Atomic Bob, Drink Full and Descend: Twin Peaks episode 8

Absolutely everybody’s minds last Sunday.
Okay, perhaps it’s understandable why Bob has issues. (Alternate caption: “Shouldn’t have had that second RR2GO”).
“We now return to our broadcast of YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SLEEPING THIS EVENING.”
Just another boring night at home with ??????? and Senorita Dido.
  • I still cannot get over how this hour seems accidentally tailored to my personal preferences. Case in point: Nine Inch Nails was my introduction to modern rock as a teenager, and will always have a special place in my heart because of that. It was literally one of my dreams to see NIN used in a revival of Twin Peaks. (Just imagine how teenage me freaked out when I learned Trent Reznor was contributing to Lost Highway). Though the NIN sequence initially seemed somewhat out of place, it ended up feeling appropriate in the context of the episode, given this hour’s darkness and its unconventional approach. P.S. — Oh, sorry, I meant “The” Nine Inch Nails. I imagine that this one crucial difference is why they’re playing at the Roadhouse and not some arena in Seattle. Either that or Jean-Michel Renault is really good at booking. Well, haha, let’s not go there.
  • While David Lynch is getting all the credit for this extraordinary outing, I think it needs to be said that the episode is as much the work of Mark Frost as it is Lynch. He is all over this one, from the obsession with the atomic age and aliens to the pulpy B-movie aesthetics. Lynch and Frost are both turned up to 11 here, and this is them at the height of their abilities.
  • Speaking of Frost, his The Secret History of Twin Peaks puts Douglas Milford at the Trinity test site. That book also brings in the real-life rocket scientist/occultist Jack Parsons and his obsession with Aleister Crowley’s magickal system of Thelema. Some are theorizing that Mother is in fact the Thelemic goddess Babalon, Mother of Abominations, who Parsons famously tried to summon in a long-form ritual to bring about the apocalypse. This would mean the detonation of the bomb is the culmination of Parsons’ work. While this is totally possible and very well might come into play, I think it’s a bit of a stretch until we know more, as it’s mega unclear how much Frost’s novel ties directly into the new series. I don’t mean to state there’s no connection at all, I just mean that a close application of Thelemic mysticism to understand the episode might be an overreach. And with this theory frontloading the detonation with so much occult meaning, it subtracts a little bit of what the development of the atom bomb simply means unto itself. I think it’s important to be able to see these events through a lens that doesn’t involve someone specifically trying to incarnate a deity from an obscure religion, no matter if you subscribe to this theory. (Again, I do suspect there is a correlation between these ideas. But I believe the important thing is the bomb and its implications for humanity. The viewer doesn’t need to study the intricacies of the Babalon Working in order to actually grasp what’s happening).
  • As a Thelemic sympathizer, I feel obligated to mention that the above is nothing like what Parsons was actually trying to do. The “apocalypse” to him simply meant overthrowing Christianity’s domination over human morals and spirituality, not literally ending the world or unleashing horrors upon people. He was attempting to bring about Babalon to plant the seeds for human advancement, not destruction. Parsons himself was anti-war and uncomfortable that his scientific work was used for military technology. Interestingly enough, Frost’s book actually depicts a fairly sympathetic version of Parsons — intelligent and even somewhat affable, but in over his head — so if the bomb is an end-result of the occult meddling of this particular fictional Jack Parsons, it’s probably not what the character intended. Also please note that Frost’s book has Parsons’ Babalon ritual coinciding with the Roswell UFO crash in 1947, not the White Sands atomic test in ’45.
  • And finally, not to get too self-involved, but I’m probably hesitant with this theory because IT IS LITERALLY A STORYLINE FROM MY GODDAMN BOOK. So please Lynch/Frost, let me have my artistic dignity.
  • Lynch memorably scores the explosion scene with “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima,” a piece by Penderecki. Lynch had previously used Penderecki’s music in Wild at Heart and Inland Empire.
  • I’m personally enjoying the idea that the Giant/Senorita Dido are extraterrestrial or interdimensional in some sense, though I’m sure some folks would prefer to see them in strictly supernatural terms. But I love how Twin Peaks points out that these are all different ways of talking about what is ultimately the same thing.
  • The convenience store being in the New Mexico desert (possibly as part of an atomic test site) doesn’t fully jibe with what Jeffries stated about his investigation in Seattle, but as the rules of time and space don’t seem to apply, I’m not worried about it. Also, let’s not forget that the original convenience store reference was just describing the Lydecker veterinary clinic, so there’s not really a rulebook here anyway. (I’m secretly hoping that we finally meet Dr. Lydecker and he turns out to be the most important character on Twin Peaks).
Is this moment the key to everything? No.
  • Given Ray’s phone call, all signs continue to point to Phillip Jeffries being behind this very sinister worldwide conspiracy. What exactly happened to him in Buenos Aires? And who really pulled the trigger on JFK?
  • The Woodsmen appeared to remove an embryonic Bob from Mr. C as he was dying, which at first seemed to imply that Bob has left him. But the fact that he’s improbably alive again now muddies that thought, indicating he may have been saved by the crack Woodsmen medical team. Evidence so far suggests that the Black Lodge is helping Cooper/Dougie because it wants Bob back. If Bob is returned without Mr. C, this would mean the real Cooper no longer has anyone watching out for him.
  • There’s currently a lot of debate about whether the Boy and Girl are younger versions of characters we already know. I have zero input on that one. I do suspect that frogbug is Bob, but again, not committed to that idea. We’ll either find out or we won’t.
  • I’ve always loved that one of the main singers of the Platters is named David Lynch. Ten points for more synchronicity.
  • The Woodsman’s recitation recalls both the white horse of Sarah Palmer’s visions, and the Little Man’s line of dialogue “From pure air, we have descended.” The Woodsmen literally materialize out of nothing when they’re shown arriving in the 50s.
  • Oh and just FYI I am going to marry Senorita Dido, who is my dream woman times a million.
She really floats my orb.

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