4:6 – Wally Brando

Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) trudges down the steps of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department and walks over to his visitor, who is flanked on either side by his parents Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz). They coo over their son, who has clearly been on the road and away from home for some time. Wally Brando (Michael Cera) sits astride his motorcycle. Evidently the 50’s style biker look is still very popular in and around Twin Peaks.

Lucy was pregnant throughout the second season of Twin Peaks (which spanned a period of a little over three weeks). Wally would have been born a few months after the show went off air, making him approximately 25 years old during his return for The Return. Cera appears in this one scene – a cameo to rival the one made by David Duchovny earlier in Part 4 – imbuing the character with a comic aloofness.

Cera affects a Marlon Brando impersonation as he talks fondly of Harry Truman being his ‘godfather’. Brando’s persona as the great method actor of the 50’s and 60’s folds into the ‘Pretty 50’s’ aesthetic that dominates Lynch’s world; a tendency to view this past with a kind of rose-tinted purity that Lynch openly associates with his own youth. Wally gives consent for Lucy and Andy to convert his childhood bedroom into a study and talks also of his journeys across the United States, back and forth on his motorbike. He also makes mention of Lewis and Clark and their pioneering expeditions, likening himself to them.

In his book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Mark Frost imagines a series of events in the lives and adventures of Lewis and Clack which connects their experiences with the Owl Cave Ring and the lore of Twin Peaks. It’s interesting that these ‘rumoured’ occurrences clearly pre-date the nuclear blast / ‘birth’ of evil sequences shown in Part 8 of The Return, which on one level could be viewed as contradictory. If the 1953 nuclear test drew the entities of the Convenience Store and Black Lodge to our reality, surely there would be no prior instances of contact? No artifacts of their existence? For my part, I believe this to be a false assumption that the 1953 test was the first instance of otherworldly contact with these entities, but it’s something I’ll explore further when we get to those riveting flashbacks of Part 8.

Wally speaks slowly and in rhyme. The following lines, in particular, remains memorable as he talks about his shadow:

My shadow is always with me, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, except on cloudy days… or at night“.

Some lines in Twin Peaks are haunting, some are profound and invite dissection and conversation. Others are just wonderfully ridiculous.

Frank appears to find the conversation a little mystifying – and a tad trying – be he remains gentlemanly and good-natured.

“May the road rise up to meet your wheels,” he replies in good faith to Wally’s speech, wishing him well in a manner he knows that the strange young man will appreciate. It’s a totally unnecessary scene, but a welcomingly weird one, showing off Mark Frost and David Lynch’s ongoing ability to conjure a special kind of kookiness, adding flavour to the show.

The quietness of the scene, the pitch dark of the deep background punctuated only by drifting car lights, the wet car park and ambient bird sounds frame the scene with a strange and serene feeling, as though happening itself within a dream. It feels halfway between a Saturday Night Live sketch and a genuinely heartfelt piece of Lynchian sweetness.

Next time:  Mr dream weaver

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