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TWIN PEAKS’ 7 Most Lynchian Moments from Episode 8

For seven episodes now, I’ve been covering the most “Lynchian” moments in Showtime’s triumphant return to Twin Peaks. But in episode eight of the series, Twin Peaks redefines what “Lynchian” even means, basically defying description in the process. You thought the original show was weird? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’. The events of this episode makes little dancing men in Red Rooms seem like a Disney movie.

Some of the most surreal images David Lynch has ever put on film are contained within this hour, and quite possibly some of the scariest and most disturbing as well. And that’s saying something, considering this is the man who gave us Lost Highway and Eraserhead. So let’s take a deep dive into the seven most Lynchian moments of episode eight of Twin Peaks.

The Death (and Resurrection) of Evil Cooper

After blackmailing his way out of prison in Buckhorn, South Dakota in the previous episode, Evil Coop/BOB (Kyle MacLachlan) and his flunkie Ray Monroe (George Griffith) escape in the car given to them by the prison warden. After pulling aside to a secluded area so Ray can relieve himself, Evil Coop plans to shoot Ray in the back…but Ray, having prepared for such a double-crossing, he pulls out his own gun and shoots Evil Coop twice, laying him out on the ground, presumably dead.

And this is when shit gets weird. A gang of charcoal-covered men, credited as “the Woodsmen,” who seem more like ghosts than actual human beings, descend upon Evil Coop and dig their hands into his body until he is covered in blood. They begin spreading the blood all over Evil Coop/BOB’s face, while Ray freaks out at what he’s witnessing (his screams are creepily muffled). We see some kind of bubble emerge out of Coop’s body, showing the grinning face of BOB. Have BOB and doppelgänger Cooper been separated for good?

“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Nine Inch Nails.”

Apparently, in David Lynch’s universe, seminal industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails has fallen on hard luck as a band, because they have to play this venue called the Bang Bang Bar out in some small town in Washington called Twin Peaks. Actually, the most Lynchian thing about Trent Reznor and company’s performance of their song “She’s Gone Away” is that Lynch let them pretty much play the full song, and didn’t cut away to anything story related at all. It seems he just wanted his buddy Trent to play the Roadhouse.

At the very end of the song, the show cuts back to Evil Coop/BOB’s dead body in the woods just as he springs back up, alive again.

July 16, 1945. White Sands, New Mexico.

About 20 minutes into the episode, we get our first flashback in Twin Peaks history. According to the title card, we are in White Sands, New Mexico, at 5:29 in the morning on July 16, 1945 — right at the moment of the very first atomic bomb test. As the bomb goes off, we enter the mushroom cloud and see the fire and destruction in various forms, in a moment that recalls the end of Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001.

Then, in the middle of all the chaos, we see a faceless, gray nude female shape, one that looks a lot like the creature that emerged from the glass box in New York and killed the young couple back in episode one. The figure vomits some weird, bubbling substance; within one of its bubbles, we see the face of Killer BOB (the late Frank Silva). Is this the birth of BOB? Were these nightmare creatures born out of the Manhattan Project? Could the most evil form of destruction mankind created have birthed Killer BOB himself? Among the various bubbles lining the substance, we also see what looks like an egg, which ultimately plants itself in the desert.

We then cut to a lonely convenience store, in what seems to be the same testing area in New Mexico, or at least somewhere very near it. Suddenly, we see the blackened charcoal colored “Woodsmen” flipping in an out of existence around the store. Remember, in the original series, MIKE says he and BOB “lived above a convenience store.” This is no coincidence.

The Golden Sphere

As if all that wasn’t weird as hell, we then cut to a fortress on an island the middle of a purple ocean, apparently the same one the real Agent Cooper passed through before coming back to our world in episode three. In this large metal fortress, we see a woman (whose name is the credits is Senorita Dito) decked out to the nines in 1930s style clothing and listening to old timey music coming out of a victrola record player. With her is our old friend the Giant (Carel Struycken).

The Giant then goes up a flight of stairs to an elegant ballroom, where he stares at a large movie theater screen and watches the atomic bomb test from 1945 we just witnessed. He pauses when he sees the Killer BOB sphere emerge from the creature. The Giant then floats up in the air toward the screen, lies backwards, and creates a golden sphere from his own mind, and in that sphere we see none other than the smiling face of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Senorita Dito holds the sphere with Laura’s face, kisses it, and lets it float away.

The golden Laura globe then floats into the theater screen and begins falling somewhere on Earth, and I’d imagine that place is Twin Peaks. So did the Giant create Laura? Is she herself more than what she seemed? It seems she was created as a way to balance out the evil of BOB. For David Lynch, Laura Palmer has always been the heart and soul of the show. Maybe she was more than any of us ever knew.

August 5th, 1956

It’s now 11 years later–August 5th, 1956–and we find ourselves again in the desolate New Mexico desert. We see the egg that emerged from the creature inside the mushroom cloud finally crack…and out comes this super gross cross between a cockroach, a frog, and lizard. I have no idea what the hell it’s supposed to be, but as someone who is not fond of bugs, my skin was certainly crawling as it oozed its way out. SO freaking gross.

Got a light?”

It’s still August 5th, 1956. Just like the previous sequence, this is all shot in black and white. Suddenly, out of thin air, the charcoal-covered Woodsmen descend upon the small New Mexico town near the area where the test took place some 11 years earlier. Shambling towards the road much like the undead zombies of Night of the Living Dead (seeming even more so because all of this is in black and white), they appear on the road and begin accosting the locals driving by in their cars, asking “got a light?” in a scratchy, scary voice, over and over again. The muffled screams of the woman in one car as the so-called Woodsmen approach the terrified citizens make it all that much creepier. This is the kind of stuff that will give you nightmares for weeks.

Attack of the Nicotine Zombie

Robert Broski in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Finally, things go from creepy to full on horror movie.  Still in 1956 flashback New Mexico, we see an innocent scene between two teenagers–a boy walks a young girl in a poodle skirt home after their date. We then cut to the main Woodsman, played by Robert Broski, as he enters a nearby radio station just as the DJ plays “My Prayer” from ’50s supergroup the Platters. He straight up murders the woman at the front desk, crushing her head with his hand, and then does the same to the DJ. He then hijacks the broadcast to recite the same strange passage over and over again over the airwaves:

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

This causes the townspeople listening to the radio broadcast to pass out and collapse on the floor instantly, including the teenage girl we saw earlier walking home. And remember that gross frog-roach thing? It flies into her window…and then enters the sleeping girl’s mouth. And this is how our terrifying chapter ends, ladies and gentlemen.

Man oh Man, is there a lot to unpack from this episode. Did we witness the birth of BOB? Was Twin Peaks’ main villain, as well as the creepy Woodsmen, created out of the most destructive act mankind had ever conceived of? But then, what is BOB’s connection with the Black Lodge, which has been part of the forests surrounding Twin Peaks for hundreds of years? And speaking of BOB, is he now separated from Evil Coop? Is Evil Coop less strong without him? And is Laura Palmer the good anti-BOB? So many questions…and just 10 episodes left to answer them.

What did you think of this insane hour of television? Be sure to let us know down below in the comments.

Images: Showtime

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