David Lynch Rule 1: Never Be Random When You Can Be Referential
David Lynch Rule 2: Manage to Be Random a Whole Lot, Anyway
David Lynch Rule 3: Do Something Romantic and Shake It Up with Hideous Violence, Because Life
David Lynch Rule 4: Get Them Used to Violence and Then Brutalize Them with Nostalgia, Because Life
David Lynch Rule 5: Be Surreal, Unless You Can Be Superreal
David Lynch Rule 6: Closure? What’s That?
David Lynch Rule 7: Nothing Is as Jarring as a Beautiful Surface
David Lynch Rule 8: (I paraphrase Peter Gabriel) “Nothing fades as fast as the future / nothing clings like the past”
David, David, David. We gotta talk, man.
Yes, you left the Buckhorn SD crew out of last night’s episode, and spent more time under the Douglas fir canopy of the old mill town where nothing changes and everything changes and where holiness and sheer evil alike animate the very wind in the branches. There was Sarah Palmer. There was Jacoby having a crazy-ass convo with Nadine. You brought us Big Ed Hurley. You had him interact with Norma, and Bobby, and utilized his owl-eyed thousand-yard stare to great effect at the end there, as he gazed out his windows at the service station, an edifice we will never, ever be able to see the same way again after “Part VIII.”
But my 45-year-old heart might not recover from last night’s special guest at the Roadhouse. Pray for my good health, Lynch, because if they find me dead of a broken heart over here, they’re coming for you first.
Vegas: The Mitchum Brothers, Bushnell and Dougie conga-line through the office, in a veritable spray of diamonds and BMWs and giddy cheer. Anthony gets an uncomfortable directive from Todd (if you ever want to telegraph evil, name your character Todd, trust me on this) that he only has one day left to kill Dougie. He can’t go through with it, makes a tearful, meltdown-y confession to Bushnell, and they discuss how to make things right. All in all, it’s the Vegas paradigm: You win some, you lose some. But Mister Jackpots is forever. And Janey-E and Sonny Jim are certainly cashing in, too. (Naomi Watts is still blowing my mind. Just saying.)
Also, David, you brought back Evil Coop. Which was good. Except you put my man George Griffith in the Black Lodge! Not cool! OK: Ray Monroe had it coming; he did try to kill Evil Coop. That’s one of those things that you can bet will come back to bite you in the ass if you don’t get it right, and I’m sure Ray had a bad feeling this day was coming. And I’m not sure when I last saw arm-wrestling as such a dead-serious display of dominance and machismo—well done. In his last moments, Ray mentions Philip Jeffries, the Blue-Rose-ist formerly played by the irreplaceable David Bowie, giving us a sense of blast from the past that was only ever going to get worse. Because Time, because Life, and because You, David, you electricity-manipulating breaker of hearts. You gave us that awesome scene between Norma and her investor guy (who seems invested in her, and who can blame him) about franchising and the refusal to compromise quality. Hey, I see what you’re doing there. You’re doing it every time Russ Tamblyn hits the screen, too. In less deft and experienced hands, that could easily become some very ham-fisted side-eye, to create a very badly mixed figure of speech, but you modulate it with a kind of warmth toward your characters that just makes us laugh, when Jacoby and Nadine start talking outside “Run Silent, Run Drapes” and we’re suffused with that wonderful sense of how right everything sometimes seems, no matter how oddball, when we encounter people who truly know us. History is a heavy weight. It is also a vital tether.
The Roadhouse presents James Hurley? Singing “Just You And I?”
Especially juxtaposed with the frightening continuation of Audrey and Charlie. (I’m starting to get why Ben’s responsible for Richard—what’s going on with her? She seems broken.) And with the scene where Sarah Palmer drinks herself into a stupor in front of a wrestling match she doesn’t seem to notice is replaying the same few seconds because of some kind of glitch? The message is loud and clear. Some things cannot be gotten over. The most resilient of us maybe try to make those things into art. And the rest of us are sitting ducks for evil spirits that pop out of sky-vortexes or squish through our electrical outlets or possess the guy we married. Because Life.
Hurley’s performance of his own song from Season One, complete with big-eyed brunette backup singers sharing a vocal mic? All I am saying is that for some of us, Evil Cooper is far less lethal than that kind of thing. It’s been 30 years, David, and some of us have been through some shit, OK? You can’t just throw that down without a warning, can you?
Yes, of course you can. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the emergency room for a tourniquet.
Amy Glynn is a poet, essayist and fiction writer who really likes that you can multi-task by reviewing television and glasses of Cabernet simultaneously. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.