6:5 – Carl Rodd

An establishing shot reveals a new location for the show; the ‘NEW’ Fat Trout Trailer Park.

The ‘old’ Fat Trout Trailer Park was situated in Deer Meadow where Teresa Banks was murdered in 1988. Indeed, Teresa Banks lived at the Far Trout Trailer Park and it was the last place that Agent Chester Desmond was seen alive. Carl Rodd, played with extreme affection by the lamentably departed Harry Dead Stanton, has evidently upped sticks to Twin Peaks. Curious that his move should follow the murder path of BOB; whether this is subliminal or not is open for debate.

Carl takes a ride into town with a man named Bill (there are a lot of Bills in the show) and a heavyset man named Mickey (Jeremy Lindholm) takes a ride with them. Mickey is going to the Post Office to pick up mail for a Linda. This is not the Linda referenced by The Fireman at the beginning of Part 1.

“You go into town about this time every day, don’t you?” Mickey asks, though it is more of an observation.

Carl talks about his routine of going into town, and that he doesn’t have much to look forward to other than death. Mickey tells him not to talk like that. The subject of death hangs in the van, prefiguring a shocking event to come. Linda, is transpires, has been waiting on government aid and is a veteran. The scene carries the same underlying authoritarian dissatisfaction felt in the scenes in which Dr Jacoby becomes Dr Amp.

Carl lights a cigarette and offers one to Mickey who refuses, as he’s recently quit.

“I’ve been smoking for 75 years, every fucking day,” Carl says, laughing. Lynch himself is a famous chain-smoker, but this last moment from Carl really feels like the real Harry Dean Stanton shining through.

David Lynch and Harry Dean Stanton were longtime collaborators and friends. Harry Dean’s incredible history of character roles included, around this time also, the lead for John Carroll Lynch’s excellent directorial debut Lucky, which co-starred Lynch. In the film, Lynch is upset of the loss of his pet tortoise. It’s a marvelous little role for Lynch, but the film belongs to its star. Later in The Return we will see Stanton playing guitar and singing; for more of his remarkable talents in this field, I would urge readers to watch Lucky, where he really steals the show.

In terms of Lynch’s body of work, Stanton also appears quite memorably in 1990’s Wild At Heart as a suitably downtrodden and ill-fated investigator, or in the final scene of 1999’s bittersweet The Straight Story, playing Lyle, the brother that Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) has driven so long to see. He shows up intermittently, also, in 2006’s psychological spiral INLAND EMPIRE (another role that feels very close to Stanton himself). His signature temperament has found him often cast in shabby, underdog roles. But there’s always that twinkle in his eye, that rascal energy that makes his work shine.

Carl Rodd is a minor character in the scheme of Twin Peaks, but one thought of very fondly. He brings humour to Fire Walk With Me; something frequently notable for its absence in that tonally oppressive piece. And also a profound sadness. That moment when Carl sips his coffee and speaks of just wanting to stay where he is… That’s a haunting moment, suggestive of so much worry.

The Return finds Carl in new surroundings, and his habitual trips into town suggest a newfound sense of ease or peace; that he has been able to move on from his more troubled life in Deer Meadow.

Next time: 324810-6

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