Monday, May 29, 2017

Don't Take the Ring

I had to go and watch all four of the new Twin Peaks episodes last week, so I have to wait another week to see a new episode. I guess I can say some more about the new series now since some of you spaced your doses more wisely and only just last night watched episodes 3 and 4.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I'm pretty sure Naomi Watts is wearing the same cardigan she wore at the beginning of Mulholland Drive.

I doubt her character in Twin Peaks is meant to be Betty or Diane but it's worth remembering that Lynch did say Lost Highway was set in the same universe as Twin Peaks. She sure looks happy serving those pancakes.

Imagine how nice it would be to have Naomi Watts make you breakfast. Anyway, she does a good job making it believable that she doesn't notice Cooper's wearing his tie on his head. I think we're going to learn next week that the sip of her coffee brought him back to his senses.

By the way, if you're wondering what the deal is with this ring Dougie wears, you haven't watched Fire Walk with Me. Go watch it now--you'll find other things you need to know about like the Blue Rose and the long lost Philip Jeffries. It wouldn't hurt to watch the deleted scenes, too.

But the ring hasn't ever been fully explained. It has a symbol seen in Owl Cave in season two in which a cave painting tells the story of the Black Lodge. But I strongly believe the ring is based on the emerald ring that figures into the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt.

Along with Vertigo*, Shadow of a Doubt is probably the Hitchcock movie that most influenced Twin Peaks, with its depiction of a small, innocent American town, a sweet teenage girl, and her eerie relationship with her sinister uncle. Shadow of a Doubt is set in Santa Rosa, California. We meet Dougie in . . .

Which is also the name of the production company whose logo we see in the new opening credits. By the way, I really like Jade the prostitute (Nafessa Williams), I hope we see more of her.

But back to the ring. My belief that it's based on the one from Shadow of a Doubt is so strong I even worked some hidden fan fiction into a web comic I did a few years ago, Echo Erosion, where I show a character from Shadow of a Doubt, flirting with a man named Arnold Banks in 1952, my idea being they'd one day be the parents of Teresa Banks, the first victim of Bob on Twin Peaks and the first person we see wearing the ring.

In Shadow of a Doubt, the ring represents a moral choice, as accepting the ring means Teresa Wright's character, the innocent small town teenage girl, is accepting collusion with the murders her uncle has carried out--he stole the ring from one of his victims. The ring in Twin Peaks seems to work in a similar way thematically--it seems to mark its wearer for death. Dougie seems to be mixed up in something where he owes a lot of money but he's still spending cash on a prostitute, cheating on his wife in the process. The idea that Dougie is manufactured suggests he literally has no soul. When Agent Desmond in Fire Walk with Me takes the ring, he's wiped out of existence. When Laura sees the Man from Another Place holding the ring in her dream, Cooper warns her not to take it and later, when she's in the train car with Bob/Leland, we see her voluntarily putting on the ring, symbolising that, like Dr. Jacoby suggested, Laura "allowed herself to be killed". So while Dougie and Teresa wearing the ring seems to be a part of Bob's plan--he wants to kill them both--Laura wearing it is not because he doesn't want to kill her, he wants to inhabit her body. This is reminiscent of the strange psychic connexion Teresa Wright's and Joseph Cotton's characters share in Shadow of a Doubt--and the fact that both characters have the same name, Charlie, a mundane male American name, like Bob.

Well, I'd dying to see how the ring figures into the next fourteen episodes, if at all. I wonder if it's at any level meant to be a Lord of the Rings reference.

*It's well known that Laura Palmer's cousin, Leland Palmer's niece, Madeleine Ferguson, is named for two characters in Hitchcock's Vertigo, Madeleine Elster and Scottie Ferguson.

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