Lost In The Bang Bang Bar

It’s No Good Eating Alone: Chowing Down On Some Garmonbozia With Twin Peaks: The Return “Part 13”

Juuuuuuust youuuuuuuu and Iiiiiiiii! Oh whoa! Sorry, dearest Filthy Dreams readers and Twin Peaks fanatics. I just got carried away in a fit of hysterical caterwauling along to that musical icon James Hurley at the Roadhouse. Sure, he’s been singing that same damned song for 25 years but what a banger it is! That must mean it’s time again to go strolling together at The Bang Bang Bar and into Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13.

“I want all my garmonbozia,” says the Man from Another Place in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. As previously discussed when Bad Coop was puking in his car in Part 3, garmonbozia exists in the Twin Peaks universe as a representation of “pain and suffering.” Despite its lofty symbolism, it really just looks like creamed corn, which consequently, was also Laura Palmer’s favorite food. Yum.

mmmmmmmmm

In Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13, we see quite a number of characters, namely Twin Peaks residents, chowing down on various corn-based slurries from creamed corn to corn chowder, which could all be a representation of garmonbozia. While food looms large in the episode, including the prime Twin Peaks menu item–cherry pie and black coffee, which saves Dougie/Cooper’s life yet again in the episode, it’s this corn mush that really gets to the heart of the continual suffering of the Twin Peaks residents. It’s hard to tell if their pain and suffering comes from within–the residents’ inability to change and adapt to the passing of time in their little throwback town–or it’s the supernatural influence of the Black Lodge. Almost every character seems steeped in their own loneliness in Part 13–still yearning for failed romantic attachments. Only a chance meeting between Nadine and Dr. Jacoby brings some kooky lightness into the town.

In addition to their own personal woes, something seems to be going very wrong in Twin Peaks. As seen in Part 11 with the zombie girl puking in the car, things are starting to go just a tad askew. Little glitches here and there in Part 13 seem to cement this theory, but viewers have to dig hard to find them, making you question if this is really happening or you’re looking too hard. In reality, though, time is out of whack, reflections don’t seem to reflect the “real” action and well, everyone’s sucking down garmonbozia like it’s going out of style.

PAR-TAY!

But, before we get to the depressing state of everyone in Twin Peaks, Part 13 starts with a celebration with Dougie/Cooper and the Mitchum Brothers as they conga line into Dougie’s insurance office to Anthony (Tom Sizemore)’s slapstick dismay. Anthony ducks under his desk, after numerous double-takes, knowing that with Dougie still breathing, the assassination is up to him.

Still feeling no pain from the night before, the Mitchum Brothers, with Candie in tow, shower Dougie’s boss with gifts. Similarly, the Mitchum Brothers award Dougie with a BMW convertible and a new gym set for his son, Sonny Jim. Of course, Janey-E is more than impressed, but I want to take a moment to admire Sonny Jim’s Vegas-style gym set.

With twinkling lights, a spotlight and a fountain, it’s more of a stage than a jungle gym. Naturally, Lynch frequently spruces up mundane surroundings to mimic vaudeville stages such as the Lady In The Radiator’s abode in Eraserhead. Like the deformed showgirl imprisoned in household infrastructure in Eraserhead, there’s an underlying sense of both performance and dread in Sonny Jim’s play-set. The spotlight recalls a not-so-pleasant moment from the original series–Maddy Ferguson’s (Laura Palmer’s cousin) murder by her uncle Leland Palmer. Possessed by BOB, Leland chases after her as a random spotlight shines throughout the living room. While here Sonny Jim is in, as Janey-E says, “seventh heaven,” there’s also a nod toward hell.

This undercurrent of evil is further emphasized by the subsequent appearance of Bad Coop, who is quickly turning out to be a favorite character. Part of me even hopes he prevails. I’m not sure what it is–is it the hair? The square jaw? The coal-black eyes? The no soul? The resemblance to Nick Cave that always has me suppressing the urge to yell requests for “From Her To Eternity” and “Red Right Hand”? No matter what it is, “Red Right Hand” would have been an appropriate song choice as Bad Seed Coop arrives at “The Farm,” the hide-out that his cohort and would-be assassin Ray mentioned in Part 8.

The Farm is actually a garage full of criminals in Western Montana who apparently have an advanced security system in the form of a giant wall-sized TV. To Ray’s dismay (“I killed that guy, he’s the one I told you about.” “You didn’t kill him too good.”), they watch Coop arrive on the enormous screen, referencing Lynch’s career-long obsession with meta-cinematic references and surreal musings on viewership. The gaggle of creeps gang up on Bad Coop, telling him he has to leave or beat the boss Renzo–a large scary man–at arm-wrestling (“Real simple. This man is our boss cause no one can beat him at arm wrestling. Imagine all the men who’ve tried–many, many. In 14 years, no one’s even come close. Any new guy gets one chance. One chance. And if you lose, Renzo’s your boss. So you can leave now. If you stay and lose, and you do not do what Renzo says, you die. So you decide. You stay and play the game. It’s your choice. Looking at you, I’d say you better leave”). Real mature. Coop scoffs at these schoolyard antics saying, “What is this…kindergarten? Nursery school?”

Never one to shrink away from a challenge, Bad Coop agrees to arm wrestle Renzo, bartering over Ray, who is clearly doomed. The competition goes about as good as expected, considering Bad Coop represents pure evil. At first, the two struggle–Bad Coop begins by letting Renzo look as if he’s winning out of sheer, cruel manipulation. He, then, pulls their arms back to starting position, remarking, “Starting position’s more comfortable. It hurt my arm when you moved it down here. But it really hurt when you had it down here.” It’s both a hilariously childish scene–a mob screaming over an arm-wrestling match–and terrifying as Bad Coop maintains control. Eventually, Coop tires of this game, snapping Renzo’s arm and punching him so hard he’s killed immediately.

The gang leaves Ray to Bad Coop, just as Richard Horne, yes that little shit, appears out of nowhere to watch his potential father Bad Coop on the big screen. Daddy!! Before murdering Ray, Bad Coop learns that Phillip Jeffries told Ray to kill Bad Coop, which may mean at some point David Bowie, who played Jeffries in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me may make a posthumous appearance, which, at that point, I will lose all sense of reality. After telling him to put on the Owl Cave ring, Bad Coop kills Ray, which means, of course, we see Ray’s body appear inside the Lodge with some serious atmospheric whooshing. The Owl Cave ring drops back on the table, ready for another victim.

While Bad Coop’s success seems to show that evil is getting closer and closer to Twin Peaks, the main focus of the episode, apart from Dougie almost being poisoned by his desperate pal Anthony, seems to be the isolated and unstable lives of the residents of Twin Peaks. Returning to the Double R Diner, we witness a phone call between Shelly and her daughter Becky about her deadbeat husband Steven (“Steven never came home last night. That’s two nights he’s been gone”), which Shelly wants to smooth over with some cherry pie and ice cream. Who could pass that up? But, doesn’t this seem a little out of time to you too? Does to me. Was this scene supposed to be before Becky went all postal in Part 11?

Other scenes seem to hint at a similar disparity in time, particularly at the Double R Diner. Later, Bobby appears at the diner, ordering lunch by himself at the counter. He asks Norma, who is sitting at the table with her former paramour Big Ed, if she’s seen Shelly, but Shelly already left for the night. Bobby, apparently, is still pining after Shelly–poor thing. The two ask Bobby to sit with them and he begs off saying he just ordered at the counter. “Bobby, get your butt back over here. It’s no good eating alone,” says Big Ed. Bobby slinks back over, almost perfectly miming his physicality in the original series as a huffy, sulky teen. After Ed asks, “What’s new, Deputy?” and Bobby responds with excitement, “We found some stuff that my dad left today.”

Wait what? TODAY! That was 5 episodes AGO! What day is this?! Now, clearly, Lynch almost always creates nonlinear narratives, so thinking linearly about the plot of Twin Peaks is a mistake of epic proportions. But to me, it seems like it’s more than that. Doesn’t it seem like things are getting out of joint in the town of Twin Peaks?

Speaking of “eating alone,” we later check on hysterical drunk Sarah Palmer who, after copious Bloody Marys, watches an old black-and-white boxing match on her TV. Granted, it seems like Sarah is drinking her dinner but a glance to Sarah’s right confirms she’s got a big plate of what looks like creamed corn. Nothing like a good scoop of pain and suffering in front of the tube, right Sarah?

At first, it might appear like this plate of garmonbozia might be Sarah’s own pain and suffering, born out of her murderer/rapist husband and dead daughter. But, something else is going on–this isn’t the binge-watching scene that it initially seems. As Sarah shuffles out of the room looking for another bottle, it becomes clear that her TV is playing the same short boxing clip over and over again.(“Oh, the right hand catches the big guy by the ear! And he finally goes down, hangs onto the ropes. Oh, the gentleman asks him if he’s okay. Looks like, uh, round number one and two under way. Now it’s a boxing match again”). Each time the clip restarts with an ominous sputter of static.

More evidence that things are starting to go real weird in Twin Peaks is the next scene with Audrey, who continues to argue with her husband Charlie. This time, though, she doesn’t have the sass or swagger we saw in the last episode. Instead, she right at the edge of a nervous breakdown. She pleads, “Have you ever had that feeling, Charlie? Like I’m somewhere else and like I’m somebody else. Have you ever felt that?” Charlie, ever the sage, says, “No. I always feel like myself and it may not always be the best feeling.” Audrey responds, “Well, I’m not sure who I am but I’m not me.” After he quips that her conversation is “Existentialism 101,” she falls apart, sobbing: “Oh fuck you! I’m serious! Who am I supposed to trust but myself? And I don’t even know who I am!”

Now, some on the Interwebz have noted that maybe this is all a dream sequence and Audrey never woke up from her coma after the original series. Nevertheless, Audrey clearly is suffering. Whether it’s through years of abuse or years as the waking dead, she might as well dig into a bowl of garmonbozia too. Some of the Internet also pointed out, that Audrey’s reflection in the window, as she’s crying, sits still like a mannequin. It’s chilling doubling effect is reminiscent of the Good Coop/Bad Coop split.

This doubling in Audrey’s reflection occurs again in the final scene of the episode with Big Ed at his Big Ed’s Gas Farm. He eats while sitting alone–even though he himself said it’s no good eating alone–staring out the window. Ed chows down on some, you guessed it, corn chowder from the Double R Diner. Yum!

While he is looking out, there seems to be a quick glitch in his reflection. The reflection still seems to be eating while he’s standing still. Suddenly, the reflection’s movement flickers. It’s barely perceptible and I wouldn’t know about it if I didn’t stalk the Reddits. But it is undoubtedly there. What does it all mean? Who the hell knows but something smells rotten in the town of Twin Peaks.

I know, aren’t I forgetting something? Well, I’ve saved the best for last, because this episode’s scene at the Roadhouse was maybe the greatest thing ever put to film. Yes, the great JAMES HURLEY performed! He plays…yep…everyone’s least favorite song “Just You and I,” a 50’s-style earworm that I don’t think anyone but Lynch and us, here at Filthy Dreams, adored in the original series.

In a nod to Maddy and Donna Hayward’s former roles as backup singers, James has two similarly doe-eyed brunettes backing him up as he croons in a jarring falsetto, “Juuuust youuu and Iiiiii.” But, rather than making Donna flee heartbroken from the room, James sings to the woman we saw partying with Shelly in Part 2 who weeps through James’s saccharine tune.

I have to admit, I cried too but I couldn’t tell if I was crying from laughing so hard or actually crying. Lynch and Frost have a talent in making the viewer feel weirdly sentimental and nostalgic about fictional characters we met 25 years earlier. It’s also quite sad and unintentionally hilarious that James is still trying to pick up chicks with that same damned song that he wrote in high school. Get a life, James!

Like James’s pathetic, decades-long reliance on this same song, there’s a twinge of sadness in almost every Twin Peaks resident. The last 25 years haven’t been easy on anyone, which means there’s nothing to do but choke down a big healthy scoop of garmonbozia.

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