Apparently it’s been years since David Lynch has watched a film, but he does enjoy TV and he loves shows about cars. His films Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Wild at Heart in particular all use cars as death objects, romantic definitely but of the fatalistic kind. It’s impossible to tell then, whether episode 11 of Twin Peaks is just Lynch indulging a passionate hobby of sorts or whether there is some deeper, more specific reason that all of its key scenes involve a motor vehicle.
‘Dammit, I don’t have a fucking car!’ screams a bug-eyed Amanda Seyfried as Becky Briggs – and yes it’s confirmed, Bobby is her father – immediately before she demands the keys to her mother’s car. Her idiot husband Stephen has done something that prompts Becky to grab her gun as Shelly attempts to stop her and jumps on the bonnet of her car and is then driven through the trailer park by her daughter, screaming through the windshield, before Becky abruptly swerves and throws her mother to the ground. Carl Rodd, the trailer park owner, blows a tin whistle that summons his campervan and together they drive Shelly back to the diner whilst Shelly calls Bobby for family-police intervention to rescue their daughter from whatever fate awaits her.
Max Hastings and the Buckhorn posse of Gordon, Albert, Tammy and smoking Diane are driven by Detective Dave Macklay in his car to the site that Hastings and Ruth Davenport accessed Major Briggs’ and Ruth Davenport met her untimely death. Whilst Gordon Cole and Albert stare into a black vortex that tunnels down from the sky and appears to lead to the convenience store, one of the store’s sooty woodsmen creeps into the back of Macklay’s car. Diane can see this entity but she says nothing and then splat, Hastings head explodes. ‘He’s dead!’ declares Cole. You don’t say. Ruth’s naked, decapitated corpse is also found at the site with coordinates written on her arm, Albert photographs them and Diane recites them a little too loudly to memory.
Two cars in one scene. Shelly and Bobby warn their daughter that her drug-taking, unfaithful and bullying husband won’t get away with mistreating her as they wont allow it. Shelly then skips outside her place of work to meet her drug-dealing boyfriend, Red, like she did all those years ago when she and Bobby were dating. It’s a cycle that seems doomed to forever continue and whilst Bobby sadly considers the women in his life, gun shots suddenly shatter the windows of the Double R Diner.
A young boy has found a gun in the back of his parent’s car and has fired through the vehicle’s window and straight into the restaurant. His mother is horrified but the father – who is dressed identically to his son – remains stoic and silent, like his son. Bobby then tries to silence the persistent honking of the car behind the shooting family’s and the driver, an hysterical woman who claims she is late and has a sick child, witnesses a child raise up zombie-like from the passenger seat next to her whilst puking-up what looks like swamp water. But is the sick child she’s referred to or another kid entirely?
Sherif Frank Truman and Deputy Hawk ponder Hawk’s map of Twin Peaks and their upcoming journey to Jack Rabbit’s place. The Log Lady telephones whilst the two discuss the significance of black smoke and bad corn and for the second-week running she speaks the title of this week’s episode: ‘There’s fire where you are going,’ she warns. There is then a forceful knock on the door and Detective Don Harrison asks, ‘Are you interested in seeing my new car?’
Dougie Jones is sent to meet the Mitchum Brothers in a limo dispatched from their casino. He is unaware they intend to kill him, and let’s face it he’s unaware of everything, but on the advice of the one-armed man, Dougie has a large box and in it is a pie – and this is what saves his life. His long journey through the streets of Vegas to the desert, and with us as the passenger, begins. The Mitchum Brothers meanwhile wait for Dougie in their car and Bradley Mitchum tells his brother that he had a dream and in it his ‘Candie-cut’ from the previous episode has healed, lo and behold he rips the plaster from his sibling’s face and there is no sign of the wound.
When Dougie arrives and steps out of the limo with a box Bradley freaks, this was also in his dream and he now isn’t at all sure that Dougie is their enemy. When the pie and its flavour is confirmed (cherry), along with a hefty cheque for the insurance claim the brothers made that was previously denied, they take Dougie out for dinner to celebrate, and they have pie – ‘Damn good,’ Dougie repeats. The Vegas show-girl trio look into space whilst the men eat, standing silently, and when Candie is asked why she’s late, this is her eventual answer, ‘There was so much traffic on the strip! There were cars everywhere!’
I don’t what all this road-rage means, but finishing the 11th hour of Twin Peaks we now know where some of the characters are heading, they have the actual coordinates. Or maybe we don’t know at all. Audrey Horne is still absent and Special Agent Dale Cooper is still tightly encased in Dougie Jones, Laura we’re told is the one but what does this mean? The season can frustrate with its sometimes juddering changes in tone and this episode felt less cohesive even than the unadulterated-Lynch experience of episode 8. But you know that somehow, this is exactly the intention.
Twin Peaks, the town, is falling apart, and as the viewer we are immersed in this world complete with emotions that conflict and unsettle and bemuse. For all the driving that takes place, no one is any further away from the horror that rapidly continues to spread and multiply. As we approach the show’s later stretch there are still so many unanswered questions and in Lynch-world the concept of an easy answer is as opaque as the world he creates.