22 Beyond Life and Death
“You and I have an appointment at the end of the world.”
It’s sad to see how many lives are devastated this episode. After suffering head trauma, Nadine regains “sanity” and the lives she immediately impacts end up falling apart. Mike, Ed and Norma all must face the relationships they’ve formed dissolving in the wake of Nadine’s reawakening to reality. Ben ends up telling Donna the truth, that he’s her father, which threatens to tear apart their family.
On the happier side of things, this episode returns to the wry sense of comedy. There’s a delightful bit of slow-building comedy that mimics the opening scene of this season. Audrey chains herself to the bank vault in protest of its funding of the Ghostwood project. She request one of the old clerks gets her a glass of water and he ends up taking quite a bit of time.
I like seeing how certain things come back. The smell of oil Ronette talked about ends up being the same oil Margaret has from her husband who died years ago. Heidi, an extremely minor character, shows up at the diner again. And the red curtains appear once more along with its unusual inhabitant in what we discover is The Black Lodge.
First of all, what a visually impressive place. The striking, tall red curtains in place of walls, the zigzag patterns of the floor, the placement of the furniture all speak to the magnificence of the set design. Furthermore, the way in which it is shot as Cooper alternates back and forth between two rooms quickly makes the place spatially disorienting, especially as the content of the rooms change drastically each time he enters them.
Cooper meets with the midget and Laura Palmer again, they speak to him of meeting again in 25 years, a meeting Cooper has already experienced. Apparently, time works differently here. Cooper also discovers that the giant and the old butler are the same person. Perhaps like how Bob possesses people, the giant possessed the butler.
As Cooper explores more of this realm, the sequence slowly builds in intensity. It goes from a conversation to Cooper running back and forth between the rooms. He has a conversation with a spirit that changes from Annie to Caroline to Laura and then finally Windom. Now face to face with his foe, Windom makes Cooper a deal: trade his soul for Annie’s life. Cooper agrees with the deal, but Bob takes over Windom saying that Windom has no control over this realm and cannot offer such a deal.
Windom is ultimately undone by powers he is arrogant enough to think he can control. Cooper and Annie are left outside the lodge. But then when Cooper awakens, he goes to the bathroom and looks in the mirror where we see that Bob has taken control of him and makes Cooper bash his head against the mirror while repeating the mantra “Is Annie okay?” And that’s the end of the show.
I always expected Twin Peaks to end with some unsolved mysteries but there are some incredible cliffhangers. Doc Hayward attacks Ben and we aren’t sure if Ben is alive. An explosion at the bank leaves the fate of several characters up in the air. Will Josie’s spirit ever be found? Also, what are the titular Twin Peaks? The lodges? Two mountains? A metaphor for the duality of good and evil? A boob joke? Who can say?
© 2014 James Blake Ewing