we can only infer that from the tiny amount we see of it. She could be in the bathroom of Horne’s Department Store, for all we know. The second question- who cares?- is never answered. I mean, we care, because we like Audrey. But Audrey takes, what, four episodes to get out of that house, get to the Roadhouse, do her dance, and wake up (maybe) in a hospital (maybe), shouting at Charlie who is actually a mirror (maybe) and, as far as we know, she has no significance to the story beyond that. Well, then why show us anything about her at all?
6. We do remember Sarah Palmer taking her goddamn face off and eating a trucker’s throat, right? That all happened in your version of that episode, too? Oh good. Because it’s never referenced again. Maybe she’s possessed by Judy. Except that the ideas that, a) Judy is the Thing In the Glass Box, the Thing In the Glass Box is the BOB-spewing entity in the Trinity atomic bomb whatsis, c) The Thing In the Glass Box is the symbol on the card/Hawk’s map… none of that is actually in the show. At all.
7. Look, we need to talk about Annie. I’m sorry, but we do. I don’t much like her either, but she’s important. She’s the whole reason Dale was lured into the Black Lodge. She’s the subject of the last line of the original show. And… I guess she doesn’t exist? Because Norma’s mom has now been dead since before the first season? Even though she was in the show? And she doesn’t have a sister? Remember when we noticed this discrepancy in the book, and Mark Frost said that it would all be explained? He lied. Look, I’m sorry, but he flat-out lied.
8. Why is “Red” in this show? At all?
9. Who the hell is Billy? Someone’s looking for him in the RR, Audrey is having a fling with him, and two girls in the Roadhouse talk about him. And, surprising no one, we are never told anything else. Why even talk about him at all? There’s this theory that many of the Roadhouse scenes are in Audrey’s head, but he is referenced in a non-Roadhouse scene, and it just brings us back to the Audrey story line going nowhere.
10. And the frogbug was what? And whose mouth did it crawl into? And why is the Woodsman putting everyone to sleep? What did any of that have to do with anything at all?
11. What is Hawk supposed to watch for, under the moon, on Blue Pine Mountain? Because- and I know this will shock you- this is never, ever mentioned again. So why mention it at all?
12. Why did the Fireman shit a golden globe of Laura Palmer out of his head? How did that impact the story, again? I’m sure I missed that somewhere in the 10 hours of Dougie Jones acting like a zombie. Surely this was addressed? That sequence looks like it was expensive. I would imagine it would be of no small import. Surely there would have been at least one reference to it again, somewhere in the 10 more hours they had left. I’m sure I missed it.
These aren’t red herrings. These are huge gaps in storytelling. I wonder if the answers to these questions were in the original script. It wouldn’t be the first time Lynch has decided, “Screw the script.”
Finally, while I liked the conclusion, did I miss any foreshadowing at all that would hint at what the hell that was all about? I am admittedly dense, and I may have missed all kinds of things.
Again, to reiterate: I really, really enjoyed the hell out of this 18 hour movie. But that list of eleven, up there… I think those are big weaknesses that need to be addressed.
ETA: So who hired Ray to kill Doppelcoop? Who called Doppelcoop in the hotel if it wasn't Jeffries? I mean, come on.
Twin Peaks Rewatch 52/53: The Return, Parts 17 and 18
in Twin Peaks Rewatch Episodes
I loved the Saga of Freddie and His Magic Gardening Glove of Awesomeness.
Thinking further, I think that, perhaps, Lynch and Frost would consider the Audrey storyline finished. And, if I assume that, then it's probably safe to assume she was in a coma. At this point, I think I can accept that, though, if that is the case, I'm not crazy about the execution of it.
I love everything about the special effects in this show. Years ago, when Roger Ebert did a commentary track for "Dark City", he mentioned that special effects shouldn't always look realistic, and I think that applies to this show. The very unrealistic quality to much of the effects work in "The Return" is part of what makes them disturbing.