A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks: Part Eight

For a primer on how to use this tool, read A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks: Overview

New Narrative Conflicts Introduced

No new narratives were introduced in Twin Peaks Part Eight. 

Episodic Structure

Hoo boy, where we go. The structure of Part Eight is actually straight forward. Lynch & Frost up the amperage on Mr C's Plan by a handsome 32% over average so far and they also up the volume (so to speak) on the Bang Bang Band on Stage with the amazing Nine Inch Nails performance of "She's Gone Away." It was strange seeing this Bang Bang Band on Stage narrative happen so early in the episode and it was a leading indicator of what was about to come. Then David Lynch reached his nicotine stained fingers out to the mystery knob and turned it, and kept turning it, and kept on turning it, to a, get this, SEVEN THOUSAND SIXTY THREE PERCENT INCREASE over the average of what they've shown so far. Keep in the mind that the only scenes that I've classified as "?????" were the box with blinking lights scenes. Even the weird "Power Station" scenes from Part 3 actually fall under the Cooper Escapes narrative, so even though they are weird and arguably unexplainable at present, at least they are within context. But I lump the 41 minutes and 47 seconds that start with the Trinity Test and end with the girl burping up beetle frog slime as a great big question mark, and how wonderful that is to say!

Episodic Part Summary By Scene and Focus


Scene 1 South Dakota, Cheap Rental Car (0:01:40 - 0:11:22)

Mr C and Ray are driving in the dark. Mr C pulls his phone out there is an app with three black boxes. One box has a capital C. The second box says “FIRE” and the third has a small capital D with a large tan circle with a small black circle inset and a capital “X” next to it. There is a slider arrow at the bottom of the app. He says, “There are three tracking devices on this car," he taps each of the boxes and tells Ray to get up close behind as semi-truck. He types “DEGWW8” into the phone, rolls down the window, says, “That should do it,” and throws the phone out. Ray says, “I hope you’re not sore at me for running off. It sure was stupid of me to get caught up like I did. Thanks for getting me out of there.” Mr C says nothing. Rays asks, “How’d you do this?” Mr C says, “Darya told me what happened. You needed to get out, Ray.” Ray asks where Darya is. Mr C says, “She’s waiting for a phone call when we get someplace safe.” Ray asks, “Where are we going?” Mr C says, “You’d probably like to go that place they call “The Farm.” Ray says that’s what he was thinking and they are heading in the right direction but they aren’t going to let them just walk. “Are they?” Mr C says, “You have something I want, Ray.” Ray pauses and says, “Yes, I do. I got it memorized. All the numbers, memorized perfectly. But honestly, Mr. Cooper, I think it might be worth some money.” Cooper looks at him menacingly. Ray says, “Maybe, quite a lot of money.” Mr C says, “You think so, do you?” Ray says, “Yes sir, I do.” Mr C doesn’t respond but a moment later sees something up the road and says, “There it is. Take that little road up there on the right. Let’s get off this highway, Ray.” They are traveling down a dark road now and eventually Ray pulls over off road and stops the car and asks, “You mind if I pull over a sec? I gotta take a leak.” Mr C says, “Go for it,” and looks at Ray again. Ray stops, the headlights shining into the darkness, and walks away from the car. Mr C opens the glove compartment and pulls out a loaded pistol. He gets out and approaches Ray, saying, “Ray, I want that information.” Ray says, “Yes?” Mr C raises the gun and says, “Looks like you’re out half a million.” Ray pulls his own gun out, his back still to Mr C and says, “Well, I think you’re wrong about that.” He turns around and Mr C squeezes the trigger three times but the gun doesn’t fire. He looks down at it. Ray says, “Tricked ya, fucker,” and shoots Mr C twice but there is a strange cut here between the bullets. Mr C falls down, shot. The camera careens up to Mr C’s body as Ray walks up to shoot him in the head. Flashing lights descend and a strange music starts playing. Woodsmen start shifting towards the murder scene and Ray is shocked and terrified. The Woodsmen are translucent and dancing around Mr C’s body. Ray looks around at them all, his gun hanging limp and useless in his hand. The Woodsmen are now on their knees patting the dirt softly, working through Mr C’s body which is also now translucent as it flashes in and out of phase. The ominous atmospheric music builds. One of the Woodsmen is working on Mr C’s bloody stomach, smearing the blood everywhere while others are dancing in circles around the body. They are now smearing the blood all over his face and they may be ripping into his belly. They appear to be mixing the dirt with the blood and smearing it all over his body. Now they are done with this dark ritual and Mr C’s body lies still while the Woodsmen wait. Ray is sitting down in shock and moaning, watching this grisly scene unfold. Other Woodsmen are still dancing around the body, moving around and potentially through Ray. One Woodsmen holds Mr C’s head up by the neck so that it is looking at Ray and Ray is scooting backwards on the ground, still seated. Now a BOB bubble is being extracted from Mr C’s open chest and belly, there is an amniotic sac surrounding BOB’s maniacal face. This is Ray’s breaking point. He gets up and runs for the car while the Woodsmen continue their dancing ritual. Ray slips and falls, quickly getting back up and bolting into the car. He backs up and floors it in drive, getting the hell out of there as fast as he can. The license plate on the car is “UTD 643.” As Ray pulls away, the Woodsmen phase in and out, dancing, while dust lifts and hangs in the air. They disappear while the lightning and music play on and the dust floats. The lightning stops and the screen fades to black.

Cut to dark shadows obscuring a quarter Moon.  

Cut to Ray in the car, talking to Phillip. Ray says, “I think he’s dead. But he’s found some kind of help, so I’m not 100 percent. And I...I saw something in Cooper. It may be the key to what this is all about. And I told him where I’m going, so if he comes after me, I’ll get him there.” Ray hangs the phone up.

Mr C’s Plan


Scene 2 The Bang Bang Bar (0:11:22 - 0:16:00)

Lights are flashing again and we see a guitar and someone turning a knob. It also sounds like thunder but the electronic kind. Pan back and Trent Reznor is one stage with Nine Inch Nails. An MC is standing in front of a microphone with a large pine cone on it. He says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Roadhouse is proud to welcome the Nine Inch Nails.” They start playing “She’s Gone Away,” and the lyrics are as follows:

You dig in places ‘till your fingers bleed / Spread the infection where you spill your seed / I can’t remember what she came here for / I can’t remember much of anything anymore / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / Away.../ Away…/ A little mouth opened up inside / Yeah, I was watching on the day she died / We keep licking while the skin turns black / Cut along the length but you can’t get the feeling back / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone away / Away.../ Away…/

Bang Bang Band on Stage


Scene 3 Field (0:16:00 - 0:16:20)

The ring of the Nine Inch Nails song reverberates in the field as Mr C’s corpse lays peacefully with arms outstretched. He sits up, eyes closed and the ringing stops. He opens his black eyes, bloody faced and filthy. Fade to black.

Mr C’s Plan


Scene 4 White Sands New Mexico July 16, 1945 5:29 AM (MWT) / ????? / New Mexico Desert August 5, 1956 (0:16:20 - 0:58:07)

Atmospheric wind swirls and we are at what looks like the top of a mountain, looking down into a valley. A mechanical voice starts counting down from ten and clicks after one. There is a brilliant flash of light from the valley below as Pendereckis “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” plays. We start zooming in and there is a mushroom cloud in the center of the valley with what looks like lightning streaks next to it. The devastation rises and smaller clouds gather and roll beneath the ascending mushroom cloud, like a virus spreading across the valley. We continue moving into the center of the mushroom cloud with an intense atmospheric whooshing. Inside the cloud there are explosions of black, explosions of other colors and opaque movements of these colors with speckles of black spots. Now we see a field of black with hundreds of jittery white dots moving in a swarming pattern. Back to the opaque colors with flashes of yellows and reds. Now we see a negative image with what looks like an X ray with sperm-like objects moving in a common pattern. Now there is an explosion of white objects against a black background, like an electric dandelion blown into the wind or bubbles under water moving at high velocity. A pattern of back and forth rowing emerges and morphs into a violent digging of light into darkness. Now a fiery explosion is coming towards us, followed by what looks like the blues and whites and yellows of stars being born in a nebula or fireworks exploding. Now we see a dusty tunnel with a bright light in the middle. There are multiple explosions of light with thundering sounds and we shift between these gaseous tunnel explosions of yellow into reds, each explosion producing a rippling effect on the gas and dust around it. Now, a full blown yellow explosion is consuming the screen, growing larger and more violent. The nuclear furnace burns and swells with the music. There is a shift to black and white as explosions rip across the screen from every direction and a dark dust cloud rolls across...

...giving way to an empty convenience store with two gas pumps outside, each with one lightbulb at the top of the pump. There are two hanging lights above the front windows and door and what looks like a phone booth. There are stacks of cans visible through the largest front window and a staircase leading up on the right side. Lights begin flashing as the door opens and closes, like it’s phasing through time. A dust cloud rolls out of the door, also in phases of light. Bright flashes of light happen inside the store and dust starts rolling out again. Now the bright flashes inside are occurring more rapidly and the dust cloud grows to cover the entire store. The dust cloud dissipates to allow visibility and people are suddenly walking all around. They look like the Woodsmen but they do not appear to be burned. They are moving all around the inside and outside of the convenience store, coming in and out, walking all around the pumps. They do not appear to be walking up the stairs. Their fists seem to be out in front of them quite often. Cut to a closer shot in front of the far right gas pump and the men continue to walk around with their fists out. In at least one flash, someone is standing behind those stacked cans inside the convenience store. The men disappear and the view moves back out the larger convenience store while the camera goes out of focus and then back in focus, repeating several times, causing the lights to flash as a static sputtering starts, like a 35mm film rolling in a movie theater. Now the men are back and the camera has shifted closer but in front of the large front window. There are men moving around inside the store. Back out to the larger shot of the store and the camera is out of focus while the sputtering continues, almost like a needle stuck on a vinyl record. The sputtering sound stops but the camera switches rapidly between up close shots and far away shots, flashes of light highlighting the characters moving around in the shadows. The scene fades to black.

There is a creature floating in the black. It looks like a female shape but has no face and is pale like an alien. It vomits into the blackness, something that looks like silly putty or plastic. The creature has horns. We zoom into its vomit and see hundreds of small egg shapes and one dark glob with BOB’s face. One egg breaks from the fluid and floats off. Inside the fluid, eggs are floating all around along with bubbles. There is a burst of music and flame with jets of explosions shooting across the screen. There are multiple explosions happening but a large pool of fire in the middle that takes on the shape of what looks like a heart, out of which a golden amorphous org emerges and moves towards us. It eventually consumes the screen, reflecting all the explosions around it. The camera moves into the golden orb and the music speeds up rapidly and we are moving very fast, like blood cells in a vein, thousands and thousands of red orbs moving past us at blinding speed; we are clearly moving rapidly against the flow of whatever this environment is. We eventually start to slow down and shift into a view of...

...a massive dark ocean, the orbs disappear and the great waves and strong wind take over focus. We see a large black tower in the distance, a large protrusion jetting up from this immense ocean. Massive waves break against the rocks, spraying water up the cliffs. The wind whistles as we start moving up the cliff to a huge metallic structure that looks like a Battlestar Galactica Cylon. We move closer into a rectangular dark window high up the structure. Ambient vintage music starts playing over a gramophone as we move into a room where a beautiful woman in an ornate sparkly dress sits on a couch. There is an iron screen in front of her and a standing lamp with a teardrop shade with tassels rooted to a circular mat on the ground. There is a large gramophone piece of furniture next to the couch she sits on and two recessed circular structures on the ceiling. There are windows but they are covered over, a rectangular tapestry hangs to her right on the wall behind her. There is a large bell shaped object with two transistors on top and two dials on the front, sitting on a larger circular rug. There are curtains behind it and the floor has a swirly appearance. There is either a mirror on the ceiling or a large beam running down the center of the ceiling. The woman is swaying to the music, her hands folded in her lap. A metallic clanking alarm starts pinging and ???????? appears from behind the bell structure. He turns to look at the woman and then turns around to look into the camera. He seems concerned with what he sees. Eventually he turns to the bell structure and pushes a button. The alarm stops after ringing 64 times. ???????? looks at the lady again and turns to walk behind the bell.

The music has stopped and ???????? is now ascending an ornate staircase with a railing that starts halfway up. His steps have that familiar half scratching sound that movement in the Red Room has.

He enters a large room that looks like the gathering hall of a classic theater. There is another bell structure here on top of another larger circular rug. There are two light sconces on either side and both are lit up. A similar wavy carpeting is all over the room and there appear to be distant floating lights in the background with the same covered windows lining the sides of this room. ???????? walks through the room.

???????? walks into a theater with a large screen, a balcony, and another bell structure. He approaches the stage, climbs a few stairs and stands on stage as atmospheric music plays. He gestures to the screen and the same film we saw earlier of the bomb starts playing. He seems disturbed by what he sees. The fireball grows larger. We see the convenience store lights flashing and the men walking in phase. We see the creature vomiting again and the screen freezes on the BOB bubble. ???????? walks forward a few steps and turns to face the direction of the camera. An organ starts playing in the music as he ascends into the air. A light shines into the room and we see the lady from the gramophone room walk in, her way lit by a spotlight. There are flashes illuminating the room from the front. She approaches reverently. BOB’s bubble appears in screen and she seems very worried. Her shadow appears in spotlight underneath ????????, who is now floating laterally high up in the air, arms at his side. The woman climbs the stairs to the stage and a glowing substance emanates from the ???????? head. The image of BOB changes to a space background as beautiful sparkling golden gas starts flowing into the room from ????????. The woman is looking up, smiling in reverence at what is happening. The sparkling gas creates a flowing river like structure that looks like a tree. Some of the sparkles grow into glowing golden orbs. Lights start flashing in the room as a universe of sparkles swim in the air. One orb grows large and floats out of this universe. It floats down to the woman who holds it religiously, gazing into the glowing orb. She brings it close and we see the face of Laura Palmer from her senior picture. She gives the orb a long kiss and lets it go, floating upward to a tube that looks like a curving horn with three holes in it. The horn moves toward the screen, which changes to an image of the Earth like one would see in an old 1950s animation. The orb drops onto the screen and becomes black and white momentarily, a satellite moving towards the Earth, glowing golden again. We see a long view of the room from the back, the lady watching the orb’s descent as the image fades to black.

We are back in the New Mexico desert and the year 1945 appears on screen again and the numbers tick up to 1956 and we find out it is August 5. The wind roars as the camera zooms in flashes, eventually onto an egg that is hatching with squishing liquid sounds. A creature crawls out of the egg, looking like a frog with beetle wings. It crawls on the sand and flutters its wings, leaving a slimy trail as it crawls offscreen.

Cut to dark clouds moving fast across the face of the full Moon.

Cut to the outside of another convenience gas store. It is nighttime and crickets are chirping. Two young people emerge from the shadows, a young boy and girl. The boys asks, “Did you like that song?” The girl says she did. She stops, looks at the ground and exclaims, “Oh, look! I found a penny! Oh, and it’s heads up. That means it’s good luck.” She runs her thumb across Lincoln’s face. The boy says, “I hope it does bring you good luck.” She smiles at him.

Cut to the desert at night. A dark man comes floating from the sky diagonally. There is another one following him. They are the Woodsmen and their eyes are crazy, their skin blackened.

Cut to a couple driving at night, the Woodsmen approach a stopped car in the other lane and shadows cross the headlight. There is an electric scratching noise as the Woodsman stumbles up to their car. He leans in with a cigarette and asks, “Got a light?” (three times). The other Woodsman is in front of the car, looking in. The wife begins screaming as the husband stares in shock at the Woodsman with the cigarette. Her wail is drawn out and distorted as the electricity continues to crackle. The Woodsman continues to ask, “Got a light?” The man slams on the gas and the car takes off, avoiding other Woodsman and careening into the dark night. The husband and wife hold hands in fear as they tear away from the scene.

Cut to the boy and girl walking on a dirt road in a valley with a large hill on their left. Crickets are chirping still. The girl asks, “You live in town, don’t you?” He says yes. She asks, “You live by the school?” He asks how she knows that. She says she just does. She says, “So, I thought you were going with Mary.” He says, “No, that’s over.” She asks if he’s sad about that. He says no. She says, “Oh. Okay, that’s good.” They are at her home now. She says, “It was really nice of you to walk me home.” He says that he really wanted to and asks if she minds if he gives her a kiss. She doesn’t know. He begs for just one. She exhales and closes her eyes. They kiss softly and she exhales again. They say goodbye and wave at each other a final time before she goes into the house.

Cut to footsteps in the desert toward a flat building with a large antenna on top; it is the Woodsman walking in the dark. He sees the antenna and starts beelining toward it. The Platters “My Prayer” starts playing. The lyrics are:

When the twilight is gone / And no songbirds are singing / when the twilight is gone / you come into my heart / and here in my heart you will stay / while I pray / my prayer / is to linger with you / at the end of the day / in a dream that’s divine / my prayer / is a rapture in blue / with the world far away / and your lips close to mine / tonight while our hearts are aglow / oh tell me the words  that i’m longing to know / my prayer / and the answer you give / may they still be the same

We see the outside of a radio station KPJK. According to the clock on the wall, it is 10:16 PM. A DJ flips through pages in a binder with a headset on while a 7” record plays next to him.

Cut to a mechanic working on a car in a garage, listening to the radio. 

Cute to a woman is waiting tables in a restaurant, closing up for the night.

Cut to the young girl is listening to the radio in her bed. There are dark, circular marks on her knees. She is smiling.

The Woodsman approaches the radio station and enters the front door. A woman is filing with her back turned to the door. She says, “Yes” and turns in horror to see the man in front of her. He says, “Got a light?” and the electric hum grows as she seems both frozen and drawn toward him. He gruesomely crushes her skull with one hand. He sees the DJ in the booth and enters, asking, “Got a light?” The man turns around in horror and the Woodsman grabs his head and squeezes but doesn't’ kill him as quickly as he did the woman. There is a horrible squishing sound and the record scratches as the woodsman pulls the arm and needle off the record. The mechanic, the waitress, and the girl all listen to the dead air hiss over the radio. The Woodsman flips a switch and grabs the microphone, bringing it close to his mouth. With cigarette hanging from his mouth, he recites the following verse several times over and over:

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

The waitress, hearing this recitation, collapses to the ground.

The mechanic, hearing this recitation, drops his wrench and collapses to the ground.

The frog beetle is crawling on the ground outside a home.

The girl is looking at the radio with distaste. She is reaching for the dial. She doesn’t make it and falls asleep on the bed. The frog beetle crawls and we can hear the Woodman's voice on the radio. We see her window is open. The frog beetle jumpflies to the sill. The girl is peacefully sleeping and the frog beetle crawls up to her face. It flutters its wings and the girl’s mouth opens wide enough for the frog beetle to crawl inside. She swallows. 

Cut to the Woodsman who ends his recitation, emphasizing a final “withIN.” He finally crushes the DJ’s skull, his eyes turning white as he brutally rips the man’s head apart, blood pouring onto the floor. The Woodsman then turns, leaves the radio station, and walks into the darkness as lights flash in front of him. A horse whinnies in the distance several times.

Cut to the girl lying asleep in the bed, her eyes blinking rapidly and her brow furrowing.

????


Cast

Kyle McLachlan:Mr C

Leslie Berger:New Mexico Wife

Robert Broski:Woodsman

Cullen Douglas:Disc Jockey

Erica Eynon:Experiment

Tikaeni Faircrest:Girl(1956)

George Griffith:Ray Monroe

Tad Griffith:New Mexico Husband

Sheryl Lee:Laura Palmer

Xolo Mariduena:Boy(1956)

Joy Nash:Senorita Dido

Tracy Phillips:Receptionist

Frank Silva:Bob

JR Starr:MC

Carel Struycken:????????

Trent Reznor:”The” Nine Inch Nails

Atticus Ross:”The” Nine Inch Nails

Mariqueen Maandig Reznor:”The” Nine Inch Nails

Robin Finck:”The” Nine Inch Nails

Alessandro Cortini:”The” Nine Inch Nails

Joey Castillo:”The” Nine Inch Nails


Music

  • “She’s Gone Away” : Written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross : Performed by Nine Inch Nails

  • “My Prayer” : Written by Georges Boulanger and Jimmy Kennedy : Performed by The Platters

  • “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” : Written by Krzysztof Penderecki : Performed by Warsaw National Philharmonic

  • “Slow 30’s Room” : Written and Performed by David Lynch and Dean Hurley

It is clear, when you look at the data that the story being told so far in Twin Peaks Returns is Cooper's Escape but even this is overshadowed by the mystery dropped in our laps in Part 8. 

It is clear, when you look at the data that the story being told so far in Twin Peaks Returns is Cooper's Escape but even this is overshadowed by the mystery dropped in our laps in Part 8. 

A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks Returns Part 8.png

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JB Minton is the author of POETRYSEXLIFE..AND THE THIRD FLOOR MAGISTRATES TOOK THE RAPE and is a Technologist, Podcaster and Twitch Streamer. Follow JB on FacebookTwitter and the Web.

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