Atomic Blasts And Other Thoughts On Twin Peaks, Part 8

So … that happened. Atomic tests, time loops and New Mexico all made for the most unusual episode of Twin Peaks ever.

The Case

Bad Cooper and Ray continued their trek to somewhere called “The Farm.” Along the way, Bad Coop’s attempt to extract information from Ray got him shot. Not that it meant a whole lot as Ray’s attempt at a deathblow was stopped by the shadowy prospector men.

As Ray looked on in horror, the shadowy men seemed to make Bad Coop’s situation worse. He also glimpsed BOB somewhere inside Bad Coop.

Ray skedaddled as quick as he could to call Phillip Jeffries, but never looked back to see Bad Coop get up. At least, we think it’s Bad Coop.

The Updates

Someone at the Road House is an amazing booker. They managed to get The Nine Inch Nails to play a set.

The Questions

  1. Were the shadowy men born in the White Sands atomic test in 1945?
  2. Was BOB born in the same test? Or was he the bug hatched in the 1950s?
  3. If all of the black &white footage took place in the past, how did The Giant conjure the soul of Laura Palmer?
  4. Was that tower on the purple ocean the White Lodge? Or will Child Roland be looking for it soon?
  5. Will any of the New Mexico characters matter?
  6. Is BOB now in control of Bad Coop’s body?

Not about Judy

Though the rest of the episode was a major detour for the series, we learned at least one thing about Phillip Jeffries: Ray has been working for him all along. Though his attempt to call Jeffries led to voicemail, he mentioned the scene with the shadowy men. He even suggested the thing he saw inside Bad Coop might be the source of all the recent angst. But, to add one more question, is Jeffries aware of BOB in particular or has he always been looking for shadowy men?

Atomic Blasts

Part 8 represents the greatest stylistic departure thus far for Twin Peaks. More so than Dougie or the Buckhorn murder, this episode felt like scenes from a different David Lynch project. And yet, BOB was very much at the center of it.

With actor Frank Silva dead for decades at this point, many wondered how Twin Peaks would confront the absence of its principle antagonist. Some of it is easy to do as BOB was, in effect, a passenger demon. Any actor can, ultimately, play him. But by introducing the idea of the doppelganger, BOB’s position in the Black Lodge came into doubt. We know he rode out with Bad Coop, but it seems he was trapped inside the doppelganger. Thanks to Part 8, he feels vital to the story again despite being a digital ghost.

The shadowy men themselves finally carved a place for themselves in the story. Based on the way they killed a couple of the townsfolk in this episode, it is safe to assume one of them killed the couple in New York back in Part 1. Of course, since the entire episode felt like a spice-dream from Lynch’s Dune, it is hard to tell if they are also Black Lodge creatures or some whole new element.

Similarly, the Giant’s appearance only furthered the mystery. At the very least, the black & white photography suggested his scene with Cooper in Part 1 also takes place in the past. Or, at least, the past outside of the original Twin Peaks, the film, and its current manifestation. It also seemed that time worked differently there, with a golden Phantasm ball appearing with Laura’s face inside of it. Presumably, the Giant gained possession of her soul. And, if we take the dream logic of the scenes at face value, she was sent to the past.

But with the lack of town scenes and the extended 2001-esque sequence, Part 8 is the single most challenging and bewildering episode of Twin Peaks to date. As we’ve always followed the path of Phillip Jeffries, tonight still felt like forward movement. What do you think? Did this episode break your love of Twin Peaks in half? Will you still be watching when the show returns in two weeks?

Erik Amaya
Erik Amaya
Host of Tread Perilously and a writer at Monkeys Fighting Robots. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds and former host of The Satellite Show. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.