Review: ‘Twin Peaks’ Hour 8 is a Stunning Assault on the Senses

After last week’s hour of straightforward storytelling and linear plot development, it should surprise no one that the eighth hour of Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival offers absolutely none of that. Instead, it’s an experience of David Lynch in his most pure visual form. Because of that, this will be one of my shortest episode recaps/reviews. The hour is best left to your own interpretation of what the hell is happening.

Beginning where hour seven ended, the opening may fool you. Bad Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Ray Monroe (George Griffith) drive away from the prison from which they “escaped” last week. Daria is waiting for them… Ray has something Bad Cooper wants… Ray wants to extort Bad Cooper for it… Seeds for all this were planted as early as the first hour.

When things go wrong, though, and Ray shoots Bad Cooper, you better just sit back and strap yourself in for an insane ride. That’s exactly what it feels like soon after that point: a ride. It evokes the old Memorex commercials where a man sitting in front of his speakers is blasted backwards by the force coming from them. If I had hair it would be blowing behind my head.This assault on the senses begins with a flashback (?) to July 16, 1945 in White Sands, New Mexico (5:29 AM, MWT.) There’s a flash of light followed by a slow zoom into a mushroom cloud that contains flames, lights, explosions and… stars? While I’m hesitant to interpret what it means at this point, my overall impression is that evil was unleashed when the first atom bomb was successfully tested.

Flash forward, year-by-year, to August 5, 1956, where we may first see this evil literally hatched from the New Mexico desert. We subsequently spend a good deal of time with a character called, “The Woodsman” (Robert Broski), whom I believe we’ve seen before. Following what he does to two people in an isolated radio station, I believe “he” is the force that tore apart the young couple in New York.

Taking to the airwaves, he repeats the following phrases over and over again:

“This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.”

What does that mean?!? My first thought is of the white horse that’s appeared in the Palmer living room in the past, but I imagine that’s too literal an interpretation. If nothing else, it’s a companion poem to another one that’s familiar in Twin Peaks lore:

“Through the darkness of future’s past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds… Fire… walk with me.”

As I looked up the words to make sure I quoted them correctly, I noticed what came next in the original monologue from Mike, the one-armed man:

“We lived among the people. I think you say, convenience store. We lived above it.”

Coincidentally, a convenience store appears in this hour of Twin Peaks. It’s shown in black and white with ghostly figures jerkily milling about among the gas pumps in front of it. Perhaps we can say more specifically that not only evil, but Bob himself, was born out of mankind’s most destructive act. Suddenly, the bizarre images we’ve witnessed make a lot more sense.

Writing this a day later than usual, I’ve seen audience reactions to this hour ranging from adoration to hatred. My advice is to just take it all in… don’t think about it too hard. It isn’t a new concept during this run to simply let the mood and emotion wash over you. If you require that every detail be spelled out for you so you don’t have to think, then Twin Peaks was probably never meant for you in the first place.

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Twin Peaks Hour 8
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