Angelo Badalamenti’s music changes to something altogether more bizarre; a hesitant, jumping piece of music that lilts and bobs as events grow increasingly off-kilter for Ray (George Griffith).
Ray looks up and sees a number of Dirty Bearded Men coming toward them through the sparse woodland and shrub of the desert. They’re only really visible during the strange flashes of light that have begun happening and so they’re not wholly present. Or, rather, they are trans-dimensional beings, emerging from the realm of the Convenience Store. Their approach causes Ray to pause. He does not shoot Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan) again.
Dirty Bearded Men have so far been seen twice before’ in the jail with William Hastings and at the morgue when Lt. Knox met with the FBI. In each of these cases e saw one, alone, watching or residing nearby, keeping distance like spies or ghosts performing a stakeout. This is the first time we’ve seen them en masse and daring to interact with the narrative that is unfolding. It is time for action; an intervention.
The Dirty Bearded Men gather around the body of Mr. C. They have come to rescue him. As will become clearer, they use the Convenience Store as both a home and a way to travel. I am reminded, obliquely, of the True Knot from Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep; supernatural beings who live in mobile homes, hiding in plain sight. Where the True Knot look like tourists, the Dirty Bearded Men look like vagrants – people that those of us with privilege often choose deliberately to ignore. In the John Wick films and in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, the facade of homelessness is also used by groups to act covertly; to spy, or infiltrate. Modern fantasy works are clearly enamoured with their potentiality, but is this just a way for us to codify or gentrify a systemic problem in our society that we are unhappy to look directly at?
Part 8 will go on to further explain the arrival of the Dirty Bearded Men on Earth and from scenes like this one we come to understand that they work as watchmen for the other spirits and forces that dwell within the Convenience Store and related dimensions. Their allegiance is clearly with the more negatively-driven or ‘evil’ presences that have emerged from this alternate plain of reality.
Three of the Dirty Bearded Men get to work healing Mr. C. They work silently, rubbing their hands in the blood oozing from the wounds in his torso, rubbing it up and down his body and over his neck and face. The white t-shirt Mr. C was wearing becomes soaked with blood and his face is stained red with it, too, further darkening his already leathery complexion. Badalamenti’s music becomes delightfully odd as they work. While they perform this act, the men have more substance to them. They’re not transparent anymore, but clearly defined in the flashes of light that continue throughout the healing ritual. The ones who dance around them, however, remain transparent.
Flashes of light have long been associated with the presence of the supernatural in the lore of Twin Peaks. The source of the light is never seen, as here. Rather, it denotes the presence of something that abnormally affects the state of reality. It also suggests the presence of wavering electricity; it’s flickering nature conveying a stop-start connectivity between places. It could, for instance, represent an open gateway or vortex through which the Dirty Bearded Men arrived. Ray sits down on the ground as they work, completely immobilised from his previous intentions. His face contorts in horror.
Toward the end of their ‘work’, a dark protrusion appears to emerge from the area of Mr. C’s stomach, and it is as though this is something that the Dirty Bearded Men have been coaxing out of him. It is a dark orb with a viscous membranous -like quality to it. Within the orb we see the sneering face of BOB (Frank de Silva – deceased). Footage from the older seasons of Twin Peaks has been used to digitally manipulate the image. Lynch is showing us that BOB exists as an entity and has been inside Mr. C this whole time. The scene does not show us BOB leaving the body totally, so we are left to assume – rightly – that BOB remains within Mr. C.
The sight of BOB seems to bring Ray out of his reverie and he dashes for the car and drives off hurriedly in a plume of dust. The ritual in the dark scrub-land continues, but slows. Lynch dwells on the place and the clouds of dust and the music becomes quieter, slower, no less unusual. The pace tells us that things are going to take as long as they’re going to take here. It’s nighttime in Lynchland, and that means everything has its own rules. Eventually, darkness envelopes everything, including the moon.
Next time: A call to Phillip