ell, that just happened.

After watching episode 8 of The Return, I’m of two minds:

  1. That was the most brilliant display of Lynch at his Lynchiest. A breathtaking culmination of everything he’s been working towards since Eraserhead. A confirmation that he is still capable of creating art that pushes the boundaries of the medium, showing his audience something they’ve never seen before…blowing their ever lovin’ minds, baby!
  2. That was the most brilliant display of an artist sticking their entire head up their own ass, face first.

I’m still not quite sure which I believe more…maybe both?

For fans who were in dire need of a BOB origin story, they certainly got one. I think I would have preferred to get on with the plot at hand – but I’m jejune that way. Hmmm…boy howdy. How do we unpack this one? Okay here goes my interpretation of events – such as it is.

Ray and Doppelganger Coop are on a ‘lost highway’. They pull over, on a side road. DC needs a series of numbers only Ray knows…what these are and what he needs them for is anybody’s guess. Ray double-crosses DC and shoots him dead. Then things get really weird. A nasty gaggle of sooty looking apparitions swarm all over DC, digging into his wounds and shmearing blood all over his face. Ray looks on in horror as BOB’s face, encased in a gelatinous pod/embryo, emerges from DC’s stomach. Ray hauls ass out of there and calls up ‘Phillip’ – Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) from Fire Walk With Me? – and says,”  “I saw something in Cooper. It may be the key to what this is all about.” Ray’s a smart cookie. After Ray’s back on the road, we see DC pop up back to life.

Cut to…a meaningless, and eternal performance by Nine Inch Nails…jeebus mamaloocha do I hate that band.

Cut to…the explosion. Trinity site, White Sands, New Mexico – 1945.

Ever wonder what it would be like to see the inside of a mushroom cloud? According to Lynch it sort of looks like 2001: A Space Odysseys stargate sequence. It’s powerful imagery…I liked it the first time Kubrick did it as well.

Where BOB came from:

When the United States detonated the first nuclear bomb it shattered some sort of plane of existence/dimension which allowed a strange phantasm to vomit BOB into our world, while simultaneously unleashing the elemental darkness of man, manifested in the sooty characters. What is the relationship between the two? Well it’s symbiotic. Universal evil partnered with terrestrial evil? These creepazoids look like the bum at the back of the Winkie’s in Mulholland drive who kills the man who dreamt of him. It’s Lynch’s personification of evil.

Eleven years later at the Trinity site: pan in on a mutated creature half locust, half frog…frocust…as it ominously cracks out of its egg and skitters across the hardened sand.

Evil…evil…evil.

Meanwhile…the terrestrial manifestations are on the loose, terrorizing a couple of motorists on another ‘lost highway’. A young teenaged couple – is it Leland and Sarah? — share their first kiss under a New Mexican Moon. The Giant and a woman done up in full ‘30s era regalia are holed up in the fortress on the  lonely ocean – the one real Coop passed through on his way back into our world. They watch the spawning of BOB unfold on a large screen and are both understandably disturbed. To counter this travesty, the Giant levitates and births a golden orb from his head…inside the orb? The face of Laura Palmer. The ‘30s woman gives it a tender kiss goodbye and sends it down to earth through a steampunk contraption. BOB is Universal evil and Laura Universal good…who is Laura’s terrestrial counterpart? Dale Cooper would be my guess.

Finally…

One of the sooty demons skulks into a local radio station…”My Prayer” is playing in the background. He promptly crushes the receptionists head to a bloody pulp, then enters the broadcast booth sinks his fingers into the DJ’s cranium, and takes over the airwaves with a message: “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and the dark within.” All over town, listeners fall unconscious – including the young girl who opens up her mouth to allow the ‘frocust’ to enter.

Yeah that’s a lot.

My scattered thoughts include:

  • How the hell is Lynch going to tie together the million dangling threads into a cohesive quilt? How much is just going to be left open to interpretation?
  • Where is the spirit of Dale Cooper in this origin story? It would seem he’d be connected somehow.
  • Two weeks to wait until the next installment. Jeebus mamaloocha, Lynch knows how to cliff hang.
  • Critics and fans are heralding this episode as a groundbreaking work of genius…why was I a tad nonplussed? Hmmm… perhaps it was the too-long musical performance of Nine Inch Nails that irritated me to the point of distraction.

So there you have it. After sketching it all out in this review, I’m sort of leaning towards the ‘Lynch-head up his ass’ impression. Sure, it was a cacophony of imagery and loud noises…but was it ultimately just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing?

7.0 Indulgent

Sure, it was a cacophony of imagery and loud noises…but was it ultimately just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing?

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Lives in Manhattan around the corner from a diner which serves poisonous tuna melts and adequate java. My dissections, commentaries, and occasional rantings have been published by a wide range of online sites, pulpy outposts, and fugitive rags.

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