The next few scenes link together as one sequence.
At the Double R diner, a woman named Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long) sits in a booth talking to Heidi (Andrea Hays) about cupcakes. The two women giggle together about deserts. Shelly (Mädchen Amick) chimes in that Miriam is one of their best pie customers (a dig at her weight?) and Miriam retorts that Norma (Peggy Lipton) makes the best pies.
Lynch has used obesity for thorny comedic effect before. In Wild At Heart a bizarre trailer park scene that takes place at night is capped by the arrival of three jovial obese women; the moment enhanced by an increased strangeness in Angelo Badalamenti’s music.
There’s also a reasonably connectable through-line of plus-size women being lightly mocked in his work. In The Straight Story, Alvin Straight’s overweight neighbour Dorothy (Jane Galloway Heitz) is something of a ditherer and is framed as a silly or stupid person (cf “What’s the number for 911?”). In Mulholland Drive, a joke is made of a woman so large that when she’s shot in the behind, she thinks its an insect bite. In Twin Peaks, Heidi has always been known for her girlish giggling, while Part 1’s visit to Buckhorn, South Dakota introduced us to Marjorie Green (Melissa Bailey) whose personality is strikingly similar to that of Dorothy in The Straight Story.
Miriam continues this uneasy pattern. To this viewer’s eye, Lynch’s light mocking always stays just the right side of unpleasant, but it still represents the perpetuation of a particular stereotype.
Miriam orders two coffees to go and it is made evident that she’s a teacher. She leaves with the coffees.
Lynch cuts back to Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who is driving very fast, still rattled by his encounter with Red. “Magic motherfucker,” he mutters. He accelerates, laughing and whooping.
Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) sits on a park bench smoking a cigarette. He also has a coffee in his hand. He looks up and sighs. We see his POV of the branches of a tree. He appears sad. His spirits are raised, however, by the sight of a mother (Lisa Coronado) and son (Hunter Sanchez) playing run and catch along the path in the park. This moment seems like a direct echo of one of the final scenes of Blue Velvet, in which Isabella Rossellini’s Dorothy Vallens is shown in recovery from her horrors, watching her son play in the park, again from the vantage of a bench.
Carl smiles. Still, we sense the danger in Lynch’s comparatively quick cutting from scene to scene, and a tone of unsettling ambient noise starts to coarse beneath the images accordingly. Something bad is coming.
Richard drives into town and sees a line of traffic queuing. He hasn’t the patience for it and storms ahead, crossing into the oncoming lane in order to overtake everybody. He punches the roof of the truck as he accelerates.
Lynch shows us a stop sign, full screen. Large and red, it threatens danger. In our heads we prefigure the accident to come. The editing, assimilating these disparate scenes, is like Richard’s speeding truck. Inexorable. Unavoidable.
The mother and boy reach the pavement and the driver of a stationary truck smiles and ushers them across the road in front of him. The mother waves her thanks and the boy darts across the road, only to be struck full-force by Richard’s speeding truck. The mother screams and the music reaches a dramatic peak.
The mother runs out to her lifeless son as the other drivers get out of their cars, horrified. In the cab of his truck Richard yells, “Hey, hey, I told you to get out of the fucking way,” already diverting blame from himself. He looks into the eyes of Miriam, who stands shocked by the side of the road with her two coffees. Richard doesn’t slow down and drives off out of the scene.
Carl Rodd arrives at the intersection. Baladamenti’s music swells as he looks on, aghast. Carl sees a yellow flame-like entity rise up out of the boy into the sky. This is clearly meant to be an expression of his soul leaving the body and being transported up and therefore, as a spiritual reading would dictate, to the heavens. It fades after passing telephone lines above him. Angelo Badalamenti’s music has, by this time, become reverent and serene, mixing in an element of the beautiful to the achingly tragic. Carl wanders forwards to comfort the mother.
This scene, horrible and beautiful at the same time, reaffirms the idea that Carl is susceptible to visions in a similar way to Gordon Cole or Dale Cooper. He has an open eye allowing him to receive information. This was alluded to during his appearance in Fire Walk With Me where his cryptic line, “I’ve already gone places. I just want to stay where I am” suggested his own difficult past with strange encounters, perhaps even alien abduction or whatever happened to Major Briggs during season two. Carl is one of the show’s special characters.
A final note of unease on the sequence is the presence of a particular telegraph pole. Lynch gives us a close-up of the telegraph pole, which has the following numbers on it: “324810” with a large number “6” underneath. This telegraph pole appeared at the Fat Trout Trailer Park when it was in Deer Meadow in Fire Walk With Me, where it received a similar level of preoccupation from Lynch. How is the same telegraph pole now situated here in Twin Peaks?
It isn’t the last time we will see it either. In Part 18, after Cooper and Diane have crossed over to the other dimension, the same telegraph pole is prominently placed outside of Carrie Page’s home in Odessa, Texas, making its mysterious relocation from Dear Meadow to Twin Peaks seem minor by comparison. What is the importance of the telegraph pole?
The suggestion made by showing us this here and now is that, like the Convenience Store, the telegraph pole has the ability to shift location and, if connected to the Convenience Store, might therefore be a sort of signpost or marker for events which are connected to it’s unearthly inhabitants. It appears here almost to bare witness.
Is it possible that its presence has further purpose. To me is has come to seem as though its mere presence will channel the garmonbozia of those involved in the hit and run accident directly back to the inhabitants of the Black Lodge. Is Lynch suggesting that the telephone lines that criss-cross our world are ingesting our pain?It is notable that, when we encountered the Fat Trout Trailer Park in Dear Meadow, the place seems under a kind of pall. Carl Rodd’s harrowed demeanour mentioned above being a case in point. Since upping sticks to Twin Peaks, Carl appears to have brightened. Is this measurable evidence of the purpose of the telegraph pole? That it could not only take pain and sadness, but also send a kind of oppressive negativity? Electricity crackles grimly on the soundtrack and Lynch fades to black.
Next time: Red square