This is not the first time I stress the possible links that exist between season 3 and Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth stood still (1951). Both fictional universes are built around the fear of the atomic age and include aliens determined to extinguish the fires created by this technology. The connection becomes visually stronger in episode 14 when the Giant describes himself as the Fireman and raises his right hand in a manner reminiscent of Klaatu’s gesture.
Also, the exterior design of his fortress is not unlike Klaatu’s flying saucer in its silvery minimalism.
Another visual connection in this episode and in season 3 as a whole can be found in a slightly forgotten film from 1953 entitled The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. The yellow hand worn by the young hero of the movie (who looks a bit like Sonny Jim Jones) is very similar to Dr. Amp’s tiny hand puppet worn on his middle finger (shown in episode 5). Dr. Amp is actually a character who would fit perfectly in this film, with his strong conspiracy theories and anti-capitalist discourse. Filmed not long after World War II, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T develops an anti-authoritarian narrative that would please Dr. Amp. Its colour code is somewhat reminiscent of Diane’s nail polish selection, the boy plays catch and wears a shirt that looks like Sonny Jim’s, and atomic power plays a major role in the film alongside video surveillance, while dreams are omnipresent and a hearing aid is central to the narrative…
Also, the evil autocrat Dr. Terwilliker uses a golden shovel to fill his vault with dollar bills…
Whether or not the film was a source of inspiration for Lynch and Frost, the links noted above are worthwhile in and of themselves for their themes and motifs prevalent in the 1950s, a decade that has always played a central role in Twin Peaks.
Besides the possible connections with the film listed above, it is interesting to focus on the image of the hand in season 3. Hands keep coming back, over and over again. It is not clear yet what role they will play in the last episodes of the season, but it’s very likely that their omnipresence points towards a role they will soon have to play.
In the case of Freddie Sykes (Freddie = peaceful ruler ; Sykes = topographic name for someone who lived by a stream in a marsh or in a hollow), the young English man at the Great Northern Hotel, the glove on his right hand that the Fireman told him to wear is a direct visual link to the one worn by Jean Marais in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée. This is the glove that enables one to travel through the Zone situated on the other side of mirrors. The fact that his glove is of the garden variety makes perfect sense in the context of Twin Peaks. In my book Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic, I have explained how the Red Room is a secret garden of sorts, a Jungian Temenos dedicated to the process of individuation. What could be more appropriate than a garden glove to open the curtain to such a place? Freddie should therefore play a major role in the coming episodes, perhaps opening the way back to Twin Peaks for Agent Cooper.
–> Orphée goes to the Zone, through the mirror
Another portal to the Fourth Dimension can be found near Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Interestingly, the Palace happens to be a tree trunk whose shape is highly reminiscent of the purple ocean’s mountain from episode 8 – the place where the Fireman lives. The connection between the two locations is made evident thanks to Andy’s journey, or “briefing” about Naido by the Firmeman. The Palace, according to David Lynch’s terminology, inherited from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is the place where one transcends. Jack Rabbit’s Palace is thus a door towards the purple ocean’s moutain – “as above, so below”, as the saying goes in occultism. Both “Palaces” are lost in the middle of oceans – an ocean of purple water on the one hand, and another of trees on the other.
A drone shot just before the sheriff’s team enters the forest reveals more about the superimposed image found in the opening credits, the one with Dale Cooper lying on his back surrounded by other human shapes (close to an ocean of clouds). Closer to the mountain than the images in the credits, the shot reveals a round shape right on top of Cooper’s face – probably an orb similar to those featured in episode 8. The fact that it floats in front of his mouth leads me to think that it will play a role in the removal of his Garmonbozia.
These giants hidden beneath the forest on-top of mountains should probably be linked, somehow, to the pantheon of Greek gods that gathered on Mount Olympus. I don’t believe it’s an accident that Lois Duffy’s arrest took place in Olympia – the Pacific Northwest appears to be a very propitious place to get in touch with beings that can be associated with gods.
This scene is followed by a strange moment when Gordon Cole appears very disturbed by the sound a window cleaner makes behind the room’s curtain. A few years ago, I wrote a long article about the importance of windows in the films of David Lynch and I believe that this scene comes as an excellent reminder of his obsession with this motif. The fact that we can only see the shadow of the window cleaner also seems to link the moment to one in the Red Room, long ago, when the Man From Another Place conjured the shadow of a bird to fly on the thick drapes above him. In both cases, there seems to be a sort of acousmatic disruption between what we see (shadows) and what we hear. This is almost a neo-platonic vision of the world, the true reality of essences only available to us via their shadows.
Then Gordon relates his Monica Belluci dream in Paris and the coffee they had in a place called “Crêperie Plougastel”. I believe that the important element in this choice might be the presence of strawberries on the crêperie’s sign. This dream in black and white feels like something from the underworld, something extracted from the unconscious (the antipodes of the mind). It is worth remembering that in Greek mythology, Persephone (Cora), queen of the underworld (where she was taken by Hades,) was obliged to spend a third of each year there (wintertime) because she had eaten pomegranate seeds before being released. The dead are not supposed to eat the fruits of the living anymore. The strawberries on the sign might be an indicator of such a curse.
Did Gordon eat “strawberries”at some point in his past that led some of his memories to remain trapped in his unconscious? Is the dream itself the result of such a transgression? “We create our world, and then enter into that world”. Monica Belluci paraphrases the Upanishads (“We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream“), and for those who might like to know more on the subject, I have dedicated a large portion of my book to the links between Indian religion (the Vedas, the Upanishads, etc.) and Twin Peaks.
As for the scene with Sarah Palmer, when she removes part of her face to reveal what’s inside of her, this mirrors Laura’s action in the Red Room in episode 2. It is as if Laura and Sarah were just shells, empty inside – but while Laura is full of light, Sarah is full of darkness. Beyond Twin Peaks, this might be another reference to the film Dreams That Money Can Buy by Hans Richter, and more specifically to a portion of the film directed by Fernand Léger entitled The Girl with a prefabricated Heart and its many mannequins.
Finally, concerning the sequence in the jail cells between Naido and the other prisoner exchanging strange sounds, it is still unclear to me whether the noises they make are supposed to imitate chimps or geese. It seems that Naido’s link to “Mother” might make the second option more likely, as Mother is obviously oviparous (as seen in episode 8, when she “vomits” her many eggs – including BOB). But monkeys are also important in Twin Peaks. What is certain, though, is the fact that after the scene with Bobby and Mike barking in their cell during season 1, this episode is another proof that in Twin Peaks, prison tends to bring humans back to their animalistic side.
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One thought on “Hands and garden gloves”
I have read a lot about The Return attempting to understand and contextualize this simply amazing feast of ideas and images. Some fantastic writing on brightwalldarkroom.com though some of the writing here goes in even deeper. Thank-you very much.
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