The misty cascading hills around the town of Twin Peaks. Douglas Firs cutting up the low cloud. A low mood. The score has dread in it.
Laura Palmer’s Theme plays over these misty shots of the woodland hillsides surrounding the town. After a little time away with the FBI, we’re returning to a troubled moment in a strange place.
Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) waits on the verge of a forest road, his patrol car parked a little way away with the driver’s side door open
(something of a road hazard, but nevermind, Andy). He is waiting to meet the owner of the truck involved in the hit and run in town the day before. There is nobody to be seen in either direction. Storm clouds rumble. The low mood intensifies.
Lynch’s ability to create moods like this is one of the signatures of his great strengths as a filmmaker. Conveying feelings is often as important as action or narrative. A true painter, he is expressive of unspoken things and waves of emotion. This short scene feels like a sudden drop. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach.
A bird cawing emphasises the emptiness in the scene. The lack of what ought to be.
Lynch cuts from Andy to the farmer’s house that we saw earlier, with the truck still parked outside. A discordant element is added to the mix on the soundtrack and Lynch shows us the man’s front door is open. There’s a slow push-in and move to the right as we’re shown the door. In fact, it looks like we’re closing in on a still, and not a filmed moment. This sense of examining a photograph feels like maybe we’re examining a future crime scene photograph. The insinuation here is that Richard (Eamon Faron) has silenced this potential witness. Most likely the farmer is dead or has been persuaded not to speak. It’s one of the season’s most threatening and suggestive images and it’s just an open door.
One recalls how Lynch achieved similar uncanny unease in Mulholland Drive, particularly as Patrick Fischler’s character took his long walk around the Winkies café to confront the creature living behind it. That simple shot of a wall haunts me to this day. Fischler, of course, ended up with a small part here in The Return, recurring as Mr. C’s troubled associate Duncan Todd.
Cut back to Andy who checks his watch. It’s five past five. His witness is very late. Perhaps that is the morbid pun we’re supposed to extrapolate. Very late, indeed.
Andy gives up waiting and gets back in his cruiser.
Next time: Warden Murphy